[DRYH] Pariah, pt. 02 (05)

edited June 2014 in DRYH
Second day is a continuation of the first. Lots of folks shooting movies of you on their phones, some spillover mocking of Eileen, including shots of her in her car with you. Which means Todd probably did it. Amanda and Bud aren't around, or you don't see them at school. Eileen sits with you at lunch, makes snide jokes about the treatment you're getting. Doesn't seem to faze her, really.

You saw Bianca a couple times in the hall. She never interacted, just watched from afar. She's watching the people who're tormenting you as well. Intently.

Also, you caught the reflection of a girl in the bathroom mirror, watching you from the door. She looked like this:

When you turned around to look at her, she wasn't there.

At bio class, Darius is seated beside Cindy, one of the cheerleaders. He gave you the stink eye a few times, all the way until the bell rang. As you're packing up your books, he walks by, saying, "If you're down for those three hits, meet me out by the fieldhouse." Then he walks past to meet up with some teammates, probably heading there now.



  • Alright, then. I guess I'm gonna do this. Stupid asshole that I am, I'm gonna do this.

    I'll wait just a minute and head out behind the fieldhouse, wishing I'd "practiced" more with this speed thing that I seem to have picked up. I'll drop my backpack against the wall and walk to Darius and his buddies.
  • As you're walking, Bianca comes out from the bleachers to walk beside you. "Darius is waiting near that building, Benny." Her tone is slightly worried.
  • "It's cool, Bianca. I won't get hurt too bad, and I think it'll help here at school if I just take my lumps as far as I can..."

    I keep walking.
  • Sure enough, Darius is there. So is Jerry, the big oaf of a center. Jerry is leaning against the cinder-block wall, arms crossed, while Darius is waiting. He's actually moving a bit, nervous energy.

    Darius smiles when you come up, "I give you this much. You aint runnin this time. Now... c'mon and get ya whuppin."

    So Benny, if you're hoping to suck it up here, that's a Pain 3.
  • Benny's gonna try to combine his Madness and Exhaustion talents. React to the blows physically and make it seem like they hit home. Exhaustion to react quickly as he feels the first touch of the blow, Madness to telegraph the appropriate response to Darius and his crew. Benny doesn't care if he's hurt, just doesn't want to be disabled.

    First off, Discipline dominated last time, so Exhaustion's down to 2, at base.


    Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 4, 5, 2. Total: 11)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 2, 5, 5. Total: 12)
    Madness: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 1, 3, 5. Total: 9)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 5, 3, 1. Total: 9)
  • Benny, you pull off the beating, but it Exhausts you (Exhaustion goes up by one).

    Tell us how it happened.
  • So, I was trying to take the hits by letting Darius connect and reacting on the instant to move away in rhythm with the punch, then making it look like I was affected by the hit. That's a lot to manage for a teenaged emo superhero with zero practice.

    Hit one is a gut punch. I move along with Darius' fist, a little to the left, double over in a pretense at a response.

    Hit two is an uppercut, now that I'm doubled over. I take it on the chin, make all the appropriate responses, fall down.

    Hit three is the biggy. Darius clocks me. This is the only one that's really landed, and his beefy fist rings my bell pretty good, little birdies around my head and shit. (Bianca, at least, actually sees the little birdies.)

    I hold out my hands after a second. "Okay. That's three... are we good?"
  • Darius is huffing a little, from the effort, the adrenalin of it all. He nods, "Yeah, we good. You got some guts, Benny. Just stay away from Jazz, and we're done."

    Jerry grunts once, then pushes himself off the wall. They leave. Leave you there with a slightly shocked Bianca.

    "Can I... are you?" she seems unsure of how to react. "Benny, that looked painful."

    Where are you headed? Practice? Home? Other?
  • I'm headed to practice. Figure the marks from that last hit aren't going to be unexplainable, given the overall atmosphere.

    "Wasn't as painful as it looked, Bianca. i have a few tricks up my sleeve..."

    Shit, that acutally hurts.
  • "Oh, good. Mother When taught us that Awake are preternaturally resilient, so I'm glad that's not a lie." She offers an arm.
  • I take her arm, head to the locker room to change for practice, grabbing my backpack on the way. As we hit the door, I give Bianca a little kiss, like she's my girlfriend. "See you later. Oh, hey... was that you, looking all like a geisha earlier? That was pretty, but unexpected."
  • Bianca's eyes widen a little and she stops. "Here? You saw a geisha girl here?" She glances around, suddenly. "Do not speak to her, Benny. She is dangerous to you, and probably me if she sees me. I need to go. I will see you tonight. Think of who I should be for you." She kisses your cheek, then starts walking away.
  • Oh, I'm thinking alright.

