[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way.   Posted by Storyteller.Group: archive 9
Storyteller
 GM, 32 posts
Wed 16 Nov 2016
at 07:41
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Often before they Awaken, the Acanthus see the rhythm and pattern of the world around them and are unconsciously trying to break from it, not ready to admit that everyone walks a line whether they see it or not....

_____
The drive from Anneís parentís home back to campus was a familiar one, which made being this lost almost unnerving. A detour had put her through on offramp that had been background noise until today, and heavy traffic hadnít given her the time to gain her bearings before making a series of turns in an attempt to loop around and merge again. The rain started within moments of her next turn, and cast a gray hue along the horizon as it drummed on the rooftop above her.

Chicago was diverse enough that you could find something new every day, but due to being laid out as a grid, any area without distinguishing landmark looked just like every other one that she saw. This part of the city all looked the same; rows of buildings built of painted brick, something between warehouses and manufacturing plants which bled out a smoke that thickened the evening sky, turning it an off-shade of rolling blackÖ

[Private to Paracelsus: Stretch your characterís legs a bit if you want to, as I have made a few tweaks to your RTJ story (she did take a time jump). Please end the post with her still in the car, but take the reigns if you wish.]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 8 posts
Thu 17 Nov 2016
at 19:49
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Anne had wanted to get back to the city early to get some extra reading in, but everything had conspired against her. Dinner had been late when the oven burners wouldn't light, her brother had shown up late when his car broke down, and there had been a major accident on the drive back. Now she was somewhere in the warehouse wilds of Chicago. She might not get home until midnight.

It had been nice to take a break and visit everyone, but the long-standing argument between her mother and herself had come up again: "Are you sure you can make a living with a History degree?" Her mother was proud of Anne for graduating from college, but was very practical when it came to a graduate degree. "What kind of job can you get with a PhD in History? Wouldn't you be better off with an MBA so you could get a good job in business? Or something in computers? There are lots of jobs in computers..."

Anne was confident about her path, though. She had mapped it all out- undergrad, grad school, post-doc, tenure-track and onto a permanent job in academia. At some point in there, she'd get a house and probably get married- although she didn't have anyone in mind at the moment. And a cat- she'd get another cat. Sammy, her childhood feline companion had died two years ago and Anne really missed having someone around to talk to. Grad school could be very lonely.

Speaking of lonely, this was not the best place to get lost in. The weather had driven in the few people who would be hanging around here at night.

Anne pulled out her GPS, but it wouldn't pick up a signal- too much cloud cover or too many tall buildings, or something. And of course, she had cleaned out the car before heading to her mother's house and had forgotten to put her city map back in. Oh well, she'd have to randomly drive around until she could find a gas station or a sign for a major highway.

Another couple of blocks of the same empty buildings and deserted streets passed by, then Anne spotted someone across the street. Thinking her luck had changed, Anne rolled down her window to wave at the person. With the window halfway down, Anne froze. There was something about the person that made a chill run down her back. She couldn't make out much about them- a tallish person wearing maybe a suit jacket; she wasn't even sure if it was a man or a woman. The person must have seen Anne; he or she looked up, then surprisingly, darted into a dark doorway.

That was enough for Anne. Something was wrong. She didn't know what, and although she'd question it later, right now she didn't care. She had to get out of there. Quickly rolling up her window, Anne stomped on the gas pedal and sped down the road. She spared a look in her rear-view mirror, but saw only a dark, empty street.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:01, Fri 18 Nov 2016.

Storyteller
 GM, 34 posts
Sat 19 Nov 2016
at 08:13
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
The engine roared as the car moved down the road, rain pelting against the glass faster than it was being washed off as the vehicle sped down the street. It occurred to her that she could see one or two other people in the distance on the sidewalks off in the next few blocks, going about their day. While they were too far to see in detail, it did seem strange that someone caught in the rain would not be moving faster to get out of it.

There was a soft hum as her cellphone screen lit up from the other seat, just audible over the sound of the engine revving down. It was a message from her mother, reminding her to drive safe because the forecast was calling for rain. Too little too late, it seemed, as the-

Before Anne knew what she was doing, the tires of the car squealed loudly and skidded to the side as Anne hit the brakes. The small creature, a cat or a dog (or something of that size) had darted across the street and through her headlights as it. Whatever it was, after darting from right to left, it shot in a blur between two buildings.

