FULL! If we lose someone, then I will be looking for others to fill the spots! IC: http://www.iwakuroleplay.com/showthread.php?t=15494&p=419128#post419128 This is a Group Mature RP. Souls Forbidden We are given many different names. Spirits… Angels… Demons… We are the essence of what was once human. You could say, we are the afterlife, - what happens when our human bodies dies. When we die, a “Soul” emerges from it. This “Soul” is only a newborn wonder to the Earth, one that must learn in order to transform. In its journey and slow maturity, it learns and it grows. How it grows is up to its experiences. The more they mature, the more they can do. Souls can turn into a lighter form, one of which does good, sees the good in the human race, and thus, matures to be a light-like essence - what many have come to call Angels. When they fully mature, they are given human form once again, but not to live another human life, but rather become their guides, and ensure they find happiness and peace. Yet, with every Yin, there is a Yang. With every Soul that found the good and wonderful things of which the human life has provided, there is another Soul that finds the darker side of the human heart. They see the terror of the human heart and find the damage that manifested into those terrors that feed their nightmares. Most the time, this only happens with Souls that come from human bodies already troubled. Few have this sad problem, and some find their way through it. Yet, there are many who do not. Those who seem to emit an aura of anger, sadness, remorse, and depression are often known to make more of their kind occasionally. In the human tense, the ones who are in this troubled state are called Demons, ones who spread their ‘evil’. They do not intentionally spread their remorse against the world (unless they are angered), but are trying to find a way to escape their pain. It’s just unfortunate that innocence becomes the target of escape. Just as the Light Souls, the Dark Souls mature into a human like shell. They live just as humans would, just as the other lighter Souls would; and yet, there’s a significance low level in their emotion strength. Most try to find happiness through the lighter Souls helping them, or from humans unconsciously giving them strength. But some of them just lie in wait for the demise of a Soul’s end. There are only two ways of which a Soul ‘dies.’ The first is natural, when the Soul moves on. No one completely understands the process of how a Soul ‘moves on’, nor where it goes. All they know is that they move on, never dying, and never completely gone from the world. When a Soul has the passion and complete devotion of love to a person, which most light Souls do, then they have the power to protect that person from any danger, even if that means giving up their complete essence. There have been few cases of which a Soul has done the forbidden -when they fall for a human. It is the forbidden love of a Soul and Human that brings us to our tale. This is the story of the first Fallen, and the love that they fought for. Reason for Naomi’s Fatal Accident: Europia, one of the leading fashion/entertainment magazines in the country, was her former employer. She held the position of secretary/auditor, but dabbled with photography and modeling while there. Her auditing position placed her in the wrong place at the wrong time; she found a case of money laundering and fraud, and a bit of sideline prostitution with a few of the models and photographers who could not afford their agents. Her boss had her killed, but miraculously she survived. Coincidence, I think not. The coma was her comeback, her cocoon. She emerged as an angel of light. -------------------------- The main outline is this: The Light Soul, Naomi Scott, is new at being a matured Soul. She’s been given a place in the human world again and has slowly returned to the faint pathways that was her old life. She believes she’s returned to learn the reason why she was brutally murdered at work. But she also knows that she’s there as an Angel to save someone, just she does not know who. Another Soul, the Dark Soul of a former baddie who committed suicide to run away from depression, drugs and collecting debts; has befriended Naomi, praying she is the one he needs to cleanse his tormented heart; to help him find the light before his Soul dies of heavy despair. They have a fairly good friendship, OR he's recently met her and they've started a relationship that, he hopes, can turn into more. But one day, Naomi found a lost human, one who seem to abandon all hope for happiness and had drowned himself in the evils of the world; slowly killing himself. She pulled him out of this bondage and helped him return to life. Only for him, his heart showed him what she truly is - his guardian angel. Samuel fell in love with his savior – and deep down, she’s beginning to fall for him. The Dark Soul will eventually realize this and attempt to pull them apart, to salvage the love he was cultivating between him and Naomi, and carefully weed out Samuel’s influence. But how? He opted to reawaken parts of Naomi’s past (the reason why she died) to return with vengeance, hoping this threat would send the human on a suicide mission to protect her – pretty much sentencing him to death. But his plans backfire –Naomi and Samuel grow even closer and Naomi’s past becomes a thorn in everyone’s sides. The Dark Soul takes a new route – he lures Samuel into the darkness, feeding him lies that awakens his long forgotten depressions, hoping he will kill himself. And in the mean time, he goes on a one-man crusade to destroy the people threatening Naomi; to become her knight in shining armor to gain her favor. Now, the end will all depends on what Naomi decides and if Samuel breaks himself out of the depression and charges after her. I foresee a fight between the Dark Soul and Samuel….but, that’s a losing situation for a human…; unless, we come up with something else all together. A really good twist in this, something unexpected for a romantic supernatural story like this, could turn everything upsidedown… Like, the holy High Order of Angels stepping in to punish Naomi for doing the Forbidden with a human…or something really out of this world. I’m not quite sure. I recall one twist coming from Samuel who begins to turn sweet Naomi into something of a wild child; which alters her Soul’s content from Light to Dark… Well, anywho this will be up to the three of us (whoever us is) to come up with. I really don’t foresee this being a happy ending RP, but it might be a comfortable ending instead. All of this is not carved in stone. I am up for any revisions, ideas, new concepts, the works! And I’m looking for serious RPers who can connect to the concepts displayed. I don't want to go into full-out writing, like the chapters you'll see below, but enough to enjoy the spirit of this piece. If this sounds like it will be a better Group RP, let me know! Templates: Throwing this up because regardless of what happens, this will be the sign up thread and OCC. (For Dark and Light) Soul: [Soul type: light/dark] Name: [The name of a Soul changes with each generation. This is going to be your generation name that you choose and stick with] Soul life: [Souls can appear to be any Age they please. They can also live on as long as they think they are needed; thus, a nice range from younger Souls and older Souls is appreciated. Please do not all try to be older Souls: the younger you are in life, the younger sort