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Marissa Jauntsen last won the day on March 30

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  1. 1300-ish, Shelly High School The Snickers bar didn't do much, in fact, she was hungry again about thirty minutes later. With eyes closed she stood at her locker, hidden by the small door, taking a moment to collect her thoughts and just relax. She could hear the school all around her, the chaotic garble of too many people talking all at once, the occasional squeak of a shoe across the waxed floors, locker doors slamming closed or popping open. It was almost hypnotic and she felt like she could just curl into a ball fall aslee- "Um, excuse me?" She breathed. If she ignored it, it would go away. Right? "E-excuse me? You're Marissa, right? Marissa Jauntsen?" She opened her eyes and lazily spun about to face whomever it was trying to get her attention. Lunchtime. One hour... just one hour to herself, was that too much to ask? It was, said the cosmos as she tried to guess why Steve Rodgers, before the serum, was trying to flag her down at her locker. Sandy blonde, 90 pounds soaking wet (with a brick tied to his ankle, hopefully), and unpleasant to look at he certainly wasn't anything she'd consider interesting. His teeth were straight and his eyes were a pretty shade of silvery gray. "What," she asked lazily and like she hadn't heard a word he'd said up until now. "Hi, I'm, uh, Garett." He smiled nervously and offered his hand which she just glared at as her eyebrow slowly raised up in confusion. "Great." She slid her book into her locker, having realized just then that she'd been holding the whole time. "Don't care." Garret lowered his hand, his cheeks flushing slightly, "Oh, uh... so, um, you're Cade Allister's girlfriend, right?" "We're not putting a label on it," she said on reflex. She turned from her open locker and looked at Garret. "You're still here... why?" "Yeeaah, why wouldn't I be?" he tried to smile past her attitude. Truth was she intimidated the hell out of him most days, but today she just seemed less like herself and more approachable. "But you two are going out, though, right?" "Yes, no... sort of," Marissa, exasperated let her shoulders collapse and she just faced him, shaking her head in annoyance. "Why? What's it to you, anyway?" "My friend, didn't know if you had a date for Homecoming and wanted me to ask you for him," he pointed across the way and heads of two other students disappeared behind lockers. "Ronnie." "Wilkins?" she said with a disgusted look on her face. "He never bathes. I have a class with him, we can smell him from three seats away... no, nuh uh, no way in hell, ever. Plus, he's a Freshman. Tell Ronnie to stay in his lane. Maybe his pillow is free that night, Gary." "It's uh, Garret." He pointed out. "Don't care." She also pointed out. "Um, what about Sean Cassidy?" Garret added. "Sean is a guy, Barret." "Garre-," he shrugged. "You know, never mind. I'm cool with Barret. No, the reason I was asking was because you hang out with Sean, right?" "Sean hangs with me," she corrected him. Her gaze got as hard as it could, given how miserable she was feeling. "So if you have a problem with him, you have one with my brother and me. Now, why do you want to know about Sean? Hurry up, you're like a little mosquito, and you're starting to bother the hell out of me. I don't even recognize you, are you a Freshman too?" "Wh-what? N-no," this was why she scared the crap out of him. She spoke and flipped to angry faster than he could think of what he was going to say. He swallowed hard, trying to relax and say what he needed to before she went nuclear. "I mean, yes. I am a Freshman, but I don't' have a problem with Sean... we heard he's a gamer and were wondering if he had any open spots in his gaming group? I was hoping you could... um, p-pass my info along to him, please?" He presented her with a torn piece of notebook paper with their numbers written on it in obvious gamer handwriting. "I have a raw damage wizard I've been wanting to try out and was hoping he had the room." She stared at the paper for a good long moment, brow raised in mock appraisal of the weeb specimen so brazenly standing in front of her. What happened to her? When did the nerds and losers of this school decide that she had fallen so far that they could simply just approach her like she was one of them and not their royalty to be worshipped? She sighed deeply and snatched it from him. "Surefinewhatever," and stuffed it into her jean pocket. "Now go away, Glen I we're done." "See? Now you're not even trying anymo-" she forced her past him with a slam of her locker and made it three steps before her world began to spin. She stopped as the walls wavered and the ceiling weft about slowly her eyes rolled back and Marissa fell backwards... Garret yelled for help from won of the teachers and Courtney hazily appeared in her field of vision as a blurry mess right before her world went black.
  2. "Give," she said deadpan, opening and closing her hand expectantly. "I'll pay you back, swear, I'm just starving right now." If Cade had only known how serious she was being, he would've rummaged faster. She'd tore through two plates of scrambled eggs, toast, and hash browns just a couple hours ago and her stomach was churning like she'd gone days without food and was standing downwind of a pizzeria without a penny to her name. While he dug for the Snickers she allowed herself a momentary weakness to smile at how sweet he was the moment he wasn't paying her any mind. She collected herself as he straightened and handed her the candy bar. "Thanks," she said, almost playfully. "I uh, have to get to," the bell rung loudly in the hall and she smiled, looking down as it interrupted her. As it finished she continued. "Class, yeah. Um, see you later, okay? Text me, just don't get your phone taken away or I laugh at you." "Get to class. Shoo." She tippie-toed up and pecked him on the cheek, before stepping into her own classroom.
  3. “No,” she said solemnly, sighing a bit. ‘Like shit’ was an amusing turn of phrase that twins kept hearing, either directly or whispered, and since they both looked amazing on their worst day, Marissa was starting to wonder what Shelly’s basis of comparison was. Either way, with no makeup and her hair just kind of doing ‘whatever’, she was obviously not feeling well. The fact that she hadn’t copped attitude yet or even complained was his first red flag. “Not unless you have a Snicker bar, or you can miraculously fix whatever the hell is wrong with me. God,” she complained to the ceiling. “I feel like Jell-O stuck to a skeleton.” Her taloned finger poked into his chest a couple times, it pinched, but it didn’t hurt, telling him she wasn’t actually bothered, or she just didn’t have the strength to care today. “Dick move not going to see Jason this morning,” she reprimanded him quietly, side eyeing someone as they walked past the two of them while they talked outside the class. “But I understand why. Not much you coulda done anyway and it was nothing but the Hot Mess Express wiping Jason’s mouth and baby talking her invalid little doll. Devin’s new alien sex toy showed up, she’s pretty, so if you look at her I’ll kill you. Oh, and Cassie showed up too, but I left before she could lament her father or start prying into everyone’s business like she’s welcome there. All in all, you didn’t miss much. But, I swear to God, if I ever get shot in the face and you ghost me at the hospital, I will find you and I will dislodge your soul and keep in a fucking jar." “He’s fine, by the way.” She bit her lower lip, something she didn’t do very often. He didn't have any real emotion for which to relate it to for her, considering she only really ever showed 'angry', 'angrier', and full blown 'lost her shit', but he was pretty sure it seemed like she was genuinely relieved as well as concerned. “For which, I’m glad. I may not like him overly much, but I don’t want him hurt, or even killed for that matter. Not unless I do it, of course.” Her faux-bae tilted his head and offered her a disappointed look, scolding her with his glare. She smirked evilly and recoiled her head into her shoulders a bit. “I’m kidding!” Shrugging away her grim humor, she half-smiled, looking into Cade’s eyes while resting her palm affectionately on his chest. “Sorry about promising you time together,” he knew what she meant by ‘together’. “With last night going like it did, and now me feeling like this, I’m just really not at a hundred percent, hold out a bit longer for me?”
