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[SL] Normality is Death



 
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Lila Parikh

I am not the enemy.

I want to yell the words as I watch the strange woman go running. We'd merely run into one another, and the moment my hand landed upon her arm in apology, she'd begun to scream horrible, despicable things.

Everyone had seen the bodies, stacked upon one another like a morbid game of Jenga waiting to be inspected. Those who put them there knew there would not be many who would get close. Fewer still might step up to read the names carved into their flesh... but I did.

Strangers, all of them.

Most are.

Still, it sends a chill down my spine. The mind is a terrible thing, telling it's stories and making you believe them. Mine tells me these people are already dead, and I can only pray that they will not cross my path. It was then that I'd decided to move on, finding my way out of the alley with just a little help from my friends.

They never last very long. Weeks, if I'm lucky - but they're mine, and I appreciate them all for all their quirks. Each one is different. Kind, sarcastic, sneaky, cold. Their personality sets the tone for how they make me feel in their presence.

Right now, I feel on edge - but they cannot hurt me, and that brings comfort.

"Up ahead," he sounds bored. I can't see him, but I know he is somewhere close behind me. "Leather jacket. Wild hair. Neck tattoo."

It's a game we play now. They see them, and I avoid them. This time, my sights flickering to the Shadow in question, I stop at the corner before crossing the street with a quickened step. These things are abnormal. Not dead, but barely alive. There is no light within them, and without light, there is an absence of soul.

Soul is something my friends are so very accustomed to recognizing.

"To the left. Red hair. Curls. Beard."

I step to the right, carefully stepping around an innocent homeless woman as she camps upon the wide city sidewalk. "Honestly," the words escape me in a muttered flurry, "sometimes I wonder if you just hate men."

A huff of annoyance sounds off just behind my ear as my steps come to an abrupt stop, and it is impossible to stop myself from smiling. To hide it, I bow my head.

"I don't need to be here, you know." His voice is gruff, and instinctively, I look over my shoulder. He's not there, and he wouldn't be. Not unless he wants to. His face is one that has never been visible, though is presence is consistent. This usually happens before they leave to step into their next roll.

He has been around much longer than your average visitor, and no one else seems to want to be around when he is.

"But you are," I counter, smirking into nothingness before I am propelled forward by the throng of pedestrians that had been waiting to cross with me.

"Green door." He instructs, and I comply. It is difficult to push, heavy as if there might be an opposing force trying to keep me out. He says to push harder, and I do, stumbling in if only to find myself in the last place anyone would want to be.

He is laughing.
September 25, 2019 10:37 pm

Nicolas Marceau

The last few days, with all the craziness that had been happening in New York, Nic didn’t like to leave to go to the city. Of course, finding one’s wife with a dagger wound in her chest also made it hard for one to want to leave her. Throw on top of that the fact that he was spiritually and physically bound with that wife?

Yeah.

He didn’t get out much.

Sometimes, though, you get calls from people that you just can’t turn down.

Making his way through the city had been interesting. He had been used to the dead, to death. He’d been seeing dead people for as long as he could remember until he’d had it beaten out of him as a child. You can learn to suppress a lot of things when someone is beating the crap out of you, but the memories had started coming back to him more and more since his incident with Justine.

Oh, poor Justine. Rest in peace. That was a peace that was five years in the making. It was also a mess five years in the making, and he’d done that all on his own. But I digress.

Nic had, in the time between his childhood and Justine, learned to block them out. When they saw you...when they knew you could see them...it became messy. The dead didn’t normally like being locked in that constant state of nothingness, not alive but not able to move on. They would latch onto you like leeches the moment they knew you might be able to help him.

The thing was? Nic wasn’t exactly a charitable person most of the time. There was no money in helping the dead. There was only money in manipulating them.

There was also money, it seemed, in selling off the parts he no longer needed. Which is how, today, he found himself in the small family run Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side. It was unassuming, the kind of place that only people that knew about it would go. Simple fare that was cheap and tasty. The inside was somewhat dim, the shades that covered hanging light bulbs over each table were red and gold so they didn’t let much light out this time of day. Most of it came from the front windows.

And the green door.

Dress shoes clicked on the staircase just inside the entrance to the kitchen, a little swinging door coming precariously close to knocking his teeth in when he came up through the hole in the floor the stairs went down into. He somehow managed to dodge it, pulling his head back and straightening his suit jacket.

