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message 1: by lorien, In Between (last edited Oct 04, 2017 06:53AM) (new)

lorien | 2558 comments Mod
Start: October 4, 2017
End: October 31, 2017
Word Limit: 1000 - 7000

For this momth's competition, you will be using a single word that is related to your entries. And that word is. . . POISONED. Whether it means someone gets poisoned or involves and accidental poison, write about it! Let your imagination flow!


message 2: by ☯Meera☯ (new)

 ☯Meera☯ (meeracle19) | 15 comments Nameless

The word of the land I was born in—Anachnarea—shudders on the lips of the slaves near me, like a body tilting off the edge of a cliff and falling into the dark expanse of a canyon. They whisper it like a curse. Their voices are serpents’ hisses melded together, and when I hear them, I feel as if I’m alone in a night forest, looking for where the sounds might be coming from, though they seem to be emanating from every pore in the trees, in the gray grass, in the rustling bushes, on the wind entwining my hair into knots.

“Witch girl,” they croon at me, with sideways glances and flickering mouths.

They say Anachnarea like it’s a fruit tainted by rot, bursting at the seams with poisonous juice, and yet in the mesmerizing way forbidden things are, still tempting.

Ah-nac-nah-ray-uh, ” spits a girl with eyes as glossy as marble. Her hair is long but jagged at the edges, as if hacked off with a kitchen knife. Her skin is the natural bronze of the South people, Tjeli, but it has the pale undertones of being untouched by sunlight.

It’s as if they know I’ll die soon, but they’re eager to make it more painful.

“What do you have against me?” I hiss back, through tightened lips, careful not to let the man who follows me hear. His presence is a black cloud above my head, threatening a storm but never delivering. When you see gray skies, and raindrops bead the air, do you go outside, as you would on a sun-filled day? No one wants to chance conversation with me, just like they would seek shelter once they realized the wind was edged with moisture and the clouds churned their gray fury.

Suddenly—a vicious burn scuttles around my wrists. The normally invisibly tattoos inked onto them glow bright black, swirling, indecipherable ebony runes. They burn with fervor only the anger of my rehjer, my master, can incite. He must be irritated that I’m walking so slowly.

I tilt my chin up. I force my eyes away from theirs.

But I still feel the weight of their flaming gazes, the painful stab as they plunge the knives of their stares into my back. I can hear what they’re thinking. Witch girl. Cursed girl. Anachnarean. I shouldn’t care. I tell myself I’m proud—and I am. But it’s as though they’re the sun. From afar, my pride sets pleasant warmth over me. But at such a close range, it burns me. They peel the flesh off my bones and leave me vulnerable, as weak and trembling as a child cowering beneath the bed for fear of monsters.

“You are late,” my rehjer snarls at my back, after we’ve walked out of the hallways. The dim glow of torch-light illuminates the narrower stretch of marble wall. No longer the bright expanse of white stone beneath our feet, but a rougher, gloss-faded wood. The door that leads to this more secret, less used hallway, slams shut behind us, blasting a swirl of dust behind me as light from the chandeliers immediately is choked off, covered by the iron door.

“Will he kill me for this?” I ask, suddenly fearful.

The rehjer—his name I don’t even know—softens just slightly, the furrows on his bronze face easing off.

“Perhaps,” he says truthfully. “You’re painfully new. He doesn’t know you. But I am your master, your rehjer, and if you die, a piece of my soul is choked out. I am also his niece’s grand-son. That’s probably a good enough reason not to have your head spiked to a wall behind his throne.”

“The Anachnareans are not so cruel as this,” I say, a hint of contempt sparking within my words.

“Save your wise words for thoughts,” he snaps, angry once more. “Speak like that, and you will surely die, no matter whether I’m related to him or no.”

After my parents told me to flee from the wreckage of a war-wreaked Anachnarea, I tried to escape to the south, to Tjeli, but a patrol of King Adriat’s guards intercepted my transport and found me. They tossed me onto the back of a horse, along with another woman who had been found in the process of fleeing. We juddered along, monitored on either side by soldiers, hands tied behind our backs. We tried to escape but after they realized—they left us raw in all the places no one would think to check were they buying slaves.

The woman was purchased to a small, nondescript manor.

But the King’s Guard wanted me for their own, and so I remained without a price tag, but was instead thrust into the midst of the slaves working at the Fire Palace—the king’s home.

After they had realized what I was—a prisoner taken from the wreckage of Anachnarea, with the blood of healers flowing in my body, the song of the injured chorusing in my mind, they made me the king’s poison tester. An Anachnarean, cursed to inferiority.
“Must I really taste King Adriat’s every meal?” I ask in a quiet voice.

“Yes,” said the rehjer impassively.

“How long do his poison testers last?”

“Not more than a few days at most,” he says softly, averting his eyes.

I think on it. I curse my eyes, with the color like liquid silver, hair as bright as flame. With the light, the hue of my strands glimmers from gold to red to orange. And with my freshly scarred skin, it took no time for them to piece the fact that I was a failed escapee from Anachnarea’s war zone.

“Then why did you agree to become my rehjer, if I will . . . die anyway?” I ask.

He shrugs his strong shoulders. He’s not as old as I first thought him to be—perhaps my own age, or a few full seasons older. His hair is brown, his eyes are round, and his lips are thin but shaped nicely, like the arch of a bow-and-arrow. He’s wholly unmemorable.

“I did not . . . willingly agree.”

“So they forced you?”

“You will never hear those words come out of my mouth.”

I look down at my wrists. The stark black runes have faded back into my skin, which means he’s not angry at me. The memory of the tattoos being engraved into my skin shudders its way into my memory. Gods above, I think, remembering the flaming sensation as the needles scraped into my skin and left raw red welts behind. The flesh had swollen up later, but eventually it had settled. It had taken two weeks of resting and a burning fever to recover enough to serve the king as a poison tester. I’d heard, through that period of time, he’d gone through ten slaves.

He has hope that you’ll last a week, the rehjer had told me, as soon as he’d come to claim me from Mav’s care.

A week? I’d scoffed. I’ll last longer than that.

The average is around two days, he’d snapped right back at me. You are arrogant. With that swaggering attitude, you’ll last one meal.

I’d swallowed. How often is the king’s food poisoned? I’d asked carefully.

Almost every time, he had answered. My smirk had died then.

But then . . . if no one lasts, he must just use slaves as he sees fit, like recyclable garbage, I had said, the anger dawning bright and clear. What an—

Do not let me hear you speak ill of him, the rehjer had snarled, though I’d saw no wounded affection in his eyes, only fear of punishment if he were caught.

Now, lost in my thoughts, I’m struck back into the present when the rehjer opens a door that leads out of the dark hallway and into such a bright room that the light stabs my eyes.

The king is sitting on a high-backed, silk chair, the cushions beneath him plumped up so that his thighs are ensconced in soft velvet. A man is kneeling before him, his arms outstretched, clutching a silver plate filled with an array of meat and sauce and heavenly aromas wafting off in the form of steam.

When the door bursts open, his eyes flick over my rehjer and me.

“You’re late,” he says in a lazy but distinctively cold tone. “I’ve had to stare at my dinner for the past five minutes without eating it.”

So watching me eat it is better? I think.

I dig my nails into my palms. The rehjer glances at me, and I’m thinking his brown eyes look like liquid chocolate before I realize it’s because he’s crying.

Stunned, I watch as he scuttles up to the king, next to the man holding the plate of food, and falls to his knees, his hands scrabbling at King Adriat’s calves like a desperate man begging for his life. Within some measure of shock, I manage to feel disgust, like a weed sprouting overnight. I would rather die than plead like that.

