[DRYH] Return to Sender (07)

edited June 2014 in DRYH

Moments ago, you were walking out of the Wax King's chamber to meet another Awake, one who had sworn allegiance to the King "a long time ago".The King said his name was Caul, mentioned you'd like him.

Then, the world shifted. The waxy ground underneath you opened up, and you were falling. Falling in a yawning chasm, looking up to see the startled face of the Wax King shrinking as you fell further down into the abyss.

You landed on the soft green grass of someone's backyard. At night.

A quick look around to see a fire pit, an over-sized storage shed, a snazzy two-seater sportscar under a canvas. You're in the backyard of the Andrews home. Nobody is up. Dawn is just now cracking.


  • I scramble up to my feet, avoid the lights... across the street, back to my house, in the backdoor, up to my room. As far as I know, it's the same night I just left, right?

    I look around for Bianca once I get up to my room. It's just the same as last night, right? She's somewhere around?
  • The room is the same as you left it. Nothing's been disturbed, and yes, it's the morning of the night you left. Like you'd never left. Bianca isn't here.

    You hear the shower start up. Heather's begun her morning routine. Your dad will be getting on the elliptical any minute now. Your mom will be up before long to make breakfast and send you off to school.
  • What kind of strange-ass week is it when it's disorienting to be in my own bedroom, in time to get ready for school?

    I plug the GoPro in to the laptop, download the footage. Not even a little tempted to review it right now... I don't want to relive the subway fights at all. I strip out of my dirty, stained clothes and put them at the back of the closet. I'll wash them myself when I get a chance. I put a bathrobe on, settle in my chair and wait for Heather to finish her routine so I can grab a shower.

    The last look on the Wax King's face troubles me. That he should be surprised, of all... people, is disturbing.
  • The elliptical starts up downstairs, it's mechanical whish whish whish sound droning on. Your dad will be on there for at least half an hour, watching Fox News most likely. The shower stops, a hair dryer comes on soon after. You smell bacon in the air, your mom has chosen a traditional breakfast, boring of her "tour of the world of breakfasts" phase of cooking.

    Soon after, the bathroom door opens, closes, your sister heads downstairs to eat breakfast, leaving the bathroom to you. I assume you head down the hall in your robe and slip into the bathroom to clean up?

    The bathroom is steamy and the mirror is covered with condensation. A quick wipe off the mirror shows your face. Your eyes are worn, Benny. You look tired, from the draw on the corners of your mouth to the bags under your eyes. Even your posture screams lack of sleep.

    Your sister didn't leave too much hot water, but there's some. A cold shower might spruce you up. Or it might just suck.

    "Benny!" your mom calls up, "Breakfast is on!"

    The elliptical has stopped. Stopped at some point, you're not sure how long ago. Were you just staring at yourself in the mirror? For how long?
  • Shit. Off in space, and I look like crap.

    I jump in the shower, start it cold. Let my body react to the chill, stick my head under the nozzle until I start to shiver. After a few minutes of that, I'll turn on the hot water and shampoo. Squirt some Axe body wash (Black Chill, to be precise) on a washcloth and take care of my pits and the rest of me. I finish after maybe five, seven minutes total, just as the hot water runs out again, and let the cool water try to energize me for a few seconds before I jump out.

    I towel off, appreciating the fabric-softener scent of a fresh towel, then slip my bathrobe back on. Finish with a quick brush through my hair. I still look like a dog that got run over an hour ago, but at least I smell good.

    I walk back to my room and take care of things. Unplug the camera and throw it in my pack. Make sure I have clean socks and jock strap for practice. I glance at the clock in passing and realize it's been forty minutes since I left my room. Gonna have to grab breakfast on the go...
  • Your mom gives a silent disapproval when you gather up your breakfast and go. Just outside the door is your sister, checking her phone while standing on the walk from the driveway. You scoot around her and she looks up, "Fucking Julie. She's ditching today. Thanks for the heads up. Ben, I'm walking with you, alright?" She falls in beside you.

    "Where did you go last night?" she asks as you reach the sidewalk, out of earshot. She's trying not to look too curious, but her tone is giving her away.