The man didn’t know how to do casual. He probably didn’t even own a pair of jeans. Or sneakers. Even though he had done his fair share of trouncing around in the sewers lately, he still couldn’t bring himself to lower his standards.

A dark blue suit, cut to his tall frame. A crisp, white, shirt. Black dress shoes. A watch that cost more than some people’s cars. There was a reason he was here, and a reason that he had to keep up this kind of work. He liked nice things. There was currently an envelope filled with cash in his inner jacket pocket.

You see, some of those ‘traditional’ chinese medicines require interesting ingredients. They weren’t things you could just go pick up at the market and grind up in a mortar. Some required a little more...outside of the box thinking. And acquiring. Currently there was an elderly Chinese woman downstairs with a cooler full of testicles, livers, and gallbladders. It was a messy job, but someone had to do it. At least they had already been dead before he got his hands on them. They hadn’t all stayed that way, but they all ended up deceased again before he’d removed the parts.

Two purposes served. His own fascination over the dominion of the dead. A pocket full of cash. There really wasn’t a better set up.

He, himself, pushed through that swinging door and out into the small dining room that was littered with a handful of people happily eating hearty, warmth inducing, comfort food of the Asian persuasion.

Keeping to himself, he reached for the front door. The green door. Just before it pushed into him and sent him reeling back a few steps. Tumbling, nearly literally, through the other side is the dark haired woman.

And the ghostly laugh that lingers behind her.

Mother. F*cking. Spirits.

The surprise of the moment had him locking his green eyes on the form behind her, but it isn’t the same as what he’s used to. It’s more a feeling of energy rather than a corporeal form. That power, that thing inside of him that granted him dominion over the dead, flared up. Searching. Spreading its blanket over the area and trying to figure out just what it was.

He didn’t like being surprised. He didn’t like not being in control of the situation. This was something very much outside of his comfort level, and he couldn’t stop reacting to it so quickly.
September 26, 2019 02:49 pm

Lila Parikh

It takes a moment to find my feet, three steps inside the establishment now. Heat is creeping into my cheeks, and it is clear that they are likely near red at this point. It isn't that I tripped, or even that I nearly took out an innocent bystander.

It's the laughter.

Hands shaking, I smooth my shirt, desperate to regain composure before clasping my hands together before myself and giving an apologetic look to the man who fell victim to my friend's antics.

Now, to apologize.

"Look at him," the smile is evident in his voice. I imagine it as a twisted sort of thing, not inherently bad but certainly not innocent. He is, after all, charming. Clearing my throat, I glance around the room before finally refocusing.

"I am so sorry." It feels like a good start. But there is a chuckling, punctuated by a cool breeze that brushes my arm. He's moving, stepping past me to get a closer look at this poor stranger.

"His Shadow definitely wore this better." I press my lips together, unable to keep from glancing over the suit the man wears. "Definitely got the hair right, though."

It's impossible not to look at what is called to attention.

"The door got stuck, I guess I got a little too.."

"Bunny ears."

Well, sh-t. Unable to prevent it, a laugh escapes me in the form of a breath. I may not be able to see it, but it doesn't make it all any less funny. This happens, from time to time.

"Can I make it up to you with some crab rangoon?" This has to stop, but it isn't any time soon. That cool breeze is beside me once more, and in my mind, he is leaned back as he postures, sizing up this poor man across from me.

"I don't like him. He's far too serious."

Judgment is declared, and I sigh before I can even catch myself. Still, this particular presence is contagious, and due to that - I am smiling like a fool. It will be a sad day when he moves on, and I wonder just who might come next.

"Come on. Downstairs." Ever on the move, always a party. But he is moving, and giving his instructions as he goes. "Make sure to let him know his fly is down."

Clearing my throat, I lower my voice.

"It.. um.." Incapable of finding the appropriate words, I wave my hand in a silent declaration of his supposed current issue. "Excuse me."
September 26, 2019 06:27 pm

Nicolas Marceau

It was a strange situation to be in altogether. To sit and hear a one sided, mostly, conversation when it was about yourself. It was even stranger when one had to pretend not to notice it. It did, as it so happens, also make it hard to pay attention to what was being said in front of you.

