cut out all the ropes and let me fall

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:30 am ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____With Rachias inside of the shack keeping a steady watch, Corona had slipped away to the aforementioned place where Ahren was. It was really similar to the shed that the prisoner in Inferni was being kept in, though it wasn't exactly built the same way. She had heard that out of the other two, he was the most hostile. Aggression was definitely never a good sign not when it was coupled with seizures and disorientation. Even the simple forms of ataxia was showing up; they didn't have the best grip on their movements all of the time. _____As she approached the heavy wood door of the shed, she instinctively tested the air as though to prove herself that he was really there. The fire hadn't gotten him, it hadn't gotten Jasper, and it hadn't gotten Laruku. He was as real as the rest of those who had survived, though she wished that this wasn't the way they'd meet again. She opened the door slowly, carefully, not sure of just how he was. Hypersensitivity was another thing that the others had. With one hand tied up carrying a bucket of water, she peered into the dimly lit room and spotted him in the shadows. _____“Daddy?”

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:46 am

     It had been over a week since the sickness had taken him over. Ahren had dreamt fitful things, woke screaming in the middle of the night, panting, wrenching. He didn’t realize what he had been doing or where he was. It was like the heroine withdrawal, only this time, he was not safe. The noises from the other room, as faint and ragged as they were, they kept him up at night. He would hear voices that bore into his skull and made him mad, but he could do nothing to stop them. Instead he curled up as far away as he could and pinned his ears, kept his hands on his head until the throbbing, pounding pain went away. Often times, this was not for hours. He remembered very few things. Having people bring him food and water, or speak to him. He remembered Poe’s voice, and didn’t know if he had spoken to her or not (if she had been there at all). Sometimes he was sure he was hallucinating, and other times he wasn’t so sure.
     The door opened, and the blonde, on his side, did not turn to face it. Not until one of those remarkably familiar voices crept into his ears and made vicious regret leech through his bloodstream. He looked terrible—covered in his own dried blood (he had cut his wrists breaking the belt that had held his arms together) and dust, he barely looked like himself. Both eyes tried to focus, but one was blind and the other was blurry. “Corona?” He croaked, voice remarkably dry and unused, like an old cassette.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:03 am ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____He didn't look very good, but that was to be expected. There were a few things different about his appearance compared to the last time and the most notable thing aside from looking a wreck was one eye. Hazy and almost covered in a film all of its own, it sent a certain pang through her that didn't sit any better than knowing he was sick. But he recognised her voice, leaving her to wonder if he would recognise her by appearance. She had changed too. “It's me,” she said quietly, closing the door behind her as she stepped in. “I'm here now.” _____Her careful steps brought her closer and just as carefully she set the bucket down. Part of her was ready for him to lash out at her and the last thing she wanted to do was make any quick movements. Anything that would make him think twice about what he was seeing or hearing; Jasper hadn't seemed to recognise her one way or another when she had spoke to him. “How are you feeling?” she went on to ask him, giving him a once-over before brush a stray lock of hair out of her sharp blue eyes.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:36 am

     He could see her, but just barely. She was a shape in the mist, like a ghost in the fog—white on white, sensed by not seen. Realizing this was a useless ability, Ahren shut his eyes and laid his head onto his arms. Each time she moved, he felt the earth tremble. This was no longer remarkable. Even now, he could feel Laruku breathing and heard Jasper speaking in his sleep. Sometimes, he spoke back just because he couldn’t stand to hear his son’s tone. To hear the words or that one fucking word that got deep under his skin, even though it had been over a year. She was gone. She was here. She was right fucking here.
     A ragged cough that could have been a snarl broke from his chest and he shifted his weight. “Like shit,” he said, then opened his right eye. For one desperate moment, he saw Kaena, and he smiled almost maniacally. “I told him you knew,” he said, and then Kaena’s image went hazy and her daughter was in her place. His eyes left her face and found, remarkably, that she was still wearing the necklace he had given to her all those years ago. “You kept it,” he said suddenly, remarkably coherent.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:49 am ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____When things didn't make sense to her, she knew that he wasn't really there. He was seeing other things, he was hearing other things; he was simply going in and out of the world and over the line of reality because it was blurry and skewed. Hell, it probably wasn't even a line any more, it was probably broken like glass over asphalt. Glimmering like tiny beads of hope when they were really there to cut them all open and make them bleed. It was however, his moment of clarity that brought a thin smile to her face, looking down at the necklace that had never left its place. _____“I've never taken it off since the day you gave it to me,” she told him, trying hard not to delve too far back into what seemed like a much happier time. Compared to the now, then was a happier time. As far as she was concerned, she'd never take it off unless someone simply tore it from her dead body. Just in the same way that she wore the ring Gabriel gave her, just in the same way she could remember the way her mother's voice sounded the last time they had ever met, the one time she had specifically told Corona that she loved her. _____“Are you thirsty? I brought you some water,” and she thought maybe if she got a chance, she'd try and check him out better than she could just by eyesight alone. She didn't see anything that physically screamed out to her, which made everything harder to deal with, aside from the fatigue and apparent weakness that no doubt plagued him. Internal illness was much more trickier, especially when she had never dealt with it before until then.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:59 am