    Bianca's discomfort sends a shiver up my spine. Shit, if my nightmare's afraid, should i be afraid, too? Whatever, I'm not borrowing trouble. I put my gear on for practice and get to the field only a few minutes late, unaware of the huge shiner covering my right eye and a good chunk of my cheek.
  • Coach, Jaime, Jason and Robert all notice the shiner.

    Coach pulls you aside, asks about bullying. What do you tell him? You know he'll have to report it to the school, tells you as much.

    Jason does footwork drills with you, spends his time drilling you for details, "Benny, man, what happened?"

    Robert, who is behind you guys, working with a line of cones, cuts in with, "It was Darius, right? He jumped you? You know, we could all go hunt that asshole down."

    Coach left you guys on your own while he went to document this stuff.
  • This is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    I was coming around behind the fieldhouse and saw some kid from another school with a can of spraypaint, getting ready to tag the wall. I confronted him and he clocked me, then ran away. White kid, maybe a few inches shorter than me, dressed up skatepunk-y.

    No mention of Darius. Even if they stick toothpicks under my fingernails and light them on fire.
  • The guys ask a ton of questions about the skater punk, but yeah, they're not going to push too hard. Robert probably thinks you're lying.

    Coach comes back after writing down your details, checks to make sure you're okay, offers you an "out" to miss practice. But you don't, right?

    Let's skip to the walk home. Eileen is in her car waiting when you cross the street away from the school. She pulls up, "Hey, little boy!" She starts. Then, even in the evening light, she sees your shiner. "Holyshit, Benny!" She stops the car. "Get in, man."
  • I'll hop in, sure... Not gonna lie to Eileen. "Listen, you tell no-one, understand? It's macho bullshit, but I gave Darius a free shot, just to puncture the tension a little, alright? Seemed to work okay."
  • "Dumbass." She says it, then you can tell she regrets it. She pulls out from the curb, driving slow, "Did it work? Will he back the hell off?"
  • edited June 2014
    "I think so... hope so. Said we were good as long as I stay away from Jasmine, and I think I can do that."

    Quiet for a minute. These rides with Eileen are really the only moments of non-fucked-up-ness I've had in days. I lean my head back against the headrest. "Thanks. Just... thanks."
  • Eileen nods, but you can tell she isn't a fan of it. "Well... short term pain. Long term gain? I hope the rest of the school backs off. Two days is pretty much forever." She grins at that.

    She drives for a little bit, "What are you gonna tell your parents?"
  • "Same thing I told Coach and the guys." I outline my valiant defense of the fieldhouse wall. "Heather will probably guess it's bullshit, but I don't think she'll say anything."
  • Eileen slows down for a stop sign. Some twelve years on bikes ride past, one of the boys staring at Eileen. She looks over at you, ignoring them, "Benny, why do you hide so much stuff from your parents? You know, at the very least you could make them feel like shit over this. I mean... this is prime ammo for guilt trips. Get a new phone, or something."
  • I sigh. "I just can't, Eileen. Some stuff is just... mine to deal with." If she only knew... I think about just telling her, all of it. The thought of what her face would look like if I did actually makes me chuckle.
  • Eileen gives you a skeptical look, then a WTF look when you laugh all the sudden, "Yeah, well. I guess it builds character or whatever." She plays with her shuffle until she finds something by Gorillaz, but turns it down a little. "How's the phone? Still work?"
  • "Yeah... still working fine. Thanks again. Hey, did you get much shit today yourself? Sorry about that." Jamming a little to "Stylo." Just chatting, talking about college, soccer, music, whatever.

  • Eileen shrugs, "Yeah, a little." She doesn't look at you for a bit, it probably bothered her, something did. "I just wish they'd be creative, you know? I mean, yeah, Geoff did that mash-up with the pic with us in this car, and it looked like you slid over to basically sit on my lap. You know, like a pop-up book? Pretty funny."

    She finally looks over, showing her annoyance at the memory of something else, "But the "not hot" couple thing, that's so bothersome. You know? I mean, really. We've been buddies for like, forever. Why would we even want to change that? Dumbasses."