  4. It was an intense and awkward ride for the twins as they drove back to Devin’s motorcycle. They’d talked at length about what was going on and her brother was not the least bit happy about it, expressing the sense of betrayal he felt over her not letting him in on her plans. Marissa cursed under her breath as she watched him speed off at sixty in record time. She offered an apologetic and mirthless smile towards the Sheriff as she passed him and his men slowly as they were concluding their investigation of the scene. As she pulled into a parking spot at the school not long after, she found him at the school, leaning against his bike and waiting for her in the parking lot. A smile crept to her lips as relieve set in at knowing he was still willing to talk to her. Even after going home, washing up, and changing, they still looked like bums, at least by their standards. Devin hair didn’t have so much as a spritz of product in it, which was almost unheard of and his clothes looked like they were his ‘around the house’ jeans and faded old tee. Marissa was still in jeans and old band tee shirt covered by a black hoodie that made her whole look seem like she’d stolen it from Autumn’s playbook and just palette swapped it. She approached him and they both turned to face the school, walking towards it in perfect stride with the other. “Speed helps me think, and I still don’t agree with it, Emjay.” Devin said calmly as they approached the two doors of the school. “You should have involved us, and now, I have to choose between family or Fellowship.” “And?” she asked evenly. “Which team are you on?” “Family, always.” Devein said confidently as the two pulled open the double doors and were immediately assaulted by the sounds of school kids moving through the halls, yelling, talking, and carrying on. They’d arrived just at a class change and the halls were in their typical state of anarchy. “But the Fellowship is your problem. I’ll keep you safe, but I’m not protecting you. Not this time.” “Fair enough,” she shrugged and smirked as they strolled into their dominion. ---===[@]===--- Even as everyone gawked at her, Marissa strode through the halls like she was the Queen of Shelly high. No one had ever seen her at school, or in public for that matter, without her makeup on let alone dressed like she’d just turned over a Goodwill donation box. Still, her unique powers and impeccable luck in the genetic lottery, would have let her rock a burlap sack and still rock it as a solid nine. Even now, she was ten, sporting a wholesome, natural ‘Montana girl’ look that still had the guys at school wondering who they had to kill to get a date with her. Mumbles were made and she saw a few people cautiously point at her while trying to keep their judgements and opinions private, but it didn’t bother her in the slightest. Everything on her body hurt and she wasn’t in any mood for daily politics, maybe tomorrow. A part of her felt that maybe word had gotten out about her and Fellowship rescuing Tawny and Sophie, who the twins stopped by and peeked in on as they left the hospital and both seemed to be doing okay, only tired and sleeping, a lot. On the other hand, she wondered if somehow rumors of the shooting had gotten out already. Social media was a bitch sometimes. “Oh. My. God.” Courtney said slowly and with no measure of hiding the shock in her voice. “Emjay, you look like shit.” She chuckled nonetheless, glad to see Marissa alive and well at least. She was with Stacey, Tammy and Samantha, the cheer elite of the cheerleaders of Shelly High, which wasn’t saying much considering Shelly High’s cheerleaders and the football team made up almost twenty five percent of all high schoolers in the small down. “Rough night?” She winked with a smirk. “You know it was,” Shelly’s Queen couldn’t muster a smile though. She was too tired, in pain, and was dying for a snack. Why was she so hungry lately? “So, look, I need to get to class, but while I have all of you here, I want to sign up.” “For what?” Stacey asked suspiciously. "And since when do you get to call her 'Emjay, only her broth-" Marissa craned her neck a bit to express how obvious her point should have been, cutting Stacey off in the process. “Cheerleading.” Tammy scoffed and snickered. “Not looking like that,” she laughed, mocking Marissa’s disheveled, no-makeup day appearance. “Besides, we’re full up.” “Okay,” Marissa smirked and nodded as the basic bitches of Shelly High had their fun. Courtney smirked as she looked her fellow cheerleaders, knowing they were a few words away from a shitstorm. “Tammy, you better appreciate this while it lasts,” Marissa motioned down her body. “Because you’re a five on your best day and the moment if I apply so much as a dab of eyeshadow, you’re back to being a basic two and some frat guys better than nothing, whiskey dicked Saturday night. So, stop thinking your witty and edgy, and just make room on the squad for me. Kick the chubby retarded girl off.” “We can’t,” Stacey huffed. “She’s chubby.” “And retarded.” Samantha added. “But, she contributes nothing to it.” Marissa coldly stated, her words laced with scorn. “If she can’t do the routines, and she can’t actually cheer, then why is she on the goddamn squad? If you can’t fly a plane, they don’t let you pilot.” Stacey shrugged. She agreed completely, but it wasn’t her call. She gestured to all the ladies present with a twirl of her finger. “Choir,” she stated. “We’ve all said the same thing, but apparently if people aren’t good at anything but they’re destined to be a financial burden on the rest of society for the rest of their lives, we have to let them be a part of everything. Rules or some shit, like... I guess they're people to? I don't know.” “No, fuck that.” Marissa shook her head. “I want her gone.” “She can still be on the squad,” Courtney said as a devious expression lit up her eyes. “But in the event of an injury, we reserve the right to bench her and replace her. She still gets a uniform and yearbook photo.” “Good, see? Now that’s what I appreciate,” the evil brunette gestured towards Courtney. “Positive problem solving, not handing me excuses.” Make sure these three look like the guilty party. Already on it. Courtney smiled. “Don’t worry, we’ll work something out. In the meantime, I know your size, we’ll get you a uniform ordered.” “So,” Samantha’s brow furrowed in a mixture of confusion and irritation. “Just like that, we just do what she asks? Don’t we vote on this sort of stuff? I don’t recall being asked if I was okay with Marissa being on the cheer squad. She’s not Queen anymore. I mean, look how those nerds have her dressing… it’s like… you don’t even care anymore. What happened to you?” “Sure, we’ll also vote on if that video of you drunk and grinding on Kieran goes viral too,” Courtney chimed up. She sarcastically added. “Let democracy in the eyes of the Lord, reign.” “Oh,” Samantha calmed a bit. “I mean… she’s not that good anyway, and Marissa is an actual trained gymnast. God helps those who helps themselves, and our Heffalump isn’t doing much to help our practices or our team… but nothing serious, I like watching her try to dance.” “Fair enough,” they all said at the same time, nodding in agreement. Apparently, they all enjoyed the special girl’s dances. “Great,” Marissa smiled, her business concluded. “Get on that. Email me the schedule when it’s done.” With that she walked off. To say she didn’t feel right wasn’t quite enough to cover how she was coping. Evil was easy. She had a shitty morning, a shitty evening, and all she wanted was one day without drama where she could sit back, listen to music, get herself off a couple times, and nap… a lot, like every other teenager in Shelly seemed allowed to do. Her usual routine of taking her frustrations out on the general peon populace (read: everyone) wasn’t sitting well with her this time. Why did them hurting the girl to secure her a position on the cheer team seem… heavy? She felt consumed by a some… weight and for a moment thought it might be Jason using his powers to press her into the floor. She sighed and text Courtney. //Let me talk to her first. I’ll let you know what’s up.