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「GREEN EYES」[JJBA/HP]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Shirazad, Jul 30, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: 「ACHTUNG BABY」: PART 1
    Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

    Joined:
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    「ACHTUNG BABY」: PART 1

    SPEEDWAGON FOUNDATION TOWER, 9 Smokey Brown Way, New York U.S.A - 18 July 2013
    C.E.O Office – Floor 24


    ♕♕♕♕♕♕​

    “Miss Joestar take a seat,” the stern faced, silver haired absolute fox of a woman spoke – her voice low, imperious and sultry in that way only women her age could manage to make it, “I’ll be with you in a second.”

    She was Sherley Elizabeth, CEO of the Speedwagon Foundation, 2009 Time’s Magazine Woman of the Year with a two-page centerfold included (modest, of course) … my boss, the Director and Head of Para-natural Defense Forces of America – responsible for defending humanity against supernatural threats like vampires and their thrall which were unbelievably very real threats to us by merely existing.

    She was however best known as Director Q by those who worked for her and with her, standing for Quatro her maiden name.

    “Call me Jojo,” I replied, trying and failing to be casual, “if you wouldn’t mind.”

    She didn’t say much in acknowledgement or affirmation, instead she walked with measured gait to the large balcony behind her desk where a bird perch had been erected near the door.

    She waited by the perch for a few seconds, immeasurable seconds that passed by in a blink yet seemed to stretch on forever, compounded by the silence that fell I imagined.

    “~h-roo~”, a soft, distant coo announced the approach of a bird which arrived in a flutter of wings as it settled upon the bird perch.

    The bird was a dove of some sort… I think. Did doves grow to that size, I wondered as I eyed what was quite possibly the fluffiest pigeon I’d ever laid my eyes on… I assumed the bird had a particularly lush plumage, not obese. It wore a harness on its chest, leather bound around the neck and the torso without getting in the way of the wings, and a shiny silver helmet.

    The Director stroked the pigeon fondly, with a miniscule blink-and-you’ll-miss-it smile as she appropriated a tiny, bird-sized mailing tube from a purple and gold bag attached to the front of the harness.

    “Don’t mind Savage Garden,” she said, sitting herself back into her chair gracefully, all the while twisting the tiny scroll open which… In a flash of purple energy grew in size ten-fold and spat out to folders that were far too large to have been contained within such a tiny tube.

    She settled the folder atop her desk, which was neat and devoid of clutter as she reached into a drawer to her left, retrieving from within a familiar looking tin.

    From the metal tin she pulled out a biscuit, which she then broke into tiny little pieces which she threw around the base of the bird perch for the bird to feed on.

    “Butter snap,” she offered.

    “… sure, thanks,” I accepted with muttered gratitude. The taste was just as heavenly as the smell hinted at, I regret taking only one when I could have easily just grabbed a handful… the noticeable taste of butter dancing on my tongue told me that these delectable treats were homemade, which was a plus in my book.

    No wonder the bird was so big, if it got to eat these every day.

    “I’m reassigning you Shizuka,” the Director said.

    ‘Call me Jojo please,’ I suppressed the urge to correct her and listened.

    Reassignments were usually just done on the fly, you either get a text to inform or whatever office you work for beeps you on your work issued PDA along with all relevant details. It was a casual affair, rarely, if ever did it require a solemn sit down with the boss to tell you about it unless there was something else going on.

    “You are to go to London, where you’ll stay there until you are recalled at an indeterminate date, and investigate anomalies,” her monotone droning was straight to the heart of the matter and no-nonsense… It made me nervous to find out more, “You’re uniquely suited for the task at hand and came highly recommended by your Cell leader, thus I’ve deigned to task you with this,”

    “During your stay, you will be investigating ‘anomalies’ of this nature,” she pushed one of the folders my way, the thick one which was more light volume textbook than it was folder, “and attempting to find out more before reporting back.”

    I stared at the folder with a suspicious glare and opened it to the first file.

    I was immediately drawn in.

    I read through the folder once, then twice, then thrice for good measure and then skimmed it on my fourth, sometimes pulling out an entire page just to get a closer look.

    The longer I read, the more dumbfounded I became.

    I read through murder report after murder report, witness testimonials that didn’t make sense, gas leaks in places where there wasn’t any gas, mysterious flashing lights, missing children reports, and most disturbing of all were the unexplainable pregnancies and unknowns who would occasionally pop up around the world missing entire chunks of their lives.

    Confusion turned to disgust on my second read-through, and disgust turned to anger on my third.

    Finally, I stopped reading.

    There was a lot at the fore of my mind, curses and other such profanities but I kept those within, such words were not for the faint of heart.

    The words to describe what I’d just read simply failed me.

    Magic!

    Honest to God magic!

    It was real.

    “Oh My God,” the words came to me then, so sudden and so loud, unbecoming of my namesake Shizuka for Quiet.

    “Magic is real,” I whispered, “Holy fucking shit!”

    “Indeed,” the director replied with a nod, a serious mien etched on her features which snapped me out of my daze.

    The novelty of discovery wore off quickly, as everything I’d just read came to mind.

    “You called them anomalies,” I said, pointing to the folder, “anomalies…,” the words came out in a low, sibilant hiss, flecked with my rage.

    “These aren’t anomalies ma’am… these are disasters. How long has this been happening for?” I asked.

    “Twelve years as far as we’ve known,” she replied, “… possibly…. No, definitely longer, if you account for the years we didn’t know.”

    “T-twelve,” I shouted and shot straight up to a stand, my hands involuntarily slamming against the desk, “twelve years and we didn’t do anything.”

    The director inhaled sharply and level a glare my way, something heavy settled within the room, a menacing feeling of something cold and dreadful. I felt my hands ball into fists, nails biting into skin sharply and I wanted it to stop… I wanted to make it stop… anything to make it stop…

    「ACHT…」,” I started to say, fighting through the lump in my throat all the while, but just as sudden as the feeling came it disappeared the next.

    “I apologize,” the director said with a tired sigh, “but you’re wrong… we haven’t been doing nothing.”

    “Sit down Miss Joestar,” she said.

    I was still floored, so I complied without question.

    “Then…” she said, a faraway look in her eyes as she spoke “, there wasn’t much we could have done. As you’ve read, these anim… ‘wizards’ have their own police force that goes around covering up these… misdeeds with what I can only assume to be magical lobotomy. We’ve only just now found… no, rediscovered them because they were careless, sloppy and thanks to modern technology having advanced so far beyond their ability to interfere,” she said, calm and stone-faced all the while.

    “Nothing you could have done…,” I repeated the words, tasting them on my tongue like ash and rot, “nothing you could’ve done my ass. We had, still have these animals popping up everywhere like roaches killing civilians left and right, assaulting women and… children, lobotomizing bystanders and doing whatever they want, and you’re telling me there was nothing to be done,” the anger hit me fast and silently, from nowhere and It took me longer than I’d have liked to collect my thoughts and quell the urge to keep shouting.

    Adopted I may be, but It looks likes I inherited the Joestar temper somehow.

    “… I’m sorry about that ma’am – but why didn’t we just…fuck, I don’t know, order every Operative to shoot on sight.”

    Shoot first, ask questions never – only fitting way to deal with savages.

    “Because… believe it or not my dear, these are the crimes of a few – the rest are very much innocents in this… that, and they were an unknown factor. Nothing like the vampires and their thrall we kill wholesale with mass producible tools or a handful of Spiritualists. And the previous Director was a wary man who didn’t want to send his men to be slaughtered by engaging an unknown enemy and spark a war that we might have lost” she said in a matter-of-fact tone that left no room for argument, “there was no guarantee that our weapons would have worked on them and… we didn’t have as many Spiritualists on staff as we do now to combat para-natural threats of their size and presumed population.”

    I didn’t like it, but I understood.

    She spoke in past tense, not really saying anything definite but hinting at something with a surety of mind that promised a change to come – a promise to act, something I was wholly in favor of.

