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Finnigan Everett

"These are just rivers and roads until I reach you."

0 · 200 views · located in The Beaches

a character in “Delirium”, originally authored by Yonbibuns, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description




❝Finnegan Slade Everett❞
“If you like me, then say you like me.”

Without You – One two
Heart in Wire – Matthew Mayfield







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❝ Mᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴀ ɴᴀᴍᴇ. ❞


Nicknames
Finn; Slade; Finny; Singer.

Role
Everett Sibling 5

Age
Sixteen

Gender
Male

Physical Description
Finnegan's the prime example of an awkward, gangly colt with long limbs and sloping shoulders. He's not exactly undefined, because there's lean muscle in his compact structure, built for someone who spends most of his time running down the streets, heedless of the world, oblivious to anything that might be nipping at his heels. His Marmaduke-limbs often mislead people to think he's uncoordinated, though nothing could be further from the truth – while he often plays up his gawky looks, acting the clown, he's highly synchronized and surprisingly agile. He isn’t one to stress about his appearance. He keeps up with general hygiene (showering, brushing teeth, ect.) but he doesn’t usually get past the very basics, unless his sisters press the issue. His hair is a complete mess and usually stays in “bed head” mode for a majority of the day, sweeping in front of his eyes until he blows it out of the way with a puff of air. Nonetheless, it usually flops back into place, magnetized to forever obscure his vision. He stands at 5'11" and weighs 145 lbs. With his vertical advantage, Finnegan can certainly appear imposing but if you've known him long enough, then it isn't likely that he'd be getting in your face, anyway.

His eyes are two pieces of warm chocolates, drizzled with specks of honey, framed by thin brows and long eyelashes. His eyes are highly expressive and often inquisitive, hardly containing what he's truly thinking. It's impossible for him to lie. It's not in his nature. But, if you really want to know how to see around his clumsy fibs, then you'd look in his eyes. Muddy brown peepers spilling with everything he's ever thought about you, about them, about the world. They're almost always focused intensely on something: on everything around him. If he's talking to someone, he's looking directly into their eyes. It's hard for him not to. He's been known to make people feel uncomfortable under his scrutiny, but it's well-intentioned. When it comes to clothes, or fashion, Finnegan generally borrows whatever he fancies from his oldest siblings and ends up hoarding their hand-me-downs. They've got style, so Finn's always pleased to inherit whatever doesn't fit them. He likes layers, so it's rare to see him in less than two or three articles of clothing. Mostly it consists of a plain white shirt with his favourite black jacket. It's usually zippered up to his lips, concealing his chin in a thick collar. He wears worn, but not ragged, jeans and old sneakers accompany this. He owns a wide array of scarves he's collected from his brothers, from his sisters, and from his school-mates.





❝ Bᴇʏᴏɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅɪsɢᴜɪsᴇ. ❞



Personality
Finnegan's not the easiest person to understand, or get along with. He has a reputation for being overly emotional, exceedingly aggressive, and just strange. He avoids the limelight as much as possible, preferring to sidle on the sidelines and help in nondescript ways. It's not easy. Sometimes, he finds himself stumbling into it regardless. When this happens he prefers to dip back into the radar rather than make yourself known – because once everyone's looking at him, he's no longer comfortable, he's drowning on dry land and they're sizing him up like a meal. He can't handle the attention. But, don't misunderstand him, because he does well around large groups. Without a doubt, Finnegan's socially inclined and thrives on companionship, which causes him to come off too strong because all he wants to do if fit in properly and make friends he can trust with his abstract thoughts. He's a dreamer, albeit an excitable one. Prone to wild schemes and fits of excitement and activity. There aren't many people in his life that can claim to keep up, let alone follow his train of thought. It borders on illegal, on obtrusive, on dangerous. Even if he doesn't come off as a fragile little flower, there's a certain sensitivity that's just beneath the surface, scrambling it's way across his sleeves, his fingers, his knuckles. That particular side of him is reserved for those he trusts, for those he loves.

His worries outweigh his years, because Finnegan's much too young for the sort of thoughts that camp in his skull. His hearts a soft, mushy thing that often gets trampled on – probably unintentionally, without them even realizing what they've done. His lungs and throat contract too soon, tightening into knots that are difficult to untie. Finnegan's got weak knees and tries to make up for it with feasible glares, bruised lips and black eyes. As soon as friendship is offered, pushed across the table on a white plate, then his fabricated character subsides, thawing like ice cubes in the oven. It's the vocal point to his weaknesses – trying to fit in, trying to make friends, and desperately trying to keep them from leaving or backstabbing him when he's an inconvenience. Lazy, you might say? Let's just say easily distracted. Life has so many diversions for him that it's impossible to predict how it will fill his day. Tiny fluttering things. A gentle breeze brushing through blades of grass, parting it like oceans. Sneakers slapping against pavement, tapping a tune that he only seems to hear, and the sound of his heart following it's own beat – a song that no one can control, or sweep under the carpet.

He's a footstool. A stepping stone. A means to an end, and always willing to give more than he's got to anyone who extends their hands, palms up. He's so dependable and good at what he does that people often take advantage of him and his abilities, turning to him if anyone's on their case, or if they've accidentally tossed a ball into a nasty yard and don't want to get in trouble themselves. He's eager to please. Just as he's so keen on helping others, it's easy to see when you've crossed some of Finnegan's lines. It's impossible to completely hide his aggression or annoyance. It manages to shine through less than subtly, with as much elegance as a big-horned sheep smashing it's head into a brick wall. It's easy to tell because he's got his metaphorical claws partly retracted, near-constantly, and he's probably two seconds away from scratching deep legions down your throat – all for a good reason, unless they've truly done nothing to deserve it. He's overflowing with passion. It's not tempered, or hardened, or made of steel. Titanium heart? More like jelly-based. His affections are blatantly illegal. Finnegan struggles with his feelings, so he coops himself up in his room, or frequently runs. School's a nightmare because they, as citizens of Portland, have to juggle with a lot of regulations meant to protect them from Deliria.

He might seem somewhat “airy”, with his head in the clouds – daydreaming about faraway places. It's because he feels like he's different, like he sees something that everyone else chooses to ignore and it terrifies him. Why don't they have a choice in the matter of anything? Aren't they taking something important away from them when they're cured? If not, then why do cured people seem so different? These questions, Finnegan knows, are dangerous. Best left whispered in the folds of his pillow, or on the inside of his arm as he spreads out on the grass. He's horrified by the thought of people knowing all his secrets. His mother was the only one who entertained his dreamy inquisitions, nurturing them until they became something much more potent. Vibrant, vivid images of her shoulders trembling and her father's pillow pressed tightly against her face haunt him, paint his dreams with monochrome nightmares. He blames them. If they hadn't done the surgery so many times, then maybe she would've been alright. If they'd only shut their curtains against her strange behaviour, then maybe everything wouldn't be fine. Finnegan needed someone to blame. Not just a mysterious disease that couldn't be touched, or seen, or tasted. The Government and it's regulators were real – and easy enough to rally his anger on, bolster it so he doesn't have to think of that crumpled note she left behind. Her death rattled him to the bones, shook his foundations apart. It was the beginning to his end. How could their hearts continue beating without her in their lives?

All of these things have made him notoriously territorial, and slightly possessive. He's a mess of spluttering objectives, of words describing someone who might be infected because he's a stark comparison to those who've already been cured. Awkwardly straightforward, or refreshingly honest. It really depends on how you look at him. Either way, Finnegan doesn't want to lose that side of him. He'll give, and continue giving, everything he's got to keep his family safe and out of harm's way. If it means going against what the Book of Shhh says, then so be it. Because, Finnegan, above everything else, loves them.


Thoughts About the Cure
Finnegan never had Theodin's hatred for Invalids, or Sympathizers, or Klein's impenetrable conviction in the Book of Shhh, or even Helena's hope that the cure would make everything much better. If anything, Finnegan's always shared the wide-eyed curiosity that Skylar seems to have, often wondering what the Invalids were doing at that very instant, or what life was like beyond the woods, or how, in fact, they could live with each other and not possibly love one another as family, because wasn't that the same thing? Or was it fatal to love someone unrelated to you? It never made any sense. His convictions were always shaky. Less sturdy because of what his mother always whispered, twirling curls of his hair behind his ears. She had love in her heart for all of them. Did that mean she was infected? Destined to die? It didn't make any sense. And now that he's finally feeling those tight knots in his chest, knocking against his ribcage... it's different. The world feels like a bizarre place. As if a stranger were snatching up his hand, promising that everything will pan out if he obeys, when all he wants to do if run away. Keep running until he's free of regulations, of responsibilities, of things being decided for him. It's difficult because Finnegan desperately wants to follow his eldest siblings example. But with her in his thoughts, perched on the outer ring of the Book of Shhh, it's become impossible.

Skill(s)/Abilities
What's Finnegan good at? Something not particularly useful, but something that he can share with his sister, Helena. He doesn't have nimble enough fingers to play guitar, but he's pretty decent at playing the piano and he can sing. It's a way to express himself without actually voicing his opinions. The government songs are fine and dandy, but there's something else in writing his own songs. He's a gifted poet. In more ways than one, it's the only manner of releasing those tight knots binding his wrists, tugging at the tired organ beating in his chest. Sometimes, Finnegan writes songs in the form of letters and leaves them in Helena's room so that she can find them. Music's been an alternate way to handle things, and he loves listening to her sing. Alternatively, he'll write his songs in the dirt and scuff them up when he's done because they haven't been regulated, and they never will – because they're chock-full of deliria, overflowing with infection. They'd only make them sick if they knew. Other than that, Finnegan's a great runner; plenty of endurance. He's physically tough. He's certainly able to take a punch and dish it out – which just came with having older brothers when things were normal, when tousling and roughhousing was done behind closed curtains.

Likes  Dislikes
His siblings  Cliff-sides
Music  The Regulators
Poetry  Being restricted
Beauty  The thought of being changed by the Cure
Running  Losing his family
Freedom Conflict; hurting others
Friendship and family Bullies
Adorable things Dishonesty

Harmonized sounds
Short scraps; roughhousing
Physical contact; head-pats, linking arms.




❝ Rᴇᴘʟᴀʏɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴀsᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘʀᴇsᴇɴᴛ. ❞


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History

Finnegan Everett was no stranger to grief. It split him apart, broke him in ways that would later form a much stranger boy that didn't quite fit right with anyone else. In those moments, Finnegan was born apart from them, even though they all experienced the same kind of pain in very different ways. It was unbearable. His pain was made of soft blurry edges, slipping right through his fingers. In Portland, there were no socially, or legally, acceptable places to mourn the loss of your loved one – you couldn't just bury your face in the grace, two feet way from your curb. Initially, Finnegan walked down the hallways, howling like a broken thing. A beached seal, a broken toy. He cried hysterically for days, clammed up, and calmed down, barricading himself in his room.

He'd hold his mother's shirts, before they took it all away, and breathed into it as if maybe just maybe he would feel her there, or smell her, and it'd become a little less real. It never changed a thing. She was gone and there was nothing they could do. No amount of words could fix how he felt. He still has a small square of fabric from one of her cardigan sweaters – keeps it hidden in between his pillow protector, concealed from the ugly world that changed her. As he got older, Finnegan could keep face ninety-five percent of the time unless someone at school whispered about his mother, or picked on his siblings, then he'd transform into a whirlwind of flying fists and snarling teeth, lips pulled back like an animal. They weren't sick. He has less now. Less of himself. Less of them, too, because they've changed.

Sometimes, Finnegan feels like he's got nothing else to give. Nothing more to offer anyone else that he hasn't already tried spilling at their feet, because his mother always taught him that it was best to go forward, openly and honestly. Nowadays, Finnegan comes home with scrapes on his face, black eyes, and bruised lips. Ninety-five percent of the time: he wins. His feelings are clean and genuine and right. Who's to say that they're wrong? Because, now, there's something worth fighting for. It's her. It's always been her.


The Deliria
Virginia Hearst“She's, she's—... there's no turning back now, is there? She's almost like breathing fresh air.” Was it her hair? Her smile? Her eyes, lit up like fireworks, but somehow, more subdued? He didn't know. He's a mess around her, and his heart can't seem to keep up. But, Finnegan's begun to notice the way she looks at Theodin. It's almost ironic.

Makota 5 – “I keep wonderin' how she figured me out. Guess I'll never know, but at least she likes my songs. Figured if she could keep one secret, then she could keep a few more.” He's compared her to a pretty moth, blindly searching for a scrap of moonlight, or lamplight, or anything that reminded her of something just a little brighter. For some reason or another, she doesn't seem to think he's weird. In return for keeping his secret, he's promised to write her songs, and sing them as well. He doesn't mind, as long as she doesn't laugh.


Relationships
Klein Everett | Oldest Brother – “He's the toughest person I know. Really, he is. Keeps us together, I guess. If anything, he's our glue. Our pillar. I'm not even sure if he realizes it, but we rely on him a little too much. His shoulders are heavy enough as it is. I shouldn't be talking because I can make him cluck pretty bad.” He's always been there for them. He was there all those times Finnegan got in trouble at school, slapping on band-aids and reminding him that he was better than that. That he didn't need to fight, anymore, because he was there to protect them all. He was everything; a strong shoulder, a wise man, a kindly brother. But, still. If he knew his secrets, would he turn away?

Skylar Everett | Older Sister – “Have you seen her paintings? They're really something. They kind of remind me of her, actually. Don't tell her I said that, though. It'll go to her head. I'm pretty sure she's the only one who'll actually go adventuring with me.” Like Theodin, Finnegan worries about her. She's curious about everything, a little like he is, but more inquisitive. She says beautiful things, like his poems. It's unspoken common ground. He's never shown her his words, just like she's never shown him her art. Both of them are clearly illegal, dangerous artifacts they keep to themselves.