// A thumbs up ‘booped’ onto her screen and Shelly’s Evil Queen (in transition(?)) marched off to her class, hating the fact Courtney probably knew that Marissa was going to change her mind before she did. //Feelings suck. I hate them already.// She tapped out as she passed by people in the hallway. Courntney smiled and replied as Samantha and Tammy expressed their disgust with how bossy Marissa was. //Try being horny all the time.// //I am.// Marissa smiled, rounding into the doorway to her next class. The redhead covered her mouth, concealing her smile and tapped a reply with her thumb. //LOL// ---===[@]===--- “Hey!” Laurie’s greeting was an energetic one as she approached Devin, happy to see one of the Fellowship had actually made it to class today. When he closed his locker and she saw his arms and neck and eyes darkened by bruises she stopped and lurched away in shock. “Christ… wow. You look…” “Like shit, yeah.” He barely managed a smirk. Between being in constant agony and Marissa bullshit stew she was serving up piping hot, he just was feeling today at all. “Been getting that a lot.” “I was going to say” like Misery beat you with a shit stick and dumped you in the Gutter of Abject Horror where you were sodomized by those who could only described as ‘the stuff woven from pure nightmares.” She smiled and shrugged. “But we can go with ‘like shit’ if you want. Sure.” “Points for creativity, Red.” He grunted slightly as he shifted his weight to support his books. Her cheer softened somewhat as she saw that typically witty and chipper Devin was not present. At. All. “What’s up?” “Nothing,” she shrugged like she didn’t need a reason. “Just was wondering if everything was okay. Sean left out in a hurry and…” “Everything is fine.” Her friend said flatly. “Meaning…?” she pressed. “Meaning,” he looked at her. “Not a conversation for here.” “So, take us somewhere else and we’ll talk, lunch is like right around the corner and-“ “D-Train is closed, darlin’,” he shook his head. “Duty kinda jacked me up for a bit. I’d be lucky if I could open a viewing portal the size of a penny right now. Sorry.” “Oh, sorry,” she winced, now looking concerned. Her green eyes looked him over and shown a light of compassion at his current condition because of what he and the others did to end up that state. “I didn’t know.” Devin didn’t seem particularly bothered. Laurie was just trying to be supportive and by the very virtue that she was treating like a human being these days, and dangerously close to a friend, meant he was getting somewhere with her. “S’cool, soon as I’m back in the game we’ll go chill somewhere, okay?” “Seriously? Where?” her eyes seemed to sparkle like stars and each glimmer was a possible destination. “Wherever you wanna go.” Devin tried to laugh but it sounded forced. He rolled his shoulders to flex the soreness in his body as they kept walking. “Oh, and uh… your brother is a badass. Little dude is a fucking cannon. A glass one, but a fucking cannon, no doubt. He held his own like a champ, be proud of him.” “I am,” she smiled and nodded with measured confidence. “Of all of you, honestly.” She bashfully chuckled and feigned pushing her hair back behind one of her ears. She stopped and thumbed behind her. “This is, uh… my stop.” “Cool, I’ll uh, see you later?” He nodded his head, motioning further down the hall. “I’m further on, but lunch or something… if you want.” “Yeah,” Laurie smiled and sounded more eager than she intended. “S-sure… cool. Well… uh… bye.” Devin laughed softly, even his lungs hurt. Was that even a thing? “Later, Red.” He hobbled on down the hall and towards his next class.
  5. Caring: “I’ve watched so many television shows and read so many books where the hero and heroine live happily ever after and since I was a little girl, I remember thinking ‘why can’t that be me’ but the reason why those shows do so well, and those books sell so many copies is because they’re selling fantasies. I wish I had someone to share myself with. To tell them every secret, to give them every bit of me from my body to my heart and show them the real me, like the real, real, me, but I know I never will. I find a guy who stimulates me mentally and then I see him naked and I’m positive he could stimulate me everywhere else too, but all love is to him is a chemical reaction in the brain. It’s ‘just a thing’ to him, easily explained and therefore easily categorized and controlled, filed away as something the body needs, like sunlight or orgasms. I get a hot guy who can stimulate the hell out of me, but all he cares about is sports, fishing, and doesn’t want to spend time with me unless his sister is with us. I love big, too big, I think because I feel like I’m the only one that ‘gets’ what love is, so I just make people want me and get what I need. Who cares right? It’s just a chemical reaction in the brain.” Assessment: Jauntsen, M (heretofore referred to as Subject TEASE) possess a preternatural attractiveness, pheromone production and neuro-hypnotic vocal stimulation (Analyst Comment: People can fall in love with the sound of her voice.) The psychological effects of knowing everyone desires her seems to have left her with an inability to create legitimate emotional connections, possibly due to her not feeling that no one is capable of legitimately loving her due to her abilities having no sort of ‘off’ switch. Pleasure: “Is this a serious question? Jesus, my parents aren’t going to hear this, are they? No? Oh, well then. My brother [Subject JAUNT] and I have a strict ‘work hard, play hard’ policy. I mean, we’ve earned it right? Seriously, think about it, we’re all addicts. Everything we do is linked to some center in our brain that pumps us full of chemicals. Food? We have a chemical for that. Fatigue? Chemical for that. Sex? Several chemicals for that. After all the things we’ve done for the gaggle of ingrates on this planet some guy is going tell me ‘you can save the world, but don’t drink a shot or sleep with that hot guy until you’re twenty-one or eighteen’? Screw that. I deserve to get lit when I’m not dealing with the four corners of crazy, I’ve started calling ‘my every day’. I need that escape after the shit I’ve seen, lady. Hell, you would be lining up the designer drugs, booze and hot guys for us if you’d seen what we dealt with, and we dealt with it for you. You’re welcome. So, yeah, I’m going to smoke and drink and fuck until the nightmares go away. I think I deserve that much.” Assessment: Obvious PTSD arising from the nightmarish ‘creatures’ the group calling themselves the [FELLOWSHIP] claims to have witnessed. Subject TEASE employs escapist practices as an obvious excuse to allow her to delve into deviant behavior with no guilty repercussions due to her feeling ‘entitled’ to it. Subject TEASE possesses numerous insecurities possibly stemming from how almost everyone she is contact with for too long ends up desiring her or falling in love [Analyst Comment: Do we have an estimated time of how long that takes? I’m in a small, enclosed space with her.]