    I agreed with the previous Director, Sir Straits’ wariness and his stance on non-discretion until you have the upper hand, which I assume is what the Lady Director was hinting at – it was after all, the very basis of how I fought, as was taught to me by my father, that wily cheat.

    For the SPF to be acting now after twelve years, I could hazard a few educated guesses as to what changed.

    The increase of Spiritualist was a factor, a definite and proven factor, one I was familiar with seeing as I was one myself… a novice maybe but a Spiritualist none-the-less. No one knows how, but somehow Sir Straits had managed to talk the Sunlight Sages to break their millennia old silence and fully disclose their teachings to the SPF as part of the now standard Anti-Supernatural Combat protocols.

    Spiritualist and Empowered were now rank and file among the field agents thanks to his efforts, hell, they made up a majority of cell leaders.

    While that was a major factor, it was the ‘it’ I was looking for.

    It had to be something else, something bigger, more concrete than greater numbers.

    “What changed then? Why choose to act now after a decade of deliberation?” I asked.

    “A rogue agent,” she said, “one of mine,” shamefully admitting the confession.

    “Two months ago, he stole one of the arrows from the New England branch. Two weeks ago, he acquired the second one from Strasbourg Manor, France,” another manila folder was passed my way, thinner this time – filled with haphazardly taken Polaroid pictures depicting what looked to be a train station and school supplies, presumably captured by way of spirit-photography if the shocking lack of clarity was anything to go by, with hastily written scribbles scrawled at the back.

    “For your eyes only Operative, read though it in your time,” she said.

    “He has some manner of a… grudge against the ‘wizards’ that goes beyond simple hate, and with the power of the arrows I fear that he has nothing but the vilest of intent toward them… all for the actions of a few terrorists,” the Director leaned back into her chair and typed something onto her desktop, turning the monitor my way to show a slideshow of a ruined town-square that I almost mistook for a war-torn Baghdad had it not been for the Victorian Era architecture of ‘Salem Square’.

    “This was last week, a test run of sorts. Salem, a local ‘conclave’ of mages, laid to waste nearly overnight in an impressively coordinated attack.”

    The pictures changed.

    I didn’t know what Salem looked like before, but the town square I was looking at in print was ruin, a world on fire, ash and brimstone. Its very foundation had been upturned, the ground charred, melted and misshapen as though a tidal wave of rocks had passed through – it seemed as If the earth had at some point come alive to swallow chunks of infrastructure itself, burying anyone who just happened to be unfortunate enough to be in the way.

    I clicked the mouse button, going to the next image.

    And the people…

    I swallowed, pushing back the build up of bile threatening to make its way up my gullet.

    …and the next.

    ‘for the crimes of a few terrorists,’ – the people, the innocents, mothers and children, fathers and uncles, businessmen and strangely robed fellows alike, none were spared – nothing of them remained except statues of ash, burnt skulls, cracking skeletons and crispy husks of flash-burnt skin. They were the lucky few. At least they had died somewhat natural deaths, a sentiment that spoke volumes of the cruelty I witnessed when collateral was a better way to die.

    …next.

    The others, the majority, the unfortunate many had been subject to the deadly effect of strange powers. Corpses laid, littered about, fused with the very earth itself like statues carved by a demented artist, all of them wore faces of abject horror, forever frozen in place.

    …next.

    ‘They’d still been alive…,” I thought.

    …next.

    Vines, thorny and bare, sprouted from underneath the skin turned stone of the affected with flowers pushing out to full bloom from every orifice, from the mouth, the nose, the ears, the eyes and everywhere else.

    …next.

    Morbid curiosity had me looking back to the screen. Surely, I’d seen the worst of it, I tried to convince myself, but my eyes betrayed me.

    I clicked, the image changed… the last.

    The last image was different from the rest. Where others had been professionally taken with high clarity cameras for extra detail, they’d been still images of the scene after the event. The last image was grainy, misaligned and sepia washed – a scanned copy of a spirit-photograph.

    The image was like something out a painting – a mammoth of a man, flowing sandy-blonde hair garbed in an immaculate but bloodied stripped navy suit stood in the middle of what was a paved road, perched atop a literal mount of corpses. His hands and sleeves were red with blood, and his face, save for a prominent angry red scar that ran down from his forehead past his left eye to the cheek, was untouched.

    He was handsome, incredibly so, were one to ignore the scar on his cheek and focus on his other more attractive features.

    The manic look in his eyes however shattered the roguish and gentlemanly charm he otherwise would have had, the sheer hate and utter rage in those eyes of his made me shudder the longer I stared.

    Spirit-Photography had a reputation of providing very poor clarity photographs, this one must have been the exception to that rule then I assumed.

    Those brown eyes of his, were vividly shown in the image – they weren’t the vibrant amber like leaves of fall, nor were they the common earthly brown a good chunk of humanity possessed – no, his eyes were the brown of decay and rot, I felt my soul withering and wilting away the longer I stared at the haunting sight.

    “uhhm… Who’s this?” I asked.

    “…that’s our rogue,” the Director replied, leaning forward onto the desk, “… and despite my clearance level I’m not privy to his real name, I simply know of him by his moniker,” she hesitated in her follow up, a war waged across her features as she negotiated within herself whether to share whatever it was she had been about to say or disclose.

    I didn’t mind either way, I’ve worked with less on missions before. As long as I was nowhere near that beast, I would do my part.

    “He calls himself – White Lamb,” she said after a moment of deliberation.

    “How… biblical.”

    “I don’t think he chose it… the mythical aspect of it sounds like something Sir Straits might have come up with. The man was obsessed with divinity, the fool spent the last remaining years of his life chasing after the body of Christ.”

    “I imagine he was the one who named our rogue,” as if matters weren’t complicated enough, to have received his callsign directly from the director implied a close relationship… nothing like lovers, something much more complicated.

    “You said this… massacre was a ‘test run’ ma’am. What did you mean by that?” I asked, thinking back to her strange wording.

    “Our rogue has been collecting allies, sympathizers to his cause, like minded individuals… allies even,” she said, uncertainly, “they call themselves… The Horsemen. You’ve already see some of their handiwork in Salem.”

    “…”

    “Each one of them has been deemed S-Class level threats – now couple that with an arrow to boost and you have what amounts to walking nuclear hazards, frothing at the mouth with loose morals – thankfully for us their ire is directed against eh magical folk or I dread to think how we might have handled that.”

    “…” I was, yet again, silent. I had no words. If I was being honest, I wasn’t very sure about this anymore, this sounded like something so far above my scope of abilities I may as well be throwing rocks at the sun in hopes of snuffing it out.

    “Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to fight any one of the Horsemen any time soon – matter of fact, if you do encounter them, run like your life depends on it because it does and it will,” the director must have read my mind, as she assured me, or tried to at least, “I have stationed other agents for subjugation should conflict become inevitable.”

    “Your task is simply to go to London and find the ‘enclave’ there before White-Lamb arrives and open dialogue with the wizards to pave way for further co-operation against a mutual … well,” she stopped, and chortled to herself rather morbidly in dark humor, “not so mutual but a threat none-the-less.”

    There was silence… and then, I asked a question, the question I’d had in mind since the start.

    “Why me?”

    “…”

    Another moment of silence passed before I got my answer, it wasn’t one I wanted to hear nor was it one that made much sense, but It was an answer nonetheless.

    “Eventually my dear,” she said, shifting comfortably into the soft depths of her work chair as she withdrew the briefing papers back into her drawer cabinet, “… we all must answer the call of destiny.”

    “I’ll be your only direct contact from the States while you’re in London… so be on the lookout for Savage Garden – dismissed Operative.”

    “Ma’am,” I acknowledged and left the office in a hurry to be anywhere else I could get my mind to calm.

