Dance Magic Dance

6: The Shadow Tarot

The kids go their separate ways after yet another traumatic day in what has been quite the traumatic weekend. But come Monday morning, there is a stark (heh sorry) return to normalcy, as each of the kids is ushered to school by (mostly) well-meaning parents who just don’t know any better.
[11/30/2014 10:01:29 PM] zuarkeror: Except Rick, who, along with Laverne and Petra, is conspicuously absent.
[11/30/2014 10:02:22 PM] zuarkeror: This morning, Mrs. Horn has put the kids into STUDY GROUPS to learn about DINOSAURS. Each group will consist of THREE PEOPLE and will be devoted to one particular dinosaur! And each group is to prepare a presentation.
[11/30/2014 10:02:31 PM] zuarkeror: Welcome to Hardcore Fifth Grade.
[11/30/2014 10:02:39 PM] zuarkeror: Oh, Ethan is absent, too.
[11/30/2014 10:02:42 PM] Maq: Maggie hasn’t slept well – her eyes are basically a dark and permanent color of purple now, the lids rimmed with red. She begs to not have to go to school, but when forced, heads in. She’s hunch backed, clutching her backpack and looking incredibly twitchy and uneasy behind her glasses (which are still the blue ones, with the masking tape around the nose bridge).
[11/30/2014 10:03:59 PM] Kii: Epiphany is strangely sullen, looking disappointed at Petra and Laverne’s empty seats as she takes her own. She slides into a group (not containing Maggie) and rests her cheek on her palm, looking like she also could use several hours more sleep. She has the wrong book out on her desk and nods along to the rest of her classmates.
[11/30/2014 10:04:39 PM] zuarkeror: Emily, Melissa, and Bill Turano group up. That leaves Aaron, Eddie, and Bob ungrouped, along with the others.
[11/30/2014 10:04:51 PM] zuarkeror: Bob BEGS to make a group of four but Mrs. Horn denies him.
[11/30/2014 10:05:19 PM] Maq: Normally the first person to grab a group, Maggie is instead quiet. She’s zoned out – in the way of someone who has no idea they’re supposed to be grouping up, and she’s staring down at her notebook paper.
[11/30/2014 10:05:39 PM] zuarkeror: Aaron and Eddie shuffle towards each other reluctantly.
[11/30/2014 10:05:55 PM] Auds: Vee seems disappoitned by the absences too – well, except Ethan’s, which is a relief. She’s been subdued for most of the morning but the dread of ending up in a group with Bob wakes her up enough to try to catch Epiphany’s eye.
[11/30/2014 10:07:18 PM] Kii: Epiphany stands up, halfway wanders towards Aaron and Eddie and then notices Vee’s hand. She slides into the desk beside her, sliding her pencil behind one ear. “Um… Hi. I don’t… What are we supposed to do?” She rubs at her eyes.
[11/30/2014 10:07:56 PM] Maq: By the time that Maggie rouses, she looks around. She darts a look toward Epiphany and Vee – and then looks toward Aaron and Eddie, and moves to sit down with them.
[11/30/2014 10:09:18 PM] Auds: “Something about dinosaurs,” she says, and tries to catch Maggie’s eye too – just in time to see Maggie snub them, so instead she just ignores Bob.
[11/30/2014 10:09:33 PM] zuarkeror: Maggie practically collides with Bob, who is also heading toward Aaron and Eddie. Bob glowers. “I’m with this group,” he says.
[11/30/2014 10:10:34 PM] Maq: She looks up to Bob then, staring at him blankly for a long moment, and then shrugs, and turns to go sit back down with Vee and Epiphany, sitting on the edge of the seat and dumping her notebook down.
[11/30/2014 10:12:48 PM] Kii: Epiphany doesn’t even look at Maggie— she just blows a lock of hair out of her face and begins tapping her pencil against the desk.
[11/30/2014 10:12:54 PM] Maq: “Hi Vee,” she says, greeting her, but not Epiphany, apparently.
[11/30/2014 10:13:42 PM] Auds: “Hi,” she says, both looking and sounding very glum.
[11/30/2014 10:13:44 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn assigns the group of girls ANKYLOSAURUS to research.
[11/30/2014 10:15:29 PM] Maq: “Ankylosaurus means fused lizard,” Maggie says, starting to doodle in her notebook. “They’re herbivores, and are basically tanks. They hit carnivores who tried to eat ’em with their tails. Maybe one of you could draw one for our presentation.”
[11/30/2014 10:17:17 PM] Auds: “I’m no good at drawing,” says Vee, flipping sullenly to the index of their science book, not really looking at the other two girls.
[11/30/2014 10:17:39 PM] Maq: She nods her head to Vee and then darts a dark look toward Epiphany. “Can you draw one then?”
[11/30/2014 10:18:54 PM] Kii: Epiphany writes down ANKLYOSAURUS and outlines it a few times. “I can draw it,” her eyes flit up to Vee and back down to her paper. “Are we going to have to go to the library for this?”
[11/30/2014 10:19:27 PM] Auds: “I hope so.” Not that the library is really all great, but it’s away from class, and that means it’s better.
[11/30/2014 10:20:03 PM] Maq: She shrugs. “I dunno,” she says, glumly, and then she looks toward Mrs. Horn, raising her hand wearily. “Mrs. Horn? Can we go to the library?”
[11/30/2014 10:23:46 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn looks forlorn at the suggestion. “We have books here,” she says. But then she ponders it over. “Well…if you think you can find more in the library, I suppose I could escort you down.”
[11/30/2014 10:23:53 PM] zuarkeror: Bob mutters, “Nerds.”
[11/30/2014 10:24:09 PM] Maq: Maggie looks toward Bob. Is he closer than Mrs. Horn? This is important.
[11/30/2014 10:24:49 PM] zuarkeror: Yes, he is closer than Mrs. Horn.
[11/30/2014 10:24:51 PM] Auds: “Thank you, Mrs. Horn,” says Vee, hopping up.
[11/30/2014 10:25:14 PM] Kii: Epiphany stands up, looking relieved to be getting out of the classroom. She just ignores Bob for the moment.
[11/30/2014 10:26:00 PM] Auds: “C’mon Maggie,” she whispers, warningly.
[11/30/2014 10:26:29 PM] Maq: She leans over toward Bob then, and knowing Mrs. Horn has terrible hearing, she whispers in a hiss: “I look forward to the day something tears open your chest and chews your heart so that you can hear the sound of flesh being torn between teeth, Robert.” Her voice sounds darker as she says it, and then, as if she didn’t do anything, she stands up, picks her notebook, and follows Vee and Epiphany toward the door.
[11/30/2014 10:27:21 PM] Kii: “She’s just going to do whatever she feels like,” Epiphany hisses to Vee, and then moves to wait by the door for Mrs. horn.
[11/30/2014 10:28:39 PM] zuarkeror: Bob stares at Maggie. There’s a brief flare in his eyes, perhaps a flare of fear, before his face returns to that mask of snide confidence. “I knew you were a complete psycho,” he hisses back.
[11/30/2014 10:29:13 PM] Maq: She rolls her eyes at Epiphany. “You didn’t have to come,” she mutters as she follows her out. She ignores Bob.
[11/30/2014 10:29:22 PM] Maq: She reaches into her pocket then, slowly.
[11/30/2014 10:29:47 PM] Auds: She looks between the other two girls, then looks down, wrapping her hands around the straps of her backpack.
[11/30/2014 10:29:52 PM] Maq: Maggie looks suddenly terrified and yanks her hand out of her pocket, curling her arms around her notebook and holding it tightly to her chest.
[11/30/2014 10:30:46 PM] Kii: Epiphany glares at the other girl but keeps quiet, instead folding her arms across her chest and scowling out the window.
[11/30/2014 10:31:58 PM] Maq: Her arms curl tighter around her notebook, her face pale. She looks sick – and she idly reaches down to tug her hoodie down too on her pants, uncertainly looking around. “Mrs. Horn, could I go – to the bathroom while we’re on the way?”
[11/30/2014 10:32:31 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn begrudgingly walks the three girls down the hall to the library, and leaves them in the care of the librarian—an old lady named Mrs. Willoughby, who must have a whole foot in the grave. But along the way they’re waylaid by Maggie, who wants a stop in the little girls’ room: Mrs. Horn nods and stands outside the door, making Vee and Epiphany wait while Maggie goes in.
[11/30/2014 10:34:29 PM] Maq: Maggie disappears inside then, for a good five, ten minutes.
[11/30/2014 10:35:18 PM] Kii: Epiphany leans against the wall by the girl’s bathrooms, hands fidgeting with something in her pockets for at least five minutes before starting to get antsy. She glances at Mrs. Horn, “Um, should I go make sure she’s ok?”
[11/30/2014 10:35:55 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn nods. “Yes, please do that.”
[11/30/2014 10:36:36 PM] Auds: Vee just stands quietly, leaning against the wall, fiddling with the adjustment straps on her backpack.
[11/30/2014 10:36:57 PM] Kii: Epiphany slips into the bathroom and looks around, listening carefully for sounds of… Puking? dying? weeping?
[11/30/2014 10:37:41 PM] Maq: Whenever Epiphany enters into the bathroom, she finds Maggie. She’s near tears, for whatever reason, looking shaky and panicky, and currently continually pumping out paper towels, crumpling them, and throwing them into the trash can in an apparent panic. She hisses to the trashcan: “I dunno what that MEANS.”
[11/30/2014 10:38:19 PM] Maq: “I don’t want it!” she says to it, even though the trashcan says nothing.
[11/30/2014 10:39:43 PM] Kii: Epiphany’s previous scowls and glares disappear as she listens to Maggie, and they’re replaced by looks of hope mixed with increasing panic. “Maggie,” she says quietly, tapping the girl on her shoulder. “Maggie, who are you talking to?”
[11/30/2014 10:40:53 PM] Maq: She freezes, and then she looks over toward Epiphany then, like a deer in headlights. She quickly turns to place her body between Epiphany and the trash can as if the trash is about to fling itself in an attack at Epiphany. “M-myself.”
[11/30/2014 10:42:08 PM] Kii: “No,” she says carefully, doing her best to peer at the trashcan from over the other girl’s shoulder. “You sound like grandpa during one of his nightmares. Who were you talking to?”
[11/30/2014 10:42:32 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn stands outside the bathroom obliviously.
[11/30/2014 10:43:22 PM] Maq: “M-myself, really.” She says then, darting a look around. “It’s nothing. I was just – I’m just filling the trash can, that’s all.” She looks down at her feet. “We should go.”
[11/30/2014 10:44:01 PM] Auds: Vee starts to get curious, but figures it’d be suspicious if all three of them went in – she just sort of leans to push the door open. “Maggie, you okay?”
[11/30/2014 10:44:13 PM] Kii: “You were having an argument with yourself?” She doesn’t seem convinced. “Are you afraid that if you tell me I’ll think you’re…. Weird or something?”
[11/30/2014 10:44:37 PM] Maq: She darts a look toward the door then, and waves her hands. “Yeah, I’m fine!” She looks to Epiphany then, as if considering this question very hard.