. She doesn’t know true emotion from manipulated emotion, seeing emotional attachments as lies perpetrated by her abilities. Recommend: Psychological evaluation and full tox screening. Power: “Pfft, easy. Do you think anyone actually gives a shit about you? You think your bosses do? You’re a number to them, a replaceable asset and the moment they can get you cheaper, younger and prettier… trust me, sister, you’re out of here. Why? Because they have the power to do whatever they want and no one will call them on it because they own the news, the media, you. Me? I want that kind of authority and control over the world around me so people who haven’t worked as hard as me, or done the time I have, or seen the nightmares I’ve walked through can just walk in and take from me what they didn’t do shit to earn. I know monsters are real, and I also know that I’m one of few people in the world capable of stopping them, so if you want me to keep doing it, you need to learn who’s in charge. I can wait through all the screams and wade through all the bodies while you make up your minds.” Assessment: I honestly can’t tell if she is serious or not. Certainly, though she wants absolute autonomy over her life and possibly feels the only way to achieve that is plant her flag on the hill and dare the world to try and claim it. This ties in heavily with her opinions on money (below) and how it relates to power. Recognition: “I wasted my childhood practicing and training and dieting and all for what? Not even so much as a ‘good job sweetie’ or ‘you and your brother did great’. I’m done with those days, like, so fucking over it. I’m so done with being the good daughter and tag-along friend. I was the good person once and then I realized that in most films, comics, television, it’s the villain who is always more relatable. Everyone talks about Darth Vader, but Luke is reduced to sucking teets on a barren rock. Thanos was only brought down when thousands of Earth’s strongest stood against him. One guy and they needed an army… after they totally made the Hulk a bitch. See what I’m getting at? They say that girls like me only date the guys who treat them like crap and all the nice guys are out there finishing last… well, yeah, loser. The world isn’t a good place anymore, and this princess didn’t get saved, so Evil Queen it is.” Assessment: Her associates have informed me that she capable of being compassionate and kind yet none of that was visible during this session. She holds such scorn for the world like it, collectively, had wronged her in some way. More sessions would be necessary to determine the source of this trauma and deal with it but as it stands, in line with the Project’s directives, she’s exactly what they’re looking for. Wealth: “I’ve read a lot. So many books about that fantasy about the poor hero or heroine who rises from nothing, goes on adventures and finds true love and riches in some faraway kingdom. I, mean, whatever, I guess. Nothing lasts forever, especially happiness. I’m not happy, I rarely, if ever, am. They say money can’t buy happiness, yet, it can buy all the things that make me happy, if only for a while. Endorphins from that meal, they don’t last. The designer drugs wear off, the liquor filters through leaving a hangover. Relationships come and go. People enter your life and soon exit after a few years. Nothing is forever, like happiness. So, what’s the big deal, then? Money is power in this world and if you have it that’s all that matters. Celebrities make murder disappear and the rulers of the world spend and spend while claiming there isn’t enough for the people that really need it. All the examples for me to follow are right there in the world: money equals power, power equals recognition fuels our desires for pleasure and happiness and in the end that’s truly what caring is all about: ourselves. In the end we’re nothing more than a few chemical reactions in the brain. No magic, nothing to discover that holds any wonderment or beauty… just a moment of our brains saying ‘yup, that was a thing’. Look at me and listen to what I’m telling you…” Assessment: Subject TEASE displays all the qualifying traits of an exceptional sixteen-year-old girl who is well on her way to a bright and successful future. While possessed of a few traits that certainly could be addressed, it is the opinion of this analyst that we continue to support and direct the continued growth of her abilities, opening all possible avenues for her to learn, grow and develop.
  6. "Oh, that's uh," she produced and wiggled a stick of raspberry lip balm in her fingers. "My fault. I gave him a 'glad you're not dead' peck on the forehead." A small part of Marissa felt bad for Jason. Not long ago, personal drama aside, he was a being whose strength, passion and willingness to walk through life alone if it meant living by his own rules made him borderline admirable. He possessed such rare qualities that it made him almost magnetic, attracting Marissa's attention like a moth to flame that made her her just desire to know more and more about the enigma that was Jason Bannon. The last few days however, had shown her a different side of him. They were inseparable, every minute of every day. Her hands through his hair, pour his drinks, holding his cup, catering and tending to his every need... and he just lapped it up. It was sad to see that he turned out to be just another boy who wanted a mommy. Although it couldn't be said for Jason, Marissa felt like, perhaps she dodged a bullet. Marissa hadn't seen Cade since the battle last night, and hadn't been alone with him since they'd had sex the day before. It was probably for the best, since lately everything with him was one argument after another as he meandered about like a whipped dog. She fumed internally at Cade's text that he wouldn't be showing up to see if Jase was okay. It was nice to know that if she were shot in the face she couldn't count on him to make an appearance, if only for a few moments, at least. Give him enough rope, she thought silently to herself as she read on, rolling her eyes in frustration that Cassie and Sean were on the way. Great. That's all they needed was an aspiring young reporter alone in a room with a freaking alien and the local gamer nerd whose muffin top was starting to out do his cup-size. It wasn't that she didn't like them, but she'd rather be chilling with them than sifting through more drama. One day off. Can we get just one? Day? Off? "Cassie and Sean are on their way," she delivered with a smile and cheerful tone. "I think I'm too sober to deal with Cassie's energy at eight in the morning, but, she and Sean are worried so they'll be here soon." She looked to Ellie and raised her brows, appraising the alien blonde. "Okay, yeah, foot stomping Autumn on the clothes thing... you're not wearing my clothes Ms. Way-Too-Much-To-Unpack-Right-Now. I'd volunteer to take you to the Goodwill, but Autumn has a better chance of knowing where it is than I do. Be glad to help you with your hair and makeup though, because... dear god, girl, where's your dignity?" Her gaze fell upon her brother, her face losing diplomacy and settling on mild disappointment. "Okay, so, bum-chic and makeover aside... why is she still here? She has a bracelet, right? Just send her home." "Doesn't work like that, Maricifent," her brother fused Disney token evil queen together with his sister's name with practiced sarcasm. "I don't know where her world is. Even if I did, I'm in no condition to send her back there, I could barely remove a bullet from Jason's side and I could see that. You want me to try hopping an innocent girl across dimensions on nothing but a hunch and small description? She'd be paste." "I've no desire to be paste." Ellie offered. "Fine. Whatever," Marissa conceded, still not a hundred percent how her brothers powers even worked, let alone how they were possible. "But you better be alright soon, I need to go to Milan to get shoes for Homecoming. Annette turned me on to this amazing place there, I've been dying to check it out."