of Soul you are.] Gender: [Souls are usually genderless, but when given their human shell they are given a gender with that is more prone to their personality and their preference.] Appearance: [Remember, light Souls have a tendency to appear more light, happy, and warm.] Human Occupation: [This is what you do in the human world. You were given all kinds of gifts when becoming a Human shelled Soul, thus any kind of odd job will do just fine.] Personality and History is not needed for Souls. Personality, we will find throughout the course of the RP, and History for a Soul would just be outrageous considering how old the Soul is. Just make sure, if you speak of your past, that it remains consistent. My Character Name: Naomi Scott Soul: Light Soul life: 25, She's rather mature for her youthful soul's age, throwing anyone off with her human facade. But, she can pull off the stuffy 45 year old librarian in a heartbeat. Gender: Female Appearance: View attachment 14796 Long dark hair, dark brown eyes, 5'7"; A vision of a peach that had fallen off the tree. Skin of the smoothes cocoa, hair ravenous and silky, eyes - a sultry hazel... A quiet creature, strong and statuesque with her gymnast built, and well proportioned. Naomi remained diligent in the life she carried before her questionable accident, feeling the need to continue treading her regular steps to learn what exactly happened to her when she was alive. Human Occupation: Secretary/Auditor; Assist. Photographer for The Elite Agency – Talent Scouts. Name: Samuel Craven (Huntsman21) Age: 26 Gender: Male / Human View attachment 14797 Appearance: Short and slight, Samuel does what he can to keep in shape and manages to stay moderately trim and toned. While he doesn't quite reach 5' 8", he's not much bothered by it. Combs rarely pass through short dark brown hair as Samuel seems to think fingers work all the same. He got the lucky end of the brown eye stick, ending up with very pale tan iris colors. A compulsion to jog in order to burn off stress has lead to a nice light tan. Occupation: He's nearing the end of his struggle for a doctorate in Psychology. When away from his studies he works part time at as a clinical therapist. History: Born in South Africa, his parents emigrated nearly a decade ago when Samuel was still in high school. While he doesn't so much mind America, Sam keeps the memories of his old home close to his heart. ((This is just the first six chapters of the old RP, which holds not only the idea of how this story will run, but the connection between Naomi and Samuel and a bit of Samuel’s background for anyone who wishes to work/or rework that charrie. It’s also just a fun read!)) Chapter One: Polaroid “Oh, this is excellent! Front page material, definitely.” One print is hung up to dry before two tiny little hands picked up the large tweezers for the stop bath to lift up the next print; a charming park scene with a young couple. “Yes, they should really appreciate this angle…” Naomi paused, lost in another thought. That couple, who was so kind enough to allow her clearance to photograph them yesterday afternoon, was such a striking combination. Her sweet Southern accent with his rugged worldly charm; she started to open up her relentless emotions and, for once, despised her tears. “Why am I still doing this to myself?” Photos were thrown onto the floor, ignored under her bare feet as Naomi started to remove herself out of her past, flicking on the lights in her dark room – destroying the beautiful shots she spent hours working on. Two years worth of recuperation after her coma had not helped her return to a normal life. There was not normalcy anymore, not for her. She doubled a quick glance over her shoulder to regret her actions. The first few rolls were so amazing, but she will never know about the rest of the film. “UUHHHHH!” She slapped the light switch off and projected herself out of the spinning entryway down the black hallway. Once out, she locked the door to her darkroom again. Why did she grab her blasted camera in the first place? After work, all she wanted to do was rest in the park, take on God’s glory before going home to loft around before church. Holding her camera again just reawakened the original life she had, the one she lived – the one taken away far too soon. Naomi took the stairs by two and reached her bedroom quickly with the sudden urge to get out of there. The fumes from the chemicals, otherwise pleasant to her, were now turning her stomach; a physical sensation she hadn’t felt in a long while, but strange to her that her shell was able to decipher it and respond to it as queasiness. A quick shower, tying her long wavy wet hair in her famous pink camouflage head scarf, she found a pair of black shorts and a top to match. Her joggers were by the front door, like most of her other shoes. Grabbing her fanny pack and her cell, she hit her speed dial while slipping her shoes on. “So, are you ready? If you’re late this time, the jog groups going to go on without you.” The adolescent voice on the other line laughed at the all knowing tone in her friend’s voice, “I know, Auntie Naomi. Mom’s going to drop me off this time. Cody’s not feeling good today.” Naomi sighed at the news from her young composed friend about her younger brother. “Well, tell him I’ll miss them; probably see them later at choir practice. Who knows?” “Naomi,” a coy tone, toying with the girl’s voice. “Will that certain someone be there?” Unlocking her car door, the woman rolled her eyes and smiled. “Wini, what are you hinting at?” “I remember how you were looking at him last week…” “Geez, you’re only fourteen, you’re not supposed to know how I was looking at anyone.” “Really, my mom’s rather happy for you. She keeps telling dad that she’s been so worried about you since the accident, but suddenly you’ve started to come back to us – being yourself again.” Naomi’s keys were about to turn in the ignition, but they stopped, in a cryogenic freeze. Looking away from her world, she sighed, hearing for the first time in words how much her friends missed her – even now. Winifred fell silent, reading her church sister’s face through the receiver. “I’m sorry, I won’t tease anymore. I’m just – really happy to see you – happy.” The engine started and Naomi pulled out of the driveway of her townhome as she said her goodbyes. She heads towards the park for her evening jog. On the way, another call came through – her boss at The Elite. Something told her not to take the call, but… ***** “What, but that’s…tonight! I have no clue if I can reschedule all my other appointments to add that one in. Just call Switzer, he’s always available.” “Not this time, he’s in New York.” “What about Cranshaw?” “Went back to Canada for family,” her new boss just laughed. “You know, if you go ahead and do this concert, I’ll send a good word to the Execs. about you. Maybe, just maybe, they will give you a title; get you off of that freelance tag and hand you over a full-time office at The Elite. Your prestigious background with Europa will make it very easy, but the icing on the cake will be if you go ‘out-of-you-way’ for a ‘last-minute photo shoot’ for this very ‘world known musician’…” “Wow Sabian, brown-nosing lately?” The laughter on the other end knew what she was going to say next. It was too thrilled. “Alright, I’ll do it.” Why do I care to continue playing this game? “Thanks Naomi. I’ll email you all the details today….” She hung up before she hit Main St. Then redialed Winifred’s number