Theodin Everett | Older Brother – “He's... different. What do I mean? I just mean, he's not like he used to be. I don't feel like I can share anything with him anymore. We're further apart. Kind of bums me out when I think about it.” They were on better terms when they were younger, when everything was normal. It's not like that anymore. If anything, they've been growing further and further apart. More at odds with each other. The only thing they really have in common are their looks, their attitudes towards fighting, and the bumps and bruises they bring home; though, for different entirely different reasons. Sometimes, Finnegan intentionally picks fights with him just so that it'll shatter his brother's persistent frown, his innate need to ignore everyone except for Skylar. His hatred for Invalids, for Sympathizers, for anyone who's against the government and it's rules, has been driving them in opposite directions.

Lucy Everett Younger Sister – “The little spy of the family, really. Still not sure how she does it, but the walls have ears. I swear, if you want to know anything, all you need to do is ask her to go on a mission. Who said eavesdropping is rude? She's a natural.“ They get along pretty well. He feels more at ease with her because they're closer in age than the others, and she's pretty easy to talk to. He still can't share his secrets with her, but he often wonders whether or not she's heard him mumbling in his sleep. If she hasn't picked up on more than he believes she has. It was Lucy that told him the most about Ginny.

Hannah Everett Oldest Sister – "If Klein's our glue, then Hannah's something else just as important. They're a unit, y'know? Without them, I don't know where we'd be. Somewhere dark, that's for sure." Finnegan's terrified of losing her to the Cure. He doesn't want anything to chance, especially the relationship she has with everyone else. He can't help but feel like they're going to steal something from them, as if they're leading her somewhere far, far away. Untouchable, irretrievable.


Other
Finnegan hoards things. He hoards different types of buttons, as his mother had done. One jar half-filled, stuffed into the corner of his closet, where she'd left off and then a row of others, as if she would return and marvel at his progress. It's a stupid thought, but he continues collecting them, anyway. He frequently visits Shell Beach, and sits around the cliffs edge. It calms him down. Whenever Finnegan's near the ocean, he feels he's the closest to his mum. He runs near the beaches when he feels like he's losing his mind. He fights a lot.




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So begins...

Finnigan Everett's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Helena Elaine Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

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❝ Sᴋʏʟᴀʀ Eʟɪᴀs Eᴠᴇʀᴇᴛᴛ ❞
❝ Tʜᴇsᴇ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ Sᴋʏʟᴀʀ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ʜᴇʀ ɴᴀᴍᴇ. ❞




ImageThe morning sky was painted with soft, colorful pastels, as the sun started it's descent from behind the horizon line and into the sky. A few clouds were scattered here and there, blotting out some of the stunning sunrise, but they only increased it's beauty. If you listened closely, some birds were chattering constantly, getting roused from their nests in the scarce trees on the block. The pink and orange hues of the sunrise would soon disintegrate, leaving the sun to take over and make the sky a brilliant blue. Against the tri-colored rainbow sky, trees, powerlines, and the roofs of houses were like shadows. These were the moments that made Skylar love her name.

The sky. It was a part of her, well, a part of her name. It meant so much more than just that to her though. The sky was brilliant, lovely, and warm, and she paled so much in comparison with it. Yet, her mother had still decided to name her after it. Every now and then she wondered why for hours and hours, but sometimes she just accepted the fact that there was no way for her to know why, or even get close. She never dared to ever to think she could even compare to it, since that was impossible. Who would be able to compare to such a beautiful thing?

Upon the small porch of Carol and William's house, Skylar was sitting at the top of the steps. Leaning against one of the side railings, she was curled up in a small ball. A quilt and her own black hair draped around her shoulders and pajamas, fending off the very same frigid early September air that was nipping at her bare toes. She wasn't paying attention to this though, instead, her eyes were locked on solely one thing; the sunrise. Admiration, adoration, and awe gleamed in the reflective surface of her bright green eyes, at the sight of the unfolding sunrise before her.
It was around eight in the morning, maybe fifteen minutes before. Skylar had been out here ever since five though, sitting on the porch in solitude with only the quilt from her bed to keep her warm. As her mother had used to say, 'Skylar rose with the morning sky'. Of course, this wasn't true; it was only because of her insomnia and deathly fears of nighttime and sleeping that she never slept in like normal teenagers, and her other siblings. Sometimes she wondered if all of these would truly go away after she got the cure, since the scientists said anything like fears and worries would go away after the procedure, and she'd be happy for the rest of her life.

Breathing out, the black-haired girl watched as her breath formed what looked like a puffy little cloud. After two or three seconds, it faded away into the crisp air of the early Saturday morning, and Skylar did it all over again. She loved doing this; sitting on the porch to watch the sunrise, and watching her breath float through the air. It was one of her favorite parts of the day, and even though she did it over, and over, and over again, she never once had gotten bored of it. It calmed her down. It surrounded her with a peculiar warmth that drowned away all the tiresome frights from the horrid night before. It reminded her of her mother.


A tiny black-haired girl with bright green eyes sat on the porch, staring out at twisting sea of colors before her. She was dressed in only her pajamas, and had nothing to keep her warm from the chills that pressed and poked at her visible skin. She didn't notice this though, even though the surface of her skin was as cold as icicles in Winter. She probably wouldn't even have noticed if she had developed hypothermia by now.

"Lala, what're you doing out here?" The familiar voice came floating out from the direction of the door, and the sound of it closing followed it. The girl's mother was now standing on the porch, watching her little five year old black-haired daughter stare out across the sky. She had been talking to some of her other children, when she noticed the absence of one little optimistic girl.

The girl's bright green eyes specked with gold turned to reveal themselves to her mother, the girl having to twist her body a bit to do so. "Watching the sun come out," she said simply, wondering why her mother wasn't doing the same. "Doesn't everybody watch it?"

Her mother raised an eyebrow slightly, before laughing softly and walking over to sit down next to her feeble daughter on the porch, "Well, not everybody, but it sure is beautiful." Wrapping her arms around the pale body of her daughter, she almost pulled back as quick as she had hugged her. Her skin was freezing cold, you could even call it snow with it's pale complexion and freezing surface. A look of worry crossed her face, and she stared down at her daughter, hoping she wouldn't have a fever later, or maybe even the flu.
"Aren't you cold," she asked, before adding, "and tired?"

Confusion shone through Skylar's eyes as she blinked up at her mother, wondering why she even thought such a thing. Shaking her head, she pointed out towards the sunrise, silently wishing she could be closer to it, be surrounded and embraced by it's majestic appearance and colors. "No, it's morning, so doesn't that mean everybody's supposed to wake up?" she said. "And the fire's warming be up. Isn't it warming you up too?"

For a brief second, her mother wondered what she meant by 'the fire'. Realization hit her as quick as the question did, however, and she smiled softly as she glanced at the brilliant sunrise, drowning the town of Portland in colors of orange, red, yellow, and pink. "Just because it's morning doesn't mean you have to wake up, Sky..." she said softly, staring out at the sun as it inched it's way into the sky before turning her attention back to her daughter. "And the fire's very, very warm, and beautiful... But I don't think it'll keep you completely warm."

Skylar frowned a tiny bit, obvious disappointment showing through her expression. What did her mother mean the fire wouldn't keep her warm? It confused her greatly, but then again, she didn't even know that it wasn't a fire in the first place. "What do you mean?"

"Well," her mother started to say, but soon trailed off. She didn't want to say that it wasn't a fire, like how she didn't ever want to say she was infected with the deliria. It was better to let her daughter, and the rest of her children, stay happy for as long as they could. Of course, the truth would soon backfire at some point, but they were all so young. Theo had ever started to tell her that what she was doing was wrong, even though he was only five.
"Never mind. It's a secret." Smiling again, she leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. "I'll tell you sometime."

A huff came in return to her mother's teasing, and Skylar stuck out her lower lip in a pout as she crossed her arms. This earned a bright laugh from her mom, which made her smile a bit again. "Promise?" she asked, not wanting to have to wait to know the secret.

"Promise."

At some point, her mother would tell Skylar the truth about the sunrise. Just like at some point, she would tell all her children about how infected she was. She wished she could just keep all these secrets locked up in a little box, and toss it into the ocean, freeing her children of all worries and cares. In this world, there was no possible way though, not even through the cure.
For now, she just had to continue smiling, even if all the smiles concealed drops of sadness.






Drowsily, Sylar's eyes fluttered open, consciousness slowly starting to come back to her. For a few seconds, she just remained there, leaning against the railing, wanting to sink back into a world of happy, yet saddening memories. There was a loud creaking sound filling her ears, along with what sounded like footsteps. Her mother, her mother, was she heading down the stairs of the porch in the night that she left? Was she maybe still alive, and coming up the stairs to sweep Skylar up in her arms? No... that wasn't the sound. Awareness then slapped Skylar in the face, and she sat up abruptly, glancing around with wide eyes. Aunt Carol was heading down the stairs inside the house, and, even from out on the porch, the sound echoed throughout the air.

She must've drifted off for a few minutes, as much as it horrified her. Pictures, thoughts, memories, and the sound of her mother's voice lingered in her mind, refusing to budge, and a fleeting forlorn look showed in her eyes. Push the thoughts away, push them away. she willed herself, tears threatening to fall. To her relief, Aunt Carol's voice then came to her rescue, distracting her to keep the memories from flooding over her.

"Skylar!" A muffled click followed the familiar call, and the sound of a window sliding open. Carol was already in the kitchen, probably preparing breakfast. It must be a pain to have to cook for eight people every single day, Skylar would think ever now and then. Then again, Carol hadn't offered to take care of the six siblings out of care or love, it was simply out of responsibility and family duty.
"If you get sick from being out there in the cold every single morning, don't expect to get any special treatment from me or William," Carol said, narrowing her eyes at Skylar. Skylar knew Carol never liked her habit of coming out here on the porch in the morning, especially since she always would come out before Carol was awake. This was almost just as bad as breaking curfew, in Carol's point of view. As Skylar looked backed at her aunt, she caught a look at the clock inside. Eight o'clock. She must've drifted off for only fifteen or ten minutes, which was a slight relief.

For the first month when the Everetts moved in with Aunt Carol and Uncle William, almost every single night, Skylar would come out onto the porch once Carol had fallen asleep, and would sleep out on the small bench, curled up in the thickest quilt she could manage to find. These nights were usually spent sobbing, and hiding in her little mass of blankets whenever she heard regulators pass by, hoping they wouldn't see her. Luckily, the regulators had never noticed her cowering on the porch, but Carol certainly had. She had been scolded countless times in that month, and at some point, she gave in. It was then that she started to climb out of the window in the bedroom she shared with Theo and Fishi, to crawl up onto the roof and sleep up there under the stars, and even now, she still does it sometimes.

"I know," Skylar said, her voice soft and honey-like, yet quiet, like if she spoke too loud she'd ruin the beautiful sunrise. To look at her aunt, she had to adjust herself a bit, despite the fact that she hadn't wanted to move from her comfy spot. "I've been making sure to bring the thickest blanket I can find out with me every morning, and I'll start to wear my coat as it gets colder." Of course, she'd probably get sick at some point, even with the coat, but she didn't care. As long as there was a time when the sun came up, lighting up the sky and ridding the town of nighttime, even if just for a bit, Skylar would be happy.

A tsk came from Carol's direction, and as she closed the window to keep the cool air from drifting in, Skylar heard her mumble something about how one day the regulators will probably get mad at her for being out on the porch so early. She simply disregarded this though, and turned her attention back to observe how much the scene of the sunrise had changed. The sky now looked like a sea of cotton candy, drizzled with many layers of honey. It brought a small giggle to Skylar's mouth, at the thought of what such a thing would taste like. Cotton candy and honey would probably taste gross. She'd have to try it sometime.

The little amount of sleep Skylar had gotten the night before now was taking it's toll, and Skylar's face turned tired. Nosing back up against the railing, she pulled the quilt tighter around herself, wondering if any of her other siblings had woken up by now. Maybe she would be able to go and pester Theo to give her a piggy back ride? Well, she'd go inside to see if he and the rest of her siblings were awake later, for right now, she just wanted to remain out on the porch, watching the sun's never ending climb. Anyways, if anyone needed her, they'd know where to find her. She wished she could just watch the sunrise forever though, the very same sunrise that washed away every worry in the world. Of course, she knew it could never last forever. There was always a beginning, and an end. Like life and death. Like when you are born, and when you get the cure.

I shouldn't even think of things like that... she thought, shaking her head as if it would literally shake away the thoughts. Standing up, she held the quilt around her shoulders as she went inside, rubbing her eyes to try and get rid of the tiredness.

"Skylar, breakfast should be ready in around ten minutes. Go wake up everybody else," Carol said, "William plans to head to the Stop-N-Save after breakfast, so he's already awake."

Skylar grabbed the quilt in one of her hands, and let it fall to the ground. A yawn escaped her parted lips, and she stretched her arms above her head, before replying to what Carol told her to do. "Alright," she mumbled, heading through the tiny living room before starting her trek up the creaky stairs. Hopefully Theo would carry her back down the stairs, since she really didn’t want to have to walk all the way back down the stairs.

"Theo, Fishi!” she hollered, finally reaching the top of the 'mountain', getting an irritated call from her aunt downstairs at the racket. "Tux, Hannah, Lulu! Dinner- Wait, wait… breakfast! Breakfeast's ready! Well, soon to be ready!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Helena Elaine Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

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❝ Finnegan Slade Everett ❞
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❝It's always darkest before the dawn. ❞




It begins in the same way, every single night. In the land of dreams, nightmares preyed on the weak. They tendered their knuckles across Finnegan's errant temples, pressing down until they inflicted some kind of residual pain, some sort of reminiscent discomfort that could carry itself along in his consciousness. Like a leech, or a suckling patch of barnacles. He wasn't very strong in those vulnerable spaces, hunkered in some familiar room with his mother clutching tightly to her pillow. His mother's letter, already peeling like an orange made out of cream-paper, seemed to linger in the air. The words were stagnant and final, irreversible. It always ended the same, like a broken record, or a tape playing in reverse. Her dark eyes full of pain and longing — poet's eyes, rising away from the pillow to regard him. The windows would shatter inwards, releasing steady streams of water until she was drowning and he, caught between the porch door and the kitchen, was forced to watch her die. Why didn't she grow gills and webbed feet? Why didn't she, after all this time, learn how not to drown? The world didn't end abruptly like everyone believed it would. It fell apart in increments, tiny and insubstantial, until the grand denouement that was the loss of his father and mother. It ended so gradually that it snuck up on him and suddenly he was confronted with the undeniable fact that society as they knew it was over. Or else, it'd suddenly begun. He waited patiently, as the walls caved in. It always began the same, and it always ended the same. These dreams were more like a sigh than a bang, a slow, soft, stuttering gasp of someone on his or her deathbed rather than a nuclear bomb or a hurricane.

