Hello Neighbor (IC)

KatSea

Edgepeasant
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
Generally online in the afternoon eastern time
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
More passive but am decently comfortable with leading.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, mystery, magical, modern,
Genre You DON'T Like
Dystopian, Survival stories,
Azalea Solom



Henry doesn't seem to be enjoying himself! I should go loosen him up, perhaps? I do not know what to do with that silly billy! He works himself up so easily, and I suppose I don't blame him, but he really needs to learn how to have some fun! That permascowl is always so off putting...He'll never get girls to look that way with the brooding, constant constipation demeanor. No! No way...Oh, oh dear...oh my GOD!! This is the best puppy! Oh, her ears are so freaking floofy! Floopy? Doopy? Lovable? Yes. All four and so so much more. I feel bad for scaring off his skittish friend but...oh my goodness that fur...I wanna snuggle up to this good girl for centuries to come. I hope she gets cuddles. Oh, oh my goodness this is the best girl I ever did meet...

“What’s shakin’ over here?" A soft, familiar voice broke Azalea's over run thoughts, shattering any hope for getting lost in the soft comfort of the animal before her. However, a bright grin painted along her darkened lips, splitting her demeanor into that of an ecstatic hooligan whose only desire was to spread the emotion. She pressed her chin into the animal's head, tucking the dog's ears safely between her fingers as she massaged the dog's cranium.

"yes! Zal be my name good man!" She exclaimed joyously, taking a break from the lovefest to face the man in question. Had she been in front of any other man without the comfort of her Ami, she would have most likely froze and gone into a stage of stammering, furious apologies, and a desperate bolt for the exit. But she had met this kind man before! And Poppy, the flowery little ray of sunshine was here too. Wondrous occasion to see such warm and friendly faces. It filled Azalea's chest with a roaring fire that flickered on pleasantly against her diaphragm. "Navi? As in Zelda?" She stuck out her tongue between her teeth, the gentle pink clashing ridiculously with the dark maroon against her lips. Her demeanor was once more torn apart by a pleasant grin. "Nerd! But it is so fitting for this lovely angel."

Once again, a wonderful voice broke her trance from the gentle pooch. Smores. Oh! Lord, she hadn't had one since she was a little child! Ami was never into major sweets, but would make the exception everyone in a while for Zal, who he still referred to as his little brat. "Let's go try and find some s'mores before it starts? Who in their right mind would throw a party with fireworks and food without s'mores? It is pure, unadulterated blasphemy I say! besides, it would give us a chance for an adventure." Her head perked up, much like the energetic dog she had the pleasure to demonstrate her affection to. "Besides...I do have an intense craving for chocolate at the moment...and I dont want anyone to get hurt over it."

That was a good execution of a joke, right? I think I nailed it...Oh God Ami...thank goodness you aren't here or you'd blast me for being a dork. What a dink and a half.
 
  • Love
Reactions: Mobley Eats

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
A bit of both, lean more towards passive.
Favorite Genres
Modern, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Drama, Action.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Mystery (I like them, just not good at it)
Bay Christiansen | Interactions: Peggy | Location: Jerry's Yard to Phil's Yard


“Hooooobey Dobey!” Peggy breathed, absolute content rolling off her in waves thicker than ancient molasses. A happy little jitter seized control of her body before stealing another bite of her perfectly grilled burger. There was no need or desire to find out what strange concoction of condiments she had shoved under the bun and Bay had every intention to keep it a mystery. Regardless of her suspicious looking burger, the quiet blonde couldn’t help but hum her agreement, her own burger setting her taste buds alight.

“Jerry’s burgers… They’re awesome,” Bay muttered. Then, she fell silent and quirked a curious eyebrow at Peggy. “...Hobey Dobey?” Who were either of these people? Or was it just one person who apparently had parents with a sadistic naming process.

“Uh, hello!” Peggy swallowed back a (worryingly) large gulp of beef before gaping at Bay in disbelief. “Hobey Dobey! You knooooow, Sifu Bayou! Our gracious Lards and Shavers? Cleaned chin messiahs? They practically perished under the harmful rays of Lady Sun’s wraith to spare our fates!”



Bay stared.

Peggy stared back. “...You’ve never went to Sunday School, huh?” She clicked her tongue. “Shame, shame. All of the shame,”

“Just strip me of the Sifu title right now,” Bay chuckled.

However, her friend seemed to hold opposite views. Like the crack of a whip, her gaze snapped up from the burger to Bay, eyes wide in shock. She slapped a hand over her heart (it was on the wrong side of her chest, actually) and said, “Oi--Oi! None of that blasphemy talk! There’s only one Sifu Bayou around here and I’m talking right through--”

“At?”

“At her!” Peggy huffed indignantly. “So--there! Take it or leave it, Bub!”

“Eh…” Bay’s head tilted side to side, expression conflicted. “Not sure if I’m sold on buying.”

Another wordless moment, the noise of children’s laughter and rambunctious yapping paling in the presence of their stare-off. Muscles taught. Imaginations dawning them head to toe in the painfully stereotypical cowboy attires and rolling the customary tumbleweed past their feet. Cue the classic whistling.

Finally, Peggy broke. “Fine. At a discount.”

Bay’s eyes narrowed. “Which entail?”

“A body squish?”

A smile pulled at the blonde’s lips. Instantly relaxing, she sat their burgers aside and opened her arms. A famous Peggy Body Squish was always welcome. Without preamble, the eccentric woman crashed into her and enveloped her into what could’ve been mistaken for an NFL tackle. However, Bay was prepared for it and caught her in the tight embrace without any hassle. The pair giggled, one a reserved whisper in comparison to the harking sounds escaping Peggy--with snorts in the mix, of course.

Something fell.

Bay heard it before she saw it--because she didn’t bother looking at all. It didn’t matter. This was a huge block party. Plenty of things were bound to topple over and make a mess at some point; she’d be surprised to come out of this fiasco clean--

“Wow! Bill, where’d you get this??” A woman, average height and curvy build, and sporting brunette locks pulled into a sloppy bun, had her back facing Peggy and Bay as she addressed her husband.

Bill, who was still lounging in that same lawn chair, winked cheekily at her before pressing a finger to his lips and nodding towards Phil. “Phil’s got some new recipe or something. It’s damn good. Might get myself another soon,” he said, eyes already straying hungrily to steam billowing from Phil’s grill. A dry laugh escaped him as he continued sarcastically, “Don’t go letting Jerry hear that, Veil. He’ll get jealous real quick.”

“He can throw a fit all he wants,” Veil said, nose upturned rebelliously, “I’m not letting everyone miss out on this. Hey! Odessa! Odessa! Girl, you’ve got to try some of Phil’s…”

Her voice was swallowed up along with the rest of her by the bustling crowd. It had only been a few moments, just a few, but Bay and Peggy were floored to witness word travel so quickly. Before they could blink, talk of Phil’s burgers had filled nearly the entirety of Jerry’s lawn and slowly, perhaps even sneakily (which wasn’t much), party goers meandered their way to the other lawn.

To the better burgers.

Peggy’s excitement couldn’t be measured. “Better than Jerry’s?? Oh. We. Are. Going. To. Diversify. Our. Oral. Muscles!”

Bay cringed. “The words… The combination of words. We’ve talked about this.”

”Talk later oral muscles now.”

Bay was all but dragged to Phil’s lawn.

---

Back at where Bay and Peggy stood mere moments ago, a male approached. He stopped. Said nothing. Fell stiller than a pocket absent of time and matter. As empty as the void itself. Then, slowly, he bent down and picked up two burgers that had splattered messily across the grass. He wrapped them up in napkins, faint tremors coursing through his sweaty hands.

Eyes distant, Jerry discarded the burgers.

He stared at the massive gathering of people in Phil’s lawn.

The lack of people in his own…

Swallowing thickly, he slipped off his “Kiss the Chef” apron and dropped it carelessly, circling around his house and into the backyard.
 
  • OMG
Reactions: Iceydaze

Iceydaze

Expert Juggler
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Chat Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Romance, Horror, Historical, Magical, Supernatural, ♥Wuxia/Xianxia♥
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry?
Olivia "Oli" Greene


Olivia had arrived much later than expected. As she approached the gathering, she couldn’t help but take another peek at her phone, hoping for a certain person’s reply. Any reply would have done. It had been a week since she had invited Dan to join her. He had an entire week to reject her invitation. It wasn’t like she was forcing him to attend the little cookout and see how she was doing, maybe even meet her friends. At this point she didn’t even expect a call. A simple, “No thanks.” or “I’m busy.” would have sufficed. At least then, her eyes wouldn’t drift around, looking for that tall familiar figure every so often.

However, after refreshing the messages over and over, no new messages appeared. The reality she always faced was a silence too cold for words. An exasperated sigh left her parted lips as she begrudgingly stuffed her cell phone back into her coat pocket. It’s fine. He’s always been a bit of a workaholic. Convincing herself of this, she tucked her coat around her, grateful for the protection it provided from the fall’s bitter chill.

Laughter drew her attention towards the crowd. Even from afar, she could see children frolicking about, playing a game no adult could fully comprehend. A gentle smile tugged at her lips at the sight of their dimpled smiles. Uplifted by their vibrant nature, Olivia buried her troubles and maneuvered her way into the crowd, greeting familiar faces along the way. A hug here, a handshake there. Oh how she loved the people in this small town. Even if they were the kind to stab you in the back and hand out backhanded compliments, there was almost always a smile on their faces, making it much easier to force her own.

Hearing a commotion about burgers that she NEEDED to try, Olivia weaved through the crowd, following the alluring scent wafting through the air and approached the range. The sight of an all too familiar fluffy white tail wagging from side to side caught her attention. Not far off, Simeon stood in line, presumably victim to every dog’s secret weapon. A warm chuckle bubbled up as she made her way over. “Don’t tell me Navi got you already, Sim.” She spoke in jest before turning her attention to the aforementioned pooch. "Not that I blame you. Very few can resist her charms. She's such a smart girl." Her voice took on a silly tone as she cooed and ruffled Navi's soft fur, praising her to the moon and back.

It was only at the mention of s'mores that she finally became aware of the other two ladies near by. Their faces looked familiar. She was sure she had to have seen them around somewhere. However, Olivia couldn't recall their names. S'mores do sound really good right now. Oh how she wished to go with them in search of something sweet and savory. However, she also felt she was too old to go on a wild goose hunt for chocolate with these lovely ladies whose identities were unclear to her. A helpless smile in greeting was all she could bring herself to give them, the urge to sing a tune from 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' too strong to do so much as say hello. She worried that if she actually struck a conversation, she would end up following them to chocolate she really didn't need in her life.

"God, those burgers smell good." Reminding herself of her original goal, she reluctantly pulled her train of thought away from the sweet temptation of s'mores and turned her attention back to Simeon. "I'm famished. Have you tried one yet?"

Mentions:
Simeon & Navi Elle Joyner Elle Joyner
 

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
A bit of both, lean more towards passive.
Favorite Genres
Modern, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Drama, Action.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Mystery (I like them, just not good at it)
Anton Halverson | Interactions: Sage Elle Joyner Elle Joyner | Location: Bench


The faintest sigh of relief escaped Anton as Sage rolled with the punches, not even batting an eyelash at his socializing failures. Paranoia still gnawed at his skull, but at least it wasn't as intense as before. Shoulders and jaw visibly relaxing, he merely grunted with a nod. "There could be wisdom found in that. Killing a spider and threatening old ladies, I mean. There's a circle of life lesson stuck in there somewhere..."

A small smirk tugged at the corner of his lips. "Elisage..." He shrugged, eyes falling on the crowd. "I can work with that. Err, not saying that Sage is bad or any less appealing. Just... Yeah. I can work with Elisage." It was something that had always stuck with Anton. He understood fully well that people designated themselves with nicknames for a reason but... He just preferred it this way.

However, he looked down curiously at Elisage's phone and just caught the sight of "Mom" before she declined the call. Ah. Another border that he probably shouldn't cross. Not with a stranger he'd just met. "Not feeling extra chatty with some people?" And yet, he had opened his big mouth anyways. Regret coiled about him the moment those words escaped, his jaw clenching once more. Hoping to bulldoze past his mistake, he quickly added, "Yeah. Uh, I mean no. Party's aren't my thing at all. Sister just kinda dragged me out there to..." He raised two fingers to form air quotes. "Make some friends."

