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Dark Passenger

Pleasantville Asylum -Flashback-

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a part of Dark Passenger, by Crooked Thoughts.

Pleasantville Asylum: a hell hidden amongst the flora and fauna of the forest.

Crooked Thoughts holds sovereignty over Pleasantville Asylum -Flashback-, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

243 readers have been here.

Setting


Past 2006: Pleasantville Asylum - Mount Pleasant, New York
ImageOut on its own in the rurual wilderness of Mount Plesant, sits Pleasantville Asylum. The facility has rested at the mountain's base for more than 50 years, but only for the last decade and a half has it been a psychiatric hospital. Before the restoration and remodeling, it was a minimal security prison. Budget cuts saw its doors closed in 1979 for five years until Sebastian Castellan and his colleagues saw its potential. Its reclusive location made it perfect as a treatment center for the mentally unstable as well as their other activities.

The updated version of the building utilized a lot of its predecessors features. Cells were restructured into dorms for regular patients, while solitary only endured minor changes in its reassignment to High Risk Containment for special patients. Checkpoints between each cell block were kept the same since they made great barriers between the varying wards. The surveillance system went through a mandatory update, allowing security to monitor the entire estate, inside and out. But, the most drastic of alterations were applied to the mountain the Asylum rested against.

Running throughout a portion of the mountain was a series of tunnels and caverns. The mountain lair was a secret project of Sebastian Castellan he kept hidden from the Fraternity. He used it to perform experiments on a seemingly endless supply of volunteers. An endeavor made possible through the mask of their murders, made to appear as suicides and runaway deaths instead. Whenever he needed a new body, his men would just abduct a sleeping patient in their room using a number of secret passages.

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Pleasantville Asylum -Flashback-

Pleasantville Asylum: a hell hidden amongst the flora and fauna of the forest.

Minimap

Pleasantville Asylum -Flashback- is a part of Pleasantville Asylum Ruins.

3 Characters Here

Gallius Dives [5] "My body's broken, but yours is bent."
Maximilien Robespierre [5] "Anything less than perfection is unacceptable."
Cheshire [5] "Stop? I can't help it... All I hear when you're crying, is laughs."

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

"Over here my sweet meats." spoke a voice belonging to a young man.

The individual had a permanent smile on his face, but it wasn't because his life was filled with joy and happiness. To the contrary, his twenty years on earth were full of trials and tribulations that would break the psyche of a normal man. Yet, this one took it with a phlegmatic stride, trivializing every situation until he'd become quite blasé to death, danger, and debauchery. Lazy indifference, a persistent smile, and general optimism make this character similar to another thus awarding him the epithet, Cheshire. And presently, Cheshire's long red hair was sticking to his forehead due to perspiration. An unfortunate situation involving his biological father, Sebastian Castellan, and his untimely death has led to a rather fortunate opportunity. Said opportunity was the chance to escape from the asylum he had come to call home. However, the death of his father who was also the warden had complicated things. The irony of the situation is that it was Sebastian's idea to escape, he was even going to help Cheshire and a handful of other patients do so. So why'd he kill the only person willing to help him? The simple answer would be that he's crazy, but it's actually more complicated than that. Sebastian wanted to use Cheshire and his Dark Passenger as weapons to achieve his own personal goals. His father also revealed that this was the reason behind Cheshire's existence and that he had suffered to cultivate his Dark Talents. Finding this out enraged Cheshire and lead to Sebastian's very painful death. Now, here he is, accompanied by four perfect strangers all trying to break out from a prison turned mental hospital ran by a satanic cult.

"It isn't the way out, but we can at least catch our breath." Cheshire said, as he returned to the group.

He was leading them to back to a storage room, full of extra furniture, boxes of paper, and other miscellaneous crap. They had been exploring an unused wing of the building since it lacked cameras and the only plausible route of escape. But because none of them had ever been in the area, it was proving difficult to find an exit. Surely they had been out of their room for at least an hour now, dodging patrols and taking out lone guardsmen. It was only through a security exploitation that they were able to escape their cells in the first place. Soon enough, their luck would run out and they would be caught, it was only a matter of time.

Cheshire made sure everyone was in and the coast was clear, before closing the door and addressing the group. "We can't keep this up all night, it'll be morning soon. They'll find empty cells and tear this whole damn place apart looking for us. That's assuming we make it that long. Someone could find one of the bodies or us for that matter. It's now or never."


