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People change for two main reasons


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Gideon Abernathy

His face is expressionless as he watches her attempt to cope with the sight in front of her. The part of him that is notably more human wants to reach out to her, to soothe her and tell her he’d take care of everything. But, for the first time in their entire relationship, he forces that side of him down. This is a lesson she must learn.

Once she’s finally ready, he offers a nod and they set off. There’s no talking on their way to the makeshift grave, and they only stop so Gideon can readjust the weight of the corpse he’s dragging. A sense of foreboding looms over the pair, indicative of the struggle that is surely to come. Not only is Quinn going to have to heal from this - if she can - but Gideon will have to come to terms with the undeniably unsatisfactory way in which Jack was erased from the world. He wanted that, more than anything. He owed it, not only to himself, but his mother. In his eyes, that man should have suffered the same fate that Emely was met with, if not much, much worse.

He’s pulled from his thoughts by Quinn’s shaky voice: You...knew…? A somewhat withering look is cast her way, telling of his true nature as well. Before he responds, he rolls the body unceremoniously into the grave, where it thuds face down.

“I told you, this wasn’t your score to settle.”

It takes him mere seconds to find the spade in the darkness, but rather than begin shovelling the dirt in himself, he holds it out to Quinn. “Go until you can’t lift your arms anymore. If you’re not done when that time comes, I’ll finish.” Perhaps it’s harsh, the lack of inflection in his voice.

He settles himself on the ground a few feet from the grave, allowing her space to work. It’s a while before he finally speaks, as the day was replaying in his head, but when he does, his tone is level and calculated. “So what information did you glean from this evening, if I may ask?” It’s a loaded question, and the tension in the air could be cut with a knife.
November 11, 2017 08:37 am

Quinn Abernathy

The look on his face says it all, and Quinn knows in an instant that what she has done, was his intention from the start. She had taken this from him, and this lesson is as much for her as it is for his satisfaction. If she were a saner person, she might resent Gideon for doing this, for there is no way he would be reacting this way if it were someone he cared not for.

Then again, it would never happen with any other person. This had been deeply personal for Quinn, and there is little else that could drive her to these great lengths. This man had wronged her husband in a way that is unfathomable. While anything done differently would have very well cost her a life him, she would do anything to erase the pains of his past.

Jack had been that chance, and Jack had failed.

She takes the shovel without thinking, disappearing within herself as she begins to move the dirt into the crude grave. It's a place she had gone when they were up on that stage, something of her own to keep herself safe when the real world has become too much. It isn't until he speaks that she is broken from her personal bindings within her mind, causing the ache in her arms to resonate painfully.

She still doesn't stop.

"It was enough," she says, the physical strain echoing through her voice. Quickly, she comes to the realization that she must stop, and she finds herself leaning into the shovel for support as she makes her confession.

"He was going to meet you and your mother the next day, after your escape. He said she made him promise not to interfere if she was caught, and that after she was, he couldn't kill your father and he couldn't do anything for Emely because it would have endangered you and Ann. Said he was doing what he thought was best, and laid such a claim on you..." She takes a breath, deep and trembling, as the man's voice echoes through her mind. "He said John would have killed you both if he found out."

She grits her teeth, grinding them momentarily before finally allowing that chocolate gaze to meet his. "He did nothing." Jack had had all the strength to do the right thing, and he didn't. He sat back and watched as the child he truly believed to be his son was beaten and twisted, and took no responsibility for his inaction. It is crystal clear in her mind that he cared more for his own life than the children he fathered.

Standing up once more, she lifts the shovel despite the protest of her muscles, and moves on smaller load of dirt into the partially filled grave. "I'm sorry this wasn't yours, Giddy. But I'm not sorry I did it."
November 11, 2017 09:11 am

Gideon Abernathy

One would expect the telling of her tale to cause some kind of emotion to spring forth, but for Gideon, it doesn’t. It didn’t matter if Jack was he and Ann’s real father; it didn’t matter that he did nothing to stop John from his abuse; it didn’t even matter that he clearly had no love for the children that he fathered. What mattered to Gideon, and what plagued him from the moment he’d learned of the atrocity, was that he’d sat back and done nothing when someone he did claim to love was ruthlessly murdered.

And there’s more than one reason for that.

The first being that he couldn’t imagine anyone hurting Quinn while he was made to sit back and (not) watch. He would’ve done anything - anything - to get to her, to make it stop. Death is not a fear for Gideon, though, nor the prospect of the Hell that surely awaited him.

The second is his own guilt. Only he’d done one better. Not only had he claimed to love someone, he then proceeded to kill her in that same manner. Luckily, he was young and lacked the skill, so it was as quick as it could be. Even though he recognizes that he was all but brainwashed, he still wrestles with that guilt from time to time, and it’s why he struggles so overtly to take the cult over completely.