[11/30/2014 10:45:15 PM] Maq: She suddenly twists – as if something has curled in her stomach – and she turns and vomits into the can. Annnnd there goes the lunch she sullenly ate, pouring out into the can.
[11/30/2014 10:46:59 PM] Kii: Epiphany winces at the sound of vigorous vomiting and covers her nose and mouth with a hand. “Maggie,” she says quietly, moving to pull the other girl’s hair back from her face. “What are you so scared of?”
[11/30/2014 10:48:16 PM] Auds: “That doesn’t look fine,” Vee says, wrinkling her nose.
[11/30/2014 10:48:59 PM] Maq: She finishes vomiting them, coughing for a long moment and dry heaving. And then she straightens up and covers her face. “Nothing,” she says her voice high pitched as if strained. “No, everything’s fine, let’s go, Epiphany, Vee thanks for opening the door.” All of this is said in a panicked rush as she dives for the door. Her notebook is still on the floor in the bathroom.
[11/30/2014 10:49:49 PM] Auds: Vee just looks confused, stepping out of the way as Maggie dives out into the hall. If Epiphany doesn’t grab it on her way out, she ducks back in for the notebook.
[11/30/2014 10:50:18 PM] Kii: Epiphany frowns as the other girl speeds past her, kneeling down to pick up the notebook. “She’s not fine at all,” she says as she walks after Vee, flipping idly through the notebook.
[11/30/2014 10:51:12 PM] Maq: “I can get it later,” she says, maybe referring to the notebook, maybe not, maybe to Mrs. Horn, maybe not. She curls her arms around her middle, and looks around a bit, sinking back to stand vaguely near the other girls.
[11/30/2014 10:51:58 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn, who had to not have heard the puking, asks, “Are you well, Maggie?”
[11/30/2014 10:52:12 PM] Maq: “I’m fine,” she says with a nod to Mrs. Horn. “Just – something I ate or something.”
[11/30/2014 10:52:47 PM] Auds: Vee’s still frowning, but saves her questions until they’re alone in the library. While they’ve got an escort she just falls silent again for the trip.
[11/30/2014 10:53:02 PM] zuarkeror: Mrs. Horn escorts the girls the rest of the way, leaving them in the care of the librarian.
[11/30/2014 10:54:23 PM] Maq: Once they’re in the care of the librarian, Maggie goes to hover by a table they can use. She stares at it for a moment, and then: “I’ll go get the books we need?” she asks Vee and Epiphany.
[11/30/2014 10:54:50 PM] Kii: Epiphany motions for them to sit off at a more secluded table, keeping the notebook in her lap as she continues to flip through it. “If you’re not going to talk about what’s wrong…”
[11/30/2014 10:54:55 PM] Auds: “Maggie, what happened?” Vee says, plopping down, not really concerned about the books.
[11/30/2014 10:57:01 PM] Maq: “Um,” she says then, her head obviously spinning. She looks to her notebook, then, blankly for a moment, and then she looks back to Vee. She sits down and rubs her arms. “Ummmm,” the words stretch out. “Do you guys…” She begins, and looks over her shoulder toward the librarian.
[11/30/2014 10:57:56 PM] Kii: “Do we what?” Epiphany asks gently, trying to help Maggie through this conversation as best she can.
[11/30/2014 10:58:50 PM] Maq: “Do you guys hear stuff sometimes?” She asks then, looking worriedly between the two.
[11/30/2014 10:58:50 PM] zuarkeror: A short while after the library doors close, they open again—and Mrs. Horn, looking slightly weary from all the walking, returns, with Rick in tow. She directs him toward the group of girls, and then disappears back down the hall.
[11/30/2014 10:59:10 PM] Maq: She looks toward Rick and Mrs. Horn then, looking even more concerned.
[11/30/2014 10:59:28 PM] Auds: “Like what?” she asks, giving Rick a glum sort of wave.
[11/30/2014 11:00:05 PM] Kii: “Stuff? Like… You mean like… Things you shouldn’t be able to hear?” She just nods at Rick, feeling a small bit of relief to see him whole and unmauled again.
[11/30/2014 11:00:20 PM] Adam: “Hey,” Rick says simply. He moves in and grabs a seat. He looks tired but, you know, not dead.
[11/30/2014 11:00:24 PM] Maq: “I’m NOT,” she says then, like one of them accused her of something. She waves her hands a little bit, and then she clamps her hands over her mouth and goes silent as Rick officially joins them.
[11/30/2014 11:00:34 PM] Maq: “Hi,” she does offer through her hands.
[11/30/2014 11:00:57 PM] Auds: “Like what?” she asks again. “Like noises and stuff, or someone talking?”
[11/30/2014 11:01:30 PM] Maq: She nods her head toward Vee.
[11/30/2014 11:02:02 PM] Auds: Vee wrinkles her nose slightly in thought. “Who do the voices sound like?”
[11/30/2014 11:03:03 PM] Maq: Her eyes start to water for some reason and she lowers her hands. “Do you guys hate me?” She asks. “Not that you’d tell me the truth,” she adds a moment later glumly. In answer to Vee’s question: “I dunno.”
[11/30/2014 11:03:32 PM] Auds: “I wish you’d listen to us sometimes,” Vee says, sinking back into glum. “But I don’t hate you.”
[11/30/2014 11:03:35 PM] Kii: Epiphany doesn’t seem very rattled, instead she just nods along as Maggie talks. “I… I don’t hate you Maggie. I’m still a little mad. But… Do they tell you to do stuff? What sort of things to they say?”
[11/30/2014 11:03:47 PM] Adam: “She heard voices too. Or saw someone we didn’t. So you’re not exactly alone.” Rick hikes his thumb at Epiphany as he gets out a notebook of blank unlined paper and some unusual-looking pencils.
[11/30/2014 11:04:46 PM] Kii: “Just because you didn’t see her doesn’t mean she wasn’t there,” Epiphany adds, eyebrows furrowing slightly.
[11/30/2014 11:05:23 PM | Edited 11:05:45 PM] Auds: “I didn’t see anything that nobody else did, or hear anything. But someone came to see me later and told me everybody was alive.” She’s fidgeting with the straps on her backpack, mostly, but at some point she gets a book out to keep the librarian from getting suspicious.
[11/30/2014 11:06:39 PM | Edited 11:06:42 PM] Maq: “He just complains all the time,” she says, miserably. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” She looks toward Rick then. "We’re doing a presentation on the ankylosaurus. " And then she looks to Vee. “Someone came to you? Who?”
[11/30/2014 11:07:42 PM] Auds: “She said her code name was Remainder,” she says, sniffing slightly. “I asked if she was a secret agent and she said kinda.”
[11/30/2014 11:08:08 PM] Kii: Epiphany’s eyes widen immediately. “Did… Did she have long reddish hair? And blue eyes?”
[11/30/2014 11:08:23 PM] Maq: “…Like CIA?” She asks then, wide-eyed. “I’ve never met anyone like that. My dad says he’s a spy sometimes. But I dunno, he never told me his code name.” She pauses and looks to Epiphany.
[11/30/2014 11:08:44 PM] Auds: She nods at Epiphany.
[11/30/2014 11:09:13 PM] Adam: Rick idly draws on a corner of his notebook. Sunshine, looks like. He looks between Epiphany and Vee curiously.
[11/30/2014 11:10:46 PM] Kii: “THAT’S the lady who I was talking to! Who gave me the cards!” she says in one of those loud whispers. “I knew she didn’t have anything to do with the paintmonsters!”
[11/30/2014 11:10:58 PM] Auds: “Cards?”
[11/30/2014 11:11:15 PM] Kii: “My magic tarot cards,” she says plainly.
[11/30/2014 11:11:20 PM] Maq: “Can I have my notebook back?” She asks Epiphany quietly, making a ‘gimme gimme’ motion with her hands.
[11/30/2014 11:11:42 PM] Kii: Reluctantly, Epiphany hands it back over to Maggie.
[11/30/2014 11:11:51 PM] Maq: She takes her notebook back then, and just quietly starts doodling in it.
[11/30/2014 11:11:55 PM] Adam: “And – this is good, I want us to talk, but – can someone get me a picture of an akylosaurus?” Rick is adding clouds to his prehistoric sky.
[11/30/2014 11:12:05 PM] Auds: “You have magic tarot cards?” She pronounces ‘tarot’ like she’s never heard the word before.
[11/30/2014 11:13:12 PM] Kii: “It looks like a turtle with a sea-mine for a tail,” she says to Rick quickly before nodding to Vee. “I told you yesterday, remember?”
[11/30/2014 11:13:19 PM] Maq: “Epiphany will do that,” she says to Rick then. “And – I can list facts or whatever, and we can present it or…whatever.”
[11/30/2014 11:13:47 PM] Maq: “They’re really big and dumb,” she adds. And then to Epiphany: “Vee wasn’t with us yet. You said that at my house before we left.”
[11/30/2014 11:13:53 PM] Auds: Vee just gives Epiphany a blank look. “No..”
[11/30/2014 11:14:54 PM] Kii: “Oh…” She shrugs and then nods again to Vee, “Well I do! And I did a reading, although it was a little strange. I mean, I’ll probably have to practice to get really good with them….”
[11/30/2014 11:16:23 PM] Auds: “What are they for?”
[11/30/2014 11:16:33 PM] Auds: Vee does not seem to care about ankylosaurus.
[11/30/2014 11:16:42 PM] Adam: “I mean, sure, but I can draw and I can’t talk in front of the class, so I’d rather draw,” Rick says with a shrug of one shoulder. “Let’s – can we go – let’s start at the beginning. What happened in Xyza’s house after the monster comes up the stairs.”
[11/30/2014 11:17:37 PM] Maq: Maggie focuses on writing out facts about the ankylosaurus. “It ate you,” she says. “It bite into your chest, and there were wet crunchy sounds as it chewed, and it crunched and it tore, and you could hear all the fleshy strings ripping and tearing,” she says then, lifting her hands and mimicking tugging. “And I watched it eat you and hid under the bed and vomited.”
[11/30/2014 11:17:58 PM] Auds: “I hid in the closet, with Epiphany. Only it wasn’t a closet.”
[11/30/2014 11:17:59 PM] Kii: “You ask them questions— it can be about anything, really. Usually about your life, or your path, or something that could happen in the future. And they answer you using symbols and pictures.” Her pale green eyes glance sidelong at Rick, “I…” Her face pales as Maggie goes on about the description of Rick being eaten alive.
[11/30/2014 11:18:21 PM | Edited 11:18:31 PM] Kii: “Y-yeah, we hid in a closet that was really a big room… A studio.”
[11/30/2014 11:19:51 PM] Adam: “Sorry,” he says, mostly towards Maggie, after she’s described his death. “I had a stupid plan.”
[11/30/2014 11:22:00 PM] Maq: “And its – its – throats? throat? worked, and it bobbed, and it swallowed. Munch munch, chomp chomp, gobble gobble,” she says then, whispering. “Gulp. When it came into the room. And Petra was in the corner, and she was crying. It crept closer, and I knew I was going to die, and I was going to watch Petra die first, and it got closer, and she yelled something weird, and there was a…a … green…monster, and it came out of her clothes and it attacked the thing, and there was a fight.”
