[LAM Session 1] Mandi 3

You went back to the hall where John thinks he spotted you, but there isn't a soul to see... It seems like the place has emptied out since then. The Janitorial staff is wrapping up for the day, and the red sunlight pouring in through the windows casts a haunting projection on the far walls... Fitting, I guess.

Have you ever been in the school on your own before? Just wandering the halls? Where does your search for a private place take you?


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    This whole thing has given me so much to think about. I started out this day desperate and alone, crying for my mother like a child. I'm glad nobody could see me then. Really glad... I wanted to be like them, the other kids. Popular, confident, accepted... but I'm not like them. I mean I wasn't before all this... and I'm still not.

    But somehow, walking alone in the halls with the red sunset out the windows I feel... peaceful. That warm hollow feeling inside like after you have a good cry sticks with me, a melancholy of knowing what I am.

    But at least I'm here... I'm just different. In a different way.

    Disappointed that he's not waiting for me. Maybe I just imagined it... I linger in the halls for a good long time, until the sun is nearly down.

    I haven't been alone at school at night before. It feels strange.. haunted I find myself thinking, and have a good little giggle. But it feels weird at least, even to me.

    Each morning I wake in the girl's showers where I died tossing with nightmares of my death... it's been like that for the few days I was missing from class. Unable to show myself, unable to come out and really just caught in some weird limbo of being both here and not here.... it was like that... it was terrible.

    Can't say it's the nicest place. But it seems to be where I belong. I even feel it... like a gently tug pulling at the fringes of my clothing as I get further away.

    I walk around the girls locker room, looking for a comfortable place to settle down in the dark... not much to be had here but tonight, again, it will do. I lay down on one of the polished wooden-slat benches between the rows of lockers and gaze up at the narrow windows near the roof line and think about this weird... weird day.
  • It's quiet in the locker room at night, save the occasional drip from the showers. It's odd to think that you're dead. Not knowing how long you might be here, drawn to this place. I suppose a bunch of things are running through your head. That pull to this place, it's almost palpable here. You can all but hear your name being called by some distant power beyond your comprehension.

    I think you're gazing into the abyss here.
  • edited February 2015
    I lay there on my back for who knows how long, gazing up at the bare concrete ceiling. It's quiet, just the ever-present sound of distant traffic, the creaking of the vents above the door as they spin in the wind.

    Every now and then I get up to look urgently towards the yawning door to the showers, like someone's called me, or like I've woken from a dream and everything feels off.

    But it's nothing... again. It's just me, alone.

    But why?
  • Gazing into the abyss.
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 4. Total: 8)
  • Confusing and alarming visions may happen, alone at night in the place I died. Perhaps related to what the girls did... it happened right over there in the shower, after all...perhaps not.
  • Mandi, who knows how long you've been lying there, but it gets dark all of a sudden... Really dark, and really cold. You hear the door to the gym open, and a heavy footfall fills the room, followed by a scared and confused voice. The voice of someone you recognize — the voice of Marina. "Please!" she begs, "I can't fail that test. If I don't pass, my record here will be shot, and I'll never get into pre-med! Please! I need my grades to be perfect, but this overloading is killing me!"

    The pair of people come around the corner and into your view. Marina is standing in front of a tall man with greying hair, and a goatee in a denim jacket. His eyes are black as coal, and he's shrouded in darkness. You're certain you can see dark chains hanging from his neck, arms, and feet. Jet black wings protrude from his back. When he speaks, it is duplicitous: both terrible and sweet. Two voices in perfect sync. "I've heard this plea before, Marina... I've wasted many days chasing after your perfect test scores. If I'm going to do this for you, then I need you to do something for me. Something important." His long, clawed hands reach up to the chain aroung his neck, and he grips it tight.

    Marina looks suddenly worried, "please, I'll do anything!"

    He smiles wide, a crocodile smile, revealing razor sharp ebony teeth. "I need the blood of an innocent. I need you to find a pure soul, and bring it to the brink. Give them the delusion of acceptance and love, and then strip it from them. Beat that love out of them, and spill their blood on your hands. Leave them to wallow in their own pity, and come to me with that blood fresh on your palms." He pulls at the chain, but it does not break. He seems angry. "That suffering will be my freedom one day. Give me a taste of that freedom, and I'll see you into whatever school you want."

    There's a silence in the gym as Marina considers the offer... You can see her slowly start to nod. "I don't have to kill them, do I? Just cut them?"

    The man nods, "Their blood and suffering is all I require."

    Marina answers, "I'll do it."

    The man grunts with pleasure, and fondles the chain around his neck. "Good." You swear you see him look at you, through the darkness. There's no way he could see you though... Right? You've seen that man before, Mandi... He keeps showing up around Berto.

    What do you do?
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    What the hell? No... I forget to breathe, forget that I'm not seen, not here. Wait, this isn't now... this is before? How am I seeing this?