“Well, I’m glad you feel better.” The jab is punctuated by taking the spade from her grasp. Jerking his head back toward the house, he still won’t look at her. “Go clean up. I’ll finish this.” Gideon knows that Quinn is hurting over doing something that was so foreign to her nature, but he just wants to be alone. Her betrayal in taking something that was so important to his own healing process - if it could be called that - is grating on him with her close proximity. He needs time with his thoughts to work through it.

Without checking to see if she has ceded to his desire, he begins shoveling the dirt into the pit, the manual labor at least keeping him focused so he can’t sink too far into his darkness.
November 11, 2017 09:54 am

Quinn Abernathy

She stays, watching him for several moments, before turning to start the walk back to the house. There is a coldness growing between them over this that Quinn cannot begin to understand, but she knows that it will take time to heal from it. Time, or a serious argument that she does not want to have.

This place is toxic, and she knows it. They had been happy when they were back in their little home at the plantation. Just them, doing whatever they pleased, at any given time. Ever since they came here, there has been a stress upon them and their relationship that is barely made less by their small, short moments of bliss. Neither of them are happy here.

By the time she has reached the house, her muscles feel as though they have turned to stone. Part of her wants to leave the mess behind, just to make a point. She misses her Giddy, and yet, what Giddy is that? She'd told him that he would always be just that... but that was before she knew what this all meant.

It was before she knew the cult personally, before she met his father, before she came to love him so deeply that she would kill for him. But none of this makes it any less true.

He will always be her Giddy.

Because of this alone, she scrubs the floor until her hands are raw from the constant friction of the towel upon her palms and skin irritated from constant contact with water and soap. She does not stop until the remnants are gone, and even then she goes further. She clears the table, disposes of the food, and washes the dishes. Quinn effectively erases the evening as best she can, until she finds herself sinking into the couch.

Quinn isn't punishing herself. Not anymore.
November 11, 2017 11:32 am

Gideon Abernathy

The sound of the shovel scooping up dirt is becoming mechanical, and he hardly notices the ache in his arms. It’s dull, the muscles having gotten used to the strain long ago, but it still wouldn’t stop them from protesting. The task dwells on well into the night until the last shovelful is dropped.

Sinking to the ground for some well-deserved rest, he fishes in his pocket for the pack of cigarettes he is almost sure he never told Quinn about. Mentally praying to some sort of god, he goes to the other pocket in hopes that his lighter is there. With a breath of relief, he finds it and is able to further calm himself from the evening’s trials.

A sense of calm has taken over his mind for the first time that day, and he breathes a soft sigh as he exhales the smoke. Setting Quinn to a separate task had been beneficial, as it gave him the time to clear the fog from his mind. Thinking clearly once more, he is able to recognize that her love for him drove her to do something that was completely against her nature. And really, how could he be angry with her for killing someone he’d laid an imaginary claim to?

But the anger is replaced now with worry. They’ve been married such a short time, and already she’s gone against everything she believes in. Quinn used to be able to see the good in everyone, including himself. Had he really driven her to be unable to see it anymore? Or is it simply this place?

Another sigh escapes him, low and deep, and he flicks the end of the cigarette away. Rising from the ground, he grabs the spade and slings it over his shoulder as he walks back to the house.

He’s unsure how long it took him to finish the task, but when he returns, he finds the kitchen spotless and Quinn collapsed into the couch. Though her head is leaned back and her eyes shut, Gideon sees that she isn’t sleeping, if only by the fidgeting of her fingers as he sinks into the couch beside her. With no small amount of hesitation, he finally encases her hand in his own and brings it up to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of it.

“Do you remember when this was easy? Do you remember when you kissed me for the first time, and I handled it...less than well.” He smiles at the memory, an admittedly sad expression. But as quick as the smile comes, it just as quickly melts into a frown. “I hate it here, Quinn. It brings out...the absolute worst in me. And I know it’s taking its toll on you.”

He pauses, unsure of where he’d planned on going with this conversation. His free hand moves to run through his unkempt hair. “It was a mistake, coming back here.”
November 11, 2017 01:17 pm

Quinn Abernathy

"I know you do..." she murmurs in response to him, squeezing his hand in response.

Quinn allows her eyes to slip open, her gaze settling onto the ceiling. She had been thinking these things earlier in the evening. How terrible this is for them, how unhealthy their relationship has become. Her definition of unhealthy is skewed, as well. It isn't about what she could be driven to do, but instead the strain upon them.

He hates it here, and she does to. She hates pieces of it. She hates what it does to them, and the way people are treated. She hates his father, and the scary control he has over everything that happens here. She hates that people willingly die for an idea. But she loves the people, and how they can pull together. She loves how simple they are, and how they have all these unrealized opportunities before them.

Despite the groan of protest that escapes her, she forces herself to shift, tucking herself into his side. There is, and always has been, a great comfort that she has found in Gideon. "It's my fault. I thought it'd be safer."

Sucking in a breath, she holds it before finally letting it go. There is no great wisdom for her to pass on, and she no longer sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Her only light, now, is Gideon. "It's my fault John's gone, too... there isn't anyone to take care of these people..."

How do you rise above something like this? Above a cult?