    Across the street, you see Amanda getting into Todd's jeep. Her eyes look... lost. She's pale, too. Shoulders droop a little and she's barely moving, like.... like sleepwalking, really.
  • edited June 2014
    "Last night? Just out... walking. Filming some location stuff, y'know? Couldn't stay cooped up." A sidelong glance. "You're not telling Dad, are you?"

    Amanda. That... was me, feeding my Nightmare girlfriend, thinking it was funny. Shit. Another fuck-up for the list.

    I take a bite of my bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. The toast is soggy, of course, after all that time on the table, and the melted cheese has kind of coagulated.
  • Heather gives you a look like, "Are you kidding me" and answers, "Not gonna tell dad. C'mon, Ben. Seriously?" She looks at your breakfast sandwich, it doesn't seem to appeal to her. "You are totes a slob, Ben. Did you even, like, get napkins?" She fumbles into her purse and pulls out some wipes.

    As she hands them to you, she looks past you at Amanda, then says, "She's going to school? Shit. Mom said she had mono. Gah. So gross."
  • The bite I took is like the green slime from You Can't Do That On Television. Cold and disgusting in my mouth. I throw the rest of the sandwich off the curb and take Heather's wipes, clean my hands and mouth.

    "Yeah, that's what Mom said. Would they send her to school with mono, though? Maybe it's... I don't know, maybe she's just got a cold, or something?"
  • "Please, Ben." Heather says like you've just said something moronic. "You know the school will let her back in. They get funds for every day she shows up. You know they'd wheelbarrow her ass in if they could."

    Todd's jeep drives by, blasting some tunes. A very weary Amanda is in the passenger seat, and she catches your eye as they pass by. She stares at you for that moment, and there's no filter. She doesn't hold herself like "one of the Andrews", doesn't have that normal bitchy air about her that she carries. She just looks... stripped down.

    What do you talk about with Heather on the way to school? Or do you let her prattle on and just listen?
  • I make small talk, best as I can, while we keep walking, but I'm obviously distracted. I'll try to give Heather something to pontificate on. "What was up with Julie? Why did she stand you up?"
  • Heather was chatting about Lance again, her current suitor. What don't you like about Lance?

    You ask about Julie, and your sister exhales in a way to show she's frustrated. "Another pregnancy scare. That's like eight now." She doesn't swear you to secrecy. Is that a thing? Or is she telling you in hopes you might blab?
  • Lance is a douchebag. He pops the freaking collars on his polo shirts, and talks about tennis and golf and Ibiza and shit, but he doesn't play tennis or golf, and I don't think he's ever been to Ibiza.

    "Julie's pregnant again? Dammit, it wasn't me this time, was it?" I grin to let Heather know we're cool, I won't spread any rumors, won't confirm or deny.
  • "I don't think so. I dunno..." she shakes her head, not really liking the joke. "After the big A, you'd think she would, I dunno, insist on protection. Or just, you know, stop boinking Kevin. Or something. So she's sweating it out, getting a second pee tester. So stupid."

    She looks at you, narrowing her eyes, "Are you and Jasmine... you know?" She puts up a hand, like she doesn't wanna know. "Just... don't make me an aunt in high school. I don't really care."

    The street comes to a T intersection just ahead and just past the fences on the other side is your high school. Most of the kids drive to school, but there are some walking near you. Any you know? Anybody walk in with you?
  • Mostly younger kids, freshmen and sophomores, are walking around us. It's close to time for the first bell, so everyone's hurrying. I see a couple kids from the JV soccer team, Carlos and Abdul, they do the head nod thing. One of Darius' buddies gives me the stare, but there's some respect in it... he watched me take my hits yesterday. We all sort of filter in. Heather heads off to her world, and I go to my home room, after saying, "I guarantee that I won't get Jasmine preggers, Heather. Stone cold."
  • Homeroom is normal blah, which is a relief, right? The Benny the perv movie guy meme seems to have died down. Sure, there's a benny-meter thing for rating YouTube videos, and the "Not Hot" couple of the semester deal is still around. Little posters: pics of you and Eileen in her car, sitting on her porch, stuff like that. Some of them have mustaches on you, others on her, with a goatee.

