[LAM Session 1] Lali 4, Mandi 2

Mandi, time seems to slip away while you wait for John to return. Lunch ends, classes pass, and eventually the last bell of the day rings. The hall is temporarily filled with people going to and from after-class clubs, and making plans. One of them even trips over your legs by accident. Did you end up doing anything other than just sitting there? Eventually the students start to dwindle, and the Janitor starts to pass with his trolley. That's when you feel it: a jarring pull that feels like stepping through a freezing waterfall. You look around, and you're standing uin a makeup room back-stage at the school auditorium. The room's white-washed concrete blocks are dancing in candlelight, and the door is locked at the far end of the room. You feet feel heavy, and you can make out two faces in the candlelight... It's Lali and Eventide.

Lali, Eventide brought you back-stage in the auditorium, into one of the makeup rooms. She locks the door, and starts drawing a sigil on the ground around a single candle. After a brief incantation in a language you don't know, she burns a test of Mandi's she found in her locker, and begins chanting something oddly rhythmic. The candle starts to dance, and burn bright. The wax starts burning more quickly, and the room fills with the putrid smell of death. That's when Eventide opens her eyes, and stops chanting. She looks you square in the face, and says, "she should be here..."


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    I truly did not think that Eventide could do this, but the signs seem to indicate otherwise. I compose my face. "Amandine? Are you here? It's Eulalia."
  • edited February 2015
    I don't move. I don't want to run into my mother again. It hurts to see her. You know that? I went through so many weird changed while following her around and finally realized that I can't just go back to being her daughter. I'm dead. And I don't think I can take that back.
    So sitting here in the hall with that hanging over my head just has me in thought. Regretting everything I haven't done. And wondering about why I'm still here, then, if I am dead.
    But John saw me. For sure he did, and until he comes back I'm not leaving this spot.
    People step past me, I guess I forget, sometimes if I'm "feelable" or not, and it startles the crap out of me when that guy trips.

    I end up sitting there against the wall, knees pulled up to my chest. Waiting.


    I feel that pull and for a second I wonder if this is the end. Am I out of time? Am I going to heaven, or hell, or is there nothing... I panic, try to stand, lose my balance... confused and scared!

    And then I see them there. Eventide?

    And Lali. Can they....

  • Lali, the candle burns rapidly, still emitting that putrid stench.

    Mandi, they still can't hear you... They need to believe you're here, and want you here. You need to find a way to let them know you're here.
  • edited February 2015

    I continue. "Amandine? If you're here, please let me know? I want to help, if I can." I surprise myself by realizing I mean that.
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    She can't hear. What are they doing?
    I see the candle, the strange drawing and for a second I'm repulsed and it's hard to believe what I'm seeing... but. Really not that hard to believe considering.

    My first instinct is to blow out the candle, but then I wonder if that's important. So...

    I look around the place, what is this. The dressing room for theater? Not my elective so this is a new place for me. Not knowing what else to do I go to one of the changing tables and look in the reflection on the dirty glass... initials scratched into the corners.

    I pound on the glass a couple times, a little harder if they don't hear... hard enough to crack? Maybe... as I look over my shoulder and hope she can hear.
  • Mandi, I guess you don't know your own strength. The glass shakes and rattles until it finally breaks, falling over you, and through you, cutting your hands a bit. Not deep, just enough to leave a mark, and bleed a little.

    Lali, one of the mirrors at a changing table starts banging. Softly at first, but then louder and louder until it shatters all over the place. You smell blood. It smells of Amandine.
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    Startled, I turn toward the mirror, hearing the banging and watching as it shakes, then shatters. When that happens, I gasp in a breath and look for Eventide's reaction. "Amandine?"
  • Lali, Even Eventide looks shocked. She expected this, but she didn't expect Amandine to bust a mirror. She's gradually getting her composure, but she's also scribbling something on the floor and has started chanting again...
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    I turn from the broken mirror, blood trickling from my palms.
    "I'm here, Lali! I'm here!" It's not like Lali and I are friends, really... but she was there when I died. And she's here now. She came to find me. She wants to see me...

    Suddenly without realizing it I appear to them, standing with a tear down my cheeks, blood on my hands, my white hair over my shoulder and my face full of fear and loneliness.

    "...here! Lali I'm right here!"
  • edited February 2015

    I scramble to my feet and move the few steps to Amandine. She is not a friend. I don't really have those. I also don't hug. But I do feel something, and I touch her shoulder to let her know that she really is here. "Yes you are, Amandine. You're here."
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    A pained smile spreads across my face and I open my mouth but can't say anything right now. Yes, we're not friends, we both feel that... but I don't care. I suddenly throw my arms around Lali, my chin on her shoulder. My bloody hands around her.