to cancel the jogging session when she turned the corner on Grosspeck. With her mind wandering over all the tedious details of her work schedule, trying to search for a solution to her new problem, she absentmindedly dialed a second number; one that has been sitting on a Polaroid picture in her purse from a few months back. Strange, she had never placed the number on her phone and was rather shy about calling it, but somehow she had memorized it through her photographic recall. When the smooth tenor voice on the other end sounded, she honestly didn’t recognize who it was. ********** Chapter Two: Interesting Enough Something slow has... started in me as... shapeless as an ocean... and mirrored in devotion. Something slow... has sparked up in me the... dog cries for a master... and sparks are swirling faster... Samuel found himself humming the next few chords, violins, slightly graveled vocals, the faintest pattering of drums, all manner of electronic sounds, flowing in an out of one another with such beautiful dissonance. The last fringes of sleep flickered in and out of existence, soon there would be waking, oh so soon, but for now, for now there was magic hour. And in that hour there were dreams... Forwards, then backwards, forwards, then backwards. The world rushed forward over and over again, each time rushing back as fast as it had come, before splashing into a sea of blue. The old hemp rope whined slightly, frayed and weathered, but faithful - the boy trusted it completely; he didn't mind its old age or its dusty smell. He paid it constant devotion, handing his life over to it, trusting that it to work with a thick plank of aged wood, knowing that it would tether him to the earth. Little legs pumped every now an then. He wasn't going to get much higher, not without making a full circle at least. The boy smile, giggling at the rush of air on his face, his world a shifting view of dark shaded earth on moment, to staggering light blue canvas the next, with only a slight rush of gold in between the two; the earth, the tall golden grasses, and the infinite sky as flashing before youthful eyes. He felt the rise in his chest, the exhalation of breath as he left off his devotion to the aged swing. A gasp as he released its form at the height of a forward swing, body floating into the sky, eyes transfixed on the blue... Samuel's eyes flickered open, and instinctively he pressed the back into the soft tan mass of his pillow, trying to bleed out a scant few more moments of sleep, even though he knew his body was rested enough. The foam tipped ear phones jammed into his ear canals were whispering another song. It lacked its predecessor’s reverence, still calm and rather mellow, but with the slightest sweet taste of lovely abandon in it; a hedonist chant, a heathen's lullaby. She put the blam in the blame, bullets bearing the name, of each tigress whose left you a tooth. Saved the skins for a pelt and the rest for a belt, that can't open, no nothing, can't open, no nothing... Jaws opened wide in a mighty yawn, Samuel pushed himself up onto his hands and knees, arching slightly. A faint tearing sound, and mp3 player wrapped snugly in its warm leather case, freed itself from Samuel's chest. Samuel gave a slight chuckle as he eyed the red, square indention the little music giver had left on his chest in its passing. The thin plastic-coated wire of the headphones tangled around Samuel's torso tenderly, the arms of a weary automated lover. Samuel unwound himself from covers and cords alike, stepping out onto carpeted floors, and directly into a swath of moonlight, a gift from a window devoid of blinds. He placed his forehead to the cool glass, and let the pale imitator's light sink into his skin, the thought sending slight electric thrills up and down his back. A few thousand angry bees set off a clamor on his nightstand. Bloody phone... Samuel withdrew from the window and and scooped the dancing and buzzing device from his nightstand. He flicked it open and cradled the cool plastic to his ear. "Hello?" “Oh! Um…hello. Sorry, I may have dialed the wrong number…” Samuel smiled and tossed himself backwards on to his bed. He enjoyed the occasional chance conversation with a perfect stranger. He responded, the remnants of an accent livening up his banter a bit, some odd lovechild cross between a Brit and an Australian. Meh... what more could you expect from whites living in Africa. "Really? Pity... You sound interesting enough, and I don't have much else to do at the moment." Naomi was locked in this voice rather than the congested traffic she was following back to her home. There was a twinge of recognition in this person’s tone, that slight blend of rugged boldness lightened with a sweetness only resounding from a man prone to the beauty in breathing. She pierced her lips; she’s heard that tone before. Pulling her cell from her ear she instantly recognized the number. A small smirk rolled her ruby lips and her hazel eyes followed, raising up to heaven with a simple expressive question – God, why? Naomi swallowed her discomfort, such a funny mistake, and decided to run with it. From the way he sounded, Samuel hadn’t recognized her voice either. Naomi returned, “Oh, I sound interesting enough? So, my voice, altered by the means of this device between us, resonate enough interest to peak your curiosity. And you’re just going to sit back from your day to talk to a total stranger? You are either someone who gives far too much attention to the oddities of life, or you’re a pervert who enjoys shocking absentminded people who mistakenly dials your number.” Samuel laughed and scratched his tummy lightly, shaking his head slightly and suppressing a few stray chuckles, trying his best to keep a straight - only slightly amused face. A particular sort of habit he knew. He was well aware this coy female couldn't see him, and yet... well... voices did sound different when you were smiling didn't they, and this one, this one was so near to the cusp of laughter. "Oi... maybe it's a little bit a both... But you're a tad too brazen to be a mere scandalized young woman.... Hmmm? I can hear a smile in that voice, and a song..." Keeping the phone tucked gently between his ear and shoulder, Samuel hopped up and began fishing around in his dressers for a pair of trousers. He spared a thought at his mystery caller’s voice. You had to fish through that slight gravel quality, the slight hoarseness inflicted upon those shimmering gold sounds by the phones wild magic. But once all of the distortion was peeled away... well, there was something quite remarkable there wasn't it? Almost like a brook, you can feel the coolness of the water skipping over the stones, sonorous, and yet light. All the while there's that subtle warmth. The faintest gossamer surface of the brook warmed by rays of light... "... you don't realize it do you? Every time you speak... it seems like you're right on the cusp of breaking out into a hymn. Maybe you're a choir girl; a lady of the Church? Maybe not, after all, you're playing such cruel tricks... I'm pretty sure you know who I am... and yet you don't seem to want to return me the favor... No worries, I'll keep guessing. You've caught me in a great mood, just had my nap, and not feelin' nearly as cranky as earlier." Before long, Naomi pulled up into her driveway, shutting the engine down, but not budging from the leather seat. Once again, without her knowledge, her hand slips into her purse to retrieve that Polaroid, the one