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From Here On Out; Born Burning
Topic Started: Apr 9 2017, 08:00 PM (436 Views)
CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"Nah, doesn't look right."

Marie looked at her face in the bathroom mirror. Falling asleep in class with her head resting on her hand had caused the faint imprints of pimples to sprout up on the right side of her face. Even with makeup - she dreaded to even think the word - she couldn't quite cover them up in a way that looked right. When it came time to head over to Diamondback, she made sure to show up early - last time she'd been late, and if there was anything that Arthur had taught her, it was that punctuality was of the utmost importance.

She smiled to herself. He spoke in a fake British accent sometimes to her, like a professor lecturing a student, self aware enough to know how he sounded yet wise enough to know that the knowledge he needed to impart was worth the awkwardness. "Don't be late" wouldn't suffice. He needed to tell her things in a way that she'd remember.

Her eyes were starting to droop. Marie shook her head side to side, waking herself up. The past few nights had been relatively sleepless as she looked for any news of her brother's return. He was a big dork, sure, and he was a bit intrusive, but he was her brother. She'd lost too many family members to lose him, too.

Nevertheless, she was sure he was okay. He always was.

With one last splash of cold water on her face to keep herself alert, she stepped out into the ice cream parlor. There, Marie saw Lana, walking in zig zag lines across the floor, looking down at her phone anxiously. Her heart hit the bottom of her stomach. Even if she hadn't actually been late, she'd kept Lana waiting, and that was bad enough. Worse still was the fact that she now had to find some way to explain her absence. Clouds of words and ideas floated through her mind as her feet started moving her automatically toward her friend.

"Sorry!" Marie blurted out in a stage whisper, all of her clouded thoughts slamming into the front of her head as she hit the brakes and suddenly stopped only a few inches from Lana, "I'm not actually late, I was in the bathroom, I swear!" Woozily, she took a step back, letting static cloud her vision and her sense of balance disappear for a few moments before it returned again as if nothing happened.. This sort of thing would occur when she was just getting up, or if she suddenly started moving after standing or sitting for a while. Her voice stayed clear, and her thoughts stayed where she left them, but her body lagged behind and froze up. She knew the layout of her own house well enough that she could find her way in her dizziness, but the air and shape and color of the ice cream place threw her for a loop.

"How've you been?" she said with a smile, leaning on Lana's shoulder slightly, slowly regaining her sense of self in space.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"Oh, sure, no worries, yeah," Marie said, stumbling over her own words. She leaned in closer to Lana, cherishing each moment of the hug. She needed it, after all the stressing she'd been doing. The joke about 9/11 was a little on the nose, sure, but by this point Marie was used to Lana's references and rambles and rants. She'd even ask questions, when she understood well enough to be able to keep up.

"Can I just give you my money, tell you what I want, and find a place for us to sit?" she asked, leaning out of the hug, "I think this dizzy spell's lasting a bit long, I need to get off my feet."

Was it the heat? Quite possibly, but Marie had been inside for a good deal of time by now. Maybe there was a storm on the horizon, something that would cause the air pressure to change. When those happened, and especially when they happened badly, she'd get nosebleeds. Real bad ones, too. Blood all over her ice cream was not a topping she was in the mood for today, or ever.

Another wave of static came over her, and she gently pulled away from Lana. She pulled three dollars out of her wallet and handed them to her before she started to stumble away. Move naturally. Don't fall. Do not, under any circumstances, fall. Floor looks dirty, no sir.

"Min' choco-chip, yeah," said Marie, as she made her way over to the nearest table in as straight a line as she could manage, her head held high so that she could see above the lines and waves in front of her.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Marie couldn't help herself from scooping up more ice cream than she could handle. She had neglected food recently, besides the occasional toaster waffles or quick protein bar, and to finally have the excuse to eat something that wasn't one of those two things was like a godsend to her. The initial few spoonfuls didn't get to her too badly, but after just a short while she felt the telltale aching of brain freeze creep along the roof of her mouth. She began sucking on her thumb, pressing her fingertip against where it felt the most cold, when Lana asked her question.

"Wahl, ah've nawt bin sleaypin, ryecentlee," Marie said, her thumb still in her mouth, "Guss ayh've bin ah bit pahrahnoyd, wike, abowt fings witt Arshur."

Lana had a somewhat confused expression on her face.

Marie's eyes widened, and she pulled her thumb out of her mouth, her cheeks turning pink. In her state of mild embarrassment, she remembered to take a napkin from the dispenser on the side of the table and clean off her thumb thoroughly, all the while fighting off the retreating brain freeze in her skull. "Sorry, sorry," she mumbled, "Ice cream just does that thing, like, with the coldness, and I thought I could make it stop with my thumb, see, but I forgot it was in there." Hastily, she crumbled the napkin up into a ball and rolled it along the table towards the wall, where it stopped just out of view of Lana's sight.