[11/30/2014 11:22:16 PM] zuarkeror: The librarian occasionally looks up and glances over at the group, but it’s fairly clear that she can’t hear anything the kids are saying. For one thing, she’s far away; for another, she’s got to be totally deaf and senile or something.
[11/30/2014 11:24:01 PM] Adam: Rick snags one of the books the others have found and flips to a reference image for an ankylosaurus.
[11/30/2014 11:24:38 PM] Kii: “I didn’t see any of that,” Epiphany says quietly. “A… A monster came out of her clothes?”
[11/30/2014 11:24:46 PM] Maq: She nods her head a bit and stares at her notebook.
[11/30/2014 11:24:46 PM] Auds: “A green monster came out of – Petra’s clothes?” Vee whispers, wide-eyed.
[11/30/2014 11:24:52 PM] Maq: “Yeah, after she shouted a weird word.”
[11/30/2014 11:26:06 PM] Kii: Epiphany nods, as if she’s noting that for later, and continues. “Well, where we were, in the studio, there were two doors. One leads to the supply closet in the Junior High art room, and the other… Xyza was in the other, doing her homework.”
[11/30/2014 11:27:16 PM] Auds: “I tried to ask her about the monster but she – painted my mouth away. I couldn’t talk, or anything.” Her head tucks in between her shoulders slightly.
[11/30/2014 11:28:25 PM] Maq: She nods her head slowly, her purpled eyes darting between Vee and Epiphany.
[11/30/2014 11:29:29 PM] Kii: She shifts in her seat, beginning to look a little agitated. “I asked her why she just let Rick die… And told her you guys were in trouble… But she just didn’t care. So I tried to take her paintbrush from her, and it went flying, and Vee picked it up and used it. And then she tried to break it, but it wouldn’t, so… Xyza just took it back from her.” Her voice gets very tense at that last part.
[11/30/2014 11:30:22 PM] Maq: “She’s a junior higher, so she can probably beat any of us up except Rick,” she says then, nodding her head slowly. “And you and Vee can’t fight very well, so…probably not much you could do.”
[11/30/2014 11:33:33 PM] Auds: “I tried,” she says, not quite snapping at Epiphany, but her face is a little red with urgency. “You keep acting like I did it on puppet but I didn’t, I tried to break it, and I tried to keep it from getting her back, but she was WAY stronger than me.”
[11/30/2014 11:34:59 PM] Kii: “And I thought everyone was /dying/ and trying to do everything I could and all you did was stand and cry,” Epiphany says all at once, blinking rapidly as her own eyes start to sting. “But… But I guess it doesn’t matter, really, everyone made it out ok.”
[11/30/2014 11:35:30 PM] Auds: Vee, suddenly in tears herself, stands and dashes off into the stacks.
[11/30/2014 11:35:30 PM] Maq: “All I did was sit under a bed and cry and vomit,” she says.
[11/30/2014 11:35:54 PM] Maq: She looks over to Vee, and then gets to her feet. She darts quickly after Vee, heading into the stacks.
[11/30/2014 11:36:40 PM | Edited 11:37:19 PM] Adam: Rick, whose eyebrows slowly creeped up through all of this, now focuses intently on drawing ankylosaurus.
[11/30/2014 11:37:18 PM] Kii: Epiphany looks down at her hands, sighing softly. “Wh-what happened to you, Rick? I know you said you poured paint thinner on yourself but… Was that really it?”
[11/30/2014 11:38:10 PM] Adam: “You heard Maggie describe how I died, right?” Rick says quietly after a moment.
[11/30/2014 11:38:29 PM] Kii: “Yes… I heard it too,” she says softly.
[11/30/2014 11:38:38 PM] Maq: She hurries quickly after Vee, looking toward the librarian, and trying to make it look like they’ve just gone in search of more information on the ankylosaurus. “Vee,” she says as she goes after the other girl then. “Vee, it’s okay.”
[11/30/2014 11:39:50 PM] Adam: “If I tried to explain how I came back,” Rick says simply, blue eyes meeting Epiphany’s squarely, “I’d be doing that to your brain.”
[11/30/2014 11:40:55 PM] Kii: “…I don’t understand. If I hear it, I’ll die? Is it some sort of… geis?”
[11/30/2014 11:41:53 PM] Auds: “Just leave me alone,” she snaps, wiping furiously at tears that stream down her cheeks, trying her best not to sob out loud. “I couldn’t breathe! At least I tried to go back and help you and Petra and Laverne! She didn’t, she just ran for the junior high to go dig up her stupid master cards.”
[11/30/2014 11:42:38 PM] Adam: “You not understanding is the point,” he says, somewhat patiently. “It’s dangerous for you to understand. You can’t. And I don’t know what the fuck a geis is.”
[11/30/2014 11:42:57 PM] Adam: “If you want to know something useful, I can tell you something else,” he says after a beat.
[11/30/2014 11:43:45 PM] Kii: “It’s like a curse. If you violate a set of rules, you end up dying.” She sits back, a little disappointed. “Why is it dangerous for me to know?”
[11/30/2014 11:44:30 PM] Maq: She doesn’t rile up for once – likely if someone else (see: Bob) had told her to leave them alone, she’d have gotten riled and argued. “Okay,” she says. “And I know, you called me and stuff.” She moves to crouch nearby, staring up at the other girl through her puffy, sleepless eyes. She fidgets a little bit, rocking forward and back. “Did you mean to say puppet? Were you – being – puppeted stuff?” She rubs her eyes a little bit. Her eyes drift down and to the side.
[11/30/2014 11:45:08 PM] Adam: “Because…you know, bees…no, uh…” He also sinks back in his seat, setting down his pencil and holding his hands out in front of him like he can somehow grab the right words out of the air.
[11/30/2014 11:45:16 PM] Auds: “What?” she asks, mostly hunched and turned away but glancing back at Maggie, confused, wary, like she’s pretty sure Maggie’s making fun of her.
[11/30/2014 11:45:35 PM] Adam: “It’s like staring into the sun,” he says finally.
[11/30/2014 11:46:36 PM] Maq: “Um, you said you didn’t do it on puppet,” she says, slowly, lifting her hands. “Not purpose. And – I was wondering if maybe Xyza was puppeting you too and stuff, like you were a doll, cause painting and stuff.” She draws in a breath. “But even if you COULDN’T breathe, like, the fact that you stood there crying and not able to breathe makes you better’n me,” she shrugs. “I couldn’t even – I just went under the bed, and watched, and cried, and I had no good reason.”
[11/30/2014 11:47:56 PM] Kii: “Oh… Well, I guess that… Sort of makes sense.” Epiphany folds up her legs so she’s sitting cross-legged in her chair. Suddenly she tilts her head and looks curiously at Rick, “Can you…Tell someone else, that we know, and they won’t be harmed?”
[11/30/2014 11:51:51 PM] Auds: “I didn’t just stand there, not for more than a few seconds while I was trying to breathe. I tried to talk to her first, that’s why she did it. And then I tried to go back and help you but the door didn’t go to the same place anymore. Epiphany’s just – just being mean.” She turns away again and presses the heels of her hands against her eyes.
[11/30/2014 11:52:06 PM] Adam: “I haven’t met anyone else who’s…come through like me,” Rick says slowly. “So – I want to. But I’m working on it. I wish I was more helpful, just,” more grasping at the air. “I can’t explain anything. And it’s not like I really understand more.”
[11/30/2014 11:53:42 PM] Adam: “Anyway,” he says awkwardly, “I know it’s weird, but, it’s…not an answer to anything.”
[11/30/2014 11:54:10 PM] Maq: She nods her head a little bit. “Okay,” she says. “Yeah. She was mad at me for making her do the dog thing too when I told her and Rick and Laverne and Petra not to come and I was gonna do it just me and you, but they came along anyway, so it was their own choice to do it, even if she doesn’t wanna admit it. But I guess some of us don’t wanna admit it.” She rubs her eyes for a moment and then stands up, awkward, and twists around to look this way and that in paranoia for a moment, before she looks back to Vee. She stares at the other girl for a moment – and then steps forward to hug her, if she lets her.
[11/30/2014 11:56:13 PM] Kii: “No, I get it… I wish you could talk, so we could help you.” She sighs and looks off towards the way Maggie and Vee went. “What happened was… Was a disaster. We need to talk about it though, because we’ll have to go back again. I know we will, and we have to do something different this time.”
[11/30/2014 11:56:48 PM] Adam: “Probably,” he says heavily. “But uh…you…” This thought dies on the vine, apparently.
[11/30/2014 11:57:40 PM] Kii: “But I what?” she asks, frowning a little.
[11/30/2014 11:57:43 PM] Auds: She does, but kind of stiff and awkwardly. “Okay but I’m still mad at you for not listening to us,” she says, sniffling. “You gotta plan these tihngs, Maggie. It woulda been so much easier if we’d snuck over at night and done it without Ethan seeing. Or – or something. Next time, stop and let’s all talk first?”
[11/30/2014 11:58:17 PM] Maq: “Maybe.” She says then, and then she pulls back. Awkwardly, after a moment: “Do you sometimes find stuff on you that wasn’t there before?”
[11/30/2014 11:58:36 PM] Adam: “You need to not, uh.” A measured breath in and out through his nose, steadying himself. “You need to not care so much about being right,” he says finally, in just a little bit of a rush but relatively even.
[12/1/2014 12:02:08 AM] Kii: She looks down, fingers fidgeting with the end of her pencil. “It’s not about being right… It’s… What happened, happened, and I really thought everyone died. Or was dying, and we were the only people who could help. And we failed.” Epiphany looks up at Rick, lips pressed into a determined line. “More people could die, next time we try. And I don’t want to hurt Vee’s feelings, but ignoring our mistakes… It’s…” She rubs at her eyes. “…I couldn’t handle that again…”
[12/1/2014 12:03:26 AM] Adam: “Lemme put this another way,” he says after a beat, stubbornness putting more ease into his words. “How many times has someone in our group fled from you, crying, in the past few days?”
[12/1/2014 12:03:54 AM] Auds: “No,” she says, frowning a little as she pulls back, still sniffling and snotty. “What’d you find? Maybe someone reverse-pickpocketed you. Like if Laverne was here I wouldn’t puppet master.”
[12/1/2014 12:04:49 AM] Kii: “Two,” she says lowly.
[12/1/2014 12:04:59 AM] Maq: She flails her hands. “You did it again,” she says suddenly. She lifts her hands to her head and looks around. “Are you doing that?” She asks, and then hastily adds, “On purpose? The puppet master thing? You just said it again. I don’t know what you said. Like if Laverne was here I wouldn’t puppet master. What does that mean?”
[12/1/2014 12:05:21 AM | Edited 12:05:26 AM] Maq: “Put it past her? But you said puppet master? Is that me hearing more things. Are you actually doing it?” She looks suddenly panicky. “I’m hearing things aren’t I? Stop doing that!”
[12/1/2014 12:05:33 AM] Auds: “Doing what!” she asks, taking a step back. Quick to feel blamed for something, what with the way things have been going. “Put it past her!”