Finnegan sat abruptly in his bed, nearly knocking his head on the overhead lamp. His breathing came in ragged gasps, like a fish floundering on dry land. Skylar would appreciate the comparison. As if he were climbing out of a hole, or shaking off the last dribbles of a particular stormy day, Finnegan took a few deep breaths, concentrating them in his stomach, before hunkering his shoulders forward, as Klein had taught him to do when he couldn't control himself. Remnants of tears were quickly swiped away, under the guise of mussing up his shaggy hair. He reclined backwards, stretching his arms above his head like two flightless wings. Yawning loudly, obnoxiously. Dusty beams of sunlight sifted through their curtains, reminding him that he'd better get his sorry butt downstairs for breakfast – and just on time, he heard Skylar hollering up the stairway, followed by Aunt Carol's frustrated whoops at her being so loud, so early in the morning. His heart was still beating quickly, racing like a gunshot. He let his head list to the side, so he could glimpse slivers of the sun rising lopsided on the horizon – he liked being awake for things like this, because it was one beautiful thing that the Regulators couldn't take away. It signified more than time passing. He was sure of it.

His fingers were already dripping with unwritten sonnets, ballads, sonatas. He was so soft it was pathetic. Finnegan closed his eyes, and traced his eyelids, lightly, before dropping his hands resolutely to his sheets. Like a groggy hound snatching away from the porch-light, Finnegan yawned again, and grabbed a random sweater from the hanger, probably belonging to Theodin. They were the same size, so it didn't really matter – unless his brother bit his ear off for wearing it without asking. He'd pretend like he didn't notice, anyway. These were small, miniscule ways to pull him out of his shell. He'd rather be yelled at, then watch him skulk around in silence. For a couple of seconds, amidst the bickering, it felt like things were back to normal. It was better that way, even if it eventually drew them further apart. “Skybar. What are you... a time traveler? Skipping meals isn't healthy.” He called back, cupping his hand to his mouth before poking his head outside the doorway.

He mimicked blub-blub-blubbing down the hallway, puffing his cheeks like a fish, before flipping up a strand of her long hair, and pretending to masquerade as a man with a particularly long moustache. Just as quickly, Finnegan dropped her hair, grinning wide. He tapped his finger against his chin, thoughtfully. “Hope it's something different today. Carrot muffins, with cinnamon... and good luck waking the rest of 'em, I'm clocked out of watch-your-back-shift today.” Certain siblings were easier to wake than others. Others were reminiscent to grumbling bears, all claws and teeth. With a tune humming deep in his throat, Finnegan hopped down the steps to help Aunt Carol dole out the dishes and utensils. He always did.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

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❝ Theodin Jaynar Everett ❞
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❝Maybe it was a twin thing, he honestly had no idea.❞




While it didn't surprise him to hear his twin yell out his name along with their four other siblings, it made his sleeples morning even less appealing. He often wondered if Skylar knew that he woke up most of the time when she did.Maybe it was a twin thing, he honestly had no idea. He knew for a fact Finn didn't wake up, that boy could probably sleep through a bomb raid right over their house. Well, their aunt and uncles' house. Not one part of it was theirs, save for the few things they brought with them from their mothers' house.

The thought set him to writhing inside. He hadn't even bothered to count the years since she had been taken away. She wasn't their mother, not by his standards. Pushing the thoughts out of his mind Theo stood up and stretched, the mass of scars twisting and pulling on his skin where it no longer grew. Some of them were old and faded, some where newer, pink and healing. But the one people noticed the most when they ever caught him without his shirt on was the one that started just under his let shoulder blade, wound it's way across his back, around his right side, and then crossed over his abdomen, ending just above his left hip. While it certianly wasn't his newest, it was probably the whitest, and certianly was his longest. All five of his siblings had asked him about it, and he had told not a one. Despite what he did, if anyone found out he was wandering out into the Wilds, it'd be a one-way ticket into the Crypts for him, but on the opposite side he wanted to be.

He wandered over to his dresser, his bare feet padding on the cold floor as he walked. He pulled on a simple black t-shirt, ran a hand through his shaggy mussed hair, and pulled on his jacket. He stared at his reflection. He looked almost haunted. A bitter smile crossed his face at that, and he rubbed his eyes, trying to make it look like he wasn't ready to fall asleep on his feet. He passed his younger brothers' empty bed on his way out of the room, raising one eyebrow. It wasn't often Finn was already out of the room before him. Maybe he had dozed back off and not noticed.

He walked out into the hallway, stopping next to his twin sister. By the look of her, wrapped up in the quilt off her bed and all red-faced, she had been outside. He had only known when she had woken up, and then he'd lain there in the dark. He never really payed attention to where she went or what she did, so long she stayed in or around the house. Letting out a slight huff, he looked at Sky and said, "You're going to catch your death of cold, getting up like this every morning. You know that, right?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett

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❝ Hannah Everett ❞
❝ Live simply, love generously, care deeply, and speak kindly. ❞




Hannah did indeed hear her name called. Skylar, she could tell. She'd already been awake for a while, studying busily. She couldn't go to college without the cure, and being as responsible as she was, she wasn't about to fall behind. She sat at an old wooden desk in her room, three books laid open, various lessons and chapters open. She leaned her arm on one in particular, the one she was making notes of as the others rushed to breakfast.

It wasn't like her to be flustered. No, she was always organised. Whether it was her room or her head. But something was troubling her that morning that she couldn't figure out from her books. She sighed, dropping the pencil and burying her face in her hands. She rubbed at her eyes, and straightened her back again. Taking a deep breath, she tried to relax, and lean back in her chair. A cold breeze was coming through the slightly opened window, and Hannah could hear the birds chirping. It was times like these cluttered moments when she wondered if birds themselves could fall in love.

Love. That was forbidden. Hannah didn't even know what to think of it. But then again, she wasn't supposed to think of it. Her cure was in 52 days. Her evaluation was in two days. 48 hours. 2880 minutes. 172800 seconds. Not that she was counting.. 172799 seconds.. But she was worried. Scared even. Ever since their mother's death she's tried to take over the role as much as she can. She knows she won't ever be who her mother was, and her siblings probably won't think of her that way, but taking care of others had become so easy for her, it wasn't a chore it was a lifestyle that she enjoyed.

But what had been troubling her most, even more than love, was a recurring dream she'd been having. It wouldn't happen every night, but sometimes different parts of the dream would play in her mind while she slept, and she'd put them together later. She'd found that the worst is when you remember the whole dream the second you wake up, then everything goes blank. You can't even put the idea into words. Because of that, she has a journal beside her bed, where she can quickly write down thoughts to help her remember. But the dream itself, was truly puzzling.



It's a sunset. That's all you can see for miles. The land is flat, barren. There's a woman in front of her, but her back is to her. In the dream Hannah knows she is to follow the woman. But she doesn't know who it is. As the woman walks, she follows behind. The same distance she started, not any faster or slower. She can't change her pace, and she must keep in rhythm with the woman.

The woman is wearing a long gown. It's black, and so is the veil that covers the back of her head, as well as the front. She doesn't speak, but Hannah knows she is to follow. The dream usually continues, and she eventually comes to a bridge. It is twilight now, but Hannah hadn't noticed the change in the colors of the sky, nor did she see a bridge as they approached until now. The woman stops in the middle of the bridge, and begins to weep. Hannah, suddenly shocked, wants to reach over and touch her, ask her if she's alright. But her arms are like like steal against her side, weighing her down. Her mouth becomes dry, and no sound will come out. The longer the woman cries, her moans of sorrow begin to echo.

Her tears become a flow off either side of the bridge, and soon they create a river. Though Hannah feels that she has not been standing there long, the river rushes in either direction. Suddenly the crying stops, but the river still bubbles. The woman begins to turn around. Facing Hannah, she can still reveal nothing of who she is, but the woman begins to lift over the veil.

She only reaches just above her mouth before she vanishes, but the small smile is something Hannah couldn't forget. The smile is so familiar, but also so distant. And suddenly, she's in the woods. Noises overtake her, ever snap of a twig and leaf rustling stirs her attention, she whips in any and every direction. There's a man who rushes at her, but she's too late to turn around. Her takes her hand and runs, leading her through the woods quickly.

Though she doesn't remember ever meeting the man, he is safe. She knows he wants to help her. She can hear shouting in the distance behind her, as the rush and dodge trees. They come to the brink of the forest, and they abruptly stop. He walks now, and drops her hand. As before, she follows. They come to the same bridge, but in her dream she does not recognise it as the one the woman cried on. The river is still flowing two directions, but it is night now, and the stars brightly show. The man doesn't cry though, her pulls out a single, white rose, and places it where the woman had been standing. As he turns to stand up, the dream always ends. Hannah wakes up dazed and confused.




Frustrated Hannah makes her way downstairs, knowing she should see that everyone is alright. She smiled at the twins as she passed, ruffling both of their hair as she passed, out of affection rather than ignorance. "Goodmorning, you two." she says cheerfully with a caringly kind smile. Her eyes soften as she looks at them, then continues into the kitchen. Like every morning, she and Finn help set up. Sometimes when Hannah wakes up early enough, she does the cooking to give her aunt a break. This morning hadn't turned out like that.

"Goodmorning Finn, Carol." She greeted them both.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett

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❝ Klein Everett ❞
Sometimes, to protect those you love, things must be kept quiet.




It wasn't usually normal for Klein to sleep in the way he was - no, he was normally up just perfectly on time, which was right after the other two had left. Some always were confused as to how he could pull it off, for his days were spent going to class, keeping the family in line, and catching up on all the work he had missed from not paying attention during the night. No wonder the guy was always tired - his habits weren't in the best interest of sleep. Nonetheless, it was these habits that he had come to get used to, and Klein was sure that he didn't plan on giving them up any time soon.

However, this morning, Klein awoke a little after he normally would, and immediately started coughing. It wasn't a light cough, one that signified a cold was looming in the future: these were deep, and always ended with something being spat up. Klein instantly grabbed for his cloth, which sat on his night table, as the coughing got worse. He hated those little coughing fits he had, for they were getting harder and harder to conceal behind 'just feeling under the weather'. Recently, Klein had begun to doubt whether or not he was catching a cold, but he instantly dismissed the idea: it was thoughts like those that made him feel sorry for himself, and Klein hated self-pity.

So, after the blood began to soak into the cloth, Klein stood up, and started his morning like any other - Yoga. Klein had started back when he turned 11, since Mother's death hadn't gotten off of his mind yet. He was constantly on edge, and couldn't think of any way to release all of his pent up frustration. He didn't want to be like Theo, who pulled himself in and became more violent, and he knew he couldn't feel music as well as his younger brother Finny. So instead, Klein took up the practice of meditation and yoga, which worked wonders. As Klein moved through each and every one of the posses, gracefully lifting himself into the air and lowering himself back down, his mind wandered on the day. However, as soon as he did, his thoughts were immediately turned to that one girl, and his brow furrowed. He couldn't get that girl out of his head, for the uncertain hatred he felt towards her was curious. Klein knew though, that for yoga to be efficient, he needed to clear his mind.

Until he heard a holler from Sky.

Klein sighed when his sister yelled up to all the rest of the Everetts, chuckling lightly as he returned himself to resting position, and then sat down. She was an oddball, but one that was cute enough to get under your skin and make you love her anyway. She reminded Klein of a kitten in an odd way.

So, while the rest of the family slowly trudged their way downstairs, Klein sat on his mat still, meditating for a bit longer. As much as he normally kept a schedule, he knew he would have to cut his meditation short for the day, else he would miss breakfast. With that thought, he changed into his standard dress - for he really only had one type of clothing... - and slung his jacket over his shoulder. With everything prepared for him to head downstairs, he did just that, and was greeted by Uncle William and Aunt Carol, to whom he gave a smile. As he passed Sky at the bottom of the stairs -he had to duck so that his head didn't hit the door frame - he gave her a pat on the head and smiled. "Morning Sky, or is it evening? I cannot tell." He joked at her confusing the time period. Klein wasn't one for always making jokes, since most of his humor was those kind of jokes that made people go 'True enough'.

Ignoring his attempt at light humor, he gave a simple nod and muttered "Morning Theodin. before sitting down at the table to address the rest. "Morning Finny, HanHan. He gave a smirk at calling his big sister by a name not many really called her by. He wasn't sure if it was because it didn't stick, or because she didn't like it: regardless, Klein always got a smile from it.

Once he noticed that Lucy wasn't among any of them, e simply sat there and watched them go about their business. He rubbed his eyes once, since the lack of sleep always got to him in the morning - Klein wasn't sure why, but he couldn't sleep in to save his life.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

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❝ Lucy Everett ❞
❝ Sometimes, the difference between imagination and reality is slim. ❞




"Lucy."
The two year old turned around at the sound of her mother's voice. She smiled happily at her mother, waiting for her to continue her sentence. When her mother did not continue to speak, Lucy bounded over to her, nearly stumbling over her own feet on the way, to which her mother chuckled. She picked the little girl up in her arms, before placing her upon her lap.

"Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.." she murmured, humor in her voice. "What have you done to yourself?"
Lucy didn't respond, not sure what the question was. She hadn't done anything wrong, had she? She glanced down at her dress, only now noticing the large, purple stain that covered the floral print. She blushed slightly, before putting a hand to her hair, which she could tell was wild.

"I.. I dunno, Mama," the little girl admitted, blushing. Her mother smiled warmly at her, shaking her head slightly. Her smile didn't reach her eyes, though, which were filled with sadness. Lucy took no notice of this, though, as she chewed the end of her sleeve.