  7. "Mr. Keane," Marissa approached Ian, Autumn's father. On his phone he was trying to remain as calm as possible as he directed the dispatch to their location. She saw that he was on the phone, but any situation demanded it's fair share of multitasking, this was it. He leaned the phone from her ear to signify that he was splitting his attention. "Do you have any blankets in your car? Maybe something you didn't unpack from the picnic last night?" He noted how calm she was, practically unphased by the sight, having missed the conversation between her and her brother moments before, but she was unnaturally composed, like an oracle wading through the fruits of her own warnings. Devin leaned in lowering his heat to pop into Autumn's field of vision. "Hey," he prodded her for attention. "You're doing great, Granola. He's going to be fine," his words were a soothing mixture of positive reinforcement and distraction in the hopes of calming her down. "Okay? If we can stop his bleeding, his body can do the rest. You got this, girl. Focus on what you have to do, not what's happening around you, it's what's always worked for me. We got this." He continued to press on the wound, not too hard as to not force the bullet through the tissue further, but enough to make sure the flow of blood was halted. "Plus, I have my shirt off, so that means I have to charge you by the minute for this lovely scene you are being allowed to behold, so... y'know, there's incentive." "Sure." Autumn said calmly, her lips brandishing the slightest hint of a smile. Still she seemed like she was blind, her focused on nothing but Jason's body, unblinking yet still seeing the whole of the scene around her. "Put it on my account for next time you do something stupid and you're the one down here bleeding." "That all I gotta do to get you to feel me up?" He replied in typical Devin-level sarcasm. "Pfft." "You're, uh, Marissa, right?" Ian asked her while tucking his phone in his jacket and popping the hatch with his key fob. "I think we have a few back here, might have dog hair on them, they're mostly used for the keeping them from shedding on the seats when we-" "They'll do." She said without looking in his direction. She scooped up the blankets and carried them over to the Marshals. Ian followed, not sure how he could help but willing to accept instruction. "You don't seem particularly phased by any of this." He looked at the two bodies. "Um, h-how can I help?" "Mr. Keane, between secret societies lead by demons, talking saber-toothed tigers, adopting a three thousand calorie a day diet, Autumn's hair regiment, and an interdimensional pus demon that lived in Viscera World," she cocked her head and offered him an unimpressed look. "I've seen my fair share of nightmare fuel. This? This is just another Tuesday in Shelly." She handed him a blanket and nodded towards Marshal Marshall. "Cover them up, keep them warm. Jason will need one too with the amount of blood he's lost." "You two seem to know a lot about this stuff," Ian pointed out while trying to cover the Marshal. She mingled a scoff with a chuckle as tried to cover Dale without tampering with her injuries too much. She silently cursed as the thought of knowing she couldn't do anything for them, shock was not something that was easy to treat on an unconscious patient and she'd done what she could. "Twenty-one day First Aid class. My mom made my brother and I attend when we were... eleven, I think?" She turned to her brother, "Hey was it eleven we took that course?" "Yeah," he nodded, speaking up so she could hear him. "It was right before Christmas and right before we turned twelve in February." "Riiiight," she nodded in recollection. "Some big role involving a hospital drama... our characters wouldn't have been involved with any of the hospital stuff, just the kids of one of the characters who was a doctor. Didn't stop mom though... three weeks of first aid classes, as research. Which reminds me, my CPR card is expired." "Em!" Devin shouted for his sister, looking away from Jason to address her. "Call Annette, or text her. Let her know what's happened. Maybe she can help." "On it!" she yelled back, winking at Ian for the punctuation of their conversation while she slid her phone out of her back pocket to begin scrolling for Annette's number. She pressed the button on her phone and waited there with a third and final puffed up blanket coiled under her arm. "Hi... Ms. Giles? Marissa." She confidently introduced herself on the SeanTech Jailbroke phone she was carrying. "Jason's been shot. I don't know! He probably just stoically glared at them until they just lost their shit and took aim, Lord knows I've wanted to strangle him a few times myself. No, no, Autumn is here, she's a freakin' rockstar. She's all over it, but we have two others in shock and I can't treat them and Autumn can't really leave Jason and... we're a bit in over our heads here." Her voice almost showed signs of breaking at those last few words, thinking of Jason and seeing how he was hurt badly was almost enough make her humanity rise the surface. Still, she remained composed, the quality that kept her reputation as Shelly's Ice Queen secured and pressed on. It was difficult for the next words to pass her lips, and she hated saying them, but she couldn't see any other option. "Ms. Giles, we need help."
  8. "No, it's fine, I get it," Marissa smiled. "Sorry, I'm kina coming down from whatever we lived through and I could probably talk your ear off. That's not a bad idea, though. I'd love to help you out. God, I'm pretty sure I was born in heels, so this will be a snap. Just text me and I'll come by," her face winced every time she sipped the coffee, announcing that it was offensive to her palate. "Okay, this is some gross coffee." The two laughed for a moment, "Right?" Autumn snickered. "I didn't want to say anything, it's free, I would've felt bad, but... wow." "Ugh," she waved off Autumn's attempt at politeness. "Don't worry, I'll say it if you don't. I'll be me so you don't have to," she smirked. "Besides, I need to see this dress of yours so I can select a makeup palette for you. Something light so as to not hide those beautiful freckles of yours but still make your eyes pop. Trust me, with my help, Jason's heart is going to get up to at least six, maybe seven beats per minute, easily." She smirked, poking fun at Autumn's stoic boyfriend. "I uh, guess we should head back, and... thanks." Without warning Marissa wrapped her arms around Autumn and held her tightly before finally letting her go. "Friends are nice, I like this." Marissa chuckled. The redhead at her side scoffed bemusedly. "Eh, it's new to you. The novelty will fade in a few weeks." "That's fine, just as long as you remember that I'm in charge," her bestie said in a mirthful tone. "Oh no." Autumn chuckled. "No, no, no." "Yup, totally am. I make the rules." They stepped into the hallway and made their way back to the infirmary, both hearts a little lighter than they were a moment ago.
  9. Marissa shrugged, cup already in hand as she surveyed her options for second rate coffee. One of the nurses, for some reason just couldn't keep her eyes off them as they browsed. "It is what it is," she said glumly, holding her blanket to cover herself as she decided. "And thank you. You know, for saying you're my friend. I'm horrible at it, I know, but aside from my brother I've never really had real connections with people, sooo..." "It's like, look at my mom, right? Tell me I'm not like her, you totally can't right? I know I'm horrible and changing isn't as easy as simply saying it, it's like... cardio for inner peace: you're intentions are to change, but no one ahs time for an hour on the karma bike five or more days a week, it's stressful and tiring and we all have better things to do. Full disclosure, I didn't join up with you guys to save the world or make friends, I saw Cody... or, rather what he'd become, by 'saw' I mean in the word-of-mouth sense." She filled her cup with the magic brain-zoom fluid and couldn't help but notice the nurse still staring at them, a hefty, angry looking woman that looked like she should be instructing German boot-camp not helping with the wellbeing of people. "His choices, his hate, his avarice... those made him into that thing and all I could think was: we have no idea how he got that way. Was he offered a deal and took it or was his name added to the dotted line slowly and methodically over time as he consciously allowed himself to be cruel and depraved and... Autumn, a part of me wonders how many letters of my name I'm up to on the dotted line... I don't want to end up like that." "So... I escape. Party a little bit, meet up with guys in Great Falls. Sometimes I just do it at home and once I did it too hard and now everyone knows," she sighed and chortled morosely. "Because my mom is hell bent on making sure she ruins anyone's life who is having a better time, prettier, or just plain enjoying themselves because she's fucking miserable. I still haven't told her my card got punched, of my god she is going to lose her mind." Finally she rolled her eyes and sighed and looked to old nurse and confronted her. "What?" The nurses didn't say anything and just averted her eyes for a moment, going back to some paperwork on a clipboard. Marissa whispered. "Christ, some people." She sipped her coffee, smiling at her 'bestie'. "This is nice." she laughed. "Talking. Maybe it's the endorphins and adrenaline wearing off, but-," the blood soaked teen again noticed the nurse glaring and Marissa pursed her lips and glared back. "Yes, lady, that right, take it in. We're soaked in blood and covered in bandages the same way unfulfillment and poor life decisions cling to you like a cloud of misspent youth and lifetime of regret." Cup to her lips Autumn's eyes couldn't get much wider as they darted back forth while her friend made a scene. "So go deliver your towels or bedpans or whatever they trust you to handle Kronk, and don't worry about what's going on over here." Annoyed, but defeated, the nurse simply shook her head and walked off. With a scoff, the Queen of Mean sipped her coffee again. "I swear, people are so rude. Anyway, like I was saying, maybe it's those wearing off, but it feels good to just not be in bitch mode, y'know? Despite my mom, I'm pretty relaxed right now. Happy to be alive, I guess."