[12/1/2014 12:06:01 AM] Maq: “It’s okay, it’s probably not you, it’s probably him,” whoever him is. “Okay okay okayokay.” She nods her head. “Yeah, I was – probably reverse-pickpocketed.”
[12/1/2014 12:06:44 AM] Maq: She turns her head and stares wide-eyed into space.
[12/1/2014 12:07:05 AM] Auds: “What was it?” she asks, watching through red eyes as Maggie looks off into space. “What’d you find?”
[12/1/2014 12:07:31 AM] Maq: “What’d I find when?” She asks, dizzily, looking back to Vee. “In my pocket?”
[12/1/2014 12:08:20 AM] Auds: “Yeah,” she says, wiping her face again. “That’s why you’re asking, right?”
[12/1/2014 12:08:48 AM] Maq: She looks nervously left and right, and curls her arms around herself. She whispers to Vee, quietly: “A—a knife.”
[12/1/2014 12:09:04 AM] Adam: “It’s not weird that we’re crying and touchy,” Rick says, rubbing a hand against the back of his neck. “That’s…that’s the territory. But – you know – it’s because we all feel that weight, E. We’re all torn up about what happened and what could. And so we have to get a handle on it. That’s as important as details. So you gotta be able to ease up some. Jesus, it’s…so fucking lucky to have a group like this, you know that? Just what we did, in the face of all that…crazy shit, was impressive. For adults. And we’re eleven.”
[12/1/2014 12:09:40 AM] Adam: He glances over at the librarian and leans forward to keep working on his mostly-formed ankylosaurus, but his eyes keep going back to Epiphany as he sketches.
[12/1/2014 12:12:40 AM] Kii: “But I know what /could/ happen,” she whispers, resting her elbows on the table and her chin in her palm. “And it isn’t bad, I don’t think. And I really didn’t mean to make Vee cry, I was just really angry with her that time, and I didn’t know how to really say it…” She sighs. “Don’t you feel like we need to do something, and soon?”
[12/1/2014 12:12:46 AM] Auds: “Can I see it?” she whispers, glancing over towards the librarian, then worming further into one of the aisles.
[12/1/2014 12:13:13 AM] Maq: Her eyes suddenly fill with tear. “No!” She says then – though this doesn’t seem directed at Vee, but more toward the air. She flails her head, and then looks to Vee, and shakes her head again, and this time says more calm, “No.”
[12/1/2014 12:15:00 AM] Auds: “Why not?” she asks, but she just seems kind of confused, kind of worried. She grabs Maggie’s hand and starts steering towards the actual natural history sections to grab some actual books about dinosaurs.
[12/1/2014 12:15:46 AM] Adam: “Do you really?” Rick says skeptically. “Seeing the future isn’t so easy. We need to know more. We don’t have a way to handle what Xyza can throw at us, not in the thick of it. Painted mouths and monsters are a whole league up from one dog.”
[12/1/2014 12:15:50 AM] Maq: “Because I don’t have it anymore,” she says, miserably. “I’ll get it later.” She clings to Vee with one arm and stuffs her hand into her pocket with the other.
[12/1/2014 12:16:47 AM] zuarkeror: The phone at the librarian’s desk rings. She picks it up and starts quietly talking on it.
[12/1/2014 12:17:32 AM] Adam: Rick eyes a completed ankylosaurus skeptically, then begins shading it more idly.
[12/1/2014 12:18:51 AM] Kii: “I asked a general question, I got a general answer. The paintmonster is what we need to overcome, but there’s something that we haven’t found out that even Xyza is scared of, and she thinks she’s a god. But if we do… There will be a tremendous change— a good one. I could ask another question,” her eyes dart to the librarian and back, "but I don’t think this is a good place.
[12/1/2014 12:19:43 AM] Auds: “Okay,” she says, finding a few books that seem to be on the right topic – plus it’s an elementary library, it’s not like things get that esoteric. “‘No’ what? What’s he saying?” she whispers.
[12/1/2014 12:20:43 AM] Adam: “The cards?” he says, arching his eyebrows. “What was the thing she’s scared of? How, uh, what symbol was it?”
[12/1/2014 12:20:50 AM] Maq: Maggie suddenly yanks her hand back from Vee and covers her face, apparently suddenly near tears herself. “I c-can’t tell you,” she says, suddenly. “I’m — I’m gonna go to the bathroom and – c-can you cover for me, please?” She asks in a whisper. “Say I’m – sick again, please.”
[12/1/2014 12:21:57 AM] Auds: “I – okay. But I don’t want to go back,” she says, looking down. "I was gonna ask you to cover for me.
[12/1/2014 12:22:17 AM] zuarkeror: “Miss Hayward?” the librarian says quietly. She glances in the group’s direction. “Yes, she’s here,” she says into the phone. “May I ask who’s calling?”
[12/1/2014 12:22:47 AM] Maq: “We both gotta vomit,” she says then, with a single nod. “Or we – we can go and – let’s go talk to them real and then – we can go and – maybe I can go and you can go check on me, or you can go and I can go check on you or something?”
[12/1/2014 12:22:48 AM] Kii: Epiphany seems to perk up, finally having someone interested in her MAGIC tarot cards! “It was the Five of Swords— and it showed Xyza, getting dragged into the dark by some green hands, screamin—”
She looks up suddenly as her name is called.
[12/1/2014 12:24:04 AM] zuarkeror: “I see,” says the librarian. She clears her throat, and, looking back to the group, calls out: “Miss Epiphany Hayward? I have your sister on the phone.”
[12/1/2014 12:24:25 AM] Adam: “You have a sister?” Rick whispers.
[12/1/2014 12:24:58 AM] Kii: Epiphany glances at Rick, looking… Quite alarmed. She shakes her head. “Ok!” She calls out, making her way hastily towards the phone.
[12/1/2014 12:26:11 AM] zuarkeror: The librarian passes the phone disinterestedly into Epiphany’s hand.
[12/1/2014 12:26:51 AM] Kii: Epiphany holds it up to her ear, turning and walking away as far as the spiral phone cord will allow so she can have at least some measure of privacy. “Um, Hello?”
[12/1/2014 12:27:06 AM] Auds: “We should take them the books anyway,” she says, sniffing again and wiping her eyes with the back of her free hand, then trudging back to the table.
[12/1/2014 12:27:46 AM] Kii: “Yes,” Epiphany answers, a slight tremble in her voice.
[12/1/2014 12:28:05 AM] Kii: A more confident “Yes”.
[12/1/2014 12:28:32 AM] Adam: Rick is alone at the table quietly adding a pitched battle between a t-rex and a brontosaurus into the far background of his drawing. “Hi,” he says mildly to Vee and Maggie.
[12/1/2014 12:28:39 AM] Maq: She nods silently to that, clutching some of the books to her chest then – and moving back toward the table with Rick and dropping the book down. She glances to Vee, and then to Rick, and then back to Vee, as if expecting Vee to know what to do here. Then, “Hi,” she says to Rick.
[12/1/2014 12:29:17 AM] Auds: Vee seems sorta glad to find Rick alone. “Hi,” she says, still red-eyed and snotty, dropping the stack of books onto the table and then moving to stuff her science book back into her backpack.
[12/1/2014 12:29:55 AM] Kii: Epiphany looks confused, and blinks a few times. “…No.”
[12/1/2014 12:31:04 AM] Adam: “Things okay?” he says, looking up to them.
[12/1/2014 12:31:21 AM] Maq: She nods her head and rubs her eyes a bit.
[12/1/2014 12:31:31 AM] Kii: “No,” she says again, starting to fidget anxiously with a button on her sweater.
[12/1/2014 12:32:42 AM] Kii: “Not… Exactly…”
[12/1/2014 12:33:37 AM] Kii: Epiphany is quiet a few moments, thinking hard. “No. I don’t think so.”
[12/1/2014 12:34:08 AM] Kii: A more serious “Yes.”
[12/1/2014 12:34:23 AM] Auds: She shrugs at Rick, glancing over at Epiphany on the phone.
[12/1/2014 12:35:57 AM] Kii: Epiphany looks a little disappointed, and reaches over to hang up the phone before wandering back to the table. She sits down, staring not so much at the books as through them, and looks… Puzzled.
[12/1/2014 12:37:08 AM] Adam: “Who pretended to be your sister?”
[12/1/2014 12:38:00 AM] Kii: “The lady who gave me the cards,” she says quietly. " She asked me a bunch of questions, and said she was too… Early, and that in a few days it will make more sense."
[12/1/2014 12:39:03 AM] Adam: “Huh.” He drums his fingers on the table lightly.
[12/1/2014 12:39:22 AM] Maq: “…What were the questions?” She says then, slowly, awkwardly.
[12/1/2014 12:39:24 AM] Auds: Vee’s still packing up her backpack, not looking up when Epiphany gets back.
[12/1/2014 12:39:33 AM] Kii: Epiphany reluctantly looks up at Vee. “I’m sorry about what I said, Vee. I didn’t… I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. What I said was mean.”
[12/1/2014 12:41:37 AM] Kii: She waits a few moments in awkward silence, and turns to Maggie. “She asked if I showed Angelica the cards, and if I asked them about Ethan. If I told anyone about her. Then she said that if I hold out for a few more days, stuff will start to make sense.”
[12/1/2014 12:45:40 AM | Edited 1:02:14 AM] Auds: “Thanks, but it was wrong, too,” she says, sniffing. “We were all scared and different stuff happened and its not fair to tell everybody that I didn’t do anything just cause I couldn’t do what you wanted me to do.” She gets this out in a rush – then sighs, reluctantly dropping her bag again and plopping back down into the chair. “It’s okay. So we wait a few days. She made me memorize something like, a year from now, and he waits for you in Arcadia.”
[12/1/2014 12:46:11 AM] Auds: This time she seems to catch it herself, though – her eyes go wide, and she opens her mouth again, then closes it, adopting a slightly frantic look.
[12/1/2014 12:46:28 AM] Kii: Epiphany stares at Vee like she grew two heads. “….Who waits…For me in Arcadia…?”
[12/1/2014 12:46:32 AM] Maq: She grabs the side of her head again. “I gotta go to the bathroom,” she says, then, immediately. “I gotta go vomit.”
[12/1/2014 12:47:17 AM] Maq: She puases as Epiphany catches it too, and lowers her hands, and then looks at Vee as she reacts too.
[12/1/2014 12:47:17 AM] Adam: Rick’s brow furrows in concern, starting to mouth something – probably a profanity – and then just closing up and frowning.
[12/1/2014 12:47:26 AM] Auds: “I – I dunno. I don’t know if it’s you, even. Or -” White-faced, she looks around at the others
[12/1/2014 12:48:02 AM] Maq: “What’s that even mean,” she says then, in a whisper. “Arcadia?”
[12/1/2014 12:49:36 AM] Adam: “And who’s he?” Rick says after a moment, crossing his arms and settling back in his chair.
[12/1/2014 12:50:54 AM] Auds: “I dont know!” she says, scrambling for her backpack again, easily on the edge of tears again after such recent weeping. “I don’t know! I guess the – the puppet master.”