    Lunch comes, meatloaf surprise. Once you've gone through the lineup and have your tray, Eileen waves you over to sit by her. "Benny, you look like hell, man. Sup?"
  • Shit, as long as there's not someone trying to kill me, I'm good. I sit with Eileen.

    "Not sleeping, dude. I guess it's just been kinda hard to process how far into the pigshit I've pushed myself in the last few days. How are you doing?"
  • Eileen purses her lips, like she's thinking real hard. "Well, I was pretty impressed with the freckles on my poster by the chem lab. But I was blown away by the eye patch near the gym." She grins.

    After a few bites of her sandwich that she made herself, "Benny, is it just..." she looks around, as if to say "these people?" without, you know, say it. "Or is there something else?"
  • edited June 2014
    I fight with myself for, like, five minutes of chewing lunch lady lasagna. Then, "Eileen? I've had the strangest week..." I tell her. Everything. Soup to nuts (even my nuts). Jasmine, Darius, Bianca, the Mad City, the Wax King, everything...
  • You're still telling her when the bell rings and lunch has ended. Eileen's mouth is hanging open slightly, she seems dubious, but she hasn't called you on it. She follows you while you dump off the remnants of your tray and walks to the hall with you.

    Finally, she puts a hand on your bicep, "Benny... that's some wild shit. What are you gonna do?"
  • "Shit, Eileen, I don't know. I swear it's all as real as you and me..." I look her right in the eye, something we don't usually do. "What do you think I should do?"
  • She quirks her mouth in a little frown, thinking for a minute. "Why don't we bail on soccer practice, and maybe hang out for a bit? See what's up and... you know. Figure it out."
  • "Man, I would love to, but I'm still on double secret probation." I shake my head once, fiercely, negating what I just said. "Fuck it. I'm in. Meet you in the parking lot?"
  • edited June 2014
    She nods, "Yeah, at my hooptie," then heads on to class.

    The rest of your day is more of the same. You've got some wicked trig homework that's due tomorrow. How are you on that subject? Darius gives you a nod of respect in Biology, though. That's a victory, more or less.

    Your flip phone buzzes during Biology class, actually. You don't recognize the number.

    To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) Is this Benny?
  • edited June 2014
    I flip the phone open underneath my desk, on the down low. My thumb typing skillz are rusty after a year with an iPhone, but I manage to squeeze out a text.

    Yeah. Who's this?
  • A few minutes pass before your phone buzzes again.

    To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) Its Jazz. D said u told him 2 punch u. Is that tru?
  • Shit. Jasmine?
    Ya. Tru-dat. Gave D the hits to mak it up 2 him. YRU txting me?
  • The reply comes back a little quicker this time.

    To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) Make it up 2 him? WTF? U took pics of me, not him. SMH.
  • You wrnt hear to mk peace wth, and D has big fists. & friends.
  • edited June 2014
    The reply comes back quicker now. Like this has her full attention.

    To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) I M srry abt tht. Hes a fckn cavmn! wat u did ws wrong bt nt wrth a fite.

  • Sure. It's Jasmine, and she's sorry. This is not Jasmine.
    Sure. Bianca?
  • Right back.
    To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) No. Jazz. Whos Bianca?
  • Really? Okay, shit... I'm calm. Despite the Trig homework, which I'm gonna score, like 80% on, at best. Despite everything that's happened. I. AM. FUCKING. CALM.

    Joking. Dont know Y U wd txt me. Thot it mite be a joke.
  • To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) hrd D cam aftr u. I tld him 2 stay away. y did u put that stuff of me online?
  • It was beautiful. Y wdnt I? Art...
  • To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) I was in my Starbucks uni! My hair looks awful! I never even did anything!

    Then, right after.

    To Benjamin Marks From: Unknown Number (local area code) It wasn't pervy like I thought.
  • edited June 2014
    Really? It's like I said that a few days ago.
    I told you so...
  • To Benjamin Marks From: Jasmine Touche. Well, D is in trouble big time. Gotta go.
  • Wait, Darius is right here with me, right? How is he in trouble?

