Into the Veil (Peregrine x CosmicWeinerDog)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Peregrine, Mar 6, 2014.

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  1. She was drifting again. Weightless, shapeless, pulled along by the currents of consciousness that surrounded her. Even though she knew it was dangerous, even though relinquishing herself to the tide could put her right back to the place from which she had just run, she did it anyways. She was too tired to fight anymore.

    Evelyn Mireille Sauvage was dead.

    She had never been one to believe in God or the afterlife. Her life was her life, and she wasn’t about to live it in hopes that there would be some grand reward waiting for her after death. That was why she had fought so desperately against the illness that had claimed her body and mind. Because if she gave into it, if she let it sweep her away from the underside of that bridge, the flickering of the fire glowing inside an old metal trash can, the heaps of junk that made up the only home she had, she knew that she would never be coming back. She knew that she would be abandoning the one person in the world who actually needed her.

    That desperate wailing had been the last thing Evie had thought she would ever hear. She had wanted to get up, willed it with every ounce of her heart and soul, but her body had not moved. Surely someone else would hear the crying. They said that no woman could ignore the sound of a child crying. Someone would come and claim her, bring her to a far better home than Evie could ever have provided. Or maybe they would leave her there to die. No one cared about the street children, those lost to the dark folds of society.

    It would have been better if that sobbing truly had been the last thing she had ever heard. Better if she had simply spiraled away into blackness, into the end, into a true cease. It would be better than the torment that claimed her now.

    She had known the drifting was dangerous. Focus allowed her to maintain her own reality, allowed her to counter whatever was thrown at her with something of her own invention, something that might save her, at least momentarily. Yet she had drifted anyways, maybe believing that completely releasing herself to the ripples would allow her to fall right out of the hell in which she now existed. But it hadn’t. And now she was caught once more.

    For a moment, just after she had first died and had been flung into the afterlife, she had been drifting, free of any bonds. But something had hauled her unprepared mind away from that freedom almost instantly. She knew enough now to know that she was one of the unlucky ones. She had been grabbed by a demon, and dragged into hell.

    It wasn’t really Hell. There was no Hell. Nor was there a Heaven. All there were was people, or, at least, the minds of people. Human beings, too stubborn to release their own identity upon death, thrown together into a place that was nothing but a mass of whirling energy. Left to suffer at the mercies of each other’s twisted consciousnesses for all of eternity. Or, at least, until it wore away at you so much that you finally faded away, unable to retain your own mind any longer.

    She had seen it happen. After all, she was not trapped alone in this particular hell. She had been doing everything she could to try and survive for... how long had it been now? There was no telling time in this world, no clocks to measure the regulated progression of time. There was only chaos, chaos and the mind. She had no idea how long had passed in the living world, but after everything she had gone through, she had to have been here for something approaching ten years. Ten years that felt more like a hundred.

    She was walking through a city. The buildings towered over her head so tall that it seemed as though they curved together, blocking her from above and the sides. The ground was black asphalt, wet and sticky, and it clung to the bottoms of her feet as she stumbled forwards, desperate to get away. But the street stretched on ahead of her forever, so far that the street seemed to close off in front of her again, and the walls of the buildings ran on forever, so close together that there was no way she could turn aside.

    The pavement was bubbling behind her, stretching up out of the ground in sheets of tar, giant muzzles and sharp teeth snapping at her heels. She tried to run faster, but her feet sunk into the pavement, and the tar reached up around her, clawing up her legs and holding her back, leaving giant gashes in her legs that burned like acid. She screamed, but the noise never escaped her throat, it only built up inside her until she swore she would burst. The sky was falling down on her, red and menacing, and the asphalt dogs were creeping up behind her, baying with joy. One leaped onto her shoulder, biting down hard, and she tried to scream again, only to find another one latching onto her throat, crushing it, physically choking off her voice as it had subconsciously been choked off before. And then they were dragging her down. Down into the sticky wet blackness, which flooded in through her mouth and nose and left her clawing desperately towards the surface, striving for air.

    She woke suddenly, standing upright, bound to a steel frame at chin, torso, wrists and ankles. She struggled weakly, coughing up the black tar that filled her lungs, before the door across the room swung open.

    A little girl stepped delicately into the room, practically dancing on the balls of her feet. She was dressed in a white gown, and her brown locks curled around her grey eyes.

    “Martine?” Evelyn whispered, spitting around the fluid that still filled her mouth.

    The little girl giggled, and took another couple steps closer. “Evie,” she said, reaching out a hand and lightly stroking her face. “How good to see you again.”

    “But.. no, how. Why?”

    “No one came and found me. You died, and left me all alone, and I starved to death, desperately trying to call out your name. Now the kind demon is going to let me get my revenge.” She giggled again, grabbing a long, sharp dagger from the table, and ran it around Evelyn’s eye.