    The car takes the regular turn down your street. Eileen turns up the volume, sort of cutting off further discussion. She pulls the car up into your drive, but she's looking all around, for "hidden cameras". You see Bianca in your bedroom window.

    "See you tomorrow?" she asks. Then, "Or, you know, during my smoke break, if you're still up."
  • I hop out and give Eileen a grin through the window. "Catch you on the flip side, homeslice..." I head into the house.
  • Eilnee gives you a head nod of goodbye, then backs out. Your dad's car is parked in the drive. You slip past it and head up to the front door, unlock it and come inside. Both of your parents are sitting in front of the TV, laptop and iPad lights lighting up their faces. Your mother looks up first, sees you. Sees your face, "Oh my God, Benny. What happened?"

    You give them your story, right? They don't fight you on it's veracity. Your dad says, "Trying to stop a guy like that? Hunh... stupid punks. I hope you gave more than you got, son."

    Your mom hops up from her seat to walk with you to the kitchen, mothering you with food. She baked some ham, made some veggies. "Benny, you'll need to stay away from the Andrews house, okay? Two of them came down with something. Sounds like mono. I got that in high school, killed a whole semester." She doesn't sit down with you, but more hovers over you as you eat. She gives you refills on the tea, asks how your day was, general mother-catch-up-on-your-day stuff.
  • "Yeah, you shoulda seen the other guy, pops." I grin, necessarily lopsided.

    I'll eat some ham, some heated-up BirdsEye succotash, put up with the mothering. When she mentions the Andrews situation, I make the required noises... I know Mom and Dad don't care for Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, so she's only concerned for me, but it calls Bianca's word into question.

    Once it's acceptable, I'll head up to my room for "study time." Anxious to confront Bianca, anxious about what she'll say.
  • Once you're done with food, your mother drifts back into the living room and you head upstairs. Bianca is sitting on the window sill when you come in. She was watching outside.

    "Hello, Benny," she says absent-mindedly, not taking her eyes off the outside.
  • "Bianca? You told me that feeding on people's dreams wouldn't hurt them. What's wrong with Bud and Amanda?" I walk up to the window, try to see what she's looking at.
  • She's watching Eileen and Kurt's house. "There is something wrong with Bud and Amanda?" Her tone sounds genuinely surprised. Then, she dismisses it, "Perhaps they didn't rest well without dreaming. I should be well without sustenance for some time."

    She glances over at you, then down to your chest, not suggestive, but maybe a little guilty? "I did say I didn't think it hurts them. It wasn't really part of our curriculum, Benny."
  • What's going on at Eileen's place? Anything visible?

    "Okay. I know you have to eat. But I don't want anyone, even Bud, to get hurt, okay?" A pause. "What was with the geisha girl today? You seemed freaked."
  • Nothing going on over there. Nobody's outside, curtains are drawn downstairs. Kurt's playing video games on his little TV upstairs. "I don't want to hurt my food source either." She looks back outside, "I mean, people. And... the geisha girl. She's... she was a classmate of mine. She's here to kill you."

    "Or maybe me. If she even knows I'm still alive."
  • "Kill... us? What the fuck, Bianca? Kill us?" I turn and walk away, to my desk, but don't sit down. "Why are you watching Kurt and Eileen's place?"
  • She nods. "Yes. I was totally going to kill you before you ask me... to, uhm, be yours. And now, she's after you." She's looking out the window again, "Is Eileen normally this nice to you, Benny?"
  • "Eileen and I... wait, you were going to kill me? What the fuck, Bianca?" I suppose that's not totally a surprise, so I splutter a little bit and continue. "Eileen and me, we've been buddies since forever. She's cool. She's... a friend."

    I open my laptop, pull up Chrome. Open the tabs for my American History research, for my paper on Boston Corbett, the dude that shot John Wilkes Booth. After a minute, I'm bored, figure I've got all the time I need, pull up Dark City from the torrent I downloaded, and start watching. I'll make room for Bianca on the chair, if she wants to watch.
  • Bianca's shoulders relax a bit when you explain Eileen's a longtime friend. "Oh." She comes over to sit beside you. She feels warm, or maybe it's you. She fidgets a little, not enough room on the chair for both of you, then slips to sit on your lap. She smells a little different today, too.

    She looks back at you, "Who should I be for you tonight, Benny?"
  • I don't ignore that Bianca's ignored the whole bit about killing me, but I put it on hold for a minute.

