Words from Roses

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Rainjay, Aug 30, 2016.

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  1. [​IMG]
    @Rainjay - Robyn Gladwin
    @Fox of Spades - Noelle Atkins
    Based on Life is Strange

    The Vanishing of Erin Rose

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    It was a dark, gray day when Robyn returned to Arcadia Bay. Her parents made a ceremony out of arriving at Blackwell, fussing and hovering over their daughter as if it were her wedding day, the Polaroid spitting out photographs like rice and rose petals on the cheap carpeting in the girl's dormitory. She wasn't the only student with a small entourage; some girls huddled together in packs, and some were surrounded by movers hauling sixty inch flat screens and leather couches from the Modern Home catalogs on grocery store racks. After her own meager belongings were hefted into her room, creaking futon, Lucy, and all, the small Gladwin family huddled together for a lasting farewell hug before departing, mother-and-father bird glancing back at their hatchling as they went.

    Baby bird was all alone, and it was time for her to fly.

    She set to work unpacking the boxes and laying herself out across the fresh painted walls of the dorm room. Rolls of posters were stretched out and plastered against the walls. There was one from the Seattle Zoo, featuring all thirty-seven species of bird they kept in their observatory. Next to it was the book art, 24 by 36 inch printed covers of classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Secret Garden, all overlapping corners and edges. Following was the placement of books and CDs, overfilling the small shelf the school had left in the corner of the dorm and piling against the walls once she had run out of space. Then she laid out the thrift shop rug, and plugged in the antiquated standing lamp. The room burst into color.

    Last was the smallest box, a shoe box taped closed with packing tape, containing her most precious memories and treasures. No nest would be complete without them. She laid out the pictures, pinning them to the walls and hanging them on the lines by her bed until she ran out of putty and clips.

    She stood back and admired her work.

    It was perfect.

    Looking about the room, comfortably cluttered and pleasantly decorated, the feeling of inspiration struck her. It had been five years since she'd last seen Arcadia Bay. She distinctly remembered peering out the back window of her family's van, craning her neck to see the receding streets through the gaps between the boxes in the trunk. The image of her home was still vivid in her mind. The high roof and the cracking paint on the window sills, the baby blue siding and the tall bushes laden with red and white buds in the summer time, ground dotted with the clippings. There wasn't a point in visiting it now--somebody else lived there, it wasn't her home anymore--but she could just as clearly remember the rest of her hometown, the places she had dearly longed to see and fervently wished to avoid.

    And that was how the little bird managed to find herself lost in the beginnings of the storm.

    She didn't remember it being altogether uncommon for the Bay to be riddled with rain and showers. It was a seaside town after all, the weather could get fairly bad. But the static in the air and the absence of rain itself was uncanny. She noticed this upon leaving a coffee shop, her tea spilling all over the ground as she collided with a blonde, too preoccupied with shoving her way down the street to stop and help Robyn up. With all her attention on the apparent impending storm, she paid little thought to it and, without purchasing a new drink, began to make her way to the beach. If she was lucky, she could get a shot of the waves before the storm fully set in. It would be a prized catch; the ocean reflected mood very, very well.

    The sidewalk leading up to the beaches was deserted with the exception of a few stray gulls, pecking away at the pedestrian droppings of the day. She crouched down and took a picture before continuing, carefully beginning the descent down the sandy crest towards the low tide. The rush of water was low and calming against the eerie silence in the air. Halfway across the beach, she knelt down in the sand, cautious to keep the sand from the device in her hands, and lifted the camera to her eye to line up the shot.


    The photograph spit out from the camera and she snatched it between her fingers before the wind could blow it away. She stuck it between her lips, wanting to grab one more shot before she left. There were a few more minutes before the shuttle arrived. Leaning forward, she narrowed in on an incoming wave, all beautiful green and blue and blonde.