Another chilly breeze sliced through the musk and heat of party goers. Anton couldn't tell if he was grateful or annoyed. Probably both. Always both. His attention landed on Elisage's brace again, growing thoughtful, maybe even curious. He wasn't terribly familiar with the issues of having a brace or poorly constructed cyborg parts, but he figured the cold would do her no good. Steel. Cold steel inside your leg, surrounding by cool weather... It had to suck. A lot. "Uh... here." Awkwardly, Anton stood and shed off his over-sized black sweater; he wore a white t-shirt underneath, but the cold never really bothered him to begin with.

He knelt down in front of Elisage and brought the sweater around her brace, tying it very gently but tightly enough to make sure it wouldn't fall off. It probably looked damn ridiculous, but this was all he could think of. He looked up at her, using every iota of will power not to let the embarrassment show through in his pale face. "If it's too damn goofy looking, just say so. Don't know if this helps or not..."
 
  • Sweet
Reactions: Iceydaze

CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Chat Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
My Usual Online Time
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
Genre You DON'T Like
I am generally not a huge fan of RPing Fandom, but it can depend.
Poppy Haberson


Bending down to give Navi a greeting head scratch, Poppy cooed excitedly, shooting Azalea a big grin before facing Simeon again. With an exaggerated sigh, she shot him a disappointed look. “Figures. No one around here really has any taste. I’ll have to handle the s’mores myself. The fireworks though, definitely pumped for that, hell yeah!” She gave Navi another smooch, before Zal’s words lit an excited sparkle in Poppy’s eyes.

“Um, yes! Finally someone gets it!” Poppy squealed, jumping excitedly before Zal and clapping her hands together. “Who in their right mind would throw a party without smores. Absolutely.” She echoed with a snort, grabbing Zal’s wrist and tugging her forth. “Hey, Sim, oh oh oh, hi Liv! We’ll bring you some. Hey, Zal, you like root beer floats?”

Poppy blabbed the whole way through, and even though she had only just arrived at the party, this seemed like a much more fun opportunity to her. S’mores were much more of a party. All they had to do was be back before curfew, and hell, why not drag it out. A drink with friends was nothing to rush past, especially not when it involved root beer floats. “We’ll do floats first, then go get s’more ingredients, oh! If I don’t eat half the bag of marshmallows by then, we’ll make everybody s’mores over the fire. With the fireworks, damn, it’ll be like the fourth of July up in here. Hey, Zal, is it okay that I pulled ya away from the party? Hope that’s what you wanted. I mean, if it’s not, you could totally go back, but… you might get less s’mores!”
 

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
A bit of both, lean more towards passive.
Favorite Genres
Modern, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Drama, Action.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Mystery (I like them, just not good at it)
FIRE HOUR

Time - 9:45 PM | Location - Moss Creek Block Party



“Fire Hour’s rolling around!”

“Fire Hour!”

“Don’t forget the rockets!”

“Poppers too?”

“Of course the Poppers--”

“Fire Hour! Fire Hour!”

“Fuck yeah! I’ve been waiting all night for this!”

Cries of Fire Hour traveled through Moss Creek like rings of a rippling ocean. Although excitement had been the pinnacle of everyone’s state mere minutes ago, the anticipation buzzing about reached a level unmatched. Tradition was afoot. Formations were in progress.

The Moss Creek Fire Hour was amiss.

It was a simple custom, but one that Moss Creek had carried every year since its establishment in 1989. Each and every front yard of veteran residents, rolling carts full of firecrackers and rocket launchers and gas bombs and mini poppers, all the way up to the edge of the sidewalk, prepare themselves for the ultimate countdown. As soon as the long hand struck 10…

Fiery masterpiece painted onto an inky black canvas.

9:45 PM

---

Odessa cut through the crowd filling Phil’s lawn, laying a hand upon the man’s shoulder. “Phil? Where’s Jerry? I’ve done lost sight of that man,” she said, the tiniest hint of concern etched across her features.

Phil blinked away a particular aggressive plume of smoke from the grill, shooting his friend a curious look. “Not near his grill? Jerry was basically born with the damn thing attached to his hip…”

Odessa shook her head. “Not the grill. Nowhere in his yard or Bill’s. I don’t know if he went off to get more gasoline or not, but usually he’d let us know first…” She had noticed the container missing from under Jerry’s grill, and he was notorious for wasting away the substance on community bonfires, but she could’ve sworn that was a freshly bought canister.

Phil heaved a sigh while yanking off his cap, scratching the top of his hair. His lips pursed in thought. “...Screw it. I’ll go look for ‘em. He couldn’t have gone off too far. Odessa, cool this off for me?” Odessa nodded; she had her fair share of grilling experience, thanks to her own father. Cleaning off the rack and cooling down the grill pit wouldn’t be an issue for her.

“I can do that. Just go find that loudmouth bugger before I start worrying.”

“You already are, damn softy,” Phil teased while slapping his hat back on. Odessa merely scoffed and shooed him off in response, and the man scattered off with both hands raised playfully. Phil bounded into his own house to snag a beer--Hell, it wouldn’t be a proper search party without some alcohol swimming through his body. Made him feel more patient that way.

Upon entering, Phil made a beeline straight for the kitchen and rummaged through his fridge, grumbling somewhat as he realized someone had taken the last slice of strawberry cheesecake. Goddammit! How would he satisfy his raging sweet tooth in the god awful hours of post midnight now?

Creeeeak…

A pause.

Phil freed his head of the fridge, eyes narrowing. The fuck was that? Slowly, he closed the icebox and followed the general direction the sound traveled from. Well, where he guessed it came from. His house was still fairly young, just like every home in Moss Creek, and Phil did a damn good job keeping his floorboards and appliances in mint condition. To hear a creak like that… He shouldn’t have.

His feet lead him through a dimly hall connected to the back door.

Another creak.

Phil’s brow furrowed.

The door was open, ever so slightly agape as it creaked with every gentle breeze.

“How the fu--”

Crack!

Darkness.



9:50 PM

---

Odessa smiled and chatted with her neighbors. And yet, her facade was brittle. Bound to fade. The concern started out as mere flickers to a flame; now, her vision and mind were bathed in a raging inferno. Jerry had yet to be found and she failed to hear anything from Phil.

So, her smile strengthened. She traded cheers and tapped cups with an easily forgettable face and name.

Everything would be okay.

9:55 PM

---

She lied to herself. There was something wrong. Odessa could feel it deep in her gut.

The woman had abandoned socializing, cup tossed away and bodies brushed aside, and headed towards Phil’s house.

9: 57 PM

---

The scent of gasoline was heavy. Sharp. So much so that it made Jerry’s nostrils and brain sting. His clothes felt awfully heavy and sticky, the liquid burning and agitating his body. Such a thing was never meant to touch skin, but what reason did he have to care?

Not many.

Jerry gently seated himself on Phil’s couch, a grill lighter in hand, emptied canister cast aside onto the floor. His eyes fluttered shut, his head lowered until the lighter’s barrel met his forehead, and muttering tumbled from his lips faster than the prayers of a zealot.

Chants from outside reverberated through the walls.

“Fire Hour! ...Fire Hour! ...Fire Hour!”

“Fire… hour…” Jerry laughed, borderline cackling. Manic. Broken. Energetic. Sad. Unstable. That smile remained--his one million watt grin that could disarm even the iciest of hearts. He made all the grouches melt with his kindness and cooking. His charisma. Everybody loved Jerry.

Everybody loved Jerry.

A flame flickered to life. He stared at the little fire, eyes wide and glazed over. “And they’ll love nobody else--”

“Jerry! What’re you doing?!”

His gaze snapped over to Odessa, who stood in the doorway with an expression of pure horror. Her nose scrunched up as soon as the scent struck her senses. “Is that… J-Jerry, put that down, now!”

Jerry waved the flame about, almost tauntingly. “I can’t.”

Odessa paled. Quickly, she shouted over her shoulder towards the unsuspecting party goers, “Help! Somebody come help! Please! He’s lost his mind!”

9:59 PM

---

Odessa’s screams resonated at the exact moment fireworks were launched from every single yard occupying the culdesac. Zooms and booms and explosions filled the air, sending pleasant vibrations through the ribs and feet of pedestrians. Brilliant hues and colors raced across the sky, dancing about like sparks of a vibrant and aggressive rainbow. Everyone abruptly stopped what they were doing to taken in the beautiful sight, gasps and exclamations of wonder emitting from them like a mass of white noise.

The chants climbed in volume.

“Fire Hour! Fire Hour! Fire Hour!”

10:00 PM



Tags: Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , Iceydaze Iceydaze , KatSea KatSea , CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay
 

KatSea

Edgepeasant
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
Generally online in the afternoon eastern time
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
More passive but am decently comfortable with leading.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, mystery, magical, modern,
Genre You DON'T Like
Dystopian, Survival stories,
Henry "Ami" Solom





Ami didn't expect the young woman's to pop up from her quest of scavenging her food before her, an arrangement of sandwiches too small to even be considered as nourishment(or as Azalea would protest, Ami was a big piggy). He wasn't quite sure if it was amusement, relief or fear that coursed through his veins as her eyes met his, words escaping her swifter than Ami could begin to process them. No, she was in by no means an annoyance to the ears with her given speed, but Ami's eyes drooped in exhaustion as he attempted to pinpoint his attention. "I don't think you'd wanna fight me over food, I'd lose pretty quick." He promised with a thin smirk, brushing back a stray strand of hair from his eyes as he secured a sandwich between his fingers, raising it to take a nonchalant(if not gigantic) bite from it. Having swallowed it with a more merry tune to his form, despite the dull expression that continued to linger at the corners of his eyes, he mumbled.

"Er, yeah. I ain't gonna do that then, don't want to have to my stomach implode on itself. Or, explode? Ah, guess it doesn't matter." Sheepishly, he clamped one hand to the back of his neck as his brow pinched, pain flashing briefly at the intensity of his scowl. How Wicker ever found the compassion and sympathy to fuck you the world may never know. A chuckle threatened to escape him, his own self deprecation serving him well in his time of nipping social anxiety.

"Shilia. I...I do not think I have heard anyone else with that name. It's nice." He commented, assuming this was the appropriate thing to attest to her, trying his best to plaster a smile over his expression. "Er, I think I'll remember you better as Shi, though." Raising his brow, he scrambled quickly to get himself a plastic red cup, skimming the rim of it with his thumb as he considered his approach to a greeting, swallowing hard as he inspected her once more. "Er, the name is Henry. I uh, most people call me Ami. Not hippie bullshit or anything, just once an annoying sibling gives you an annoying nickname, it tends to stick." Considering his sister, his shoulders slumped in relief, the thoughts in his head beginning to be muffled and bleached with his current distraction. No need to worry. No need to...

And then there was a fucking scream, sending Ami's hairs on the back of his neck standing straight up. He...he had to have heard that, right? No one else seemed to notice it in the fog of the crowd, the music loud and boisterous, the food inviting and tempting, people distracted and drowning out the voice of one of their own. So he waited. It had been a brief, stiff wait until the next proclamation met his ears, sending a shiver down his spine. "One second." Placing the cup back onto the table, Ami found himself fluttering towards the woman's pleas, head bobbing briefly in a sea of chaos and bodies, pinpointing a woman calling for assistance.

"The hell is going on?"
 

KatSea

Edgepeasant
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
Generally online in the afternoon eastern time
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
More passive but am decently comfortable with leading.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, mystery, magical, modern,
Genre You DON'T Like
Dystopian, Survival stories,
Fox Quincy



A familiar sensation. A gentle touch at his shoulder blade. Perhaps a flinch would be appropriate? A hunch of his shoulders? Fox did not obey the internal command of his desire to survive. His body slumped, relaxation flooding his nerves. There was no longer the need to count. His thumb no longer collided with each individual finger. His nails curled gingerly into his palm. Calm. Safe. Protected by a mutualistic partner in survival. Perhaps, beyond the sense of such primal instincts. Company he had enjoyed. What had his flora described the emotion as? Thrival? Fox could not confirm the grammatical accuracies of such a vocabulary word. He still felt it within his chest. "I would classify myself as a burden, Russell." Expression statuesque, Fox locked gazes with him to express the lightness of such an aggressive comment.