    No, no, it wasn’t true. It was all in her head. She had to believe that, had to will it with all of her heart. Because she had to believe, no matter what happened, that Martine would never hate her. If she didn’t she would be lost.

    It was the words that kept her from going mad. In all the time she had cared for Martine, she had never spoken a word. Evie had imagined her voice countless times, but she had never actually heard it.

    Martine, the figment, giggled happily. “Oh, but how could I not speak, when this is so delightfully exciting.”

    It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. It couldn’t be. She closed her eyes against the vision before her, summoned from the very depths of her soul. Martine, she cried inside her head. I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry. I never wanted to leave you. She began to push with all of her will, trying to pull herself out, give herself a moment of freedom before she was dragged back in.

    “No!” she heard Martine shriek, her voice echoing and distorted. “Don’t leave me alone again!”

    I’m coming for you. Evelyn promised silently. I’m coming for the real you. I know I’m dead, but somehow I’m coming back.

    She was drifting again, but this time she brought her own skill to bear, her own talent bought through ten years worth of chaos and pain. She was still trapped within the consciousness of the demon that had grabbed her, but now that she had gotten away for a little while it would turn its attention to someone else. Someone else who had dared to drift, and was easy pickings. The world began to form around her, under the power of her own mind. It was simple, something easy to maintain, and relatively benevolent, so that it would be harder for the demon to twist to its own sick purposes.

    She was sitting cross-legged in a green box, an unidentifiable light source illuminating the walls. Other than the body and clothes she unconsciously created for herself, the room was empty. Easy to maintain, and resistant to change.

    It had bothered her at first, always being able to feel the other consciousnesses around her. They swirled around, each in their own oblong reality, until crashing into, or being grabbed by, another consciousness and having their realities forcibly melded together. Now she was used to it, and she thickened the walls of her room some, trying to protect herself somewhat from their echoes. Trying to protect herself from the echoes of the torment to which the demon subjected them.

    There was someone drifting nearby. It was stupid, foolish, and she would have told him just that if she had been given the opportunity. Most likely, the demon was only seconds away from snagging him.

    She didn’t know from where the sudden surge of empathy came. She certainly hadn’t been expecting it. Caring about others would only ever get you hurt. Yet she still opened a small hole in her own reality, and pulled the consciousness into her own little bubble.

    “You shouldn’t drift like that,” she scolded absently. “Not unless you enjoy being tortured.”
     
  2. The glaring yellow lights of the highway sped by like illuminated lines on an ever evolving sheet of canvas. The sharp glare shimmered against the linger dust on a window which could frankly use a bath. It was another late night, one I was beginning to get too old for. The money from the ranch was good but even in staying active, my joints didn't exactly move like they used to. A lifetime of bumps and knicks tend to stack up when left to their own devices long enough. It wasn't any matter though, part of the course and I understood that. I straightened the brim of my glasses against the bridge of my nose and squinted as the green outline of a road sign past me by. Commute wouldn't be much longer it seemed. Appealing thoughts flooded my mind of a warm shower and a pot of tea for when I reached the homestead. The thoughts were so distant, I almost didn't hear my phone as it chimed. I must have snapped out of my daze and reached for it after the sixth ring. It was surprising they hadn't gone to voice mail really.

    "This is Robert." I spoke softly, taking in a sharp breath through my nose in an attempt to refocus my mind.

    The voice on the other end of the receiver embraced me like a warm blanket. She was soft spoken but I could make out a smile from her tone. Does that sound strange? It's funny how watching someone grow for twenty five years will change a person's perception of things. "Hey Dad. Was calling to see how the drive's going."

    In hearing the words I felt the corners of my own lips turn up. With all of the hustle and bustle of life, it's nice to be reminded there are folks out there who still care. "It's long, but I'm making due. I had forgotten how exhausting these commutes were."

    "Just don't fall asleep out there. If you need to stop pull and take some Z's, pull over please." The joy in her tone took on a slight edge of concern. Justly so I suppose. "I'd rather you get back late than not at all."

    "You're starting to sound like your mother." I chimed back with a chuckle as the woman's memory danced for a moment in my mind, "Shouldn't be long now. I just past the 185 so I should be seeing you here in about 30 minutes or so. Pretty sure I can hold out till then."

    "Alright. I put on a pot for you, have a preference?"

    "Jazmine if you have it."

    I could hear her pitch out a shrill whistle as a line of sarcasm drenched her voice. "Ooh, someone's high rolling tonight. I take it the sale went well?"

    "I suppose one could say it didn't go poorly. I might not be able to pull a marathon anymore but I can still talk a man's ear off given proper incentive." Several laughs cut through my sentence as I found myself merging to pass another vehicle.