He put on an easy smile as she apologized. “No, believe me. I take up a lot of space. I’m used to getting hit with doors.” That was Nic, all easy smiles and and smooth words up until the point he wasn’t easy smiles and smooth words, but few people got to see him that way.

His shadow wore it better.

Okay, now that one was just below the belt. And it was an expensive belt at that. His shoulders stiffened slightly and he shut his eyes to take in a breath. Nope, not going to let it get to him.

Nic knew of the shades. He knew that they had infiltrated the cities and taken faces of real people. Most of the time he had been in Scotland, hiding away from the insanity, until he was pulled back just in time to join in on the fun.

One had taken his face. Swell. At least with this knowledge, he wouldn’t be surprised if he got slapped in the face by a strange some day.

Something about Crab Rangoon. Right. “I’m more of a dumpling guy, myself. I might be talked into a few dozen or so. Not to make it up to me, because you really don’t have anything to make up.”

The longer he was around this nuisance, I mean presence, the more he was able to put some sort of familiarity to it. It wasn’t like other spirits of humans or even vampires. It was definitely dead, hence why he could hear it. Something...something...the back of his brain firing synapses to try to figure it out.

Not yet. It would come to him, but not quite yet.

Mister jokester back there, giving him bunny ears. Picking fun at him. Causing general chaos and mischief.

There was a moment when it clicked, and Nic closed his eyes and took in a breath, gaining his composure. This is what he got. This is what he got for tempting the fates and the Fae and making them angry. He should have known better to take that deal, he should have known better than to try to f*ck with them for the sake of his wife.

Because, now they were f*cking with him. Again. They had to be, because the Fae spirit that was haunting this young lady couldn’t be coincidence. Was there something about him? Or was it just because he’d pissed off the wrong people.

Naaah, that couldn’t be. Not at all. Or that was precisely it.

It wasn’t until he heard the spirit trying to call her to go downstairs that he was snapped back to reality and to the odd semi-conversation he was having with the dark haired woman.

“No, no. Let’s sit. In fact, it’s payday. My treat. I’m Nic, by the way.”

All the while he tried very, very, nonchalantly to check to see if, in fact, his zipper was in the down position. He adjusted as necessary. F*cking ghosts anyways.

Smooth, Nic. Real smooth.
September 26, 2019 11:18 pm

Lila Parikh

"No?"

His question hangs in the air as the stranger, Nic, distracts. There is a suspicious tone to his voice, as if trying to decide what to do. In an instant, he is by my side once more. This time, he is close to my ear, whispering. "The man is leaving. Why does he want another meal? What's in this for him?"

More questions. I clear my throat, gaze lifting upward to the heavens in a silent prayer for patience before returning to Nic once more. This friend of mine is particularly funny, in every sense of the word. As if to make my point, I take a step forward, carefully shifting just an inch to the side as I do.

It's the only way I can communicate my inner frustrations.

"Nic." a hand extended, it is peace and friendship that is my mission.

"Oh. I see how it is," There is an amused annoyance in his voice as he makes invisible strides past me and closes in on Nic. Though he isn't seen, a decision of his own making, it is clear by tone alone that he is likely nose to nose with this new acquaintance.

"Mr. Steal Ya Girl, huh?"

"Lila."

I can do this, I tell myself. I can keep a straight face. I can absolutely handle this interaction, and not die on the spot. Never mind that there is nothing to steal, or that this man is certainly not attempting to charm me in any way. It is simply adorable, the level of jealousy that is being portrayed.

Still, he had a good point...

"The offer is very kind, Nic. But you clearly just ate, and I'd hate to keep you."

"Don't trust him, Lila. This guy looks like he'd wear your skin."

"You do look like a very busy man," my own commentary on his impressive wardrobe. Crisp, clean, and so very different from my own relaxed state.

"Busy sending lotion into pits.."

"Perhaps another time, should we meet again?"

"Yes. Very good. Now, lets go. I heard there's a great falafel place on the lower level."

I have no idea that he's lying, of course. The dead tend to be far more reliable than the living though, and that is why I depend upon them so very much. They're my eyes, guide, and wisdom. Real, true friends.

"Honestly, men think they can have anything they want nowadays. Don't even know how to beguile a woman."

He's on the move, and so, I must be too.

"Another time," I whisper apologetically, moving to follow the sound of the voice.