Guiding footsteps. Safe voyage into a sea of calm. Evenly distributed population...Fox's eyes lightened. Approximate equilibrium. Approaching an ideal environment. The notion of alcohol in Fox's system drew him from such a well-concocted fantasy, eyelids peeling back wearily. "Depressant, Russell. Will not assist in the proper balance I am attempting to maintain..." A hard swallow. Fox's embarrassment for the disgust of such a beverage refused to surface. Typical, social interaction. Drink. Speak. Repeat. Perhaps this would loosen his mental blockage. A wiser tone in Fox's skull informed him of the foolishness he would be pulled asunder into.

Not worth any risk. Control of himself was of upmost importance when he could not control his environment. Eyes trained to Russell. A red, plastic cup now placed into Fox's grasp. He dared not observe the amber colored liquid, as if it were meant to assault him the moment he averted his focus. A clink against the two cups. Fox attempted to curl his lips in a smile. "If we retreat to my home I can prepare some festivities. I have some music I can play. Much more considerate to one's ears than this current ensemble..." His mouth curved naturally, downwards and relaxed.

"I will give you ten dollars if you pretend to know me..."

Fox's attention broke from his pleasant thoughts of reclining with his mutual survivor (Poppy and Lilo would refer to such beings as friends). Confusion took over his visage. How could he pretend to know her? This was his flora's living partner. Nora. Yes. He recalled her. He did not know how many words they have shared, or whether or not he could count them on his fingers. "No need for payment. Nora, yes?" Pressing his knuckles to his throat, Fox lifted his cup. Meeting his lips...

He imagined this is what urine would have been flavored. Desperate. Desperate. He counted. Un. Deux...

Swallow. A gentle grimace encased his demeanor. Without thought of consequence, Fox's fingers drifted to Russell's arm. Draped over him. Protective and brotherly. Squeeze. Not enough to break the skin. To decorate crescents. To taint the skin pink. Enough to inform. "Are you not safe? Do inform us if there is an intent of bodily harm..."
 

CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Chat Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time, Private Convo Roleplays
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A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
My Usual Online Time
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
Genre You DON'T Like
I am generally not a huge fan of RPing Fandom, but it can depend.
Russell Morris

"Numbs the pain, Foxy. At least you get to pick your poison." Russell drawled, shrugging nonchalantly. He hadn't meant to throw his own escape onto Fox, but it was a party. A sip or two wouldn't kill him. At Fox's offer at an alternative house party, Russell broke into a grin, laughing. "That sounds pretty fun, Foxy. This music is definitely a little... eh... harsh? I swear that bass is giving me a heart attack." Another swig of beer traveled down his throat.

"I will pay both of you ten dollars to pretend like you know me..."

With a smirk, Russell burst into a bellowing laugh, and then took another swig. "Hope that does it for you. Wow, you're hilarious!" Then he leaned in slightly. "Did that cover you... uh... Nora?" He glanced at Fox. That's what he said her name was, right? Russell waved his hand dismissively. "Like my man here said. No need for payment. Who ya runnin' from? Everyone's always runnin' from someone at parties like these, I swear. Bitchy ex? Annoying friend? Been there done that. Stick with us, ma'am. We're the real life of the party."

Fox's arm snaked across Russell's broad shoulders and squeezed, and Russell grinned. "Hey! Look at you, loosenin' up! Alright, man. And I don't think there's anyone plannin' to harm this lady here. I mean, though, if there is, let us know. I'll beat 'em up for ya." Russell promised as he took another swig, wrapping his own arm around Fox.

Cries of 'fire hour' erupted, and Russell tch'd, rolling his eyes. "Jeez, the people here are really into this fire hour crap, huh?" He expected a little light show. Maybe one in the shape of a heart, but that'd be the biggest. But the screams grew wilder and the music grew louder and as Russell gazed up and upon the sudden booming and crackling shower, his jaw went slack, wiping away the grin.

His hold on Fox came loose, while his grip on the plastic cup grew so tight that it crumpled in his hand, liquid sloshing out. The relentless crescendo of the fireworks rattled Russell more than the bass of the music ever could have, eyes glassy and gaze far off. A damn load of pretty sparklers had managed to thrust him back into the barracks, the endless horrors of..

"W-w-well th-then. Th-th-that's f-fuck-kin' l-loud." Russell wheezed, slapping Fox's shoulder and stumbling back. "I... a-am getting an-nother dri-ink."

KatSea KatSea Elle Joyner Elle Joyner
 
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Elle Joyner

I guess...
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
As Zal and Poppy wandered off in search for s'more supplies, Sim's attention shifted to another familiar face, and laughing at the teasing accusation, he shrugged, "More like, I know better than to try and keep this little terror from food when she wants it. Just about lost my arm getting here."

His gaze drifted back to the crowd, gathering now around these supposedly famed burgers, and rubbing the back of his neck, he shook his head, "I haven't tried one, no. Gotta say, being the guy who's gotta serve these people burgers tomorrow for a living, I'm a little bit intimid--augh!" A burst of flames overhead spread in colorful cacophony, with an explosion in the sky and ripped across Simeon's chest. Pain lanced as Navi suddenly, inexplicably bolted again.

This time, her motion pulled away from the grills and as she nearly yanked her owner's shoulder from it's socket, Sim bore down, just barely managing to hang on to the leash in hand. His eyes flicked up to see what had spooked her, and he could just barely make out the woman, stumbling around the outskirts of the block party. Her cries for help were nearly drowned out by another raucous pop of fireworks, but Navi's keen ears perked and swearing, Sim tugged to keep her from running again, "Navi! Knock it off, would you! You're gonna break my--" Frantic barks erupted then, and with another forceful yank, the leash snapped out of his grasp and Navi launched across the lawn, Simeon racing behind.

"You might be the first person who's ever felt that way..." Sage remarked with a small chuckle, as Anton commented on her name, "Though I guess considering how I lead with that... It's probably my fault no one uses the full version."

His eyes flickered to the phone a minute faster than Sage could hide it, and a wry smile formed, head bobbing with a nod, "You could say that. My parents... They're uh... Not exactly thrilled I decided to venture out on my own. They've been scheming for weeks now, trying to get me to give it up." Looking up at him, her smile softened, "Thank God for stubborn, right? And hey... Tell your sister thanks. Cause I don't mind the company."

His sudden shift was met with a curious look, brow raised as he stripped off his sweater and knelt in front of her. It wasn't until he'd tied off the sweater ovet the brace that she realized what he was doing, and cheeks warming, Sage beamed, "...And folks say chivalry's dead. That's... Wow. Thank y-- Oh... What...?"

Chanting suddenly and unnervingly filled the air, shortly before an explosion of colors lit up the sky and Sage jumped at the sudden sound, eyes skimming the heavens with a mark of awe filling the momentary concern, "Oh... Wow."

Nora breathed out a sigh of relief as the hulk exploded in laughter and through her peripherals, she caught sight of the familiar figure skulking off, no doubt to chirp in the ear of some other unsuspecting victim.

"No bodily harm, Fox." Looking to the odd man with a small smile, she shrugged, "Just avoiding Suzie Homemaker and her army of creepy blond clones. Thought I shook her off going to Jofie's butt, damn, if she isn't persistent. Anyway... You're both heroes. Drinks on me. Thank-- I'm sorry. Are they... chanting??"

With a sudden loud series of bursts, like canons exploding over the cult-like cries for fire, the night sky bloomed with fireworks, but Nora's eyes didn't filter up. Looking to the brute of a man before her, her expression adjusted to one of concern, "You alright there, Hercules? Looking a little pale..."

She cast a glance to Fox, the concern deepening, "Maybe you should sit?"
 
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Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
Original poster
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A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
A bit of both, lean more towards passive.
Favorite Genres
Modern, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Drama, Action.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Mystery (I like them, just not good at it)
GM Post: Come Together (Over Jerry)


“Help! Help, please! He’s lost his damn mind!!”

Odessa sprinted through the lawns and bustling throng of partygoers faster than she had ever moved in her thirty-eight years of living. Sweat rolled down her overheated face, soaking through and ruining whatever waves she had spent hours beforehand ironing into her hair. With every distracted reaction she received from careless neighbors, the more and more her frustration climbed--

“The hell is going on?”

Except for one voice. A male one, disgruntled but swimming with a panic that was oddly sweet to Odessa’s ears. Finally--finally! The woman came to a stop before Ami, hand resting over her pounding heart as she struggled to catch her breath. “Jerry--it’s Jerry! H-he’s in the house! Gasoline, everywhere! He’s gonna… He’s gonna light himself and the whole damn place on fire!”

Shilia, who had followed after Ami the moment she registered the screams and concern in his visage, appeared towards the tail end of Odessa’s babbling. It was more than enough for the pale woman to connect the dots, however, and she grew impossibly paler in response. “O-oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear… M-ma’am? It’s okay, just… take us to him. W-we’ll try and… and…”

And what? Shilia didn’t have the slightest clue. She wasn’t trained for a crisis situation like this, wasn’t emotionally nor physically built for this kind of pressure. She was nothing more than a tea-loving bookworm.

Regardless, whatever regrets she had were thrown under the bus as Odessa seized her and Ami by the wrists. “We’ve got to hurry!” In short order, she dragged them back to Phil’s house, coming to stop in his lawn where even more civilians had gathered in a mixture of craving more burgers and catching onto the rumor of Odessa’s panicking. She nudged through the extra bodies angrily--if none of them were going to help, she could care less about fake friendliness right now. She pointed ahead. “In there! Jerry could light the place up any…”

And then her hand fell.

The front door was closed shut.

“That… That idiot didn’t!” Rushing forward, Odessa pulled and yanked at the knob, only to be met with what she dreaded.

The door was locked.

“Shit!” She tossed a glance over her shoulder, desperation climbing at the appearance of another man chasing after his dog. “Help me open this! Quick!”

* * *

Anton cleared his throat awkwardly at Elisage’s reaction, not entirely sure how to reciprocate or respond to the sentiment. In the end, he just nodded and sat back down on the bench, posture hunched.

“Don’t worry about it,” he muttered, focusing on the cuts and calluses decorating his fingers, “Sis always said that I might be an ass, but she’s determined to make me an ass with manners. If that, uh, makes any sense.”

His brow furrowed. “Scheming…” At first, Anton held partial sympathy on the parents’ part--if it were up to him, he’d be slow to venture out and leave his family behind too. One never knew when something like that could just… However, with her mentioning of “scheming”, hesitance overwhelmed the sympathy--skeptical, in fact. He squinted in confusion. “Well, nothing about that shit sounds convoluted at all,” he drawled sarcastically. “I’m sure it’ll be fine. I guess stubbornness can be a good thing when you really need it--sounds like a perfect fit for your smothering gene donors situation.”

And then there were explosions. Bright. Colorful. Abrupt. Incredibly loud--as if the increasingly rowdy volume of the concert wasn’t disturbing enough. At the awed reaction from Elisage, Anton relaxed somewhat, letting his jaw slacken enough to let his grimace melt away. He didn’t want to ruin this for her.

“It’s uh… It’s beautiful and all. Just wish they wackjobs didn’t have to chant Fire Hour like some kind of cult…” Oh. That was a coincidentally dumb comparison. Sourness almost bubbled up his chest, but he managed to extinguish the feeling before it had a chance to surface.

* * *

“Whoaaaa--dudes! And duddettes! The heck is going on??”

Bay blinked at the foreign disembodied voice. She looked about, failing to matching a face to the exclamation at first--there were just too many people to count, especially since the total was steadily climbing by the second. It honestly peeved Bay off to see so many individuals showing up, yet a single finger refused to raise in assistance to the screams. She and Peggy had responded to the distress call immediately, which lead them to standing a few feet behind Odessa as she wrangled the door.

“Uh--Hey! Yeah, haha! Over here! This cutie!”