Her mother gently pulled the little girl's hand away from her mouth. "Just remember, Lucy, that I-"







The sound of her sister's voice awoke her from her slumber.
Lucy opened her deep blue eyes, wincing at the sudden change of lighting. The rays of the rising sun shone through a crack in the curtain. She slipped out from under the green duvet cover before making her bed drowsily.

She blinked away the sleep from her eyes as she got undressed, and into some sweats and a loose tank. She knew Carol and William would most likely be annoyed that she looked a mess, but she didn't really care. She wasn't really bothered to dress up, and hopefully she could just stay inside all day. She grabbed a dark jacket before sluggishly heading downstairs.

Her dream still rocked around her head, unsure what to think. She had these dreams often, but didn't tell anyone. They were just dreams, after all. She was having a hard time deciphering what was imagination and what was memory.

When the fifteen year old entered the dining room, she wasn't surprised to see that she was the last one there. Lucy wasn't known for being an early bird, and she certainly wasn't a morning person. She sluggishly shuffled into the dining room, smiling sleepily.

"Moooorrnniiing!" Lucy said, her tired voice still louder than comfortable. She sat down in her usual chair, so short her feet could barely touch the ground, Though Lucy was fifteen, she could be mistaken for a twelve year old.

She ran a hand through her wild hair, then realizing what a complete mess it was, tried to tame it, but to no avail. She finally sighed and grabbed a hair tie from around her wrist, tying it in a messy bun.

"Hello, my dearest siblings," she said cheerfully, before chuckling. She sat and waited for breakfast.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

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❝ Sᴋʏʟᴀʀ Eʟɪᴀs Eᴠᴇʀᴇᴛᴛ ❞
❝ I'ᴍ ᴀ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴛʀᴀᴠᴇʟᴇʀ. Fʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴀsᴛ ᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ғᴜᴛᴜʀᴇ, ᴡʜᴏ ᴋɴᴏᴡs? ❞




ImageSkylar yawned as she listened to her siblings starting to wake up, and get ready for the day ahead of them. She was wondering if Hannah was nervous, with her evaluation only being two days from now. She would definitely be if she was her. After all, Evaluation Day was said to be the road to happiness.
When one of her siblings finally came out into the hallway, which happened to be Fishi, a bright smile lit up Skylar's face. As he asked her if she was a time traveler, her grin only grew.

"Of course," she exclaimed, crossing her arms and making a face as if he should've known this already. "I thought everybody knew this?" After he had entered the hallway, intimidating a fish on the way, she giggled as she watched him mess around, starting to fully wake up after two hours of already being awake. She always enjoyed being with her siblings, no matter what time it was. They always somehow managed to cheer her up after anything. Listening to him talk about walking up everybody else, and what was for breakfast, she watched as he headed off down the stairs to help Aunt Carol. Hopefully she wouldn't have too much trouble with everyone waking up... She knew what bad mornings were like for the household, and she always tried to avoid them, no matter what.

The next to come out was no other than Theo, her own twin. Instead of giving her a bright morning saying, he let out a slight huff and told her she would catch a cold from being out on the porch every morning. A pang of guilt filled her, and it obviously shone through her expression as she looked down at her feet, shuffling them back and forth some. "I just can't help it..." she muttered, avoiding his gaze as she looked up from the ground, to the hallway walls, and then the ceiling. "The sunrise is just so beautiful," Before she knew it, a smile replaced the guilty look, and she finally faced him once again, "You should come out and watch it with me some time! I promise that I'll start wearing coats and bring out the best blanket I can find!"

Before he had time to reply, she headed off down the hallway towards the bedroom she shared with Fishi and Theo, passing by Klein and Hannah on the way again as they said good morning. With a bright reply, she disappeared beyond the door, so that she could change. The first thing she did was head to the closet, obviously, but when she opened it, for a second, the paintings that tumbled out of it caught her attention. If Aunt Carol sees these... she thought, biting her lip and glancing over at the door. She finally threw a thin blanket from one of the lone corners in the closet on top of them, and shoved them into the most hidden place she could think off in the stuffed closet.
With that out of her way, she grabbed one of her favorite outfits; a frilly white spaghetti strap top, along with some bright orange jean shorts, and took off her pajamas to throw them into her little section of the closet. The good thing about sharing a bedroom with two boys was that it was definitely easy to know where her stuff was, and she would never get clothes mixed up. And, they knew not to touch her stuff, because they knew what happened when you dared to touch a girl's clothing.

Slipping the top over her head, before putting on some black tights and the shorts, she went over to the little desk with a mirror she had convinced Carol to put in the room. Observing her long messy hair, she grabbed the small brush on the counter top and brushed her hair until it was close enough to being straight. Grabbing a black ribbon off of the countertop next, she managed to put her long hair up into a high ponytail, before tying the bow in a ribbon around the hairband.

"I think I'm going to help Uncle William in the Stop-N-Save today," Skylar said, practically skipping out of the bedroom with her long black hair swinging behind her after shutting the closet and heading over to Theo. "You should come with me. Maybe we could stop and get some hot cocoa downtown, or stop by one of the beaches for a few seconds."

Completely disregarding her earlier thought of convincing Theo to carry her down the stairs, she stumbled down them herself, almost slipping because of the tights and her clumsiness. She quickly caught her balance though, and tripped her way down the remaining steps. Sliding around on the hardwood floor, she slipped and slid her way into the kitchen, seeing that breakfast was almost ready. It was then that Lucy, the youngest and last of the siblings to wake up, came into the kitchen, saying a loud good morning as she did so.

"Good morning you all," Aunt Carol said, not looking up from the food she was in the middle of making. "Just to warn you all, there's a dangerous storm said to be coming tonight, around eight, so don't be deceived by the clear sky, or the warm weather,"

For a second or two, Skylar took this in, grabbing an apple from one of the countertops and taking a bite out of it as she thought it over. The sky had looked perfectly clear when she had watched the sunrise. Maybe the clouds were just late on their schedule or something?

"I want you all to be home before eight, since me and your Uncle have a big day today, so we're also planning to head to bed by then. Be in your rooms, or at least inside. Skylar, that means no watching the sunset,"

Skylar rolled her eyes a bit, and huffed. The sunset was pretty, but not as pretty as the sunrise. It also meant that night was approaching, so why did people think it was so great? Night was so horrible, so scary... And just so dark! The stars were nice and all, along with the moon, but just... She couldn't even explain it. It was just plain out horrifying.
"I only like watching sunrises, not sunsets," she replied stubbornly, which earned a sharp glance from her Aunt. She quietly just shut up by then though, sticking her tongue out to herself when Carol turned away and heading over to sit down at the table.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

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❝ Theodin Jaynar Everett ❞
Image Image Image
❝It meant a perfect opportunity for him to go 'hunting'.❞




Theo grit his teeth together and said nothing as his eldest sister, Hannah, ruffled his hair. All it did was remind him of their mother, which only mad him seeth with anger. Klein passed, and made his way downstairs with a simple 'good morning', and he stood, stoic and silent as the others made their own way to the table. He sighed as he listened to his twin babble on about sunrises, and raised an eyebrow when she said something about him joining her. Before he could even so much as reply, she had bounded, and nearly fell, down the set of stairs, slipping through the house to the dinning area.

Shaking his head, Theodin slowly followed after her, and sat down just as his Aunt said something about wanting them all in before eight that night. Theodin stared down at his plate. A storm then? Storms usually meant scavengers and Invalids would be cropping up in town, wanting to get supplies so they could survive the storm. Which also meant a perfect opportunity for him to lurk around the fence, and prey upon those unwise enough to enter in daylight. Or he could slip over into the Wilds and do some hunting there, plenty of the weaker ones who would be left behind. To top it off, both his Aunt and Unlce would be out for most of the day. So long as he could slip away from his other siblings he would be just fine. Now all he had to do was formulate a plan.

He had said not a word to anyone since sitting down, instead staring intently at his food, deep in thought. He hadn't touched the food either. Anything said in his directions was either ignored or brushed off with a mumble.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

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❝ Lucy Everett ❞
❝ She definitely wasn't a morning person. ❞




"Good morning you all," said Aunt Carol, not bothering to glance up as she spoke. Lucy didn't bother with a response, just waited for Carol to finish her sentence. "Just to warn you all, there's a dangerous storm said to be coming tonight, around eight, so don't be deceived by the clear sky, or the warm weather." Ooh, dangerous storm. How exciting. Lucy smiled silently to herself as she listened to her Aunt, not really thinking about her words.
"I want you all to be home before eight, since me and your Uncle have a big day today, so we're also planning to head to bed by then. " This wasn't a problem, at least not for Lucy.

"Be in your rooms, or at least inside. Skylar, that means no watching the sunset."
This comment seemed to annoy her sister, who huffed with annoyance.
"I only like watching sunrises, not sunsets," Skylar replied. Lucy knew better than to ask the question she was thinking, which was, What's the difference? Skylar stuck her tongue out when Carol turned away, making Lucy giggle slightly, before Skylar sat down at the table.

"Hi," Lucy said, a slight greeting to her older, yet shorter sister. She traced little drawings with her finger on the table as she continued. "Err, what are you planning to do today?" she continued, awkwardly trying to make conversation. As stated before, Lucy as definitely not a morning person. This was her least favourite time of day, when her mind wasn't woken up yet, so she couldn't even have a proper conversation without seeming strange.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Klein Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Hannah Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

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❝ Klein Marth Everett ❞
A family will only stay together as long as their is somebody to lead the way.d




Hannah's little eyeroll did make him chuckle, but it was Finny's little comment that made his day. G'mornin', Fancy and a tip of the hat was all Finny needed to have Klein shake his head and chuckle. Sure, he knew that he was at the but of many jokes for his own clothing selection, but Klein knew the rest of the family and their own little quirks. Finny, for example, had a very intricate way with words - almost borderline dangerous, if you asked Klein. The kid could weave oddly placed words together and make a very moving statement, even if all he was doing was ordering something to eat. It truly was something, but since Klein had no clue how to do it, the jokes didn't 'write themselves' as the old saying went. So when Lucy bound down the stairs as the late one, Klein gave a mock scowl at her and her extremely unruly hair. He made no comment as he simply just smiled - everybody knew that the youngest needed something to be done with her hair.

Regardless of this, the entire family sat down at the table. Sure, Skylar had run off to do whatever she did, and people were constantly moving around, but not after long the entire Everett Gang was seated nicely at the table. They didn't know it, but Klein treasured these precious little moments, where everything looked just like it did so long ago. Granted, everybody looked a lot older than when he was 6 - and most of them could now dress themselves - but it still made him somewhat nostalgic. Klein's thoughts slowly drifted away into different times - like when him and HanHan would have their little talks. Klein considered Hannah to be his best friend, even if they had some conflicting views. He could not penalize her on not sharing the same faith as he - very few did have such strong feelings for the Cure as he did, with the except of Theodin. Regardless, they confided in almost everything together, since as the oldest they looked out for the family the most. While Hannah was more of the friendly type - if it wasn't for her unheard of hair colour, she would be just like mother - Klein instead tried to keep the family from going astray, keeping them in line, getting them out of trouble, that sort of thing. It certainly wasn't easy - his sleep deprived body was a testimony to that. However, Klein didn't mind as long as the family survived and strived to be together.

A mug was placed in front of him and Klein shook himself out of his little daydream. He stared at the mug in front of him, puzzled, until Finny spoke. Might help a little, yeah? Klein smiled and turned his head up to see Finny, and simply nodded. Coffee didn't taste all that good to him, since he didn't drink it enough: apparently, it was an acquired taste. Instead, if he could, Klein would drink tea - but that stuff was highly limited. He savored every time he got tea, and always was at his second most happiest when he did. Seeing the family together was always number one.

However, everybody started rhyming off what they were going to do today, and Klein stopped all train of thought for one single one:Wait, what am I doing today...? His confused look was extremely obvious for the entire family, but not all together new. There were many times when Klein hadn't a clue what he was doing for a few days on end until somebody reminded him. If he recalled correctly, Klein was sure he was heading into town today, working on his homework, and then just going to the special spot on Coronado Beach to escape and meditate for a while. Maybe he might score some tea while in town.

As long as he didn't run into that woman, he would be fine.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Lucy Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Sᴋʏʟᴀʀ Eʟɪᴀs Eᴠᴇʀᴇᴛᴛ ❞
❝ Cᴜʀɪᴏsɪᴛʏ ᴀʟᴡᴀʏs ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴀᴛ. Bᴜᴛ... ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɴᴏᴡ, sᴀᴛɪsғᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ ʙʀᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ɪᴛ ʙᴀᴄᴋ. ❞




Skylar settled down in her usual chair, watching steam rise up from the stove Aunt Carol was crowding around. Possibilities were folding out in front of her, in her own mind. She could go to the beach, help Uncle William at the Stop-N-Save to get some money for art supplies, go get some ice cream, or maybe she could just see what Virginia was doing, to get rid of the decisions, even though she was almost sure that Virginia was at the beach. It amused her sometimes when she thought or said that- 'Virginia was at the beach'. If she went up to some person who didn't know Virginia, and told them that, they'd probably think she was crazy, saying a state was at the beach.

When Lucy came up and asked Skylar what she was going to do today, Skylar was snapped out of her trail of thoughts. Glancing over at Lucy as she propped her elbow up on the table, and rested her chin in her palm, she pondered over the question for a second. "Honestly, I have no idea," she mused, once again flipping through the possibilities. "There's so much stuff I could do, and this is only the first day of our week break! I don't know how I'm going to survive- I'll probably die from boredom!"




❝ Lᴀᴛᴇʀ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɴɪɢʜᴛ; 8:00 P.ᴍ. ❞




ImageThere was only so much one could do in a day, but Skylar felt like she had done a lot, truthfully. In the morning, she had rushed down to Shell Beach after breakfast, mostly with hopes that she might catch an ending glimpse of the sunrise. In the end, she hadn't, but on the bright side, she had ran into Virginia there. After a while she had decided to leave though, since she didn't have her swimsuit- even though it was always suspicious to others when people swam, mostly people her age. And so, she had instead headed down through town for a while, particularly to stop at the ice cream shop for a quick treat. She wished that Theo, or at least one of her siblings could've come there with her, but they were probably all busy doing their own things. After that, she went to the Stop-N-Save for the rest of the day, even though there were so many other possibilities.