"Later, Mr. Bateman."
September 27, 2019 07:49 pm

Nicolas Marceau

Nic normally didn’t have a trouble concentrating as much as he was right now. Even when conversations involved ghosts that he was trying to ignore. This wouldn’t be the first time he’d tried to tune out a spirit when just trying to go about his damned day.

It’s really hard to ignore someone that keeps making little barbs. Nic might have his faults, but he wasn’t a f*cking psycho.

Not that anyone knew of.

Maybe Katherine. She understood it though.

“I wasn’t eating. I was just meeting with the owner. Besides, wasn’t it just you that offered to buy me crab rangoon?” Oh. Logic-ed.

The fact that the ghost was trying to insinuate that Nic was somehow coming on to this girl was laughable. Maybe a month ago it wouldn’t have been so, but Nic wasn’t even trying to be charming. Well. Not as charming as he could be.

Normally he wouldn’t get caught up in this whole situation. She’d said no, though, and he had half a mind to just let her go on her way. Sure, go downstairs. Walk in on an illegal black market operation. See where that gets you.

Then maybe the spirit ass would get a spirit friend.

Hell, maybe that’s exactly what it wanted.

“Yes. If I ever nearly get my nose broken by you in another restaurant, we’ll have to sit and have some noodles. Maybe falafel. It all depends on location, right? Maybe some nice Chianti and fava beans.” There. He could make his own little comments, make it known to at least one of the two that he’d heard them. Heard him.

Patrick F*cking Batemen. Yeah, NIC was the psycho here.

Have fun getting killed by the Chinese underground for seeing too much, lady.

He had his hand on the door. He just had to walk out it. He could hear her walking across the restaurant. Hand on the door. Fingers tapping the frame.

F*ck. He might be a b@stard, but he wasn’t a complete b@stard.

They were kindred spirits after all. No pun intended. He didn’t often meet people like him, that could converse with the dead. It just so happens he could do a lot more with them than just talk.

“Look, Lila? Right? I would not go downstairs, Cherie. Call it a hunch.”

There. Clean conscious, what he had of one. Sure, he had no problem keeping his ex wife as a rotting corpse for five years. Save a stranger from uncertain death? That was a whole other level. Obviously he was some kind of goddamn hero.
September 28, 2019 12:59 pm

Lila Parikh

He is talking, the man. He's addressing far too many things that were private, and thus, forgiven. It's what I do. I forgive my friends. Everyone, even the dead, are perfectly capable of saying things they don't mean. And now I know that he can hear him, too.

Sighing, I pinch the bridge of my nose as I walk before dipping my head back momentarily. This is all so very frustrating.

"Forget him, L-"

Call it a hunch.

And now, I am faced with a hard decision. Trust what I know, or trust a stranger. His words are a clear warning, and as my sights move to an old woman behind a counter, it is clear she has stiffened.

"He doesn't know what he's talking about."

It wouldn't be the first time they tried to get me to serve a purpose. That isn't my game. I am company in a lonely world, and nothing more. So I whisper into the nothingness. "What's downstairs, Dante?"

"I told you. Falafel."

Bowing my head, I would allow it to tilt left just slightly as the decision process begins. A glance over my shoulder at the man waiting at the door sends me into a fit of worry. He and I, we are the same. Kindred.

The kitchen door swings open, and for just a moment, I hear the whispers. Tormented, upset, angry. They claim my attention entirely, my own senses far too sensitive to push them away. It's not the first time this has happened. Sometimes, a place is so full of spirit that they overwhelm all.

"Lila."

Attention snapping upward, my eyes lock onto a form for the first time. He's tall, hair dark with eyes to match. A strong presence, for sure. And handsome. Very, very handsome. I recognize this for what it is immediately. "No."

Without a thought, I am turning on my heel, approaching Nic with all intents set upon leaving him here. This is a betrayal, and not something I had ever considered him capable of. Sweet, funny Dante.

"They have my eyes, Lila."

My eyes lock onto Nic, willfully ignoring the bold spirit that I have turned my back on. "I've lost my appetite," I say as I get close, prepared to walk out the door with or without him.

A plate hits the wall, flying off a customer's table by what they can only perceive as an invisible force. It does precisely what he wanted it to. He has my attention, and now I'm yelling at, to all those not blessed with a gift, nothing. "You knew the rules!"