portraying church friends at the annual picnic last week. Samuel stood right beside her and her smile had never been wider. Yea, that was before everything changed. Naomi could not suppress her amusement and giggled lightly while she made her way through her townhome, rushing back upstairs and avoiding tripping over Scuttles. “Not now, you spoiled tabby,” she whispered. Returning her attention to the caller on the other end, she started to sing again, “You’re still in the dark about me? Now, that could either be an insult or you conducting a cruel trick, as you so neatly expressed about me. So sad though - to be so close to the truth, holding all the clues in your memory, but not reaching an answer.” Kicking off her shoes, she draped herself upon her lounger. ”On the contrary, it does brighten my day to sit here with a winning deck, for if you could recall who I am you would know how you always seem to have the upper hand. Better yet, you could just look upon your cell and try to recall the name that relates to the number upon it. Your choice.” Chapter Three: Misdialed Halfway into a pair of trousers, Samuel chuckled and popped himself soundly on the head with the flat of his palm," Ah... you'll forgive me for my foolishness; perhaps I'm more drowsy than I think. Now I'm a bit too timid to glance at the name beside this number. I'm sure plenty of scornful glares are in my future." Samuel withdrew the phone from his ear and took a quick gander at the name beside the number. The little contraption of wires and sparks turned to fire in Samuel's hands, and he tossed the stinging creature onto his bed lightly. His grin wavered slightly before returning full force; he chuckled and cursed under his breath. The moonlight current was back, running up and down his sides and stomach, writhing against his spine, curling about his lungs and clawing up into his brain, wreaking havoc on the over exited mound of sentient flesh. Sam did his best to calm down, heart smacking against his ribcage, cheeks and ears burning a near crimson. For a moment in waiting, Naomi wondered if the signal was lost. All she could hear was a soft thud and a few muffled scurries. She could just imagine what was happening on the other end of that life line. It mattered not that she had known this honey bee only six or so months, through his recuperation within the heart of the church, but there was just something striking about the native South African that always claimed the better part of her with only the use of his charm and relentless smile. Burying the giddiness and joy, entombing the infatuation, Sam felt his mind began to clear. He retreated back into a shell of coy confidence, a heart sick dog trembling behind a shield of bravura and swagger. His mask complete, he sauntered back over to phone and scooped it up, falling back onto the bed and cradling the phone against his ear, still fumbling with his trousers. "Ahhh cruel, cruel Naomi, how you play such games with me. Alas, now I'm ashamed, I've chagrined the songbird with the city under the spell of her tail feathers. Hehehe, but now I lie at your feet humbled." Naomi gasped when his voice returned, and a spark of electricity vibes through her, causing her to sit up taller when he spoke her name. He finally found me. “So Naomi, to what do I owe the pleasure? Ready to journey to Africa?" If blushes could be heard over the wire… “Oh, Africa in the spring sounds better than Paris, but I – um, actually called for nothing…really,” she started to feel faint. She did just misdialed his number, not having any real reason to call him. Now she felt the heat of embarrassment mix with the heat of fascination; what was she to say? Naomi stood up, quickly pacing with a dancing long stride back and forth across the front of her bed, crawling on her knees upon it as she tossed her wavy ponytail with nervous brainstorming…. Then her anxious marching finally opened a solution for her desperate scenario; but before she gave it a second thought, seeing that she was about to turn their friendship into something worthwhile and dangerous, her lips parted. “I was wondering what your plans were for the night…since you’re not feeling nearly as cranky as earlier…” Naomi! What are you doing? Her perfect manicured nails reached her mouth to end its canter, but it was far too late. Her desires had passed over a very delicate boundary that had been placed upon her, and she was fearful of it. On the other hand though, she was ecstatic and on the verge of busting at her newly stitched seams. She was asking Samuel out...and nothing was about to stop her. Her words danced merrily around the curve of Samuel's ear and he caught himself swallowing stiffly. The blush was back, in all its burning scarlet glory, the heat on his face sending a chill through his body. The shield cracked a bit, the shell fragmented. Working feverishly on the repairs, Samuel stuttered ever so slightly. "P- Plans eh? Well... not much I guess. Depends on what you had in mind," the shield slowly came back into place, the shock left Samuel's features, and the smile recaptured its throne," It's a beautiful night eh? Need an outlet for some vices? A bit of heathen hedonism, a little taste of debauchery? Or maybe a bit of virtue; something tamer, more enlightened and yet equally orgiastic? What is thy desire?" Her eyes widened with shock and laughter, a stirring with equal proportions of fright and tainted curiosity was felt deep within her soul, that the girl had forgotten how to take her next breathe. She fell to her bum, bouncing on the bed, and pulling her knees into her arms and chest as if the tighter she balled herself up, the safer she would be. Samuel sounded like a wildly different animal compared to the cordial Alter boy presence he tends to show before mixed company. Was this the real Sam? The person seen in the afterhours when the moon calls its children outside to, as he put it, get a little taste of debauchery or a bit of heathen hedonism? She was rather stunned that he asked, but then again...her voice whistled whimsically with a strange edge to just take a nibble. "Samuel, what type of woman do you take me for?" Sarcastic, yes, in every sense, but she was truly not the type; and still the strangely disturbing twist and churn continued in her gut. "No...Well, I was called in for work, doing a live photo shoot at a highly publicized music concert tonight. You know, one of those very fashionable affair, for the pianist Adriael Devirtiri; don’t know if you’ve heard of him. Um, so…I'd rather not go to something so public and elegant – without someone to escort me. And, I guess, my fingers felt the same way, because they called you.” She couldn’t believe how nervous she felt, mouth going nonstop - worried that he would actually turn her down. How silly was that? But Naomi grabbed a throw pillow to hug, as if it was the only thing keeping her afloat, while she waited for his answer. Scuttles leaped upon her bed and found her bare feet, stretching his blubbery, furry body across them to keep the cold from distracting her. “So, does this lovely verse suit your ears? Interesting enough for you to dawn a tux for an unknown stranger on the other end of the line?” Samuel's breath hitched in his throat for a moment, but the smile never faded from his lips. The self-assured simper flashed into a boyish grin, and for the slightest twinkling of an eye, Samuel cast the shield aside. He kicked both feet into the air gleefully, clenching his eyes tightly shut and