     He heard her words, but they faded in and out, like bad reception during a thunderstorm. In some way, he understood completely what she meant but did not say. She would never take that off, just as he would never remove the necklace his mother had given him, and just as he had refused to wear his father’s inverted-cross. Of course, he had given her that necklace. He had ripped his from the bones of his mother.
     The blonde pushed himself up as best he could, and reached out for the bucket. He found it in the haze, and managed to swallow a little before his stomach began to wretch again and he curled back up on the floor. “I don’t like sleeping on the floor,” he said suddenly, and then smiled vaguely. “I’ve never liked sleeping on the floor.”

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:12 am ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____Part of her wished she could have stayed right there with him all over again, to make sure that nothing more went wrong, so she could be there to try and fix the bonds that had been broken between herself and Jasper too. There were many things that needed to be tended to and that needed to sewn back together that she wasn't overly sure she cold spread herself that thin that quickly. But she would try all the same, because family was family. The dried blood she noticed in better depth when he took a drink “I'm sorry. Maybe when I come back again, I'll try and find something to make it more comfortable for you.” But even at that, would it help? _____“So what happened to your eye? And what about your wrists?” It reminded her of Mab's one eye that was bad, though the details had long since become hazy as to how her cousin had gone blind. But Corona hated to think it was completely random, she didn't want to think that something was going on more than what she already knew, or that the sickness had driven him to do something drastic. Far too much had gone on in the last five months, it was hard to believe that it had all happened in such a short span.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:20 am

     There was a difference between weakened ties and those that had been severed completely. Ahren had burnt a lot of bridges (and cars and buildings) in his life, and really had no where else to go. Laurel had made the unfortunate mistake of accepting him into their world without fully understanding him. Something was wrong with Ahren, something that put him on a strange and varying level as opposed to other people. He was capable of both ascending and descending between one leverl and the next, though sometimes, he didn’t control that ride all too well.
     “It got hurt in the fire,” he said, touching it with his let hand. “A tree fell on me.” A tree would have fallen on Laruku. It should have fallen on both of them. They should have fucking died. “Laurel tied me up, I guess. Then I didn’t want to be tied up anymore.” Simple, easy. Everything should be such.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:31 am ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____Truth be told, the thought and the stories she had picked up about the fire had been a little disturbing. Marlowe had retold what he had seen and it had left her with a chill that ran the length of her spine even then. Maybe disturbed wasn't the right word, it had been frightening. It was that point where she had pulled a small cloth from her pouch and dampened it with the water left in the bucket. Crouched over him carefully, she gently wiped at his wrists, letting him explain things in the process. However short and sweet, it was enough to sate her wonders. _____“I heard that you did make quite a scene, but I guess that's to be expected. If you hadn't needed to be tied up, I would wonder,” she said, at which point her voice took a much lighter tone, almost jovial. Almost like there wasn't anything wrong in the world at all. But she wanted to be as comforting as she could, any little purchase of ground that put him at ease. “But I'm going to find out what's making everyone sick though. I don't want you or Jasper to be sick.” Most of all, she didn't want them to die.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:26 pm

     He had been in the thick of it, waking in a panic as smoke filled the sky. Then, of all things, he had turned back—turned back to save someone who didn’t want it. Still, Laruku had lived, and he had lived because Ahren needed him to live. They needed each other, in this ruined, off-kilter balance. Folding his ears back as she touched his wrists, he was amazed that the sharp pain he had expected was not there. The water was soothing and it calmed him, however slightly.
     At her voice, a mad, toothy grin broke his face. His eyes had turned fever-bright again. “I told him not to open the door,” he said, clearly aware of her presence, though not of what he was saying. “He doesn’t know anything.” A coughing laugh broke from his chest and he sat up, sending his blonde hair tumbling into his eyes. “Just push them, you push them and everything burns. He started it, you know, he started it because it’s in his blood. It’s in his blood too, and he’s gonna kill those guys, he’s going to beat their skulls in until they stop laughing.” Another ragged cackle escaped his throat and he leaned back against the wall, shutting his eyes again.