At the second calling, Bay managed to pick out the newbie. It was some blonde dude, likely her and Peggy’s age, with a tall and lanky stature. In fact, there was something incredibly goofy yet confident about his demeanor; he jogged clumsily up to the pair of friends and took a moment to smooth out his black Fifth Element shirt before addressing them.

“You see all this insanity going on?? It’s--like--the opposite of sane!” he sputtered while jabbing a thumb towards Phil’s quarantined house.

Bay took a tiny step back. She was never savvy about talking with strangers, let alone abrasive ones. “I… yeah? It’s crazy--”

“Bay…” Suddenly, abruptly, and to Bay’s utter confusion, Peggy’s hand tightened significantly around hers. Her banana-haired friend had lost all traces of careless radiance in her visage, which was now branded with a stoic expression, a guarded mist coating her eyes. “Don’t talk to him. We gotta go.”

The blonde man didn’t seem to notice Peggy’s stealthy hostility, so he merely held a hand out towards Bay. “Oh! Uh--Stan! By the way! My man, haha! If you couldn’t tell what I was talking about, ya know? I bet your name’s as pretty as you are, right cutie?”

“U-um…” Bay shot Peggy an uncertain look from her peripherals, completely floored and lost. What did her best friend have against this Stan guy? Despite her aversion to social interaction and overly bright personalities, he seemed decent in her book. However, if Bay trusted anyone in this situation, it was Peggy. She always would, no matter what. “It’s not important. Like Peggy said, we have to go,” Bay muttered.

Stan blinked and lowered his hand. “Oh. Uh, okay then! Laterz!”

Bay had every intention of leaving, but Peggy’s insisten tugging beat her to the punch. As they pulled away from Stan, Peggy burned twin holes through the man with another glare at last second. “You stay away from us,” she warned.

Stan just smiled and continued waving. “Heh… I still got it!”

* * *

Bay looked at Peggy cautiously, a hand on her arm. “Pegs… What was that about?”

Peggy’s jaw clenched. “Just stay away from him, okay? Promise me?”

Bay faltered, but nodded nonetheless. “R… right. I promise.”

* * *

Doors were locked. Odessa was yelling and banging at the door. More and more people were gathering outside…

Perfect.

If Jerry wanted to do this, he was going to do it right.

He peered through the curtains, glazed eyes taking in the panic and curiosity and hysteria. This would do just fine. It had to. It was all he ever wanted.

Look at everyone paying attention to him. Fretting. All over him. Him. Him. Just him. No one else. Not Phil. Not his stupid overrated shit piles for burgers.

Just. Him.

Jerry sat back down, resuming his previous position with the lighter cradled against his face.

“Soon,” he breathed hoarsely.

Just a little bit longer.



Tags: Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , KatSea KatSea , CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay , Iceydaze Iceydaze
 
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Iceydaze

Expert Juggler
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Chat Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Romance, Horror, Historical, Magical, Supernatural, ♥Wuxia/Xianxia♥
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry?
Olivia "Oli" Greene


One moment Olivia was chatting with Simeon about burgers, the next the roaring of the crowd drowned his voice out with a grand chant. “Fire Hour! Fire Hour! Fire Hour!” Somewhat new to this, Olivia couldn’t help wonder what they were going to do with fire for an entire hour. The chants riled up her anticipation, lighting up her eyes with expectant curiosity.

Her curiosity was sated by a faint whistle that could barely be heard over the excited crowd that surrounded them. Long streaks of light cut through the night sky before climaxing at its highest point with loud booms and a splendid display of colorful sparks bursting in all directions. It was a beautiful sight to behold, so beautiful, Olivia almost forgot to breathe. “Ooh fireworks! That makes sense!” She cried out, joyful and oblivious to Sim’s predicament. After hearing no response, did she turn to Simeon only to find him gone. A little looking around and she found him running off, racing after Navi. ’Was she frightened by the fireworks?’ She wondered to herself, worried over the dog’s state of mind.

Under the impression that Navi was frightened, Olivia ran off after the two, hoping she could be of some help to Simeon and Navi. The situation slowly made itself a little clearer to her the closer she got to the house. It wasn’t exactly what she was expecting. A woman was desperately calling for help. One would think that with such a massive crowd around, her please would be answered yet for some reason most of the bystanders simply stood by and watched.

Soon Olivia found herself in the same position as them, watching from the sidelines. The woman was banging on the door, seemingly wanting in as others gathered around to watch. Although her understanding of the situation was very unclear, Olivia at the very least understood that they wanted to go inside. But for what? A slight movement from one of the windows caught her eye. A vague shadow could be seen behind the curtains as the fireworks over head lit up the scene enough to make it out. As the firework faded into nothing, so did the shadow.

As the woman’s cries grew more urgent, Olivia felt the urge to do something; Anything to help. Out of impulse, she ran forward and grabbed a little ceramic gnome that decorated the lawn and protected the home. If it was going to fulfill its purpose, it may as well do it now. Without the slightest bit of hesitation, she hurled the gnome through the same window she had seen the shadow in. It was only at the sound of the glass shattering that she realized her actions were really stupid. Her fingers moved calculating the amount she would need to pay the owner to make it up to them.

“Oh god, what did I just-” She paused in the midst of her counting as a familiar scent drifted out from the house. Gasoline. The fine hairs on the back of her neck stood at attention at the realization that this was more than a simple rescue. “W-we have to get out of here. No, but that person..” Conflicted, her frightened gaze swept over to the others who seemed to have gathered to help as well completely at a loss as to what to do.

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Simeon & Navi Elle Joyner Elle Joyner
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Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
A bit of both, lean more towards passive.
Favorite Genres
Modern, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Drama, Action.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Mystery (I like them, just not good at it)
Collab: Fire Hour and All Ain't Well | Interactions: Simeon Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , Ami KatSea KatSea , Shilia & Jerry | Location: Phil's House

Fire hour…

The deafening crack of fireworks overhead resonated like a warfield, with such certain ferocity, it was easy to assume that Navi had been spooked… And in a sense, not entirely wrong. But it wasn't the pyrotechnics overhead that had frightened her… it was the awful cries of panic from the woman racing across her front lawn, and upon seeing the frantic woman, Simeon's chest tightened, posture rigid.

She turned, called to him and to the other man who had come to see the fuss, and Sim's grip tightened as Navi continued to drag him forward, ruthlessly.

Crash!

Glass shattered and Navi barked in response, Sim canting his head to see Olivia standing beside the ruined window.

That might've solved the locked door problem, but that, decidedly, wasn't the biggest issue they appeared to be facing. As the air from inside drifted out, the cloying, heady scent of gasoline flooded his senses, a figure barely visible inside… Something was wrong here. Very wrong.

Turning, he held the leash out to Olivia, frowning, “Just hang on to her, okay? Nav… Stay!” Turning the to Shilia, another vaguely familiar face and the man she had arrived with, he gestured first to Odessa, “Shilia… Can you try to keep her calm and quiet? And you…” He pointed to the man, “I'm gonna go in the front… Can you flank the house and see if you can get in through the back? Could be trouble.”

Oh, God. Well, he supposed that would have been the smartest way to approach the goddamn psycho who decided that he was gonna blow his house to smithereens with innocent morons parading around to, godforbid, socialize. Yep. Ami fucking regretted listening to his sister and not sitting down with her to have a marathon of some goddamn British Baking show. Swallowing down what must have been liquid concrete seeping down his throat, Ami’s eyes flickered from the broken window, to the man and his excitable dog. Ami had been here long enough to at least recognize the canine, who Azalea had easily fallen in love for and would have given her entire life’s fund to make sure it had been given enough treats to satisfy a pound of mutts. Without even realizing it, an exhale of a swear escaped him, muffling the gentle buzz at the side of his coat.

“Isn’t this how horror movies happen?” But hey! At least if you get your head chopped off by an axe wielding psychopath, you don’t have to handle this bullshit anymore! Azalea would miss you horribly...but at least it would be going down in style~. Nope. Nope. Azalea. In the area. Nope. Don’t want her freaked out. God fucking d-. “Fine. Fine. I’ll try and get in through the back. If you can’t get in through the front, try and join me in the back or squeeze through the window, which our fine madam has gladly shattered. Nice job.” God, no, don’t call her what has come to mind. What did Azalea say about manners now? No way to make friends? But if it causes my demise sooner...worth it or no?

Without wasting another exhale (as much as he would have liked to), Ami briskly paced towards the back of the home, working on a rhythm that Azalea had lulled him into when he was feeling, as she described it, bluesy. Centering his breath and focusing on the heave and fall of his chest, his eyes soon caught sight of the back door. Dread slithered down his spine, muscles in his neck tensing uncomfortably. Approaching the entrance with one hand extended, his fingers curled around the knob and with a soft horror piercing the back of his eyes, he realized it was unlocked. Yep. I’m about to be fucked royally. And not in the nice way.

“I…” Shilia found herself rooted by the ankles, unable to right herself as so much unfolded in the span of a single breath. Her night was supposed to be full of socializing, perhaps earning the friendship of Ami and further making a bashful bookworm fool of herself, not this… But, in the end, she supposed that didn’t matter.

From what she could grasp, lives were at stake.

“Yes! I can.” Nodding at Sim, Shilia quickly paced over to Odessa, who was reduced to a trembling mess of nerves and unfiltered energy. Just as the woman was within reach, Shilia had to loop an arm around her own when she started towards the busted window. “Ma’am? Ma’am! Please, th-that wouldn’t be wise--”

“But Phil!” Odessa yelled, her eyes bloodshot and sore with a thick film of tears. Loosening the massive sleeve of her sweater, Shilia hastily yet gently dabbed away at the elder woman’s face.

“I know… But… Please. Stay back with me. We’ll call the authorities, alright? Just bare with us,” Shilia said. At first, Odessa seemed to hold a slew of protests on her tongue, only to catch herself at last moment… Her shoulders visibly slumped with defeat.

“Okay… O-okay. Police. I can…” She quickly fished out her phone and dialed the authorities, a free hand latched onto the comfort of Shilia’s sweater.

"The only difference between a horror movie and a comedy is the music." Sim noted, with an uneasy shrug, to Ami's less than optimistic statement, "So hum some ridiculous song in your head and we'll come outta this laughing."

As everyone moved away to man their stations, Sim gave one last look around, before moving to the shattered window. Pulling his zipdown sweater over his head, he trapped his hands in the thick, knitted fabric, and with a breath, heady from the scent of gas, he heaved himself up over the sill and dropped cautiously inside.

"Hey, Phil?" He called into the darkened interior, "You here, bud?" He paused a bit, in the hollow silence, dropped his sweater from his hands, before calling out again, "Jerry?"

Good Christ, dog whisperer wanted him to sing a little merry tune as he was going into bomb-voyage territory? Whelp. If Ami was gonna go out, might as well be with a freaking bow. What the hell did Azalea always hum at home to soothe her nerves? Sandman something? Alright, fine. “Mister Jigsaw, let my blood stream, be the cutest cliche that I’ve ever seen. Mister Jigsaw ...bum bum bum….” Ami’s brow raised as with the childish murmurings, he latched his fingers around the knob and pried the door open. Didn’t most people lock the back door? Especially if they were out during a celebration? Perhaps this poor fellow wasn’t as anxious or as paranoid as Ami could be when it came to his household and who resided within, but a trickle of nerves raced up his spine.

“Hey, do you like scary movies?” He whispered to himself, tracing his steps gingerly as he entered the household. Looked normal enough, if there hadn’t been that disgusting scent flurrying about. Raising his collar and encasing the lower half of his face, Ami took a shaky breath. “Hey! Phil my man, how you holding up?” He called out, surprised to feel a twinge or flight or fight attempting to crawl into his skull. Nope. Nope. He was not gonna submit himself to that of all things. Despite this, a small tremble encased his knuckles. “My brother it’s sort of wretched in here ...Phil?” His eyes squinted as he moved further into the house, a wave of nausea turning in his stomach. “J-Jerry?”