    Is that why? Marina is that why?

    I stare at the man, the thought of him, there's no way he's really here... no way he sees me, he's a memory of himself... or something. Right?

    Even so he terrifies me, I scramble from my bench and hide, back against the rows of lockers around the corner, the shadow of the man over my shoulder. I shudder through frightened breaths.

    Amandine, wait... no. This isn't real. And you're not real either. You're a ghost... right? He can't possibly hurt you know. They can't...

    I take a deep breath, tell myself not to be afraid. (I barely listen) and turn finally to look again around the corner. Where the man must... just must not be.
  • You see the man standing there, drunk on the thought of getting what he wants out of Marina, and shaking her hand like the deal has been made. It's disgusting, and sinister, and inexplicably tempting all at the same time... This dark figure who wanted blood — your blood, as it just so happened — is promising Marina a lot. Tell me, did it cross your mind that he might be able to make a deal with you that gives you your life back? What would you be willing to give to get your life back?
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    It is disgusting. That's a good word for it. What they did to me... this... this man put her up to it? And she put Freddie up to it? What, because I was too innocent or something? Why is that? All because of how my parents treated me! Trying to protect me so much that it made me weak, made me a laughing stock, made it so I could never be accepted outside our own home!

    I stare at the dark figure and feel ashamed of myself, of how I was raised, where I came from. How stupid and naive I've been. Well, I'm learning... I've taken a bit of that apple and I don't think I can go back to the garden.

    Would I want to live again? Yes... yes of course! But i don't want my old life back... that's kind of the whole point. I want my own life. A real life.

    But making a deal with this monster. Never even crossed my mind. That would make me like Marina... and... Berto? Why is he always hanging around Berto?

    Berto is kind of a jerk sometimes, well... not a jerk so much as just so totally "a guy" all the time. Like he wants everyone to know he's awesome... but I wouldn't think he's do something like she did. I don't think so.

    I stare at him... find myself shaking my head with an expression like I smell something bad. No. I don't want anything he could give me...


    My blood? What's he done with my blood? I hate him.
  • Well, technically he was only asking for the blood of an innocent — you were just said innocent. That's just a technicality, isn't it? Certainly not comforting in any way... Eventide did say that her brother summoned a demon, at one point. Wanting the blood of an innocent is certainly a demon's M.O. ... Vampires, demons, witches...

    You can feel your spirit burning with hatred, and desire. You'd better be careful — demons prey on that kind of energy. Desperation. The room shifts, and you're engulfed in darkness again. You hear muffled screams, and crying surrounding you. The smell of sulfur and brimstone fill your nostrils. Then a sickening falling sensation overtakes you, and you fall through the floor to the basement under the changing room. You feel like you've been thrown into a sauna. Steam and sweat stick your hair to you forehead, and you hear chains rustling about nearby.

    The darkness lifts a bit, but a foggy haze of noxious fumes still blocks out anything more than ten feet away. A giant beam of light is driven into the ground. Chains are bound to it, not unlike the one you saw around that man's neck. You see the beast, a terrible creature with horns and wings, playing with a thick, red liquid. Blood — your blood — pouring down through the drain in the ceiling, and onto his hands. He rests a blood-soaked hand on the chain around his neck, and the chain starts to hiss and shake. The creature smiles, and watches as the blood eats away at the chain.

    Soon, he will be free.

    You hear your name. Your mothers, Marina's, Eventide's, a few others you don't recognize, and then Lali's... They're all calling your name with a great sadness in their voices. They start in a low whisper, and gradually work their way up into a wail until it's all you can hear. Hands grab you from out of the darkness and drag you up and out of the locker room. They drag you down the hall in a frenzy, any rougher and they would be hurting you. They stop outside a locker just down the hall from where you were supposed to meet John Smith. There's blood stained all over the walls, and pouring from inside the locker. You can hear John's voice from inside the locker. It's calling you, "Mandi! Mandi please! Mandi help me!"

    What do you do?
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    Ok, alarming? Hell yes. Too much... too much!
    I scream, but don't just sit idle and take this, I pull at the hands that grab me, tear at the air as I fall and try to stay... my eyes widen as I see the beast, the very real vision of hell, and what... the devil? How can this all be true... but how can I deny it? Look at me!

    I scream, struggle, almost-cry as the hands roughly drag me down the bloody hall, I stumble and fall against the wall opposite the locker. Gasping short, panicked breaths, eyes darting this way and that like each shadow may hide another evil...

    Then he calls to me.

    I gather my courage and despite the blood (it's mine, isn't it?) around my feet and all over everything, I cross the hall to the locker. A quiet, nervous first step, a little less hesitation for the second, then a rapid couple of steps carries me the rest of the way against the tide of crimson which no doubt paints my feet and ankles in death... I must look such a bloody terrible mess.