“My king,” says the rehjer, bowing his head between the king’s knees, “I’m so sorry. Forgive me. I apologize. Forgive us. She’s new, and she’s slow.”

“Enough,” Adriat thunders, and his voice must shake my rehjer from his hysterics. His eyes clear, and his flushed cheeks lighten. “This is foolishness.”

Get off your knees, I think. Don’t bow to him. He doesn’t deserve it.
The man serving the plate of food is quaking slightly, with the effort of keeping his trembling arms straight. I realize I’m still right in front of the door, so I make myself walk a few steps, though it’s stumbling at first. No one seems to notice me. There’s no one in the room but two soldiers at another entrance, the slave, my rehjer, the king, and me.

The ceiling is high, and filled with a thousand twinkling lights. The floors are veined marble. The room is bare save for the chair King Adriat is sitting on, and it’s unusually small for something in the Fire Palace. I suppose it’s his private dining area.

“Your Highness,” I stammer out. A piece of me cracks just by saying it, just by admitting that, in this world, he’s superior to me. Don’t be arrogant. “I’m your new . . . poison tester.”

He tears his cold blue eyes away from the rehjer and regards me coldly, chin tilted upward, as though looking down upon a lesser creature.

“Proceed,” he drawls. He aims a swift, sharp blow at the rehjer’s stomach with his steel-capped boot, making him sprawl backward onto the floor. I have to step over my rehjer to reach the plate of food. For a moment, I stare at the heavenly cooked arrays of roasted meat, the crisp, blackened outer skin, and the fluffy white delicacy on the side, something that looks like a summer cloud. I taste a bite of it all, and when my mouth is full with food that is just as good as it looks, I nod at the king.

“No!” says the rehjer.

King Adriat and me both regard him suspiciously. The plate is midair, and the slave’s bare arms tighten with the strain. He glances at me, for a heartbeat, pleadingly, desperately.

I look down at the rehjer, who is back on his feet.

His brown eyes gleam, and his cheekbones are glistening, his hair disheveled.

“The food is poisoned, I confess!” he cries.

What? I think, and dread seeps into my bones. My stomach roils. I wonder if I should vomit it all up, but panic has half a moment to set in before the king speaks again, his eyes cold as a stone buried in snow.

“I was part of a plot!” my rehjer wails. “Anachnarean blood is immune to it, but you will die if you eat, surely!”

“What in all seven hells—?” My eyes are wide, my voice is a mutter. If the food is poisoned, then don’t tell the king, I have the sense to think. Does he think he’s going to be pardoned?

“If it is poisoned, then you shall eat it,” says Adriat indifferently. I imagine he’s impassive to any poison attempts after centuries.

The rehjer pales to the color of bone, and he looks positively sick. Tears stream from his eyes, and he shakes so badly he falls to his knees.

“No, please, no—Your Highness, I told you, I warned you, spare me . . .”

“Eat it,” snaps King Adriat.
The man holding the plate of roast meat and summer clouds turns it, with trembling hands, to the rehjer, whose liquid brown eyes ripple until he squeezes them shut. His lashes brim with water. The soldiers positioned at the door have marched behind him, ready to act should he make any desperate attempts.


message 3: by ☯Meera☯ (new)

 ☯Meera☯ (meeracle19) | 15 comments If a piece of the rehjer’s soul is choked out of his body after he dies, will the same happen to me?

“No, wait!” I cry out.

“Stupid girl, stop it,” hisses the man holding the plate, but I ignore him.

I turn to the king with pleading eyes. “He is your . . . niece’s grand-son!”

“So he wants the throne, you mean?” drawls the king.

“No!” I burst out desperately. “No, that’s not what I meant. He’s family. He has your blood running through his veins.”

“And that is all he has from me,” Adriat says coldly, pale eyes flicking over me to the rehjer and then back. The soldiers behind the rehjer scowl.

“Doesn’t family mean anything to you?” I spit. “To Anachnareans, it’s everything. ‘Blood of my blood, bone of my bone, eyes of mine own.’”

“Don’t tell me about your ’Narean proverbs,” the king snarls. “I don’t care. Here, now, it means nothing.”

Silence answers for me.

“Eat the gods-damned food.”

The rehjer wails again, and he uses his long brown fingers to scoop some of the fluffy white stuff off the plate. He looks at it, and then he looks at the king.

My wrists burn with agony, and the black runes stand stark against my bronze skin, which means my rehjer is angry, frightfully so. I can tell, before the king does, what he’s going to do.

Why must we bow, Mama? I remember asking my mother, as we kneeled in front of a woman with muscular gold calves, brushing our fingers over her bare feet as a gesture of what my mother had told me was admiration.

We must bow, my love, because she has saved our land once more from eternal damnation by the king of Lumenea, she had answered, eyes lowered.

All of a sudden, I realize—there is no poison.

The rehjer is lying. Anachnareans may have healers’ blood in our veins, but we are not fully immune to every poison. I should be choking, if the poison laced into the food is as frightening as the rehjer’s tears make it out to be.

And then I think he plans to eat the food after all, and he’ll convulse and pretend to die. But what purpose could that possibly serve?

And then . . . my rehjer launches the mashed potato, right at the king’s face.

It hits the space between his right eye and his nose, and he disgustedly scrapes it off his face and flicks it away from himself.

I can’t help it. I laugh.

The king practically snarls at me. “Kill him,” he commands to the soldiers, and they immediately step forward to the rehjer, threateningly staring at him. His head jerks rapidly as he looks at both of them side to side.

My laugh is a high ringing even to my own ears.

A sharp pain pierces my side. I double over and clutch at it, my grin choked off within a heartbeat, my gasps loud against the rehjer’s squeals of desperation. But just as it stung, it fades, and I dismiss it.

The soldiers grip the rehjer beneath his arms and haul him off the ground. The slave holding the plate drops it, and it shatters with a spray of mashed potato and roast meat.

Then the agony stabs my stomach. I retch and heave. Blood flecks the ground where I spit.

“What’s wrong with you?” the king snaps.

I can’t hear him over the roar in my ears. The pain in my stomach causes me to convulse, and I tremble, buckling to the ground. My eyes bleed. My mouth bleeds. My nose bleeds. My ears bleed. I feel it everywhere, the sticky red leaking from my body poisonously, as if my body is trying to rid itself of the evil I consumed.

The rehjer had poisoned the food. I’m not immune. It was slow-acting.

“What’s wrong with you?” the king repeats, in a shout.

The rehjer is hauled from the room, kicking and screaming.

I curl into a ball on the ground, sobbing and shaking and moaning. The lights fade. Fire and ice and rot and bone. A thousand sword clashes. A thousand heads rolling on the ground.

I realize now it wasn’t only the poison that killed me.