    "Jazmine it is then Maestro." The last part of the sentence bore a comically terrible English accent.

    "You my dear are a lady and a scholar."

    "Hah" The accent ebbed and I heard once more the crystal tone of my daughters voice. "Drive safe okay? I'll see you when you get here."

    "Will do."

    I glanced down to my phone to eye the red outline of the End button and traced it with my thumb. The muscles in my thumb ached more than usual tonight for some reason but I wasn't about to dwell on it. Pressing down, my cell chimed out with a familiar click.

    And everything went black.

    The lights were gone, the sound of flowing wind through the cracked window ebbed, and the crisp outline of my environment bled away like oil beneath a garden hose. As I reached out to grasp my surroundings I clung to to the only thing I could still seem to feel. Was it the outline of the phone through my arthritis stricken hands? I couldn't tell. My right mitt still pressed down on something where I recall the End button being, but it didn't feel mechanical. The longer I held to it, the less substance the touch seemed to take. Solid turned to ash, Ash to goo, goo to billowing smoke through the cracks of my fingers. As I lost grasp of my material world around me, I attempted to cling instead to something more tangible.

    Myself.

    Form took function and I sought to in vision my body before me. If I could make out where -I- was, perhaps I could then make out where... I was. The thought made even less sense materialized than it had from my subconscious. I reached out to touch my hands together expecting the cold lines of wrinkles along aged skin. As I stretched out to trace my figure, I could experience the act but not the destination. It felt as if my hands trailed forever along an eternity of void. Non existent substance seeking to embrace that which never was.

    I was lost. My mind still whole but my body cast aside, I found myself frantically piecing together reason beneath a wave of coming panic. Where was I? What had happened? Without an anchor to place within the black, the dread of my exile became all that much more confusing. As confusion turned to fear I could feel that dread creep along the confines of my psyche. I could feel myself growing smaller. My existence being crushed into a smaller and smaller space as if the void itself sought to blink me out of reality. Terror filled every inch of what I was as I dared to wonder what It was to stop being. Mere moments in time ranging from the highway to the end of things. The end of me. I shook beneath that all consuming void and wondered if I would ever hear Lisa's voice again.

    And in that sliver of thought, I felt the emptiness budge. For a moment, I existed once more.

    So in failing to find form, I sought instead to grip memory. I took hold of my daughter's visage from within the primordial soup of whatever it was I had become. I forced myself to in vison the lines of her face, the color of her eyes, the way she laughed when faced with the ironic. Each memory I pieced together from the confines of my mind inched me further from nothingness. But inches were only inches and the void was ever vast. As I gazed upon what I had to cross I saw dread once more. My hope dwindled and I understood one cold fact.

    I was alone.

    The realization struck me like a knife as the emptyness saw it's opportunity. It surged over whatever I had become and clamped down against my psyche. A vice from all sides, I found myself once more staring into the edge of oblivion.

    And oblivion was green.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    Wait... Green?

    “You shouldn’t drift like that,” an unfamiliar voice rang in my ears and I found my focus obsessed with it's source. I sought to crane my neck towards the tone but my mind hadn't entirely seemed to recall form yet. “Not unless you enjoy being tortured.”

    Torture was a word for it, but at least I was no longer in the mitts of that blackness. I strained to piece myself together and could feel the energy that was -me- bleed back into shape. In the corner of that green box I attempted to pour back into the silhouette I had never had to recall. My mind strained to trace the lines of my figure from memory but the thought was too abstract. The places where my recollections failed were in turn the pieces of my frame that almost seem to melt into shapeless goop. I was literally having to remember how to build myself for the first time. Did I have to do this at conception? The thought tickled my mind and I could feel the outline of a smile cross my maw. In smiling, I found anchor and helped piece my head back into a recognizable shape. "I'm sorry..." I responded through an uneasy laugh as the memories of myself slowly pooled back together, "I don't think I'm quite used to this yet. And here I am dripping all over your floor."

    I don't know why I was laughing. Perhaps from nerves or the solace away from that vice like dread, but as the words left my mouth I could not help but muse on how ridiculous they were.
     
    #2 CosmicWeinerDog, Mar 6, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  3. Evelyn had never pulled anyone into her own conscious space before. Even though the demon had done exactly that to her, even though it repeatedly drew her nearer, waiting to see how long she could last, how close it could get her, before she went mad, she had never cared enough to draw someone towards her. People in the living world had never held any interest for her. Why should the people in the afterlife be any better?

    If she had allowed herself to think, she would know what exactly had caused her to reach out to that drifting man. And he was still a man. Whomever he was, whatever he had suffered, he had not been here long enough to fall away from that. As she watched him slowly begin to form, Evelyn eyed him with distaste. She did not like the weakness he represented.