    Darius is here w me. Wut trouble?
  • There's no answer. Your teacher clears his throat, so you hide the offending phone.

    A couple minutes later, Darius is checking his phone. And man, whatever he read, he didn't like it. He looks back at you his eyes angry, but then he shakes his head, letting it go.

    Not long after, the bell rings and school is over. Eileen's out by her car waiting, she has her cigarette pack out, and she's slapping it against the heel of her left palm as she waits. "Benny, man, you are so slow. Like a turtle." She grins, then hops in the car, starting it up while you're getting in the passenger side. "Where do we go, man?"
  • I lean my head back and blow out a breath, don't say anything for a minute. "Anywhere but Starbucks..." I let Eileen drive, relishing the fact that I'm not making any decisions for the moment. "You'll never guess who texted me just before school was out..."
  • Eileen pulls out of the lot, and you catch a small clique of sophomore girls in tight skinny jeans and severe ponytails talking and staring at the pair of you. One of them snaps a shot with her phone, and she's showing it to the others while they giggle. She sees them, too, you think, but ignores it.

    Once you hit the street, she heads towards the hills, not even going near home. She pushes in the cigarette lighter to cook up, puts her unlit cig in her mouth, and looks over to reply, "No idea."

    Once the lighter is hot, she lights up and hangs the cig out the window while driving slow. "Put on some tunes and tell me who."
  • I wonder if she's still got the stuff on her Shuffle from last summer when she was going through her funk phase. Bingo!
    Tear the roof off, we're gonna tear the roof off the mother, sucker! Tear the roof off the sucker.
  • Eileen chuckles when you slip her Shuffle to that song. When you tell her who texted you, her eyes widen, and she slows down, "What? That's crazy! What did she want? Was it really her?" She's driving slow so she can watch you as much as the road.
  • "Hey... eyes on the road! Yeah, pretty sure it was her. She heard about me giving Darius his hits, wanted to see what was up."
  • "Oh?" Eileen asks, fixing her eyes back on the road. Looks like she's headed towards the reservoir. Or maybe some place to grab some food and chat. What restaurant do you guys normally frequent during the summer?

    "She back on the Benny Likey list now?" she asks with a smirk.
  • Knowing Eileen (the girl can eat), we're heading to Gus and Nonna's, a crappy looking Greek diner that has gigantic, cheap and not untasty gyros. I have scarfed my share of steak fries with gravy and crispy mystery meat there over the last few years since Eileen convinced me to brave it.

    The question bugs me. So much has happened in a few days. Bianca, for instance, and... "not gin-rummy." Mother When, killing rages, the Wax King. If it was just the video and the punches and the mockery, I think I'd have my tongue hanging out like a hungry cartoon character at the thought of maybe seeing Jazz again, but now...

    "I think... that ship has sailed, Eileen."
  • Eileen glances over, eyebrows raised. Her question sounds like disbelief, "Oh?" She passes Gus and Nonna's, heading further out. "First contact that isn't an ass beating and the ship has sailed? Weird, Benny. Don't blame you, but unexpected."

    Sure enough, she takes the drive to the reservoir. She's happy to just listen to music unless you have a response.
  • I'll sit quiet, too, just listening to P-Funk, grooving along a little bit with my head. After Eileen parks the car, we walk to the usual spot, a little rise with a couple trees. Eileen settles, back against a tree, and gives me that look that means it's time to talk.

    "Okay. I know you have no reason to believe most of the shit I told you at lunch. I told you I could do some serious superhero shit now, right? Well, that Wax King I told you about, this is what he looked like."

    ...and I look like the Wax King.
  • Okay, that's 4 Pain, andyou need to use 2 Madness at least.
  • Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 4, 4, 6. Total: 14)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 5, 4, 3. Total: 12)
    Madness: (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 2, 3. Total: 5)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 4d6. Rolls: 5, 3, 2, 6. Total: 16)
  • Looks like you pull it off, but I get a Coin of Despair and it hurts.