Now, after a day of work, she was almost completely out of energy. Falling back onto the couch- back in Carol's house, that is -she put a hand over her eyes, yawning loudly, "Ah, working all day is just so tiring," Rolling onto her side, she caught a glimpse of the clock in the kitchen as it ticked away to no end. 8:27 she thought. Aunt Carol and Uncle William were asleep, and the storm was supposed to be rolling in by now. She doubted there was going to be a storm though, since the sky had been perfectly clear just half an our ago. Then again, the light coming in from the windows had been dimming ever since she had gotten home.
Oh well, she thought, closing her eyes. It won't affect us anyways, since we're all inside. Maybe there'll be a black out though... Hopefully not for too long...

Black out. Power. Electricity. The fences. It was impossible not to wonder when thoughts like these came up. Did the Invalids have electricity? Were they safe from the storm? How did they even survive out there, in the world separate from her own; the world known as the Wilds. Wait, what was she thinking? Of course they didn't have electricity, they were living in the forest for gosh sake! Then again... what if there were cities out there, communities beyond her imagination? What if they had managed to produce there own electricity, and were doing everything she thought was impossible for people of the sort?
Jeez, she wasn't even supposed to be thinking these things. If anyone knew all the questions she had, she would be getting a definite tour through the Crypts, for them to 'remind her what all the consequences were.' At least she didn't actually attempt to figure out the answers to her questions... or, at least, she hadn't yet. Like everyone said 'curiosity killed the cat'. But... didn't satisfaction always bring it back?
In her case, hopefully it would turn out that way when the time came.

Now that all her thoughts about the Invalids were cluttering her mind, the cure just had to butt it's way in. First it started out with her thinking about how long it was until her Evaluation Day, then her cure... Then came the wonders about who she would end up marrying. She remembered when she was little, how she would goof off with her friends at school, and they'd all pretend that they had been paired with famous celebrities, the sons of millionaires, and a bunch of other impossible fantasies. Those times had been filled with daydreams about smiles and laughs, a passionate kiss to bring together a future mother and a father. Once her mother died though, everything had been torn apart... It was like someone had came and ripped every bit of happiness out of her. She started seeing different sides of the cure, started wondering what was behind the fence, whether it was something that brought violence and unhappiness, or joy and... love.
They said the cure would get rid of these thoughts, but would it really make her happy?

Opening her eyes once again, Skylar sat up, trying to think of something else to get all these forbidden thoughts out of her head. Skylar was easily read by practically everybody around her; and, like she sometimes heard from Theo, Fishi, and all her other siblings, 'she wore her heart on her sleeve', so she had to be careful when it came to her annoying curiosity.
One more glance at the clock, and a pang of boredom finally smacked her in the face. She let out a load groan, "I'm so bored!" She knew the rest of her siblings were home right now, so the only possible resolution to her boredom was to go pester Theo for a piggy back ride around the house.


❝ Mɪssɪᴏɴ XX023. ❞

Skylar Everett has been diagnosed with something even worse than the amor deliria nervos; boredom. However, we have finally come up with a reasonable cure. An unknown creature called a Theodin must be ridden in the art of piggy back rides for enjoyment, ridding the diseased of this horrible disease known as boredom.
Assigned Mission; Hunt down a Theodin, and pester him into giving Skylar Everett a piggy back ride of high quality.
Deadline; Before Skylar Everett is overcome by the disease to the point of no return.


That won't be too hard... she thought, abruptly standing up from the couch. "Theooooo!" she hollered, ready to attack with pestering, and expecting the unexpected. Right when she got to her feet though, the bag she had carried with her to the Stop-N-Save was knocked onto the ground, spilling it's contents everywhere, much to Skylar's annoyance. With a load sigh, she delayed the piggy back ride for just a bit in order to pick up everything that was now scattered on the ground.

It was then that the whole day fell apart, and shattered in front of her eyes.

It's not here... she thought, looking practically everywhere in the small living room with wide, panicked eyes; under the couch, under the bookshelf, on the table, under the couch cushions. It's not here! If anyone found it, she'd be dead. Uncle William would show it to Aunt Carol, and Carol would say that Skylar was infected with the deliria. She'd call the labs, and they'd reschedule her cure for the next Wednesday. She would never to be able to wonder, to ask, to daydream ever again.
All of this could happen over one single, little, bronze locket, with a picture of Skylar's mother tucked away inside. It was the only one she had left, and to make everything worse, her camera was gone as well.

Calm down, Skylar, Skylar thought, starting to pace through the living room in circles. You probably just left them at the Stop-N-Save, and they'll be there in the morning. You can wake up really early and take the key, then run there right before William gets there, and say that you're just so eager to work that you wanted to see if you could handle opening up the shop by yourself. Yeah, that's what'll happen, and when you get there the locket will be right there, on the counter, perfectly fine right next to your camera. It'll be over before you kn- Oh who am I kidding?!

Before she could have any second thoughts, she grabbed her bag off of the table, everything that had fallen onto the ground earlier back into their rightful place in the bag. She then ran straight up the stairs, and to the room she shared with Fishi and Theo. "Theo, Fishi," she said in a whisper just to be careful not to wake Carol, who's bedroom was only steps away, a pleading look in her eye as she spoke. "I, uh... left something at Virginia's house today, since I had taken a break from working to hang out with her earlier. I'm just going to go and get it super quickly. Please cover for me, alright? Just, stuff some pillows in my bed, and- I dunno! Please, just make sure Carol stays asleep! And Uncle William! I'll be back super quickly!"

Without giving either of them a chance to reply, Skylar was back sliding down the stairs, and running straight for the door, grabbing the keys to the Stop-N-Save from their rightful place on a hook in the kitchen, and sparing a second to glance at the clock. 8:35 P.M. It was a twenty minute run to get to the Stop-N-Save, but if she pushed herself enough, she could probably cut the time in half. Her heart condition slipped her mind at the moment, but she had no time to think about that right now! Oh, how she'd do anything to have Hannah's running abilities at the moment!

It wasn't that hard to avoid the regulators, with their loud walkie talkies making static sounds echo from a mile away. The one problem though was the rain, that was slowly getting harder and stronger. She managed though, even though she only had one measly hoodie to protect her from the bullet-like rain and wind. The run passed in no time, and even though it had felt like only ten minutes or so, it truthfully took her fifteen minutes. That meant it was 8:50 P.M., ten minutes till curfew. When she finally reached the shop, a group of regulators were coming up a street of other buildings, heading for a turn that led straight to the Stop-N-Save. Panic flooded over Skylar, and when she reached the door she fumbled around with the keys, all the dangers of what she was doing finally hitting her right in the face.

Just before the regulators turned the corner, she managed to open the door, and slam it shut behind her. Panting heavily, and forgetting to lock the doors behind her, she dove behind the counter, feeling the light of the flashlights from the regulators shining in through the windows, like millions of sharp eyes trying to sniff her out of the darkness of the storm. All she could do for now was hide, and wait for them to pass, and after that, the search was on. Fear was rushing through her, yet adrenaline secretly seeped through her body. Maybe it was the adrenaline of fear, or maybe she truthfully was excited- it didn't matter now. There was no running back to the house now, no curling up under her blankets and daydreaming about days spent with her mother. She could only wait, and hope that no one would come inside the shop once she started searching for her locket and camera, since they were obviously not placed on the counter.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Finnegan Slade Everett ❞
Image
❝ Oh, if you knew what it meant for me. ❞




If Finnegan had been there, then he would've bobbed his head in whimsical submission, already working on fluffing the pillows so it appeared as if Skylar was just a lump of potatoes that refused to budge from her sleep. He'd done it before, and it probably wouldn't have been the last time, either. But, Finnegan wasn't under his sheets, scribbling away on cream-colored envelopes. Jotting down letters that were always weathered at the corners from smoothing out the creases, impossible to iron out. It only softened with time, becoming unmanageable. He wasn't in the kitchen stuffing his face with cookies he'd just bought from the Stop-n-Save, either, and he certainly wasn't prodding Theodin into anger, like he always did whenever he wanted attention from Skylar's unlikely partner in crime. He hadn't come home from his morning jog – hadn't even bothered stopping in to tell them that he'd be late, because he was heading there, tonight. He always did whenever he was anxious, or worried, or crazy out of his mind because things just weren't working out the way he imagined. Shell Beach was like a comforting blanket, or his mother's arms, wrapped tightly around his shoulders. It kept all of those thoughts at bay, dragging them out with the tide.

He studied the wiry constellations spanning over his open palms, stippled over his lifelines. Traced the pattern of scar tissue crossing his knuckles like warped rivers. They looked like leaflets, twining into each other – beautiful, wax poetic roots. More than anything, Finnegan felt like he was about to lose someone important. It was true enough. Hannah would have her evaluation in a couple of days and everything would change. No longer would she baby any of them, or brush her fingers through their hair in the mornings. Protecting them would become a simple duty, born of responsibility and not love. She would laugh less, cry less, smile less. She'd carry less of herself, less of his mother. She'd become a whirr of whizzing gears, of logical synapses, of responses better suited for someone who wasn't entirely human. The Cure would ruin her from the inside-out. They were going to lose her, and everyone was fine with that because it was the solution to Portland's problems and they considered what they were doing right. It wasn't. It never would be. They'd paint the world with oyster colours, bland partitions of smoke and monochrome shades. All of her aches, her triumphs, her inspirations would be dull, lifeless things – would she even feel alive? Would they survive without her?

She loved white roses and beautiful sunsets and colours that complimented her red hair. When everything was said and done, would she still love those things, or would she forget them? There was nothing they could do, even if they wanted to. He thought of proposing to run away to the Wilds. To save her mind, her feelings, her her her. It was selfish. He'd been too much of a coward to mention anything last night, so how in the hell would he have run away? Finnegan sighed softly, plopped down on the hill, stretched out on his back, and scuffed the heels of his shoes in the gravel. He snatched handfuls of grass and dug his fingernails into his palm, a little too hard, until it was just unbearable enough to let go. He was helpless. He couldn't save her and he hated himself for it. Telling them she was just tired, that she was just a little nervous, wasn't a lie, but it must have been more than that. How long had he been sitting there? Hours. Maybe longer if the growing darkness was anything to go by. The sun felt like it had retired minutes ago, or hours – something like that, if he'd been really paying attention.

If the Regulators chanced onto him, beaming their flashlights across his prone form, then what would happen? It was a question that crossed his mind frequently. They weren't known for being kind, or merciful, or any word describing protector. Sirens and dogs and masked men bullying their way through the streets, heedless of crying mothers or screaming children. If someone would've told him that it was for their own good, then Finnegan would've laughed in their face. Why would they be terrified of someone who was supposed to be protecting them? As if in response, the tide crashed against the stony pillars, throwing it's froth across the sand. Beautiful, wild, unpredictable, all at once. It wasn't something that could be regulated or controlled or somehow subdued because it invoked something that might just trigger what they feared so much. He loved the ocean. He loved the tiny pebbles, and the tiny specks of sand sifting through his fingers. He loved the sounds and the smell of salt and brine.

A storm brewed in the distance. It left a distinct smell, almost like it covered the landscape with a heaviness. Not completely unwelcome, either. The ocean was too loud for any Regulators to hear him. The waves crashed too heavily, too noisy. It was dark enough to be mistaken for a lump, or a pile of rocks, or a particularly unimpressive mass of shrubbery. He could sing for her without singing to her. It wouldn't be the same, and it wouldn't be enough, but at least he could finally get it out.

❝'Cause if you never leave home
You'll never make it to the great unknown till you
Keep your eyes open, my love
So tell me you're strong, tell me you see
I need to hear it, can you promise me to
Keep your eyes open, my love❞

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Virginia Hearst ❞




Lie down below
Where can you go?
Sigh, slide, slow
You're just a shadow
Just a shadow





Ginny nearly had a heart attack when someone walked in on her during her private poetry fest at the beach. She had shot straight up, swept away all evidence with a quick scuff of her shoes, and tried not to look too guilty. Fortunately, it turned out to be just Skylar, who had randomly decided to drop by Shell Beach to say hello. Honestly, that girl was going to be the death of her someday.

(Although, in retrospect, she really should have known better. Skylar was the only one who knew of her secret hideout, after all.)

Fortunately (or unfortunately?) the visit didn't last for very long. After a quick good morning and an exchange of pleasantries, Skylar had wandered away, off to do whatever it was Skylar did in her spare time. Probably frolicking through a meadow or rescuing kittens from trees or something. Those seemed like very Skylar-esque things to do.

Somewhere in the distance, a seagull wailed. It was a mournful, reproachful sound, and reminded Ginny that she couldn't stay here forever. Time to go, she thought. If she dawdled any longer, it would make her mother suspicious. Maybe if she had time, she could come again later today.

"Goodbye," she said to the ocean. The water lapped quietly at the shore and whispered back a breathy farewell, a silky harmony of sighing chords. Ginny took a deep breath of soft loamy air before finally turning around to leave. She walked away to the sound of seagull cries.




- LATER THAT NIGHT - 8:04 PM -


At around eight o' clock, the door to the Hearst household swung open and a weary-looking Ginny staggered through. Her fur hat was tilted askew, her scarf tangled up in her hair and jacket like angry brambles. Grocery bags adorned her arms like Christmas tree ornaments. With one leg, she awkwardly closed the door and then lurched over to the kitchen, where she all but collapsed onto the floor. The only thing that prevented her from completely losing her composure was the presence of a stern-faced Marianne lingering by the counter.

"Hello, Mother," Ginny said evenly while trying to balance a particularly bulky bag on the countertop. With a sigh, Marianne reached over to the fat, clunky grocery bag and wrestled the unwieldy thing over to the refrigerator.

"Virginia," her mother replied with a disapproving frown. "It's terribly late. Do try to hurry up next time."