    There was no way to keep the demon out of her mind. It was impossible. Not when it was so old and so well practiced. In a place where there was nothing solid in which to keep your thoughts, when they drifted and eddied with the currents whether you liked it or not, others could find ways to dig in, and rip out the important pieces.

    The demon had always focused on the painful memories from her childhood. An only child, born and raised with an ill mother and a drunk, abusive father. It had thought that would torment her the most, that it would reduce her to a state of panicked helplessness. But it had been wrong. It had found Martine waiting in the back of her mind, secured behind a wall she had wanted to believe was impenetrable. But that graceful fairy of a girl had danced her way out anyways. And Evie hated herself, because she knew how much it had impacted her.

    That was the only reason she had saved this miserable little sop. Martine had been the only true light in Evie’s world. She had taught Evie the meaning of altruism. And now she had reached into the very heart of the afterworld, and caused Evie to try and save someone else.

    It had warped her little bubble of safe space, weakened it to the pressures of the outside world. It wasn’t an easy thing, bringing something so undefined into something that had been given definition. The only thing that was harder was bringing something that already had been defined, and forcing it to adapt to a new definition. That was why the demon always grabbed the new people. They didn’t know what was going on, didn’t understand, and that made them easy to trap. And once they were trapped there was no way out until the demon let you out. And it wouldn’t let you out until it had squeezed all the satisfaction it could from someone’s mind, left it ragged and tattered and broken, to fade away or to mutate.

    Her act of benevolence had weakened her perfect little sphere of protection. It wasn’t meant to hold two. His own consciousness pressed against it whatever she may wish, and it would fall apart. And now it would find her again all the quicker. She hated him for making her take the chance.

    For a moment she devoted herself back to her little, blank green room. It had warped too, upon his entry, and now it seemed as though it was only a matter of time before she could no longer hold it together, and they were once more flung everywards. She devoted her attention to each wall, shaping in the rough, red texture of bricks, but the moment she changed her focus to attend to the next wall it began to fade away.

    “How new are you?” she asked with little sympathy and only barely concealed bitterness. “Either way, you’d better figure it out quick. A little bit of stability is all that will keep you safe most of the time.”

    She redevoted herself to her room, before glancing at her new, unwelcome companion with frustration. “Green,” she scolded. “Don’t fling stuff out randomly.”
     
  4. Green?

    I understood the color, The room was drenched in it. It was like I was in a production film where folk filled CG animation into a background or the sort. Only she just didn't say it like a statement but rather a correction. It was off... whatever value that word held in a place like this. As for flinging things out at random, the comment didn't even register until I looked down at the flow of how my silhouette had melted into the ground.

    Because that was the thing. There was no ground.

    Rather than pool to the prospects of gravity and friction, the emerald box of which I was encased lacked substance. As I fought to take control over my liquified shape, her words finally began to take reason. I wasn't dripping over her floor, because there wasn't a floor to drip on. Rather, I was falling apart in a box without barriers. It was no wonder why I had felt so scattered.

    Was I dreaming? If so it means I must have fallen asleep at the wheel but... Something seemed wrong about that. I knew a thing or two about my head space when I was sleeping and things just didn't stack up. I could recall everything about the drive, the direction, where I was, the phone call with my daughter. Everything was too clear before I turned off that phone. Hell, everything was too clear now. The digits of my fingers were leaking like a sieve and as they did I could see their every detail. Every line and curve on my skin of which I recalled exposed itself upon it's shapeless canvas. Unbound by the lacking construct about me, I watch my lack of substance drip away. In all of that, something made sense.

    It was not the box that lacked substance. It was me. The emerald cube owed me nothing and if I couldn't contain myself, it wasn't about to make up my slack.

    "Hold on." I spoke softly as I perceived order from chaos, "I think I'm getting this..."

    I focused on a fist. Machismo sure, but it was the first thing that came to mind and solid thoughts when you're melting before your eyes probably retain more value than usual. Not my fist per se and not the amorphous mass of arm I was struggling against but rather the idea itself. As my will began to take root I watched the flow of my form change direction and fold itself slowly back into it's familiar mold. Watching the scene, a dark piece of humor began to play in the back of my head."The wrist bone's connected to the..." I found myself mumbling the tune "Dem Bones" in a barely audible state. the whispers were faint behind a cheshire smirk. Poorly placed sure, but frankly I was just pleased to have my hand back.

    It felt different though. As if the shape didn't matter in the first place. Like a word used too many times in sequence or a continuous sound that just eventually becomes background. The image of my fingers displayed themselves before me but it just felt as that. An image. I knew it was an extension of -me-, but like the box it lacked presence. The thought was strange and in a way I began to realize that it didn't matter how my form was arranged.