POSTED: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:50 pm ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____Maybe she should have been more afraid of the way he drastically changed from calm to half-sane, but instead she found it easier to have some sort of apathy towards it. Maybe it was because she was too used to seeing something like it happen; there had been many times when Misery had spoken to the things she couldn't see or reacted to them. Children that weren't there, that was the one thing she reminded the most. Though as he sat up with a coughing laugh, her ears pinned back only slightly as her gaze shifted from his arm to his face. What a strange thing to say, but at the same time, it grasped her attention just for the content. _____“Who are you talking about?” But just as she had done before, she started to work with his other arm, letting her gaze drop for the time being. Who was going to kill who now? She wondered if he was talking about someone in Esper Hollow, seeing how the group was largely full of folks she didn't even know. She hadn't even met the guy who supposedly ran it (or the girl, as the borders had told her) and was simply there because Rachias had brought her. Rachias wasn't even apart of their pack, for that matter. Neither one of them were, but yet it didn't matter. Invisible walls and red teeth and claws wouldn't stop her.

POSTED: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:39 am

     A quiet and dull feeling washed over his body as she worked with his wrist. It didn’t hurt, though he could feel insects crawling under his skin. That was maddening, though it was not as bad as he expected. He had scratched it initially, as was evident by his shed fur, but mind-over-matter worked here. He blacked out. He went away and floated quietly in some dark place, even though someone else took over. The dragon, the demon, it was not going to let its vessel be ruined. Not while they were so close to becoming one, as his mother had always intended.
     The blonde opened his eyes, one red, one foggy blue-white, and grinned in the shadows. “The angel and the madman bum,” he explained, quoting someone, though not remembering who. Then he looked down at his wrist, frowned, and the sanity slipped back into his face. “I’m sorry,” he said, unable to look her in the eyes. He had been apologizing to a lot of people. None of these felt real.

POSTED: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:33 pm

Sorry about passing out on you last night. XD ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____The angel and the madman bum, she could only wonder who those people were and what their purpose was. His lapses of sanity could have been worse; while he babbled, he was coherent. His words were actual words and not just some made up tongue that she couldn't have grasped. But all the same time, it pained her to know that he didn't have control over it. Maybe he didn't even know what he was saying, she couldn't really decide. But his apology on the other hand made her ears fold back apologetically against her head as a frown etched across her face. _____“You don't have to be sorry.” She only wished that she was more able to understand what he meant—maybe it should have been her that was apologising. But maybe he didn't even know that she was there, maybe he was so in and out of the world that she could have been anyone. “Is there anything else I can get you? Or do for you?” Rocking back on her heels once she had finished wiping off the dried blood on his wrists, Corona sank the rest of the way to the floor to sit and wrapped her arms around her legs.

POSTED: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:09 am

     One was his son and one could have been his half-brother in another life. Except he didn’t know Conri by name and the two existed on strange, different planes. Ahren didn’t hear voices and he certainly knew what he was doing (most of the time). He never split apart (though again, he could not explain those black spots) and he never let strangers see him fall apart at the seams. Ahren had never taken his fury out on stuffed animals (he didn’t need to, oh no, there were too many strangers in the world) and he had never done anything as foolish as lose an arm.
     Gabriel, on the other hand, was his father’s son. He was his mother’s son too. He was both of them and God’s hellfire and wrath all mixed up in one. “Get me my knife,” he said lowly, eyes burning in the dark. Ahren must have looked mad, hair hanging in his face and body covered in dust. “Get me my knife and open the door,” he said again, nearly crooning. Leaning forward, Ahren’s hands hit the ground and he was on his knees, head low. “Just let me out. I can’t leave them alone, baby, I just can’t. Those men are going to come back and I can’t let him try and take you away again. The others got your brothers, but not you…” One hand reached forward, and he touched her cheek gingerly. “No one is going to hurt my family anymore.”

POSTED: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:50 am ... a/ctop.png); background-color: #74693D; background-position: top center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
_____And there he was on his hands and knees before her, speaking in a voice that seemed all too believable and at the same time not. Her breath seemed to catch at the roof of her mouth, paralysed at such a request that she didn't know whether to dismiss or follow. He was sick, there was little to argue that in her mind, but she pondered just how sick. Madman ravings ran in the family was her inner conversation, but she didn't want to believe in that. Her parents weren't crazy, not in her mind. Or maybe it was the world that she saw. The rest of them didn't understand. _____Then he touched her face in only the way that a father could. A long deep-seated memory of affection stirred in her and she couldn't pull her gaze away from his. But she wasn't the same gullible child from the past and for that very reason, Corona couldn't bring herself to move to comply just yet. “What are you talking about? Who's coming? And why?” Maybe he wasn't talking crazy, it wasn't like she hadn't been taken before. Then he had come to save her, but then things had been different. She hadn't been a burden then (or maybe she had been, she didn't recall), but now… _____“I just can't let you go out there by yourself. You're not well, you'd only be vulnerable to whatever it is that you're talking about,” she found herself saying after a lapse of silence, logic starting to overtake emotion for the time being. Corona drew a hand up from around her leg and pulled his hand away, but didn't let it go. “You're not making sense to me. I don't understand,” and at which point her gaze fell from his to another pause. “Maybe I should go.”

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