The moment Jerry’s name left Sim’s lips, there was the soft creak of footsteps. They were close, incredibly so, and came from right behind the man. Jerry’s hulking and gasoline-soaked form emerged from the shadows, something glinting within his grasp. He swung swiftly, only for the power of his attack to veer his aim wide and just barely skim the cloth of his shirt. He stumbled a bit, scrambling to right himself as he watched Sim like a cornered animal, the knife pointed at him trembling wildly.

“Don’t make me…” he rasped, a shaky and demented smile twisting his lips. Perhaps sad. Perhaps crazed. It was a myriad of discombobulated emotions that never belonged together. “You can’t make me! I’ll be remembered! They’ll remember!”

Instinct. Pure instinct was all that kept Sim from a very inexpensive and unpleasant piercing, as he drove himself backwards, away from the swipe. Heart pounding, eyes widening, he held up his arms in front of him - both to protect himself, and to indicate that he meant no harm.

“Easy! Easy, Jerry! Woah, there…” His mind revolving wildly around the plethora of thoughts that slammed into him with the force of a buick, he tried to grasp exactly what the other man was saying, “I’m not sure what’s going on, man… But… but listen. We all wanna be remembered, you know? Hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t. This, though? This isn’t the way to do it. You do this, Jerry, and you aren’t gonna be remembered for anything good. That what you want? The rest of the town thinkin’ you were some smacked out monster before you went? Nah… Jerry. That’s not right. You know that. Guy like you? Smart as hell… decent. Way folks talk about you? You seem better than that…”

Ami stopped short in his tracks as a foreign voice shot across the hallway, and within a few moments, was soon registered as Jerry himself, whose emotions(and seeming craziness, God help the souls who foolishly wandered into a ticking time bomb), were palpable from this distance. Okay. Plan A. Talk Jerry down. Plan B should have included some form of physical force, but...There wasn’t time for him to scramble through the kitchen to find a decent weapon. And besides, Ami did not want it to go down just like that. Perhaps a little more smoothly, you know, less violent swings and blows and more “come on man lets just both have a shot and express our woes together”.

Quietly making his way from the hallway into the open room, noting immediately the presence of a stumbling Simeon, he gently raised a finger to his lips to signal silence about his arrival, although whether or not Jerry had detected his presence remained unknown. If Jerry had attempted to make a move towards Simeon, Ami knew he was going to have to pry that knife away from his hands. Now that, is how I’d like to go out. Died as he lived, being a total fucking moron..
He raised his hand silently, signalling to Jerry before giving a nod, then shaking his head. You want me to do something stupid or nah. I can go either way to be honest.

Jerry fell silent as he stared at Simeon, his hold on the knife slackening ever so slightly… But no. No, no, no--empty words. The preaching of a person who’d never remember him. Would never come to understand how hard Jerry tried every single day to make it by with that damnable plastic smile. It was all merely flowery anecdotes to make him lower his guard, just so that someone could get the jump on him--

Like the second person attempting to sneak up behind him. Ami was decently stealthy, but the absolute paranoia coursing through Jerry’s veins had enhanced his awareness like a veteran tossed back into the throes of war. His grip on the knife tightened once more…

And he spun around to charge Ami, blade swinging out in an attempt to slice at the man. However, the corner of a coffee table smacked into his ankle, sending a painful throb up his leg and all of him down to the floor. Jerry stumbled, scrambling to right himself as he flashed teeth like a wild animal.

As soon as Ami made his approach and Jerry spun, a curse exhaled from Simeon’s lips and without waiting, he sprinted towards the man with the knife. It was stupid. It was incredibly stupid, and if he lived, he was probably going to regret it, but he’d dragged Ami into this mess, and he wasn’t going to go down as the guy who got other people killed… If that was even something people were remembered for.

Racing forward, he took the moment Jerry stumbled into the table and with whatever advantage he could muster, slammed into his back.

“Hey wait!” Ami was horrified to find panic dripping from the call that escaped his mouth, unsure of how such survival instincts slipped into the back of his head. Any other day this would have been a fine thought, but now that it was manifesting in front of him, he found a twinge of humanity returning to his head. Which wasn’t a good thing as a knife wielding manic tripped over himself and crawled towards you like the fucking psycho woman from the Ring. About to pounce back, to somehow return with a jab of his foot, somehow get the knife out of his grasp, Simeon completed half of the job ahead and nearly slammed the man back into the floor.

G-good. Good. Zale would not want this to end any other way. Nor would Simeon or Shilia, I guess.

Without full consciousness(and certainly he wouldn’t remember the exact steps he had taken later in the day), Ami rushed towards the fallen man and slammed his heel between the man’s shoulder blades. Once he had successfully pinned him back to the ground, Simeon on top of him, Ami reached for the man’s arm and twisted it behind his back, using his remaining hand to pry the knife from his grip. “Easy there Jerry. Easy. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…Y-you alright Simeon?”

“Just fantastic…” Simeon half groaned, as he did his best to hold on to Jerry, while Ami snapped the knife free, “...But if you wanna be quick about this, I’m not gonna complain…”

In the middle of their conversation, Jerry struggled against the hold aggressively, bearing teeth in a show of pain and fury as his arm twisted behind his back. He wiggled and thrashed, jaw clenching more and more against the sensation flaring up to his shoulder. He refused to be put down like this. To be dismissed like this. He refused. He refused. He refused!

With an enraged roar, he snapped an elbow into Simeon’s chest, just hard enough to make his grip slack, and yanked free of Ami’s grip. There was the ever so faint sound of a pop emitting from the man’s shoulder socket, but he paid it no mind as he made a mad scramble for the hallway leading to the backyard.

Swearing beneath his breath, Simeon quickly scrambled to his feet. Reasoning hadn’t worked, and force hadn’t been too effective, either… It was pretty clear Jerry was determined to do whatever it was he’d set in his mind to do - and given that he wasn’t exactly in his right mind, it didn’t seem like a spectacular idea to let him get away.

“Fuck!” So much for being quick with the lunatic who may or may not have killed his neighbor? Depends on whether or not they could actually find...but for the meantime, he was escaping, and if there was any chance of finding the homeowner...They would need Jerry to calm down and explain what exactly happened. Only, Ami doubted that this would happen. Good Christ. He was right, going out tonight was a horrific idea. Thanks, fucking Azalea. Whatever, right now he just needed to focus his sights on Jerry and...wow when did he get so far ahead? Ami swore he was in shape, good Christ but...Damn, he was gonna need to fix that for the next time he went on a high speed chase through some stranger’s backyard. That’s right, this was about to be a biweekly gig.

Sprinting after Simeon, somewhat ashamed at the sudden sharp decrease in breath, Ami lunged close towards Jerry, only to have his hold shaken off and for him to stumble to an awkward stop. “Crap...crap one second.” A pause. Despite the attempted failure, Ami continued his pursuit.

The adrenaline pumping through Jerry’s vein was still present, but nowhere near as abundant as before. He winced with every spike of pain rippling through his shoulder, which swung limply at his side, and found himself slowing down the further he went. The forest was just up ahead; if he could get there, it’d all be a matter of disappearing behind the foliage.

Gnashing his teeth, Jerry roamed the past racing past him, desperate for any sort of leverage… Then he spotted it. With a grunt, he snatched up a rusted hammer, one of many of Phil’s misplaced tools, and continued sprinting.

He wouldn’t hesitate to break bone if either of them tried to stop him.

As he burst through the door, to his side, Sim immediately caught sight of a lawn chair. The safety of Phil… of the townspeople… hell, of Jerry himself, relied on catching the man. It wasn't something Sim was thrilled to do, but they needed to cut him off if they were going to accomplish anything. Snagging one of the chairs, he took a step and the pain of the bruise he'd received from the elbow to the chest rippled as he chucked it as far as he could.

Watching with dismay as it fell a few feet shy of Jerry's escaping form, he looked to Ami, "We need to stop him, now!"

“No shit Sherlock.” Ami hissed, eyes squinting wearily as Simeon failed to slam the plastic chair into Jerry’s backside. Well, this was a considerable problem, considering he crouched down long enough to acquire an item in his grasp. Ah, fuck it, Ami didn’t have a death wish today, bizarrely enough, and figured that if he didn’t want to get blugeoned to death or brutally stabbed, he was going to try and handle the situation from afar. But what the hell was he gonna use? It's not like Jerry had a hose out here or a possible gun…

Oh God. This was a literal longshot, but Ami did recall the brief time in high school where he considered throwing discus, and if he learned anything from television, if you saw the action at least once you could replicate it to perfection to get out of a sticky situation. Or some horse shit like that.

Ha. He could...he could at least look like a dumbass in front of Simeon. He might as well have a little fun. Rushing over to the tire, eyes wide and realizing just how ridiculous of a plan was riding through his head, Ami’s fingers dug underneath the tire and lifted it from the ground, surprised to feel that his strength was enough to support the weight, at least somewhat. Okay, once he got a good grip…

He was surprised to find that it took no time at all to lift the item off the ground, and with a swinging start as his heels pivoted into the fresh dirt, reminding him somewhat of twirling Wick in their living room, he found his fingers leaving the worn rubber of the tire before he could think to let go. Swiveling to a stop, he placed his hand to his temple and watched with wide and wild eyes as the tire collided with Jerry, sending him sprawling into the ground. “Holy shit that worked! Holy shit! Screw YOU Jerry!”

Jerry was quick to leap away from the rogue lawn chair flying his way, somewhat caught off guard that one of the new neighbors would actually consider it as a weapon. However, his attention was so drawn to the bizarre object that he had no chance realized an even stranger object rocketed after him. A surprised and pained cough ejected from his lungs as the tire nailed him in the spine, face smashing hard into dirt.

The nearby sound of police sirens. The authorities Shilia had called were drawing close.

The large man groaned. The adrenaline failed him completely now; every ounce of pain, exhaustion, and jumbled hysteria resurfaced, and with it came the inability to move. He growled in pure, raw, unfiltered frustration and ire, fingers curling deeply into the grass and leaving behind trenches.

They wouldn’t forget him.

Car doors began to open and slam shut, feet trampling through the house. It was over.

But they would never… ever... “Ever… forget! Me!” Jerry snarled.

“Are you two alright?” It was Shilia’s voice that carried into the backyard, squeezing back the bodies of armed police officers and rushing up to Ami and Simeon.

"Nice one!" Simeon called, as Jerry went down hard, clapping Ami on the shoulder. It was an unfortunate end to what was meant to be a fun night and Jerry was a mess, but he'd hopefully get the help he needed, now…

Turning around, Sim spotted Shilia racing their way, giving her a nod, "Not too shabby on my end, but no sign of Phil. We need to find him… he might be hurt."

“Sorry, what's your name again? I didn’t catch it.”

Ami called out towards Jerry with an unapologetic chuckle, realizing his hands trembled from the action they had committed. He had to admit, that did give him somewhat of a rush. “Ah. Thanks man.” He commented as a hand clapped to the back of his shoulder, Ami following suit and giving Simeon a hearty pat on the back.

“I didn’t throw my back out or anything in the process of that event. Not at all.” Eyes flickering towards a familiar voice, Ami caught sight of Shilia (which he had to admit, as much as he wish he had more time to try and socialize with her, he was ecstatic to have done this). He swallowed. “Ah, I think Simeon and I are alright. Not too bad of a scuffle with mister Joey over there or something.” Ami caught a glance of Simeon, and with a flash of realization, he nodded. “Shit...if the house is safe to go into that should be searched by the police...maybe the basement or if possible the attic? I don’t know where Johnson could have put Phil.”

Shilia was just about to agree in kind until Jerry’s enraged hollowing filled the air. “Let me go! Let me go—I will be remembered I swear to God!” He was dragged ruthlessly across the yard, his boots digging into the ground and ripping out patches of grass. And yet, his efforts were futile.

As he passed the trio and overheard Ami’s comment, he lunged violently towards them and snarled, baring teeth like a rabid beast. “Do you know what you’ve done! Huh! Do you?!” The officers yanked him back and dragged him inside, his distressed yell echoing like a man walking to Deaths Row. “No! Don’t take me back there! Please don’t! ``I-I learned my lesson!”

His voice faded into white noise.

Hands trembling and gaze glued to where Jerry was mere seconds ago, Shilia murmured, “Well, th-that was…” She cleared her throat. “Agreed. I think police are sweeping the basement right now but the attic may be open to look around.”