The thing about spirits is that they don't detach when they are told. You can't just walk away and wash your hands of them. They call the shots, and I will not be able to shake Dante until it is time for him to move on to the next life.

"Can we please go?" I ask Nic, as if he has any say at all. As if he is at all responsible for any of this... but my heart is in my throat, Dante is crossing the room, and that kitchen door swung open again...

It is overcoming my better judgments.
September 28, 2019 01:45 pm

Nicolas Marceau

The more corporeal the form became to Lila, the same seemed to happen to Nic. He could start to see this man that had been tormenting him, teasing him, and trying to goad her into doing things that would certainly get her hurt or killed.

Then it would be her spirit here, haunting the dim sum. Nobody liked ghosts in their dim sum. They were much too salty.

Tall. Dark. Handsome. Of course he was. They always were so pretty, the Fae. He should know, he married one. It was a lot easier to meddle when the face was nice to look at. Nic could feel his irritation rising as the form started to toss plates and cups aside, making a mess and confusing the hell out of the patrons that were watching their food go flying across the room.

His irritation came not only with the mischief being caused, but just the sheer fact that this dude was a Faery. It seemed like no matter where he turned in his life, there they were. Stepping in. Making deals. Garnering favors.

Letting his wife get dragged down to hell.

You know, the usual.

It was that last fact that would make Nic border on the edges of anger. He didn’t normally lose his temper unless he was pushed, but Gods knew he’d been pushed a lot lately. If they had just stepped in and gotten between Hades and Kat, none of this would have happened. He would be home right now, with his wife, instead of trying to take jobs and figure out the situation the best he knew how.

Which was not at all, but that was besides the point.

Of course this dude was going to go messing with people.

Nic was having none of it.

Because, f*ck that dude.

“Yeah. We’re going.” And somehow this little excursion just became a duo as he left the restaurant with a stranger. He could feel Dante coming through the door behind them more than he could see it, because he was focused on keeping up with Lila. There may have been a little curiosity at play.

Nic let his power slip from his tall frame and let it tingle on the air, rushing with the current to where Dante was starting to push the door open to follow them out.

He willed it...willed him...to stop. Just stop. Nic didn’t just have the power to see and talk to ghosts. Nah. He could command them. He could have pushed him to the otherside if he’d liked, but it would take a lot of energy and time. For now the ghost would just be frozen in place for as long as it took them. In fact, any other spirits residing (and from the business downstairs, that might be a few) would still and quiet for as long as they could feel that rushing source of power that suppressed the air. He was getting stronger

Stop.

Wait.

Get the f*ck over yourself.

That should do it for a bit.

He followed Lila down the sidewalk, slipping his hands in his pockets. His long strides made it easy to bridge the gap. Obviously they didn’t have the same sort of power, but damned if he didn’t want to know more about her ability to see what she could see. Not just see, but interact.

“So. How’d you meet your friend back there?”
September 28, 2019 07:07 pm

Lila Parikh

Confirmation is all that is needed, and we both make it out the door just in time to dodge a dish that is flying straight for the door. Ensuring that this man is going to keep up isn't really my problem, either. That isn't where my head is at. I'm upset, and angry, and there is a desperate need to get away from Dante if only for a few minutes lingering in my gut.

It is quiet, or at least relatively so, as I move briskly down the street. Dante isn't near, and he certainly isn't following.

Maybe this is it. Perhaps he's decided that this is the end of our time together.

That upsets me, too.

Nic's question makes me uncomfortable, and while I can feel my face doing things outside of my own control, at least I have the good sense not to look at him. It isn't his fault. And it isn't mine. Who would have guessed that my dear, constant friend would have done something like that?

Had he just been gaining my trust, until he could trick me into stepping into what could only be a dangerous situation? His plea is bouncing off the walls of my mind just considering it. They have his eyes, he'd told me. His eyes.

What did he want with them, anyway?

"He found me."

It is odd, talking to someone about this. Others don't usually know what it is that I am, or even what I am capable of. It isn't much, really, now that it's the topic of thought. Actually, maybe it is problematic. Maybe it is keeping me from living, and that is why this whole thing happened. A karmic wake-up call.

Enough.

A glance over my shoulder denotes a complete lack of the handsome ghost, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Sad, for sure. A bit empty. Relieved?

