A clock and a rat

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A clock and a rat

Post  rykario on Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:18 pm

Click, click a broken clock attempts to tell the time to no avail. For a time it struggled to maintain a vestige of sanity with its measurable units. But sanity slipped gears stripped and time was lost. So, a new volley of clicks began still three, forever three o'clock. But for there to be a sound there most be an observer to know it was, and this sound was verified by a singular morose figure. A hollow figure slouched by an open window letting the artificially hot winds mar his inexplicable express. An expression he had valued throughout his life. It had won him victory in the boardroom and helped to quench his voracious appetites in the bedroom. Yet, as he watched a deluge of flame sweep the streets below his mask cracked a little. A woman sequestered a bloodied child against her breast, the corners of his mouth turned down. A beast who once tended bar let slip the facade of civility endemic of all men. The beast scanned wide for another target, any target when his eyes met a wisp of a being. In a precognitive action the beast charged. His thick thighs beat a tattoo against the paved street while his gnarled arms pumped alternatively. The beast snorted spittle falling from his ageist maw as he reached terminal velocity. Then nothing. His mind stopped his organs were ripped asunder by a hitherto unknown force. His legs carried only by momentum made several more lurches forward before faulting. His arms failed to break the fall as his face contacted stones. Instantaneously a mortician gained another job. And what a job it would be to make this presentable, abdomen splayed nose broken jaw dislocated. The wispy figure lowered its hand smirked, made a gurgling sound it might call a giggle and walked into a maelstrom of a city.
This sight broke the mask. His brow fell and tears slowly ebbed from his eyes. He had been known as a brutal leader but it had always been business. A million here, a life ruined there but never had he seen his dealings bring about slaughter of such magnitude. In retrospect this had not been a deal but a rat. A single rat insignificant to all those not aware of it infested with still more insignificant flees. Yet, such a meaningless thing had wrought a great black death. In the same way his single deal would bring a grotesque end to a vivacious city. This rat had squirmed into his life when a trusted partner had brought a “miraculous deal” into his office. That is exactly what he had called it a “miraculous deal”. “We can take them for everything they're worth. They have no idea what they have on their hands, or what its worth. We buy it from them for a pittance and retire off the profits” were the words hastily sputtered by an excited partner. Two weeks of debate passed with phrases that included “ This product will revolutionize the world” and “ I can't explain it you'll have to see it”. And it had been that last statement that had eventually caused him to come to this festering hole. After their unusual travels they were assailed by their new partners requests for “the pittance”. Which to him was anything but. Yet, he had paid and it was this final mistake that began a chain of events he could not begin to conceptualize. And on this rare occasion he felt guilt for what he had unleashed. Though he still hadn't seen or even been made aware what the “miraculous product” was, he had begun this blitzkrieg of abominations.
Damage control was no longer an option, while neither his nor his companies public persona had been damaged something had. A disheveled specter watched his mistake devastate thousands. Surely one more soul bound toward judgment would not tip the balance. The hammer clicked in unison with the clock. For some reason such items borne of industry were unreliable in this regrettable cacophony. Still he made the attempt his arm raised his mouth slowly opened and within it he placed his last meal. Click still three the first failure five left. Click still three another failure. His hand began to shake, the tears had run themselves out. Click still three still failing, but now his knees could barely hold him. He leaned forward against the window frame then click. Or had it clicked no one would know since it had gone unheard.

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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:09 am

In the Nightside it is and will always be 3 in the morning. The dark hour of the soul, some call it. But I've always loved the middle of the night; it's the only time you can watch stars in their dancing. I stare up at the gleaming sky as we walk, calming my mind. Bright stars, for such a dark place. And its denizens, who are far darker than I had imagined.
I think the truth of the Nightside is finally coming home to me. I had thought of this as a place where the strange and the otherworldly had safe passage. A charmingly wild place, dangerous yes, but alive in a way that few other places are. I should have remembered my studies on the place. The Nightside was created as a place that neither Heaven nor Hell could touch. A place where there would be no rules, no judgment. Complete freedom to do as one willed. And for far too many, that was the freedom to become monsters.
Uptown seems quieter than when we passed through it last. The quiet puts me on edge. This isn't the quiet of peace; the people on the street are tense, scurrying here and there. Frightened. Something is happening. Something bad.
And after a few blocks, we find out what.
It's the smell that hits me first: brick dust and blood, fear and fire and hot pavement. And something subtly wrong about the buildings in the distance, as if they were leaning....as we grow closer, I realize that many buildings are leaning. About to topple.
Something ripped a great chasam down the middle of the street and through the buildings on either side, leaving the place looking as if one of those monsters from old Japanese movies had gone through it. There are bodies everywhere, felled by rubble. Those were the lucky ones. Others look scorched, or as if they've been ripped by animals, blood and guts spilling into the street. Torn chunks of unrecognizable flesh lie scattered about. I stare about me, shocked. "Damnu ort, what..." I gasp, staring at the carnage. I can't find the words to describe this. This is beyond bloodshed. This is.....I step forward. "What....what could have...."
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:14 pm