  10. Mr. Jauntsen nodded and offered Autumn a smirk she immediately identified as a hereditary trait. "Please, call me Carl." Marissa scoffed and wiped under her eyes, smearing her makeup even more as she got her bestie as far from her father as she could. "C'mon, coffee sounds great. I need out of here." She'd never quite heard Marissa's voice so low and devoid of its imperious tone. Even at her kindest Marissa always seemed to carry herself as the person in charge, yet now she sounded morose, shattered even, like a woman who'd retired her feelings hours ago and just stopped caring. Her hair was knotted together with sticky, dried blood and some of it had been wiped away from her face, her makeup had smeared and washed down her cheeks in blackened streaks that mingled with the patches of dried crimson and rust-brown. Combined with the shredded leather of her outfit she looked like she could be the front woman for a metal band. She certainly had some height on her bestie, especially with her heels on, echoing in the passageway as the two ladies searched for a coffee station. They warranted a few looks from others as they made their way. The hospital wasn't unfamiliar with the occasional traumatizing injury, but it wasn't everyday a wild-haired ginger girl scout covered in blood was paired in the halls with a raven-haired prostitute, also covered in blood, were seen wandering the halls on a quest for magic bean water. Finally, Marissa broke the silence between the two with a sigh. "So, you've met my family, now. See where I get it from? Ugh," she huffed and rolled her eyes. "My mom is such a bitch. My brother and I are so fucking useless in their eyes, I mean, why even have kids if you're not going to give a shit about them?" Autumn wasn't quite sure if she was address the redhead, or just speaking to hear her own thoughts.
  11. Marissa leaned over and bumped her brother lightly. "You look like shit," she smiled. Devin smiled back and rolled his shoulders a bit. Marissa had caught the worst of it between the two, yet she'd never tried calculating a blind dimensional warp either. His body felt like it did when I tried to teleport in the Void without his bracelet. Like his insides were shifting and moving to places under his skin they shouldn't belong. "Look at you," he directed his attention with a nod of his head. "Warrior Queen of Shelly, now." "Pfft," she rolled her eyes, straining to smile. "Queen of Mean is fine. You guys are welcome to all the heroics, it's killer on my wardrobe. So, Mom's going to loose her mind, you know that right?" Her brother nodded, his gaze locked on the floor. All he offered her was a 'yep'. "...and turn a profit off of us." Again, her brother nodded and replied the same, his gaze still locked on the tiles of the floor like he saw something in their pattern that no one else could. "I'm not doing that again, Deej. It was torture the first time and I'm living through 4AM work-outs and practices and eighteen-hour days of..." she sighed and relaxed. "I'm just not. I'm not doing it again." He felt the same way. While their mother may have meant well, the Twins' upbringing was sheltered and nothing short of regimented education and training and practices that prepared them for auditions that would hopefully lead them to child stardom. The only reason they hadn't made it, was their mother placing too many demands on the studios that were interested in hiring them. It wasn't uncommon for parents to ruin their children's careers in Hollywood before they'd ever taken flight. "Em, we'll be fine. Mom can't make us do anything. I don't have to teleport or warp a damn thing, and neither do you. If worse comes to worse, I blip her to an island to calm down." "Is that so?" Came the voice of Misti Jauntsen, their mother, from behind them. Both the twin's eye widened and glared straight ahead of them at the sound of the matronly tone her greeting carried. Sean smirked. He wasn't sitting to far away from them, but he saw her easily as the twins were lost in their conversation, assuming the opening door was just another member of the staff. "Coulda said something, Light Brite." Devin shot the intersexed boy a glare. "You're right," Sean reclined a bit. His smile didn't fade. "I could have." Seeing the Twins' honestly fearful of something not spawned from the Dark was almost cathartic. Misti stepped around the examination table to face her twin children, placing her weight on one leg as she leaned and crossed her her to glare at them both. Devin looked up at her, a mischievous grin (as always) on his face. "For the record, Mom, it woulda been like... a really nice island. Like, Miami." "Miami isn't an island, idiot." Marissa looked at her idiot brother, muster the energy to slap him in the arm. "You're thinking of Maui, ass-tart." "Both of you shut up," her voice wasn't a worried mother's panicked tone. Misti had arrived at the stage in her worry where she was now angry with her children for not only worrying her and their father, but for putting themselves in danger to begin with. "Now, I know you two think you were doing the right thing, but what you did was stupid and you should have called the Sheriff. I expect this sort of foolishness from your brother, Marissa-" "Thanks, mom," Devin nodded sarcastically, but she didn't falter in her speech. "-But you?" Her glare set on her daughter. "Now, I understand that I've seen something pretty strange today, and we're going to get into that when there is more time, but running off after that girl-" "Sophia, Mom." Marissa cut her off with a whisper. Neither of the twins were looking at their mother, which told the others that if there was someone in the world they feared, it was her, despite how much bravado they might muster to the contrary. "That girl," she mouthed off. "Has a name." "Do not test me, Marissa Beatrice, or so help me." The single digit pointed threateningly at her daughter finished the threat without anything else needing to be said. "Going after a murderer and a kidnapper? What the hell were you two thinking? You could have been hurt or killed. Look at you!" "You think we don't know that?" Devin said calmly. "What like the eight of us were just skipping through the woods eating the candy that grew on the trees and we just Hodoor'd our way into a murderer/kidnapper boss fight?" "You should have called the-" "He knew, Mom!" Marissa huffed. "He's known. Christ, if you'd listen once in awhile." Their mother just shook their head in disappointment. "And look at the two of you." She took Marissa's arm. Her daughter winced from the pain of numerous cuts and the reddening of the bandages applied all over. "Jesus, Marissa. Your personality is garbage, your grades are average... and now this? Scars? Was over dosing not enough, you just have to go and ruin your looks also? In spite of the pain Marissa yanked her arm away from her mother and promptly covered her face in embarrassment as her mother blurted out secrets she'd prefer had remained quiet. "Jesus Christ, Mom." She mumbled softly and everyone caught the 'I fucking hate you' that followed as she fought back tears. "Gee, Mom," Devin slipped in, intentionally placing himself in his mother's crosshairs like a dutiful brother should. "No pep talk for me?" "Devin," she looked to him, already bored with where any conversation with her son might take her. "If your not in prison by the time you're eighteen, it'll be a miracle. We both know that. When you two get home, there's going to be some changes. No phones. Your cars, and motorcycle, gone. No more credit cards, nothing. Your father and I have been far too lenient on you two since we came here and it's done. You two are out of control and it ends, tonight." "Hail the conquering heroes." Devin said lazily. "If we do our homework, will you ground us for it?" "Misti," Carl stepped into the room. He'd leaned in the doorway for a moment, after having gone to get some coffee, and listened to his wife destroy their children. "You're angry. They're tired and have been through a very traumatic experience. Now is not the best time for anyone to be making decisions about anyone's future." "Carl, no-" she glared at her husband, about to raise a finger in protest, when he stepped in and, heedless of the other gathered children, stopped just inched from his wife's face, his eye locked on hers. "Michelle, enough." There was obvious anger in his voice. "You want to lose your shit, you do it at home, but god damnit we will not have you going on one of your holier than thou tirades in the hospital for God's sake. Get it together." Awkward didn't begin to describe the silence that followed. The Twins kept their heads down, apparently used to their parents confronting one another like this and learned long ago that it was best to simply stay small and let the whole thing, hopefully, blow over them. Misti inhaled and tightened her jaw while Carl looked on, practically begging her to challenge him. She instead chose to excuse herself and inform her husband and children that she'd be going out for some air and would meet them at the vehicles after Carl had checked them out. He inhaled and let it our slowly as he offered an apologetic smile to the other's still in the room. "I'm sorry you had to see that." "I figured it out," Devin said softly. "Why I can do what I can do. It's so we can get away from her, from both of you." "Devin, she didn't mean those things. She's stressed and angry, and she's been anxious with worry all evening." He was trying and it was obvious, but there were only so many ways to defend a woman like Misti when she was angry and got to spewing vitriol. It was painfully obvious, however, where Marissa got it from. "I know she's difficult just, give her some time. No one is taking your toys away, don't worry." "We don't care about the toys, Dad," Marissa leaned over and held her brother, preferring the tears she couldn't keep in anymore to be hidden by him then be seen by her new friends. He wrapped his arm around her and used his blanket to not so subtly hide his sister from the others. "If we wanted toys Dad, I would have just bamfed into a bank vault by now, or better yet, just bamfed the whole the damn thing to me." "Wait," his father's posture completely changed and his head tilted curiously at an angle. "You can do that?"