    I've thought about that question. Trying to be a good guy, I really want to say, "just be you," but there are so many possibilities... "Maybe... Stoya?" I'm a teenage boy with the Internet, after all.
  • She shifts a bit on your lap, and that rain pattern happens along her skin. It ripples and twitches until she looks like this:


    She fixes those bedroom eyes on you, "She has a very trim body... a little like me." She bends down to make out with you a little, reaching out to touch your side (which hurts still). She also cups the un-bruised side of your face. "You should be careful around Eileen. If she tries to get you alone. Or seduce you. You should stay away. Run."

    No longer interested in the movie, Bianca starts kissing your face, moving downwards, along your jaw, your neck. Do you stop her, just watch the movie, what?
  • I'm distracted, but determined. I hold her off, cupping my hands along the line of that amazing jaw. "What about this... girl... that wants to kill me? What about you wanting to kill me? And why do you say Eileen is dangerous? She's cool, we're friends..."
  • Her perfectly trimmed brows knit and she looks at you. "Benny... I told you I was supposed to bring you to the City for Mother When. She was going to eat you. I was going to get some of you, too. My classmate is here for her Final Exam, and she'll probably try the same thing I did. Pretend to be someone who can get close to you. Maybe seduce you. Plus... sex is really fun. So there's that."

    "So Eileen probably is your friend, but then again, your friend might be a Lady in Hating." She puts a hand over yours, turning to kiss the inside of your palm softly.
  • "Why me, Bianca? I mean, initially... why you were supposed to bring me to Mother When? What's so special about me? I know I'm Awake now... okay, I need tools. Information. Do you want me to live? Help me learn..."
  • Sitting there on your lap in a tiny minidress, one leg placed on either side of yours, Bianca as Stoya purses her full lips before answering, "Awake are incredibly tasty and an excellent source of sustenance. Plus, if you're allowed to exist, you become more powerful. There are Nightmares who have fallen to a powerful Awake." She looks right at you, "And there are rumors in school that some of the most dangerous Nightmares were Awake once."

    Like you're a ripe cherry she can't resist, she leans forward to kiss your nose, then leans in, enjoying the closeness, the nearness, "I very much want you to live. I think you're why I still exist, too." Her hands trace over your arms, pulling them around her waist, "We should look for Awake in the City. I know where we can buy some information."
  • I push Bianca/Stoya off my lap, stand up. Shake off all the uncertainty, channeling the 10th Doctor... "Allons-y!"
  • edited June 2014
    Bianca hops up, pouting just a little, but she grins when you seem excited about this. "Do we wait for your parents to sleep again? We can take the subway in your back yard."
  • Looking at Bianca/Stoya, this dream-girl... "I think we should wait until the folks settle down... any thoughts on how we should occupy our time until then?" Evil grin. I mean, Stoya.

    We find ways to occupy our time, and it's pretty amazing that no-one pounds on the door asking what's going on, maybe that's just that no-one's paying attention, maybe it's me, but we go at it like, well, a Stoya scene, but for, like, two hours. When we're finished, when Bianca reverts to Bianca again, I'm surprised I don't see the bruises and bite marks.

    After a few minutes of panting recovery... "Alright, let's do some information gathering."
  • Bianca, who is lying on her back beside you, catching her breath, agrees, "Yes. This will be fun. We're going to go to the Bizarre Bazaar." She sits up, slipping her clothes back on, then follows you out of your room.

    Straight into Heather. Your sister came out of her room right when you entered the hall. She's looking right at you, all dressed like you're going somewhere. What are you wearing?

    "Ben, what the hell have you been doing in there?" she whisper-asks with irritation. "And where are you going?"
  • Dressed in cargo pants, a pocket-tee, cameras and such in my backpack. Shit. Okay, Heather's seeing me in my PJs, heading to the bathroom. "I was... just watching a movie, okay?"
  • She gives you a look that says she totally heard some of what was going on. "Well, keep it down next time. I know you've been, you know, stressed or whatever, but I'm right across the hall and... just ew, okay?"
  • Okay, we're cool. On to the Bizarre Bazaar, or whatever.
  • You head out to the backyard with Bianca. While waiting for the subway, she shares, "The Bizarre Bazaar is a market that only appears at thirteen o'clock, and it moves around. It's the one truly neutral ground in the City. Everywhere else is contested ground between the Wax King and most everyone else. District Thirteen is under Officer Tock's control, but sometimes the Tacks Man will assert himself there... if he feels like it. And nobody," she looks to you to make sure you're paying attention. "Nobody fucks with Mother When or the Finishing School."
  • (GoPro is on my head, turned on, fresh batteries. Flip is easy-access in one of my pockets. I've got a knife, too... not too much of a thing, just something for camping.)