After a moment, her GPS finally chimed in from the floorboard in a soft monotone.  "Go Left."

[Private to Paracelsus: If she's driving on forward, go until she passes the figures. If she's going after the dark shape, post until she goes into the alleyway. If none of these fit, then shame on me for thinking small-minded.]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 9 posts
Sat 19 Nov 2016
at 19:16
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Her heart pounding wildly after nearly hitting whatever that had been, the GPS spoke up from the floor of the car.

"Go Left."

It was the little voice of sanity. The voice that would lead her to safety.

Almost without thinking about it, Anne turned left into the narrow street- because it was surely a street, not an alley. The GPS wouldn't send her down alleys-at least she didn't think it would.

As she turned, Anne reached down blindly and scooped up the GPS, putting it back on the dashboard. She kept her attention on the street, watching for the animal, and keeping an ear out for the next instruction that would get her home.
Storyteller
 GM, 38 posts
Tue 22 Nov 2016
at 05:53
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
The windshield wipers moved back and forth, flicking water out of Anne's view. It truly had been closer to alley than street; the walls on either side of her car were almost close enough to scrape her side mirrors, and if another car had come down the opposite way they would surely be at a standstill. Still, she had barely seen another car since leaving the main road.

The moonlight between the buildings was slowly swallowed by dark clouds overhead as she drove forward, the light almost entirely disappearing above the street lamps. The top halves of the buildings became part of the darkness, making the alleyway slowly become claustrophobic in the way they loomed above. There were no signs of the animal she had seen moments ago, but there were no other gaps or breaks in the path between her and where it broke up ahead. It only made sense that it was just a little beyond her headlights.

Her GPS unit showed an arrow pointing forward on the map, the distance and estimating time changing to "calculating" as she continued. The unit spoke up again with it's flat robotic voice. "Go Faster and Prepare to Turn Right."

[Private to Paracelsus: You can take it to her getting to the end of the alley, which is probably 50-ish yards or so until it ends.]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 11 posts
Tue 22 Nov 2016
at 17:27
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Anne forgot about the animal. The way the walls and the darkness kept creeping in on her made her crouch down slightly in the car. Was the car roof lower than it had been? Did the alley walls keep getting closer? She was certain that the lights on the dashboard were dimmer- only the GPS sitting on her dash shone brightly.

When the GPS unit spoke again, Anne jumped. GPS didn't tell you to go faster; Anne was certain of that. Still, she found herself pressing down harder on the gas pedal, getting ready to make a right turn.

As the end of the alley came into sight, Anne felt a wave of relief.
Storyteller
 GM, 47 posts
Thu 24 Nov 2016
at 08:46
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
The last few moments through the alleyway seemed to last forever, with the world looming in at the same point she was. Streetlamps flickered as she passed them, and the water that drummed on the hood of her car made almost as much noise as it pounded off the undercarriage. Still, even as her heart beat in her ears, the car burst forth from the pathway onto the road.

"Your Destination has arrived." The GPS announced as the car crested from the alleyway, rolling onto a dirt path surrounded by trees with wet leaves slapping against the windshield. The buildings and alleyway behind her were gone, lost behind branches that obscured the road in a heavy wind, dragging their soggy limbs in the mud. Other than the glimpses of tall trunks through the pouring rain as well as the outline of a path through them, the world outside the car was almost pure black, as if drinking the light into nothing.

"Keep going." The GPS urged her forward, despite the screen having gone a wash of colors with no direction. With the way that the mud caused the car to drag, however, it seemed more than likely that the vehicle would get stuck if it were to stop.

[Private to Paracelsus: It should be noted that exiting the vehicle would be impossible if she were to try, just in case. That's something she'll only know if that comes up.]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 13 posts
Thu 24 Nov 2016
at 22:23
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Anne had no intention of stopping now. She felt the pull of the mud on the car tires and knew that if she stopped, she'd be stuck. She must have turned off into a park; she'd be back on a paved street soon. Anne glanced over at the GPS and dared take one hand off the wheel to give it a shake. It must be more of the interference from earlier.