  12. One moment she was yelling taunts at Cody and right after the great beast was shot, pummeled, burned lazed and was screaming infernal curses at the crimson sky while the Tree wailed and thrashed on the horizon. She looked at the group of teens, weapons at the ready with nimbuses of power swirling about them. “Holy shit…” was all she could muster under a stuck breath. Gathering her wits, finally, she ran to meet with her brother(s), pausing to look at the Devin holding Tawny. Her finger waved between the both of them. “I-I'm not even going to ask what this is…” “You got her?” Devin-Holding-Sophia asked Autumn. When she assured him with a nod, he faded away, or rather slowed down and almost seemed to ‘vibrate’ out of existence. “Good,” Devin replied to Marissa. “Because I couldn’t even begin to explain it.” She knelt beside Tawny, wiping some blood off the young blonde’s cheek but all it really did was smear it more. While her brother was holding her so tight, the worry in his eyes, she pondered the volumes of books she could fill with the hidden dialogue behind his eyes and prayed that one day she would find that sort of love. The kind where her someone would look at her the way her brother looked at Tawny. “Mother fucker.” She heard Autumn say. The redhead’s eyes were locked on the distant horizon, where the Meadow of Malaise met the Ivory Forest of Bone. “Not good. So un-fucking-good.” Although Marissa couldn’t detect them the way Autumn or Sean could, once she knew where to look her eyes could faintly make out the charging army of unmentionables. “Ohmygod.” Her heart sank. One Not-Cody was one thing, but there was no way they could battle an army the size of what was storming across the fields. “GUYS! We need to go!” She pointed long enough to direct everyone’s attention to the charging monsters. “Devin!” she knelt again, looking at her brother intently. “You need to do the thing, with the thing and we all 'boop'. You know... the thing! You need to get us the fuck out of here,” she reached for Tawny, to take care of the blonde so Devin could work his magic. “I got her!” He snapped at her, tightening his grip. Guilt kept him from letting her go as his eyes pleaded for a thousand, wordless apologies. Shelly’s Queen tightened her lips and clasped her brother’s cheeks, turning his head to face her and letting their eyes meet. “This is not your fault Devin. She’ll be fine, but we need to go. You need to let her go and open a portal.” There was no violet shimmer behind her words, only the harsh truth. “It’s my fault. You wanted to stop, I didn’t and I pushed and pushed and maybe all of this isn’t our doing, but yeah… we helped. I helped. If I had just listened to you...” “Now help me make it right, Deej,” tears slid down her cheeks. She leaned in, pressing her forehead to her brothers. “I’ve never had friends, we’ve never had friends, we've always jsut been each other's Ride or Die,” she looked to Tawny, and pulled back, meeting her brother’s eyes again. “But she’s my friend too, so let’s get her home. Let’s get everyone home, I don’t want to lose anymore friends Devin.” She forced a smile and a laugh. “We just got them… we haven’t run them through their paces yet.” They both chuckled a bit. Shifting Tawny’s weight towards his sister, Devin stood as she cradled the unconscious blonde. “Watch after her, I’ll see what I can do.” Marissa struggled. Between the slick blood, her not being very strong to begin with and having never really trying to cradle an unconscious teen in her lap, she huffed and grunted with her loose, slick grip, trying to get Tawny to hold firmly in place but instead it looked like an awkward in scene from Weekend at Bernie's. “Ohm’god,” she grunted, trying to hold the knot of arms and torso still. “I don’t know what he sees in you… you are so fat. Come on sister, don’t do this to me…” “Cade!” she finally yelled as the uncontrollable blob that was Tawny slid through the muck and malaise while Marissa clumsily chased after her. “Baby! Get her, please!” It appeared that Death would arrive with a half-smile in its face.
  13. “No!” Marissa managed to squeal out as the giant beast launched towards her brother. Her hands cupped over her mouth as he teleported away and then a second time. He was safe, but her heart had sunk into the very pit of her stomach at the thought of her brother being harmed. She felt she needed to do something, but what? Autumn and Cassie took off for the skull, but she could see the hesitation in Not-Cody as hie eyes panned from a desire to defend the skull and it’s rage for killing Devin… Dumbest plan ever. She chastised herself, internally, but didn’t have any time to think up something better. Whether it was fear or courage that breathed life into her voice she wasn’t sure, but the Queen of Mean raised her voice at the Not-Cody-Beast. “Hey!” She shouted at Cody, trying to stand tall and unafraid against the creature. “Don’t you blame my brother for your stupidity you… shriveled little whining incel. No one ever made you do a damn thing. You were pathetic and broken loooong before my brother and I ever got near you.” She tossed in a stern point of her finger and a goose neck for added punctuation. “But oooooh, no…” she chastised. “Poor little Cody. You’re a fucking sociopath, Cody. From the things you said to the way you treated people… you wanna be mad at someone? Be mad at me!” Marissa’s thumbs declared that she should now be the center of attention as her words seemed empower her to take a few sloshing steps in the festering cysts that passed as the firmament in this bizarre place. “Do you know why Katie Shelton didn’t go out with you? Because I told her not to. I warned her you were a fucking creepster. And after she turned you down, we laughed at how you just brooded in the corner like a mewling little simp.” She scoffed at him and folded her arms while delivering the most unimpressed look anyone had seen. “Courtney told us, Cody. We all know. What? Did you think getting a bigger dick in your head would make up for the lack of personality in your pants?” The great beast’s chest heaved as his eyes left Devin and ignored the runners altogether. His rotting lips, or what remained, locked tight in a grimace as his brow furrowed, illuminated by the dull red of his soulless eyes. Like a mighty silverback he threw his arms up and slammed them into the soft ground as he bellowed with rage, splashing liquid and questionable-kibble bits. He faced the gorgeous brunette, whose perfect beauty and rumors of her promiscuity had left his imagination to wander on more than one sleepless occasion, roared loud enough to match lions on the savannahs of Africa. His claws sunk deep into the decay and malaise and his muscles tensed. Autumn and Cassie would have the time they needed, Devin was planning something, and the others too… maybe everything would be okay, she thought, until a flash in her mind spun a tale of all the horrible things she’d ever done to the others and it occurred to her that she wouldn’t blame them if they used the opening, she’d given them to go after the skull, like sensible people should. Yeah… Dumbest plan ever.