    Great. Having already fucked with Mother When (and, literally, with one of her pupils), I can't help but ask, "Bianca? Is there any way I survive this? Like make it back to some sort of sane life again?"
  • She shrugs, "Survive? Yes. A sane life? I dunno, Benny... some call it the Mad City." She senses your dismay and puts an arm around you. "It's okay, Benny. We can be mad together."

    The ground begins to shake a little. Then it vibrates harder and you hear the sounds of subway cars moving. Just like before, the train comes rumbling down the alleyway and stops at your hedges.

    Excited to head in, Bianca leads you, pushing at the doors when they crack open. Inside are several... people. Three "men" in rumpled brown and gray suits wearing fedoras. They're holding onto straps, not sitting on benches, and talking among themselves. They don't have faces. Actually, their heads are push-pins.

    Bianca heads in to drop into a seat and smiles at you. She didn't flinch or bat an eye at the men. One of them has a card in his fedora that reads "PRESS".
  • Not quite beyond surprise yet, I guess. I goggle for a little, then remember I'm wearing the head cam. I've gotten pretty good with it over the last month, learning to judge the difference between eye and lens, taking advantage of the technology. I look at/film the pin-heads, listen to what they're saying. After a minute, I'll sit down next to Bianca and whisper, "Ummm... who are they?
  • They're talking about readership, headlines and lead stories. No content, really, just "biz talk". Their voices are tinny, with metallic rasps, all high pitched.

    Bianca answers simply, "Pin-heads." She lays her head on your shoulder, and starts to relax as the doors close.

    That's when a bone white hand stabs into the gap between the closing doors. They bump together, then open back up. The geisha girl steps into the car. Bianca sits up, cursing under her breath.

    Geisha looks right at you, Benny. She is wearing the same schoolgirl outfit that Bianca wears. She's much shorter, with an athletic build, like a gymnast. Her lips curl into a cruel grin and she starts walking towards you as the subway begins moving again.

    The Pin heads start buzzing and watch, one of them pulling out a small notebook and scribbling into it excitedly.
  • A clear threat, even if Bianca hadn't warned me. I stand, facing the Geisha, and pull my inadequate knife from my pocket. "I don't want to hurt you, but I will." I stand, ready, like I'm waiting for a pass on the soccer field.
  • Bianca stands up behind you, standing slightly behind you. Geisha stops a couple feet from you, the handhold straps swinging back and forth over her head. Her hair is pulling into a pair of pig tails that are laced with ribbons and her eye makeup is a blood red.

    She smiles widely, speaking with a thickly accented English,"I would like to invite you to the Finishing School, Benjamin. Mother When was disappointed that she didn't have you for dinner." She doesn't have a weapon to match your knife, but she doesn't seem to care. She glances over at Bianca, and yes, it seems she's well aware who Bianca is.

    "You can destroy her, Benny."
  • "I respectfully decline your invitation. Nah, I take that back. I just plain ol' decline..." I don't want to make the first move, but I'm ready to respond decisively when she does. The thought goes through my head, after all, she's not a real girl, and I feel a moment of cognitive dissonance with Bianca behind me and this geisha in front.
  • In a sudden move, Geisha hops up to grab onto two handholds and uses them to hoist herself up into a swing forward towards you. She plants a solid kick in your chest as you bring your hands up defensively. As you fall back towards the bench behind you, Bianca slips past you and plants a shoulder into Geisha's tummy, hitting solidly enough to knock her back.

    Geisha swings back to land just inside the door again. She grins, looks to Bianca and says, "You are slower. What did he do to you?"

    Bianca turns her back on Geisha and looks at you, checking on you, ignoring the threat.
  • It. Is. On. I'm up off the bench, moving as fast as I've ever moved. Leaving the knife on the bench (realizing now that it's just a liability... I don't know anything about fighting with a knife, but I do know about hands and feet).

    I cover the short distance between us and land a kick solidly in her belly, committing fully to the kick.
  • She flies back into the doors, bending them slightly outward. Her face twists in a hint of agony before she falls to the ground.