Cheshire & AliceMonday MAR 13 2006 1:43:11


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Andromeda SnowMonday MAR 13 2006 1:44:09


Little sweetmeats? Andromeda suppressed a snort of disgust, if only barely. He was aware that a sweetmeat wasn’t meat at all, wasn’t he? It was perhaps an inconsequential thing to most, but details mattered. Tiny pieces, tidbits of information that went unnoticed to minds so caught up in irrelevancies like emotion and adrenaline. She was no such creature, to be carried away by her fear or her excitement. Andromeda was cold, calculating, calm, and precise. She was, alas, also unfortunately dependent on these people until such time as they could actually get out of this damned building and breathe the outside air again.

This was her punishment for the few times she’d ever done things for someone else’s sake. Naturally—nothing she would ever do would be so suspicious as to land her in a place like this. There were no worse places. Andromeda could have handled a juvenile detention center, or even a prison. It would have been a matter of days before she’d established herself at the top of the food chain there, and she well knew it. Here was different—because here was run by a goddamn cult, and they didn’t succumb so easily to manipulation. She’d deduced that it was a cult within a week of being admitted. Rather slow, but then she had been quite a bit younger at the time, so perhaps excusable in retrospect.

She hadn’t seen the demon coming, but then, what rational person ever would?

Presently, the striking young woman looked a little worse for wear, tendrils of her white hair clinging to the back of her neck and her forehead, fallen loose from the ponytail that contained the rest. Her dark complexion bore a faint sheen of sweat, and there was a cut on her cheek. She’d had to get inventive with the lock on her door—they’d taken to denying her anything as simple as a bobby pin because they’d at last started to wise up to what a mind geared for ingenuity could do with even an implement so simple. It was then she’d known that getting out was becoming imperative. No longer was the simple interest of seeing what they would do enough to keep her here, nor the rather interesting cocktail of fear, dread, and misery that she could feed Lilith.

Leaning back against the door, Andromeda crossed her arms beneath her breasts and closed her eyes. It made this easier, not having the visual distractions. One day, she swore, she’d be able to do it as naturally as breathing, but today was not that day. Tuning out the pointless conversation going on around her, she tapped into the mental frequencies nearby. Ignoring Murtagh’s active paranoia was difficult, but she managed it, focusing instead for those people outside their little half-dozen. At first, it was only whispers, but then Andromeda exhaled, and the last of the goings-on in the room slipped away, granting her access to the minds of those elsewhere.

“As useful as I’m sure a map would be,” she asserted coolly, opening her eyes and flicking a clear blue glance from Gallius to Cheshire. “There’s no time. One of the guards has decided to check this very room for his stash of stolen medication, and he’s got friends with him. Five of them. We have fifteen seconds before they’re here.” Lilith was quite looking forward to it, of course, but Andromeda was frankly none too pleased. This would have gone so much better if she'd just tried it on her own...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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#, as written by Ezarael


Maximilien Robespierre
Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet
Monday MAR 13 2006 1:44:30


Despite the revolting presence of drab, white-washed, not that he had much of a distaste for the lack of color as he did for its blatant, uninspired overuse, and the horrifically disorganized furniture, papers, and garbage littering the room a young boy was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere of the room, and on that note the entirety of this wing of the asylum to be honest. It was hard to discern whether it was the soft moonlight drifting through opaque, dirtied glass, the chaotic state of everything located inside, most of it strewn about as if an earthquake had hit just prior to their entrance, the seemingly empty abandonment the cluttered, but empty space screamed of, or the dead guards which were littering the hallways and various rooms. Probably some combination of all of these elements were what sparked that inferno burning within his chest, and deepened Melpomene’s insatiable hunger, he had to take in every ounce of what the various rooms had to offer him, so that later he would be able to harness its raw essence into something of beauty, taking the raw materials provided and transforming the sum of the parts into something transcendent.

Maybe that was the reason Maximilien had crouched over the body of a slain guard, some fool who had been paying more attention to some filthy magazine and coffee than his job, a very dangerous decision given his employ within an insane asylum with characters such as Cheshire stalking about. That didn’t matter though, the guard was merely a supply of fresh sketching materials, the sticky substance being replenished at a much quicker pace than it was being utilized, which was quite a feat given the ferocity with which the artist stroked and brushed his fingers against the hard-wood of a desk, giving off the same appearance as a finger-painting child, maybe somewhat malicious, but still child-like none-the-less. Anything involving painting, sketching, drawing, or what-have-you were always his least favorite activities, they seemed so infantile and easily destructible that they weren’t worth the time or effort they took, but at times they served to put his thoughts to paper, materializing the mental images in such a way he could only manage.