    Because... I wasn't here. Or perhaps I was and that was the point. However, this wasn't my body, my car or highway 185.

    "How new are you?" The words of the woman before me echoed, not because of location but rather because their weight. Try as I might, I couldn't begin to wrap my brain around a response.

    "I'm not sure I can answer that." I spoke touching my newly reformed digits together, the act that still lacking value in my troubled mind, "Does time every have meaning here? I guess the easy answer to that would be -new- but..." I glanced out to the sides of the box and remembered the edge of oblivion from before, "...I don't know how long I was out there."

    I could see her frustration, it almost like walking into someone's "turf" back in elementary school before you knew better. Though, I got the nagging suspicion this was a lot more serious. “Either way, you’d better figure it out quick. A little bit of stability is all that will keep you safe most of the time,” Her words had bite to them. I appreciate any advice that was available but it was obvious that I was an inconvenience at best. All the same, I couldn't help but question the words. When I reconstructed my arm, the distant prospects of that understanding rang out to me. I was here. My body wasn't. Considering that, shape seemed to lose it's value. Or at least redefine it's value. If the practical purpose for a person's physical form falls only in the realm of outward perception, could that be redefined? ...Could it be exploited?

    I stored the thought in my head for a later time. I had more important things to worry about in the meanwhile. "Safe from what? What was that out there?"
     
    #4 CosmicWeinerDog, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  5. For a moment she felt a flash of pity for the strange man. Evelyn had not been as lucky as him. When she had first arrived, when she had been snagged from the infinite pools of this new reality she had been flung in with no guidance. The demon had found her, had pretended to offer her safety, pretended to offer her answers. And then it had torn her apart. She hadn't understood. Hadn't understood the world that was warping around her, and the strange, nebulous form of her own body. And had it wanted to it could have destroyed her then and there. She had not known how to protect herself from the darkest parts of her own soul, brought to bear against her in the closest thing to reality that this world possessed. The only reason it didn't obliterate her was because that would be no fun. it wanted to toy with her, play around with its food before finally swallowing her whole. That was what gave it pleasure.

    Why did he get the chance that she didn't? Fuck him. She should dump him right now. Bundle up his abstract consciousness into a lumpy ball and hurl him back out into the void. The demon would grab him soon enough, and he would learn the same way she did. Then she could go back to her room, her plain walls, the only safety she now had. The perfect, blank emptiness that left her with nothing, nothing, nothing. Brief respites in torture that would go on forever and ever. It didn't matter how soon her walls crumbled. It wasn't as though a little more time would make any difference here or there.

    And then there was nothing but sorrow, a feeling of loss so consuming that all she wanted to do was fade away. In the world, in the real world, whenever she had felt like this she had gone somewhere else. Just packed up her few belongings and gone wherever the wind took her. The little things had distracted her, had allowed her to bury the pain inside her chest, and forget about it until it suddenly surged up again and she moved on. it was the nights before she moved that she had always contemplated what it would mean to kill herself.

    But she never had. Because life was too precious for that. She had truly believed, with every scrap of her being, that when she dies that was going to be it. She would simply cease to be, and then she would miss... everything. The sight of the river, covered in fog so thick it looked like soup, and the ferry slowly emerging from it like a ghost ship. A rainbow crossing the heavens, and the feel of the drops of water falling on her face like a kiss. The smell of freshly mown grass and the dew that seeped through her thin jeans and chilled her legs. She could never let go of that.

    Here, moving on wasn't an option. She was trapped. It didn't matter how far she went, it never changed. And the demon could always find her. Maybe every time it found her it drew her back, maybe it simply didn't matter. Maybe there was no edge. All that existed for her was this stupid little green room, and the torment that awaited her at the hands of the demon.

    The room was falling apart quicker now. Her own tumultuous thoughts could not maintain the simple green pattern, and it quickly began to warp. She scolded herself, tried to withdraw herself from the emotions, and rebuild the room. But she couldn't. It was failing around her.

    For some reason, her sight was drawn to the man who had entered her space. And for a moment there was apathy. It wasn't his fault. It would have happened sooner or later. She hadn't been here long enough to know, to truly understand this world. And every time she tried, every time she felt like she might be getting close, the demon broke her again, and she had to start all over.

    She was tired again. Tired of this reality. There was nothing waiting for her here but torment. She felt it nudging at the back of her mind, something, a thought as bittersweet as suicide. She was only here because she wouldn't let go. There was nothing binding her here. All she had to do was accept oblivion.

    But Evelyn had never been willing to accept oblivion. She had never been willing to let herself go. It would mean missing... what? What could she miss? She could miss anything. She could miss everything. Even in this shit-hole of a world, she was willing to risk it all for the promise of everything.