    Behind you, the Pin Heads are narrating the fight, like some boxing announcers, but they're arguing about your fighting skills, whether it is a martial art or brute force.

    Benny, Geisha is a Pain 3 creature to defeat. Since it is on, let's see how this fight goes.
  • Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 2, 2, 1. Total: 5)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 6, 2, 4. Total: 12)
    Madness: (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 2, 5. Total: 7)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 1, 6, 6. Total: 13)
  • edited June 2014
    Wow, Benny, you're much more powerful than Geisha. How did you dispatch her, and what happened to Bianca?

    Pain dominates, so please take that into account. I get one coin of despair for my coffer. Woohoo.
  • Once it starts, I can't seem to stop. After that first kick, I'm like a dervish. My feet lash out over and over, each time different. I understand the Pin-Heads argument - there's no finesse really, no technique, but I feel a kind of astonishing, fierce grace driving me. After maybe 10 seconds, around that many kicks, Geisha is down and out, probably dead. Panting, I turn back to see Bianca on the floor, across the car. One of my attacks must have gone wild, struck her... I rush over.
  • You pull Bianca up from the floor as the subway car rumbles under your feet. She blinks her coal-black eyes open and looks up, "Told you." Her hair has shifted to a very light gray, and her clothes have shifted to a simple white shirt and worn jeans. You also notice her lips are a light gray instead of chalk white. As you help her stand, you see your knife sticking in her side.

    Bianca looks down and gasps in surprise. Dark black blood is oozing out of the wound. She grips the knife, but she's not able to pull it free, just can't get the leverage. "Can you... pull it out?"
  • Shit. I'll pull the knife out, rummage in my backpack for something clean to put over the wound. Best I've got is a spare pair of socks, so I use that, put my hand on it, apply pressure. My first aid class was a couple years ago, but between that and watching movies, I'm pretty sure that's what I'm supposed to do - apply pressure.
  • edited June 2014
    The Pin Heads are arguing over your techniques still, except for gray suit, he's moving up to you.

    Bianca is laughing a little, surprised, "Is this... pain, Benny? This hurts, right? I've seen it before. Never... felt it."

    "Hey there. Ah, Benny, right?" The gray suited Pin Head asks, "Are you a New Arrival? And this is a Lady in Hating here, right?"
  • Seriously? This... whatever... is interviewing me? "Yeah. I'm a little busy right now, okay?" Checking on Bianca's wound. How bad does it seem to be?
  • The knife went in her side about four inches. She's bleeding, but applying pressure should help. If she were a person, she would most definitely need a hospital and would be dying. You feel a weird cool sensation leaking out of her near the wound, makes your hand tingly, the one holding the sock.

    The Pin Head ignores your warning, "Why are you trying to save one, but killed the other?" The other two are taking notice of this interview taking place.
  • "The other was a threat. This..." A nod, indicating Bianca, "...is my friend." Tingly? Anything happening to my hand other than tingling?

    "Bianca? Are you going to be okay? I don't know how you... work. Should I take you somewhere?"
  • Bianca blinks a couple times when you call her friend, she seems confused by it, but doesn't say anything. Your hand tinges, yeah, but it's a pleasant tingle, you realize. Like a painkiller, or maybe a beer buzz. Ever had one of those, Benny?

    "I need sustenance. But, it's never. " Bianca grimaces when she tries to move on her own, "Never hurt before.... pain sucks, Benny." She stands up, holding the sock to her side.

    The Pin Head is near to you now, right in your face, scribbling on its notebook. "How did this one befriend you? We've never heard of this. This is FRONT PAGE NEWS!"
  • Sure, I've had a buzz. Just once, last summer, out with the guys on a camping trip and Robert somehow scored a couple cases of PBR. That's cool then, if it's just a tingle.

    I look the Pin Head right in the... well in the Pin, I suppose. Both hands free now, standing up myself. I've still got the adrenaline going, and I'm not in the mood. "No. Comment."
  • The other two Pin Heads come up behind the gray suit, looking over each of his shoulders at you. Or, it seems like they're looking at you, their pins are pointed at your nose. "We'd like an exclusive, Benny!" They yell in unison.

    "I wish the Paper Boys were here..." Bianca mumbles with pain as she holds her side. "Go away, or I'll tell Mother When!"