Voices sounded off in the background, but they were of little consequence now, Maximilien had to finish this image, someone needed to bring it to life so that others could experience the grim beauty of this moment, and only he could perform such a task. Unfortunately for the artist though, his supply of finger-paints had run out, and a defeated sigh breathed out of his full-lips slowly, knowing full-well that the moment was lost and his current masterpiece would go unfinished. His mind changed its trajectory, turning to the conversation being had by his compatriots, motley to say the least, and for the most part incapable of producing any works of art such as he, except the one who was smiling, their “leader” at this point in time, seemed slightly different. His art may not have been as quintessentially pure and everlasting as his own, but the scenes he had seen him craft with the murders he committed were something beautiful in their own right, and the way he described gore was remarkable. Maximilien had spent many an hour trying to recreate the images painted by this smiling savant of murder.

A haughty scoff echoed through the quiet room after the artist registered their comments about a map, what amateurs could not merely feel the layout of a building from its design? This building was made for utilitarian purposes and to keep others in, it wasn’t very hard to figure out where they needed to go if they deciphered the designer’s creative process via the layout of the building, something that was rather simplistic given the complete lack of creativity in any part of this building. “Open your mind. Maps are only useful when you cannot see what is right in front of you. There is nothing special about this building; the designer lacked any artistic talent whatsoever. Figuring out the right path is but a trifle.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

Here and now, in this moment, was a perfect example of why people refereed to the red-headed menace as Cheshire. Faced with adversity and certain doom, still this young man was completely calm in spite of his odds of survival. Sure there was sweat dripping from his brow, but it wasn't from anxiety but from exhaustion. Most obviously, was his smile; so wide and bearing teeth... If he were any other man, he might have accompanied Murtagh and cowered in a corner, fearing for his life. But like everyone else in the room, he knew this building was home to things scarier than conniving guards. Which is why he didn't fret over mere mortals and their sticks, instead he reveled at their perfect timing, hence his happiness. Fate saw fit to deliver unto him six men, all of whom were knowledgeable on his surroundings; he had to appreciate the humor in that. It was only then that he wished he was alone, being in a group made it hard to get optimal results. Such a delicate situation required stealth, precision, and time all of which he had none of. Cheshire wasn't a highly skilled assassin with years of training and advanced weaponry, he was something worse: a demonically possessed, cold-blooded killer who with a dark room, sharp blade, and restraints could make a person beg for the sweet mercy of death. Unfortunately for these greedy men, he had all of those things and just enough time to extract the information he needed.

Footsteps, he could actually hear them now. "Now kids, be on your best behavior for our guest!" he whispered jovially. A quick nod along with a mental command sent the girl who had become his shadow to hide in a wardrobe nearest Andromeda. She was ordered to stay there until he and no one else told her to come out. Alice, as was her name, made no sound to confirm, only scurried away to do as she was told. Unlike anyone he had ever met before, Cheshire felt the strange need to protect this child. He was connected to her, and not just by the mental link she formed between them; it was more than that. The anger he felt when he saw those damned cultists hurting her... Never, ever, had Cheshire lifted a single finger to help someone in need, especially if it didn't benefit him. Yet, without hesitation, he barged recklessly in a room, ignorant of the dangers hidden inside and risked his life for a stranger he had never even seen before? The severity of its obscureness was enough to withdraw him from reality, only to be hurled back by the recurring sound of conversation and laughter. Reentry to the present summoned a mischievous grin along with the parting present from his late father and warden, a uniquely crafted dagger. He held the weapon at his side as he pressed his body to the wall behind the door, opposite of Gallius, who was apparently volunteering for first strike. Now, they had nothing to do but wait.