[12/1/2014 12:51:05 AM] Kii: Epiphany looks at Maggie— a little alarmed that she might puke again, but she takes in a deep, slow breath. “It’s… It’s like a paradise. It’s from some mythology… Greek? Norse? I can’t remember.” She looks back to Vee, “She made you memorize that? W-wait! What is the puppet master?”
[12/1/2014 12:51:26 AM] Maq: She darts a look to Rick, and then seems to realize something and relaxes, looking to Vee. “Do – you know – and you’re saying it without realizing most of the time. And it’s maybe—” She cuts off and looks to Epiphany. “Oh, I remember that form my book.” She blinks a few times, and then: “Vee said puppet earlier.”
[12/1/2014 12:51:47 AM] Maq: “I — I do gotta go to the bathroom,” she says. “But I’ll be right back, okay?” She says then.
[12/1/2014 12:51:49 AM] Auds: “I don’t know!” she says again, voice raising. “That’s not what she made me memorize. I don’t know what this is!”
[12/1/2014 12:53:04 AM | Edited 12:53:28 AM] Adam: “Hey, it’s okay,” Rick says, laying a hand down on the table in Vee’s direction. He’s not really ready to casually touch a girl to calm her down, it’s just a half-conscious connecting instinct. “We’re here. We’re going to help.”
[12/1/2014 12:54:30 AM] Auds: “You’re all going to die,” she says, then claps her hands over her mouth, breathing fast, tears running over her fingers.
[12/1/2014 12:55:15 AM] Kii: Epiphany… Looks very alarmed, but she manages to keep her voice even. “Vee… Vee, it’s ok. Maybe… Maybe you should just keep talking, and let it all get out. Maybe it will wear off.”
[12/1/2014 12:55:22 AM] Maq: Maggie stares at Vee for a moment, looking panicked, and then: “Bathroom,” she breathes – and goes jogging, because that’s the prerequisite sign for I’m-a-kid-and-going-to-vomit.
[12/1/2014 12:56:02 AM] Kii: Epiphany’s face contorts into a look of half horror, half realization.
[12/1/2014 12:56:11 AM] Kii: “The paintbrush…” she whispers, pointing to Vee’s mouth.
[12/1/2014 12:56:46 AM] Adam: “How did you get speech back?” Rick asks, trying for light tone and getting halfway there.
[12/1/2014 12:58:20 AM] Auds: She’s breathing quick and shallow but drops her hands, reluctantly, on Epiphany’s advice. “..is mine,” she answers.
[12/1/2014 12:58:51 AM] Auds: “I painted it back,” she says to Rick, gulping. “But then wiped my face with turpentine the next day, so .. I hoped..”
[12/1/2014 12:59:53 AM] Kii: She leans a little closer to Vee, as if that would somehow give her more insight. “…I don’t think that’s Xyza talking through your mouth…” she murmers.
[12/1/2014 1:01:09 AM] Adam: Rick rubs at his chin with a few fingers, face studiously calmed as he watches Vee.
[12/1/2014 1:01:10 AM] Auds: “I don’t know,” she repeats, pleading.
[12/1/2014 1:02:07 AM] Kii: “Maybe you can lead it,” she says suddenly, scooching her chair even closer to Vee. "Like say, “My name is…” and see if you finish the sentence."
[12/1/2014 1:03:49 AM] Auds: “My name is..” she tries tremulously, wiping her cheeks again; the tears are still flowing but she doesn’t want the librarian to get suspicious.
[12/1/2014 1:05:27 AM] Kii: Epiphany waits, chewing her lip anxiously.
[12/1/2014 1:07:25 AM] Maq: She comes wandering back from the bathroom, quietly, looking ill – though the three kids likely get the idea that she’s just playing up how ragged she already looks for the librarian – tugging her sweater down and looking miserable. She moves to sit back down.
[12/1/2014 1:07:42 AM] Adam: “You alright?” Rick asks Maggie quietly, all the same.
[12/1/2014 1:08:03 AM] Maq: “Yeah,” she says then.
[12/1/2014 1:08:34 AM] Auds: She shakes her head slightly, slouching down in her seat and opening one of the books.
[12/1/2014 1:10:38 AM] Kii: “Well, don’t give up Vee. It’ll happen again, and we’ll figure out why. Who knows… Maybe this is the one thing Xyza never expected. And when we figure it out… Then we can find a way to get it to stop.” Her lips form a small smile, and she nods to Maggie. “Has that been happening a lot? Needing to puke?”
[12/1/2014 1:11:08 AM] Adam: “Maybe you’re pregnant,” Rick quips dryly for some reason.
[12/1/2014 1:11:20 AM] Maq: “No, I just do it when I’m scared,” she says, sullenly, as she sits down. She looks to Rick. “Ew, gross!”
[12/1/2014 1:11:59 AM] Kii: She frowns, “Is it… The voice that makes you scared?”
[12/1/2014 1:13:01 AM] Maq: “No,” she says then, shaking her head. “He’s just mad.” She rubs her face a little bit and then settles into her hands for a moment, and then she looks to the librarian again and then back to the table, and then down to her hip, and then up.
[12/1/2014 1:13:17 AM] zuarkeror: The library door opens, and Mrs. Horn appears. “All right, kids,” she says, “project time is over for now. Come back to class.”
[12/1/2014 1:13:30 AM] Maq: She looks toward Mrs. Horn. “Okay,” she says and she rises, gathering her notebook.
[12/1/2014 1:14:14 AM] Auds: Vee picks up a couple of the books and hurries to check them out, since she’s already got her stuf packed up.
[12/1/2014 1:14:35 AM | Edited 1:14:41 AM] Kii: Epiphany nods and gathers up her own notebook— which still just says ANKLYOSAURUS in it.
[12/1/2014 1:15:24 AM] Maq: “If we gotta present now,” she says in a whisper to the others, “um, someone talk about how it’s a herbivore which means plant eater and big and dumb and someone say how it’s a walking tank and describe it I can …lead the talk and Rick can hold the picture.”
[12/1/2014 1:15:57 AM] Adam: Rick’s ankylosaurus is suspiciously violent-looking despite enjoying a sunny day. It’s labeled with big block letters with some illusion of depth, and by the hills in the background other dinosaurs are fighting. He got a little carried away. This is possibly a stress relief technique and not just a class project.
[12/1/2014 1:16:22 AM] Adam: He never actually got out any books, so he just picks up his backpack and slides it over his shoulder after carefully putting away his weird pencils.
[12/1/2014 1:16:28 AM] zuarkeror: The rest of the school day goes pretty normally—that is to say, it’s uneventful and boring. At the end of the day, the principal gets on the PA to make some announcements. Most of them. are totally forgettable, but one stands out to the group. “One final announcement,” the principal says. “We’ve received a call today about Ethan Russo’s dog, who seems to have gone missing. The dog is a Border Collie, black, white and gray, and answers to the name Colby. We have a special request from Angel Russo, Ethan’s mother, to keep an eye out for this very special family pet. Do your best, kids, and if you see anything, let your parents or your teacher know.”
[12/1/2014 1:17:52 AM] Adam: Rick mostly ignores this announcement, though he shades in his latest doodle a little too intensely.
[12/1/2014 1:18:06 AM] Maq: She sinks lower into her seat then and stares at her notebook. “Angelica,” she says, quietly under her breath, and then she stuffs her notebook away, looking uneasy and like she’s going to vomit again. She stands up and hitches her backpack on quickly as soon as possible.
[12/1/2014 1:19:03 AM] Kii: Epiphany slouches faaar down in her seat once the announcement about Colby comes on, and picks up her things as quickly as she can as well. As they file out of the class room she taps Maggie, Rick, and Vee on the shoulder. “I’m gonna do another reading after school… If anyone wants to come.”
[12/1/2014 1:19:06 AM] zuarkeror: With that, school’s out, and the kids are free to go where they please.
[12/1/2014 1:19:43 AM] Auds: Vee stays quiet through the announcements, though she nods at Epiphany and grabs her stuff, ready to go.
[12/1/2014 1:20:01 AM] Maq: She looks to Epiphany, and then bobbles her head. “Where?” She asks, uneasily. “My – playhouse, maybe?”
[12/1/2014 1:20:17 AM] Adam: “Sure,” Rick says easily, though he’s glancing back over his shoulder a few times at – something.
[12/1/2014 1:21:28 AM] Kii: “Sure, that’ll work.” She glances over Rick’s shoulder, and then looks back to the other girls. “Let’s go.”
[12/1/2014 1:22:31 AM] Maq: She nods and leads the way to her bus – unless they need a written note, in which case she leads the way quietly outside and starts walking to her house.
[12/1/2014 1:23:40 AM] Auds: “Maggie,” Vee says as they walk, “Your angry voice. What’s he angry about?”
[12/1/2014 1:24:35 AM] Maq: “Me,” she says then, quietly. Once they’re well away, she digs into her pocket and then pulls out a knife. This isn’t a kitchen knife, nor a pocket knife. This is a knife designed for murder – the kind you’d use to shank someone in the ribs to kill them.
[12/1/2014 1:24:50 AM] Adam: “Holy shit,” Rick says quietly.
[12/1/2014 1:25:04 AM] Maq: “He gave me this to show Bob that I really was a psycho when he called me it earlier,” she says then, holding it up.
[12/1/2014 1:25:21 AM] Auds: “Wow,” says Vee, softly. “Is that why you — well, said what you said to Bob? Cuz of him?”
[12/1/2014 1:25:26 AM | Edited 1:25:28 AM] Kii: Epiphany blinks. “He can give you things?”
[12/1/2014 1:26:36 AM] Maq: “No. I said that because I didn’t wanna deal with him. And then it was in my pocket and he told me to use it, but I didn’t. And then I went to throw it away in the bathroom.” She looks a little blank-faced as she holds it up, and then she stuffs it away quickly back into her pants pocket.
[12/1/2014 1:27:08 AM] Auds: “If he’s mad at you why’s he giving you a knife though?”
[12/1/2014 1:28:15 AM] Maq: “I dunno,” she says then. “He’s mad at me right now especially because I didn’t keep him private.” She stuffs both hands into her pockets and slumps along.
[12/1/2014 1:28:36 AM] Adam: “Can I see that?” Rick says from where he’s been very quiet at the back of the group.
[12/1/2014 1:28:57 AM] Kii: “Sounds like he’s mad that he can’t control you,” Epiphany offers.
[12/1/2014 1:30:12 AM] Maq: “I’m bad at keeping secrets,” she says then to the sky. “He’s not wrong. But it’s hard to keep secrets when you try to hide a knife in a trashcan and get caught.” She looks toward Rick. “What? My knife?” My, she says.
[12/1/2014 1:31:05 AM] Adam: “The weird knife you don’t know anything about, yeah,” he rephrases deadpan.
[12/1/2014 1:31:43 AM] Maq: “It was taken where it was no longer needed,” she says with a shrug, and pulls the knife out to offer it to Rick.
[12/1/2014 1:32:07 AM] Auds: “What?” Vee wrinkles her nose.