    The leader reaches up to adjust his fedora. "We're going to need an interview with this man, Lady. Sorry." One of the brown suits grabs her arm, starts trying to pull Bianca away from you.
  • "All right... let her go, and I'll give you your interview. Five minutes." I'm ready and willing to make this physical again if need be, but there ARE three of them, and Bianca's hurt.
  • (Current permanent pool.)

    Discipline: 3
    Exhaustion: 4
    Madness: 0

    (I was thinking I had 1 permanent Madness, but I haven't Snapped yet, so don't know why I thought that...)
  • The Pin Head in the gray suit lets go of Bianca, and she reaches for a rail with the hand opposite her wound to keep herself standing up.

    The trio comes up to you, peppering you with questions.

    "Benny, what's that short for?"

    "Where are you from?"

    "You're Awake, right? What can you do?"

    "When did you sleep last?"

    "How many times have to been to the Mad City?"

    "Have you read the Tattler? What did you think?"

    "What's your read on the Olde Absinthe?"

    "The Wax King, are you two friends?"

    "Mother When sent Ladies for you. Why?"

    They keep asking the questions over and over, on top of each other, in other languages, rapid fire. It's too much, Benny. When you open your mouth to answer one, another asks. You lose sense of time, sense of place.

    To fend them off, it'll be a Pain 5. Otherwise, they're going to "pin you down", and write some stories about you.
  • Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 1, 6, 3. Total: 10)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 4d6. Rolls: 1, 1, 1, 3. Total: 6)
    Madness: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 5, 2, 4. Total: 11)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 5d6. Rolls: 4, 6, 2, 3, 3. Total: 18)
  • Your six successes beat my three. Discipline would dominate but....

    I'll spend a Coin of Despair to stick a 6 in your Madness Pool.

    Check off a box, I will narrate how this comes out.
  • This is Fight, for sure. That leaves one Flight box unchecked.
  • "Benny!"you hear Bianca call. The subway isn't moving, she's pulling on your arm, trying to get you to move towards the open doors.

    You're holding a giant red push pin in your hand. There are headless bodies strewn about the floor by your feet. You've got dark black stains on your hands. They spatter like blood, but they're actually ink.

    Geisha's body is by the door, completely still. I assume you head off with Bianca, right? Out into the station, which is concrete and gaslight. You're back in the City. There are waiting benches with eight folks covered in wax. None of them are familiar. They're waiting to get on the subway, but there's no way they'll make it in time.

    The doors close behind you. Bianca is holding the socks to her side with one hand, holding your black-bloody hand with the other. "C'mon. Let's head up, check the time. Officer Tock will have a warrant out for those murders, Benny. We need to be careful."
  • Don't forget, my expenditure of a Coin of Despair gives you a Coin of Hope in exchange.
  • (I'll spend that Coin of Hope immediately, reduce Exhaustion by 1, so it's back to 3.)

    I throw the push pin to the floor as we leave the car... "Wait. How can someone have a warrant already?" I follow Bianca, I have to... no idea what to do, otherwise. I'm still buzzing on adrenaline, don't remember what happened with the Pin Heads, for sure.

    "Bianca? What do we do?"
  • edited June 2014
    "Officer Tock knows everything that happens in District 13, which is where we are." Bianca says unevenly as you take the stairs up to the cobblestone street. There, once again in the moonlight night, is that damn clocktower.

    "If we see any of his clockwork lieutenants, or worst of all, him... run like hell." She gives you a tight grin. Her skin is a light gray now, her hair is silver. Your socks are slick with her dark blood.

    "Extree! Extree! Read all about it!" you hear a small boy call. Just ahead on the street corner is a young boy by a gaslight, one foot on a stack of newspapers that he's hawking. "Newly Awake kills the Wax King! Benny Marks the Murderer! Read all about it!"

    "Shit! Paper Boys from the Nightly Revealer" Bianca says with alarm.
  • The Wax King? What the fuck? Okay, I killed some "people"... all threats, though. We've got to get to ground. "Bianca? Anywhere safe? Anywhere to hole up?" The GoPro is still recording, by the way. I am not anxious to review the footage at the moment. "Does this whole City want to kill me?"
  • Bianca heads over towards the Paper Boy. Do you stop short and let her get a paper or pull her away?