    ♕♕♕♕♕♕

    SPF Archives #003451

    「RETURN TO SENDER」

    Type: Cover (???), Global Range, Non-Combat

    Delivery Service - The power to send secrets across vast distances and short alike with an absolute chance of timely delivery and guaranteed discretion to anyone, anywhere in the world so long as you know their name and whisper it to Savage Garden. Return To Sender is a power that will protect whatever secret it holds from anything, be it interlopers attempting to pry where they shouldn’t or the Gods themselves.

    The secrets contained within the scrolls cannot be intercepted nor opened by anyone except the designated receiver.

    User: #special field agent: Savage Garden
    Courier Pigeon, lives in the presidential suite of the SPF HQ

    Destructive Power: E (none what-so-ever)

    Range: A

    Speed: E

    Durability: A+

    Precision: S (Absolute Delivery – STAND will carry out delivery well past the user’s death)

    Potential: E- (complete power-set)​
     
  2. Threadmarks: 「CLOCKWORK PRINCESS」Part 1
    Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2018
    Messages:
    13
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    unedited
    APARTMENT 9/8 OGRE STREET, LONDON, U.K, SE15 – 19 July 2013

    ♕♕♕♕♕♕
    A young man –twenty odd some year old, shaggy black hair with dirty-blonde highlights at the roots and brilliant emerald eyes sat cross-legged upon a great chair.

    Hayley, named after the comet.

    Few called him that.

    Fewer even called him Harry, close associates mostly.

    Most, close friends and neighbors, referred to him by Evans, his last name.

    He rested a ringed hand upon his cheek, and the other atop the soft silk of the armrest though he would occasionally lift it to stroke the great tuft of soft grey fur that made his coat. His chest heaved greatly as he sighed, muscles straining underneath the confines of a white undershirt with each motion.

    The chair wasn’t very comfortable he’d freely admit, but it was beautiful, and aesthetic mattered more.

    It was a masterpiece of woodwork, crafted from Elder Burl wood with green silk making the soft parts stuffed with feathers from some exotic bird from South America. It was shaped into the form of a throne, roughly, and it was, in his own words, fit for a King to sit upon. While he wasn’t a King, he liked to live like one and there wasn’t much he wouldn’t do for more comforts in life like this – one might even consider his wasteful nature an odd quirk, and maybe it was – in truth, he strived to live each moment as best he could.

    It was a luxury afforded to him by years of arduous work, earning his keep and hard cash as a mechanic… owner of his own garage even in a reformed Ogre Street, behind Lamperd Avenue.

    Long gone were the days of violence in the streets as the riff-raff ran rampant like crazed animals, now there was peace – a peace, like all others, won through bloodshed but a peace nonetheless.

    A peace that he was proud to have fought, bled and cried for – but that’s a story for another day.

    Which wasn’t to say that the street had cut its ties with the underworld. No, the name Ogre Street was synonymous with crime. Under the watchful eyes of unknown benefactors, there was peace and prosperity in the streets and businesses like his body-shop thrived, whores strutted about proudly and without fear of assault when once they skulked the streets like rats, and children… there weren’t as many children on the streets nowadays, most just ended up in dedicated orphanages funded by the Oil Magnate, Speedwagon Foundation – rumors had it that the founder was an Ogre born and bred who hit high money, hence their interest in the street.

    Were one to ignore the underworldly aspects, Ogre street was just a street like any other.

    That peace, however, often, drew in the most bizarre of individuals who sought to live in the light yet dip their toes in the shadows on occasion.

    Bizarre individuals like the weirdly dressed fortune-teller who lived two blocks over with her horde of ugly, squash-faced cats, and the blind barber next door.

    Or, in a more relevant context, the gypsy crone who’d refused a seat after intruding in his home.

    The one who was currently beneath him, groveling and reciting platitudes to him… a self-professed witch apparently – he was still on the reservation about that, though he was very sure he’d seen her teleport into his house.

    “Wonderful. Excellent. Most Wonderful – your aura is most familiar to this one, such a beautiful death-curse green flecked with the gold of your ancestor,” the crone chuckled to herself, a rattling deathly noise that sounded more like a shaman’s bag of bones from the back of her parched throat, “Wonderful. Truly Excellent.”

    He sat upon his chair imperiously, his gaze coldly observing the gypsy crone groveling by his feet. A scowl found its way on his features as he wearily eyed the crone, her strange clothing stood out most – consisting mostly of colorful rags decorated with trinkets here and there.

    What truly put on edge about the woman was the air of danger she seemed to permeate, her very presence itself felt as though there was someone standing behind him with a dagger held to his throat, and an aura to her like a noxious gas wafting in the air, slowly advancing towards him.

    Her familiarity with him… rather a relative of his didn’t quite register, but he took note regardless.

    “Right… uh, who the hell are you?” he asked.

    “Enya Geil. This one goes by the name Enya,” the gypsy introduced herself with a courteous bow.
    He didn’t know why but he hated the name. He got the feeling it had to do with music.

    “Enya,” he repeated the name, which was oddly familiar for some reason.

    It was there, at the edge of his memory… a singer he thought, from the ’60s or was it the 70s’ he wondered. Not a good one either.

    “Ancestor you said…,” the question went unsaid, he was too skeptical to voice it, but he was curious none the less. The woman seemed to favor speaking in archaic, so ‘ancestor’ may have been her way of saying relative.

    Something about the woman before him piqued his curiosity… as an orphan of Ogre Street, he had always thought his mother to have been one of the many whores strutting about the place and his father the occasional drunk who skulked about occasionally. That belief was quickly disabused of when he learned from the Orphanage Matron of how he came to be in Ogre Street – apparently wrapped in a blanket with a hefty bundle of cash outside the local chapel in the dead of a winter night, abandoned like many others.

    “Why… my Lord DIO of course. You are his great-great-grandchild, on your mother’s side from one of his…,” she paused for effect and chuckled, a sound like that rattling of bones coming from her dry throat, “- ‘youthful trysts’ shall I say – a most favorable pairing If I do say so myself, you have his godly physique after all,” she eyed him strangely as she spoke with a lick of her chapped lips, a glint in her eyes passed as a chilling air of… something invisible stroked him gently across the cheek.

    He suppressed a full-body shudder, his teeth chattered, and his instincts screamed at him to draw the gun in his pocket and empty the clip into her chest, reload and repeat several times then… and only when he’s run out of ammunition, burn down the house and skip the country for good measure.

    He ignored his knee jerk instincts, his trustworthy instincts at that, instincts that had never failed him before. Instead, he schooled in his expression and asked, “You know my mother then?”

    She chuckled again, rotting black and yellow teeth flashing. “Of course, my young lord… she is quite famous in my circle of acquaintances, what self-respecting witch doesn’t know Lily Evans – the youngest potions mistress and Meister of Charms in three centuries. I don’t live in a cave you know, despite my uncouth appearance.”

    Hayley’s curiosity peeked, his anger too but he quelled it with an unnatural calm – he wasn’t sure what to believe, especially from a geriatric who believed in magic but he soldiered on regardless and kept her talking.

    “And my father?”

    The crone lifted her head from her groveling then smirked devilishly to herself not really hiding her intent though as she spoke.

    “Ahh, him…,” she spoke, her tone almost dismissive of him, “he too lives, twice-bound with his three children in comfort, good health and luxury while you… Inheritor of THE WORLD seats upon a throne of garbage, ruling a kingdom of whores and orphans.”

    Ignoring the comment about his throne of garbage, he asked, cutting to the heart of the matter, “how do I know you’re not lying to me about all this? You say that you’re magic… but all I’ve seen so far is an impressive break-in,” his voice was chilling, his mien calm and his temper in check, just bubbling under the surface as he extricated himself from his ‘throne’ to a stand, towering over the groveling crone as he crushed her down with a withering glare and an accusing finger pointed at her.

    “Prove it, Enya… Show me some magic.”

    “Of course, my young lord – a matter of fact, I’ll do you one better,” the crone rasped as she reached into her overly long robes to pull out a simple bow and an intricate silver arrow with a veiny golden head.