It was my pride.

~~~

If you believe in miracles, you'll understand that I did die, and yet I'm alive now. If you believe in miracles, you'll know that although you now know that I lived my first life, proud, arrogant, and vastly unafraid, that it's possible to change. I suppose dying will do that to you.

If you believe in miracles, you'll know pride is a terrible thing. A creature without teeth, perhaps, but a monster nonetheless, one that hides in the shadows, whispers into your ear when you are alone, and lurks behind your shoulder, always guiding, always steering you. And you have pride, too, you'll know that feeding him is the worst thing you could possibly do. Feeding him judgement and opinions and wrongdoings and sufferings.

You'll know, if you believe in miracles, that feeding that monster of pride is a poison all in itself. It blinds you. It lets you think you're impervious. It makes you think you're indestructible.

And a little while later, when you're caught so completely in its claws, that the only way out you can see is between its shadowed talons, you'll know that you created this beast.

Beware. If is not too late.

Soon your monster will hunger for the bones of your enemies and the blood of your foe and the eyes of those that wronged you.

It has a ravenous appetite indeed, don't you think?


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 07, 2017 02:43PM) (new)

(RATED: PG. CONTENTS: Smoking, mentions of alcohol, poisoned drugs, mentions of death, and suddened violence break out.)
PROMPT: Poison.
TITLE: "THE HAUNTED MED-LAB"
(A Marvel Fanfiction)
By: Shine
2017
WORDS: 1,577


It was dark and haunting night at the Haunted Asylum in Midgard. The Haunted Asyulm was very old and slowly collapsing from aging of abandonment. Some say that ghosts haunted this place at night. No one really knows for sure. Only the deadly villains knew the truth, because they were all monsters in ripped up scrubs and stained lab coats, but no one could tell who they really are during the procedure. Mad villains had took over this particular Ayslum, the one that would give any visitor nightmares for life, tending the captative 'patients' care by giving them a special 'medicine'. No one knew what was happening until the helpers kidnapped the wrong patients that would cost them everything. All the secrets would be revealed to SHEILD.

"Looks like we have two new patients. One has blonde hair and the other one has black hair." Someone said to Dr. Other. "Thank you, MaleKith. Tell Thanos to get the O.R. ready for the newest patients." Dr. Other said. MaleKith nodded and went to tell Thanos to get the O.R. ready.

Dr. Other went into the room where Nurse Hela was examining the new patients, who were unconscious, in the med lab room and writing down the notes. Hela had a cigar in her mouth while she worked, knowing that her husband, Dr. Other drinks alcohol during break time.

"I recognize the two as soon as I walked in. We have Thor and Loki to deal with until they get their speical medicine that would end them. The same way we ended Odin and Frigga. While HYDRA is dealing with the Avengers, we'll deal with these two Asgardians." Nurse Hela said, nicotine smoke coming out from her mouth as she spoke.

When Nurse Hela mentioned special medicine, she meant poison. Once their patients takes the special medicine, that was suppose to make them get well, they die instantly from the injection filled with poison. Then, once they're dead, the staff takes the corpse to the haunted morgue and leaves the corpses there to rot. DEADLY VILLAINS HAVE NO RESPECT FOR ANYTHING! Dr. Other nodded as the Dark Elves took Thor and Loki to their sharing room to wait until it was their turn for their 'treatment'. Once the Dark Elves took the brothers into the room, they tied Thor down for many reasons, but left Loki untied for now. After they finished, they left the room to get some work done in the Asyulm while Nurse Hela and Dr. Other were making the speical medicine in the med lab room.

"Once we give them this in the Haunted O.R., all our problems would be solved! Less torturing means less work!" Nurse Hela said, mixing the poison and the OLD Aether into the beyond expired meds, still smoking. "How do we know that you're not going to blow this place up with all your constant smoking while mixing this med thingys together?!" Dr. Other asked, freaking out in front of his wife, Nurse Hela. "Just trust me. I know what I'm doing. I'm taking away our problems. And those WRENCHED BROTHERS are so going to get it from us!" Nurse Hela replied, inserting the speical medicine into the needle-syringe, grinning evilly. Suddenly, they heard a scream of terror. They laughed, knowing that their new patients just woke up.

The screams of terror filled one of the patient rooms, echoing the dark and eerie hallways. It wasn't a normal scream. No, it was THUNDEROUS screaming of terror from Thor, waking Loki up from his unconscious state. Thor squirmed around, trying to free himself from the ropes. Loki was on full alert, knowing from his past experiences of the torture chambers in The Abyss, jumped off the rusted bed and ran to help free his brother. He panicked inside, but he couldn't show his weakness to his brother. No, his brother needed him. Loki managed to untie the ropes from Thor, throwing the ropes across the room.

"Thor, you need to calm yourself. I know you're afraid of medical places like this, but we need to find out why we're here. Director Fury is counting on us to solve the poison mystery before Halloween. I would love to come out of this place alive and in one piece." Loki said as Thor stopped screaming. "How?! They could be anywhere and we're weaponless." Thor wondered, getting off the rusted bed, following Loki's lead as they walked down the dark and eerie hallway.

The hallway had collasped ceiling with light fixtures hanging from rusted wires, the walls and floors were moldy and slowly peeling away from many years of damage, random things lie around the floor either broken or rusted, graffiti paintings of deaths were all over the walls, and smell of mold and must filled the air as the brother walked quietly towards the morgue by accident. They were trying to find the lab room and O.R. to find the so called doctors and nurses who where actually the deadly villains and get them arrested. Somehow.

Loki about panicked when he saw a pile of dead bodies that reminded him of the Abyss, but he shoved the thought of from his mind. "Wait a minute. Something's not right about this." Loki said. "No normal morgue has this many corpses like this. Something tells me they died from something." Thor said, trying to find what caused the poor Midgardians death in his mind.

"There's no signs of bullet holes, or whipping, or redness from being hanged, but I did find this." Loki expected, holding up a needle-syringe that he had picked up from the floor.

Thor looked at it. "That's not where it goes, but look! It's discolored. No meds should be discolored. They're all clear."

"Another thing, it's been used more than once. Let's go find the lab room and find more edvince." Loki said, grabbing an old rag to wrap the shot in, so neither of them would get poked. Then, they quietly left the morgue to find the next room. They needed to find out what's going on and fast. Before it's too late.


"All right, let's get our patients prepared for their treatment." Nurse Hela said, grabbing the shots as Dr. Other grabbed the tranquilizer gun. "Just in case they don't behave." Dr. Other said, leaving the room with Nurse Hela. Neither of them knew that Thor and Loki had already escaped the room to find out what was going on.


"All right, the coast is clear. Let's go." Loki whispered, walking very quietly into the lab room with Thor close behind him. Loki went in first, signaling Thor to go in, and closed the door very quietly. Thor stared at everything, trying so hard not to freak out. "Loki, look." Thor said, pointing at the table full of stuff. Loki went towards the direction Thor pointed to and looked through the stuff. "Past expired meds, more dirty shots, tranquilizer guns, cigars, beer bottles, poisons, and old Aether?!" Loki stopped in dead tracks after saying poisons and old Aether, paling just by thinking about what was going on.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Brother?" Thor asked. "Yes, Brother, I know what you're thinking what I'm thinking. They're poisoning people and we're next." Loki replied, pointing to the list of death. Thor paled as white as Loki. "Well, as part of the mission, we have to stop them and slow them down." Loki nodded, grabbing the fresh made shots with the poison in them. "I think I know how we can stop them until we get SHEILD, but we have to fast and swift on our moves. Since we're technically weaponless."

Suddenly, they heard a female scream. "THE PATIENTS HAVE ESCAPED!" followed by a male shouting. "FIND THOSE TWO AND KILL THEM WITH POISON! I DON'T CARE HOW YOU DO IT!" Angry and MAD footsteps echoed the hallway towards the lab room, where Thor and Loki waited for their preys, and slammed the door opened.