    "We can either run for the warrens and look for the Wax King, explain that it's just a misunderstanding. Or we can try to hide until the Bizarre Bazaar. There are other Awake around, you can find out about them there, as long as you're willing to pay for it."
  • I don't know. I don't know... I reach in my pocket, find that strange coin in my pocket, flip it. Heads. Wax King it is. I let her grab the paper and then grunt, "Wax King."
  • "Okay, Wax King it is." Bianca says as she looks over the paper, then shows you the headline:

    It shows a picture of you in black and white, holding that kitchen knife over the dead body of an old man with a candle on top of his head. The candle is extinguished.
  • "Bianca, what's the deal with this newspaper? I mean, I haven't even met the Wax King! Certainly didn't kill him!" I'm freaked out now.
  • "Not yet, you haven't." Bianca says as she folds up the paper over and over as you're walking. She folds it more times than she should, but it never gets thicker. Finally, it is a small square, which she puts in her jeans. "They like to pick a headline, then make it come true. The Revealer readership hates the Wax King, since he's an outsider. They say he was Awake once."

    Bianca leads you through some alleys out of the District, "We need to move fast, Benny." She is moving with a bit of pain, but not complaining. At one alley, you see a pair of brass-colored men walking down the opposite street. As they pass, you see huge keys sticking out of their backs. She stops near a rickety fire escape. "C'mon, let's take the rooftops." she whispers. You're not sure she'll make it.
  • "Bianca, you need to rest, get some help. Tell me where to go, and I'll go convince this Wax King that I'm not going to kill him, alright? You go to ground, take care of yourself." There's a hint of command in my voice.
  • edited June 2014
    She hesitates, a hand on the bottom rung of the ladder. But only for a moment. She lets go of the ladder, her face showing her disappointment in this turn of events. "I'm... I'm sorry, Benny." She looks at you for a moment, then huffs a frustrated breath.

    She speaks quickly, moving close and talking low, "Head up to the roofs, you can move out of the district easier. The Roof Rats are pretty cool, most of the time. If they give you trouble, ask for Ray. He knows me, and he'll help you." She smirks a little, "He kinda has a thing for me. You want to head out, then DOWN to the warrens. The direction doesn't mean as much as the intention. If you run into a man like we saw in the subway, they're cool. They are the Blind Knights. They work for the Wax King. They'll take you to him."

    After her little impromptu speech, she leans up to kiss your cheek, "Please be careful, Benny. I like having you, uhm, around." She bites her bottom lip, "I'm glad we're friends. And stuff."
  • I smile at Bianca's last words. "Friends" is hardly a perfect fit, but I don't think there's a word for whatever this is, so it's what I used as shorthand. I lean in, give her a brief but firm kiss on the lips, then grab the bottom rung of the fire escape ladder and hoist myself up. "Take care... we can't finish this movie if you're hurt, right?" And, with that little bit of false bravado, I'm off.
  • She calls up to you softly, "I'll get some sustenance and hide out in the Bizarre Bazaar. You can find me there."
  • edited June 2014
    You climb up the ladder and wind up and through the fire escape until you reach the roof. Not sure what you were expecting, but it probably wasn't this. This part of the city, buildings are close together, separated by narrow alleys, sometimes, not at all. For this whole block, the roofs, which are concrete, are littered with planes.

    You see aircraft that have somehow embedded themselves into the rooftops themselves.

    It's like the Flying Cadillac Ranch of the mundane world. It looks, simply, like God decided He’d raise Himself a fine crop of cockpits and fuselages and tail sections, covering the entire history of man in flight.

    Under the shadow of a giant Boeing's wing are five young boys, actual living flesh boys, aged between ten and twelve, dressed in several period costumes, ranging from ripped jeans and t-shirts to corduroy pants and a vest on one of them. There's a Paper Boy, looks quite a bit like the one down on the corner, who is cowering against the wing, looking up at them, frightened of them all.

    One of the young boys has a pipe, others have bottles and bricks. They look like they mean business. The tallest of them says to the cowering Paper Boy, "You no account punk you. you and your Paper Boys, just a bunch o' wimps. Now... where's my LUNCH MONEY?"
  • These must be the Roof Rats. I really don't like bullies, but the Paper Boys aren't exactly on my good list, and I can't afford another fight right now. Bianca did seem to think I might be able to get help from these guys, though, so rather than sneak past I'll speak up. "Hey... is one of you guys Ray?"
  • A stocky boy with dark skin in a pair of grubby tan pants and a cat hat turns around. "I'm Ray. Who dahella you?" The tall Roof Rat kicks the Paper Boy and the youngest of them starts trying to filch the Paper Boy's pockets.
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