Cheshire's heartbeat ran parallel to the proximity of the approaching group, increasing in tempo with every step that brought the men closer to the door. He was excited, feeling like the wolf as it stalks its prey. His heart was pounding like a madman banging on drums; he was surprised no one could hear it. And then, the moment of truth was upon him -- the door was kicked open simultaneously everything quieted and slowed. Cheshire grabbed the handle of the door, stopping it from rebounding too much and revealing that something was behind it. The guards had barely passed the threshold before Gallius' assault began and ended, resulting with the mass of them rolling around the floor like a dust cloud of fist and feet. There was a silver lining to this dust cloud, though. His allies misfortune presented an opportunity for Cheshire to ambush a straggler, "how predator-like," he thought to himself. The guard was moseying in to seemingly assist the other four guards, little did he know, he would end up condemning them instead. As the man cleared the door, Cheshire sprung his trap. He quickly shut the door, filling the room again with darkness excluding the slivers of moonlight streaming in from the window. Then, like a boa-constrictor preparing its meal, Cheshire wrapped himself around the unwary guard and pulled him in a secluded corner. Seconds was all he had to conduct his interrogation, but that was all he needed. These guards were not elite soldiers tasked with protecting their country, they were civilians here only for the meager pay. Tempt them with death and secrets would flow like water from a faucet.

In the quietest voice he could muster without hindering his words, Cheshire spoke in his hostage's ear, "Now, unless you want your insides to become outsides? I suggest you tell me what I want to know, and be quick about it. I'm in no mood to play." To demonstrate his resolve, Cheshire placed his knife just inside the man's stomach, causing him to twist and murmur a in pain.


Maximilien RobespierreMonday Mar 13 2006 1:45:00

Everyone seemed so concerned with the arrival of the guards, as if such flawed creations could possibly pose some semblance of a threat to them, as if the guards' obvious imperfections could possibly compete with the inherent beauty in their group, even if uncreative. The females moved away whilst the twitchy Mick rushed for a pipe, and the strange one rushed their guests head-on, leaving him to think how uninspired and lacking . . ., but not Cheshire, Maximilien knew that Cheshire could formulate an inspired plan of beauty quickly, and the execution would prove more than adequate to fuel the artist's creative desires. Before long the strange one was huddled within a pile of entangled bodies, lacking any capability of coming up with any original contingency, leaving the young artist to scream on the inside, his creative thirst being torn asunder by the actions of the incompetent fool. Cheshire though, what a thing of beauty, it had taken only moments for him to grab a straggler, obviously lacking in the foresight to consider the possibility of a lunatic waiting behind a door to snatch one of them. Time had slowed down to a standstill for Maximilien, as if this instant was supposed to be frozen in time so that he could properly inhale the essence of the scene laid out before him, feeling an invigorating wave of desire wash over his previously uninspired body.

Despite the obvious lack of talent amidst the majority of these comrades, if that word could be used here, there was some beauty to be had in the coordinated disarray displayed before him, they each knew what they were supposed to do, even if they didn't know it. There was a synergy between them, even if just for this one moment in history, and this moment would definitely need to be preserved in the annals of history, all he had to do was find some way to preserve it . . . Why don't you join in sweetling? These incompetents couldn't possibly compete with your brilliance, their spark pales in comparison to the flame burning inside you. Melpomene was speaking to him, urging him to become one with this moment, and as always his muse never let him down, she knew exactly what he would need to bring this scene to life later, and the only way to do so was to take part in the raw-emotion of the tussle. She was right, these simpletons could not possibly bring any harm to him, despite their size or armament, their moves were bland and repetitive, such lowly creatures could never comprehend the sheer brilliance that would accompany his actions.

"Yes, I must be a part of this if this scene is to be complete, it needs my talent . . . and I need supplies to finish my sketch."

As his body began to lurch forward, time started accelerating, until it surpassed where it had been prior to his muse's urging, but he knew exactly what needed to be done.The artist approached the oblivious group of guards pummeling the strange companion ceaselessly, blinded by their ignorance and simplicity, and he awaited for the right set of movemtents that he knew were coming, the repetition of their movements made determining their next move simple. A baton-ladened hand swung backwards, its wrist arching heavily and twist inwards slighty, greatly relaxing the hold his target had upon their weapon, and that was exactly the moment for which he was waiting. Maximilien snatched the weapon swiftly, twirling the end around just as quick and bringing the tip crashing down into the man's skull, sending splatters of blood, bone, and skull splattering across the room as Pollock would paint across a canvas. A surge of adrenaline fueled his movements, the boy backing off as the the other guards noticed his presence. They may be inferior beings, but taking advantage of sloppy, uninspired movements on an unexpecting target was much different than the current threat.