pumping his free fist. He brought his wee fit of joy to an end, and settled back down on his bed. "Devirtiri? Oh ho, you've fallen rather conveniently into quite the classy affair. Sure you want to drag this mangy whelp into all that high society? I'll do my best to behave, I promise, and I clean up nice enough.... Never thought I'd be slithering into a tux this eve, but how could I ever resist you verse, the ever lovely siren song, steering me straight to the grave." Samuel chuckled lightly and shucked the trousers he'd been battling with, springing back onto two feet and dancing up to his small closet, imitating a slow waltz," Ahhh you've given me a treat to look forward to Naomi...," he chopped off his words. Bloody hell! Porcelain white teeth bit down lightly on a fleshy tongue. There was a slip Samuel couldn't afford. Saying that name wasn't safe, never safe. It was always there... no matter how many times that trio of syllables spilled forth from his lips, the slight deepening of subtle tones, a sudden breathlessness. The longing... the overwhelming desire to reach out, to grasp at the fringes of another soul, to caress the boarders of her mind.... Samuel blinked a few times, one misstep leading to the next, a rather odd sort of pause... His mouth jumped ahead of his bumbling mind, seeking to brush aside the memory of his err. Naomi smiled, “Wonderful, that has been my aim all along…” Quickly covering her mouth with a slap, holding back her embarrassment for almost revealing an intricate secret hidden between those lines so wildly, but her excitement for hearing his lips shaped positively that all her heart’s desires loosen from the bindings she strapped against it; bubbling up her throat. Before she spoke of childish dreams and hunger pains, the girl had returned to her nervous habit of pacing the floor. Listening to Samuel’s voice lead her to move to his song; her march twirled and leaped instead. "I've never had the pleasure of hearing Devirtiri in person, only a few recordings,” Samuel continued. “And if the rumors are true... they hardly do him justice. Wonder if those rumors are true...,” comfortable space once more, a change of topic, a change of focus, damage control, a quick prayer to a merciful god. And Naomi took the bait, “What rumors?” "They say he's a vampire. Capable of charming the ivory off of a piano and drinking the strings from a violin.” She laughed this time, “Hm, maybe I should allow the demon to pierce my neck; my piano playing would improve.” Samuel’s sigh was content, “Ahhh, fate's planned a lovely night for us after all..." And contagious, “Yes, it has…” You’re my satanic temptation, with those eyes so wild. I can’t stop myself, knowing you’re the key to my damnation; but damned I remain, and still begging for forty more nights… “The concert’s at eight. That places a few hours in our back pocket. I can…pick you us and help you purchase a tux. All company paid, of course. I can get by with that one.” Her dance carried her inside her closet, flicking on the light Naomi flurried around like a solo snowflake; it was time to pick out her attire. Samuel smiled and hummed slightly to himself softly. He flicked through his meager wardrobe, each outfit a costume for a world gone mad. They were so many short stories in an unfinished anthology. Memories... that's what they were. Two house fires schooled Samuel on the ephemeral nature of belongings. Now... now he had no belongings, merely objects that called forth thought with a single glance. The Concert, the personification of the modern day orgy, crowds pressed against one another, lost in seas of bliss and palpable energy. The Hike, a day of nature worship, a time to reestablish pagan roots, to commune once more with the old gods. The Mask - spanning several outfits, the uniform of class work, of whispered potential and goals yet unseen. Ahh, and alas here it was, The Snob... "Ha, thank you for your unbound charity, and know that I'll never be proud enough to refuse it. The tux doesn't pose a problem. I've a few relics that'll do the job just fine; although, I'll thank you in advance for the ride." The Snob... a spot as a groomsman in the wedding of a once rational uncle, unfortunately set adrift in the demands of his young love's sires. Swallowed in all that pomp and frivolity; and yet that sobering dream would make way for something far more beautiful. At least Samuel hoped as much; a memory of dancing for a night, in the company of one of God's Seraph. "Eight o'clock then? Well, allow me to wash up, and deck myself in this rich finery. I promise, your escort will be a perfect peacock." "Until then." The call ended with a giggle in her words, and with all the promises circling her mind over and over again. She knew Samuel’s looks: all exotically tan and toned, with rugged dark brown locks that played a wonderful contracting game with his light hazel eyes and tanned skin. In her memory, it never seemed to matter if he was in a white dress shirt and tie for church service or a sweaty t-shirt working out at the local gym; he was still a tantalizing peacock in her eyes. And, this was her problem? “Oh, Naomi what are you doing to yourself? You can’t play games like this, running in the streets as if everything is just dandy.” She swept through her closet, flipping hangers back and forth throughout her lavish array of name brand fashions, little pieces here and there that she had picked up along her modeling career; and more still, once her chosen profession granted her a place among the elite in her field. It’s rather funny and wasteful how fashion magazines toss money around just to hit a big-time designer for a front cover that will only end up as make-shift toilet paper for most decrepit humans living at the waysides. It didn’t matter to the norm that latest color concepts now dawns the hottest fashion cuts for the spring, or that Brittany Spears wore Gion on the red carpet. Even though the world may consider these ever-changing trends as a part of their daily bread, at the end of a week’s time they would all be considered classics or vintage, or drab and unworthy, freely hanging in her closet - a sacred mausoleum for their fourteen days of fame. And she still didn’t have anything to wear. Naomi was nervous about the whole night. It was not just a simple public photo shoot for The Elite, it had now evolved into the start of something spectacular – and the death of her, if she didn’t stop and listen to reason. She would not stop, hangers continued to skirt by, the friction of fabric on metal sliding a soundless tune. “Everything will be fine. I’m just paranoid. Besides, what harm could come of this? He’s just a friend. I deserve to taste what I’ve missed when death became me. My life was stolen; I’m just taking it back.” You could be my unintended choice to live my life extended. You could be the one who listens to my deepest inquisitions. You could be the one I'll always love. I'll be there as soon as I can, But I'm busy mending broken pieces Of the life I had before. And with that, she picked out her attire for the evening. Black for elegance, with a touch of shimmering boldness to frame innocent flesh, one of her favorite Cassandra Stone dresses she’d had the pleasure of both modeling and shooting in her career. Naomi sought that it was an appropriate evening dress for the type of occasion, as well as, for the public service she would be conducting. It’s always a good idea to dress for a camera, especially when one will be in your