    What goes wrong?
  • I reach into my mind, picture the Wax King as he stood to join me for meat and ale. Candle dripping, dripping down his head. There's a brief shimmer and I know that I look like him.

    I wasn't thinking about Eileen, though, about how she'd react if she really knew. She's my best friend, has been for years even if we've never said that out loud, and I know she'd run through fire if I needed help, but this... I'm watching Eileen as my appearance changes, and there's this moment of... fear, even disgust... that I can read in her eyes. Her body tenses and she plants her hands on the ground like she's ready to jump up. She shakes it off, stays put, but I saw that moment and I know Eileen thinks of me differently now.
  • After a long series of moments where it seems like Eileen will speak, but doesn't, she finally says in a low tone that's sort of drawn out, a little shocked to vacant, "Holy... shit. Benny. That was." She swallows, runs out of words. There's a wetness at the edges of her eyes, and she doesn't wipe at them.
  • I drop the Wax King semblance right away. "Crap, Eileen... I didn't think... I didn't mean to... shit. Are you okay?" I slump down to the ground, just plop down right there, and I think I'm about to cry for the first time in years. If I just fucked things up with Eileen because of a moment of thoughtlessness, of (let's face it) showing off... fuck.

    In a chastened tone, "So... any questions?"
  • Eileen doesn't answer for a bit, fumbles in her pocket for her pack of cigs. She lights up, doesn't offer you one, takes a long drag. Her eyes close as she takes in the smoke and holds it. Then, she blows out, her eyes popping open as she shakes her head, "Can you make yourself into like... Denzel or something instead next time? Fuck, that guy was ugly."

    She swallows again, regaining herself as best as she can, "I always thought you were, well, special. But not, whatever you are special, Benny... shit."
  • "Sure. Denzel next time, or maybe Idris Elba?" I waggle my eyebrows in a half-hearted attempt at being naughty.

    "Here's the thing... I get the feeling that I'm stuck with either... this, or pretty much dead. I'm pushing along without any sleep for weeks now, and if I lose it, I lose it, and these Nightmares I told you about get a Benny Buffet, all-you-can-eat. I think my only option is to power through, fight the fight in the Mad City, see what happens if I can make it out the other side."

    I blow out a breath. I don't smoke often, but I raise my eyebrows at Eileen's cigarette. "Think I could have one of those?"
  • Eileen shakes the pack once to get a cig to slip up at the top, then tilts the pack towards you. When you take one, she flicks her lighter and lights it up for you. "So... what's the deal with Bianca again? Is she, evil psycho bitch or My Girl Friday or what?"
  • Heh. Yeah, good question.

    "Heh. Yeah, good question... she's, she was pure Nightmare, but something happened almost by accident. She says she's mine now, I gave her the name she wears. I think she'd sacrifice herself for me, literally. And she's... changing, somehow, I don't know how. It's sexy, having some...one so focused on me, but it's also fucking scary. I keep worrying I'll say the wrong thing, and someone will die."

    " 'Leen? What do I do?"
  • When you detail Bianca, Eileen gets a skeptical look. "She says you own her? That's some fucked up slavery shit, Benny."

    She takes another long draw. Exhales, "Benny, I love you, man, but until you did that.... that face thing, I thought maybe you were having some delusions or something. You know, schizophrenia or something. And now... I don't know what to think."

    Some more time passes, then Eileen asks, "So wait, are you saying Bianca might kill someone if you say the wrong thing? Or that you might kill someone?"

  • "Shit, Eileen, just because I was telling the truth about this weird crap going on doesn't mean I'm not going crazy, does it? Like I said, though, I think the only way out is through."

    I think some more about Bianca, consider Eileen's words. "I guess I'm worried about both Bianca hurting someone, and me hurting someone. And I'm trying to find a way to give her back to herself... you're right, it's some... fucked up slavery shit, but I get the impression that she'll just stop existing if I figure out what to say to just cut her loose."
  • Eileen makes a face as she considers things. "You know, Benny," she begins as she really looks at you for the first time since the Wax King thing, "In all the years I've known you, you've never been somebody to take advantage of people. And we both know you think you're some shining knight or whatever." She huffs a little laugh.