    I reach for the locker to open it, quietly saying in a whisper which he might be able to almost hear, "John?"
  • The locker swings open, and a wave of blood pours out onto the floor at your feet. You hear the slow trickle of blood flowing from deep inside the dark locker. It takes a second to resolve, but eventually you spot him. John, chained to the far wall of the locker — bruised and bleeding out with bite marks in his neck. You can't see him from the torso down; but from the smell of acid and burning flesh, you can bet you don't want to... His vacant eyes stare at you as the life seeps out of him. His mouth whispers, "Help me, please!"

    Then it's over. You wake up in a flop sweat on the bench where you were resting. Street lights pour into the room through the windows of the changing room. The room is dark, and quiet. The blood is gone. You hear a faint buzzing from one of the gym lockers... Your old locker. Did you leave your cellphone in there?
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    I jump back from the torrent of blood pouring out around me.

    I see him, I barely know him but he's been on my mind since this afternoon... "John!" I cry out in shock and horror. He calls to me for help and my eyes tear, terrible regret and pain on my face, shaking from side to side as I refuse to believe what I see... but....

    I sit up on the bench, gasping, feel wet on my face. Tears? Am I crying blood? I reach up and touch the wetness, see the redness on my fingers and suddenly almost hyperventilate, trying desperately to calm down. John's tortured whispers echo in my head as I sit there shivering and holding the shirt over my heart with a white-knuckled fist.

    Then that sound breaks the spell.

    My phone?

    I totally forgot. Mamma gave it to me only so I could call home.... that day I only texted her the one word "Goodbye." On of the few times I've used it... other than asking to be picked up. Or answering her frequent calls... just to check up on me of course.

    I get to my feet with difficulty, steady myself with a hand along the lockers as I walk... perhaps leaving little traces of bloody handprints here and there.

    I go to my locker and open it. Pick up my phone and see.
  • One thing strikes you as odd when you pick up your phone — your locker is empty. There were clothes, and toiletries in there before. It seems like someone's gone through your stuff. When you unlock your phone, there are hundreds of missed calls, voicemails and text messages, all from your mom. They range from "where are you," to "you're going to be in so much trouble when you get home, young lady!" to "Baby, I'm sorry... Please just pick up your phone. We love you."

    The last one reads:
    To Amandine:
    Baby, people are saying they saw you at school today. I don't know why you ran again, or if you're in trouble, but I'm leaving this in your locker in case you find it. Please come home. We love you, and miss you. We'll do *anything* to get you back!
    Love, Mom. xoxo
  • edited February 2015
    I'm feeling that slightly exhausted feeling one feels when you've just been through something... like waking from a nightmare (but it was real, wasn't it) and not quite being all there yet.

    I scroll over some of the message, just skimming those first lines that show... she's been so worried. Worried sick, and it's only been a few days. Maybe I should have said something to her... (I tried didn't I?) But I don't see how I could make things right... even if I go home, which I doubt I can... I'm still dead. I can't just go back.

    For a long time I stand there, thinking of what to say. How to answer her. I open a message and my finger hovers over the screen as I think of what to say.

    But then suddenly I drop the phone back into the locker with a clatter, like it's hot. No... no I can't. I'm supposed to be dead, I can't just text her. I take a step back looking at the phone sitting in the empty, open locker. Glowing inside like a little piece of a bright world I'm trying accept that I've lost.

    I touch the locker door to close it, trying to remember where the phone was, exactly, and leave it just so... but instead I take it. I take it and slip it into my pocket and quietly close the locker, instinct makes me look around to see if anyone's around. But who would be here at this hour.

    Just in case. I keep it.
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    These visions of demons and blood wear on my mind. Make me... doubt my eyes. I have to clear my head. I quietly leave the locker room and step outside the gymnasium doors. Look up for a glimpse of the stars, and no doubt some passing airplane... high enough that I can't hear it. But just see the flashing lights.

    I walk.

    I slowly walk around campus. Past the hall where i saw my mother this morning. Past the doors to the chemistry lab where I guess this all started... or started again. Past the little stretch of hall where John may have noticed me...

    Why was he in my dream? Why? He barely knows me...

    No... Amandine no... I shake my head, trying to avoid thinking too deeply. I just need to be.

    I wander the halls quietly through the night. My pale hair reflects the dim lights of the exit signs which flicker in the dark as I pass.

    I wander through the teacher's lounge, through the backstage of the theater and it's heavy, dusty drapes and tap a few keys of the polished black piano as I pass.

    I wander to the front gate and stand in a pool of light from the street lamp outside. Alone, I gaze out across the street past the cars which occasionally race past. My chest tightens, I feel uneasy.

    No... this is as far as I go.

    I turn back to my halls and lockers and classrooms... dark, cold, empty. I find the strength to smile a little melancholy smile. Just barely, and pass through the doors back into darkness.
  • == END SCENE ==
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