    I shiver, almost crying, happy and broken at the same time. My breath comes broken and halting.

    "I'm dead.... you know I'm dead... you saw me die, didn't you? You saw me..."
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    Eventide forgotten for the moment, I let Amandine hold me for a few seconds, then back away. "Yes, Amandine. I did."
  • edited February 2015
    An uneasy tremble settles over me as you give me a little space. I look at you with desperate eyes. A glance at Eventide but you have me, Lali.

    "What do I do? Oh my God... what do I do?"
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    "Stay calm, chiquitita. We'll figure this out. Here..." I pull out a chair. "Sit. Let's talk for a bit." I recall Eventide, turn to her. "Thank you, Eventide. Please, though, everything that happens here is just between the three of us. Yes?"
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    I all but fall into a chair. Realizing Eventide has seen everything, the glass remains broken and slightly bloodied.
    "Yeah, I don't..." I look at Eventide, Lali, and back. "Please I don't even know how to explain all this... my mother... I glance towards the door. "She was here, and... and..."

    It's hard to go on, but Lali somehow makes me feel better. She was there.
  • Eventide stops chanting, and stands up slowly. She listens quietly to your request, and shakes her head, "You want me to not tell this girl's mother that her kid is dead? That's pretty twisted, Lali... Even by my standards. How did you die, Amandine?"
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    That takes the my breath away, and I freeze up a second with a look at Lali, who of course knows.
    "It was... it was an accident..." I lie, my voice trembling. There's no way I could just say what I did. No way.
  • Eventide looks skeptical, and she crosses her arms as she walks up to you. "Look... I know a lot of people think that goths enjoy pain and suffering, and all that crap — but the truth of the matter is we're cynical because life is pain and suffering, and pain and suffering sucks! Wouldn't you rather your mother know the truth, and not have to suffer through the endless disappointment of never finding her daughter?"
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    "Yes, I can see this thing now, Eventide. 'Ma'am, I'm sorry to tell you your daughter is dead. How do I know? Oh, I did a ritual and summoned her ghost.'" I turn back to Amandine. "So, chica, you know a thing for sure now. You are a ghost. This is something you must deal with, even though I can understand that it is frightening and disorienting. When I..." No, I won't go any farther with that sentence with Eventide listening.
  • That's a lot of talk for someone who was present at her death, Lali... It's time to put your money where your mouth is. What did you do with Mandi's body when you were finished?
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    I hid it myself, first, behind the school near the big construction dumpster that's still there a year after the gymnasium renovations were completed. Then I called the number my Tio Alberto programmed into my phone and told the man that answered where it was. I haven't gone back.
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    I follow Lali's words, nodding as she sort of tells me how it is. I feel some confidence from her, some comfort in her assuredness. But I start to wonder how it is that she's so calm about this. She talks like she knows... and Eventide and those weird words that apparently drew me here. They can no doubt see my eyes flicker to each of them, finding little sharp edges to wonder about even though I'm holding onto Lali's calm.

    "How do you know all this? You brought me here, right? How did you know about me?"
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    I tire of Amandine's uncertainty. Did not my own life become upside down? I understand that she is unprepared for this, as I was, but does she have no dignity? I lean down and whisper in her ear the words that my progenitor, Luis Maria Garza de Aragon, said to me as I gasped my first new 'breath' after being made a vampire. "I made you, chica. I can unmake you as easily."
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    Well thats... it doesn't seem like Lali wants to answer my question. She made me? What is that supposed to mean? She was with me... but.

    I look at Eventide. Lali doesn't want her to hear something either. Maybe I should be careful what I say.

    I reach out to hold Lali by the arm, near her shoukder, and whisper to her, my voice urgent, needy but also a little suspicious. I don't want Eventide to hear.

    "You watched me die... or... did you kill me? Lali?"
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    The answer, of course, is both. Had I not been there, Amandine would have died, regardless. I helped ease the transition. Opportunistic? Yes. Did I take the last pulse of her beating heart? Yes. "You died, and I was there, Amandine." I regret the earlier threat, a bit, but it is what I know. I have died, and come back. I had guidance, though. Family, tradition. Amandine has none of that. "I want to help, chica... but I don't know how. Any way, you have to bring it together."
  • edited February 2015
    "Look, I'm trying... ok this all just dumped on me all at once," I take a step away, look at the mirrors and remember John. Consider telling her, but not until I understand.

    Lali knows more than she's admitting. We'll talk about this when Eventide isn't around, maybe. But again. Not friends. Not yet.