    Immediately he felt the shift of something in the air, a sense of something wrong wafted into the room – all of it centered around the silver arrow. The sight of it had him on edge, so much he had at some point reached for his concealed, double-action revolver and taken aim at the crone who had too, notched the arrow and taken aim at him.

    The world stilled as she drew the arrow back and something at the back of his mind, that small voice screaming at him to run as far away from this woman as possible.

    A primal… something stirred to life within him in the face of this unknown danger.

    She had two right hands he noticed. Each one with six fingers too. An odd thing to notice when you have a lethal weapon pointed at you… he took note but didn’t say anything about it, his mind was elsewhere.

    “Is this your magic then – an arrow trick,” his voice was calm, but his tone was that of shock.
    Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead and his chest rose feverishly.

    He wasn’t terrified nor was he panicking, no, he remained calm through it all but there was something in the air, something deathly that seemed to coil around him and hold him in place… he could even almost see it in the air, a sickly specter, like a black shroud of rotting death rolling off the crone like dry ice in water.

    “Nay,” she said as she loosed the arrow, letting it fly true just as he too shot at her with the antique revolver twice.

    “STAND PROUD my lord and assert your dominion upon THE WORLD. Oh~,” she crooned, eyes distant and glazed, sounding almost… orgasmic and unsettlingly satisfied with herself, “what great conquests shall you set off to? What great ambitions does your heart seek? – Perhaps you crave to live like a King, Immortal and Forever Young. Maybe you seek Power, material and immaterial. Enlightenment mayhap – worry not my lord, all that and more are what I grant unto you,” like a preacher she cried her words out with untold passion and conviction, spittle flying everywhere with every word.

    “It is your birth-right.”

    “… urggh, what the fuck,” he swore and watched with morbid curiosity as the world once again came to a crawl – the two bullets he had fired at the crone were redirected to his floorboards as they were met with an invisible wall, a product of her magic.

    Magic.

    He was a skeptic no longer. Not after seeing her redirect two .33mm bullets with a wave of her bony hand.

    He watched with a curious eye, as the silver arrow flew straight towards his outstretched hand – he kept watching as the arrowhead glanced off the barrel of his beloved revolver and cutting a trench through the gun as it made its way to his waiting hand.

    He watched and panicked as it pierced and burrowed into his hand by the wrist and embed itself into his arm like an oversized needle.

    His hand shivered, and his grip loosened from the pain and dropped the ruined gun which cluttered to the floor uselessly.

    The arrowhead inside his arm burn like liquid fire in his veins, the arrowhead still sticking out felt like liquid frost upon skin and as the arrow embedded more of itself into him, spreading like a disease as it burrowed deeper and deeper into his arm, making its way up to his hand like a parasite, cutting through vessels, mincing muscle and slicing apart bone along the way.
    It was unnatural, bizarre and enlightening - here he was, experiencing untold pain like no other, and yet he couldn't bring himself to care for it; he was looking at magic, grotesque and no doubt powerful magic or something like it, and it was humbling to think there truly was a power beyond the mundane.

    He brought his afflicted hand to his other in a cradle to ease the pain which nearly brought him to his knees. The words ‘STAND PROUD’ rang in his mind as he stumbled back onto his seat and fell unto it just as the pain claimed him.

    He refused to die lying face down on the floor like a common thug.

    “Excellently done my lord. Most excellent indeed. Rest now… I shall explain myself to you upon your awakening,” was the last thing he heard as the world fell apart before him, a bony hand caressing him all the while.

    “Fuck off…,” he managed to say through the pain as the darkness claimed his mind.
    APARTMENT 9/8 OGRE STREET, LONDON, U.K – SE15, 19 July 2013

    ♕♕♕♕♕♕

    Main Bedroom
    When next Hayley woke, he was in his bed.

    He looked around in mild confusion.

    “Why am I in bed,” he asked himself. It was bright outside, mid-afternoon bright and he had the clarity of mind to know that it was a weekday… a workday, which meant that he should have up and already slaving away in his garage, not sleeping.

    Speaking of, why was he sleeping.

    He was still in his casual attire, yet he was tucked in nonetheless… he put two and two together and rightly assumed that someone had put him into his bed.

    There was a phantom pain in his hand, his right hand which by all right should have been a useless stump, rendered such by the arrow – his right hand which was in perfectly good condition, beyond perfect even. If he squinted, he could swear it was glowing slightly with a greenish-gold shimmer.

    Then it all came crushing down on him in a torrent of hazy memories.

    “Magic … of course,” he muttered to himself humourlessly.

    He hadn’t been feverishly dreaming when he had seen an old gypsy lady conjure a wall of air to stop bullets nor had he when she… shot… at him… with… an… arrow.

    ‘Jesus, she shot me with an arrow,’ his thoughts took a dark turn.

    Thoughts of geriatricide aside, he got up from his bed, uncaring as to the state of the blankets and stood to a stretch whereupon he came face-to-face with a semi-opaque woman floating in front of him.

    “…,” he stared in silence at the woman.

    “…,” she reciprocated with silence and staring.

    The woman… if she could be called that was marionette-like, her figure like a mannequin with a full body, ceramic carapace and the design of an eight-pronged star in the centre of her chest that glowed a toxic green.

    In place of skin, she had black and gold armor that seamlessly encompassed her whole body as if made from a mold, with very subtle joint linings and a barbie doll anatomy despite being mostly effeminate for the most part design-wise.

    Standing, she was at a probable six’ eight’ in height.

    Her face or rather, mask-like visage was an unrealistically beautiful rendition of humanity with a paperwhite complexion like fine china, a straight nose with a sparkling shawl covering her mouth wrapped around her by her ears … antennae, draping down to cover the neckline with stiff cable like locks for hair, shining green eyes like small camera lenses with a clockwork headdress atop her head like a crown.

    To the eyes, the woman-ghost-spirit thing … whatever it was, was aesthetically pleasing but Hayley personally thought it was missing something, like a picture puzzle with only bits and pieces left here and there left to complete. She … It was incomplete – he didn’t know why but he was sure of it just as sure as he was of his own existence.

    A deep, rasping chuckling coming from his back had him on edge instantly.

    The ghost-spirit-woman thing spun stiffly, as it settled into a defensive stance with its palms outstretched in front, the right hand glowing with a coating of green energy and the other a shimmering gold, ready to strike.

    It was protecting him, he realized.

    “Not quite as imposing as Lord Dio’s THE WORLD, but beauty too can be intimidating in its own way,” the witch crone spoke, one hand rested on a cane or ‘stave-wand’ rather, and the other pointing to the spirit-ghost-woman-thing floating next to him.

    “What…,” he started to say but stopped to stare at the spirit-ghost-woman thing as it shifted in place, hovering above the floor, and put a hand on its hips expressively.

    “… what the hell is this?” he motioned to the still… posing spirit thing beside him.

    Did the crone curse him with a ghost? She seemed rather appreciative of him so maybe gave him a… familiar? He didn’t know and he wanted answers.

    “Is this your magic?” he asked, hotly.

    “You have no use for it my young lord so I have shown you nothing of magic. You are no mage but… something far greater, and grander in scope,” she moved towards, her staff making thudding noises against the wood as she advanced forward.

    The floating spirit woman beside him tensed as the crone neared. It… she dispelled the green glow of her right hand and intensified the golden glow of her left.

    “That,” she pointed her bony at the woman-spirit, “…is called a STAND. The soul realised, your desires, your hopes and your dreams given form. The arrow I shot you with granted you this power when your greater will resisted the lull of death.”

    STAND.

    It was an odd name, but he chose not to comment - there was probably a reason behind it. He chose too, to ignore what might potentially have spelled his death by her own admittance - for obvious reasons, he had other things to worry about.

    Questions to ask and Answers to pry.

    “So … you gave me a magic… golem then?”