A smile almost threatened to don his youthful face, but the urge died down just as quickly. It was an unfamiliar expression.


Murtagh MacCaddochMonday Mar 13 2006 1:45:15

Murtagh, unsurprisingly, lingered in the back while furiously debating whether or not to rush in. The guards, upon inspection were of nothing to note. They were unarmored, and carried batons that the pipe out-ranged. Then, all of a sudden, the primary source of light was extinguished (no doubt by Chesire) and the guards were left in disarray. Gallius dove one, something Murtagh would never do. Chesire dragged one away in silence. As the fearful youth procrastinated, Maximilien had already moved forward and skillfully disarmed one. The resounding crunch made Murtagh flinch and Myron swoon. His grip on the pipe tightened as a guard broke free of the morass of limbs near the front and rushed for Maximilien to save his comrade. It was better to take advantage of that guard's brash move rather than engage a guard that would focus on him.

Just as the guard finished closing the distance to give the "artist" a swift canvas of darkness, Murtagh gritted his teeth and jabbed the pipe with both hands as hard as he could. The pipe connected with the guard's side, sending him stumbling. Adrenaline began coursing through Murtagh once more, leaping in and swiping at the vulnerable guard. The blow connected with his head, leaving him on the ground and moaning. Murtagh immediately knew the man was oblivious to the world now, and hesitated slightly. His ears continued to ring, the blood continued to roar, and now Myron interjected. Murtagh's look of tentative mercy became one of a wild animal as Myron poured doubt and anger into his thoughts. The man will get up and expose them. The man will live and condemn us in the end. The only way to ensure he stayed down was to hit him more. Murtagh's sight began to tinge with red as he descended upon the vulnerable man, whacking him again with the pipe. The pipe swung more, and more, the blows becoming more wild as Murtagh fought to ensure that the man would never tell a soul what happened here. It was only when a bit of blood got into his eye that he realize that the man's head had been completely mutilated. He wasn't incapacitated anymore, he was dead.

Cold realization set in not long after. Murtagh was a murderer now, in every form of the word. Turning slowly, he saw the other guards that were approaching him slowly. The only reason why Murtagh hadn't been clocked over the head yet was because of Maxemilien's presence and the intimidating aura he expelled after so easily dispatching their comrade. They kept a stern eye on the black youth, but this time they were now aware of the less-graceful animal named Murtagh. He was an animal now. The stained PVC pipe dripped with blood and flesh, and this time Murtagh had no excuse for so thoroughly ensuring a closed-casket funeral for this man. He couldn't summon any tears in his shocked state, and only the pure drive to remain alive caused him to clumsily dismount the man's corpse and back up to stand behind Maximilien. As he did so, the corpse of the man seemed to gain a stark contrast in the darkness, and the corpse began glowing a faint blue. The dark voice inside Murtagh was roaring with approval. Murtagh felt himself heat up, and looked at his hands. He was now a glowing blue outline in the faint darkness, the exact opposite of what he wanted. Confusion set in, and he shuffled back further. He had listened in on his ward-mates and knew about these Dark Talents, but he didn't know his until now. Both Murtagh and the corpse's glow faded after a brief moment, and Murtagh felt a hole he had never paid attention to before fill slightly. Suddenly some of the things Myron had said made a bit more sense.

There was no time to begin more experimenting, however. He regretted not doing so while still in the ward, but he didn't dare practice under the fear that his ward-mates would turn his powers against him. It was far better to appear a weak and insane fool that isn't worth the scum on the tile. Murtagh dropped the dripping PVC pipe, as it was going to only be slippery and hard to wield after being so soaked in blood. Sinking once again into the dark back of the room, he felt around the other boxes and found another weapon. Jars, beakers, and pipettes used for drug and chemical testing were stored here, and Murtagh found a nicely-sized jar. He hated having to kill these men, who never asked for this, but if he had to to escape and live, he would. The shock had worn off, and he shifted his grip on the jar to both hands and circled around the remaining guard approaching Maximilien and brought the jar down in a heavy downswing on the guard that was grappling with Gallius. The man staggered, his baton leaving his hand so he could clutch his head in pain. The jar had completely shattered from the force of the blow, and scratched the floor with glass shards. Murtagh felt cuts on his hands as the glass jar broke in his hands, but he then forced the guard off Gallius and stomped on the man's head repeatedly. The guard's spasms eventually ceased.