Violence broke out in the hallway, outside from the lab room with lots of glass shatterings, but no deadly villain, not even Hela or the Other, could match Thor and Loki's fight skills as the two brothers stabbed the deadly villains with the poisoned shots, killing them instantly. More came. Thanos, MaleKith, and Dark Elves came out from their hiding, trying to end the Asgardian brothers' lives, but they were no match for them. Thor had grabbed the tranquilizer guns and bullet-shots with poison, tossing one to Loki, and the two shot down the remaining villains. Even though they were weaponless in the beginning, they've managed to make do to stop their enemies.

After the suddened war break out, they found out the villains' secret on the wall. It wasn't a graffiti, but on paper. The list of poisons and the ingredients for instant death in injections. Even the deadly villains didn't know it would kill them. Their pride had got in the way. And so, the Asgardian brothers made their way out alive and one piece by escaping. They headed off to find a way home to tell SHEILD and the Avengers what had happened during the strange mission. A mission that was full of danger.


message 5: by Coralie, Wordy Writer (new)

Coralie (corkybookworm) | 1249 comments Mod
Flowers in the Attic
Words: 1,292

Side note: Thanks, Catherine, for getting me started!

Flowers in the Attic

“You poisoned them against me!” I spun around to face her, tears threatening to fall. It took all I had to keep a lid on my temper. My cheeks were flushed with anger and the bitterness gave way to agony in my voice. I shook my head and spoke more softly this time,“Was it not enough for you to hate me? Now my whole family must hate me with you?” I just wanted to understand.

Sure, I’d been upset. Anyone would have been. Of course I was mad. Everyone has a right to be sometimes. And, I don’t claim to be perfect. I don’t claim to know everything. I make mistakes too. But how can I admit them when she won’t listen? How do you apologize to someone who screams too loudly to hear it?

“I won’t take back the words I said,” I leveled my gaze at her, “Because I don’t regret them.” I don’t apologize for things I’m not sorry for. She knows that. I took a quick breath and continued before she could cut me off again, “But I am sorry…about the way I said them. I’m sorry I let my anger get the best of me. And I’m sorry…I’m sorry I hurt you.” A single, hot tear slid down my cheek. I didn’t bother to wipe it away.

She opened her mouth to defend herself. I flinched. Her words dug daggers into my flesh and her glare made my chest constrict. A throb started, soft and slow. Before long, I felt my body go numb as she railed at me. After the third or fourth excuse, I began to tune her out. My vision blurred and my heart stilled. I felt it coming again. That cold numbness that crept over me more and more lately. She wanted me to apologize, but she refused to apologize herself. She wanted me to admit that I was wrong, but she still called forth every excuse she could think of to justify what she’d done. I stood there, appearing to listen, as my insides turned to stone.

Maybe one day, she’ll see that we were both wrong. Maybe one day, she’ll admit that I tried to bridge the gap, dam the breach. Maybe one day, there won’t be an endless gap between us, a gaping rift. I wanted peace. I wanted healing. But she didn’t see that. All she saw was her wounded pride.

“I never lied to you,” she screeched again, “I would have been there!”

I stared at her, mouth agape, “You still think that’s what this is about?” I shook my head in amazement. Had she ever stopped to consider the cost? A bitter laugh pressed through my lips. No, I couldn’t be bitter. My head fell. I had to let the bitterness go. I had to let the hurt go. I had to let the fear go. I had to let the shame, guilt, and despair go. It’s out of my hands now. I offered her the proverbial olive branch. Several times, in fact. But she’d rejected it. Just like she’d rejected me.

With nothing more to say, she stormed off, hurling more insults, cursing the day I had been born. She’d be back to torment me again. She always was. She couldn’t resist the temptation. Had to get in her two-cents worth. She didn’t know how to let go. That’s why we were in this mess in the first place. And I’d foolishly responded to her crushing grip.

Breathe. Just breath. In and out. In and out. I was tired. So tired. Tired of patching up my heart. Tired of trying to earn forgiveness for what I’d done. Tired of wanting to please her still. Tired of hoping she’d ever see me.

Maybe I’d put myself here. Just as she’d put herself there. Maybe we’d both put ourselves in this mess. But I couldn’t be the only one with a broom. It takes two people to work things out. I’d pushed her away. It didn’t matter that she’d pushed first, that she’d abandoned me. That she’d abandoned us all. It only mattered that I’d let go instead of holding on.

I’d told her I was done. I’d meant it. But she’d misunderstood. I was never done with her. Only with her choices and the repercussions they brought. I refused to participate in her madness. But she wouldn’t hear that. Now she’s the one who’s done. Done with me.

I shrugged. I can live with that. My heart’s already broken into more pieces than I thought possible. But I made this choice and now I’ll have to reap what I’ve sown. If she ever comes around, I’ll be here. Hopefully, I’ll have learned a few things by then. Hopefully, God will have seen fit to give me a little more wisdom.

No one deserves to be ostracized by her family. No one deserves the hate and the judgment that separates us now. We all deserve worse than death. And it’s only by Grace that we stand at all.

I’m not the good guy here. I’m just as scarred and broken as she is. Yeah, she screwed up. She keeps screwing up. And, no, I’m not holier than thou. I’ve got stains on my jacket too. Different stains. Not darker, just different.

No one ever said life would be fair. They say that when you’re a child, but you can’t really understand what they mean until you’ve lost that childlike innocence. The truth? The truth is not every mother goes to her daughter’s wedding. The truth is not every father tucks his son in at night. Not every brother defends his sister. Not every sister loves her brother. The truth is, we’re all broken. We’re all poisoned by the darkness. There isn’t always a black and white. Now, mind you, sometimes there is. But sometimes, it’s more like a muddied gray. And that’s how darkness sets in.

Now…now I may never see my brothers again. I may never comfort my sister. I may never hear my father laugh again. I may never see my mother smile. My own family turned against me and she brought the rest to her side out of spite. She’d wanted to find a new way to hurt me. I hadn’t thought that was possible. No. That’s not fair. I don’t think she meant to hurt me. In fact, she’d repeatedly insisted that she’d had good intentions. But, you know what they say about intentions…

No. She’d only wanted a new way to justify herself. She’d needed more ammunition to prove she’d been right all along. But, in the end, I’d told them to go with her. They didn’t need to be caught up in our war. There was already enough hurt and mistrust, enough pain and disrespect. I didn’t want her to turn against them because they refused to turn against me. So, I told them to go. I told them I’d go. And that if they ever needed me, I’d be here for them.

And, so I will be. I will wait here. I will wait until the gray turns to red. I will wait until the brokenness heals and the world becomes new. I will wait until the end. Because in the end, there will finally be peace. Do not lose hope. Peace is coming. The darkness has already been defeated. The cure has been found. We just have to wait until the smoke clears. We will emerge victorious, clothed in scarlet, battle-weary and refined. Until then? Until then, keep growing. Keep learning from your mistakes. Keep gathering knowledge and gaining wisdom. Keep going. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let go.


message 6: by lorien, In Between (new)

lorien | 2558 comments Mod
Title: A Fear Unknown



Scarlett Armitage ran as fast as she could through the night. Her black and white hair streaming behind her like ribbons as she willed her legs to move faster.

Run, Scarlett. Run! Were the words of her aunt as she sent distressing messages into Scarlett's head.

I'm coming! Scarlett thought back, gritting her teeth.

She was enjoying a fairly nice nightly walk when her aunt's voice filled her head like she did on their first meeting. Some were a bit louder than the last, unfortunately.

Finally, after racing up the longest street she had ever known, her home waited for her.

It's dome shape structure was certainly one of the oddest houses she had ever seen. But when living in Crystallia, weird and odd were it's middle name.

