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  1. #1

    As the sun begins to set over the city of Sacremento, it casts brilliant alternating streaks of light and shade, illuminating the tombstones in brilliant shades of orange, yet also hiding the names and dates of those buried below. Most of them happen to be small crosses of orphans or veterans, but there's more than enough tall mausoleums dedicated to those who were rich and wanted to be buried with all the signs of the material wealth, making it somewhat difficult to navigating in the confusing shadows.

    The iron gates to the cemetery lock at 6 o'clock, thanks to the city council, but it rarely stops anyone dedicated from venturing in, be it for witchcraft, a dare, or, in one particular case, a nice evening meal for a certain Blightbent .

  2. #2

    Had anyone within the cemetary been watching a certain section of the wall, they would have seen a particularly odd sight; a pair of tall platform boots sailing over the old stone. They were swiftly followed by their owner, landing in the grass with a distinct lack of grace and a handful of muffled curses. Perhaps, if Jezebel had known the gates were locked, she'd have chosen more practical footwear, but then they wouldn't have matched the rest of her outfit. She was dressed nice - which, in her book, was a riotous assembly of corsetry, short skirts and stockings, fingerless gloves and tall boots, and assorted ribbons and streamers all rendered in clashing neon green and glossy black.

    Sure, it looks good. Jezebel ruminated as she laced her boots back up. And it's about the only thing that really works with the mask. But, damn if it isn't a pain at times.

    With that, she set off across the graveyard, following the instructions on Jessica's note. "Turn left at the...yea, here we are, then through brambles..."

    Passing through the gate, she paused for a moment as the undergrowth began to rustle with hidden movement. Digging around in the small bag she'd brought with her, Jezebel produced a handful of apples. She held one up for the unseen, lurking creatures to see.

    "There'll be no trouble from you lot, right?" She called out. "Jessica invited me, and I brought you these. Can you show me the rest of the way?"

  3. #3

      Odd, the graveyard is very quiet.
    Date Action Roll Result
    2012-07-23 16:00:59 Black Jessica rolls 6 to Ghostly Presence (Presence + Wyrd) (10 Again) 3, 7, 2, 5, 1, 4 failure
    I swear, it never wants to pop for me.

    Dusk is casting oblique shadows around the maze of brambles that leads to Jessica's hollow, making most of the shapes confusing and awkward to follow, as if the shadows themselves intend to keep the entrance hidden and secure, concealing the precise entrance point. Yet there is that rustling somewhere up ahead, as if something was moving, and faint breathing can be heard as it pauses for a moment.

    Suddenly, a shriveled white hand and head - the familiar, rigid face of Jessica appearing from between the leaves - pokes out, and politely takes the apple with a smile and gentle laugh. "Why, thank you. I was just looking for those two. Maybe you scared them off." Frowning for a brief moment, she pushes herself out of the mass of leaves, pulling one of them from her dead mop of hair. The single apple is left just outside of the hollow, as she shifts her load in her hands - a small blanket, wrapped around some items.

    "I was thinking it might be more comfortable to eat just outside the hollow. There's no ghosts around tonight. You look nice!" The series of disconnected statments tumble out of her mouth, a nervous attempt to put her guest at ease, even if she wasn't feeling it herself. Unlike her Blightbent friend, Jessica was wearing a nice, simple white dress. Well, it'd be nice if it wasn't designed to fit a fourteen year old, or if it wasn't eight years old, but it doesn't look terrible. Just aged and slightly too small for her frame.

    Sliding up to her feet, she stretches out her neck once, glancing around. "Shall we? There's a small tomb just outside that can make for a great table."

  4. #4

    "Nice? Nah, I look like a freak in a gas mask." Jezebel laughed. Even in as good mood as she was, it was a harsh, ugly noise. "But I'm a well-dressed freak in a gas mask, and that's what counts." She glanced past the gravewight at the hole she'd emerged from, looking to see if there was any kind of obvious door. Part of her still missed her old Hollow, even if it had been as much a drugs lab as a home, and she was vaguely curious as to how Jessica had built hers.

    She nodded when Jessica suggested they eat outside. "Sure. It's a nice evening. Shame to waste it inside. And hey," Jezebel half-knelt down, to make sure she wasn't looming over the other girl and putting her ill at ease. "Don't be so nervous. I ain't here to judge, and you don't need to worry about making a good impression." She nodded towards the blanket in Jessica's arms. "You've obviously gone to a lot of effort, and that's more than a lot of people would do for someone like me."