Gallius DivesMonday Mar 13 2006 1:45:10

Fortunately, the baton-inflicted beating seemed to subside, and Gallius was free to stumble backwards, away from the unorganized jumble that was taking place. Someone's face was becoming one with the linoleum flooring. Mashed against black and white checkered squares, which was quickly becoming spattered with grizzled gore, fleshy clumps and wads of mushed hair. More surprising was to find that the boot connecting with the bloody guardsman's face belonged to Murtagh, who'd given up his pipe somewhere along the line. He was thankful. His head felt heavy on his shoulders, like it was swaying on a pendulum. Something wet ran down his forehead, dribbled off his chin and pattered on his hand. The Outsider was a quiet citizen standing on the sidewalk of his thoughts, quietly watching to see what he would do without his aid, and coming up somewhat disappointed—releasing a child without fully testing any training wheels. He was not satiated by the meagre meal, hastily devoured. Noxious, pitted eyes looked into him and saw clear through.

It made him want to cry. Far worse was his disappointment, than the fact that a large gash had opened up across the right side of his skull. Battered and bruised and somewhat swollen. Though, the red streaked in his hair looked far better than the soft, plucky blond locks curled around his ears. He was not as quick as Maximilien, nor as creative as Cheshire was, because he believed that what he was doing was necessary. They were the monsters preying on the weak, trying to usher them into cages like animals. Manipulating them, using them to further their own means. He still felt something when he'd touched that man's head. Leeching out his subconscious, and fervid awareness, through a tube he could not exactly describe. He felt a light go out. He also felt his memories, like too-colourful, too-vibrant bonbons being popped into his mouth. Something about children on a beach, scurrying around with hermit crabs and sand castles. It felt like he'd been there, holding some strange woman's hand and laughing loudly, thinking nothing of the mental institution he worked at. It'd left him just as quickly as it'd come, leaving him gasping like a fish.

These memories were not his own. They were the lingering after-tastes, a little reminder that his own recollections were far less pleasant. He took a deep, lingering breath and looked up at them—these strangers who fought like demons, who moved instinctively, like they knew where to go and what to do when all hell broke loose. But, they were strong. Stronger than he was by far. If you were paralysed in all of your fears, then you might as well roll over and die. Even Murtagh had stepped up to the plate, utilizing his hands and feet and body as weapons. His fear drove him forward, shielded him from all of the badness in the world. Cheshire and Maximilien and even Andromeda seemed untouched by such things, moving beyond it with a certainty that left him breathless and frozen. He needed that. The Outsider tipped his head, mouth perpetually composed. Gaping eyes imperturbable and always-observing. No more kiddy floaters, training wheels or bed railings. No more, he whispered.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Andromeda SnowMonday MAR 13 2006 1:45:00


As she’d thought, the room was soon invaded by a group of security guards, and though they were unprepared for the assault—spearheaded by Gallius—they recovered quickly enough, putting up at least a token resistance to their deaths, and in some cases quite a bit more than that. Andromeda was quite content to let the more violently-inclined among them have all of this particular brand of fun. She, after all, had no particular desire to know what it felt like for blood to dry in her pale hair. Nor, indeed, to have bruised knuckles or wounds of her own. She was not a trained fighter, something that she made a note to rectify as soon as she was clear of this place.

For there was no doubt in her mind that she would be free of it. The whole affair was only a matter of time. If this didn’t work, something else would. Perhaps something quieter.

Unfortunately, someone let a guard through at some point, probably not something that could be helped, though she certainly blamed them for it anyway. Unfair, perhaps, but then, so was life, as they all well knew. The guard, breathing a sigh of relief to be clear of the main melee, set his sights on the young woman and raised what appeared to be a nightstick, stepping forward menacingly. Her expression—cold, impassive, unafraid—did not change. Sociopaths did not feel much in the way of emotion, including fear, though Lilith was having fun with his. He knew he was going to die, but he was apparently determined to take down at least one of them before he did. How droll.

The demon's whispers were honeyed poison in her ear, promising power and satisfaction the like of which she’d never been able to know—not as a little girl in a dirty, poor household, and not as an unwitting prisoner in this place, watched over by white-clad wardens who knew nothing. Ordinarily, Andromeda did not pay the whispers much mind, because they came from that, and she didn’t trust it. It was an unknown quantity, the upper limits of its abilities were unknown to her. She knew not if it would one day overtake the sanctum of her mind, painting the crystalline walls of it a passionate red that she did not want, and this made her wary, like one predator circling another, fundamentally unsure of what territory belonged to whom, or if it must be contested at all. But today, today she would at least take the suggestion for what it was.