  14. "Yeah," Shelly's socialite leaned down resting her chin on Sean's shoulder and was so close he could smell her shampoo. He remembered thinking that if she were ever that close to him, it would be so she could tear his throat out with her teeth. "First times are never as fulfilling as you expect them to be." She said so innocently that they were left to wonder if she was trying to funny or was actually being serious. A few tight lipped grins were well hidden in the darkness as Cade slowly turned his head to look at her, hit expression a slate of a wordless 'seriously' uttered with a stare. The diva looked at him, her innocent demeanor never faltering. "What? I'm talking about travel, Cadums. I swear." "Uh, huh." Cade managed a smirk as he slowly nodded. Marissa smirked devilishly now, letting this small segue break the gloom of rancid depression in the air. Cade approached Devin, placing a big hand on his shoulder as the teleporter was wiping blood away from his nose with the back of his hand. "We better get this ass kicking done in a hurry if I'm going to have time to hit the Home Depot and get that dog house your sister just put a down payment on." Though expression remained cold and determined, Devin smiled. "Okay, nerds," she stepped up, casting a glare at Cade that told him there was no chance in Hell he'd ever doghouse her lovin'. "C'mon, cast your buffs and let's go, before I lose my nerve, because that place looks like it's going to be terrible for my complexion and I have a very robust skincare doctrine and I just hope you all realize the sacrifices I'm willing to make for you." "...and the continuation of the existence of all three thousand souls that live in this small town?" Jason's cool green eyes locked on her dark glare. "Sure, why not," she shrugged as an after thought. "But I swear, if I get one zit... I'm blaming all of you." They could see how hard she was trying. To not be scared. To not keep looking into the Hellscape yawned itself open and shattered their resolve with a dare that none of them had the courage to venture onward. Yeah. They could see how hard she was trying.
  15. Marissa had slithered off with her bag, a large, gaudy leather backpack that prominently displayed 'GUCCI' in brass letters. As Autumn changed at her house with Devin and Jason and Cade organized equipment, they barely noticed her missing. She was walking out from behind some tall bushes, sheathed head to toe in all black with her signature black 'hiking heels', and as always, she looked like a million bucks. Autumn and Devin reappeared but a moment later, as Marissa's bag hit the table cueing Cade and Jason to stop for a moment and take in her day to night transformation. She'd went from jeans and a halter top with bright red lips, looking like all kinds of all American dream girl to a faux-leather clad Valkyrie whose lips were about to go back to their trademark maroon if her wiping her lips with the makeup cloth seemed to have a say in the matter. "If anybody needs a hair-tie, speak now or forever hold your peace." Autumn declared while offering up a handful of them. She took a moment to shift and sift through numerous things in her pack, which seemed to be more small pouches of makeup (sorted by color scheme and style), a phone charger (totes mandatory), an emergency battery for her phone (just in case), the clothes she wore to the Carousel... and that seemed about it. "Here!" Leaving her bag, she walked over to Autumn, hand out expectantly as it seemed hair ties was the one important thing she forgot. She groaned in relief. "You are a life saver. Two head bands, but not a single hair tie, god, what was I thinking?" "Four-inch heels, Marissa." Autumn nodded, her lips a thin line withholding to the urge to laugh or choke her 'bestie' out on the spot. "Very practical for trotting around a Hellscape." "Right?! And they totally go so well with this outfit, plus I got them at a steal. Normally they're like, five hundred and seventy, but I totally managed to get them for four hundred and seventy. I was so stoked that they got here just in time for the showdown. It's like absolute bad-assery at a premium." It had dawned on them that the boots she was wearing were not the original pair she'd worn a week or so prior. No. Marissa not only had one pair, but saw it necessary to buy a second pair for the sole purpose of having a new set of boots to battle The Dark in. No flashlight, no food, no water... but hey, she had a new pair of heels to show off to Not-Cody. Devin just shook his head, a smile across his lips, as if to say: 'this is my everyday folks'. "Autumn?" Her tone shifted to something more serious and Autumn could see how Marissa's gaze shifted to her brother who just silently nodded at her. She was getting used to understanding their silent communication as the twins had a way of quietly planning and then confirming those plans with simple glances or gestures to one another. “So um, look I know we fight, like, a lot and I totally forgive you for that, but I wanted you to know… uh, that’s what I like about you. You’re not a ‘yes girl’. You have opinions and you call me on my shit of which I know there is a lot. You have a good heart and a good soul, which I’m not oblivious to the fact that I have neither. We sort of compliment the other and it’s really cool. You have a big heart and soul and I got, well, everything else.” Her hands traced down her own frame obviously signifying that Marissa was blessed with beauty, money, the perfect body, and Autumn at least got a decent personality. It was strange hearing Marissa stammer in a search for words as she spoke. She was always so composed and knew exactly what to say to press someone’s buttons. Now, however, she seemed to to just be playing it by ear… actually speaking from her black, shriveled, ice-encrusted void she called a heart. “When I saw you with Jason earlier,” Autumn visibly tensed, preparing for another bitch bout with Marissa but her bestie shook her head in an attempt to calm her down. “No, no… I’m not looking to start anything, really. Hear me out. I’m trying to say that you looked really happy, and you deserve that. Life isn’t always fair, and none of us asked for this, but I want you to know that behind all my overly critical appraisals, bitter comments and bitchy attitude… I uh… I am thankful and grateful that you are my best friend and that you found some small sliver of happiness.” Her eyes were adopting the sheen of emotion overload. “My, um, only friend, actually.” “So, look… stop listening to me. If he makes you happy, then please be happy. You deserve that much, right? It’s seriously in short supply in this fucked up town and we could all use a bit it, right? I can’t go back in time and make all those things I said and did to you go away, Autumn, but… I’m s-…” she paused, literally unable to say she was sorry. She took a deep breath, composed herself and carried on. “I am sorry. I was wrong and despite all that I did… I… I would like for us to be friends. If, you know, we live through this.”
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