    A light breeze picks up, and Eileen's hair rustles a little bit. Off in the distance you can hear some kids chattering on a playground. Leaves rustle with the breeze, too. "I trust you. I know you won't hurt anybody unless you gotta. And maybe this Mother When deserves to be put down. If she's hurting people, you know?"

    Then, Eileen peers at you close, "What about Bianca? Do you, like... you know, like her?"
  • That question, which would have been background noise to the everyday dramas of being a teenager just a week ago, seems absolutely surreal now. Do I... you know, like Bianca? The question seems irrelevant right now. But Eileen's asking, I have to try.

    "I just don't know. There've been moments, even after I knew she was... whatever she is, when I really felt like we had a connection, but I don't see how there's anything, well, permanent. I mean, we're from different worlds. Literally from different worlds."

    I let the breeze wash past me, who knows when I'll have another moment of stillness. "Y'know, Eileen, I don't think it matters, though. I'm not so much making decisions now, I'm in a spot where I'm just plain reacting."
  • She nods when you answer about Bianca, like it matters to her more than maybe it does to you.

    Then you talk about reacting, and Eileen makes a pfft noise, "That's BS, Benny, and you know it. You make decisions every day, all the time. You decide how you will react, you and me both know it." She waves that off, totally not buying it.

    "So... how do you go to this other place, anyways?"
  • "It's been different. The first time, I just wound up there. A couple times I've taken a subway train, if you can believe it. I'm guessing I'll get better control of how and when as time goes on."
  • The breeze picks up. Eileen takes a long drag from her cig, the stamps it out on the tree behind her. She exhales smoke out of the corner of her mouth, squinting her right eye as she does. "Let's take your subway, Benny." So saying, she plants her hands on the ground to push herself up, then starts heading for her car.
  • "No. No way, Eileen. Over there, I'm lost and confused, but pretty badass. You... are a snack. Conversation over."

  • Eileen is still headed to the car. She looks over her shoulder, "Why am I a snack? Maybe... I'm FIERCE!" She opens her car door, because she didn't bother locking it, "You don't even know. I'm better at soccer than you. Maybe I'm better at this than you, too."
  • Oh, Eileen. This is so not a joke. Yeah, we make decisions all the time. I am not letting her make this one, or letting her talk me into something crazy.

    "I'm sorry, Eileen." And I'm off, running as fast as I can. Back into town, but not toward home.
  • Eileen curses when you run off, "Benny! What the hell?!?" She starts up her car, and tries to follow you on the street, but that's easy enough to avoid. You lose her after a couple blocks. Then you feel your phone buzz, repeatedly.

    You get back to town without any problems, but you know Eileen is probably racing home in hopes of beating you. And you are still grounded. Soccer practice isn't quite over, but will be before long.
  • I buzz around for awhile. School, rushing past the soccer field, running past the hot spots in town (Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's, the crappy Silver Diner), I just keep running for longer than I should be able to. Eventually, I fetch up at the back door of my house. I know that Eileen's probably back home by now, probably watching for me, but I've got this curfew, right? Gotta check in. I open the door, step in to the house.
  • You step into the room, but it isn't your house. You instantly recognize that you are there, in the Mad City. You've stepped into an empty classroom.

    The desks are ancient creations of wood and wrought iron, with hinged tops and inkwells. The room has no windows, the only light spilling from the door behind you. The place smells like old wood and dust, and there are dark red stains in circles near three of the chairs. A desk in the back row is missing, just the naked bolts in the floor mark that it was ever there.

    You hear laughter echoing down the hall. Girls' laughter, the cruel kind used when someone is roughly mocked.
  • I suspect I know just where I am, and curse under my breath. I open my bag, grab the GoPro and slip it on my head, wondering just how messed up it is that getting the camera running is my first instinct when I find myself in the lion's den. My, what big teeth you have, Mother! Smile for the camera. Once that's done, I figure I might as well reconnoiter on my way out the (hopefully not too distant) door.