Her home almost reminded her of those hobbit holes that were in Lord of the Rings. Tucked inside a hill halfway, the home was circular all around. Even the windows and doors were round.

Scarlet soon pounded on the door with her fist, hoping that her aunt would hear her.

She did, and the olive green door opened swiftly.

Corra Lockwood's features were a sign that as a Wolver, she hardly ever aged. Though giving her wolf-like features such as narrow eyes and a poor attempt to tame that wild golden brown hair of hers, Corra's face remained the same as it did twenty years ago. So while her friends aged and had wrinkles, she didn't have a single gray hair.

Even now, it still amazed Scarlett how young her aunt looked even though she must've been forty-five at least.

Corra's eyes gleamed with frustration and she looked irritated as a whole. "It took you long enough. How many times have I told you to use the Striders? They make you run quicker and it would've saved me a bunch of time from having to prepare everything."

"Er, prepare?" Scarlett asked, wondering if there was even a crisis at hand.

"Yes, prepare, you parrot," Corra snapped harshly. "Come and see for yourself."

Moving aside for her niece to walk in, Scarlett looked around in the surprisingly large living room but saw nothing which gave a sign that something was wrong.

Until a ear piercing screech rang throughout the house and Scarlett turned her head.

Corra practically glided across the hardwood floor and smirked. "Hear that? That is precisely why I called you."

Scarlett let out a sigh. Why, oh why did she have to answer her aunt's call for help. Especially since there wasn't even an emergency to begin with!

"Oh, I concur," Corra said, clicking the roof of her mouth. "This is an emergency and I do need your help, Scarlett."

It was times like these where Scarlett wished she had no relation to Corra at all. But she was her mother's friend and the least she could do was help.

"Yes, you wouldn't want your mother's training go to waste," Corra said with a wolffish grin, ironically. "Now, you will help me."

"Fine," Scarlett grumbled, fiddling with her waist long hair. "Just tell me what you want me to do."

{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}

Turns out that her dear old aunt wanted her to wrestle and pin down a squallor for dinner.

And it wasn't pleasant at all.

It took Scarlett hours before she could corner the long neck bird with sweet smelling feathers in the kitchen and even when she did, the squallor didn't give up easily.

It even gave her several taps on the head with it's powerful beak.

In the middle of all of this, Corra was quietly sipping her tea on the long wooden table while reading the paper, turning the pages every so often. And even when Scarlett shot her aunt a few glares, Corra simply pointed her finger at the bird, not bothering to look up.

Once Scarlett had managed to knock out the bird with a pan from the cupboards, Corra sighed and removed the paper from her lap, walking over to the bird.

"Such a beautiful bird," Corra said, stroking it's feathers with her hand. "Too bad it'll be dinner." With that, her fingers glowed a neon blue and before Scarlett knew what was happening, the bird was no longer right in front of her, but disintegrated into balls of light. Which then traveled over to the counter and on a silver platter, the bird was cooked and shaped like that of a turkey.

Scarlett watched her aunt with her jaw open. "You. . . you-"

"Quit jawking! It makes you look like a gaping fish," Corra said with a scowl.

"But, you mean to tell me that you could've just done that in the first place?" Scarlett asked, fists clenching at her sides.

Corra simply shrugged. "I had to know whether my friend has actually taught you anything."

Scarlett almost wanted to scream with frustration and storm out of the house but that wouldn't be the kind of behavior her parents expected out of her.

So instead, Scarlett remained silent and listened to her aunt.

Corra raised an eyebrow at her niece's sudden silence as the white drawers opened up with a simple clap of her hands.

"Now, would you be a dear and set up the table?" Corra asked, surprisingly with a soft voice. "I promise, I won't have any tricks for that."

Nodding, Scarlett began to set the napkins and utensils down on the table, when an urgent voice called out from the front door, pounding fists on the door.

Corra let out a sigh of annoyance and whisked a finger at Scarlett to fetch the door. "It's probably Eldain. Wouldn't want to keep your teacher waiting."

Setting the items down harder than she should, Scarlett briskly made her way to the door and found that the person who was making such a commotion was one of her oldest friends, Faden Veek.

His overall appearance was slightly disturbing, since he was the most neatest and precise people Scarlett knew, and his usual neat brown combed hair was sticking in all sorts of peculiar positions. Even his loose tunic was untucked from his pants.

"Scarlett," he said, gripping her arms and gave a half hearted smile. "I'm afraid that I have some. . . very, very not so good news."

Scarlett's expression remained neutral as he spoke. What was it that would've made him want to come here when he could've just sent a Whisk message?

"Faden? What's the matter?" Scarlett asked, brows wrinkling in confusion.

As soon as the words left her mouth, Faden bowed his head and stared into the ground, as if doing so, he could burn a hole right through. Now Scarlett could see that there were tears forming and that made her all the more scared.

"Your. . . your parents," Faden started, shoulders shaking harder and harder with each word, "they've been poisoned."

{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}

"POISONED?!?!" Corra shrieked as they all gathered around the living room and each sat on a circular seat, all except for Corra who was pacing back and forth. "Liora would never allow herself to be poisoned! Raden, on the other hand, I can believe that he got poisoned - the idiot - but never Liora!"

Once Faden had cleared his throat and collected himself, he spoke again, "They were at a dinner party with our leaders and so they would never have suspected it. I mean, the party is the safest spot this world has to offer."

"Obviously not safe enough as it would seem," Corra snapped at the boy, making both teenagers cringed. "Do they even know what poison they're dealing with?"

"Blockworth, from what I heard," Faden said slowly, looking unsure if he should continue as Corra's expression grew more and more fierce. "They're going through stage two now. Horrible black spots and," his voice cracked, "pain. Immense pain."

That undid Scarlett to bits and pieces. She covered her hand with her mouth and quietly removed herself from the room.

She needed air. Fresh air to think and how she could fix this. She had to. And she couldn't let Faden or Corra see her like in this state.

Opening up the clear glass double doors, she walked out onto a patio and breathed heavily, trying to clear her head. Corra always did say she thought properly when other things weren't getting in her way.

Scarlett snorted as her aunt's advice from not too long ago echoed in her head.

She should've gone to the party with her parents instead of them requesting that she stay at home. Maybe she could've done something to prevent this from ever occurring!

Then the tears started to flow as Scarlett began thinking about the pain that her parents were going through. She crumbled into a sobbing mess as she kneeled on the stark white grass.

"Mum. Da," she whispered softly with shaky breaths. "I'll find a way. I will."

{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}

And the next morning she did. . . well, as any sixteen year old girl could.

Scarlett had sent a Whisk to all of her friends straightaway as soon as the first ray of sunshine poked through her curtains.

Most of them did arrive, except for Alderius who claimed that his mother was still nursing him even after the events of what happened two years ago.

They all gathered around up in Scarlett's bedroom and she was more than pleased to see such familiar faces.

Darious Sencer was arguing with Sadra Yurt, very unsurprisingly, and his hair turned an even more vibrant shock of blue as Sadra remained calm, arms crossed, as her straight purple hair remained the color that it was. And Sader Hunt, who was pushing his glasses up to the bridge of his nose every now and then, looked very fine in his tailored vest and sleeves along with his hair being gelled to perfection.

When she saw that everyone seemed to be just about ready, Scarlett clapped her hands together and said as best she could, "I'm sure you've all heard about what happened last night. So I guess I just wanted to ask if you guys would like to help."

Every head turned in her direction as they crowded around her. She continued, saying, "I've got nothing else."

"What?!?!" Everyone exclaimed, though Scarlett thought Darious was the loudest as he tossed her an annoyed look.