hand. HTTP://WWW.NEWYORKDRESS.COM/CASSANDRA_STONE/4136A.HTML But, for the most part, her thoughts were not on her job, but on the person who would be there watching her work. If he was going to dress the part of the debonair peacock, then she would portray the graceful swan. ************ Chapter Four: Durga A slight click should have severed Samuel's connection to the creature of light, the loss of that trembling line through space should have ended her presence in his conscious mind. And yet... something remained... He could feel her, feel her in his bones. This woman... she was something more than human, the thin veil that separated the mystic and the mortal rent asunder by her presence. Oh there is a murderess amongst us, Her love is a violent spiral hurling in upon us, conjured up at the birth of the world... Oh you could curl up beside me. The spark in your eyes belies the apocalypse inside you. Twisting the pits from the particle, skull can't save face, so shake the shame from it. Burn me up inside you, let me churn in your furnace of whirl. Yes... Samuel could see it; even the memory of her seemed enshrined in holy shimmering mist. She was Durga... the warrior goddess in all of her blinding beauty, all of that strength and majesty blanketed by a meditative smile, a well spring of serenity. Yet, Naomi seemed oblivious to her own divinity... content to be an angel of God while all the while she was the very embodiment of fierce creative energy, a master of gods, the slayer of Mahishasura. She'd raised him from the depths, this goddess - the one who could redeem in situations of utmost distress. The memory played out in flickering scenes, slightly incandescent, wavering in and out of strained consciousness. The former night had been rough, to say the least. Samuel had only recently flown back in from Pop's funeral. The wound in his chest remained a gaping maw, the emptiness threatening to suffocate him. His father had been sick for quite a few months, his fate hadn't been unexpected, and his name was surely scrawled on the book of life. Those assurances were empty, as empty as the sympathy cards, as empty as the condolences, as empty as the tears of distant relatives and fickle friends. The emptiness pervaded everything, sinking into every creation under the sun, piercing the surface and eating out the marrow. Grief helped for a time, untold tears shed in the warm embrace of his mother, his brothers, and his sisters, even Josh had offered up a shoulder when he first heard the news. Tears shed alone, when the sobbing was too much to contain, when the anguish spread along the veins and bleed from every pore... But even that had passed, only the hollowness remained, the nothingness. The loss was difficult to form into words, barely possible to conceptualize. Father wasn't so much a person as he was a force... a constant presence. Vices and virtues in perfect balance, a laugh that could banish rainstorms and a tenderness that could illicit the most deeply held secrets. Samuel barely endured a single day of routine, returning to class, returning to work... it meant nothing. As soon as night wrapped the city in its cloak, Samuel buried himself in clubs; sometimes with Josh in tow, sometimes without. He'd been a familiar to clubs for years now, a patron of the wild nights and pulse of the city. After all, how could one know salvation without a taste of sin? But this... this was different. They could see it, his fellow club hoppers could see it, Josh could see it. There were warnings, pleas to slow down, and pleas to calm down. Samuel ignored them all; the revelry, the madness, vodka burning through his veins, pill of an unknown nature painting his world. It was bliss, mindless instinct and passion, pouring into the void and smothering it for the briefest of instants. But it was enough. It was all he would ask for. It escalated. Mindless nights blurred into days... waking up at any given hour only to continue on in heathen trance. School forgotten, work forgotten, the routine banished. Every desire glutted; a woman's warm body in his bed, maybe hers, maybe the backseat of a car. Mind blinded by liquor, and taken to new heights by pills... Perhaps he would've continued on like that, continued in that unshakable trance until he died, until his body could no longer withstand it, until his resources evaporated, until a chagrined lover or betrayed boyfriend ended him. He prayed for it. Six days since the funeral... On the morning of the seventh, he awoke on the seat of a subway train. Yawning and utterly disheveled. Guided only by the pain in his head and the blurriness in his eyes, he'd stumbled into the daylight. Resplendent rays shot blades into his skull, he hissed, stumbling onwards half blind, his arm across his head, trying to block out the light. He pushed his way into a door, one that remained unlocked, but more importantly, a door that lead away from the sun. He collapsed onto a hardwood bench, leaning forward and pressing his throbbing skull into the cool wood in front of him. He could hear voices, muffled and muted by his hazed perception, yet he paid them no mind. The intoxicants were draining from his system, in shivers and spasms, soon to leave his body entirely, leaving only the void. Perhaps it looked like he was crying, weeping. Maybe that's why she placed that hand so tenderly on the base of his neck. Or perhaps, perhaps she knew exactly what she was doing, pouring life into him. Purest energy, electric current, flowing out of her and into him; with one touch, she poured herself into his body, filling him to the brim, and in that moment, he became an addict. His head rose, and he turned wet eyes towards his savior. A woman, a goddess, Adorned in the shimmering pure robes of a choir girl. Silken black hair cascades down onto her shoulders, coffee and cream face framing bright eyes that sent even more of that living energy humming into his veins.... How long ago had that been? A week, a month, six months, a year? It didn't matter. A slight chuckle escaped Samuel's lips, now he was attending church religiously... Of course he still frequented the city's night life, but he returned to previous form, scaling back the wild debauchery into calmer measures. The sermons may have fallen on deaf ears, but the songs haunted him forever. Not the collective voice, only her voice, slaying demons with it's shining melody... It was worth any farce or pretense he had to conjure. So long as he could lay eyes on her, he was satisfied, and slowly but surely, he'd grown to know the goddess named Naomi. Supplicant devotion gave way to friendship, and even that began to give way to something... more. He watched her pray, live, laugh, and cry. And even after the hellfire torment of her accident, she endured. Others cringed as she retreated inwards, but he knew, Samuel knew. He wore the mask of friendly concern, but deeper still, he had no fear. She was merely gathering her defenses, turning that divine energy inwards, using it to mend herself for a change. She emerged even more powerful than before... Samuel smiled and hopped off of his bed an onto a crouch, springing into the air with a joyous leap. Body moving of its own volition as his mind continued its jaunt, Samuel skidded to a halt in front of his shower. The water was hot, darn near scalding. It was uncomfortable, Sam was no masochist, but it helped. It subdued the growing demon, the heathen wildness that knew the night was the time for revelry. No... tonight was