    He deserved a chance. If she let him go back to drifting without telling him anything she would be no better than the demon. Because, if she let him go, if she let him experience all that torment firsthand, with nothing preparing him because she hated him, because she wanted him to feel her own suffering, then she would be a demon. That was what they did. They broke you to make themselves feel better.

    She let the room go. But she didn't let the green go. The walls, the corners, the fine brick pattern she had tried so desperately to build, that was all gone. It was like sitting in the middle of the swimming pool, with nothing but infinite bounds of color to let you know that you still existed.

    He was new, so new, if he didn't even know about the demon. It had only just had time to snag him from the currents before she grabbed him. If it wasn't for her, he would be under torture by now. It loved the new ones. Maybe she would pay for this later, for daring to keep its prize away from it. Or maybe it didn't know. Maybe this little, green reality of hers was safe.

    "My room can't hold both of us," she told him, her voice echoless, "not unless it becomes our room. You press against my room, whether you mean to or not. Your thoughts defy it, and it warps. You need to help me. Work with me."

    But she could see that he could not understand what she wanted of him, and the room was fading further every second. She was irritated with him, yet what right did she have to be annoyed? Even now she remembered those first few weeks; the confusion, the torment. None of this was ever easy.

    And then the room was gone. But they still had time, still had a chance, if a small one, before the demon found him. The only good thing about this situation was, if the demon did find them, it would go for the new guy first. But that did not mean Evelyn was safe.
     
    #5 Peregrine, Mar 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  6. To say I was out of his element was an understatement. Dropped off the deep end chained to a shark was more apt for the circumstance. The scenario was beyond unbelievable, it was Chaotic right down to it's core. Minutes before I was having trouble holding himself in one piece, now I had to define... reality? Where was the justice in that? Was this how death was supposed to work out? Did something go wrong? Did I go wrong?

    Half of my consciousness wanted to cut ties and run while the other half pressed for a more vindictive approach. There was something out there that was preying on those that couldn't fight back. It was murderous, and long as it existed the prospect of tipping into the void was on the table. I recalled back to being crushed into near nothingness and scowled. There was something beyond that and it wasn't pretty. The end of existence. Oblivion. The thought was chilling.

    I gazed back to the woman before me as the sides of her box began to shift. It was slow, but you could see it. Places where the green which composed the walls started to loose it's color, distort, and fuzz like the channels of an old TV without service. To be honest, I didn't really even know where to begin. I glanced down at my hand and thought back to the direction of mind it took to reforge. It wasn't a process really, It just was. Fiat relativity in a sense. Structure occurring for no other reason than it was willed to be.

    It was too big.

    I had to re-enforce her structure, make it our own. Give substance to a frame that had none to begin with. I attempted to imagine a cube of my own but found the trail of thought difficult to comprehend. The image was easy, creating it while already residing within four walls was something else entirely. Would bringing it into being press us into the already defined sides of green? I closed my lids to focus but the action lacked purpose. My eyes weren't there, just as my body wasn't there. I could still see the green as it faded, the woman as she called to me and the three sources of consciousness stuck in the middle of it all. When it came down to it, the latter was all that mattered. There was no room. There was no body. Just three minds striving for definition. Definition sought inside a box, and there in lay my problem.

    That, and as the emerald cube around me faded into the void, I could make out the vague silhouette of movement in the distance. Even lacking the appropriate anatomy needed, I could feel my heart leap into my throat. I began to tremble and suddenly outside it's green borders I began to feel very small.

    I exchanged glances in rapid succession between the incoming mass in the distance and my fellow victim. Try as I might however, I hadn't the slightest idea how this realm began to function. It was like twisted scene from Alice in Wonderland and I was a vial labeled "Drink Me"

    Make the Box ours, she said. Would have been better fitting to press water from a rock. It was hardly fair to demand such for a man who'd just fallen down the rabbit hole. I had no sense of up, much less the depth perception needed to build. Yet in spite of it, there had to be something I could do.

    "I..." My words began staggered as I tried to press myself for a gauge of appropriate action in the context, "...How? What do I do?"
     
    #6 CosmicWeinerDog, Apr 29, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  7. What did he do? What did she do? Evelyn was used to being alone, and it went far beyond the time that she had spent in this twisted fuck-up of an afterlife. Evelyn’s earliest memories were of taking care of herself. She had to teach herself how to survive, had to teach herself how to get back up after falling down, when she finally realized that there was no one there to comfort her no matter how long she sat there bawling. Evelyn took care of herself. She had never had to take care of another. Didn’t want to either. She was not a teacher, not someone who went out of her way to help and guide others. She was no mother.