Watching Jerry with a mixture of sympathy and disquieted note, Simeon shook his head, "Wonder what he meant… take him back there?" Shaking his head, his gaze returned to the pair, "Don't think we should wait for them, then. Dunno what condition the guy's in…" Heading for the back door, he looked over his shoulder, "Coming?"

Despite Ami’s antics, his shoulders visibly tensed as Jerry continued to scream, the authorities having safely put him under custody. All jokes aside, Ami had a twinge of sympathy for the man as he begged to be remembered, but within this empathy a swirl of confusion and concern billowed in his stomach. Besides the fact this man clearly had something wrong with him and that he could have easily driven Phil six feet under ground, another sense twinged at the back of Ami’s mind. Something...more than just a jealous neighbor. He figured if the second act were to follow, a priest or man of authority would approach him and to beware of demons and mirrors, or an evil talking doll..

“Don’t think swearing to Sky Pops is gonna do you any good, bub.” Ami replied sleepily, swallowing down the disgust that came from watching the man squirm. His final words, however, are what stung Ami’s heart the wrong way, that they had screwed up, sent somewhere where he had been before…

This fucking maniac been in the slammer before? Not the first Phil he had murdered? A grimace briefly graced his features. “Think he may have already served his nickel…” He grumbled under his breath, eyes darting to Shilia before focusing in on Simeon.. “Yeah. I don’t think this is the first time Jerry fucking lost his head.”

“I’ve...I’ve got nothing better to do, I guess.” Azalea was gonna kill him later. That...that actually killed two birds with one stone. Heh. Stepping behind Simeon, he glanced hesitantly at Shilia “You coming or...this whole shit has been sort of stressful so I get it if you’d rather not.”

“He seemed like such a sweet man before all of this,” Shilia said, her mind traversing over the few memories she had of Jerry’s smiling face. She had been living in Moss Creek a few months now and she’d never seen any warnings or signals, no indicator of the man falling into a spiral… It was so sudden. Bizarrely so. Shaking off her thoughts, she continued, “No… N-no, it’s quite alright. I can stay. I’m just as worried about Phil and, honestly, no matter how insane the night has been, I’d rather spend it next to you two.” The woman almost hesitated towards the tail end of her sentence, wondering if that was a normal admission to give out, let alone one to have so early into getting to know Ami and Simeon.

She cleared her throat awkwardly and walked into the house. Fortunately, it wasn’t hard to spot the hatch in the ceiling and lowering the wooden staircase leading up into it took far less effort. What gave Shilia slight pause was the flurry of ancient dust that rolled out like a fog, making her squint and cough in offense for her poor lungs. Regardlessly, she ascended with the men.

Phil seriously needed to clean this place out.

It was filled to the brim with junk and old knick knacks, along with boxes overflowing with rusted tools. A tall item of some sort was crammed into the east corner and draped entirely by a white tarp, which was also holding more grime than the stuff she’d seen at the Moss Creek library. The floorboards creaked ominously with every step she took… though it wasn’t many to begin with. She wasn’t exactly pouncing on the other of delving into this unsanitary mess.

But still, from first glance, she didn’t see a body. “Well… perhaps we’ll find a clue? Surely, there’s some reason Jerry targeted Phil and maybe… Maybe this is our starting point.”

As Shilia headed up to the attic, Simeon stuck close. He was never one to assume a woman couldn’t take care of herself, but he was also raised right, and letting her meander around in the creepy attic was something his grandmother would’ve cross stitched his hand to his forehead. That being said, he was also fairly certain Phil wasn’t up there… Not with the cloud of dust that had rained down on them when the hatch had been opened.

Frowning, he looked around, all the same.

Across the dingy attic, he could see a glass front curio cabinet, which at first glance appeared empty, save for the clear indicators that Phil wasn’t exactly Adrian Monk levels of clean. Still, he had seen Nona’s similar cabinet, and the amount of nooks and crannies it held out of eyeline was imaginative. A brow raised, he nodded to it, “Gonna just check inside…”

Heading for it, he pulled open the doors and peered inside. A sweep with his eyes revealed little more than what he’d expected, and the dust more than tickled his sinuses. A sudden and sharp sneeze echoed through the attic, scattering cobwebs and dust from the wood of the second shelf, and as his eyes opened again, the brow quirked higher…

“...The hell?” Scratches marred one of the boards at the back, like something caused by a tool. Removing the shelf, he leaned in further, and giving a knock, listened to the hollow resonance. Knees in the quarter-inch dust puddle in front of the cabinet, now, his fingers curved into the edges of the cutout, and with a small pop he freed the cutout, “Shilia… You got your cell on you? I could use some light.”

“Maybe he just snapped and Phil happened to be the person he snapped at.” Ami had seen it prior, someone had seemed normal one day and then the next snapped at the closest person available, sometimes himself and sometimes Azalea. But instinct once again tickled his spine and he felt uneasy. This was...not just about jealousy or superiority complex. Ami, taken by his thoughts, did not notice Shilia or Simeon moving away from him, and instead found himself to be transfixed by the white, cruelly stained tarp that draped itself over the wall. “Okay...if Phil is tied up back here, give me a good few muffled groans, kay bud?”

Grimacing at his own words, Ami advanced towards the tarp, and gripping the fabric gingerly, managed to tug it away from the wall where it hung. And...no Phil. In fact, nothing here. There was no cabinet, no trophies no…”Oh?” Peering up, Ami caught sight of a metallic object nailed into the wall above him, staring down at him with a clear, seemingly older lense. Cheap. Crappy. Ami couldn’t tell the brand, but he definitely knew that this was a security camera nailed into the wall.

“The fuck?” He questioned, brow raised, inspecting the object over and over again to be sure his eyes weren’t screwing with him. Who in hell had a security camera in their attic? Unless Phil had a secret space with the family’s fortune tucked inside he highly doubted he would have required the need for such a device. In fact, Ami could guess that with the condition this place was in, it was possible that Phil hadn’t been up here in awhile.

“Alright, time to see what this thing is made of.” Stepping back from the camera, Ami’s shoe barely scraped against the floorboard, and glancing down he noticed...scuff marks? The hell? Didn’t look like shoe heel marks or anything, in fact… Stepping closer to the toolbox to get a better peek, Ami noted that the scuff marks appeared to be that of a larger object. A cabinet? That safe he questioned himself earlier? Whatever it was, it was of decent size. Now, if this shotty old security camera still worked… Ami shuffled briefly through the tool box, cheery to see that a screwdriver soon laid in his grasp.

Approaching the camera once more, Ami fumbled briefly on his heel to lengthen his spine and reach above him. Struggling with the screws, as this was tightly twisted in(which shocked him due to the crappy design of the camera itself), Ami pursed his lips and found that his fingers cramped after a few minutes of struggling. However, with enough irritation and general stubbornness, Ami managed to secure the screwdriver into the upper corner, twisting and creaking the screw until it began to unwind from its prison in the wall. Peering back as he unwound the piece of metal, he plucked it from the wallboards and squinted his eyes to get a better look. Wires. Several. All running...down. Ami wasn’t the great technological user, but he had a horrific suspicion that wherever the footage went, it was somewhere in the lower levels of the house. “S-shilia? Simeon? I just...found some real creepy serial killer shit over here.”

As Simeon and Ami split up to do their own detective work, Shilia decided to do some of her own. Hands clasped politely behind her back, she walked about the attic, making sure to steer clear of her friends’ work and step over the collection of knick knacks littering the floor. So far, she didn’t notice anything particularly odd or indicative of Phil being previously present in here, aside from his personal belongings. There was a bowling ball with his name custom printed onto it but other than that, she wasn’t seeing much.

At Simeon’s call, she perked up and clumsily fumbled for her phone. “Y-yes. Of course. Excuse me.” She crouched next to the man and raised the flashlight, illuminating a hole that had sawed out of the wall behind the cabinet. Shadows peeled back to reveal some… little golden figurine resting inside. Clean and pristine. And it was a birdlike creature of some sort. Shilia’s brow furrowed with recognition. “Wait… Why does Phil have a little golden phoenix in his wall? Um… may I?”

Gingerly, she reached forward and pulled out the statue, standing to her feet and examining it curiously. Seriously, not a speck of dust was found on this thing; Phil must’ve taken seriously good care of it, though she couldn’t fathom why he’d hide it behind a cabinet rather than place on a desk or something. “It’s so clean… Why would Phil hide this? It’s rather beautiful.”

However, her attention was then drawn to Ami’s… undoubtedly worrisome declaration. “Creepy serial killer shit” wasn’t exactly at the top of her shopping list. Regardless, she shot Simeon a look and nodded over to Ami, walking over to examine what her friend had found… Okay, none of this was making much sense to Shilia. Was that… a security camera? In the attic? “None of this makes much sense to me…” she whispered, gaze falling to the gold phoenix in her hands once more. “Simeon found this hidden in the wall and now there’s a security camera, which was covered, at that… What does this even mean?” she asked, looking back and forth between the men.

Their investigations hadn’t turned up much in the way of finding Phil, but what it had uncovered was no less disturbing than the man being missing. Following Shilia to see what Ami had revealed, he felt a chill resonate along his spine in that same way he might get watching a horror movie and knowing the villain was behind the corner with the axe…

“Starting to get the feeling Phil is into some wacky stuff… Not sure I wanna know more than I do, now.” Shaking his head, he stepped away from the peep-camera, “At any rate, I don’t think Phil’s up here… and I’m not feelin’ the Scooby Doo vibes, right now.”

“Hmm?” Ami’s attention diverted from the suspicious ass camera to get a glance at the creepy ass looking trinket. However, once Ami’s eyes got a better glance at the hidden treasure, he realized how delicate and beautiful the creation actually was, and for a moment his features softened. This...did not feel right at all. Unless that little trinket Phil had hidden was worth a lot more than the three of them thought and that’s why Jerry attacked him...even then that didn’t explain the security camera. Unless this damn thing was worth so much he had to hide it and keep a camera in to observe it at all times. Even then...Jerry wouldn’t have fucking snapped over this, would he? “Well, gang, I think we have a fucking haunting on our hands. Or at the very least, a fucking conspiracy theory. I understand having cameras around the house but...the attic doesn’t make any sense unless he was hiding something in here. The only thing I can think of is that little phoenix but...that can’t be worth that much, could it? And if so, why would Jerry make Phil disappear over it? Unless there’s a soap opera twist we aren’t quite aware of just yet…” Ami’s brow furrowed.

“Well, we do have one thing we can use to possibly find out why the cameras were in use. There’s scuff marks on the floor, I think something could have been dragged across. Maybe a desk or a cabinet? That, and even better so, I have a fair idea as to where the location of the footage may have went.” He gestured his thumb downwards. “The wires lead downstairs. Which means that the footage might still be here in the house.” Perhaps, that's why Jerry fucking threatened to light himself on fire? Ami blinked. “By the way Simeon did you like, spike me with acid or something earlier cause this shit does not feel remotely real.”

“Honestly? With the bizarre happenings as of recently, I pray that no one’s been spiked with anything right now,” Shilia said, her insides twisting more and more with suspicion. Nothing about their findings made sense and she failed to make any connections between them. True, the camera must’ve been set up to keep an eye on the phoenix statue, but Phil could’ve easily just kept it in an office space or something. Anywhere that was more easily within his sight, rather than cooped up in a wall.

At Ami’s suggestion, Shilia’s nodded… only to catch herself midway, an annoying realization hitting her. “You’re likely right about the footage, Ami, but I doubt the authorities will let us look anywhere else. They’ll be up here and ordering us to leave at any second now…”

"And I'm not exactly in the mood to play Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew here, but something about all of this just… Feels wrong." Hands on his hips, Simeon eyed the statue, "Maybe it's stolen? Think we should hand it over to the police? Tell them about the cameras?"