    As I did for Eileen earlier, I let my vision bubble up, but this time I focus on editing myself out of the scene. I've done this before (nothing to see here), but this time I act with intent, cautiously erasing myself not just visually, but also removing the sound of my breath and my shoes on the floor, the smell of the day's sweat and the cigarette. I am... gone.

    Then, I creep out the door.
  • Making yourself disappear? Well, that's interesting, Benny. I think you'll need to use 3 Madness and it's against 4 Pain.
  • Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 3, 4, 5. Total: 12)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 2, 6, 5. Total: 13)
    Madness: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 4, 1, 2. Total: 7)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 4d6. Rolls: 2, 1, 3, 5. Total: 11)
  • Looks like a success for you, but Exhaustion dominates.

    Discipline 3
    Exhaustion 4
    Madness 0


  • You sneak out of the classroom door into the hallway. The laughter ahead doesn't shift or change, continues to echo or beckon. Sweat beads on your forehead as you walk quietly, unseen towards them. Because in this weird fever-dream of a school.

    The concrete walls are pitted, paint flecking off as you pass by, the place smells rotten, like spoiled milk and bad perfume. You come up to a classroom with kids inside. The door panes at head height are windows, and you see there is an entire class of girls. They're about Bianca's age, some a little younger, a few probably older. They're teasing a boy who is standing at the front of the class, by the teacher's desk, which is an ominous black slab of wood. The boy is about your age, your build, too. Looks quite a bit like you, actually.

    The girls are all hurling insults at him, like it's a game, trying to one up each other. The boy, he's just... taking it. Bewildered, eyes darting about, he stands transfixed.

    You could slip out of here. But you should do it soon. The sweat is pouring off you, now. Your back is wet with it, and your temples are aching with a low-grade headache from doing this. The school itself feels like it is fighting you, pushing down on you.
  • Decisions. Thanks, Eileen...

    I open the door to the classroom, and as I cross the threshold, I am Mother When. "Class... dismissed. I shall discipline this... hooligan... myself."
  • You... are?

    So, funny thing. As the girls' heads whip up to look at you, you realize they are conditioned. They are dangerous as all hell, with their razors and their pointed teeth and forked tongues. But Mother When has them allllll whipped.

    Several of the younger ones are already getting up to leave class.

    Pain two to pull this off.
  • Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 6, 1, 1. Total: 8)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 4d6. Rolls: 5, 5, 6, 3. Total: 19)
    Madness: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 2, 5, 4. Total: 11)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 6, 3. Total: 9)
  • Success, but Exhaustion dominates. You're in some trouble, man!

    The girls shuffle out, a few making hushes comments to each other, some staring at the boy. That offense seems to draw unwanted attention. The pressure from the school is like a vise, and you can feel your ears pop. That headache is burning. You're in some serious pain right now.

    The boy looks up at you. "Beh..." It's like you're drawing him out of a fugue state, "Benny?"
  • What? Knowing who I am? Seeing me for real?

    "Who are you?" For any observers outside, I draw a yardstick from the shadowy folds of Mother When's habit. I slap the wood against my palm. I feel the School pressing against me, the sinus-headache, the pain in my ears. "Who... are you?"
  • "I'm..." he starts slowly, still finding words. "I'm. Benjamin Marks." Then, saying it, his eyes focus on yours. "I'm... you."
  • Just when I think things can't possibly get any weirder.

    "No. You are not me. You must be something Mother When thought up..." My head hurts like there are actual hands pressing on my skull, pushing, pushing... "Whatever you are, I can't... I don't think I can help you."
  • He takes a slow breath, shoulders relaxing. "I know. I know you can't. Nobody can. I'm stuck. But you aren't." He reaches a tentative hand out to touch your arm, with the tips of his fingers.

    "They'll figure things out soon. Those Ladies are sharp. You should go." His eyes become a little glassy as he looks towards the door.
  • I don't need to be told twice. With a shudder, I walk to the classroom door, straighten my Mother When shoulders, and move back into the hallway, walking toward the building's entrance. I keep my/her face impassive, not showing the pain in my head, sure that if I don't keep it together my eyes will bug out from the pressure.
  • You hit the street after a quick walk down the hallway towards the double doors, those same doors where you stood down with Mother When, then ran. Leaving the guy who says he's you behind, leaving all the other Ladies in Hating and, of course, Mother When.