"We met at a yoga studio," because this is all very normal. "Turns out we are both horrible at it, and we just.." Yes, a wave of the hand will certainly do the trick in explaining away the rest. My heart is growing heavier by the second, and a different sort of heat is rising in my face, radiating to my extremities.

"Dante isn't a bad person. He just hasn't been called yet, and I think he's restless. He's very funny, really. And sweet. Keeps me safe." Remember the time he sang to you, my heart asks. All because you had a nightmare? No. This has to stop. Brain, stop it. Heart, that is enough. You are not going to derail me in the middle of the street.

"You heard everything?"

Please, please, please say no.
September 28, 2019 07:35 pm

Nicolas Marceau

There were some lessons in life that a person had to learn on their own. Lila, it seemed, was learning one right about now.

Don’t trust the dead.

Yeah, they seemed all innocent with their ‘oh, help me cross over’ and ‘I have unfinished business’ but in actuality, what they really had was their own agenda as she had just witnessed. It didn’t help, of course, that Dante wasn’t just a ghost. He was a damn Fae ghost.

He rubbed his hand over his beard, scratching at the chin beneath it as he thought. She didn’t know. She must not know. Not if she was talking about how funny and charming he was. Was he going to be the ass that burst the bubble for her?

Of course he was.

“Look, Lila. It might seem like he was protecting you, but there’s something you have to know about their kind. They only want what they want. That’s why you have to get reaaaaallly good at ignoring them. Once they know you can see them, all bets are off.”

A sigh. She seemed sweet. Maybe he was totally misreading her, and she wasn’t at all. Sweet girls in this world got chewed up and spat out. He’d seen it happen to many times. Okay, there was a good chance that he was the actually chewer and spitter in those situations, but it didn’t make it any less valid.

“Come on. How many ghosts do you know that do yoga? Why would they need yoga, Mon Chere?” His cajun thick accent dappled the words as he smiled down at her. Being over six feet tall, he had to smile down at a lot of people.

He was doing his best not to make her feel stupid. He was just trying to make her understand that maybe, perhaps, she might have been taken advantage of. It wasn’t his place, right? Just some stranger in a restaurant that just happens to see dead people too.

Maybe it was that shred of decency he had left. Maybe it was a welcome distraction from the things going on in his own life. He wanted to help.

And he wouldn’t even charge her.

”You heard everything?”

He grinned widely and shook his head.

“No, no. Of course not Chere. I didn’t hear a thing.”

He sidled up beside her and put his hand behind her head. And made a pair of bunny ears.

“There is no way the shade wore this better than me.”

He looked down at her with a little gleam of amusement in his eyes. Too serious. Nic? Never. “I have to admit, he was pretty funny. But...Lila...he’s not gone forever. Unless you want him to be gone forever. I just figured you needed a little breathing room.”
September 28, 2019 11:10 pm

Lila Parikh

It all happens so fast, and it starts at the very base of my spine. A chill runs up as he speaks about me friends, and it freezes each and every muscle in it's path until my shoulders feel like rocks. My arms move without my brain telling them to, crossing as if instinctively trying to protect myself.

"That might be your personal experience, but they are all I know." It is uncomfortable, speaking of my gifts, abilities, and preferences with another living person. He seems to have been around the block a few times, or to at least know himself well enough to know that he doesn't enjoy the company of the dead.

It is easy to gather he never lifted the veil by choice.

"I've met several, in loads of different places.."

I'm mumbling. Why am I mumbling? There isn't a need. He makes me feel like a child, walking next to a high school kid and learning that Santa Claus isn't real at all. But you don't want to believe it, so you just accept it without accepting it, and offer up some weird justification for his existence.

Or her.

Lady power.

It's when he is answering my question that the ice in my body melts into extreme heat, and it is all I can do to hide it from him... until I realize I can't, because my hair is tied atop my head and taking it down now to create a curtain of safety would only lead to further prodding.

Is he giving me bunny ears?

"I'm sorry." This is completely mortifying.

'But...Lila...he’s not gone forever.'

I miss him already, despite how angry I am with him. How will he find me? Will he know how to find his way? What if he's gone forever, and made the decision to move on? Why am I getting so emotional? The world is watery, blurry, and it is all over the thought of Dante disappearing.

"No. I don't. I don't want him gone." The words come tumbling, though I am trying so hard to make clear how important this is to me. How to explain this all to someone who clearly doesn't understand..