    Blonde? Lowering the camera, she blinked her eyes hard before focusing on the figure she'd seen. It was a girl, up to her knees in the water with her arms outstretched at either side. The sleeves of her blouse and the folds of her skirt billowed with the rising wind. Robyn heard a twinkling laugh. A familiar one.

    "Hello?" she called out. After a moment, the figure lowered her arms and turned.

    Robyn glanced back toward the streets. She could see the shuttle bus in the distance, slowly passing through the winding streets and around the rugged buildings. She only had a minute. Turning back, she had to squint to see the girl more clearly. Her blonde hair, long and straight was lashing about wildly, unconstrained. There was a single blue streak trailing over her face. Her eyes were wide, doe-like. Something was clutched in her hand, but it was impossible to discern what it was.

    "Robyn?" the girl called out. Her voice was achingly familiar.

    "Erin? Is that you?"

    The spur of wheels on gravel pierced through the wind and the sound of the ocean. Robyn glanced back again--the shuttle was here--and rose to her feet. She hadn't seen Erin in years. They had been friends, before the raven-haired girl had vanished from Seattle without a word. She knew that Erin had always wanted to escape, but had always thought she would receive a 'goodbye' before the girl ran away. Now she'd bleached her hair and lived in Arcadia Bay, Robyn's true hometown, without her ever knowing.

    She had to speak with her. She had so many questions. But when she looked back, Erin Rose was gone once more, leaving nothing but heavy rain in her wake.​
    #1 Rainjay, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
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  2. Prologue:
    The Vanishing of Erin Rose

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    Cold rain whipped painfully against her face, her sodden raincoat was ice-cold against her skin but Noelle only pedaled faster, bike tires rolling over wet pavement. To her left were several buildings, places she'd known for almost all her life, there was Up All Nite Donuts, The Shake Shack, Pete's Pizza, and several of the other places she and Erin frequented but there was no Erin and the usually bright signs were gone, the stores and buildings closed and boarded up in preparation for the coming storm.

    Just where had the Goddamn idiot gone in the middle of the biggest fucking storm of the decade?

    Noelle racked her mind for clues, leads, for anything. Think. Think. Think. She drew blanks and the lack of an answer left a bitter taste in her mouth. Some best friend she was turning out to be.

    "You mean... she's not with you?"

    Erin's eyebrows furrowed in irritation. In the back of her head, Mrs. Rose's words were stuck on repeat. The call happened roughly an hour ago and Noelle had shot out of her bead, nearly knocking her laptop to the ground. She'd been dozing off and enjoying the cold weather, but the news had knocked whatever sleepiness remained out of her system. No, she hadn't seen Erin all day, hadn't even gotten a text. By then the rain had started to pour and Mrs. Rose's voice grew more desperate with each passing second.

    "All this time, I thought she was somewhere safe. Out there... in the middle of storm."

    Noelle took a sudden turn as the rain poured even harder. The grey clouds above and the heavy rainfall turned their picturesque sea-side town a gloomy gray. "I'll find her," she mumbled through chattering teeth. "I will—" As the words left her lips, a blinding flash of light tore through the skies.

    Startled, Noelle wobbled and her bike shook from side to side. She attempted to regain control and jerked the handlebars to the left causing the bike to swerve into a trash bin. A loud crash resonated alongside the low rumbling of thunder and Noelle found herself sprawled on the pavement, soaked to the bone and frustrated beyond belief. She uttered a flurry of curses, and for a few moments, remained lying on her back, feeling the pitter-patter of the rain against her skin.

    At this rate, she'd end up with hypothermia before she found Erin. It didn't help that she could no longer get a cell signal.

    Another streak of lightning tore through the sky and Noelle raised an arm to shield her eyes. The brightness stung but as it subsided, Noelle noticed a silhouette of a person standing atop one the of the buildings, her arms were stretched to the side as if she were preparing to fly—to throw herself off the two-storey building.