Ginny made a vague noise of agreement, but was too tired for a proper response. It had been a long day. After breakfast, she had briefly considered escaping the house to visit Skylar under the guise of a "school project" or "study session," but her mother had other plans. Apparently, Marianne had decided that early September was the perfect time for a little spring cleaning. Thus, the two of them spent the entire morning and subsequent afternoon marching around the house wielding dusters and dustpans. When evening rolled by, Marianne shoved a grocery list in Ginny's face ("I believe there's a sale today") and told her to be home by eight. Then she ordered her daughter out of the house and proceeded to attack the floors with a rather ferocious-looking mop.

Truth to be told, Ginny was pleased with the excuse to get out of the house. She finished her shopping as quickly as she could (at Stop-N-Save, she caught a glimpse of Skylar, but the girl was so absorbed in her work she didn't notice Ginny's hurried greeting) and managed to finish everything by seven. It was like this, covered head to foot in shopping bags, that she made her way to Shell Beach for a glorious break before finally trudging back home and arriving just a little bit after the curfew Marianne had set for her. And, well, it was tiring, dragging all those bags around everywhere. So her exhaustion was justified.

The telephone rang from down the hallway, shrill and insistent. Marianne paused in the unloading of groceries and shot Ginny a glance. "Oh, that must be Betty. Virginia, be a dear and take care of the rest." She hurried down the room, leaving Ginny alone amidst a sea of shopping bags. Ginny sighed and got to work.

Five minutes later, after storing everything in their rightful positions, Ginny realized that there was a grave problem. Specifically? She was missing a bag. And it was, arguably, the most important bag of all. In a rising state of panic, she double-checked, and then triple-checked, and then quadruple-checked all of the groceries. After scanning everything over for the fifth time, it was unmistakable. She could no longer deny the ugly truth that was staring her in the face.

The bag with the Pop Tarts was gone.

The bag. With the Pop Tarts. Was gone.

Along with her wallet.

Ginny fought the urge to tear at her hair. This was terrible beyond belief. Not only her wallet, but also the Pop Tarts were nowhere to be seen. Oh, hell, the Pop Tarts. Her mother was obsessed with Pop Tarts. Ate them every morning. When Marianne got up tomorrow and discovered their absence…

Ginny felt a shiver crawl down her spine. She was so, so dead.




Fortunately, Ginny was able to load everything by the time Marianne was done with her call. For now, her mother was still oblivious to the Pop Tart Plight. Of course, the happy illusion would be shattered the instant Marianne opened the refrigerator the next morning, but for now Ginny was safe. The girl trudged to her room and flopped down on her bed, but after ten minutes of lying there with her eyes open she realized that she just wasn't tired anymore. Funny how these things worked—ten minutes ago she wanted nothing more than to just curl up in her bed hibernate for a few weeks. And now? Now she was too nervous to even close her eyes for more than twenty seconds.

Shell Beach, she thought. It had to be Shell Beach. That was the only place she went to before coming home—she must have accidentally left the bag with the Pop Tarts somewhere at the seashore. Somewhere. By itself. Where it could be possible found. By regulators.

…Well, this sucked.

Ginny sat up and propped up her elbows on her knees. The way she saw it, she had two options.

1. Sneak back to the beach and snatch back the Pop Tarts. Oh, and her wallet, too.

Or,

2. Leave the bag where it is, and face Marianne's subsequent wrath in the morning.

On one hand, sneaking back would so get her killed if she got caught. But if didn't do anything, then she'd risk detection of Pop Tarts by hostile forces (i.e. regulators). And what if they traced the darn things back to her? And what if Marianne got wind of it? She wasn't supposed to be at Shell Beach. Shell Beach was swarming with rumors of the infected, and her reputation would be torn to shreds if her frequent exploits to the beach became common knowledge.

So. Should she sneak back, risk her life and brave the coming storm while breaking at least fifty laws? Or should she just wait here, safely in her room, and hope nothing would happen?

Ginny heaved a sigh. Put like that, the choice was obvious.

She went to her wardrobe and began to pull on a raincoat.




Ginny was cursing herself. Of all the stupid, thoughtless, harebrained

Thunder crashed, a distant gong that resonated with the light percussion of rain. Ginny shivered in her bulky rain gear as she crept along the shadows of trees and fences. Just to be safe, she took the longer, more tortuous route to the beach that barely anyone used. The storm, while terrifying, actually provided her a very good cover and it was relatively easy to slip past the occasional straggler rushing to get to their house before nine. The first time a group of regulators passed by, Ginny's heart nearly stopped, but they proved to be easy to avoid. The regulators were loud creatures, graceless predators who prowled down the streets and swung their flashlights like lighthouse beacons. Not exactly the most subtle people in the world.

At last she reached the beach. Her watch informed her that it was 8:28 PM, about half an hour before curfew. That gave her…not a lot of time at all.

She was scurrying along the dark shore and had almost reached her little hideaway when a jagged line of light speared down from the sky, illuminating the beach for a scant half-second.

The half-second was enough. For within that tiny timeframe, the storm had highlighted for her a lumpy outline of a human being. Ginny barely had time to wonder what on earth was this crazy person doing camping out here in a freaking storm before she lost her footing and smashed right into said crazy person.

Well. So much for secrecy.





No time left for this decision
Race and fly and run and hide
Tempest roar in rain-smeared vision
Roiling sea and crashing tide
Fallen from the storm's derision
Onto rocks that slip and slide
Stand up from a strange collision
Sigh and tend our wounded pride


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Theodin Jaynar Everett ❞
Image Image Image
❝There was no way they were going to get away with this.❞




Theodin was currently in his room that he shared with his twin and brother, peeling off clothes that were sticking to him due to sweat and blood. His side hurt, and his arms, but especially the fresh cut on his calf. An Invalid had been quicker than he had originally thought, and he would have a new scar. His leg throbbed every time he moved it. So it was basically aways hurting. He grabbed the bottle of tylenol, chewing three of them. He wished he had something stronger, but these would have to do until he could filtch something else. He sighed, stuffing the bloodied and torn clothes into a plastic bag to shove into the crawl space at the back of their closet that led to the attic. He was bare except for his pants when Skylar poked her head into the room, whispering urgently at him and Finn, who wasn't there, something about covering for her. She was so distracted, Theodin guessed she didn't notice the bloodstains in his hair, clothing, and the fresh bruising that was etching itself onto his skin. And then she was gone as soon as she had come. What on earth had gotten her so riled up that Virginia couldn't bring whatever it was to her in the morning, or Monday at school? Theodin ran over to the window, and watched Skylar leave.

In the opposite direction of Virginia's house.

Theodin's eyes narrowed. Why would Skylar lie about where she was going? He looked over at the clock. 8:36 PM. And so close to curfew. If she got caught...

Growling under his breath, Theodin grabbed a jacket and zipped it on, not bother to put on a shirt underneath, or socks, or even shoes. He quietly tiptoed down the steps, and out the door. Now there were three of them out of the house. Skylar, himself, and where ever Finnegan had run off to. Theodin sighed, sprinting off in the direction he'd seen Skylar go, racking his brains to try and figure out just where she was headed. The only thing up this way were stores. Possibly the Stop 'N' Save? He shook his head, ducking down behind someone's trash cans to avoid the lights of the Regulators. This was insane! If he got caught...He growled agian, not worried about the noise. The rain was drowning out most of it, so the Regulators wouldn't be able to hear him unless they were right on top of him. On the downside, Theodin couldn't hear them, either. And he'd lost sight of Skylar. He glanced down at his watch. 8:49 PM. He needed to find her, fast. He bolted out from behind the trash cans, racing down a back alley, and then shimmied up a tree in someone's back yard, peering out through the rain. He could tell by the flash lights where the Regulators were, and could just barely make out some of the buildings in the shopping district. His bare feet gripped the bark on the tree with some difficulty. The rain had begun to numb him all over, making it difficult to stay in the tree. But there was a Regulator fifteen feet away. Even with the rain, he didn't risk it. Skylar, I swear, if we both get home without anyone finding out about this, I'm going to strangle you! He thought.

He glanced around, and even through the rain he could see that the Regulator beneath the tree was the only one within sight of him. And then he got his chance. A stray cat yowled and the bolted from its cover over to someone's porch, and the guy whipped around, facing away from Theodin. Theodin let got of the tree, landing on top of the guy, and afer a short struggle, knocked him out. A part of him could not believe what he had just done, and the other part of him whispered, Only for Skylar... He clenched his hands into fists and ran off, looking every which way for Regulators, and Skylar. Where was she?!

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Everett Character Portrait: Theodin Jaynar Everett Character Portrait: Johann Makota Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Sᴋʏʟᴀʀ Eʟɪᴀs Eᴠᴇʀᴇᴛᴛ ❞
❝ Wʜᴇɴ ʏᴏᴜ ғɪɴᴅ ʏᴏᴜʀ ғᴀᴄᴇ ᴀɴ ɪɴᴄʜ ᴀᴡᴀʏ ғʀᴏᴍ sᴏᴍᴇʙᴏᴅʏ ᴇʟsᴇ's, ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ's ᴏɴʟʏ ᴏɴᴇ ᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ; ᴛʜʀᴏᴡ ᴄᴀɴs, ᴀɴᴅ ᴀɴʏᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴇʟsᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴄᴀɴ ғɪɴᴅ, ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴍᴀɴᴀɢᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴛᴜʀɴ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ ᴜᴘsɪᴅᴇ ᴅᴏᴡɴ. ❞




ImageSkylar stayed curled up under the counter, forcing herself to keep her eyes shut as she tried to stay calm. They're just passing by, and I have fifteen minutes till curfew, so it would be fine if I got caught, she thought reassuringly, even though there was this little nagging voice telling her otherwise. It'll all be fine. Even though she should've been worrying about worse things, she briefly thought of how glad she was that she had black hair, and such a small figure, which was perfect for hiding in the dark. If only she didn't look practically as pale as a ghost.

Of course, at the worst time possible, the world decided to turn against her. In one single second, she heard the door open and closed, and swift footsteps afterwards. At that moment, she swore that she had a vision of what was going to happen to her next. A regulator was going to grab her by the wrist, and ask her why she was out after curfew. Then, they were all going to think she had probably been planning to go and meet an uncured boy, and they'd drag her back home, only to schedule the cure the next day for her. That would mean no more painting, no more seeing her siblings everyday, and definitely no exploring!

Why hadn't she just stayed at home, read a nice book, and gotten a piggy back from Theo? Maybe it was a good thing that she had come, but anyone else would've definitely told her otherwise, since the person only an inch away from her face was most likely going to flip her world upside down. Gravity would let go of her, and she'd fall endlessly into the sky, never to return to the calming ocean of blankets on a nice, warm bed. She would be left wondering 'am I right side up or upside down?'

Feeling breath on her face, she hesitantly opened her eyes, wishing the person in front of her would be none other than Theo, or maybe Fishi. In the last quick passing of light from the regulator's flashlights though, she managed to make out messy blonde hair, and a pair of blue eyes staring right back at her. An unfamiliar face, seemingly just as surprised as she was.

If she wasn't in such a rush, she would've passed out right there from panic, and the fact that she had never been this close to a boy that wasn't related to her once in her life.

"W-Who...?" she started to whisper, since it was obvious that the regulators had finally passed by. She never finished her sentence, and instead just stared at him for a while before her eyes flashed to his left ear, just longing to see that three pointed star—the mark of the cure. If he was a cured, then she wouldn't get in trouble if she was found anywhere near him. It was her last hope to not getting in trouble, but then again, if he was a cured, he'd definitely blow her cover.
Her eyes met nothing but bare skin though, which seemed even more like a mark than the scar was in the world surrounding her—the mark of an uncured.

He must've just been a boy from town desperately needing milk, or something of the sort. Pop Tarts, maybe? She was lying to herself at this point, just trying to keep calm. He was probably a burglar, or a diseased uncured needing a place to hide in an attempt to go see the cause of his deliria. Panic replaced her sense of calmness, and she abruptly scrambled out from under the counter, trying to get to her feet but tripping a few times. Oh, damn her clumsiness right now.

"Whoever you are, get out of here!" she screeched, trying to sound strong and intimidating. Only did she end up sounding (and looking like) a frightened animal, scared of being shot or something. She reached out with shaking hands and grabbed a hold of one of the shelfs to pull herself up, before grabbing random boxes and cans and flinging them at the unknown boy. If she was making a racket, all she could do was hope that the regulators were too far away to hear.

The world was now focusing on this little, probably unimportant store in her mind. The Regulators, the cure, the Invalids, they all didn't mean anything right now. All Skylar wanted to do was to find her locket and camera, and then get the hell out of here.

There was one important question though, which she'd have to figure out before she could leave—where the hell were they? And despite her frightened actions, another question was prodding her brain, nagging at her to ask the blonde haired boy one thing; who are you?

When the supplies on the shelf that could be thrown, and wouldn't hurt the boy that much (yes, she was still a softy, even when this boy probably would threaten her life if she was found) was out, she froze as she was reaching to grab something else from a different shelf. Her eyes became locked on the bare counter, her mind and instincts completely betraying her as she blankly stared straight ahead.

Tears stung at the corners of her eyes, and she left herself fall back down into a sitting position against the shelf. Her locket and camera weren't there. She had sworn they would've been, and if they weren't there, that could mean only one thing...

Uncle William had found them.

"No, no," she mumbled, putting her hands on her head and burying her face in her knees. If her shoulders weren't starting to violently shake, and if there weren't tears now rolling down her hidden cheeks, the way she looked almost could've been funny, since she almost looked like a curled up ball. "I had put it right there! On the counter!"

The boy was probably staring at her like a freak now, but she didn't care. She didn't even care that there was a boy here now. Anyone would say she could buy a new camera and locket, and even though she could buy a new camera (even though it would be a pain), there was one little problem. The last picture of her mother that she owned had been in that very locket, folded up and tucked away to be kept forever. It was the only way for her to remember the face of her mother, who had died so long ago.