“Mmm, that means you’re Ned, Simeon.” Ami let his lips curl up in a wary grin. “Don’t ask which one of us is Nancy, you won’t be happy with the answer.” Fighting down the nausea that came with the realization that no more exploration could be accomplished, he pressed his knuckles to his throat and gingerly rubbed it up and down the column of his neck. “Well. Here’s a plan then. We come back in a few days if they don’t find Phil by then. If they do, we forget about this. We let Phil go back to normal and forget it happened. If the police don’t, we come back. Deal?” He wasn’t sure how long the police were going to secure the house, but with the dumbass mistakes he used to make, or well, still makes, breaking into a missing person’s house didn’t come as much of a surprise. He scratched the back of his neck.

“Alright. Just...remember what you saw. Maybe take that little statue with you. Hopefully we won’t have to come back…”

Shilia was completely okay with the idea of leaving. Everything about Phil’s attic made her gut twist into knots and instincts scream at the top of their lungs. Her alarm bells had been ringing nonstop the moment Simeon found the phoenix statue. “I mean… I don’t know if we should take it…” Wasn’t this considered stealing? Even if it was evidence, she couldn’t overlook the guilt nagging at the back of her skull…

She clenched her jaw, then nodded. “Alright. We’ll take it. The sooner we’re out of here, the better. Besides, I’m worried about my brother.” Christ, that was right. Her brother! Where was he in the middle of this fiasco outbreak? Was he still safe? If Shilia had an urge to leave before, it was an undeniable obligation now. An instinctual elder sibling protectiveness. “C-come on. I’d really rather not have authorities boot us out.”

She started heading for the ladder… Only to give pause. Wait… She glanced back, squinting towards the low ceiling, specifically where that same surface met the walls. Some vents rested below the seams, which didn’t stand out as odd to Shilia; however, they were a tad… untraditional in design. The screens were metallic and thin, like tightly knit barbed wire rather than steel plates. Honestly… She was probably overthinking.

Either way, they needed to get out of here.

Shaking off the thought, Shilia started to descend.

Didn't sit right with him… not any of it. Phil was still missing, Jerry was being hauled off to God knew where and they were effectively robbing the house of the same man they should've been searching for… and he wasn't entirely sure why, but he voices none of it. There was an eerie sense of something off about the whole mess, and all he wanted was to get home and whip up a stack of blueberries pancakes the size of his head.

"Here…" Holding out a hand to Shilia, he smiled dryly, "I'll hold onto the statue. If anything goes south, I uh… I know a few lawyers I can give a call to."

When he had the statue in hand, he grimaced lightly, before tucking it into the waistband of his jeans, tugging his shirt over it, "Let's just… get out of here…"

“Christ! Azalea!” Ami muttered a long string of swears underneath his breath as he fumbled for his back pocket to retrieve the phone tucked within. His eyes narrowed as he noticed three messages from her...okay. Root beer floats with Poppy. She was safe. No police interference anyway.

“HAVE FUN FINDING SOME GIRLS!! Much <3” The last message read, causing Ami to roll his eyes as he tucked the phone back into his pocket.

“Hey man.” Ami claimed shakily, pressing the back of his hand to his forehead. “If the cops kicked us out I can check that off my bucketlist.”

Taking a deep breath after Shilia and Simeon began to descend the stairs, their decision determined with some uncertainty, Ami bit the inside of his cheek as he scoped the attic one last time. And for the first time in years, a genuine prayer began to exit Ami’s lips.



Tags: CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay , Iceydaze Iceydaze
 

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
A bit of both, lean more towards passive.
Favorite Genres
Modern, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Drama, Action.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Mystery (I like them, just not good at it)
TIME SKIP

Time - Sunday, 1 PM | Location - Moss Creek Culdesac





Bacon.

Shilia smelled bacon.

Well, that was a rather pleasant scent to wake up to and one that she happily welcomed after the bizarre happenings of last night. Once she, Ami, and Simeon vacated Phil's premises and went their separate ways, she immediately dragged Anton home, more than spooked by Jerry's breakdown. Absolutely everything about that party went downhill.

Well, almost everything.

She half-expected Anton to wake up feeling as morose as she did, yet she could hear activity downstairs. He was up--actually doing something besides work and moping around. Shilia couldn't tell if she felt relieved, suspicious, or an odd combination of the two. "Well... That's not weird at all," she sighed before groggily crawling out of bed. The woman didn't bother changing out of her pajamas nor combing out her wild dark mane, and descended the stops while half-heartedly covering a yawn of impressive proportions. "Anton...?"

"Oh. You're up. Morning." Her brother's response did indeed travel from the kitchen. Shilia entered on uncertain feet, only to stop once she was two steps inside and openly gape.

So apparently, far more than bacon was prepared.

Resting in the center of the table was a platter holding cinnamon baked bacon and sausage links. A pile of buttered toast sat on its left, while a large bowl full of fluffy scrambled eggs sat to the right. Her brother in question was currently slicing up kiwis and strawberries at the counter, half of his attention switching over to the Keurig every now and then. Vanilla roast.

Shilia's favorite.

"I..." For a handful of seconds, words failed the woman. She continued to scan her surroundings like an escape convict, as if expecting authorities to come kicking the doors down at any moment. Cautiously, she sat down at the table, drumming the wood timidly. "Are you... feeling alright?" she asked.

Anton answered without turning out. "Yeah. No better or worse than usual." Shilia squinted at how quickly the answer came, but before she could offer a rebuttal, he pushed on like a nonchalant bulldozer. "Coffee's done, by the way. Vanilla's still your favorite, right? Or am I, like, going through early onset dementia already?"

"I'd hope not," Shilia whispered under her breath. Although the questions and hesitation raged strong, she refused to appear ungrateful, especially not in the face of her brother's surprisingly generous actions. Thus, she hastily poured herself a cup, gave pause, then filled a second for Anton. He was never terribly picky when it came to coffee, as long as it gave him the extra kick he needed to "deal with people"--his words, not hers. She seated herself again and Anton followed not a moment after while setting the fruit down. He wasted little time piling food onto his plate.

And avoiding eye contact with Shilia.

Ah... She should've known something was amiss.

Unfazed, the woman also filled her plate and allowed something akin to peaceful silence to settle over them like a blanket. Nothing but the clang of forks against ceramic ruled the room; well, that and the curiosity rolling through Shilia. Finally, after five minutes of awkwardness, her patience dwindled and she cautiously placed down her fork. "At first, I was rather miffed by your actions."

Anton just grunted and shoveled more eggs into his mouth. A silent acknowledgment on his part and more than enough for his sister to continue.

"But now you're showing all the signs... What exactly are you trying to distract me from?"

Again, Anton refused to look at her. "Don't know what you're going on about--"

"Anton."

Her brother heaved a deep sigh, rubbing the center of his brow. A moment passed, then he forced himself to lock vision with her, expression bland but pensive. "...Whatever. Guess you were gonna hear about it eventually."

Shilia frowned. "About...?"

He ran a hand through his disheveled hair. "That crazy dude from last night? Police let him go already."






Good morning, neighbor!

So, so, soooo sorry about last night! Jerry didn't mean any of that. He just had a rough night.

You know how emotions can get you going.

You just never know what you're doing sometimes. Am I right?

Right!

Now that we've settled down and got a good night of rest, it's time to have a nice, relaxing Sunday.

Most of you will have work tomorrow.

But that shouldn't stop you from bonding with your fellow Moss Creek tenant.

Go make wonderful memories together!

So, please--have fun and don't forget to smile!

Ever.





Tags: KatSea KatSea , CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay , Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , Iceydaze Iceydaze
 
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Elle Joyner

I guess...
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
NORA​


There was nothing healthy about the amount of coffee Nora had consumed that morning. She had lost count after exceeding the daily recommended intake roughly four times over, and by mid-afternoon, her hands were shaking like virgin undoing a bra clasp for the first time, but the quivering anxiety in her stomach had nothing to do with the near lethal dosage of caffeine in her system.

She knew what she’d heard in that box, and it wasn’t any instrument man knew how to play. The memory of that dull thud replayed over and over in her brain like bad elevator music, the sickening weight of it haunting her, as she did everything within her power not to fall completely to pieces in the middle of the class lecture on Greater Than/Less Than.

By lunch, she had forgotten the fairly simple concept of sentence structuring, and the phantom pounding repetition of whatever was in that damn case had begun to resonate into a very non-spectral migraine, despite her blood stream having been mostly replaced by java.

As the students peeled off to the cafeteria, Nora made her way down the hall towards the office of the principal, each step driving a spike into her temples. Outside the door, with a steadying breath, she knocked.

Principal Richman had been busying himself with… the epitome of a headache. And by that, he meant the mountain of paperwork dominating his desk like Ghengis Khan. The height of one stack reached his chest and yet, he could already predict that reading the first page would reduce his patience to shambles.

Some local shops and businesses were demanding a spike in funding, despite his vehement and frequent reminders that their revenue was completely none of his concern. It never would be. All that mattered was his school and providing the bright minds of this generation with top quality education. “Leeches everywhere I go,” he sighed tiredly.

However, just as Principal Richman was about to crack open another demand from God knows who, a knock drew his attention. A shaky one, at that. Brow pinching, he removed his reading glasses and called out evenly, “Enter.”

Given permission, Nora twisted the knob and pushed the door inward, stepping past the threshold with something of an awkward air. Even being a grown woman, and working as a teaching assistant, there was still something so uncomfortable and intimidating about going to the principal’s office.

“...I’m so sorry to interrupt. D-do you have a minute?” She asked, knotting her quaking fingers together in front of her under the ruse of smoothing out her floral-patterned skirt. She didn’t wait for a response, knowing full well he wouldn’t have told her to come in if he didn’t have the time. He wasn’t, after all, one to mince words, from what she gathered, “...I was just hoping it would be alright if I took a half-day, today? I know it’s short notice, but I think maybe I’m coming down with something or… I don’t know… I’m just not feeling well.”

Nora’s trembling was impossible to miss, especially so while under Principal Richman’s scrutiny. The tiniest whiff of discomfort or anxiety, and the sirens in his mind were bound to erupt into action like an active volcano. Regardless, the woman seemed frazzled enough as it was, so he would at least adopt a non-threatening tone.

Well… not as if he usually wielded a threatening one, but the aversion to eye contact from his faculty was painfully obvious. He never intended to establish the reputation that he did, but it seemed to work well in the case of his employees’ performance.

“I see,” he hummed lowly, fingers drumming against his desk as he stared into Nora’s very soul, expression contemplative. Then, he leaned forward, hands woven together tightly. Firmly. “Define not feeling well? I don’t mean to prod, but you’ve never requested this before and there were times when you tried to walk in here with a worrisome fever.” An exhausted chuckle escaped him, though it was short lived.

Damn her work ethic… Nora knew he was right, and arguing with the man was pointless. Despite the pounding in her skull, she knew on any given day she could’ve and probably would have worked through the migraine. Today, however, it wasn’t how she felt physically that was the problem…

“...I think I’m getting a migraine.” She answered, a little weak in conviction, before a small sigh escaped, “...Just… just a rough night. I didn’t sleep well, and I think maybe it’s just catching up to me. I’m sorry, I know that’s a crappy excuse, I just…” Trailing off, she lowered her gaze, “Sorry. This… this was stupid. I… I can finish out the day. It’s fine.”

“Not at all,” Richman man, not a beat after the apologizes started spilling out of Nora like a broken faucet. He studied the files before him once more, before pushing the mountains aside and rising from his desk. He circled around it and gave pause to proudly adjust his name plaque, a lovely plate of bronze with his title engraved it in exquisite cursive font. His pride and joy--this school was his life and that included the well being of everyone within it.

Richman buried his hands deep into the pockets of his trousers, only to sweep one hand out towards the door once more. “Walk with me? I need to share a word with you. And show you something.”

As Richman rose, Nora tugged absently at her cardigan sleeves, taking half a step back to give the man clearance. Her eyes flickered to the plaque, and on any other day she might’ve been able to appreciate it for what it was - a symbol of a man who lived his job - but that particular moment, all she could think of was the same plaque on the desk at her high school… and how many times she had sat there, thinking about what a disappointment she would be to her parents…

Clearing her throat as he spoke, Nora gave a small, terse nod, “...Of course. Lead the way.”