    You hear the clocktower's bell, a huge gong-ing sound. Over the rooftops you see it, striking 13. That's when Bianca said the Bizarre Bazaar happened. You could hit the subway, find your way back to the Warrens, find the Wax King.

    Wjat do you do?
  • I drop the disguise once I make it out to the street, becoming myself again, unless that other guy really is me, in which case... nope, not thinking about it.

    I head toward the clocktower and the Bizarre Bazaar, keeping my eyes open for any of the Wax King's people, who might be able to guide me to the Warrens. There've got to be some of them at the Bazaar if I don't run into any first.
  • As you walk towards the clocktower, you see other people, and some not-exactly-people heading in the same general direction. It's not unlike the general massing of different walks of life headed to a big sports or music event. That is, if the walks of life included people with tall birdcage hats, hawk masks, missing legs that don't seem to impair movement and a mismash of dress ranging from the 1800s to the mid-80s (yes, 1980's).

    Ducking through an alley between a candlestick shop and a wine shop, you come upon what must be the bazaar. There are tents and shacks, booths, tables, and the place is as loud as a cocktail party in full swing. Arguing hagglers, men and women hawking their wares, the like.

    There are several hundred people here, including some copper-colored policemen (they wear double-breasted coats and derbys like London cops), but none of them have noticed you yet.

    You could buy anything here, Benny. What might catch your eye?

    As for the Blind Knights, you'll need to head in there, and avoid notice.
  • Oh good. I remember Bianca talking about Officer Tock and his "Clockwork Lieutenants" after the Subway Slaughter. Shitshitshit, I think, and then realize how many times I've had that same thought in the last few days. I guess it's time to push my luck again. I look around, deciding what sort of look to adopt.

    This time, I go for something different. There's a picture of Heather on the mantle from when she was little, and the folks dressed her up as a "Punk Rock Girl" for Halowe'en.


    Yeah, that'll do.
  • You're getting pretty good at this stuff, Benny. I think a quick change like this is Pain 2, but you'll need to throw in at least 2 Madness to make it work.
  • Discipline: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 4, 6, 5. Total: 15)
    Exhaustion: (Rolled: 5d6. Rolls: 3, 2, 2, 2, 4. Total: 13)
    Madness: (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 5, 4. Total: 9)
  • Pain: (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 6, 5. Total: 11)
  • edited June 2014
    Looks like you succeed pretty mightily here, Benny.

    Not only that, Discipline dominates.

    You're little punker girl, and none's the wiser.
  • edited June 2014
    (Discipline dominates... I remove the check from Benny's Fight response.)

    I wander through the crowd, taking note of the merchandise being hawked. Various things and "people" flash past my Blind Knight-focused attention as I move. A flash of a seven foot tall Chester the Cheetah, a dude that looks like Beadle Bamford from the movie of Sweeney Todd, a slender rapier on a table alongside what looks like a Kitchenaid mixer with a rather suggestive attachment, a birdseller with cages on a pole where songbirds tweet and whistle in a pleasant cacophony, a black lady with a humongous afro and a wide-lapelled pantsuit.

    I keep my eyes peeled, looking for one of the Wax King's Knights...
  • edited June 2014
    Coming round a corner of the market to a space where they're selling "fresh fried wet dreams" at a book, you spot this woman:


    She's standing off by the side near a vendor hawking "fearful vapors", which looks like red and black balloons. She wears the golden coif like you see, and also a tabard of the Wax King in silhouette. There is a sword on a belt at her side. However, other than the chain mail around her head and hung over her shoulders like a shawl, she's wearing a thick cotton undershirt and dark blue jeans with work boots.

    As you approach, she smiles "down" at you, "Hullo there, little one. You are adorable. May I help you?" She's not actually taller than you, but it seems she's fooled by your ruse.
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