    But, once again, that little sprite of a girl danced her way from reality into Evelyn’s consciousness. Once more, Martine guided her towards mercy. She had been so small, so fragile the first time Evelyn had picked her up that she had been afraid of breaking the baby. But her hands had reacted almost automatically to the infant’s body, bringing her in close to her chest, leaning forward, cooing gently to quiet her crying. She wasn’t a teacher, but she had been prepared to spend the rest of her life learning how to be a mother. She had spent the rest of her life trying to become a mother. Surely she could be a guide now.

    Without the definition of her box, with only the swirling eddies of infinity to draw her away, the physical form Evelyn called herself began to fail as well. But that did not mean she was gone. She reached out gently to this stranger, pulling him towards her with a firm grip. She could feel the demon as well, its ancient, malevolent presence stirring now that they were once more in its domain. It would have them soon, just as soon as it finished toying with whoever was currently in its grasp.

    They had to work together. But they would never be able to accomplish anything if she rushed him.

    Like this, she told him, with no mouth to shape the words. She started it out simply, a mass of clay that their mental hands could move and shape. Her box was familiar to her, something so simple that even she could create it so perfectly that the demon could not break it. Solidity, unchangeability. She had learned the hard way that was the only thing that would keep her safe from the demon. And that would be what she would work to contribute. But that little green box was hers, not theirs. She didn’t know what would be theirs. All that mattered was that it was solid, unchangeable.
     
  8. "It's not a rock you know."

    It had been years, but I remembered the words clearly. After all, they were probably the most important ones I heard in life. "If you keep crushing the life out of that pot," The voice was simple but had a ring to it that chimed a lovely tune all it's own, "it's never going to get anywhere."

    I'm not really sure why I took a pottery class. I was a farm kid, I didn't know art if it up and slapped me square across the face. If you'd have kicked off a conversation about the baroque period, I'd have assumed you were from the deep south and was referencing something busted. I couldn't draw to save my life much less sculpt. Why I thought it was a good idea to give a shot at a clay wheel was beyond me.

    But then again, looking back I wasn't there for that.

    At the time I'd spend my evenings waking up in cold sweats to gritty memories of the Korean War. Couldn't have been much over 20, and it wasn't exactly something you could just shrug off and forget. They taught you to go over, let you stagnate in chaos for a time and then dropped you right back into society like nothing happened. It was a messy occasion, but one too often repeated in the annals of history. My friends and family saw it and pushed me to get out of my element. To do something different, get my mind off the baggage and actually start living again. Somehow along the way I decided a pottery class could pull that off.


    Guess it wasn't a terrible idea, as I met my wife that way...

    I remembered back to her taking pity on my disheveled clay. The moist abomination that dwelled upon it's wheel. She laughed in an understanding way and took my stained hands in hers. "Go limp," she spoke matter-of-factly, shaking the tension from my mitts.

    I watched her work my hands around the clay with a curious sense of wonder. There was no forcing the direction, else it'd disjoint and deform. It was a lesson in flow. That I didn't have control and I had to shape with the motion around me. The wheel would keep spinning in spite of all else. It was my job to move with it, to blend in unison rather than cut as independent. The final product of the lesson was less than perfect as she used my hands like a mannequin. But it was scores better than anything that had come off my wheel yet. Out of everything that I ended up making in that class, that first pot was the only one I kept.

    I never became good on a wheel. It wasn't my suit but it did teach me to take a step back. To flow with a current rather than to part it half way. Even in the chaotic void I found myself now, I'm surprised those were the memories so firm in my mind.


    *************

    I wasn't expecting the woman's embrace, though in the context was likely needed to focus my mind. The distractions which pulled my consciousness were many and I was one. A shapeless Monster in the void. The raw confusion of physical vacancy. Being truly lost in a realm I still had no idea how to comprehend. All of it fell from my shoulders in a moment as I felt form for the first time since my waking. Words were not spoke. Words did not need to be spoken. Unbound by physical law, our line of communication did not need to be watered by translation. Similarly to that pot so many years ago, I was shown form. In form, I was introduced to function.

    Box.

    I held the word in my mind and knew it completely. I recalled back to the days of youth where a cardboard cube held hours of wonder. Where in an instant, one could be removed from the passing of reality and instead dwell within the comforts of lucidity. It wasn't flashy, there were no lights or dramatic growth. In one moment we stared down a demon with hunger in it's maw, in the next we found ourselves within the confines of a brown cube. I suppose, somewhere along the line the memory of cardboard translated into the construct. Not that I minded.

    The frame felt more... real than the reconstruction of my body had for some reason. It wasn't just lip service to a memory and held a sense of purpose. It wasn't ideal, and I had to strain to keep focus on maintaining it's structure, but it held and that was all that mattered. When I was comfortable enough to take my gaze from it's borders I glanced back to the woman before me. "Baptism by fire much?" My voice rattled, too tired to laugh.