"Scarlett, I love you and all," Darious said, chuckling softly, "but how are we suppose to work on something that we know so little about?"

Heat rushed up to Scarlett's cheeks as Darious pointed out the obvious. Of course they needed a plan, but she had hoped that her friends would be able to figure it out with her. Was that selfish?

"Er, well," Scarlett mumbled, sending Faden a pleading glance as he stood in a corner and shrugged. "I just. . . maybe we could start off with what Blockworth is."

Sader immediately piped up saying, "Blockworth is a serious and deadly poison which takes a super long time to make. At least six months or so. And the poison is horrible according to the records. Some cases were so bad that their faces actually-"

"I'm going to stop you right there. Scarlett's not doing too well, and you saying all this stuff isn't helping," Sadra said as she smacked Sader's head and stared at Scarlett with concern since she actually was turning a little green.

Sader scowled and grumbled, "She wanted us to help."

"Has there been. . . an antidote?" She finally managed.

"There has, but for whatever reason, most of those were by chance and the healers didn't think it important to write it down," Sader said.

"Great," Sadra sighed, twirling her hair between her fingers. "So we either make our own antidote before the poison starts to kick in, or try and find that antidote that they used in the cases."

"That's an excellent plan," Corra's voice said as she walked up the stairs and finally into Scarlett's room. When her aunt was in full view, Scarlett, like everyone else could see that the Wolver's eyes were puffy and red. "But, your plan won't be of much use to you now." She smiled sadly at Scarlett and said, "They're dead. Raden and Liora Armitage are dead."

Thoughts began to roam through Scarlett's head that they were all blurred and she couldn't think straight. The room was spinning and she was sure she had tripped over someone.


message 7: by lorien, In Between (new)

lorien | 2558 comments Mod
((Part 2))

They were dead. Her parents were dead. And there was nothing she could've done to help them.

The next few moments were all just images smeared together and before long, Scarlett found herself nicely tucked in her bed and feeling cold. Oh, so very cold.

She brought the covers up close to her chin and stared up at the ceiling. She didn't even get to tell them that she loved them. Too wrapped up in her pride, she complained to her parents before they left.

Angry and frustrated were followed after and this time, Scarlett didn't try to hide them. She gripped her pillow tightly as her mouth opened and the sobs poured. At that moment, Scarlett was sure nothing could be worse than the hole-like feeling in her stomach.

But it could indeed get worse. So much worse.

Her much larger glass windows opened with a slammed as if the wind opened them with much force. And then a shadow loomed over the whole bedroom and fear shook her.

"Scarlett," a whispery voice called as footsteps were heard from the window.

Scarlett leaped out of her bed, tossing back the covers, and wiped away the remaining tears as best as she could.

What she saw before her would've made her knees buckle at the sheer fear she felt for these people. The people who added symbols and hair color to claim as their own.

"Scaaaar-let," the voice said again, sounding taunting and snapping its t's.

The voice belonged to a hooded figure with a black cloak. The figure lifted his head from his original hunched position, and a silver mask where entricate swirls danced, gleamed from the moonlight, almost making it look white.

The face was a mystery and she couldn't determine who it could be. But the figure's lips were then pulled back into a smirked which brought chills along her body as he spoke again, "Scarlett, the Moon Child. The one who was suppose to save everyone and yet, you can't even save your own parents. How precious." The way he held himself even in this situation was most certainly intimidating for Scarlett. "Please, don't call your friends. I wanted to have a nice chat with you before things get really hectic. May I?" He asked with surprising formality and she gave a slow, yet hesitant nod as he sat in a wicked chair.

She had one of them in her bedroom! She shouldn't be wanting to have a conversation with them at all! So why was she allowing this man to speak to her? What could he possibly have to say that would make her want to listen?

"Now, would you like to listen or will be staring at me for the rest of the night as if I'm going to snatch you away like the tales state," his body shooked as he laughed. "You are far from my concern, Miss Armitage, and besides, it's not like you are of any threat to me. I hear that your abilities haven't quite made their way yet. Pity, and we all had such high hopes for you."

The man took in a deep breath as he crossed his legs and continued, "I'm sure you've heard about the distressing news about your parents being poisoned-"

"And dead," Scarlett added from across the room and the man jumped from his chair.

"Dead?" He repeated, his voice now sounding rather humorous and Scarlett could barely see amusement in his eyes. "You really think your lovely mother and your idiot of a father, could actually be poisoned?" He laughed heartily as if this was the funniest thing he had ever heard. Soon followed after the laughter, loud stomping noises came from below and Scarlett knew that Corra was making her way up to see the commotion. "Ah, it would appear my time is up. I will give you this confirmation, Scarlet. Your parents are not dead, they've been taken hostage and until we're through with them, you won't be seeing them for a while." Moving swiftly from the chair back to the window, the figure gave a salute at Scarlett as he jumped facing her and at that moment, Corra barged in, looking frantic.

"Who was in your room?" She growled. And not allowing Scarlett to answer back, she moved towards the opened window and slammed her hand against the sill. "Blast," she mumbled. "If you ever hear that voice again, I want you to shapeshift into whatever animal has claws and strike at anything he won't be needing."

"They're alive. Mum and Da are alive!" Scarlett exclaimed, pushing her hands up in her hair as fresh tears started pouring for the second time today.

She could almost burst with happiness. So now, she had a final chance to help her parents, but it didn't have anything to do with the poison now, now they had to plan a rescue.

Slipping into her comfortable sleek boot, Scarlett's face radiated with happiness, which must be an odd picture for a stranger since she was crying just a moment ago.

"Scarlett?" Corra suddenly turned and cocked her head to the side as if trying to understand what Scarlett was saying. "What do you mean?"

"What do I mean? My parents are alive! This actually gives us another chance to save them!"

"Scarlett," Corra said soothingly, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "That man could've been lying. He probably was, but, as much as I want to believe that they're alive, they're gone Scarlett. The healers did a thorough search and said that their. . . their bodies were filled with Blockworth."

"But what if the poisoners gave them something to counter that? Like, give my parents another poison that would make it seem as though they were dead?"

"That. . . actually makes sense," Corra said, rubbing her forehead. "How could I have missed that?"

"Good thing you have me then!" Scarlett said, surprised by her own giddiness.

"Yes, certainly," Corra said, giving a small smile. "Well, I suppose you better tell your friends to get ready then." And she made her way for the door when Scarlett asked, "Aunt Corra?" Her aunt froze. "Who was that man?" She didn't know if her aunt would actually know the answer but Corra had spoken with such familiarity that Scarlett suspected that perhaps her aunt knew him.

Corra's stern expression suddenly turned into sadness as she glanced at Scarlett. "He was a dear friend of ours. Your mother's, your father's, and. . . even mine." Then the face which Scarlett had grown accustomed to appeared again and Corra scowled. "Come on. Your friends are down in the living room, waiting for you if I might add."

Smiling at Corra, Scarlett pulled her hair back in a high ponytail and marched out of the room.

A firm hand on her shoulder stopped her suddenly, and Corra's face turned grave. "Scarlett, make sure to keep your friends close but your enemies closer."

Scarlett raised an eyebrow, thinking that this was yet another piece advice any adult would give her and she was suppose to ponder about it later.

"But not too close where they can hurt you," Corra finished, trying out the smile again.

"Okay," Scarlett said, nodding. "But you may want to smile, I don't know, less like you're about to attack me."

Corra scowled. "You're too much like your mother that it hurts sometimes."