[12/1/2014 1:32:39 AM] Adam: “What?” he says with a squint, taking the knife carefully – avoiding the cut of the blade and putting his fingers on the handle before he takes the weight of it.
[12/1/2014 1:32:40 AM] Kii: Epiphany stares at Maggie with a smiliar expression to Vee, twisting to look back at the other girl.
[12/1/2014 1:33:09 AM] Maq: “I—I dunno, he said that. He said it was mine. And it was taken from where it was no longer needed.” She looks awkwardly between Vee and Epiphany and then stares at her feet.
[12/1/2014 1:34:02 AM] Maq: “No!” She says then, alarmed.
[12/1/2014 1:34:17 AM] Maq: “Give me that back,” she says, scrabbling to take it back from Rick in a panic.
[12/1/2014 1:35:17 AM] Adam: “Woah, careful, it’s a knife not a fucking candy cane,” Rick says, getting his body in between her and his far hand with the knife. “Calm down and I’ll hand it back.”
[12/1/2014 1:37:13 AM] Auds: “Where was it taken from?” she leans in (cautously) to take a look at the knife in Rick’s hands. “Does it – well, can you tell?”
[12/1/2014 1:38:23 AM] Maq: “G-give it to me,” she says then, slightly calming and waving her hand. “Please,” she says then. She holds her hands out, and then darts her head sideways, and then focuses on Rick again.
[12/1/2014 1:39:53 AM] Kii: Epiphany stops and waits, looking at the unfolding scene curiously.
[12/1/2014 1:40:37 AM] zuarkeror: FYI you guys are handling something like this: http://www.sunrisecustomknives.com/repairs/pxmedium/30.jpg
[12/1/2014 1:40:56 AM] Kii: sweet
[12/1/2014 1:41:01 AM] Kii: that’s a killin’ knife for sure
[12/1/2014 1:41:13 AM] Kii: how did she keep it in her pocket though D:
[12/1/2014 1:41:23 AM] zuarkeror: GOOD QUESTION.
[12/1/2014 1:41:28 AM] Maq: Deep Pockets ™
[12/1/2014 1:41:35 AM] zuarkeror: Carry on.
[12/1/2014 1:42:01 AM] Kii: “…Maggie.. Um… You’ve been carrying that in your pockets all day?”
[12/1/2014 1:42:19 AM] Adam: Rick reaches out with his free hand first, taking Maggie’s wrist, and leans in to whisper something against her ear. Then he carefully turns the knife around in his other hand – dull edge against his palm, pommel out, pinching the middle – and places it into Maggie’s hand before he steps back and lets go of her wrist.
[12/1/2014 1:45:01 AM] Maq: “Since we were leaving to go to the library,” she says, eyes locked on Rick. She listens to what Rick whispers, intently, and then slowly puts the knife back into her pocket. “I know that,” she says then, and slips the knife back into her pocket.
[12/1/2014 1:46:00 AM] Kii: “I mean, HOW are you? That knife is nearly half a foot long. Even my grandpa’s swiss army knife barely fit in my pocket, and I could fold that.”
[12/1/2014 1:46:25 AM] Maq: She blinks at Epiphany as if she’d never considered that, and looks uneasily down at her waist.
[12/1/2014 1:47:28 AM] Kii: Epiphany tilts her head. “I wonder if it’s the knife… Or your pocket…”
[12/1/2014 1:47:55 AM] Adam: “Or you,” Rick adds simply.
[12/1/2014 1:48:56 AM] Auds: “You always look off to the side,” Vee says, after a moment. “Does the voice come from somewhere? Can you see this guy?”
[12/1/2014 1:49:25 AM] Maq: “It’s – it’s probably nothing,” she says, uneasily, sticking her hand into her pocket and rooting around. “It’s not me! No. He always sounds like he’s next to me, but he’s not there. I just – expect him to be.”
[12/1/2014 1:49:57 AM] Adam: “What does he sound like?”
[12/1/2014 1:50:41 AM] Maq: Maggie’s eyes widen and she clamps her mouth shut. Her eyes widen as she stares into space for a moment. She shakes her head, and then: “Let’s – just – go to my house.” And she turns and starts walking, slumping her shoulders forward.
[12/1/2014 1:51:11 AM] Auds: “No, but really,” Vee presses, as they walk. “Old, young? Foreign?”
[12/1/2014 1:52:27 AM] Maq: Her jaw tenses. She keeps her hands in her pockets for a moment as she walks. She glances to Rick and then Vee, her eyes for a moment looking pained, and then she looks to Epiphany. “Wh-what questions should we ask?”
[12/1/2014 1:53:50 AM] Kii: “Well, we will only have one per reading… And they tend to get really muddled if you ask a lot of questions, so we should probably just do one for today.” She pulls her hair over one shoulder as they walk along. “I’ve been trying to think of what’s most important to ask about right now. Xyza? The paintmonster? Whoever made the paintbrush?”
[12/1/2014 1:54:33 AM] Auds: “Were you supposed to ask about Ethan too?”
[12/1/2014 1:55:15 AM] Kii: “Yeah, but… She said she was early. Maybe it’s too early to ask about him? Or know what’s important about Ethan and Angelica?” she shrugs. “What do you guys think?”
[12/1/2014 1:55:54 AM] Auds: “What have you asked about so far?”
[12/1/2014 1:56:20 AM] Kii: “I asked… What we should do. I’ve only asked one thing, so far.”
[12/1/2014 1:56:32 AM] Maq: “I—I think either something about how we stop Xyza, or – I dunno what we’d ask about Ethan. What we can—” She stuffs her hands into her pockets again and tenses, probably feeling the knife again, “—do to…help him? Get over Colby? I dunno, ask what’s in the future for Ethan maybe.”
[12/1/2014 1:56:57 AM] Auds: “We could ask about the puppet master,” she suggests quietly, hiking her backpack up her shoulders.
[12/1/2014 1:57:25 AM] Kii: “That’s true… But whatever we ask, it has to be specific.”
[12/1/2014 1:59:24 AM] Adam: “You mentioned the green hands, that Xyza was scared of,” Rick muses. “Them, or the paint monster. The solution or the problem.”
[12/1/2014 2:00:17 AM] Maq: “I wish there was a way to combine all our questions into one,” she says, miserably – they reach her yard. She gestures back to the tree house, and goes to poke her head into inform her mother she’s home (on time, for once), and then she drifts after the other kids.
[12/1/2014 2:00:54 AM] Adam: “Maybe like – how we can protect ourselves?” Rick calls down from clambering quickly into the treehouse.
[12/1/2014 2:01:25 AM] Kii: “The challenge we must overcome is the paintmoster,” she says as they march through the yard. “The green hands are the recent past… One could give the solution for the other, that’s for certain.” Epiphany begins to climb up into the treehouse. “We need to do more than protect ourselves.”
[12/1/2014 2:01:34 AM] Auds: “We could ask who Remainder is, too,” she suggests, drifting towards the treehouse.
[12/1/2014 2:01:36 AM] zuarkeror: Mom cheerily greets Maggie (although there is a slight undertone of worry which all kids easily recognize—but she seems glad Maggie’s got friends over).
[12/1/2014 2:01:49 AM] Kii: “N-no questions about her,” Epiphany says too quickly.
[12/1/2014 2:02:12 AM] Adam: “Why not about her?” Rick says, looking to Epiphany with arched brows.
[12/1/2014 2:02:40 AM] Auds: “She said she coudln’t tell me stuff, but she didn’t say I couldn’t ask some magic cards.”
[12/1/2014 2:03:25 AM] Kii: “If we know too much about her… I think things could change, could spiral out of control. She said she was too early, right?” She sits down crosslegged. “It’s like… Time travel, almost. See into the future, see into the past.. But if you change too much, who knows what could happen?”
[12/1/2014 2:03:45 AM] Maq: She climbs up last, and quietly sits in a corner, staring into space. “Maybe like…how do we solve the issues of the paintbrush currently bugging us and people we care about? And…then it’s about us and Ethan and Angelica. And then it’s also about Xyza and whoever this other guy is?”
[12/1/2014 2:03:54 AM] Maq: “And if Remainder is involved in this, it’d involve her too.”
[12/1/2014 2:05:55 AM] Kii: “We only get one question, Maggie. If there’s too many elements, I won’t be able to read the results very well.” She leans back, and pulls out a long thin case of cards. “So… We can ask about the paint monster, Xyza, the thing Zyxa is afraid of, or Ethan and Angelica.” Her eyes go from person to person. “Can we agree on one?”
[12/1/2014 2:06:33 AM] Maq: She’s silent for a moment, rubbing her arms. “…I-I’d be more concerned about Ethan and Angelica,” she says. “We can – figure things out about the monster ourselves. We need to keep people safe.”
[12/1/2014 2:07:15 AM] Kii: “I think that if we can get past the monster and deal with Xyza, we can keep them safe.”
[12/1/2014 2:07:48 AM] Adam: “How about this,” Rick suggests after a pause. “Instead of picking one, we eliminate them one at a time.”
[12/1/2014 2:09:07 AM] Adam: “So like – how many people say Xyza isn’t what we need to ask about?” He raises his hand up idly.
[12/1/2014 2:09:28 AM] Maq: She raises her hand up slowly.
[12/1/2014 2:09:59 AM] Maq: “What we could do,” she says, “is – maybe lay ‘em all out, and then just say what we don’t think it should be, one at a time. Just pick the one we personally think is least important until we’re down to one? And since none of us picked that one, obviously we don’t think it’s least important?”
[12/1/2014 2:10:00 AM] Auds: “I vote Ethan and Angelica,” she says, after a moment of consideration.
[12/1/2014 2:11:35 AM] Kii: Epiphany looks to Rick. “…Two people voted for Ethan and Angelica. I mean, there’s no way to do a tiebreaker, but… It might be a good place to start for today. We could learn something, and Maggie and Vee would feel better knowing if they’ll be ok.” She nods to herself.
[12/1/2014 2:13:14 AM] Adam: Rick leans back for a long moment, slowly crossing his arms. “Alright, sure,” he says finally.
[12/1/2014 2:14:12 AM] Kii: “Okay,” she says, taking a deep breath and tapping out her cards. They’re as long and wide as regular cards, a little worn, and all… Blank. They all feature the dark purple and blues of the night sky.
Epiphany taps the deck with her index finger.
[12/1/2014 2:15:05 AM] zuarkeror: The colors on the cards swirl around a little bit, in ways that they shouldn’t. At first it just looks like an optical illusion, or maybe a hologram or something, but the longer one stares at them, the more the swirling colors look…real.
[12/1/2014 2:15:43 AM] Maq: Maggie stares down at the cards then, watching blankly.
[12/1/2014 2:16:18 AM] Auds: Vee’s gotten comfortable in one corner of the treehouse with her backpack behind her to square off the corner, and leans forward now to peer at the cards. “Woah,” she says softly.
[12/1/2014 2:21:13 AM] Kii: She begins to shuffle the cards, closing her eyes as the cards slide against one another. “In what ways has our friend Ethan, and his mother Angelica, been affected by our and Xyza’s actions in weeks past and weeks to come?” Epiphany exhales slowly, opens her eyes, and begins to deal out six cards, face-down, in a cross-like pattern. She sets the rest of the deck down… And flips over the first, the one in the middle.