    “No… something greater than magic,” she bellowed fiercely with her arms outstretched widely as a deathly fog filled the small bedchamber, a deathly figure took shape beside her wearing a cloak of purple smoke, a golden crown atop its eternally laughing skeletal head.
    “Behold the illusive power of my STAND.”

    Hayley observed the fog construct curiously, its very presence within the room had increased the moisture ten-fold, quite noticeably too, he could quite literally taste the water in the air and see it condensing against his bedroom windows.

    Its physical form, rather lack-there-of he surmised would make it extremely difficult to fight against and if her use of the word ‘illusive’ was no misnomer then the ‘STAND’ was a creator of illusions.

    “... I see. So… this spirit,” he pointed to the woman floating next to him warily, “is a manifestation of my soul just like the Reaper is to you.”

    “Correct,” she replied, “although「JUSTICE」only takes the form of a ‘death god’ by my own insistence, he is in truth formless… merely vapor.”

    He hummed noncommittally, though in understanding then spoke, “Right … why is my soul … so ...?” he gestured to the very feminine manifestation floating next to him.

    The crone looked to him then to the spirit, strangely, her mind reeling with a thousand different possibilities and theories stewing about before she spoke, “Perfection my young Lord, Alchemical Perfection. Your vessel, the yang, as the Orientals call it, is that of my Lord’s flesh and blood,” breathily she spoke, “the epitome of masculine beauty itself - that ethereal alabaster of your skin and the herculean physique you clearly inherited from him. I think it only fitting that your spiritual form be perfect ‘yin’ to complement the vessel and complete the cycle.”

    “...,” he took her word for it. She was the magician in the room and him, the mechanic.

    “Do not be ashamed my young lord, STAND PROUD as your soul does; revel in its beauty for it is a reflection of your own.”

    His confusion mollified somewhat, he pulled out a chair by a study desk and took a seat cross-legged, imperiously and confidently – he didn’t trust the crone one bit, hence the posturing but he still retained his manners all the while as he prompted her to do the same, something she refused again, seemingly content with standing despite her advanced age.

    With the ‘STAND’ constantly by his side, he felt invincible, nearly, so he didn’t feel as terrified as he had been when he first me Enya - her suffocating aura had lessened, being pushed back by his own though he wasn’t aware of it. He didn’t yet know what the spirit… STAND was capable of at the moment but he felt assured by its very presence, so he commanded it to stay, he was wary though hence the cautious stance the STAND had taken by his side protectively.

    The hag withdrew the purple fog into herself with a sharp inhale, the deathly visage slowly losing form as the smoke receded until it was all but gone – not even the moisture remained in the air.

    The crone walked to and stood in the middle of the room, her form rested against her stave and her usually twisted features softened in fond recall of distant memory. She seemed to fade away like paint washing of a wall, her form alternating between corporeal and ghost-like as her shoulders sagged further while she stood with her cane holding her upright.

    “I haven’t much time left amongst the waking my young lord … HEAVEN calls and for too long I have run. With the last of my light, I leave in your hands Power to seize the World and do what you will with it,” she said with a wry smile, flashing the remnants of her teeth.

    She reached into her strange robes’ inner breast pocket and pulled out a wooden box, a ring and what looked to be his revolver – he assumed his to have suffered from earlier, maybe this was a replacement or perhaps the same one he owned just magically altered by whatever hoodoo-voodoo she used; upon further observation he knew it then to be the latter, when he noticed that it was still the same size, and from the grove running alongside the length of the barrel almost all the way to the chamber where the arrow had carved through.

    She gave him the box first with the ring placed atop, her bony hand gripping his wrist in a death grip unbecoming of a woman her age as she placed it in his palm. Then the gun followed as she wrenched his right hand forward, violently, placing the strange-looking revolver into his hand. It was cool to the touch and as comfortable in his hands as the day he bought it yet different somehow - appearance aside.

    With a bony chuckle, she twirled the cane above head. “I leave now to be reunited with Lord DIO - until we meet again in HEAVEN I bid you farewell,” she spoke, her voice barely an echo as she disappeared in a whirling storm of shadow and darkness to the nether beyond, leaving Hayley somewhat rattled and wary but still impressed by the clearly needless showmanship.

    Where once the old crone stood was a circle, filled with scrawling, burn-etched into the wood of his floor, some made sense some didn’t - if his very limited knowledge of magic was correct, all of which was gained from playing games do mind, then the scribbles and circle were runes in a magic circle. It was either going to explode with arcane energy or some such bullshit, or it was a protective boundary - seeing as how the crone was worshiping him a few seconds before, he put his hope into the latter but erred on the side of caution and put a rag over the circle … why? Because It might do something, emphasis on ‘might’.

    With that out of the way he eyed his new acquisitions, STAND included as it hovered behind him attentively.

    The ring, big and ugly with a large, fancy ‘D’ emblazoned in the center went around his neck, held in place by a chain that he’d looped through. It sat against his chest with a subtle glow to it.

    It was empowering, enhancing and exhilarating.

    The box, however, had no such glow, to which he surmised it to be mundane - not that it mattered much, it was the contents within that mattered.

    Contained with the box was a coin pouch, a small black cloth-bag that sat in the small of his hand comfortably and a leather-bound booklet with handwritten notes on the nature of STANDs, magic and essentially what amounted to general knowledge of the supernatural world… with an interesting except on a group of so-called Spiritualists on the first page.

    ‘Helpful,’ he mused to himself.

    The other item was a grainy photograph, clearly taken by an old school polaroid, with white borders around the edges where a pair of names were written in ball-point pen ink.
    The polaroid photo was of a couple. A young couple who looked to be in their early teens by the looks of it – fourteen or maybe fifteen years old.

    The first was a woman, his mother ‘Lily’ he assumed, with a softly rounded face, spattered with freckles from ear to ear and a shock of frizzly bright red hair and green eyes like his, wearing odd and archaic robes.

    The other, ‘James’, was a particularly smug looking boy with a rat’s nest of hair, a rather unremarkable face with round spectacles and an aristocratic nose – in a certain light he might have been considered handsome and Hayley could almost see the resemblance between him and the boy, almost…maybe – either he inherited his looks from somewhere else down the line or the resemblance was only possible if he were to suddenly lose twenty pounds of muscle and a foot in height.

    Even at the assumed age, James was when the picture was taken, he was nowhere near that scrawny.

    At the back of the polaroid was an address written in chicken-scratch.

    Number 12, Grimmauld Place London, N1’ it read.

    He didn’t know a Grimmauld Place, but he did know the postal code ‘N1’ to be the area around the Borough of Islington, which was, if memory served him right - roughly a half-hour’s drive on bike using Old Kent Road as a point of reference.

    It wasn’t too far by any stretch, but it was a traffic nightmare to get there. There was the bridge to cross over and timing was key, one could get stuck for hours waiting for the damn thing to be raised, then there was navigating past the cluster of high-end apartments that littered the area in confusing and honestly convoluted arrangements.

    As much as he wanted to put everything down and go to this Grimmauld-Place, he had other things to do.

    It wouldn’t do to just disappear without warning when he might be needed.

    He had a lot of questions in mind - Lily and James rested at the fore of his mind but he didn’t dwell on it much. Being a resident of Ogre Street, he was no stranger to child abandonment, and he could even understand the reason why some people saw fit to do it, he didn’t condone it, but he understood.

    Lily and James’ apparent ages as seen in the polaroid were telling enough.

    Though he understood, he still wanted to hear the reason from the Horse’s maw itself – more for the sake of closure than it was to be reunited with his parents. He figured himself well past that point. He had established a life of his own and they had too apparently if the crone was to be believed… after they got their shit together that is. He wasn’t expecting a warm reception from them, nor would he extend the same courtesy to them were that to be the case, so he was stalling, buying time enough to steel his heart before he ventured to the unknown – to a world of magic apparently.

    He needed a good night’s rest to let the information truly sink in and a week’s worth of work to do before he started planning family reunions.

    He wasn’t feeling tired though… not quite, but thankfully he had something to distract him from the troubling thoughts.