    I look at them both, "thank you... for reaching out to me. I don't know how you did this," gesturing at the candle and magical looking circle. "When you brought me here it felt really weird... like getting swept away in the river... something like that."

    A little almost laugh as I realize I'm totally off subject, "don't tell my mom. Ok? Maybe somehow I can fix this... right? I'm not totally gone. For whatever reason. Maybe she never has to know."

    Yeah, a pained look as I consider how worried sick mamma looked. How close she was to me and how that feels... but at least I'm deciding something. I'm trying here, all right?

    "I was up in the hall. Kind of want to get back... if you want to talk. Or... something?"

    Figures. Someone finally wants to see me and I'm dead.
  • There's a flash from the other end of the room, followed by another antiquated KERCHINK. Seems like Eventide just took a picture of you both. "Yeah, no. You were there when she died, Lali? That's seriously fucked up." She swipes something, and you can see her typing something. It only takes her a second. "I really don't like being ignored, and I really don't like being part of a cover-up involving someone's death. Amandine, Lali's got access to some seriously ancient magic books; but if anyone's going to help you with those, it'd be me."

    She shows you both a picture with an email destined to a couple of people — one of which being her brother, and her parents. "I want those books, or I'm letting this photo loose in the wild." Her thumb is hovering over the send button.
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    "Eventide, I already told you that I would take you to my Aunt and Uncle's home so you could look at the books. Why do you feel you need to threaten Amandine and me?"
  • She shrugs, "that was before I knew you were at the scene of someone's death. Now you've got ancient texts on magic, and you want to keep her death a secret? You agreed to take me to your aunt and uncle's place, but I don't remember you agreeing to show me the texts. Now my silence just got expensive. If people end up dead, and disappearing around you, why would I follow you to your house alone?"
  • edited February 2015
    I feel I have to say something. I don't like to see girls fight, even though it seems to happen quite a lot around here.
    "It's not like that," I raise a hand to Eventide, who I don't feel I was ignoring... but... ok maybe a little. I have trouble meeting her gaze though,debating whether to admit the truth.

    "I... I cut... cut my wrist... Eventide. It wasn't her... I killed myself. She just happened to find me...

    It's the truth of course, and I look to Lali to add to the explanation .

    "That's what happened."
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    Tia Constance keeps insisting that I learn to play chess, keeps a game going in the small parlor that I'm to make a move in at least a few times a day. I even have to keep a notebook with the moves so that we can review each time she beats me. She says that I go too soon on the attack, not looking at the position I leave myself in when I see an opportunity. She's clearly right about that, and I'm not going to solve this mistake I made by leaping too soon and making another. I need to play the long game. Play for advantage, for position. I've let Amandine distract me from the real lessons I'm to be learning, here in California.

    "Eventide, if you show anyone that picture, I will say you cobbled it together in Photoshop as a cruel joke to get attention. Everyone will believe me, because you have set yourself up to be viewed as a willful outsider." I turn to Amandine. "Dear, sweet, lonely Amandine, you may find me to talk anytime you want. I will do what I can to help you, but you will also help me, when I need you. You both may go."
  • Mandi, Eventide doesn't believe you. She clearly thinks something is wrong here, and she isn't going to let this drop.

    Lali, Let's see you shut Eventide down.
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    It doesn't seem like Eventide believes me, even though I told the honest truth. I sort of stutter and look to Lali, who suddenly seems serious. Really serious, and different somehow.
    This doesn't feel right, and I sort of stand there aghast as Lali makes her threats.
  • Shutting Eventide Down

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 4, 6. Total: 12)
  • Lali gains a string on Eventide
  • Eventide's hand drops to her side, and you see the screen go black. Her eyes narrow, and she picks up her things, stuffing them into her bag before storming out. She leaves the candle. It burns out shortly after she leaves the room.

    What do you do?
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    I turn to look at Amandine. "I do want to help, chica. But I need you to find some strength, decide what you want right now that we can actually accomplish."
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    I want to say something as Eventide leaves the room but I barely know her. And Lali and her seem to be having a fight... or something.

    Lali makes me think, though. It's obvious that she's more than she admitted, she wasn't just with me by accident. I decide not to think about that today... another day, maybe.

    Ok. Serious time. I know what I should do.

    "I'm going to write a note to my mom... do you think you can get it to her?"
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    "Why not an email, Mandi? I will find a way to get a message to your mother if you need me to, but I want to avoid questions. What do you plan to say?"
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    I nervously nibble on my lip, "email? To my... no... no I was going to write a..."

    It's ridiculous to even say such a thing. But damn it, I have to take control of this situation. I'm dead, nothing can change that.