[12/1/2014 2:23:59 AM] zuarkeror: The first card comes down—and the colors swirl vibrantly to life, starting to become an image of crisp clarity—and not only that, but a moving image, almost like a TV screen. There’s the image of a boy, crystal clear, hugging his knees, burying his face into his forearms, shuddering—as if crying. He looks up suddenly, and you see Ethan’s tear-stained face, as his head swivels to look at something out of view. Slowly, he gets up to his feet and walks off the field of view afforded by the card. A golden cup shimmers in the background, standing out of place.
[12/1/2014 2:24:28 AM] zuarkeror: (For all those who have Occult, you may make a number of Int+Occult rolls during this reading equal to your Occult score to discern which Tarot card is represented by the image.)
[12/1/2014 2:24:59 AM] Adam: (can we choose between different ones at the end, or do we need to call it when it’s up?)
[12/1/2014 2:25:09 AM] zuarkeror: (Call it when it’s up.)
[12/1/2014 2:25:23 AM] Maq: (I’ll call this one!)
[12/1/2014 2:25:31 AM] Maq: (3s)
[12/1/2014 2:26:58 AM] Kii: (1s, idk if I should add anything since Epiphany is pretty well versed in tarot)
[12/1/2014 2:27:31 AM] zuarkeror: (Presumably Maggie will share her roll result with you—the idea is you guys work together on this.)
[12/1/2014 2:27:46 AM] zuarkeror: (You can save your roll for another card, Kii.)
[12/1/2014 2:27:52 AM] Auds: “Maybe that means he’ll be sad for a while but then something else will distract him and it’ll be okay,” she ventures, somewhat hopeful.
[12/1/2014 2:27:52 AM] Kii: (ok!)
[12/1/2014 2:28:29 AM] Maq: Maggie stares at the card for a long moment. “He’s – the page of cups, right?” She says. “Um,” she glances to Epiphany. “That’s – the one where – there’s super imaginary stuff? I read in one of the books you gave me that it’s like – my mom’d say his head is in the clouds and he’s super dreamy? Which is good…”
[12/1/2014 2:29:58 AM] zuarkeror: The next card comes down: a black and violet background brightens somewhat, to the color of a sunset sky. The backdrop is a graveyard, littered with identical, cross-shaped tombstones. Each tombstone has strings attached to it, dangling from above, like strands of spider-silk coming down from the heavens to attach to the graves. Standing in this graveyard is a lone figure, robed, the hood of the robe obscuring the face—and he is carrying a book, held tightly against the chest.
[12/1/2014 2:30:17 AM] Adam: (oh MINE)
[12/1/2014 2:30:33 AM] Adam: (because uh reasons)
[12/1/2014 2:30:36 AM] zuarkeror: (In addition to the Occult roll, anyone with Trivia Hound may roll Int+Composure on this one.)
[12/1/2014 2:30:41 AM] Auds: “Oh.. that can’t be good, can it?” Vee whispers.
[12/1/2014 2:30:53 AM] Maq: (3s, Trivia Hound)
[12/1/2014 2:31:25 AM] Adam: (2s, occult, and spent a wp)
[12/1/2014 2:31:37 AM] Kii: “The first was the situation as it is now… This is the challenge that must be overcome,” she explains.
(I’ll let someone else take this one)
[12/1/2014 2:32:23 AM] Kii: “The Page, or Ace of cups can also mean a moment where you can achieve emotional or spiritual fulfillment.”
[12/1/2014 2:32:32 AM] Adam: “It’s the Magician,” Rick says after a beat, with perhaps surprising confidence.
[12/1/2014 2:32:43 AM | Edited 2:32:51 AM] Maq: “Oh,” she says. “That’s like the new CD my brother got,” she says then, staring at the picture. “Um – the one with the loudy screamy people. Like — you know? OFF TO NEVER NEVER LAND!” She sings this as it’s supposed to – in Enter Sandman. She rubs her face a little bit and sinks back against the wall, glancing up to Epiphany. She darts a look to Rick and then back to Epiphany.
[12/1/2014 2:33:00 AM] Auds: “So what’s that mean?” she asks, looking at Rick.
[12/1/2014 2:34:32 AM] Kii: “The Magician has the power to manifest his desires. He wants success…” She looks at the card carefully. “I think this card is the Puppet Master, right? He has his power, his book of spells, and he is trying to raise the dead… Or things that have passed.”
[12/1/2014 2:35:00 AM] Maq: She nods her head slowly to that and darts her eyes up to look slightly over Epiphany’s shoulder for a moment, and then back down to the card.
[12/1/2014 2:35:29 AM | Edited 2:35:38 AM] Kii: Epiphany nods to herself, and moves to flip the next card. “This card will be the distant past.”
[12/1/2014 2:37:00 AM] Adam: “Sometimes they also call the Magician the Juggler,” Rick says after Epiphany. “It’s a…the Magician is something earned with work or trickery. Not sudden and unexpected. Willworker.”
[12/1/2014 2:39:29 AM] Kii: “True, the Magician wants to succeed at all costs.” She looks genuinely surprised that Rick knows anything about tarot!
[12/1/2014 2:39:48 AM] zuarkeror: The next card is…strange. The border erupts into what looks like green thorny vines, and the colors around the outside of the frame are bright as the sun shining in—but this light doesn’t penetrate to the main surface of the card, which is a much more ordinary-looking room. A living room, specifically. You guys recognize it. It’s Ethan’s living room. You recognize the scene, too—there’s Colby the dog, being scruffed by Laverne, who is hauling the dog across the floor toward the bathroom in a disturbing scene you all know all too well. There’s a twist to this, though—layered on top of the image, looking almost like it’s sitting ABOVE the card, in a way 3D-tricksy-sort-of-way, there is another image superimposed, a vague outline of a person, an armored knight sitting atop a horse, with a lance couched underarm. The figure is hard to look at, the armor shining so glinting bright, it strains and confuses the eyes to see. In one hand, the armored figure bears the lance, and in the other, a golden chalice.
[12/1/2014 2:40:45 AM] Kii: (ooh me! 3s Trivia Hound)
[12/1/2014 2:40:58 AM] zuarkeror: (No Trivia Hound on this roll.)
[12/1/2014 2:41:25 AM] Kii: (it was meant to be… 3s int + occult)
[12/1/2014 2:41:36 AM] Maq: She stares at this picture then, quietly. She lifts her hand and tugs on her hair, knotting her fingers into it and yanking on it a little bit.
[12/1/2014 2:45:18 AM] Kii: “The Knight of Cups,” Epiphany begins, shifting to get a better look at the card. “He is ruled by his heart, not his mind. He is in touch with his emotions and intuition… He will always follow his emotions, even if it will end poorly.” She frowns, thinking harder. “He can also mean an invitation, or be a messenger of sorts.”
[12/1/2014 2:46:03 AM] Auds: “So.. maybe we shouldn’t have done it?” she guesses softly, settling down with her elbows on her knees and her chin on her upturned palms.
[12/1/2014 2:46:21 AM] Kii: “I think… It means that, what we did, has opened up an opportunity that was not there before.”
[12/1/2014 2:46:51 AM] Adam: “He was being emotional. But the moment brought change?”
[12/1/2014 2:46:53 AM] Maq: She rubs her nose a little bit, silently, her eyes drifting over behind Rick this time.
[12/1/2014 2:47:06 AM] Auds: “So were we, though.”
[12/1/2014 2:47:43 AM] Kii: “We were ALL being emotional,” Epiphany says, nodding at Vee, and moving to flip the next card. “This one is the recent past… So, very, very recent.”
[12/1/2014 2:47:54 AM] Maq: “But the first thing was the present moment, right?” She says then. “So by being emotional we – made him cry and he’s got his head in the clouds,” she says to the first card. “Or something.”
[12/1/2014 2:48:49 AM] Kii: “Yeah, because of what happened, it could mean that now Ethan has a chance for some sort of emotional fulfillment that he wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
[12/1/2014 2:49:14 AM] Maq: “Maybe getting to deal with Colby dying,” she says.
[12/1/2014 2:49:25 AM] Kii: “Or death in general,” she says softly.
[12/1/2014 2:51:46 AM] zuarkeror: The next card that comes up is a little darker than the one previous, but still looks like a fairly well-lit room. This has the feel of an attic, but it’s too big to be the attic of any house the kids have ever seen—the room is full of paint supplies, canvases, easels, et cetera. On to the card walks Vee, who steps forward as if looking into the ‘camera’—that is, looking directly out of the card at the viewer. She has no mouth—just a flat patch of skin where a mouth should be. She has a paintbrush in her hand, which she raises up to her own face, and proceeds to paint a pair of lips on to herself. That image fades to a plain black background—all except the brush, which floats forward to take up the whole of the card over the black background, gleaming with a wreath of golden light.
[12/1/2014 2:52:16 AM] zuarkeror: (In addition to an Int+Occult to identify the card, if anyone wants to do that, anyone with the Study skill may roll Int+Study now.)
[12/1/2014 2:53:07 AM] Maq: (I got the study!)
[12/1/2014 2:53:10 AM] Adam: (3s Int + Study)
[12/1/2014 2:53:20 AM] Maq: (Or naw, Rick has it yo)
[12/1/2014 2:53:22 AM] Kii: (not gonna go for this one)
[12/1/2014 2:53:27 AM] Maq: (I’ll take the Int + Occ)
[12/1/2014 2:53:35 AM] Maq: (2s)
[12/1/2014 2:54:54 AM] Auds: (2s on study but it may be covered already)
[12/1/2014 2:57:08 AM | Edited 2:57:45 AM] Adam: “Something’s – this is weird,” Rick says, changing course midsentence as he leans forward with a squint. “You said this was recent past, but Vee did that the night we were at the house, right? And you said that,” pointing to the slaughter-living-room, “was the far past, but that was the day after.”
[12/1/2014 2:57:10 AM] Maq: She stares quietly at the card and then looks over to Vee this time. She brushes her hand past her eye.
[12/1/2014 2:58:09 AM] Auds: Vee shrinks back against her backpack some, but has no insight to offer.
[12/1/2014 3:00:28 AM] Kii: “Huh…” She frowns. “You’re right, time is out of order here. That could be important. I think this is the Ace of Wands though— it means an opportunity, a breakthrough moment. At this moment new ideas and possibilities are opened to you… Normally it’s a really good card, it means that you can ‘make your dreams reality’.”
[12/1/2014 3:01:21 AM] Auds: Vee frowns. “Well that’s what the paintbrush did, I think. I just wanted my mouth back. I don’t know how to paint.”
[12/1/2014 3:02:47 AM] Kii: “Well… Wait, wait… It also means that it is the seed, opportunity will grow from it, but what you want hasn’t actually happened yet. It could mean that we need the paintbrush…?” Epiphany frowns as she thinks that over, and moves for the next card. “This one is the outcome if something changes the current situation.”