"Dante is good. He just.. it happens sometimes. They know the rules. I'm company, while they wait. Just friends. Nothing extra. But sometimes, they get restless, and.." Lies. All lies. They've never broken this singular rule, before. There has never been any of that.

"No one has ever stuck around for as long as he has, and it's just nice to have some consistency." This is only more upsetting. There's a lump in my throat, and really, all I want to do is turn around and go back to get him. "What was in the basement? He said something about his eyes.."

Try as I might, that lump won't be swallowed back down.

Honestly, Nic is just trying to help. Or is he, too, trying to manipulate? Why is everything so difficult, with the living? Who knows what other abilities he has. "I'm pretty sure the shade was wearing a bargain bin suit.." It is important to at least try to play his game, and gain favor. Totally doable. Except for the part where I left a piece of myself with a shatter plate of general tso's.

"You don't like them, do you?"
September 29, 2019 12:14 am

Nicolas Marceau

..(Mulligan) October 02, 2019 01:52 am

Nicolas Marceau

Any other day, any other moment, it might be safe to say that Nic was trying to manipulate you. Today, though, he had enough on his mind to keep it occupied. Also, it wasn’t like she had anything to offer him. That was the deal with manipulation, right? It was to get something.

All she had was a Fae ghost that followed her around and compared unsuspecting bystanders to American Psychos. Nah, he’d pass for sure on that one.

“If you want him, you can go back and get him. You can believe him, or not. You don't know me from anyone. I could be lying to you. I have absolutely no reason to help you other than to say you should NOT trust him." There, was that ambiguous enough?

“But no, I don’t like them. Strike that. I don’t trust them. They’ve been trying to get me to do things for them my whole life, and they will say anything you want to hear to get it done. Oh, boo hoo, my mom drowned me and I need to find closure. Honestly, I don’t have time for that. My plate is full enough as it is.”

Plate. Like, you know, plate of food. At the restaurant. Sh*t. Was he going to have to explain exactly what was going on downstairs in that place? She brought up the eyes, and that’s all he could think about. He rubbed a hand over his face, something normally saved for his wife when she was going out of her way to frustrate him.

Needless to say, it happened often.

She seemed...sweet. This place didn’t usually do well for sweet people who trusted the dead and actually chose to keep them around for company. He tried not to show his frustration, but he couldn't just come out and tell her why she shouldn't have gone downstairs. Not without having to explain why HE was downstairs.

He should just walk away. He should wipe his hands of the whole situation, but despite the fact that he had some predilections for darker things, he still had a conscience. Kind of. Sort of. Enough of one that he was at least going to make sure she was okay before he went home.

Eventually.

Married life was hard.

“Okay, Lila. Listen to me. Don’t worry about the eyes. Eventually, he will probably find you again, and you can ask him yourself. But until then, it would be a really bad idea to fixate on it. Besides, he was probably just trying to rope you into something that will get you hurt.”

He said that like he hadn’t tried to do the exact same thing a time or two in his life. Just not today.

It was also the only piece of advice he was going to give her about it. If she wanted to go traipsing back to moon over someone that was obviously dead, that was going to be her issue and not his.

Nic didn’t even know if he should or would bring up the fact that her friend was anything but human, and that was even before he died. How much did she actually know about the supernatural world? In his experience the ones like this, the ones that had that air of...what..naivete? They didn’t really know all the things that went bump in the night. Things like him, even if he seemed as human as the next guy.

The girl was lonely, obviously. The way she talked about Dante made him realize that. What was he supposed to do, though? Despite the fact that they shared some sort of ability, she was a stranger. Not his problem. He was an @sshole who only cared about himself and his own.

"If I were you, I would just keep walking and forget him."

He had an inkling that wasn't going to happen.

This girl was going to get eaten up and spit out by this world, and there wasn't a thing he would do about it.

Not that he couldn't, he just wouldn't. Right, he was quite the gentleman.
October 03, 2019 12:24 am

Lila Parikh

He is rational enough, with several fine points. Nic has no skin in the game, so what does he have to lose? We just met. We're strangers to one another. The only thing we have in common is our ability to hear and see the dead. From what I can gather, he has no purpose for his gift, and neither do I - but I accepted it, and made one.