She had thought about it many times, how sad it was that when someone leaves you or dies, the picture of them in your mind starts to slowly get fuzzy, and then blurry. The colors start to blend together, and it makes you feel like your drowning. It's like teardrops on a photograph, smudging the colors and details around, making it so nothing can be made out from it. And then it keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse, until the only thing you can remember about them is all the memories. Time will never cease to be cruel though, and seems to pull that away from your fingertips soon enough.

All will be left is a photograph with mixed up colors, and scattered memories dancing on the tip of your tongue.

When it had started happening to her though, she got frightened, and scared. Her mother had already left her once, and she didn't want her to leave again. So, to make sure it would never happen to her, she tucked the last picture she had of her, which she had hid from everyone else, in a little bronze locket. With the promise of the words 'Mom', she had then clung onto that little locket like how she clung to her siblings, and the morning sunrise.

She had depended upon it, until now. Now, all that was left behind was faint memories, and spoken words from the past, along with some random blonde boy in front of her, who, little did she know, had the very thing she was sobbing about tucked away along with him.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Finnegan Slade Everett ❞
Image
♮ No man is an island, oh, this I know ♮


♫♫♫




It didn't feel cold at Shell Beach.

Here he was, laying in the middle of a growing tempest with the world shaking and rumbling all around him, threatening to tear him apart or drag him off to sea, and somehow, Finnegan felt more alive than he'd ever felt. The wind bent underbrush and trees alike as if they delicate flowers, as if they were dandelions buds pinched between a giant's fingers, blown away in a puff of breath. Leaves and loose sticks that had been nestled in the tangled foliage of the surrounding shrubs, successfully hiding him from Regulators and passerbyers alike, were uprooted and forced to dance around in the wind before falling to the ground around him. A bird's nest of tangled dreams, of wild fantasies, of words that could destroy him. He imagined folks hurrying home to beat the curfew. A scuffling bunch of umbrella-heads and bright yellow rain jackets, always worrying, always afraid of something gobbling them up. They lived in a state of constant huddling and listening and hustling emergency. They'd always be running from something – even storms, even beautiful catastrophes that were unbiased and unprejudiced in their subversion. It was only a little bit of rain, anyway. Rain pit-pattered across Finnegan's face, rolling down in rivulets. He closed his eyes.

He remembered her picking him up; swinging him in wide circles, cooing how he too could be a grand pirate, sailor of the seas, if only he squeezed his eyes hard enough. It was all there, if he knew where to look. He remembered her wriggling toes, her small hands, with his even smaller hands fitting somewhere in the folds. He remembered her sewing yellow stars and moons on the underbelly of his sheets, tiny constellations, so he could enjoy the night sky without the Regulators knowing. She let them fly, she let them sing. With all those things, Finnegan still remembered her nine o'clock cries. He remembered beating his tiny, ineffectual fists against the wall. He sang for her. He always did.

“I'm on a fire escape, where you said to wait, and I did.
Yes, I did. Oh, I heard the cold wind say, “You're a fool to wait—”


A peal of thunder snatched him away from his thoughts, from the small amount of peace he'd acquired. His voice hitched, breaking off into a slight gasp. How hadn't he noticed before? He was soaked all the way down to the bone. Here he was, laying there in a cold, mucky puddle in the middle of the night, past curfew, with the storm-sounds all around him. The ocean's writhing tide lapped closer and closer, nipping away at the beach as if it were a sandy meal. It was nowhere near him, but still, Finnegan felt as if it was growing alarmingly close. The bright flash of light, illuminating the craggy environment, was all he needed to see the upside down form of another person crashing into him, all pinwheeling limbs and fumbling legs. His heart skipped a pace, hopscotching straight into his throat – a Regulator, shit shit shit! He hadn't seen the telltale signs of a lamplight strolling onto his face, nor had he heard anyone yelling. The likelihood of him hearing anything besides the increasingly heavy smacks of thunder, growing louder and louder, was slim. It sounded like a gigantic train approaching, chugging through the sky with the intent of drowning out all other sounds in it's wake. He momentarily braced himself for probing fingers, assaulting hands that'd wrap around his neck and squeeze.

The storm was in full swing. In mere moments, the approaching white sheet dropped down on them like a chilly, sopping wet blanket, like a thief in the night. Every inch of joy, of wonder, he'd felt moments before evaporated. It was replaced by a distinct, rarely felt dollop of fear, colouring his vision with blotches of darkness and monsters and strangling Regulators. His arms instinctively flew out, more to save himself from getting stepped on than anything else, but it'd inadvertently saved the imagined-Regulator from smashing their head on the ground. He quickly swung around so that he could manoeuvre over his assailant, knees straddling and fingers snatching a handful of the person's shirt. It was only then that Finnegan realized that this person, this girl, wasn't a Regulator. The thunder roared like a lonely, ignored beast, ignoring what was happening below. It was a familiar girl with rain-flecked eyelashes, indigo eyes. His hand loosened, then released.

“It's past curfew.” Stupid words plucked out of a stupid mouth – all metaphors, and beautiful soliloquizes, and red-tipped birds dancing in his palm flit away with the wind. He was a wreck, a train crash, a dump truck over turned on its side, leaking everything he was onto the road. What if she told someone he was here? Better yet, why was she out here in the first place? Ginny. Even in the growing darkness, with brief flashes of glinting bolts, Finnegan could recognize her. Ginny. You almost stepped on my face.” He commented wryly, then quickly added, as an afterthought, “Sorry I scared you. What the hell are you doing out here, anyway?” Finnegan finally scrambled off her, holding his hand out to help her back to her feet. His fingers were already numb, goose-pebbled and beyond cold. He regretted moving so abruptly. His spine felt like knotted vertebrae pieces, with seized, sluggish muscles. Trying to explain himself to his siblings would be absurd. If his mucky clothes, sandy sneakers, and wet-dog appearance was anything to go by, then he'd be screwed. Here were two denizens of Portland, sneaking out after curfew in a storm.

They were already screwed.

He suddenly felt like he should be explaining himself. It came out in one uncontrollable wheeze of air, as if he were a balloon releasing it's contents. He came here because he wouldn't see her in an album, or a photograph, or even in the songs he sang. She was the ocean. He couldn't bring her home. His lungs expanded, then tightened. “We're not allowed to keep pictures of her, so this is the closest I can get. I don't feel cold here. This is the only place I don't feel cold—” Here he was, standing in one of Portland's worst storms, yelling at someone he hardly knew about something she probably didn't even care about. Then, Finnegan laughed. It sounded like riding the ferriswheel and hanging yourself over the bar that was supposed to hold you safe and secure. It sounded like dancing in the rain.

The setting changes from portland to The Beaches

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

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❝ Virginia Hearst ❞




Split the leaves of gold-framed books
Brush the surface with a plastic hand
But the puddle's deeper than it looks
And it's like sinking in quicksand

Never meant to go down this road
Never meant to wear this scarlet brand
This white-rimmed guilt's an exponential load
And it's like sinking in quicksand





Ginny didn't bash her head open on the rock-lined shore. Which was fortunate. She'd rather keep her brain inside her cranium, thank you very much, and the mess afterward would be such a hassle to clean up anyway. What was unfortunate was that there was this dark, massive hulk of a person pinning her down and clenching savagely at her clothes.

…How on earth did she get herself into these kinds of messes?

Briefly, she considered her options.

1. Scream.

2. Scream louder.

3. Punch her attacker in the face.

Well, in this monstrosity of a storm, screaming probably wouldn't be very useful. Screaming louder wouldn't make much of a difference, either, which meant that violence was the way to go. Her fist was already beginning its journey towards the mysterious person's nose when a lance of vivid light tore through the sky, helpfully illuminating Ginny's surroundings.

Her hand paused. This…was not a stranger. She knew this person.

"It's past curfew," said Finnegan Everett.

Ginny glanced at the face of her watch. 8:32 PM. True, the curfew in light of the storm had long since passed, but there was still a little time until the actual curfew, right? Right. As long as she still made it home by nine, she'd still be a decent human being.

"You almost stepped on my face," he continued, and Ginny felt a little spasm of guilt for even contemplating punching him in the face. What would she have done if she had hurt Skylar's younger brother? Even disregarding the fact that Ginny would probably be dragged off to the Crypts for assault, Skylar would never talk to her again. And for some reason, that thought was like red-hot iron—untouchable, unbearable. She recoiled from it.

Lost in thought as she was, it took Ginny a while to realize that Skylar's brother was holding out his hand in a gesture of help. Without thinking, she accepted it; the folds of his palms burned ice-cold against her own.

"Thank you," she said automatically. She began brushing down her grime-speckled raincoat, trying to rid herself of any evidence of the impromptu tumble.

It wasn't until she was brushing the last stray pebbles from her coat that it hit her, hard and heavy, like the falling stack of ten-ton bricks.

She had talked to a boy.

No, forget that—she had touched a boy. Practically held hands with him.

Oh gawd, she thought with a terrible, dawning sense of horror. Oh gawd, I did it. I'm turning into a criminal.

It was mind-boggling. Yesterday, she had been the perfect, upstanding citizen of Portland. Golden and shining, a role-model for all. Today, she had deteriorated into a common delinquent. Sneaking out at night, talking and touching boys. When would it stop, this horrible nosediving spiral? Would it even stop? Would she wake up tomorrow and then suddenly start spouting love songs, splash graffiti over the walls of downtown stores? Would she wake up, a year from now, as an infamous felon on the run from the law? Wake up twenty years from now as some sort of godforsaken mass murderer? What would her mother say?

Dimly, she was aware of Finnegan ranting about something or other. Something about pictures and the cold. She didn't know, she wasn't paying attention. All she knew was that she was turning into a monster and oh hell those lights the regulators are coming for us hurry and hide quick quick quick they're coming

Skylar's brother was laughing now, a careless, wild sound that the storm did little to smother—was this boy crazy? That laughing was—

Wonderful, gorgeous, free, her heart whispered.

Dangerous, reckless, stupid, she corrected.

The lights, diluted as they were with the falling sheets of rain, were nonetheless growing brighter. There was little time to spare. With only the briefest of hesitations, Ginny grabbed Finnegan's arm (Dear lord, I'm touching him again) and began to drag him over towards her usual hiding place underneath the rocky outcrop. Hopefully she'd find her Pop Tarts there. And even if she didn't, it'd give them a place to wait out the coming storm. Both figuratively, and literally.






'Cuz when the sky crumbles down and volcanoes blow
Sometimes you just gotta smile and let it go


The setting changes from the-beaches to Portland

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett

0.00 INK



❝ Finnegan Slade Everett ❞
Image
♮ Science and progress don't speak as loud as my heart ♮


♫♫♫




He'd already given up the hopes of making it back home on time. Finnegan knew he was a fast runner, but he wasn't a magician. He couldn't click his heels and wish himself home, either. The likelihood of him making a mistake, turning down the wrong alleyway, and fumbling straight into a marching gang of Regulators was all too feasible. The Crypts would not succeed in gaining another prisoner. He appraised her in the dim light, with the storm's occasional flash of lightning: simple clothes, absolutely soaked. With feathery hair, promptly flattened to her forehead, and indigo eyes, blinking away beads of water like liquid-snowflakes. What was he? A sleeping dog in the rain, dishevelled and rusting at the joints. Hardly worthy of being in her presence, waggling his fingers, with his fingernails clutching bits of dirt. She was ironed flat, completely aware of who she was, while he was a creased, discarded shirt, stained from frequent use, and easily replaceable. He had plenty of siblings that could be proper Portland denizens. He, obviously, could not hope to fit in, or puzzle himself out enough to fit into their flawless archetype. Subservience wasn't in his blood – that much was clear.

Her hand folded neatly into his own, validating that what was happening, at that very instant, was real, was genuine. He wasn't dreaming. No amount of cheek-pinches could wake him, anyway. He wouldn't want to. Finnegan's mouth curled into a small smile, throwing down a bridge between them, as if it were a small link being formed out of seashells and discarded bottles. Even if it didn't last very long, and they parted ways never to speak of their beach-side reconnaissance ever again, then he could still say that he was momentarily holding the world in his palm, turning it over like the smooth side of the rocks found at Shell Beach. He was free, and she was, too. Lifting his chin, lifting his gaze, Finnegan pulled her to her feet without much effort, though he kept her hand clasped in his own, only to sheepishly drop it when she pulled back to brush off her raincoat – wouldn't really do her much good because it was soaked, and whatever bits of grass and pebbles would cling to her like stubborn burdock’s.

The icy breeze drummed on the surface of his skin, goose-pebbling his exposed arms, threading it's disapproving fingers across his shoulders, and reminding him that he might've condemned himself to the Crypts by lingering here with a girl, no less. How many rules had he broken in the span of five minutes? His heartsick heart didn't care, even if his siblings would tug his ears clean off for being so desperately reckless, for endangering his entire family and bringing even more gloom down on them. If one of them was hauled off to the Crypts, then the rest would end up being scrutinized; put under telescopes, and needles, and hasty surgeries to keep the infection from spreading at such a rapid rate. He shrugged his shoulders, in the tepid effort of saying no, no, it was nothing, even though I almost knocked your block off because I thought you were a Regulator.

Here he was, Finnegan Everett, standing in a brutal, unforgiving storm, with a girl, no less, laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world. Not just a girl, but one who was the epitome of perfection in studious endeavours, in monitoring her emotions, in keeping everything in check so that no one would raise any inquisitive eyebrows. She seemed to know when to speak, and when to look beautiful. She was, in fact, a queen of beauty, grace, and of course – anything and everything that Portland applauded, and strictly encouraged. His hands were cold, numb things, clutching at his abdomen to stifle his laughter, to pull it back in because it was transposing into uncomfortable cramps. He hadn't laughed like that in a long time, too long to recall. What was that look on her face? Revulsion? Disgust? Intrigue? This multi-chambered girl, so unexpectedly calm, was now looking at him like he'd exposed himself. Like she'd just found a dirty stray rolling around on her immaculate carpet. He snorted loudly, pressed his fingers against his stomach and pointed at her face, grinning widely.