different, tonight was a dance with Durga... His black tux was still clean and pressed, having found its way into a plastic garment bag soon after its original purpose was fulfilled. Samuel dressed quickly, wrapping himself in the disguise of a gentleman, primping here and there until the noble illusion was complete. He tucked a fresh red rose into his front pocket, courtesy of a quick bit of monkeying around on his fire escape, a pair of scissors, and a neighbor with a lovely window garden... He pulled his still slightly damp hair forward, molding it into something more like a discernible hair style, with his fingers as per usual. Still a bit wild, but... even a perfect disguise would not rob him of his nature. A shave had followed his shower, and he'd managed to avoid any nicks. A bit of aftershave and lotion left him unblemished and baby faced. ********** Chapter Five: Fanning Feathers With her waterfall pulled up into a classic bun, with rebellious tresses falling to tickle her cheeks, Naomi did prove to be such a splendid swan with the show of her fresh neckline. One last glance in the mirror helped to relief her nerves. She looked fine. Not too revealing, but revealing her true animal – still chained up inside. No more, no less. That’s how she felt when she left her home that evening…confident and beautiful. But as she draws closer to Samuel’s address, that confidence changed stripes… She was far too nervous to be driving, but with only a few minutes to spare and traffic that seem to stand in her way to coast her into listening to that mother of reason sounding off in her head and turn around. But, soon she reached Samuel’s abode, and carefully walked up the stairs to reach his door. One chiming doorbell and she waited with her back turned towards the door, still trying her hardest to come to grips with her actions that night. The consequences… Ignore them all. You will be fine. Just breathe in the night, the atmosphere, and his smile; and nothing else will matter anymore. Never had she stepped beyond herself to make the first move, to utter the first words that would embark upon the unknown. Naomi was always the quiet songbird cringing before the congregation, despising her position as soloist…until the music began. Her comfort arrives with the soulful journeyman asking for a lover, and her voice would happily oblige. That was an appealing discomfort, to sing for the Lord, even though it requires her to do so outside her shower. But, this enticement, the one she'd invited to escort her tonight, was a first for her. Once again, she reminds herself that she’s just a victim of good fate. She did not intentionally make the first move, but it was made. She did not set to plan a night such as this, but her guardians above made sure to puppet her lips to make it so; they had their reasons, right? Even as she continues to waylay upon her own emotions with the fist of awkwardness, that song pulled her from her personal chastising. A chime sounded from his front door. "Be there in a minute," Samuel called out from his room, voice easily reaching the door as it traveled through his small apartment. Although he was already full dressed, wallet, phone, and a few other odd ends nestled in his pockets, he relished the few moments he'd bought himself. He padded softly and quietly to the front door, peering through the spy hole. He suppressed a sigh as it fought to escape his lips. Robed in a sultry black dress, the goddess revealed her grace and allure... Samuel closed his eyes as his mind drank the image. He tensed for a moment. What was he doing? How could he go down this path? How could he harbor this desire? To sully that holy presence with his touch... Surely that would be sin worthy of his damnation. To caress that beautiful brown skin, perhaps he would burst into flame, judged unworthy to make contact with the lovely deity. Oh but how I would love such a death... To be consumed in your fire. Only the moth knows true glory as it casts itself into the heat of the flame. Samuel shook himself, enough daydreaming, now was the time for those dreams to sprout into reality. He stepped back, and opened the door, unable to bite back the hint of devil-may-care that slithered its way into his grin," And so we go Mrs. Scott." Dirty little whirlwind I am pinned by the heat of your swirl Dirty little whirlwind Defender, destroyer I found you Dirty little whirlwind Tangled up in the flesh of a girl She hadn’t realized a presence stood behind her, but his voice made her turn like a mortal storm upon pointes, and what she’d found distracted her from all other uncomfortable thoughts and warning strobe lights suddenly flashing before her eyes. Oh God, he can’t be real, he can’t be real… Samuel's stature was sweet and velvety, tall like the noble Jojoba and Shea with golden honey capturing the dusk of the ending sunset. Samuel was far from being the man she’d met a past away, grossly splattered on the church floor after crawling from the subway at Hydebrook 2nd. All she had done was extend a hand of the Samaritan as the Sanhedrin and the Levite passed by; and boy, what such luck that was. His amazing transformation was due to nothing more than a handful of prayers and tons of friendship from a loving church-family. Now, look at what he’s become, such a miraculous creature, debonair and scrumptious… Girl snap out of it! ...And the devil laughs upon her shoulder, while the angel shakes her head in shame. A flutter passes across her eyes before it blush her cheeks with surprise. Clearing her throat of the knots of wordlessness she acknowledged him with a casual smile, trying her best to keep the night strictly amongst friends (as if pigs suddenly sprouted wings). One thing’s for sure, this will be a night she’ll never forget. "And so we go, Mr. Craven." She had nothing more to say, just to replicate the same intro as he, suddenly too scared to allow her true expressions to reach his ears. She did enough of that on the phone; easier when all before you is an appealing voice. With his eyes upon her she started to reveal her normal nervousness, the usual trait one can’t scrub off their skin with a scouring pad. Hated habit….she eventually relaxed well enough to truly smile without the anxiety. Finding her keys, she headed towards the driver side door. “If you continue to fan your feathers like that, I’m going to bear a striking resemblance to an envious ugly duckling..” ((2009 MX-5 Miata hard top HTTP://WWW.MAZDAUSA.COM/MUSAWEB/DISPLAYPAG...12-S-6927094012 )) Chapter Six: No Nervousness I've been waiting on the side Suggest I open wide No incentive to hide Happy coursing through my veins Don't even know my name When I'm up, you're coming down When I'm up, you're coming down Walls crumbled, shields shattered before the battle began. There were no more bulwarks of smug and snark, no more bastions of witticism and charm. There could be no pretense before this being, no farce, no mask. The simper on Samuel's lips faded, replaced by a warm smile, and a gaze that seemed to reach out towards the goddess before him. He trotted along behind her utterly content, satisfied to remain in this stroll forever. Gazing at the lovely curvature of her neck and shoulders for all eternity... Samuel noticed a slight stiffness creep its way into Naomi's body and mannerisms... She was... the divine being was... this incarnation of Durga herself was... nervous. Samuel's breath hitched for a moment, his mind ceased its whirring for a bit, stumbling and limping along for a