    Magic and STANDs that is.

    They were much more immediate concerns – power gifted to him by a questionable crone, power that he didn’t yet understand.

    One, STAND, was a power he had just newly acquired, a power that he couldn’t quite control … well, not really, he somehow knew what the STAND was capable of. He had a general idea of what, vague at best, but it was one that had a lot of potential and could be expanded upon with a bit of thinking.

    The other, MAGIC, was a power … no, a threat he was unfamiliar with and wasn’t entirely sure how to counter should he ever need to, and he had a feeling that with the turn his life just took he was going to need to know-how.

    “So … what can you do?” he asked the STAND as he twisted the uncomfortable weight of the weird, ugly ring in his hand. The STAND floated gracefully to his front as it, himself by extension, took hold of a glass cup from his bedside drawer and infused it with a golden glow, trapping it in a bubble of translucent golden energy that seemed to defy all logic and remain stationary in the air as though frozen in time.

    It was like watching a track on fast forward, as the glass cup turned to dust before his eyes.

    The STAND tapped its other hand against the golden bubble, turning it green, the color of the aura that surrounded the right hand.



    Had it not been for the shawl covering its mouth, he was sure he would have seen it grinning devilishly.
    ♕♕♕♕♕♕

    SPF Archives #000021

    「JUSTICE」

    Type: Tarot STAND, Controller STAND, Illusion STAND

    User: #Target of Interest(magic user): Baba Enya Geil
    Part of ongoing investigation into magic users [REDACTED by order Director Straits]

    Destructive Power: D

    Range: A - 「JUSTICE」 can manifest incredibly realitic and detailed illusions anywhere within its effective range which can cover a wide area(four city blocks in any direction)

    Speed: E

    Durability: A - Due to the incorporeal nature of「JUSTICE」it is invulnerable to most forms of direct assault.

    Precision: E

    Potential: E​
     
    Bobbot, Thaumaturgy, Bruh and 4 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: 「ANGEL WITH A SHOTGUN」PART 1
    Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

    Joined:
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    Ogre Street and Lamperd - 22 July 2013

    08:30
    ♕♕♕♕♕♕


    [Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicide]​

    Mondays – depending on who you asked were either the busiest day of any week or the slowest days of work.

    For Hayley, it was the latter.

    Mondays, to him, were days that were void of people in need of car-service. Often with most of them too tangled in the morning rush-hour to care about the state of their cars or too hungover from last night’s clubbing to care.

    It was a boon in so far as he was concerned.

    With no customers for the day, he’d seen fit to close shop and hit Greater London to collect an order of spare parts or maybe shop around for more paints and the like, right after he’d had a longer shower, done some early morning exercise and skipped breakfast. It was an easy day he figured, might as well treat himself to breakfast at a cafe if the time permits.

    With the day’s grooming done – he figured he might as well drop by this Grimmauld Place or somewhere close to it and scout the area before committing to a… maybe, sort of reunion if he passed by the area.

    He had put on some casual clothing consisting of a rockabilly vintage-jacket, a white shirt and black pants – he hadn’t bothered with his hair and just let it fall to his shoulders, the effort of styling it simply wasn’t worth the time and it almost always grew back to full length faster than should be normal, but then again … normal was a word he had found himself not using much lately, weird and bizarre having taken that pedestal.

    By eight-thirty, a bit before the school-bus rush was due, he had pulled out his custom super-sport Yamaha, painted in all black with toxic green highlights and a spray-painted imprint of a Green-Eyed snarling beast - an oriental ogre, full tank of gas ready, a helmet for safety, map for direction just in case he found himself lost and coins for parking.

    He was about to take off when he heard a scream from behind him, a block away. He turned with narrowed eyes and looked to the source, the apartment buildings between the Tattoo Parlour(a whorehouse) and the church(another whorehouse).

    That was the Lamperd Building, where the who-… night workers stayed and did their business.

    Screams were nothing strange to hear in these parts of London, especially from that building; there was a reason most houses nearby were soundproofed after all.

    All kinds of screams came out of that building. Pleasured screams mostly, pained screams every now and then, and screams for the sake of screaming sometimes. The women were excellent actors.

    This was not one of them.

    This was a blood curdling scream that spoke of sadness and loss.

    Any other day he would have ignored it and be on his merry way, but something told him otherwise. His instinct… that gut feeling of his told him to investigate. So, he did. He pushed his bike back into the garage and closed it. He didn’t lock it on the way out and followed the scream to its source.

    When he arrived, there was a hubbub at the door as a gaggle of half-naked girls scrambled out of their quarters, bodies barely covered by sheets as they made their way up the stairs to the second floor.

    “Morning Hayley,” one of the girls greeted as she ambled her way out of her quarter, wrists rubbing the sleep out of her tired eyes and a yawn bubbling forth.

    “Heya Evans,” another greeted him, opening the door to let him in.

    “Hayley…,” greeted Rose, grumbling all the while fixing the left strap of her teddy to its proper place against her shoulder – one of many in the building he knew by name. She was a friend of sorts, close enough to loan money to sometimes and never expect it back.

    She was a pretty enough girl he supposed, she had to be to make money in her profession - she had a round face that one might consider cute, with plump cheeks, a button nose and sleep-dazed eyes with bright auburn hair that she preferred to keep dyed white with light blue highlights. Like him, she had green eyes, though not quite as vibrant as his – hers were a dirty green, a mixture of brown and green.

    Her hair was askew he noticed, with stray locks sticking out at odd angles while other stuck to her forehead, held in place by sweat and other… fluids.

    “What’s happening Rose,” he asked.

    “…’s what I’m try’n figure out?” she mumbled as she followed after the rest of the gaggle.

    Even from a distance, her breath stank. It was clear she’d just had a busy night, the little hairs between her teeth and the lipstick smear across her face, running from the left side of her plump bottom lip to her cheek could attest to that.

    “May woke me up all panicked like and shite… sounded down-rite terrified, like someone died.”

    “… hope not,” he said, following after her, just a few steps behind.

    There was a scrummage of bodies ahead. All the girls had gathered around the entrance of a door, pushing against each to reach the front and see whatever it was that had them gathered.

    “… t-that’s Sall’s room,” Hayley head Rose beside him whisper and watched as she picked up pace in a fit of panic, bulldozing through the crowd of girls with abandon… inadvertently making a path for him in the process.

    “Oi… back of slag’s,” she shouted and pushed against the door. The few at the front made way and let her through, himself as well when he got there without much trouble.

    The first peculiar thing he noticed was the door itself.

    It had no nameplate or number-plate like other rooms before it, instead it had ‘47b’ and ‘Sally-Anne’ written in black marker. The slight forward leaning slant of the lettering suggested a left-handed writer, much like himself and the sister at the Orphanage who taught most of the Street’s inhabitants.

    The narrow hallway he found himself in upon entry smelt vaguely of stale air, and of the sweat and bleach that was wafting through the vents and the bathroom to his left.

    Up ahead was where the hallway ended in a fork, leading into the kitchen on one side and the living room on the other.

    The kitchen was sparse. Clean, and sparse with very little cooking utensils lying around. Which made sense in a way. All major meals of the day were a communal affair in the Red-light of Ogre Street most of the time so there was often no need to cook.

    The living room wasn’t quite as barren as the kitchen however. It was fully decorated with a massive tv mounted to a wall and stands to either side of it, all of them filled to the brim with blu-rays, game-disks and a game system taking up most of the space of one.

    It was closer to a communal rest area than it did a resting place for a single person.

    “… oh god, Sall…,” from beyond the living room came a voice, Rose’s.

    Hayley followed it to a room that was a mix between a guest-room and a work office… whatever passed as a work office for someone in the red-light profession. That is to say it looked like photo studio, with white sheets draped against the walls, box-lamps on mounted stands positioned around the edges of the studio-area, a desk filled with underwear and cosmetic kits littered haphazardly atop and within, and a high quality camera-recorder by the window that was hooked up to a computer on another desk to the side.