She returned her full attention to the road, which she could just make out through the driving rain.
Storyteller
 GM, 49 posts
Sun 27 Nov 2016
at 13:07
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Anne must have driven for what seemed like an hour, doing her best to push the car through the wooded area that seemed to expand further and further beyond the windshield. The radio didn't seem to be able to get music or any other signal, and the GPS had stopped responding each time she turned her attention to it. Wherever she was, it seemed that the world itself wanted to obscure it from her.

After quite some time, the car hit an incline of grass and mud, one that it could not reach the summit of- each time the car the accelerated, it moved halfway up until the vehicle's weight got the better of itself, pulling it back down to the bottom of the hill. The GPS urged Anne on again and again, asking her over and over to reach the top. Finally, with the last push to make it up, the car slid backwards at an awkward angle until the rear wheel went over a log and was lifted off the ground. Without traction, it would be impossible to keep going upward.

As if on cue to the vehicle being stuck, the rain seemed to let up, leaving Anne surrounded by the swaying of branches around her car. Only a moment later, a black cat jumped onto the windshield, just about the same size as the black shape she had seen darting across the road the night before. It stared at her with curious green eyes, it's mew lost between the wind and the sound of the engine.

[Private to Paracelsus: The vehicle, at this point, will no longer be locked but also stuck where it is. It's almost as if the cat was calling Anne out of the vehicle (but will naturally run if she tries to catch it).]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 15 posts
Sun 27 Nov 2016
at 23:24
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Anne froze at the sudden appearance of a cat on the windshield and stared back at it for a long moment. She had almost forgotten about the shape in the alley way back- how long ago? Her first thought was that it must be a stray, and that the poor thing must be cold and wet. That alone was enough reason for her to get out of the car- the car wasn't going anywhere anyway.

Leaving everything behind, Anne carefully climbed out of the car and onto the muddy road. These shoes would be ruined, but at least she was smart enough to wear comfortable ones at work.

Anne turned toward the cat which continued to look at her. She knew enough not to directly approach strange cats, but since it was studying her, she studied it. Anne recognized this body language from Samantha, her childhood pet. It meant that it wanted something- maybe food, maybe to play, or probably to turn the cold night into a warm day.

"Can I do something for you, sweetie?" Anne said quietly to the cat. "I can't do much about the weather, I'm afraid."

The cat gracefully jumped from the car to the road, avoiding the worst of the puddles. It took a step up the hill, then looked back at Anne.

"Up there?" Anne asked. "That's where you want to go? Well, I'm going that way anyway, so we might as well go together."

Of course she was going up the hill. She had come this far, she wasn't stopping now. The question "why" surfaced in her thoughts, but Anne pushed it away. That wasn't important right now.

Anne started up the muddy road, the cat a step in front of her. At least it wasn't raining anymore.
Storyteller
 GM, 53 posts
Tue 29 Nov 2016
at 06:14
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
The walk seemed to take forever, as fast as one could move in an incline consisting of mud and grass. Most of the rain was kept off of her from the canopy of leaves above, diverting the water in sparse patterns that created trails as they met with the earth. Every now and then, one would hit her face or neck, but the cold sensation had seemed to go the same way as her concern; somewhere in the back of her mind, in a place where she was still concerned about those things.

The cat, being a natural antagonist of mankind, kept itself out of arm's reach of Anne the whole way. It effortlessly hopped over puddles to find footing everywhere, not even seeming wet from the downpour. The incline became steeper as they went further; what started simply as something to lean forward eventually became closer to climbing, having to set her hands against the earth and pull herself up as she continued upward.

The car must have been a mile away at this point.

It finally came to a peak, cresting to a massive tree trunk, extending past the canopy provided by the other trees, it's own shadow strengthened by the massive light the bloomed somewhere above. The cat sauntered forward, lazily extending it's claws against the tree and arcing it's back in a stretch, claws raking against the bar and carving into the surface. There was something about it's movement as well as the way it looked back at her over a shoulder, all but asking her to come and do the same...

[Private to Paracelsus: The response should end with signing the trunk, whether by blood (marking or actual signature) or any other means available to her.]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 16 posts
Tue 29 Nov 2016
at 23:02
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
At first, Anne kept up a one-sided conversation with the cat, complaining light-heartedly about how easy it seemed to climb. After a few minutes, though, as the hill became steeper, the conversation became internal so she could save her breath for climbing.