    "I'm going to write a suicide note. To explain why I'm gone... ok? I can't come back from this... it seems like you know that."
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    "I never said that, Aman... Mandi. But I will find a way to make sure that your mother gets the note, if you like." I look to our fragmented reflections in the broken mirror, the drying blood. "Do you wish for me to explain who, what I am? Or shall we wait?"
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    I exhale a breath, "well I have been wondering." I glance to the door where Eventide left a few moments before.

    I cross my arms and peer at her curiously, and glance again at the broken mirror.

    "You're not a ghost like me. I'm pretty sure of that... are you a witch or something?"
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    I smile. "Believe it or not, chica, I am a vampire."
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    Yeah that makes me smile and almost-laugh. But she's not joking, is she? My smile slowly fades away.

    "For real?" Again I glance at the bloody mirror and it seems to suddenly mean so much more. "Then you did... I wasn't dreaming. You did that, when you found me..." I hold my once-bloody wrist with the other hand and remember the feeling of Lali gently drawing my life from the wound. Her bloody mouth.

    "Wait.. I'm not a vampire or something, right? Aren't I supposed to..." If a vampire drinks your blood you become a vampire right? She can see that question in my eyes. And looking at her I feel a little bit naive. Well, more than usual.

    "I guess it doesn't work that way..."
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    "It's a bit more complicated than that, and truthfully a great deal more painful. We do have in common that we both have died, though. I had support, though, there were people caring for me and guiding me from the first moment I re-awakened, two years ago." I hope that I'm not... is it freaking? her out more...
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    On the contrary, I look excited. Almost happy, like it explains everything, this weird inexplicable memory of my death just suddenly fits.

    "You're lucky then..." a weak smile, I've obviously not had it as easy. "I woke up alone in the showers... my... my own blood everywhere but... not a scratch on me. Nothing made sense. I take a couple steps, hands open and down at my sides, slightly raised, like I'm walking through a puddle and trying not to splash.

    "It makes sense now... that's how you knew." I little nod, eyes on you.
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    I nod in return. "Truth, chica? I almost lost it when you walked into home room today, but I told myself that if I was there, then I shouldn't be too surprised that you were."
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    Something clicks, she probably sees a little glint of excitement in my eyes, "are there more of us? Vampires like you... around? Who else knows about this? Eventide?What's up with her anyway?"

    So many questions flood my head, from this morning to the terrible afternoon, to now, the day has changed me so much.
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    "Apparently the world is a much stranger place than we ever thought. I've just skimmed the surface, but there are certainly other vampires, and Eventide does seem to be able to work something like magic. I suspect we are both in for surprises, chica. I don't know how much Eventide knows. More now than she did, which I'm sorry for."
  • edited February 2015
    I nibble my lip as the talks, it's a little bit hard to hide the tiny smile that's been hovering around my face since a few minutes ago.
    "She took our picture, didn't she? That could be weird..." really could be, especially if I'm supposed to be dead.

    I suddenly gasp a little excited gasp, "Wait... do ghosts even show up on pictures? Hey, do vampires?" All the questions in my head, the possibilities. And I have someone to talk to, share this secret with. Lali is so pretty, and popular... and it's kind of like she's my friend. Isn't she?

    "I'm so happy that we can be friends now, Lali." I flash her as pleasant a smile as I can manage, and look, probably, way more excited than I should.
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    Friends? "I think we both did show up in the picture. Some things you've read about vampires might be true, some might be nearly true, and some might be false, but mirrors? Do you think I could look like this without a mirror?" I chuckle. "I think we can be friends, Amandine. At the very least, allies. I think the world is a strange and dangerous enough place, even without such things as vampires and ghosts and witches, si?"
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    She makes that comment about how she looks, and yes, she is
    beautiful, I bashfully look away for a second. A little self-conscious.

    But she sees me beaming as she says we can be friends, it's just something I've wanted to hear for so long... if only I weren't... well. I'm here, alive or not, right? And it matters. Allies? Well, I'll take it.

    I nod in answer to her, "yeah, yeah, I think I realize that now."
  • edited February 2015

    I take a minute to look at Amandine. "If you think you're going to be mostly here at school, maybe you should look for a place, somewhere no-one goes that you can make your own? That maybe seems like a good first step?" Having said that, I'm not sure what else to say, right now. Amandine has always been mostly alone, I think, but she's alone in a whole new way now.
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    A soft smile slowly grows on my face, a little nod. She's right.
    "You're right... I should do that." I remember the crowded hall I spent the afternoon in, getting sometimes kicked and never noticed. That was awkward.

    "Well... good night I guess. I'll... see you tomorrow."

    Have to remember to write out that note for mom.... what do I even say.

    Feels like homework.
  • == END SCENE ==
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