    The set-up was almost professional.

    “…wha-why?... the fuck Sall, why?”

    There was the scent of blood in the air, made rather obvious to even normal senses by age. Barely an hour, maybe even less had passed since it was spilled, he could tell – it was still fresh, with that tell-tale sour tinge of iron.

    Hayley walked past a mess of cluttered equipment, some shattered glass laid on the floor next to pieces of torn cloth and into the bathroom where Rose was whispering something to herself.

    The sight before him was… not quite shocking, but distressing nonetheless. It was sadly a common thing to walk into around these parts.

    Ogre Street was not the nicest place to live. Years ago, the lawless streets of Ogre, Lamperd and Curtis would have passed for a third world slum, and though conditions have improved for the better, the scars of the past still linger.

    Of its current inhabitants, only a handful were born there and even fewer still remember those times… the rest chose to escape.

    Drugs, Alcohol and Sex being the most common escapes. As for others, the rest, they found their escapes elsewhere…

    There before him was a girl, sandy-blonde and waif-thin with eyes that might have passed for pretty had they not looked so… dead and haunted, distant.

    Sally-Anne he assumed.

    She was laying in a small bath-tub, filled to the brim with water, bloodied and thankfully still bleeding hands hanging by the edges.

    She was still breathing he noticed, if a bit breathily.

    “… why?” Rose, who must have been particularly close to Sally-Anne kept whispering and muttering accusations all the while cradling her friend’s cheek with a cupped hand, tears freely flowing down her cheeks.

    While she worried, Hayley wasted no time at all and rummaged through the medicine cabinet behind the bathroom mirror for bandages, or a first aid kit. When he found nothing in the cabinet he sighed in relief and cursed irritably.

    Relief because an empty cabinet meant no drugs, no drugs she could have abused to exacerbate her condition.

    Irritation because there was nothing he could use in the cabinet. That wasn’t to say there was nothing at all in the bathroom itself. There was plenty of items about to stem the flow of blood. The threadbare face-cloth hanging the towel rack was one such item.

    He pulled it off the rack harshly and ripped it apart, unravelling it into two long pieces.

    “Move over,” he said, pushing Rose away not so gently and went about applying first aid to the now cooling hand.

    “… what are you doing?” the girl asked, heckling

    “First Aid,” was the only reply he deigned to give, he was occupied otherwise wrapping the mostly thread-bare cloth around the right-hand wrist that hung outside the edges of the bathtub. Though stained red, the blood had already clotted on this one.

    “…why?” she looked confused, the eyes told all.

    “Your friend’s still alive,” he said, pointing to the girl in the bathtub. He fished out her left hand that was submerged in the water, assessed it and breathed another sigh of release.

    “horizontal cuts…,” he wiped the water off with a sleeve and wrapped the cloth on the other hand, “shallow too, she was scared and in… panic, I think. She didn’t bleed that much actually, only reason she passed out was this,” he pointed to the slightly pink water, “the wounds would have naturally clotted if left dry. If she’d put both hands in however, well…”

    “…”

    “Go call the cops and get someone else to call an ambulance,” he all but demanded, pulling the girl out of the water and putting her around his neck. Rose scampered out in a hurry, nearly slipping on the wet tiles as she made for the nearest phone… the landline in the kitchen he guessed.

    Most apartments in Ogre Street were the same, structurally, have been since the age of red-bricks and opium in cola, so it didn’t take long for Hayley to find the bedroom. The complex was similar enough to his own in its layout that it took him only a couple steps, a bit of awkward shuffling and careful placement to have Sally-Anne laying, not so soundly but alive, in her bed.

    Now that he was here, in the heart of Sally-Anne apartment – her bedroom, he looked around and immediately noticed something odd.

    Something very odd indeed.

    An odd discoloration on the wall, a faded ashen-greyish mark against the beige painted wall with similarly coloured splatters and spread marks.

    Scorch marks.

    Or what looked to have been scorch marks on the wall of her bedroom. No… not a scorch mark. Scorch mark were also burn marks, the spread and splash of something fire based impacting against a surface and leaving its mark. These marks, whatever they were, didn’t have that distinct look, feel or smell of an afterburn mark despite how they appeared.

    He walked out, and noticed another one just outside her bedroom, above the door on the ceiling – another mark.

    Now that he was looking for them, there were plenty of them all around the house. Against he walls, the bamboo tiling of the living room and a particularly large one in the studio-room.

    “… don’t remember….” Hayley shot up to a stand from the ground where he was crouched, inspecting one of the marks on the floor and turned his head sharply to the direction of Sally-Anne’s bedroom when he heard her voice, not quite shouting nor whispering, just announcing.

    “… I remember…,” she said again, followed by the sound of cluttering and running feet.

    “… don’t remember… but I do… don’t…,” she was muttering to herself, contradicting herself too with each word.

    “Oh God, Sall,” he heard Rose’s voice, high-strung and elated, “you’re okay… you’re alive. Thank God.”

    He walked back into the room to a scene that might have been heart warning had it not been the aftermath of an attempt. Sally-Anne, now awake… somewhat, was deathly pale, there was a slight blue coloration to her skin and her eyes looked dead, hollow and pit-less as she just stared ahead lifelessly as she muttered all the while ignorant of Rose hugging her and crying.

    He’d seen those eyes before. That haunted, thousand-yard stare he was receiving brought back unpleasant memories of his stay at the Orphanage when the Sisters would treat, shelter and console assault victims.

    “… I remember,” she was looking at when said that, straight into his eyes.

    “What do you remember?” he didn’t want to ask, but he did anyway – that challenging look in her eyes pushed him to it.

    Her hands shook, and she twitched jerkily in a bucking motion that detangled Rose from her body. She bit her lip, drawing worryingly little blood from the bite and pointed a shaky hand towards the guest room… studio room.

    “… It was me, but I don’t remember it…,” she muttered shakily, her voice trembling and a tear forming in her eyes… there was a spark of something too, a brief hint of emotion that was then smothered by blanket of despaired recalling, “… there's video of it and I’m there, but I don’t…”

    She didn’t get to finish the sentence as she was suddenly engulfed in a hug by her friend. She was better off not remembering if he was being honest with himself, so he didn’t push for more and spared her the pain… he’d gotten the gist with what little she’s said.

    “I’ll look into it,” he promised… promised what though, he wondered as he left the bedroom for the studio room.

    ♕♕♕♕♕♕

    The computer was on when he got to it. The screen was black, on standby mode and there was a red blinking light emanating from the top of the monitor… the webcam.

    [click] he pressed the enter button, and the tower beneath the desk whirred to life as it booted and began the process to restore previous tabs and windows. Hayley crossed his finger and prayed, the screen flashed on and the welcome screen greeted him… the log-in screen. He cursed, dragging the mouse to the password bar and [clicked].

    The cursor blinked and he pondered to himself if he should go back and ask for the password, but decided against it… the girl, Sally Anne was traumatized and he whatever the cause was on this computer, he didn’t want to drag up unpleasant memories if he could help it... but he needed to know what happened so he decided to try his hand at guessing.

    [********] he typed in and pressed enter. ‘password’ was as good a guess as any for a first try, unfortunately it went as expected and returned an error.

    [*********] a second try yielded another error and a warning. Three more tries left.

    [***************] a third try, another error and two tries left.

    ‘-shit,’ he cursed.

    A symbol popped up to the left of bar, an open eye symbol that flashed ‘hint’ whenever he hovered the cursor above it. He clicked it and…

    It couldn’t be that easy? Could it?

    [********] – password, with a Capital P. Who could’ve guessed?

    The screen flashed, and the login screen disappeared.

    ‘Welcome Sally-Anne’ the system greeted and transitioned to the cluttered home screen with the picture of a mostly naked Sally-Anne lying atop a mountain of fluffy cushions as the wallpaper.