    It wasn't an exaggeration. Jezebel wasn't used to people making an effort for her like this. Truth told, part of her was slightly confused over why Jessica was doing it.

    I mean, sure, I stood up to protect her when that thing came by. But I just did what I'm supposed to do. That's how a Freehold should work, right? Everyone works to keep everyone else safe. You do it because it's right, not because you want to be rewarded.

    But it was nice. She might not quite understand why it was happening, but she was enjoying herself. So she didn't worry about it too much.

    "Now, come on." Jezebel said, standing up and taking a step back towards the Graveyard. "Let's see this tomb you were talking about. And I'm kinda curious to see what you cooked."

  5. #5

    As Jezebel finally turns, she might just notice a gnarled, familiar hand slip out of the leaves, narrow fingers clenching around the apple with a long, slow snicker.

    Not that her new friend seems to notice, as she laughs, shaking her head and walking among the gravestones, fingers lingering over each headstone. A mourning widow dwelled in this one, a child looking for their parents in the other - not that they were out tonight. It made the slightest crease appear on her rigid forehead, and had Jezebel not been there, she may have decided to investigate. But she had a friend, and company, and she was determined not to act in the slightest way rude by looking for a ghost. "Yeah, but it's the whole... Goth thing, isn't it?" She turned around, glancing at her and shrugging as she took a few steps backwards, keeping an evaluating eye on Jezebel. "Like, the way you dress."
    A beat. She paused and shook her head. "Which is okay. I didn't mean to be rude, and I think you can wear what you want, and -"

    And she wasn't there to judge. She's okay with you. Everything's okay. It took a few moments for Jessica to take hold of the panic rising up in her chest and get a hold on it, reassuring herself that it was fine, that Jezebel was happy, really, to spend some time with her. That it'd all be fine.
    Eventually, she smiled, awkwardly, and took a deep breath as she nodded. "Thank you."

    As they continued through the graveyards, snaking through crypts, Jessica's movement could almost be mistaken for a ghost - if it wasn't for the way that she'd occasionally stumble on a rock or trip, removing the illusion that she was gliding over the ground, snaking among the ancient tombstones. At least it was just a small graveyard, though, and it turned out that the grave wasn't too far from where her hollow. Heavy-set and tall, the tomb hung over and seemed to spiral away into the sky in tall, thin spires, with a long, tall grave receeding from the bottom. The result made an interesting table and shelter, with the edging of the tomb's gutter acting as a small bench, in a way.
    And while the designer of the grave had, obviously, never intended for it to be used as a table, the occasional stain or cigarette butt said that it had been used as one for some time.

    "Smokey Joe's grave," explained Jessica, placing the cloth on the top of the grave and gently unfurling it, revealing the contents. A thermos of tea lay nestled in a ridge of the grave, along with some plastic cups, a few plates, and a few sandwiches, biscuits, slices - small things to nibble on. Glancing up, she shrugged and smiled. It was modest, after all. But she figured it'd be more than enough.

  6. #6

    As they walked through the graveyard, Jezebel slowed down slightly, letting Jessica take the lead. It was her home, after all. She actually knew where she was going, and it might help the girl's confidence not to follow in someone else's shadow all the time. While the Gravewight drifted smoothly - the odd stumble aside - over the ground and between the tombs, Jezebel ate the distance up with ungainly, loping strides and the occasional hop over a fallen headstone. She was careful not to actually touch any of them, though. It seemed wrong. Disrespectful, almost, to accidentally foul them with oily fingerprints or smears of tar.

    "I gotta say, I'm not normally one for art." Jezebel said, eyeing up Smokey Joe's tomb as they approached. "But that is a damn impressive chunk of rock."

    She slid in under the overhang, settling down on the gutter-come-bench, watching curiously at the bundle was unfurled.

    Okay, we've got biscuits, crackers, a couple of sandwiches and...I can't eat any of this. Fucking enforced liquid diet.

    Jezebel felt a surge of frustration, not at Jessica, but her own flawed body and the hissing, bulky prison clamped around her face. She fumbled with the catch for a moment and unhooked the straw, pouring herself a drink from the thermos and sucking up a mouthful, trying to put the thought out of her mind. If she got wrapped up thinking about all the things she couldn't do, it'd just send her into another bitter, foul mood.

    Plenty of time for that when you're on your own. But not right now.