[12/1/2014 3:03:57 AM] zuarkeror: The next card that comes down contains a flurry of images that are almost too hard to keep up with: it’s hard to get more than the barest of details of each piece of this little ‘montage.’ Everyone roll Wits + Composure.
[12/1/2014 3:04:17 AM] Auds: 1s
[12/1/2014 3:04:17 AM] Kii: (holy shit 5s)
[12/1/2014 3:04:21 AM] Maq: (2s!)
[12/1/2014 3:04:23 AM] Adam: 4s
[12/1/2014 3:04:34 AM] zuarkeror: Okay, stand by…
[12/1/2014 3:05:56 AM] zuarkeror: Please wait until I give everyone their results.
[12/1/2014 3:12:22 AM] zuarkeror: Results given. Proceed.
[12/1/2014 3:12:34 AM] Maq: Maggie watches this card play out. She stuffs her hands into her pockets and then sits back, hunching forward. She wiggles her fingers a little bit inside of them, and then looks back up and over to the other three.
[12/1/2014 3:13:07 AM] Auds: “Oh – that- Angelica,” Vee cries softly, looking horrified.
[12/1/2014 3:13:21 AM] Maq: “What?” She says, glancing toward Vee.
[12/1/2014 3:13:22 AM] Adam: Rick leans further forward and squints hard. “The hell…” he murmurs under his breath.
[12/1/2014 3:13:23 AM] Kii: Epiphany looks at the card for over a minute, mouth opening and closing, and she looks back up at the other kids. “I um… Wait, what did you see Vee?”
[12/1/2014 3:15:09 AM] Auds: “Angelica,” she repeats. “Only – she was all busted up, with one eye gone and no teeth, and grinning. Like, in a scary way.”
[12/1/2014 3:15:47 AM] Maq: “Oh,” she says then, looking at the card. “All I saw was it looked like a movie director making fast jumps in like, scenes? But like he was actually cutting them in half or something.” She rubs her neck. “…Poor Angelica.”
[12/1/2014 3:16:44 AM] Auds: “Cutting who in half?”
[12/1/2014 3:17:04 AM | Edited 3:17:10 AM] Maq: “Just all the scenes.” She shakes her head.
[12/1/2014 3:17:18 AM] Kii: “I saw… I saw someone with their arm blown off, and the paintbrush painting it back good as new. And then the paintbrush painting a grenade, and a kid tossing it playfully. Um, and then there was a huge explosion, and out of it a skinny woman riding an elephant… And… A prison, but all I could see was the person’s smile, smiling really wide and bright. The last thing I saw was a blimp.”
[12/1/2014 3:18:09 AM] Adam: “Did she have, uh – blue hair?” Rick asks after a moment.
[12/1/2014 3:18:20 AM] Maq: “I counted seven cuts though – like um, seven scenes?”
[12/1/2014 3:20:25 AM] Auds: “This is – what happens if we mess things up?”
[12/1/2014 3:20:29 AM] Kii: “I couldn’t really tell what color her hair was…” She frowns. “Seven scenes. We saw seven all together, right? I don’t know what this card is at all… There’s so many images. If I had to guess… The World? A very important point in time, maybe… I really don’t know…”
[12/1/2014 3:21:00 AM] Kii: Epiphany moves to flip the last card. “This will be what happens if things continue as they are, if nothing changes.”
[12/1/2014 3:21:25 AM] Adam: “I don’t know what to make of it, I only saw this one thing. A girl with blue hair coming out of an alley, almost like a cartoon character but – not. She hops up on the side of a white truck, pulls out a pistol, kills the driver.”
[12/1/2014 3:22:58 AM] zuarkeror: The final card comes down: it begins blank and white—or, rather off-white, with little cracks and crevices, much like a painter’s canvas. An invisible brush begins to paint the scene in broad strokes—though it’s done in a sort of cartoon animator way, with a broad brushstroke creating an actual picture, full of photographic detail, rather than just the smear of color a real brush would leave behind with a stroke of that sort. The image is revealed in a series of strokes, piecemeal, as if it were an image covered in wrapping paper slowly being torn open. First, a pair of legs. Then, an arm. A paintbrush, lying on the ground. Finally, the image becomes completely clear: the brush lies beside Xyza, who is lying on the ground, on her side. Her face is directed toward the viewer, her eyes wide open, unblinking. She has a bullet wound through the center of her forehead.
[12/1/2014 3:23:18 AM] zuarkeror: Everyone can roll Wits+Comp on this one as well.
[12/1/2014 3:23:28 AM] Maq: (fail!)
[12/1/2014 3:23:40 AM] Kii: 4s
[12/1/2014 3:23:42 AM] Adam: (1s)
[12/1/2014 3:23:46 AM] Adam: (wtf kii)
[12/1/2014 3:23:51 AM] Auds: 1s
[12/1/2014 3:23:56 AM] Kii: (this dice roller loves me tonight)
[12/1/2014 3:24:15 AM] Kii: (also I roll 7 dice)
[12/1/2014 3:24:38 AM] Adam: (I do too and no love)
[12/1/2014 3:27:01 AM] Kii: “The Nine of Wands,” Epiphany whispers, sitting back and looking at the card. “It usually means… You will overcome your challenge, you will achieve your goal, do not give up hope. Be determined through your final trials. But…” She touches the corner of the card with the tip of her finger. “I don’t… I don’t think anyone wants Xyza to DIE, right?”
[12/1/2014 3:27:51 AM] Adam: “That depends,” Rick says slowly. “But also – does that mean, uh – Angelica’s goal is to kill Xyza? Or Ethan’s, I guess.”
[12/1/2014 3:29:12 AM] Maq: “I think we should kill her,” she says then, suddenly, out of the blue and to the side. “I mean, she’s obviously not caring about killing us right?”
[12/1/2014 3:29:42 AM] Maq: “She makes paintmonsters to kill people.”
[12/1/2014 3:29:57 AM] Kii: Epiphany stares at Maggie, looking a little unnerved. “N-no, I don’t think we should kill her at all! Why should we do something because SHE does it?”
[12/1/2014 3:30:11 AM] Kii: “She’ll be powerless without the paintbrush!”
[12/1/2014 3:30:35 AM] Maq: “Because if we don’t, she’ll do it to someone else.” She says then. “She’ll just need to find another way.” She rubs her jaw and looks behind Epiphany.
[12/1/2014 3:30:41 AM] Auds: “I dont’ know,” she says, frowning. “Angelica didn’t do anything wrong, though. And what if Xyza hurts other people?”
[12/1/2014 3:31:16 AM] Kii: “Xyza has done… Really terrible things, but that doesn’t make it right to murder her,” Epiphany says firmly.
[12/1/2014 3:32:09 AM] Maq: “If we change our current situation, bad stuff happens to Angelica, who has only been nice to us, really,” she notes. “But if we don’t change our current situation, Xyza dies. That’s better.” She folds her arms over her stomach.
[12/1/2014 3:34:14 AM] Kii: “It’s Ethan and Angelica, not us.” She curls her fingers tightly into fists, resting them on her knees. “If nothing changes for them, Xyza… Will die. If something puts them on a new path, then… Explosions? Paintbrushes? Elephants? This is really strange…”
[12/1/2014 3:34:39 AM] Maq: “Then – then obviously we should try not to change things,” she says then. “Right?”
[12/1/2014 3:35:03 AM] Adam: “Did she paint the portals into her closet?” Rick says as he crosses his arms again. “That seems like a different set of tricks. She might not be so harmless without the paintbrush.”
[12/1/2014 3:35:07 AM] Auds: “Can we ask about other things now?”
[12/1/2014 3:35:44 AM] zuarkeror: The cards all return to their original color scheme, like the night sky just after a sunset. The colors stop swirling and go still.
[12/1/2014 3:36:55 AM] Kii: “I don’t know if she painted the portals, no…” Epiphany begins to gather the cards back up, and shakes her head. “I feel like these are more strict than regular tarot cards… We shouldn’t ask more than one question every day, or we’ll start getting answers that don’t make sense, or mislead us. We need to figure out all of this anyway” she looks up, “maybe WITHOUT killing someone?”
[12/1/2014 3:37:30 AM] Maq: “But if someone HAS to die,” she says, “Xyza, instead of anyone else.”
[12/1/2014 3:37:56 AM] Adam: “If killing someone is what it takes to make everyone else safe, it’ll have to happen,” Rick demurs mildly.
[12/1/2014 3:38:31 AM] Kii: “You know how you felt about killing Colby? Well think about how it will feel to kill a person.” Epiphany says lowly, putting her cards away.
[12/1/2014 3:39:04 AM] Auds: “Angelica was a sniper, wasn’t she?” she muses, pulling her knees into her chest. “I bet she’s done it before. But if she kills Xyza, and goes to jail, what happens to Ethan?”
[12/1/2014 3:39:24 AM] Maq: “Colby had to die,” she says then, with a shrug. “Or he’d have hurt Ethan at some point.” She looks to Vee, looking unnerved. “…I dunno. Do you go to an orphanage?”
[12/1/2014 3:39:41 AM] Adam: “Does he have other family? Cousins?”
[12/1/2014 3:39:45 AM] Auds: “I dunno,” she shrugs.
[12/1/2014 3:40:10 AM] Maq: “…What if you go to an orphanage and then get sold into slavery and have to only eat oatmeal with little weevils in it?” She says, uneasily. “Like in that cartoon?”
[12/1/2014 3:40:27 AM] Kii: “We shouldn’t even be talking about this,” Epiphany snaps.
[12/1/2014 3:41:26 AM] Adam: “When would you prefer to talk about it?” Rick says, somewhat acidly. “Next time we’re in their living room?”
[12/1/2014 3:42:11 AM] Kii: “What are you even talking about? Do you really not care if she dies because of something we choose to do?”
[12/1/2014 3:43:04 AM] Adam: “A guy died in the card going the other way,” Rick says with a wave of his hand. “Probably deserved it less, too.”
[12/1/2014 3:43:29 AM] Auds: “Who died?”
[12/1/2014 3:43:41 AM] Adam: “Some guy in a white truck in another city.”
[12/1/2014 3:44:06 AM] Maq: “I’m saying if we have to choose, then — then OBVIOUSLY we pick Xyza because she’s BAD! Look at everything she’s already done! Like, if these are our two things to happen, like if things change and Angelica gets hurt and some other guy dies and if things don’t change and Xyza dies, then – then we choose Xyza.”
[12/1/2014 3:46:12 AM] Kii: Epiphany looks exasperated, and clutches the now boxed up cards to her chest. “Tarot… Is only one possible future, you know… It might just be the easiest future. I’m… I’m gonna go home.”
[12/1/2014 3:46:55 AM] Maq: She nods a little bit and rubs her face. “I’m gonna go inside and …I dunno,” she says, glumly. “I’ve just been sitting in my bedroom.”
[12/1/2014 3:49:11 AM] Adam: “Want to hang out for a bit?” Rick asks Maggie with a tilt of his head, unfolding his arms. “Strictly no magical or violent talk. Just parallel reading, even.”
[12/1/2014 3:50:33 AM] Maq: She glances to Rick and then shrug-nods. “I might just – play piano too. But – just – yeah, let’s just do something and not anything with this.”

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