    Which was fine. It wouldn't have exactly been fitting anyway.
     
    #8 CosmicWeinerDog, Apr 30, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  9. Yes, the demon had definitely found them. Their time was getting limited, as its consciousness drew steadily nearer and nearer, preparing to grab one of them. Maybe both. Evelyn had never been in a situation where she had been with someone who hadn’t been a part of her own imagination, but that didn’t mean it was impossible. Maybe the thing would take both of them, turn them against each other. Maybe this brief, momentary companionship would wind up wounding her even more.

    She longed to hurry him, to grab control and force it into... what? Something. Something solid that would protect them, at least temporarily. But she couldn’t. She had tried to hold the box together herself, but nothing had come of it. If she didn’t let things happen naturally now, it would be no difference. The demon would circle while it saw their little shelter begin to dissolve. And then it would grab them.

    But then it was there. Her gentle guidance along with her own skill had been enough. The box formed around them, almost the exact same as her former box. But it was different in one respect. The place was brown. The exact same color of brown as a cardboard box that had gotten soaked by a rainstorm and then dried out once more. She cast one brief, vicious look at the walls, before forcing herself to relax and accept it. Once more, that stupid cardboard box was going to be her only shelter. There was no rain here, no elements with only several layers of matted paper in between her and it, but it was still protection. She had spent a night with Martine in one of these boxes, back when the girl was still so small that Evelyn could easily hold her in one arm. She had been so afraid that night, afraid that the biting cold would seep through the ratty blanket that was the only protection she had, and steal the life from the delicate little child in her arms.

    But she had awoke the next morning, and Martine’s sleepy little eyes had greeted her. When she stepped outside that night, she had found that it had rained, and that the only thing that had kept her from spending the night in a puddle of water was that box. Her shelter.

    She devoted herself to its solidity. That was what she needed. The box would no longer reject either of them, but she still needed to make sure it stayed. The walls began to thicken, going from paper-thin to heavy. The floor began to solidify, and Evelyn’s own body formed along with it. She was sitting cross-legged on the ground, her head resting lightly in her hands.

    “This should keep us safe for a while,” she replied, letting out a tired sigh. “Hopefully long enough to give you a chance to adapt a little bit, before the demon starts ripping you apart.”
     
  10. "Well ain't you just a balmy ray of sunshine." The words sort of came out before I really had the chance to rein them back. It was always a flaw of mine and apparently passing into a trans- dimensional void hadn't solved it. "Considering I just got dumped here before circumstance dictated I pull voodoo out of thin air, I think we're doing alright."

    I took a moment to rub my fingers into my palms. The act still felt alien, even though it was one I had been doing since childhood. The strangest thing was the off brown cube that bound us presently felt more real than my own body did. I tried to dismiss the notion and took a seat down in front of the cross legged woman before me. "So we have a lul in the action and we're not out of the fireplace yet." I tried to address the problem as rationally as I could despite having no earthly clue what I was dealing with. "S'no reason to throw in the towel yet. We're both alive, we can both fight back and we can use the time to figure out our next move."

    The irony of the whole situation was I still hadn't entirely come to the understanding of how "alive" didn't apply anymore. Despite the weightlessness, the monsters, and the wanton examples of physics, the thought process still hadn't set root into my mind. It wasn't exactly something you thought about on the regular, much less in a stress riddled environment like this.

    "Now I hate to be cliche', but I'm about as fish out of water as is physically possible." My words broke as I pointed to the walls of the box in the direction of the last place I had seen the creature. "Where am I, and what was that thing?"
     
  11. A short, bitter bark of a laugh slipped from between Evelyn’s lips. Part of it was honest humor at the stranger’s words, but most of it was simply rue at the situation in which she had found herself. For what exactly had she just made herself responsible. Any gentleness she may have felt to this man was gone as quickly as it had come. She was to be responsible for his education, was she? Well, it was not destined to be a pleasant or particularly merciful experience.

    “Where are you?” she repeated, somewhere between mocking and indignant. “This,” she said, gesturing to the box, and, more significantly, to the darkness around them, “Is the afterlife. You are dead. And ‘that thing’ is another human consciousness.”

    Her empathy for his ignorance was practically nonexistent. Evelyn was willfully forgetting that it had taken her around a year, time was a little hazy here, and impossible to measure, to accept the fact that she was dead. It hadn’t been until the demon had replayed the final moments of her life for her that she finally connected it. She had known that she was dying as she lay coughing under that bridge. She had rejected it with all of her heart, but her mind had still known it. And then... she had come here. There was only one logical conclusion. At that point she had accepted what her subconscious had already known.

    “An old consciousness, a warped and powerful consciousness. It grabbed you same as it grabbed me. And it isn’t just going to let us go.”
     
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