    It took a few moments for Noelle to put two and two together, but when she did, the air was practically squeezed out of her lungs. Erin. She'd notice her best friend anywhere. No, she couldn't be planning to jump could she? Erin went along with her mischievous plans and her bold dares but her friend had never been suicidal. "Erin!" Noelle yelled, her voice drowned out by the howling winds.

    "Erin, you idiot!" She tried again as she propped up her bike, hopped on, and pedaled faster than she ever had in her life.

    Her best friend's name tore through her throat over and over again until Erin spun around and offered Noelle a sad smile. Or at least, that was what it looked like. Noelle didn't have much time to think, because the next thing she knew, a loose signboard was flying towards her. It knocked her off her bike with a resounding crack and when Noelle finally came to a few minutes later, Erin Rose was gone and a worried couple, bundled up in raincoats, hovered around her worriedly.

    She closed her eyes, allowing herself to feel the stinging sensation on her knees and the palm of her hands, the throbbing in her head. Everything was a blur, Erin was there and then she was not.​
    #2 Fox of Spades, Sep 5, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
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  3. One
    A Trail of Downy Feathers

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    Erin Rose was missing.

    They would not call her dead--there was no body, or at least, so they said--but for all the city did in the memory of Erin Rose, they tarnished it in that. During the storm, there were no search parties; "She's probably safe," one police officer said, "She's probably taking shelter somehow, somewhere." After the winds died down and the vicious rain ceased, they would look for her in droves. But a day passed, and the storm quieted, and there was nothing. The streets were littered with debris from broken house shingles and siding and sharp dots of glass and metal road signs torn into clean halves, and they said that it was more important to ensure public safety than it was to find a troublemaker, a girl who was probably hiding, was probably fine. They would look in a few days, once things had settled down.

    A few days had passed. The paper had an article on her, page 12, a few paragraphs long. The title read:
    Troubled Teen Missing After Freak Storm; The Search Continues

    What liars.

    For a week, Blackwell Academy stood at a standstill. The sidewalks and roads needed clearing before the students could be expected to make it safely to class, and several of the classrooms had been damaged. One ceiling had caved in, collapsing into a science lab storage room filled with fragile beakers and vials. Even Hazmat had come. For the most part, the students had the first week of school to themselves. But now, on a sunny and warm Friday afternoon, the school populace was shepherded into the auditorium, each student handed a small, neatly pressed pamphlet and ushered into seats and silence. The faces of the staff were somber, but the woman on the stage spoke with a warm smile.

    "Remember," she said, "If you need to talk to somebody, we are here for you. We are all sending our hearts out to Erin Rose and her family, and wishing her a safe and speedy return home."

    Robyn couldn't listen to it. Her stomach rolled and she clenched her fingers around the armrest, fighting to maintain her composure. None of these people really cared. She could see it behind their watering eyes, the ludicrous need for attention and the jealousy. Jealousy. For a missing girl. Because if they were the one to have gone missing, if they were the one whom nobody knew if they were alive or dead, they would have all the attention. And they would bask in it.

    Erin Rose was certainly not basking in the glory of her vanishment. Not if she was the same Erin that Robyn knew and loved.

    Among the last to rise from her seat at the conclusion of the assembly, Robyn followed the crowd through the double doors and outside the auditorium. She covered her eyes from the sunlight while fumbling for her earbuds. She needed to drown out the noise. The voices of all these people, uttering words of sorrow and sympathy for a girl they didn't care about. She found them tangled in the bottom of her bag, and began picking at them as she walked, feet bringing her away, anywhere but there. Yanking at the last knot, she saw Erin's face on the ground.

    She blinked. It was a flyer, black-and-white and crumpled, having been stepped on. She knelt down and picked it up, skimming over the text.

    "A search party?"

    She was still for a moment as she wondered. Among all the people in this school, who cared enough to be looking for Erin Rose? Heart lifting, she rose to her feet and looked around, spotting a blonde girl with a handful of flyers in her hand. It took a moment for things to sink in.

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