few precious seconds, searching desperately for clear thoughts. With any other woman... with any, single other female, he would've snickered, would've moved in for the kill, resting comfortably in the knowledge that he was the object of this girl's infatuation. His prey fully locked in his jaws.... Naomi was not prey, she was not a target, not a trophy to be obtained... Her nervousness gave him no smug satisfaction, only a shiver. An ecstatic rush of fluttering energy swimming through his blood, an idiot giddiness. Samuel's mind found it more and more difficult to dwell on the reason for Naomi's subtle fears... after all, it was drowning. He was drowning, in wave after wave of this goddess energy. The addict personality lodged itself deeply in his consciousness. Being near her, so damnably close to her, barely more than an arm's length from her, that heady presence slithered its way into his mind, intoxicating him utterly. Happy flowing through my veins indeed... How easy it would be to become the idolater, to build an altar before her and sacrifice all that he owned... The gossamer hope that he was the real cause for Naomi's nervous fumbling, that he had somehow endeared himself to her... "Wha?..." Samuel stammered ever so slightly, his acuity seemingly as fleeting as his swagger. He chuckled lightly, a faint blush coloring his cheeks. He opened the driver seat door as she unlocked it, moving more by instinct than any real pretense at chivalry," Ahhh... you tell such sweet lies..." He closed the door behind her and squatted down towards the open window, until he was eye level with Naomi's seated form. She looked up gleefully and almost – finally, lost her grasp on reality. Samuel’s face, oh such a wonder, was extremely close to hers when she turned to respond to his allegations. Eye to eye they were. If her mind was alert enough to realize how significant this intimacy this nearness was she would have leaned back from it out of modesty and good manners, but she was petrified, immobile. He smiled warmly and pressed his forehead into the side of the car before looking up, hints of bashfulness leaving fleeting trails across his features. Old mannerisms crept back into his speech, accent growing heavier, old lexicon rolling off of his tongue with remembered ease. It was his way of comforting, his way of extending a kind and steadying mortal hand to an untouchable divine heart, easing this sublime deity's worries. "Naomi... thanks... for all of this. The invitation, the ride... Don't worry; I'll do my best not to make a git out of myself. “ Was he so unaware of what he was doing to her? At this distance, she could gather the contours of a very coy seventh dwarf, the glossiness of his sun-tanned eyes, and the scent of an unnamed cologne lightly sprinkled in unmentionable locations. Releasing a sharp sigh, she quickly turned her attention to the two hands on the steering wheel, suddenly interested in how her glossy manicured nails looked in the dimming lights outside the car. Once again, her will was not behaving like a proper woman’s will should. She was being beacon by a piper, and was all too eager to follow. She relaxing just a touch to reveal an equal smile, waving off his gratitude with a fanning hand, “Oh no, it’s quite alright. Rather, it is I who should be thanking you…for accepting.” “It's a kiff, young night, we both look mighty lekker, all dressed up with a jol to match. But really..., what's the point of it all if we don't have a little fun, ne?" Naomi’s brow followed her confusion, and a tilt of her head indicated that she was attempting to catch his drift. His witty comment carried that old world charm of his, which required a dictionary of South African slang for her to decipher properly. She giggled at the outcome, hoping not to offend him, but it was all too cute. And then, she remembered that his final words were plan. “What do you mean a little fun? This is not enough for you; to enjoy an interesting night of culture and wine?" Even though her question was earnest, and quite frankly a little taunt, she was still far too enthralled to show it. “Besides, what other fun is there to be found?” Samuel cocked an eyebrow and leveled Naomi a quizzical stare. It took half of a heartbeat to remember what continent his feet were planted on. He burst out into a slight gale of laughter. He never made these slips in other conversations, not in lectures, not in therapy sessions with troubled lads, nowhere. Oh how the goddess' spell could draw him in. He grinned ruefully and back tracked for his confusing bundle of words, trying to work out a proper translation. " Ha, forgive these muddled words. I guess what I'm trying to say is... well, it's a lovely night; we've dressed up nice and have a party to match. The least we can allow ourselves is a little fun neh? No room for nervousness." Naomi released the butterflies, dropping her eyes to her fidgeting hands, as she was quite embarrassed that he really did notice her shyness. Soon enough, Samuel had carried himself to the passenger side, hopping inside to place himself in view of her other profile. Even though he was not as close as he was before, standing just shy of her cheek, she could still feel thousands of tiny explosions detonating along her flesh closest to his aura. Sam pulled back from the window, strolling to the other side and sliding into the passenger seat, reveling in the sleek power of the silver chariot. One flickering hint of glory, defying church born modesty. Settling in, Sam turned to face Naomi, to look at her directly, with no shields of glass, plastic, or metal between them. Nothing but air... thick with the shimmering current, palpable longings that invoked slight stirrings deep within Samuel's chest. Those crazy hazel eyes of his seem to glue themselves to Naomi, refusing to release. She could not look away. Her eyes burned to blink, but the will and desire to remain ever visual upon his face would be nothing more than blasphemy if she allowed for such a miniscule distraction. Samuel did his best to focus, first things first... "No need for fear or apprehension," Silken words coursed their way out of Samuel's mouth, one pushing out after the over, alighting on ephemeral drafts to wind their way around Naomi's ear, sinking deep into her mind. He looked steadfastly into her eyes, never wavering, and yet not staring. He did not try to wrap her in a serpent's trance, or gaze at her with brazen hunger... no, such was far too crude. Rather, eyes of sand slid gently into eyes of ebony, reaching past the corporeal, into pure being, one sentient mind reaching out gently to stroke the fringes of another. "Sure, this may all be born from a call to work, handed down by your oh so pitiless task masters... But give it a few hours... let's enjoy the music and turn them on their heels. Let's turn a spot of work into play..." Was he speaking words, or whispering a lullaby? Naomi seemed to forget everything including the just of his thoughts. He spoke, and she listened simply to hear, not comprehend. Dear Jesus, what has become of me? You have truly placed before me such a complex first test; one that I cannot say I wish to fail. Like a hypnotic volunteer on stage for a night of mystery and illusions, Naomi just seemed to nod her head, pulled by those invisible strings still tied tight around her eyes. “Alright, let’s.” The engine purred to life, and without a second to delay, they pulled from the curb and into their first unforgettable night – strike one.