"I know," Scarlett said with a shrug and raced down the stairs. "She told me to say that to you if ever tried smiling again. It makes you look more like a wolf, you know."

{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}

Corra Lockwood closed the window softly. When she was about to leave the room to Scarlett, a black figure had emerged from the shadows and lounged in the same chair he was before.

"Corra," he said fondly, folding his hands neatly into his lap.

"Oh, can you please stop?" Corra snapped. "It's creepy when you do that and it doesn't sound pleasant at all."

"It doesn't? Shame. I thought I would make some friends when I say their name," he said in a teasing tone. He pushed himself off from the chair and strode over towards Corra. "I have missed you, Lockwood."

"Well, I haven't," Corra snapped, taking a step back. "What about your brother? Have you missed him too? Or what about Liora?"

"You talk about me as if I'm the bad guy," he said, mask shining brightly. "I'm trying to help. To help make this world better."

"Enough with your lies. The Three have been working with our leaders behind our backs and you expect me to trust you?"

"Well, you did when you allowed me inside to have my little talk with your precious niece." He took a cautious step.

"She's yours too. And it would kill her if she knew who you were to her."

"She'll never know, Lockwood. I mean, the girl's smart but she's not that smart." And then another.

"I could always tell her who you are."

"But I know you won't, wolfie," the man said, being close enough to tap her nose and moved away from Corra as if she took bite his hand off, which she was actually considering. "Lovely as it is to see you again, I mustn't be kept talking with you. Until we meet again, Corra." Bowing, he stepped back into a corner and merged with it, disappearing from sight.

Corra didn't expect to feel such torn pain between her comrades and the man she had grown up to know her whole life.

Wrapping her arms around herself tightly, Corra wondered if this was worth it. To get Scarlett more familiar with the man so she could trust him with her life. Like Corra had all those years ago.

"Stay safe," she whispered softly, staring up at the luminous moon and prayed that all her friends would have some sort of protection for the days to come.


message 8: by TessaMarie (last edited Oct 30, 2017 03:02PM) (new)

TessaMarie Beard | 54 comments So guys I finally did it. Man this was a rough one. Please keep in mind that this is still largely unedited. Also, I went a little abstract with the prompt. It's in there, but not blatantly so sorry.

Disclaimer: This is in no way supposed to reflect or express any political or social ideas I have on the topics discussed. Sorry if it upsets anyone.

(view spoiler)


message 9: by Melissa (last edited Oct 31, 2017 05:17PM) (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments Live Like You Were Dying

“How long do you plan on waiting for that murderous sonovagun to kill her before breaking in to save the day?” Joe whispered angrily, tugging on his NYPD vest anxiously. Frank put a hand on his hip holster, just as anxious as he grabbed his FBI gear from the car.

“Listen, Detective,” the head of the SWAT team scolded sharply, “You did your job. Let us do ours, or you and your brother get to guard the truck.”

“He’s just worried. We all are,” Frank said as he finished suiting up. “My team is in place and it looks like yours is too. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you we are down to the last thirty minutes of the killer’s timeline, and I’m sure the press has already leaked something, which shortens--”

“Team one in position, sir.”

“Alright, let’s move out. You two, stick close.” He shot the Hardys a dirty look before quickly falling in step with the group entering through the back door. Joe and Frank followed quickly, drawing their guns.

There was a scream and a loud thud, and the men rushed in to clear the path.

“Alicia!”

“I’m alright! The area is secure…” There was a moan, and a sigh. “If someone could help get this brute off of me, I’d be much obliged. I don’t know what he was about to inject me with, but… doesn’t look like he reacted well to it.” The brothers turned the corner and found their sister trapped undeath the man they had been hunting.

Frank nodded and Joe quickly sheathed his gun and pulled the unconscious man off of Alicia, giving her a hug as she started to laugh, then cry.

“Took you guys long enough,” she finally managed as someone came to relieve Frank and he knelt next to her, running his fingers through her hair soothingly.

“Sorry, Al,” he said softly. “You know how those jurisdiction battles go.”

“You’d think it’d be easier because we are brothers,” Joe said with a smirk, “But sometimes, I think it makes it worse.”

“Just wait until my handler gets in the ring,” Alicia dead-panned. “We should consider going back and opening our own private detective agency again. That way, people distinguish between us by name, not detective, agent, and… well... agent.”

“Agent Hardy?”

“Yes?” Both Alicia and Frank looked up.

“The… uh, lady, sir,” the surprised FBI agent said, walking up to her with a burner phone.

“Speak of the Devil,” Joe murmured as Alicia stood and took the phone to a far corner of the room. “Part of me really wants to steal that phone and giver her ‘handler’ a piece of my mind.”

“Thank you, sir… Yes, sir. Of course. Thank you.” Alicia closed the phone and removed the card from the back with a sigh, then sat next to her brothers again, wrapping up in a blanket one of the medics had brought over. “I get the day off. Yay me.”

“And tomorrow you hop on a plane to some third world country,” Joe said bitterly. Alicia rolled her eyes and gave him a look. “I know, I know. Still, maybe you are right. I’ll quit the force if you quit the CIA and we can start that agency.”

Frank sighed. “Joe, she doesn’t work for the CIA…”

“Or Area 51,” Alicia added quickly as Joe started to open his mouth again. “Joe, it’s fine. I’m not injured severely, and I like my job.”

“Speaking of which,” Frank stated, standing and calling back over the medic, “You should really get looked at.”

“Frank, I’m not even bruised a little,” she protested as the medic pulled over a chair and sat her down. “I want to know what happened to the sicko psycho sociopath.”

“He’s dead,” the medic said bluntly. “Overdosed on a strange mix of morphine and other painkillers.”

Alicia’s eyes widened slightly as she looked over at the syringe lying abandoned on the floor. “I killed him…” she whispered. “I’ve never actually killed anyone before… I’ve been trained… I’ve seen people die, but… ”

“Al…” Frank started. “You did what you had to do to survive. It’s self defense.”

“But I…” she choked, holding her arm.

“There isn’t any way you could have known what was in there or how he would react to it,” Joe added, putting his hand over hers. He squinted at her arm and moved her hand. “Alicia, did he inject you with something?”

“M-morphine… for the pain when he was going to start… He kept… I don’t feel very well… I need to sit…”

“Al, you are sitting.” Frank looked anxiously at the medic, then knelt down, looking up at his sister. “Alicia, we’ll need to do blood work. We are just going to make sure you are okay.” Alicia shook her head, panic setting in. Joe looked up at Frank, then stood behind Alicia, holding her gently, but firmly.

“Just don’t look, okay? It’ll be over soon.”

“No more drugs, no more needles, please, Joe… Frank…”

“No drugs,” Frank promised, remembering the toxicology reports from the prior victims, each with varied amounts of alcohol and morphine in their systems. Alicia never liked medicine to begin with, and he could only imagine how disoriented she must have felt. “But we need to make sure you are alright.”

“Frank, it won’t help,” Joe said softly, looking up from Alicia’s shoulder, no longer holding back tears. “We don’t know the cause of dea—“

“It will help,” Frank said firmly. He softened his tone before speaking again. “Just a few seconds, Alicia, okay? You won’t even know.”

“What do you mean, cause of death?” she asked softly. “Frank, what does he mean?”

“Alicia—“

“Don’t ‘Alicia’ me. Fill me in on the case.”

Frank looked away. After a long pause, Joe spoke up. “We found the two girls that were taken before you alive as well. They both died this morning, in the hospital. We don’t know what happened, but each had the puncture mark…”

“Did someone look at the tox-screen?” Alicia asked business like.

Frank nodded. “Tetrodotoxin, though if injected, it would kill in minutes, and we couldn’t find any traces of it in the room, and there wasn’t puffer fish in their stomachs, either. It could be some sort of resin, but I think we would have found traces--”

“So, paralysis and death. Fun. Well, I’m not spending my last few hours in a hospital,” Alicia argued, pushing past her brothers, picking up her personal cell from evidence, punching in a number. After hesitating a moment, she hit send and held the phone up to her ear. The ringing seemed to last forever, and Alicia sighed with relief when the phone finally picked up.