But the conversation turns, and I can feel myself stalling to step as it happens. My feet are turning to led, and my temper is slowly boiling upward to the surface. One deep breath in, one slow breath out. It would do no good to start yelling at someone in the street.

'Oh, boo hooo, my mom drowned me and I need to find closure.'

I'd been prepared to speak before this, but quickly close my mouth. It's fairly obvious, or so I would think, that I'm annoyed. Does he not understand social cues?

'If I were you, I would just keep walking and forget him.'

Oh. Oh, no. No, no, no. This is going to stop right here.

"You are the least compassionate person I've ever met. Do you think of no one but yourself? Is respect so difficult? We are talking about people who lived lives just as complex as our own, and you are going to stand here and mock them? Forget them? You wouldn't be here without them."

This happens when I'm upset, but he is questioning my entire life right now, and the challenge of his judgment is just a bit too much. "There is no one but the living to defend these people and all that they built and lost. No one is more important than anyone else, dead or alive. Certainly not you."

At some point during this, I've reached out to touch his arm. I want him to stop. I want him to pay attention and hear me. Never mind that Dante upset me. He is still my friend, and no matter our transgressions, he will be defended - as will all the friends I've ever had that have gone on to live their next lives. "If you stopped long enough to pay them any real mind, you might just learn that the world is bigger than you.

"Now let. him. go."

He wants me to forget him. He wants me to forget the basement, and his eyes, and never question whatever part he has played in all of this. My answer to this simple, spoken in every indignant word I've uttered thusfar.

No.
October 05, 2019 11:47 am

Nicolas Marceau

Now, maybe Nic had the ability to be more compassionate. Sometimes. Maybe he even would have been a little more engaging, a little more easy in the way he talked to the young woman if they had met even three weeks ago.

Nic, though, had been listening to bickering married ghosts that didn’t understand personal boundaries, or that a newly married couple might want some time alone.

He’d been dealing with a wife that had literally gone to hell and back, who was now changed, and he didn’t have a clue how to fix it. Instead he’d been taking odd jobs like this, delivering body parts for cash, just to get out of the room.

Oh, then add on to that the pact he’d made with a Fae to help find her body instead of the dead one she had taken over.

All in all, Nic would normally have more patience and more compassion than he had today. He was normally a master at that carefree and charming facade.

He just couldn’t do it. His irritation level was at its max and he could feel the pressure in his temple before he pressed fingers at the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. She wanted him free? Fine. F*ck it. They weren’t too far away from the restaurant that when he released his power, they would start to hear the plates crashing again.

So, he did. He pulled that energy back into himself. The will he had forced on to the spirits released and any that had been held by it were now free to roam. Weeee. He could imagine he would be followed any moment by a few of them that would have some choice words.

Oh, the life of a Necromancer.

If any got too rowdy, he’d just stick them back in their rotting corpses for a time out. Bad ghost. Go sit in the corner.

“You’re right, Lila. I’m a selfish @sshole. Do whatever the f*ck you want. Go listen to some goddamn dead person and get yourself goddamn dead with him, but don’t come crying and haunting me because you didn’t f*cking listen.”

His voice never raised. It was more of that quiet, simmering, anger that laced his cajun thick words. When he got upset, it came out more than everyday conversation. If he got real worked up you might not even be able to understand him unless you were good at decoding bayou french.

“Why should I care about these people that didn’t even have enough good sense to move on. They are dead, they know they are dead, get over it.” Obviously he knew there was more to it than that. He might just be in the frame of mind that he wanted to irritate Lila as much as he was currently.

As soon as she managed to make it down the stairs, to see what was waiting for her, he would be long gone. What was she going to do? Call the cops? The people that ran the business probably wouldn’t even let her out alive.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Mon Ami.” Friend. The tone in his voice would be anything but jovial, though.

Despite the foul mood, despite the fact that she had insulted him (although, to be fair, he was being a bit of a ******), there was still that small vestige of hope that she would heed his warning. Still that small bit of compassion that hadn’t been eaten away by a month’s worth of sh*t, the only silver lining being the handfasting to Kat.

So, yeah. Selfish @sshole, thine name is Nicolas Marceau.

With that, he would step to the side, out of her way, and clear the path back to the restaurant. Good f*cking luck, Lila.
October 05, 2019 12:31 pm
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Actives (21) Fresh Blood (5) View All The Fallen (1) Graveyard
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