    One of the programs was open and had been for a time while the computer was on standby. A web browser, maximized to fill the screen with a splash page of a cartoon succubus and a video player in the middle. There were other tabs open too, but he ignored them all and focused on the most immediate one, which was a web-camera streaming service.

    An Adult entertainment streaming service.

    ‘… she was streaming all night,’ he noticed as an idea came to mind. ‘there should be a recording saved on her account, or some playback at least.’

    It didn’t take long to find the saved video – the website was connected to the computer itself. How it worked, he didn’t much care for, but he was thankful that it did.

    He clicked on the playback button in-browser and the website redirected him to a video-file folder where he found several videos saved within. Each video containing over, at least two hours’ worth of footage, time-marked for convenience.

    He opened the first and most recent one and took a seat. It had over six hours of footage and took up a large chunk of her computer storage.

    The first few minutes were uneventful. There was nothing except white noise, an empty frame that showed an unoccupied chair and the sight of white sheets hanging in the background.

    He skipped a few minutes. Sally-Anne showed up in his, posing this way and that. He skipped by a lot more. She’d stripped at some point and was now talking, something meeting goals and raising money. He skipped to the one-hour mark.

    …there was muffled screaming in the distance.

    ‘-too far, go back a bit,’ he cursed and rewound the time stamp by ten minutes. The footage buffered for a bit then settled back to show Sally Anne in her negligee, slowly peeling it off of her shoulders teasingly before withdrawing… the footage continued for a good two minutes in the same fashion and then something else happened.

    Something strange.

    There was a loud pop and a swirl of distorted space behind her.

    Hayley paused the video and examined the patch of twisted space behind the girl.

    ‘What is that?’ the ‘pop’ noise was familiar.

    After a bit of fumbling, he managed to find the hotkey for screen-printing and printed a screenshot of the scene.

    As the printer near the landline in the kitchen whirred to life, Hayley continued the video from where he’d left it.

    The swirl turned out to be a portly man in dapper yet out of date, almost Victorian-era-esque clothing - beige pinstriped suit with an olive-green dress shirt underneath, with a lumpy cane in hand.

    Sally-Anne, startled by the pop turned around to face the man who’d quite literally materialized in her living room and screamed.

    “~Silencio~,” he heard the man hiss and tapping his cane to the ground.

    Sally-Anne didn’t stop screaming but something was wrong. Her voice sounded wrong, like she had something in her mouth muffling the intensity. She must have realised it too as she then fell to the ground and scrambled to get away from the man.

    “Stay still muggle whore,” the portly man said, “I won’t be long.”

    “…w-what the fuck… who-who are you? H-how did… how did you get here? What do you… are you here to rob me?” Sally-Anne asked in rapid fire, panic and terror evident in her voice, “…oh god - just… fuck, there’s money under the microwave okay, so - just take it and go.”

    “I’ve no use for your muggle papers girl… now stay still,” the man said, moving to stand before Sally-Anne who was out of frame but obviously on the floor, “If you co-operate you won’t remember a slip of this.”

    He raised his cane, pointed the glowing tip-first down at Sally-Anne.

    “~Confundus~,” the man said.

    ‘Magic,’ Hayley instantly recognised it for what it was, and from the word used to evoke… he didn’t much like the type of magic being cast.

    “~Dome-Totalus~,” the man chanted again, and a sickly violet mist seeped from the cane, down to the girl still on the floor.

    “Get up,” the portly man commanded of the girl who did as was asked, rising to a stand in a shambling almost zombie-like manner.

    “Take me to your quarters.”

    Sally-Anne didn’t respond. She just stood in place, staring dead ahead in a confused daze.

    “Your sleeping quarters… the bedroom, you twit.”

    “…N-n-no,” she slurred her denial as something sparked in the girl’s eyes, resistance. She almost seemed to falter, taking a step back instead of forward, as if fighting for control over her sense.

    “… what… impossible! Not even a giant can resist ‘Dome-Totalus’… this – no, it must be a fault in my wording,” the man mumbled to himself. “Take me to your sleeping quarters…now,” he asked once more.

    Sally-Anne looked at the man, a lone tear streaming down her right as she moved, one step at a time, struggling all the while as she led the man to the kitchen and past the hallway to her bedroom. There was a moment of silence that followed just after they walked away from frame, where Hayley heard a meaty ‘whack’ of flesh against flesh followed by running footsteps and screaming.

    “~stupefy… stupefy… accio-rope… stupe – argh, Merlin… stupefy… damn it, stay still… stupe… incarcerous… petrificus-totalus.”

    Heavy breathing, the sound of dragging and the loud slam of a door closing in the distance. No other sound was heard, and silence followed.

    The remaining four hours of footage had nothing of note, just the background and a time-lapse of the passage of time as the moon sunk and sun set.

    Hayley rewound the video again, back to the moment the portly man appeared and scrubbed the footage for a good shot of the man’s face. He found one that showed the man facing directly into the camera at a close enough distance and good position to capture his features in almost perfect clarity - stubby nose, bushy brows, hazel eyes and crooked teeth with salt-and-pepper specked hair and a stubby beard on one of his many chins.

    He took another screenshot and sent it to the printer in the kitchen, making sure to print as many copies as he could in the process.

    The computer shutdown as he left, making his way to the kitchen to collect the screenshots he’d taken. It was still printing from the sound he could hear from the kitchen, and as he rounded the corner into the counter area where the knife-rack and spoon drawer were, he noticed the open fridge, the leg sticking out from underneath and the rustle of paper.

    There was someone in the kitchen.

    He found Rose in there, standing by the printer, looking at one of the printed pages with an expression of pure rage on her face.

    ‘She called the cops, then,’ he assumed when he saw the landline laid flat against the kitchen counter.

    “… that’s him… the bastard who did this to her?” she asked with a dangerous edge to her voice, passing the warm page to him which he received readily and with a reply.

    “Yeah… it is.”

    “…you goin’ looking for him, right?”

    Hayley considered the question. He had his doubts about the results a police investigation would yield – it wasn’t a question of competency because the London police could be competent when they wanted to be. It was simply a case of ability, there wasn’t much normal police could do when the criminal could apparently mind-control people and erase memories at a whim. No… this needed a heavier hand, a supernatural hand – perhaps his ‘father’ could help. He was an ‘Auror’ after all, magical policemen of some kind according to the old witch’s booklet.

    “Yeah…,” he finally replied.

    It appeared he’d be visiting Grimmauld Place sooner than anticipated.

    “Good… I’m coming with,” she announced in a tone that left no room for argument.

    … and with a guest, apparently.

    ♕♕♕♕♕♕
    SPF Archives #002411​

    The power of Extra-Sensory Perception, better known as E.S.P or Psychic Power is the ability to perceive certain aspects of reality whether they be real, unreal or metaphysical as tangible forces that can be interacted with in the walking plane. This allows those gifted to manifest strange abilities that defy human understanding such as the ability to read minds, levitate objects, heal with a touch and stop time.

    E.S.P, however, can be particularly draining for any mortal, flesh-and-blood-being to use in any situation as it draws life-energy directly from the physical coil, thus leading the mind to actively limit mortal control to prevent remuneration from over-use.

    The power of STANDs, I theorize, is simply E.S.P taken to the next level. It is the manifestation of one’s soul projected into the waking world to be used as a medium of E.S.P, very much like a focus or wand. //claim rebuffed by [redacted] due to insubstantial proof//

    Excerpt taken from Director Straits journal
     
    caspian1a likes this.
  4. fluffy

    fluffy Making the rounds.

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    wait Im confused. I thought straizo was a vampire. also really good update, im getting an almost dresden files vibe from it. I also like how the wizard didnt think to wipe or destroy the computer simply because he probably never used one before. Love it.
     
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  5. Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

    Joined:
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    Before that he was a student of Ton Petty, an expert at Hamon and a vampire slayer... and he fell from the grace when he saw the power Dio had received from the stone masks and wanted it for himself.

    I should add an AU tag to clarify canon divergences
     
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