Step by step, handhold by handhold, Anne made her way up the increasingly difficult hill. Her perception narrowed down to one hand-hold, then finding a place for one foot, then the next, then reaching up for the next hand-hold. She lost her shoes somewhere along the way, but that actually made climbing a little easier.

A tiny voice questioned the rationality of climbing this muddy hill, but it was viciously squashed by the louder voice that spoke up when she wanted something that was difficult to get. She wanted to get to the top of this hill and damn it, she was going to do it.

At the top, Anne leaned against the big old tree to rest for a moment as the cat scratched it. She studied the cat's marking, then reached out with her index finger to scratch at the tree herself. The tough old bark barely showed a mark- that wouldn't do at all. Anne found a stone and started to dig into the bark. Her initials would do, she thought, but her whole name would be better. Words were her thing. And words mattered.

Her hand slipped occasionally from the rain and mud, and Anne scraped up her hands, adding drops of blood to her work. Eventually, she finished and studied her name with a sense of satisfaction.
Storyteller
 GM, 58 posts
Thu 1 Dec 2016
at 00:05
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
The bark was soft, almost as soft as clay from the heavy rain that had soaked the wood. As she began to carve her name on it, she saw the worn initials and names of others who had done the same; like adding to a mosaic that she was always supposed to do, and everything she had ever done had led to this moment. The intricacies of her name became flourished, becoming part of the wood's own grain as they weathered quickly, the tree welcoming it's markings home.

Something seemed strange as she finished carving; it was almost as if they were out of sync with each other, as her name was finished before she had completed it. Her body wouldn't let her let go of the motions, however, tracing the final letters into the thick tree before finishing.

Anne looked towards the black cat, which blinked slowly at her before giving her an inquisitive mew, head cocking to the side. A flash of lightning belted through the sky, showering her with a light that seemed to blind, but it didn't resolve as quickly as it appeared; instead, the moment seemed to stretch forever, the tenth of a second of white light burning as long as a light bulb. She could see the light catch on drops of water in the air as well as the path that they would travel to the ground, or the slow contraction of the cat's pupils. Time came almost to a stop, drawn out on strings and vibrating towards where it belonged.

The peal of thunder finally ripped through the air, bringing the present crashing back like a blow to the head. Anne lost her footing, twisting and tumbling down a muddy hill nowhere near as tall as the one she climbed moments ago. The rain continued to pour down in it's erratic pattern, splashing around her and the earth in a dull rhythm...

[Private to Paracelsus: Welcome to the world of the Awakening. Give us one more post to end the thread; think of it like the end of the first episode of a television show. You can advance time from as short as a few seconds to a few days if you need, but don't feel the need to have to cover a lot. Just do what seems most fitting.]
Paracelsus
 Acanthus, 17 posts
Thu 1 Dec 2016
at 02:15
[1.4] - (Paracelsus) - Go Your Own Way
Anne pulled herself to her feet, now thoroughly wet and muddy. Looking back up the hill, she was certain that if she climbed it again, she wouldn't find the big old tree.

If only she still had her shoes. She had no idea how long a walk it would be to get home- miles perhaps. Anne's thoughts were distracted by a confident meow from the black cat. It was sitting next to her shoes just a few yards away, looking pleased with itself. That was a lucky break.

She pulled on her shoes and asked the cat, "Do you want to come with me?"  It purred and rubbed against Anne's leg, even allowing a quick pat on the back.

Anne looked around to get her bearings and even though she didn't recognize anything, she had the feeling that getting from where she was to home meant walking toward the moon.

Pulling her thin suit jacket tight around her, Anne started walking. She hadn't gone more than a few steps when the cat began to yowl. It looked pathetic in the rain with its fur matted and waterlogged. Except that Anne could have sworn the cat had somehow remained dry up to now.

Anne crouched down next to it, "Poor boy. I told you I can't fix the weather."

The cat put a paw on Anne's knee, yowled again, then tried to climb up her arm. Anne scooped the cat up and held it against her chest, under her jacket. The cat quickly settled down, seemingly content to be carried.

"Ok now? Let's go home."