"I was, um, just saying that I've been fine," Marie explained, regaining her composure, "A little bit of worry here and there, but for the most part, I have faith. Not much sleep, as you can probably, aha, as you can probably tell."

A beat of silence passed.

"I mean, I could say the same, that I should've called you too. Don't worry about it. All's well, yeah?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Marie cringed openly at Lana's comment about thumbs. She loved her, in a sister/friend kind of way, but she wasn't going to be putting her thumbs in her mouth. That'd just be too weird(ly sexual) for them both. Still, she cringed with a smile, letting Lana know that the attempt was recognized. "A rather ladylike way of conducting oneself," Arthur's disembodied voice commented, falling back into his fake British accent.

All Marie could do, as Lana stumbled through words of halfhearted hope and hamstrung prayers, was nod along in agreement. Solidarity was the most important to show. She went on, telling Marie not to worry, something something, and then some comments about the nature of their friendship and forgetting things.

Lana was clearly out of it. She'd only made one conspiracy theory joke.

"Hey," Marie asked, putting aside her ice cream, "What's wrong? You seem kind of...

"Distracted."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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The tinfoil joke gave Marie a good, hearty chuckle. That concept was near universal, funny even if you weren't into politics. Lana was totally the type to spend hours hunched over a computer, wrapped in a woolen blanket, only the light of a computer screen illuminating her face, and it should follow that tinfoil hats would be involved too.

"My dad's been busy, too," she replied, "So I've had to double down on keeping the house in order. 'Course, I really only keep my room really nice looking, but I freshen up the downstairs every so often. And Arthur's room, for when he gets back."

She stared out the window for a little while, following Lana's vacant gaze to the nothing spot in the middle of the blinds. If she didn't know better, she'd have started taking Lana's comments about tinfoil more seriously.

"I don't think you've taken me over there, but doesn't she teach kindergarten or something?"

Marie felt like she was way off the mark, but waited to see if Lana would correct her or not.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"With how much attention Arthur makes me give my schoolwork," Marie said with a laugh, "You'd think that he was grooming me to be a schoolteacher. I don't really like littler kids too much, though, they kinda get on my nerves."

She wasn't all too far off with the age level, at least. That was a relief.

"I haven't been all too sure what I want to do...when I grow up, or whatever."

She gazed out the window.

"There's such a big world out there, waiting to be explored. I'm not sure if I want to get tied down with a job or nothing. Even if Arthur really wants me to turn out well...I don't think what's well for him is what's well for me, maybe."

"What about you? You probably want some way to get deeper into the truth, or something, right?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"Yeah..."

Marie looked around as she finished up her ice cream.

"How are your grades doing?"

She didn't really know what else to ask. In all honesty, she was bored out of her mind.

A lump began to form in her throat.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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"Precalc's nasty, yeah," she said, as Lana's phone started kicking up a storm in her pocket.

"My teachers emailed me things. All A's, but that's probably just because the teachers felt bad for me, or something. I dunno."

Buzz, buzz. Buzz, buzz. The phone kept going off, and by now it was starting to get on Marie's nerves.

"Uh..."

Marie's eyes darted back and forth.

"...shouldn't you check that?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"What?" Marie asked, "Have they found them?" That was the only thing that sprung to mind, as far as things that could make Lana drop her phone went. The government could completely disclose the existence of stargates, and Lana would just shake her head and say 'I knew it!' after sucking her teeth. Marie grabbed the phone off the table and pressed the power button, turning the screen on.

A torrent of messages poured out of the phone, all saying roughly the same thing. Marie stared at the phone in disbelief.

Out of all the places they could have hit, all the class trips they could have picked, they had to come to Kingman, in the middle of nowhere.

Marie slowly put the phone back down, and leaned back in her seat.

She could feel the color draining from her face.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Lana was gone. She always picked the smart thing to do, in any given situation. Here, right now, the smartest thing to do was to up and leave.

Marie picked up the phone one more time, and scrolled through the messages. All of them came from voices in varying degrees of distress, spoken through almost exclusively capital letters. Hit with a wave of nausea, she reached into her own pocket and checked her phone for any similar messages.

Nothing. Her father was still at work, and her other friends weren't very privy to the whole thing.

Marie sighed, and stood up, her hands shaking. Clutching the phone in her hand, she walked briskly through the door, ignoring the inquisitive remarks of the man behind the counter and stepping out into the light.

At the very least, she needed to return Lana's phone.

[Marie Bernstein continued elsewhere.]
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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