“Hello?” a child’s voice said from the other side. Alicia smiled.

“Hi, Rebbekah. It’s Alicia. Is your mommy or daddy home?”

The girl giggled and said, “Yeah, but they don’t know where the phones are. I hid them all. I’m hiding with this one.”

Alicia shook her head as she heard a man calling out on the other end. “Can you please give the phone to your daddy so I can talk to him? It is very important.”

Rebbekah sighed. “Okay. DADDY! IT’S ALICIA! SHE SAID IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT!”

Heavy footsteps and a woman’s voice, stern yet soft started to talk to the child as another person picked up the phone.

“Alex?”

“Alicia? Sorry about that. I seriously don’t know what to do about this child. What’s up?”

Alicia took a deep breath. “I just wanted to see how you and your wife were doing. I see that you have your hands full at the moment.”

Alex’s voice was cautious as he started. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” she lied. “Everything is fine.”

“Oh no…” he said in mock horror. “Something happened. You’re getting married! No, Worse… You’re pregnant. No wait, it’s both! Shotgun wedding! I’ll tell you now I refuse to wear pastels, so you better wait for summer.”

Alicia laughed. “No, No, and no! I will have a spring wedding, and you will wear pink pastels. But there has to be a guy first.”

“So what’s up then? This isn’t a social call.”

Alicia bit her lip. “I want to… this is going to sound really weird, but I want to start a college fund for Rebbekah.”

“You’re right. That does sound weird.” Alex started to sound a little more on edge. “You were her babysitter. Why would you want to do something like that?”

“Well, maybe she’ll stop hiding telephones and start stealing your stethoscopes and such. If she has something physical to look at and hold on to…”

“Why, Alicia? Stop beating around the bush.” The room on the other end went silent, and Alicia closed her eyes.

“I just want to know that if something happens to me, you wouldn’t think it creepy or weird that I left something for her. I don’t want your wife suspicious of me,” she joked, her voice cracking.

Alex paused for a long time. When he spoke, his voice was low. “That’s not weird at all. That’s actually very generous.” He cleared his throat. “Maybe you could come over sometime and break the news to her yourself?”

“I hope so,” she whispered back. “Tell Erika I said hello, and… if something changes, I’ll let you know, but I still plan on giving her something to get her started.”

“Just stay safe,” he said shortly. “Call me back about those dinner plans.”

~*~

“Bye, Alex.”

“Later.”

*Click*

“Daddy? Is Alicia okay?”

“She’s alright. She just wanted to get you a surprise, and she wanted to make sure it was something you didn’t already have.” Alex smiled and kissed the little blonde girl on the forehead. “Why don’t you go put all the telephones back while I talk to Mommy about it?”

“Kay!” As she shot off, Erika looked up.

“You are a terrible liar.”

“I know,” he sighed, sitting down next to her and pulling her into a hug. “I know.”

~*~

Again, the ringing seemed to take forever. “Hello?”

“Jake?”

“Alicia! Hey!”

“Hi. How are things going?”

“Oh, you know, everyone in River Heights is freaking out because our second favorite red headed detective was kidnapped by a serial killer. I should tell everyone you are okay. HEY EVERYONE! IT’S ALICIA! SHE’S ALRIGHT!”

A cheer went up and Alicia shook her head again. “Where are you?”

“Drew’s. Hannah makes a mean pie.”

“Well, I just thought I hadn’t talked to you in a while, and I wanted to catch up,” she said with a smile.

“Hold on, I’ll put you on speaker.” There was a pause and a beep, and Jake spoke again. “Okay, you’ve got Mr. Drew, Nancy, Bess, George, Hannah, and myself, of course.”

“You worried us sick, girl!”
Bess called out, very distressed. “Don’t you ever do that again!”

George scoffed. “That’s a silly thing to make her promise. It’s like asking Nancy to try and stay out of trouble.”

“I try,” Nancy said defensively. “I just don’t succeed.”

~*~

After a long chat with the River Heights crew, Alicia sighed. “Well, I’ve got to go. Nancy, you would happen to have Ned’s cell number on you? For some reason it’s not on this phone.”

“I can do you one better. He’s in upstate New York. Only an hour or so from where you are currently, assuming you haven’t gone back to Bayport yet, which I am, because otherwise you’d have his number etched in your diary. I’ll text you the address.”

“Don’t do that!” Bess and Jake cried.

“She’ll steal your boyfriend!”

“Well, ex anyways,” Bess said with a shrug. Jake shushed her.

“Shup…” Alicia muttered. “Thanks. Bye you guys!”

“See ya later!”

~*~

Continued in next post.


message 10: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments Joe watched as Alicia dialed yet another number, motioning them to follow her to Frank’s government official black sedan. “She’s sure not wasting time,” he murmured as they followed and got into the front seats of the car.

“Might not have it,” she said simply. “Can you drive to this address? It should be on campus.”

“Who are you going to meet?” Joe asked, turning around to face her.

“Academic adviser,” she dead panned.

Joe scoffed. “Glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor.”

“Hi, Callie. It’s Alicia.”

Both Frank and Joe could not have been more surprised. “Callie?”

“As in your old girlfriend?” Alicia ignored them.

“Alicia?! I’m glad to hear you are alright! …Okay, that sounds weird coming from me.”

“No, it’s fine. Honestly, I just wanted to call and tell you… I really don’t hate you. Not really, anyways.”

“… Alicia, you ARE alright, right?”

“…”

“…I’m sorry. I really don’t hate you too.”

~*~

“Are you planning on telling us what you are doing?” Joe asked as Alicia stepped out of the car. She smiled and leaned in through the window.

“I promise, I will tell you everything. From after I make this stop on.” She stood up quickly and started running for the library. Joe frowned slightly, thinking.

“Whatever you are thinking, don’t,” Frank scolded.

Joe didn’t seem to hear. “You know… I think she came here to meet a guy.” He smiled and turned to Frank. “Isn’t this where Ned is getting his doctorate?” Frank’s eyes widened. Still he shook his head.

“No, Joe. It’s not our business.”

“She’s our little sister, and it’s our duty to protect her from guys, or protect them from her.”

Frank sighed, and both of them quickly exited the vehicle, following the retreating figure.

~*~

Alicia looked around the deserted garden level, slightly disappointed when she couldn’t find the face she was looking for.

“Alicia?” a surprised, yet excited voice asked. “You’re alright!”
She whirled around and smiled as Ned walked out from the room marked ‘Archives’. “Ned! Nancy said I’d be able to find you here.” She hugged him tightly as he wrapped his arms around her and picked her up.

“You had everyone worried. Especially Bess,” he said, putting her down to look her over. “How are you, really?” he asked, noticing a look in her eye.

Alicia debated with herself for a moment, then whispered softly, “I may only have a few hours to live. We won’t know until the tox-screens come back, or I start slipping into paralysis. I refuse to wait in a hospital to die though, so I’m just going to go skydiving, and… rocky mountain climbing…” She laughed to herself before she saw Ned’s expression. “Hey, I might not be dying, or it could be something that is curable. Don’t mourn me yet, Nickerson.”

“But there are… things I haven’t told you yet,” he muttered.

Alicia smiled. “I know, and it’s why I’m here.” Ned gave her a confused look and she shrugged. “I figured if you weren’t going to say it, I was. So—” Alicia didn’t have the chance to finish her thought before Ned, in one smooth move, tilted her face up, leaned down, and kissed her softly. It wasn’t like their first kiss, hesitant, harsh, and full of unpleasant emotions. No, this one, though short and sweet, seemed to convey all the feelings and passion through the years of waiting. As they pulled apart, Alicia looked up into his eyes, touched his cheek, and smiled.

“Sorry,” he said with a small shrug. “I… may have been waiting for that for a long time. I just—“

“Ned,” Alicia pulled his lips back to hers, kissing him passionately, desperately.

~*~

Ned sat up on the library couch, wondering what he was still doing there. His eyes widened as he remembered. They had been taking shifts to monitor Alicia's breathing. The plan was to drag her to the hospital the minute her breath started to fail, whether she argued or not. But sometime during the night, they had all fallen asleep.

Ned quickly got to his feet and walked over to the table Alicia was slumped over, his heart thumping in his chest.

And I'm going to leave it there, just to be evil. I hadn't decided on an ending yet XD Does she live? does she die?


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