The door opened politely for Nora, letting her exit first before Richman followed right behind. He walked idly next to the woman, just relishing in the sheer amount of life and youth and promise that filled the halls like sweet oxygen. It never failed in persuading a soft grin to grace his lips, though to most it appeared smug and self righteous. No matter, he was well aware of where his emotions lied.

“So,” he started nonchalantly, “I don’t want to assume anything about you, Nora. I hate assuming. So I must ask… Are you familiar with some of our school traditions? The Theodore-Richman Outstanding Teacher Award, at that?”

As she started forward, keeping in step beside Richman, she swallowed a wave of uneasiness, giving a small shake of her head. She had been there a few months, but she'd yet to familiarize herself with every aspect of the school…

"I'm sorry, no. I don't remember anything about it in the standards guide, anyway."

Richman nodded, having expecting the response. “Fair enough. I should look into adding that; it’s the school’s most celebrated ceremony, after all,” he said. A few more moments of walking and a turn down the third grade hall lead them to their destination. A shelf covered the entire left wall, two out of three rows completely filled with reward plaques, an individual picture belonging to each consecutive year. Principal Richman stared upon the rewards like an international relic, a certain twinkle of pride and admiration in his eyes.

“Tell me, Miss Nora--what do all these men and women have in common?”

Looking at the wall, Nora felt a twinge of frustration brewing. Between the pounding in her skull and the sudden PTSD flashbacks to her father reminding her 'greatness is rewarded', while he shredded her twenty-page history essay because it 'wasn't Trudeaux quality', she wasn't in any particular mood for guessing games…

"Well, sir, I'd imagine it's more than just that they taught here. My guess is they were exemplary… went above and beyond?"

“I appreciate excellence and devotion to providing a quality education. That much is obvious,” Richman said, “However, that is not the only requirement for this reward. You see, Miss Nora… These faculty members were loved by their students; the votes are strictly in the children’s hands, not ours.” He pointed at a random portrait, which presented the bright and optimistic smile of a young female teacher. “Some brought a certain… light to the classroom. Something airy enough that made our kids feel like they could breathe easy.” Then, he pointed to another. This one was a male of clear Asian American descent; despite his clean cut and otherwise professional apparel, a certain warmth emitted from his tight-lipped smile. “While others instilled an unshakable faith in our kids, truly cementing the concepts of teamwork and perseverance. The idea that everyone has something valuable to bring to the table. But this one?”

He pointed at yet another portrait. For the briefest moment, something solemn flickered in Richman’s eyes but he quickly smothered the emotion. “Ah, yes… Mr. Thulman. One of our most loved, by students and faculty alike. Unlike you, Miss Nora, he was… a sloth-like fellow. Slacked in certain areas and yet, incredibly enough, his students excelled under his guidance. Flourished, even. It’s still a shame to this very day that he retired so early…”

Richman cleared his throat and gave Nora his attention once more. “I’m unaware of how long you intend to work with us, but I can assure you, with the amount of care you show for these kids? Your picture will show up on that shelf soon enough.”

Blinking, Nora's focus shifted as Richman began to explain the process. In truth, hearing that it was the student body who decided was a shocking revelation, in and of itself… but to think it had more to do with connections and less with academic prowess was downright shocking. Eyeing each portrait more carefully, she allowed only a flicker of momentary shock to cross her expression at his next words.

"Y-you… Wow. That's… I mean. That'd be quite an honor. Not sure how much I'd deserve it. I just want them to have a better experience than I ever did. Just want them to feel… worthwhile." Chuckling lightly, Nora looked up at the man beside her, "If you're trying to convince me not to take a half-day though, you're doing an excellent job…"

Richman was patient, silently waiting for the woman to gather her wits and respond. Most teaching assistants he had met in the past shared similar reactions to the so-called Teachers Hall of Fame. He offered a warm chuckle of his own, shooting her a sideways glance from his peripherals that could’ve been mistaken for something lighthearted, but it was still hard to tell. A contemplative hum rumbled in his chest. “I assure you that I have no clue what you’re talking about, Miss Nora. I just wanted to show off a bit.”

Richman paused a moment, this time with a genuine breed of thoughtfulness. “In all seriousness, Miss Nora, I’m trying to prove a point here… Whatever preposterous doubts you have in your position or work ethic or… whatever it is, I’d rather you didn’t. Because they’re untrue. And,” he shot her a knowing look, “Once you’re ready to give me the real reason for your obvious disturbance, I’ll be waiting.”

"Show off, hmm?" With a small smirk, Nora scoured the portraits again, "And how many times did you make the wall, Mr. Richman?"

The tone shuffled back to business at hand, however, and Nora's cheeks reddened slightly at the less than subtle implication of his words. She's never been much for drama club… and not least of all because she was a horrendously bad actress.

And maybe he had a point. Maybe half of the reason she felt so horrible was because she hasn't voices it. Maybe out loud, she could hear the ridiculousness… let it go.

"...W-were you there? Last night. The block party? I didn't see you, but it was all pretty crowded…"

“Ah, yes--the moment I’m caught in the web of hypocrisy,” Richman sighed while rubbing the back of his neck; sitting hunched over his desk all day was far from helpful to his spine. “Unfortunately, my demeanor doesn’t exactly… settle well with the children.” He offered a brief shrug of the shoulder, letting the momentary disappointment roll off his back like water. It was something he’d come to accept ages ago. There was no use in letting it bother him now.

Upon hearing her question, he blinked curiously down at the woman, before an inkling of realization entered his visage. The man exclaimed a soft “right” under his breath, nodding to himself all the while. “I wasn’t. Parties aren’t exactly for me, even if it’s Moss Creek tradition. I’ve heard stories, however. Something to do with a fire and such?”

"Ah. Yeah… It's not easy being the Straight Man. But without people like you, things tend to fall apart pretty quickly. My favorite teacher? Only one I liked, really, was a strict old woman from Alabama. She wasn't kind or funny… but she loved us and she wanted us to have the best education we could. I don't think people appreciate structure as much as they should. But then, I'm pretty hypocritical myself. Wasn't exactly the poster child for that sort of thing, growing up."

With a small frown, she glanced over her shoulder, uneasiness suddenly awake again, bouncing wildly around her stomach, "...You didn't miss much. It's just… something odd happened. Towards the end of the night. Me and a few buddies… we were hanging out near where the band parked their van and while they were packing up, they dropped one of the crates. I… I heard something..." Hands rolling together, knotting into each other with a white-knuckled concentration, Nora swallowed hard, "...I don't think they were transporting instruments."

“I don’t exactly expect most children to be,” Richman said, his tone a tad lighter than before with a hint of polite gratitude, “The certain structure I implore is… learned. I’m well aware of that. You grow into it, some more so than others. So I can’t bring myself to complain terribly.” He cracked a tired grin. “Especially when I’m looking over students no older than twelve.” Regardless, he had taken Nora’s little story to heart and vaguely wondered if he had an instructor like that. A favorite of his… Well, not really. He liked most of them and never really hated one--favoritism just wasn’t an option in his mind.

However, his thoughts slammed into a brick wall when Nora’s anxiety visibly spiked again, and he couldn’t help but frown curiously. “Then… I suppose they could’ve held other music supplies? Amplifiers, perhaps? I’m failing to understand why that would bother you.”

"That's the thing… I was in orchestra for most of my life. I know what those things sound like. This was different. And they… they were antsy. Paranoid, almost. When we tried to help, they got angry. Like they didn't want anyone poking around." Biting at her lip, Nora focused on one of the portraits, her mind racing as the words came out, "I think it was a body… No. I… I'm pretty sure it was."

“You…” At first, he seemed to have a reply at the ready, only for hesitation to seize him and he clamped his mouth shut. A few moments of silence hung between them, Richman’s mind replaying Nora’s concerns over and over in his head, hoping that surely he must’ve missed something. Surely.

But he didn’t.

She… genuinely believed in this.

Finally, a sigh escaped the principal and he rubbed his jaw, feeling a headache of his own peeking over the horizon. “Well, perhaps a half day is in need after all. You did mention that you’re not feeling well?”

"...Oh God." Hands unfurling, she rubbed her face for a moment, "Oh God. You think… You think I'm nuts, don't you. I shouldn't have… God. I sound crazy. I know I do. Trust me. I know. But I also can't… I can't shake it. This feeling. I know what I heard. The first time, I thought maybe I'd just… but when it flipped again…" Dropping her arms to her sides, she grimaced, "If I just knew there was nothing to worry about. Is… is there anyone missing? Anyone who didn't come home last night?"

Richman’s eyes widened ever so slightly, displaying the most emotion he’s had so far in their conversation as he warily watching her unravel and pull herself together all at once… Had he been merciless with her schedule as of recently? Demanding too much of her for an assistant? Or did he miss something else entirely? Cautiously, the principal placed both hands on the woman’s shoulders and tried to adopt the most reassuring tone he could muster, “Nora? Breathe… We’re in the hallway. I didn’t mean to frazzle your nerves nor imply that you sound crazy; it’s just… a difficult pill to swallow.”

He dropped his hands, opting to fold his arms instead while tightening his jaw in thought. Considering her words further. There was no faking this woman’s distress, so he highly doubt she was lying, but he couldn’t bring himself to accept the notion of kidnapping. Or worse. “I’m honestly unsure. My home is located rather far from the cul-de-sac, so rumor travels slowly for me. I suppose I could…” A pause, the conflict clear in his visage, before he heaved another sigh of defeat. His eyes briefly fluttered shut, then snapped open again. “I will consult the authorities, if that’ll help. They tend to work more… diligently if I pressure them enough. How does that sound?”

"Oh my God. That… yes. Thank you. That would be… If I just knew there was nothing to worry about, I could just forget about it." It had to be nothing. She wanted, desperately, to think it was nothing. But without information, all she could do was speculate.

"Would…" Taking a lengthy exhale, she looked up again, "Would you mind calling them, now? It's just… the sooner I can put this behind me, the better…"

“I will.” Richman was quick to comply, if only because he was a tad eager to settle the woman down and avoid the off chance of a student or teacher overhearing their conversation. “But this is… potentially sensitive content, Nora. And one I’d rather not make public at my school. So, I’m now asking you this,” A hint of authority entered his tone, the wall of cement steadily rising over him from all sides, “You refrain from speaking of this, alright? I don’t want this flooding my school with so many young ears around. And… I need you to take that half day. I’m aware of what I said before, but your nerves are clearly shot. I can’t have that on the clock. As for the call; I promise you, I will do so the very moment I’m back in my office.”

A heavy pause.

“Do we understand one another?”

Nodding firmly, Nora managed a weary, nervous smile, "Trust me… I wasn't even planning on telling you. I know how it sounds, Mr. Richman, and I'm not trying to start the crazy-train rumors." Teeth pinching her cheek, she looked up to meet his gaze, "You… you'll call me? As soon as you know anything?"

Richman matched her gaze resolutely. “Of course I will. I have all of your contacts and I am a man of my word. Now…” His posture straightened, before he switched over to adjusting his tie as well. “You should take whatever’s left of lunch period; the last thing you need is an empty stomach on top of this.”

Chuckling dryly, Nora shook her head, "Now you sound like my mother…" Pausing, she grimaced lightly, "Not… not that you remind me of my mother. Anyway. I will. Thank you. I'll have my cell on me… Please, just… call me right away. Even if it's nothing."

A hint of surprised colored the principal’s features. “Your mother… I wish I could say that’s the first time I heard such a thing.” Not that he couldn’t understand the sentiment; he was well aware of his occasional tendency to… fret. In a maternal manner. That was the best way he could describe the pesky habit. Clearing his throat, he managed to flash Nora one last smile. “Even if it’s nothing,” he echoed, if not with the tiniest nuance of amusement, “Of course. Duly noted.”

"Thanks… Really. I know how all this sounds and I appreciate this." Smile warming just slightly, Nora reached out a hand to cup the man's forearm briefly, before letting it drop back to her side, "I'll talk to you later."

For the briefest moment, his gaze strayed to the touch, before forcing himself to focus on Nora once more. It wasn’t exactly a gesture he was used to, but Richman took it in stride and merely nodded. “That we will, Miss Nora.” The moment she started to leave, he turned to take in the shelf once more, expression distant and nostalgic.


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