"I don't know what to do, baby... but I miss us. I miss then, too."
November 11, 2017 02:38 pm

Gideon Abernathy

“It’s not your fault.” The words sound like a broken record, but it makes them no less true. It still amazes him that she can blame herself for any of this. The cult is a manifestation of the past that he can’t get away from, try as he might. As much as he hates to admit it to himself, he’s beginning to wonder if there ever was a point in his leaving all those years ago. He’d fooled himself into believing that he didn’t belong there, but everything kept bringing him back.

...there isn’t anyone to take care of these people…

At this, he can’t help but snort. The irony isn’t lost on him; a serial killer, put in charge of helping people adapt to the real world. Even then, it’s a task they took on themselves, no one asked for their help.

“We can still leave.” The sentence hangs in the air, a heavy weight to it. If they were to abandon ship, now would be the best time. John is nowhere to be found, and it would give them the head start they needed. They could get far enough away that it would merely take moving every few months to stay a few steps ahead. And that’s if they’re still being chased by the cult; John may have learned his lesson, and decide to leave well-enough alone.

Then their only problem would be Tiber. If he isn’t dead, he can’t help but think. It’d been awhile since the werewolf had even made himself known. For all they know, he met a grisly fate and is no longer a threat. But even if that’s not the case, Gideon almost welcomes the fight. He’s holding enough anger inside toward the damnable people that would take their peace away that there’s no room for fear. He’d meet a werewolf head-on if it meant they could live the rest of their lives quietly.

But Quinn is too good, and he knows that. While it’s frustrating in a case like this, it’s why he loves her. That goodness will prevent her from leaving this people behind. Even if he could convince her to do it, it would plague her. No matter how much sh-t the cult has put them through, she won’t give up on them.

So, they’ll surely stay, even if it kills them. But he’ll still plant that seed of possibility, just in case.

“Otherwise,” he continues, as if there wasn’t a long pause in between his words, “we just have to wait it out. John will come back eventually, no doubt. And who knows, maybe he’ll want me dead now that I’m not his son anymore.” Again, wishful thinking.
November 13, 2017 02:34 pm

Quinn Abernathy

They would never agree. This might be Gideon's origin, but they would not be here if not for her insistence that this would be safer than being out there, alone. Tiber could, and would, hunt them. No. Not them. Her. He knows where she is, and she is sure that the only thing saving her from Tiberius is being surrounded by people, and whatever precautions were put in place before the last of his sanity went.

If they really got down to it, her greed in asking him to remain before they were taken was what set all of these events into motion.

There is, however, no sense in arguing over it.

He offers to leave, and the silence between them grows heavy. Quinn would love to disappear, and live her life with him, but everything brings her back to the people that now are in their lives. They are so fragile... and so in need. What would they do under John's continued rule? Life in fear, and distrust, and give themselves blindly to death if only to sacrifice themselves to a false God, or as the safest means of escape.

How could they ever? How could she?
She would never be able to live with herself.

'And who knows, maybe he'll want me dead now that I'm not his son anymore.'

Turning her head, she looks at him, brows pulling together in distress. He's taken her to a dark place that she has never wanted to visit, a world without him, and it is too much. Several long moments are taken to process his words.

They stay, they die.
They leave, they die.
They wait, they die.

Her eyes begin to feel that familiar sting, and she bows her head to stare down into her lap. There is no helping it. Quinn cannot think of a single way to go on with their lives in which life is, actually, the answer and solution. But this scares her, and Jack's words echo through her mind.

"So you agree with Jack..."

The thought of a dead man holding all the answers is possibly worse than anything else. Heart picking up it's pace, Quinn swallows and leans forward, gripping firmly to his hand. "Death isn't an option, Gideon. I want to grow old with you. Understand? That's my goal. So... what do we do that gets us there?"
November 13, 2017 05:34 pm

Gideon Abernathy

A hand reaches up to rub at his face in an attempt to stem the flow of thoughts from clouding his judgment. Exhaustion is evident on every feature, and it’s mirrored in Quinn’s teary gaze. Though she tries to hide it from him, he knows her too well. She would always try to hide what she considers her weakness.

A small smile dons his lips at her statement. “He showed me leniency for my defiance because I was his son. If--” He stops; it’s not a matter of if. His mother knew they weren’t John’s. “When he finds out, as I’m sure he will, I don’t have that protection anymore. That privilege turns into my death sentence.”

And yours, too.

But he can’t bring himself to say it out loud. Instead, the silence screams that truth for both of them.

How do they get there? How do they get out of these sh-tty situations alive? He doesn’t have answers, and he doesn’t know that he ever will. In any possible direction, they are two steps away from chaos, and it seems that whatever decision they make puts them into another mess entirely. He wants to offer the solution she seeks, but he has no way of seeing the future.

“I don’t know,” he finally concedes, a flash of anger crossing his features. She deserves a house far away from all this, where they could be happy and free, and he can’t give it to her.

Not yet.

“We’ll get out of this. All of it. I promise.” In one way or another.
November 15, 2017 06:58 pm
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