I stand, eyes glazing at the sight of rent limbs and gore encrusting the side of a building as Lily draws closer, huddling in as if seeking protection from the grim spectacle. "What could have caused this?" she murmurs, her eyes darting back and forth before she closes them to block the carnage. Shaking the daze off, I look to Liam; he's been here the longest, he should know.
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:24 pm

Liam shrugs his shoulders, his mouth set in a thin line. Already ash has paled the brown of his coat as it settles, and the red blonde of his hair. I shove my hands deep in the pockets of my jeans. "Let's get out of here." I say, very softly. "Right now."
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:29 pm

I shake my head. "They can't all be dead... and your a healer of sorts. What ever was here is gone now." Liv's face is pale and there is a hint of a glow beneath the neckline of her tunic. I try to catch her eye, "You know we can help."


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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:34 pm

I draw a deep breath, and set my shoulders. "Yes. We can do something."
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:42 pm

It seems like hours. Kaija scouts ahead, finding people in the wreckage with her keen skill. Some we have to dig out. With the lads helping, it is easier to reach people in the rubble; Ignacy is very strong, even for his considerable size, and between him and Liam they can lift most anything. And then I do what I can. Some wounds I can heal, some I can only mend and let the body begin its work. Some are too deeply wounded; all I can do is lead them into sleep. And I go on. Face after face; scarred, traumatized, bruised, bloodied, some almost unrecognizable. I do what I can. Soon my throat is aching with the strain, and my muscles are shaking. But I go on. What else can I do?
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  sylwedydd on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:51 pm

The smell of death and suffering is not one fit for urban life. The stench was like a brick wall, awakening instinctual drives within me. Something spilled a lot of blood, a bad omen for a new arrival. I gripped tighter to the hems of my coat, struggling to contain the urge to find the perpetrators and the visceral images of their fates soon to come, and picked through to the slowly building ring of survivors at the core of the rubble.

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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:11 pm

I lean against Liam. I'm tired. So tired. And there's still so much more to do.
"There's people up here!" Kiaja calls, "Unhurt people! Come on!"
I glance up wearily as we come into the circle of light thrown by one still-functioning streetlight. Huddled about it are a handful of men, women and other things. A thing that looks like a cat in nurse's white dress and hat is rolling bandages around the arm of a hulking lizard. Three men in little more than straps and sharp weapons stand grimly, talking in low voices, their leathers stained with soot. Tourists stand glassy-eyed. And another man, a man in a battered leather jacket, comes walking into the circle, looking as if he's seen hell itself.
"Anybody know what happened?" Lily calls. The few who look up shake their heads.
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Mevans on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:17 pm

The man in the leather jacket likewise shook his head.
"I'm afraid I am not aware. I was only just able to duck into a doorway to avoid a wall falling on me."
He looked down at his jacket, brushing it absent-mindedly. Giving up with a sigh, he looked back at the group.
He jerked his thumb at himself, then said, "Mathias. And what do you know about this?"

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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:23 pm

"Nothing." I say. My voice sounds too quiet, and my throat stings with the effort. "We walked into the aftermath of whatever's been here. I've been trying to do some healing, but..." I shrug tiredly, encompassing the enormity of the task. "I've never seen anything like this. Never." I close my eyes, rubbing a hand across my brow. Just in time, I remember to replace the glamour over my hands, though the effort makes my head hurt. "I'm called Liv." I say quietly. Something about the man is odd, I think as I look him over. Not his body so much, that's fairly nondescript. But his mind, it's full of little flashes, like tiny lightning storms. Strange.
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Mevans on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:47 pm

"Pleased to meet you, Liv." Mathias nodded in her direction.
Something about her had caught his eye. He continued watching her wondering if whatever it was would occur again, but nothing happened.

He shook his head as if to clear it, then looked down at his left arm. From about halfway up his lower arm a small glow escaped.
"Humm, not conventional explosives..." he muttered to himself. He shook his head slightly again, then looked up at the group.

"Would any of you happen to be adept with magic?" He glanced at each person, then admitted, "It appears to have been caused by magic, but I don't have the strength or skill to tell more."