Suddenly and without warning, she stepped forward as well, placing the index and middle fingers of each hand on the corresponding temples of the guard, opening a telepathic link between the two of them. That much, she knew how to do, but for the rest, she would need Lilith’s guidance, and reluctantly, she surrendered her control. It was like something else slithered under her skin, fitting just as comfortably into it as she ever did—more so. Andromeda was pushed gently to some corner of her own mind, through which she could see the goings on, both inside herself and out in the world, but she had little control over any of it. She was a spectator in some grand theater, with the expensive seats but no real power at all. She watched dispassionately as Lilith called up the power they shared now, surging forward through the mental link and enveloping the lesser mind within her power.

Physically, Andromeda’s body leaned forward, a dark chuckle escaping her parted lips as the nightmare images Lilith so easily produced assaulted the poor fool’s consciousness. “Fear me,” she mouthed breathlessly next to his ear. And fear her he did—the healthy tan of his skin faded until his pallor was sickly white, and he tried and failed to swallow several times, Adam’s apple bobbing frantically in his throat. His eyes were unfocused, because what he was seeing was not right in front of him, but inside his head, and there was nothing he could do to rid himself of it. Lilith drank in the terror with undisguised delight, the wry little smile that took up residence on her face so very unlike anything Andromeda would wear.

He clutched at his hair, tearing it from his head and leaving bloody spears on his hands, the floor, his face. He picked frantically at his skin as she convinced him that there were things, dark things, crawling underneath it, and she would have been more than content to watch him destroy himself before the pragmatic voice in the back of her head reminded her with no feeling that they didn’t have time for that. Lilith pouted a bit, unhappy with this complete lack of appreciation for the subtle tortures of the mind—or in this case, the not-so-subtle. But she conceded that the host had a point. “Fine,” she conceded with a sigh, “Have it your way, then.” She withdrew, and with a bit of effort, Andromeda reasserted herself, looking down at the quietly-muttering man without any of the amusement Lilith had displayed. The voice at the back of her mind promised that this was just a taste of what she herself would one day be able to do, but Andromeda wasn’t honestly sure if it tasted sweet or bitter to her.

She’d never actually killed another human being before, though ironically enough, a murder was the reason she’d wound up here in the first place. It looked like she no longer had any choice. Glancing about the storage room, she found that there wasn’t much she could use, so she inspected the madman himself, instead. There was a utility knife on his pocket, more a boxcutting tool than anything, but she supposed it would have to do. Hiding the shake in her hand, she extracted it from his belt, flipping the blade into the extended position and contemplating it for a moment. The rest of the battle was dying down around her—she’d have to be quick. Though she felt no particular remorse for this, it did make her parents right about her, and she didn’t favor the thought overmuch. It didn’t matter.

Tightening her grip on the tool, Andromeda drew it across the man’s throat, silencing his incoherent babbling forever.

Retracting the blade, she looked at it with an air of academic inspection for a moment, then pocketed it, deciding that it couldn’t hurt to have it with her. The nightstick, she would leave alone. As the other fights stopped, she was already onto the next thing, examining the room with a calculating eye. They needed to find a way out of here, and quickly, but going back out into the hall would cut their time even shorter. Surely, there must—

She almost didn’t believe it, but she noticed an odd seam in the wall. Ignoring whatever anyone else was saying at the moment, she stepped past another pair of bodies and to the wall, running her hands along the seam for just a moment. Her brows furrowed slightly, and she rapped first one side, then the other, with her fists. There was a marked difference in sound. Withdrawing her new knife, she scored it along the wallpaper and peeled a bit, eyes narrowing with her satisfaction when she saw it. One part of the wall was indeed an ordinary plaster constriction, but the other was only a thin layer of the stuff over what had once clearly been a door. “I think I have our way out,” she said flatly, turning back to look at the others over her shoulder. “Help me get to this door—I’m guessing it leads somewhere.”

Perhaps, on an ordinary day, she would not have chosen the risk. Today, however, the alternative was an almost-certain death out in that hallway, and she was going to take the risk. Whether they came or not.