    "This is nice." She said, taking a moment to let her eyes wander over the graveyard before turning back to Jessica. "So, how've you been, anyway? I hope you've not had any more trouble."

  7. #7

    Jessica took a small bite from the corner of a salad sandwich, gazing at Jezebel and chewing thoughtfully as she leaned on the edge of the grave, thinking for a few silent moments. The normal anxiety that seems to pervade her isn't as prevalent here, though whether it's Jezebel's presence, or the familiarity with her own turf, is a matter for debate. Eventually, she answered, letting her gaze slip up towards the top of the tomb, thoughtful.

    "I know. I have a funny theory about it." She didn't elaborate on it, however, instead taking another bite out of her sandwich and watching Jezebel struggle with the drink, the thermos, for a few moments - before realizing the sudden necessity of the straw once it plunged into the liquid. Straw. Gas mask. She couldn't hide the compassionate wince, and opened her mouth to offer something, only for a moment, before closing it again once more. It wouldn't have been polite.
    With a slight bite of her lip, she held her expression, before she finally trusted herself to speak. "You're, uh - Well. Not at all, thankfully. Trouble, I mean." It took her a few moments before she managed to pull herself out of her nervous, rapid way of speaking. "The two hobs are... a little over-the-top, but it makes me feel good having them around. And there's always all the ghosts here to handle, give help, get to the Afterlife..."

    She sighed. "Lot of work to be done, y'know?"

  8. #8

    "The mask, right?" Jezebel said. She might have struggled with the fine points of social interaction, but Jessica's reaction was one that she'd seen plenty of times before. The sudden moment of understanding, followed by the uncomfortable silence, tapering off into the mutual embarassment of neither party knowing what to say next. Jezebel had long since stopped being offended or upset by it. Like most things, it was just another part of life to be dealt with.

    "I ain't gonna pretend it's not a pain to live with, but I'm not gonna be able to get rid of the thing any time soon. So there's no sense getting wound up about it, right? Might as well just...deal with it as best I can and move on."

    "But anyway,"
    Jezebel waved a hand dismissively, privately wanting to move the conversation on. The mask bothered her far more than she often let on to other people, and she didn't like lingering on it. "What's it like, being able to talk to ghosts and things? I can talk with pollution a bit, but I doubt it's the same."

  9. #9

    "If I'd known, I would've made some soup. I make really good vegetable soup." She shrugged slightly, bowing her head as if to apologize or react with an appropriate gesture. The motion made a flap of skin split and peel on the back of her neck, leaving a nasty black gash behind it, and with a faint sigh, she glanced past her, towards the tombs, and let her change the subject onto something easier.

    Well, not as easy. Could she describe the sigils of Isis and Anubis, the way that the Goddesses and spirits had honed the gift before this had even started? The months spent trawling websites, alt-tabbing every-time her parents got into the room, or the feeling of ecstasy when a ouiji board moved for the first time? Putting such moments and memories into words was difficult, to say the least. "They're... a lot like people," she replied. "Like us. Stuck and grieving and trying to move on. And the best thing you can do for them is help them with that, and make their life a bit easier."

    She decided it wouldn't be appropriate not to mention how useful they were for B&E.

  10. #10

    "Ah, it's no worry. Something to keep in mind for next time, right? We can swap recipies and stuff." Jezebel said.

    Feels weird, doesn't it? Doing something so normal. I can't remember the last time I actually shared a meal, or at least a drink, with someone just for the sake of their company.

    Of course, then they started talking about communicating with dead people, and the strange, temporary illusion of mundanity vanished once more. Jezebel didn't mind too much, though - she was rather curious about the whole thing. While it wasn't something she thought about much, echoes of her religious upbringing had ensured she always possessed some nebulous belief in life after death, even if she had no idea what form it would take. In the past, it had just one more thing to talk about while getting stoned.

    I should try going to Church again. The thought flickered through her head for a moment. Jezebel thought for a moment, then shook the idea clear and turned her attention back to Jessica.

    "Yea, I get you. Or at least, I think I do." She said. "They're just, like...stuck in a loop they can't break out of on their own. They need someone to try and do it for them. Or maybe they don't even know what they're doing, and someone's gotta help them realise what's wrong."

    The image of a young woman with her eyes rolled back in her head, froth bubbling up between her lips, thrashing and twisting through a violent fit flashed through Jezebel's mind.

    Jezebel nodded. "Not so different from some of us, in a way."

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