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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:52 pm

I nod tiredly. "Some of us. I work magic of a kind, as does Djhuety here. But I don't feel anything....give me a moment..." I try to clear my head and concentrate, but my head is pounding and my throat is aching. So many healings I did, so many songs...
I shake my head. "Sorry. You'll have to ask someone else." I look up at the sound of men moving, and my eyes widen at the sight of a man with a bowler hat. "Oh feichean leat na balor, it's Walker and his dogs." I turn to the newcomer. "If you know your way around, get out of here. Walker and his men are bad for the health when they're asking questions." Then I turn, and nearly fall over; only Djhuety's strong arms catch me. I'm so tired, I can barely walk.
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Djehuty on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:02 am

I prop Liv as gently against a wall as I can before sliding out of my coat and wedging it into a couple of opportune chinks in another nearby wall. "Time to go. Everyone, this is a door into our barrow. You are all welcome to join us or stay here and have a friendly chat with The Man." Taking Liv by the arm and motioning to Kaija and Lily to help her, they cautiously slip into the folds of the coat and disappear as into a shadow. I motion to Ignacy and he reluctantly ducks into the coat as I stand back with Liam to let the others pass through the doorway.


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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:09 am

I almost collapse onto the couch as we step from the darkness. Leaning my head back, I watch through half-lidded eyes as my friends and a few of the less timid strangers step out; the cat-nurse, the lizard, something that looks like a man dipped in tar, three teenagers with huge backpacks and the man in the leather jacket.
After a few cups of tea and murmured conversation, most of the strangers take the stairs back down into the streets. Only the man in the leather coat remains, sitting on the floor and studying the surroundings with interest.
I sit up slowly. "Where's Djhuety?"
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Djehuty on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:20 am

Lily looks around, her face mirroring Liv's concern. "Lambkin ought to have been right behind us." She looks at Liam, the last to pass through, but all he can do is look mildly worried as he look back to where the door was a moment ago.
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:26 am

I sit up slowly, shaking my head, one hand against my brow. "He should be back by now." I look up, but his doorway in the air is gone. "Gods damn it!" I groan, sinking back into the couch. We need to go after him...but I can barely move.
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Re: A clock and a rat

Post  Djehuty on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:32 am

Lily puts a hand on Liv's shoulder and squeezes. "Walker has him by now..." Her voice goes up an octave as she says it. "Walker has him..."
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:39 am

I force my eyes to open, to meet the girl's. "Djhuety has faced far worse than Walker. And he is strong. He'll be all right. Besides, we'll get to him in just a moment..." I stand, and begin to open the ways between the worlds, but even that effort makes my knees buckle. I lay back. "Give me five minutes." I gasp, "And then we'll go. Five minutes, and I'll be fine." I know it's a lie, but we don't have time for this. I need to reach him.
"Sylus!" I call, tipping my head back. But nothing stirs the air. "Damnu." I mutter.
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Mevans on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:05 am

Looking back and forth between Lily and Liv, I asked, "Who is this Walker?"

I glanced down at my arm again, showing the slight glow once more.
"I am seeing some strange fluctuations in space-time here..."

Looking up at the confused looks on the other's faces, I explain, "Space-time is what the universe is made of.
I was doing some experiments with it before I arrived here. When a fluctuation appears, reality can bend
back on itself. That seems to be what brought us here, but this new fluctuation is different from that one."

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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:08 am

"You're seeing the Barrow." I say, closing my eyes. "seeing its magic, I think. It bends and shifts depending on our whim."
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Mevans on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:14 am

I glance down again...
"No," I state "I'm still picking up a constant ripple, that must be the burrow.
No, this fluctuation was much different, and very brief. Its almost completely faded."

I look up at Liv for an instant, holding her gaze, then say, "I think this may have been
Djhuety being pulled away from here by someone or something." I pause and look down again,
"I also think I may be able to follow it."

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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:16 am

I sit up. "You can? Then by all means, try it."
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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Mevans on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:22 am

I walked to the center of the room.
"Gather around! This will only work if everyone is close!"

As everyone drew warily closer, I tapped briefly on my wrist.

"Very well, we should be ready! Lets see if this works better than last time!"
As everyone looked up in shock, I tapped one final time and muttered briefly under my breath.

Before anyone could react, the barrow disappeared from view with a brief flash of light and heat.

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re:a clock and a rat

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:27 am

Heat. Light and heat. For a long moment, I feel as if I'm being squeezed and stretched from all sides, torn....and then the world snaps back, hard as hitting a wall. I fall to the floor, which is heaving and rolling, the wood moving as if breathing. The walls quiver, and the very air shimmers. I feel as if a great animal is sniffing me, rubbing up against me. *Everything's fine!* I cry out in my head, *we are all fine!* Finally, it grows still.
I look up at Matthias, who looks mildly puzzled. "On second thought, don't try that. Ever again."
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