He decided, then and there, that he wanted to know her better. To figure out why she was looking at him so sternly, as if they'd committed the grandest of atrocities; stealing goodies from the Shop 'n Save, gallivanting down the streets hand-in-hand, laughing loudly at nothing at all, or sneaking away to the wilds. This was nothing. It didn't feel wrong. He was holding poems in his heart like tenderhearted secrets, clutching them like individual wishes, and she was standing there, gawking like a fish out of water. Already, Finnegan's heart was knocking at the walls in his chest, demanding release, demanding something that, as denizens of Portland, they weren't allowed to utter aloud.

“What's that look on your face—,” he started to say, snagged raw from his previous bout of laughter, before Ginny snatched his arm, dragging him away from where he'd been standing moments ago. There was no hesitance, no irrefutable reason for him to flinch away. It was only then, scrambling away from the mucky path, that he spotted the diluted lights in the distance, growing increasingly brighter and less watery, like a lighthouse that had finally finished it's circuit. The moved into the ocean-salted cave, alcove, mini-outcrop of rocks that hid them away from the thick sheets of rain, or circling strobes of flashlights presumably checking the hilltops for wayward citizens. He puffed his cheeks, then breathed out, long and hard, in relief.

“Now, that was crazy. You've got good intuition, I didn't even notice how close they were.” He commented with a low whistle, clicking his fingers. If it weren't for Ginny, then they really might've been caught. At least they were mostly out of the rain. “God, my hearts beating so fast. No, really, feel it.” Then, as quickly, and unhesitatingly, as he'd stumbled after her, Finnegan took up her hand and placed it on his chest, resting his own on top of hers. Like that was the normal thing to do in the Everett household – because it was, truly, honestly.



I don't know if someone else could handle me
I don't know what I'm suppose to be
You're the only one who really sees
You get me



The setting changes from portland to The Beaches

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Caroline Louise Makota

0.00 INK



❝ Virginia Hearst ❞




Pretty pale plastic, shiny shallow shell
Don't do nothing drastic, don't make your life a hell
Smile and wave, smile and wave, flawless strategy
But he knows you know I know it's just an empty eulogy





Skylar's brother heaved a sigh, breathless and relieved and colored with something almost like amusement. "Now, that was crazy. You've got good intuition, I didn't even notice how close they were."

Ginny cast him a wry glance. Intuition? More like paranoia. But of course, he wouldn't know, would he? Wouldn't know how everything affected her—the shriveled, unforgiving gaze of the public's eye that seared her dry. Wouldn't know how she would gather wisps of poetry from her heart, swollen with disease; how poisonous words would spill from her hands on her weaker days, pouring out like a horrible, lurid flood. Then again, that was the point. He wasn't supposed to know. No one was.

(Sometimes, Ginny really hated Skylar Everett.)

No matter. The boy probably didn't mean anything by it. It was, to him, a harmless statement. A compliment. A peace offering. So Ginny only nodded and turned her attention back to their surroundings. Her eyes scanned the rocks, searching, searching for—

There. A flash of white. Ghostly plastic. Anomaly of soft wrinkles cradled in the belly of a jagged cave.

The Pop Tarts.

Ginny almost pounced on the darned things, but managed to restrain herself. She shuffled over as primly as she could while clad in thick unwieldy rain boots, then leaned over and scooped it up with one—careful, delicate, controlled—sweep of her arm. The plastic bag was slick with frosty condensation; nonetheless, she clutched at it with the desperate relief of a dying thing. The lumpy tangle of worry in Ginny's stomach loosened, and she allowed herself a slow exhale of relief. Up until then, the world had been frozen in a state of nightmarish chaos. She'd disobeyed her mother, snuck out of her house, broken curfew, held hands with a boy. But it was worth it. If only for these fiendish pastries, it was worth it. The world sighed, thawed out and continued to spin. Life went on.

…And promptly shuddered back to a halt when out of nowhere, Finnegan Everett grabbed her hand and placed. It. On. His. Chest.

On his thrice-damned chest.

It was so very sudden and so very wrong that she almost dropped her Pop Tarts. Thankfully, she had the soundness of mind not to. On the other hand, what the heck was she supposed to do now? Her frantic mind raced, furiously reviewing years of conservative Portland schooling. No one had ever taught her what to do in this situation. What was the appropriate way to deal with…with this? It wasn't like they taught this at school. Unless she somehow missed some crucial portion of the curriculum? "Alright, class, today we're going to discuss what you should do if you're ever ambushed by an insane overly-affectionate stranger at night while sneaking out after curfew to find a bag of misplaced Pop Tarts. We'll go over procedure, emergency protocol, and subsequent therapy. Any questions?"

…Granted, Skylar's brother wasn't a total stranger. He was, well, Skylar's brother. But it didn't change the fact that she barely knew him and he was—oh gawd, he'd placed his other hand on top of hers while she was preoccupied. Hello there, Skylar's brother. Go right ahead, Skylar's brother, I don't mind. Might we hug each other and cuddle up as well? Perhaps we'll dance out into the storm, ride off together into the stormy sunset on the backs of dolphins? Sure thing, Skylar's brother, just remind me to grab my one-way ticket to hell while we're at it.

Staring into the unsettling, earnest eyes of Finnegan Everett, Ginny had no idea what to do. But she had to do something. Each second that crawled by dragged the situation into a deeper pit of awkwardness.

In the end, she did what was most instinctual for her after years of deception: she smiled at Skylar's brother and pretended there was nothing wrong. And if her smile was a bit…artificial, well then—she was stressed, alright?

"Hello?"

Ginny's pleasant expression didn't change in the slightest, but she nonetheless felt a jolt of fear. Regulator was her first thought. It didn't matter that the unfamiliar voice was high and scared and feminine—that could be some sort of ploy to lure out curfew-breaking stragglers. No, she and Skylar's brother were going to stay right here. Better safe than sorry.

But then the voice cried out again and Ginny felt a sliver of doubt. What if this person wasn't a Regulator? What if someone actually needed help? What if the actual Regulators heard the fearful cry? The Regulators would be drawn to their location like vultures to carrion. The person would be caught, and the Regulators would sweep the area based on the logic that, where one rat was, there were bound to be more lurking about in the area. She and Skylar's brother would be found. She and Skylar's brother would be ruined. Immediately scheduled for the Cure, and subject to public scandal. And while she was relatively unconcerned about the Cure, her reputation was another matter entirely. Because more than anything else, Ginny hated disappointing people.

With a gentleness belying her inner turmoil, she removed her hand from Finnegan's grasp. Then—slowly, cautiously—she crept outside their rocky shelter. Peering over the hedge of muddy stone, Ginny could just barely make out the figure of a person. In the middle of a storm. With no cover. A sitting duck.

What kind of idiot—

"I'm sorry. I'll be right back."

Ginny dropped her Pop Tarts and tore out of the cave, fear lending wings to her clumsy feet. She reached the person in a whirl of ragged gasps and backwards glances. Upon closer inspection, the huddled figure turned out to be a miserable-looking, rain-soaked girl.

"Get up," Ginny hissed under her breath, eyes sharp and fearful and darting. "Be quiet—come on—they'll find us—"

Gracelessly, she attempted to tug the girl to her feet. Once the girl had gotten up, Ginny began to scamper backwards, calling behind her as she did so. "Over here—there's shelter—hurry, please—"

Fear and adrenaline were doing terrible things to her breathing and control. By the time she made her way back to the outcropping, her unflappable mask was starting to crack. It was with wide eyes and flushed cheeks that she returned, beckoning the strange girl with her into the dank alcove.






It's raining cats and dogs, my friend, and no one knows when it will end


The setting changes from the-beaches to Portland

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Caroline Louise Makota

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❝ Finnegan Slade Everett ❞
Image
♮ I'm quite the joke to you ♮


♫♫♫




In the air, in-between his teeth, something felt inexplicably strange. He'd always wished for attention and love and people he could trust, and he first thought that if he snuck away from Portland and reinvented himself in ways they couldn't control, then he'd definitely have that little piece of himself to save for moment's like this – in a teeny tiny cave settled into a well-hidden grove by Shell Beach, momentarily trapped because there was some kind of torrential storm in full-swing just outside the cave's jagged mouth. It was in the rhythmic beating of his heart parapumping against Ginny's fingertips, blaring through his own, as if it could transcend straight through her palm. At least, Finnegan had enough sense to know better than to transfer his hand onto Ginny's chest to see whether or not her heart sounded the same, though the flighty thought passed like a diving sparrow, fluttering it's wings back as if it'd stricken a barrier. He was so sure she'd throttle him until he was little more than a jelly-armed mess and throw him into the sea – maybe, she'd apologize to Skylar later, or say she saw him scuttling across the cliffs after a runaway box of Pop Tarts before valiantly falling to his death. She'd have the proof scattered around her feet, where she'd suddenly dropped her sopping wet box.

Why the hell was she holding Pop Tarts? Where had they come from? Was she some kind of magician or something?

Did he stutter or something—

No. Ginny was just uncomfortable touching his chest. Or something like that. This didn't particularly feel any different, did it? He was always slinging his arm around Skylar's neck, pretty much wringing her neck in bear-hugs, until she squirmed away and told him that he better not do that to anyone outside of their house or they'd tattle on him. With all of his other siblings, it wasn't much different, though he tended not to be too affectionate towards the ones who crinkled their eyes, full of irrefutable arguments countering his ridiculously dangerous actions. He couldn't smile too much, or high five them unless they were in the privacy of their own home. All his life he remembered affection, or rather affectionate actions. It was rarer now, but he still treasured every moment. He was the happy one, after all. The brother full of laughter. Finnegan grinned, Finnegan laughed loudly, with abandon, at the stupidest things, and tended to make others follow suit no matter how grudgingly. That was his role.

She was staring at him. He was staring back. That's as far as his memory will go at the moment, because, to be perfectly honest, he was way too caught up in the warmth of her hand, captured beneath his own. His face pulled into a slight pout, but there's something sincere in his eyes, something he's hiding. This wasn't as awkward for him as it was for her because he was used to this. He was used to cuddling up with his siblings and twining his hands through tufts of hair, or locking elbows, recklessly prancing down the street in full-view before disconnecting like they'd just robbed a bank or escaped a troupe of Regulators. All wild-eyed, messy-haired and happy. It was normal. Wasn't it? Maybe one day she'd look at him and find him dazzling. He was the average boy, the boy next door – he definitely didn't have Ginny's unscrupulous grades, or Theodin's knack for doing everything correctly, nor was he fabulous or famous, but he was someone who could figure out their weak points and still, once upon a time, didn't need to raise his fists to get his point across. Things were different, now.

Finnegan's fingers twitched when he heard someone call out to them, effectively loosening his grip on Ginny's fingertips, then allowing them to fall away completely as they were gently plucked. Regulators – how had they found them? A quick snarl transformed his features, wrinkled his forehead and furrowed his eyebrows. Of course, Finnegan had no intention of letting her bumble out into the storm when there was possibly an enemy-in-wait hunched in the shadows, waiting to gobble her up or drag her away to the Crypts. Hunching his shoulders and stalking silently behind her, Finnegan peered over Ginny's head and squinted into the darkness at the hazy figure wandering outside. His hands curled into tight fists, knuckled white, then loosened when he got a better look. Definitely not a Regulator. There would've been lamplight’s strobing across the entire area, searching for unlikely beach-goers.

He very nearly smashed into Ginny before back-peddling gracelessly, realizing that she was trying to drag the sopping-wet-girl back inside. Now, this was ridiculous. Three kids huddled in a briny-cave, hiding from something or another. When they finally stumbled back inside, breathing hard, possibly wondering why the other was even here on the beach at this ungodly hour. The dishevelled box of Pop Tarts flopped to the side, as if judging their midnight caper, drug down by it's miserable-looking corners. He glanced down at it, then back to the drenched schoolgirl – er, well, she looked as if she was their age, anyway. He snatched up her wrist in one quick snap, gripping it above her head, forcing her to meet his eyes. “Who are you? Are you some kind of Regulator-in-disguise? A snitch? A rat? Speak up, lady–”



Baby I'm in love and maybe it's not to tell
Only thing that I can do is hold it in, hold it in
I was told that I'm a man now and I'm not allowed to cry
The only thing that I can do is hold it in, hold it in

The setting changes from portland to The Beaches

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Virginia Hearst Character Portrait: Finnigan Everett Character Portrait: Caroline Louise Makota

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❝ Virginia Hearst ❞




Snake eyes, in my head
Forked lies, dripping red





Three teenagers, of varying genders, huddled together in a cave. In the rain. After curfew.

Ginny looked from face to grimy face. Girl to boy. Stranger to almost-stranger. She looked at the drab little shelter, at the angry strokes of lightning, at the pitiful scrap of plastic at her feet.

The Pop Tarts were probably dead by now.

Vaguely, she wondered if she should cry. Her grandfather used to say that it made one feel better—called it "having a good cry." From a purely scientific standpoint, Ginny supposed it made sense. Crying released leucine-enkephalin. An endorphin. At least, that's what the school textbook said. Then again, the school textbook had also said that it was a common symptom of deliria—a sign of heart sickness, of emotional breakdown.

Still, Ginny wondered. It'd been a while since she let herself cry.

And then Skylar's brother suddenly flipped into paranoid-mode, and Ginny decided that she just didn't have time at the moment for silly things like crying. Once again, she reached for a neutral expression. Eventually, her breathing steadied, and the flush fell from her cheeks.

“Who are you?" Skylar's brother demanded, grabbing the strange girl by the wrist. "Are you some kind of Regulator-in-disguise? A snitch? A rat? Speak up, lady–”

"Obviously I'm a spy," the strange girl snapped back, apparently irritated with the relentless interrogation. "They're recruiting fifteen year old girls these days, haven't you heard?" She tore her hand away, glowering.

Ginny peered at Skylar's brother with something akin to curiosity—in all the time she'd known him, he'd never struck her as the suspicious type. Then again, he did nearly assault her when she collided into him earlier.

Hmm. Speaking of, she should probably apologize for that.

But anyway; back to the present.

She examined the girl, eyes narrowing ever so slightly as she took in her figure. The girl was tall. Dark eyes and hair. Pointed face. Overall normal appearance, and yet…something bothered Ginny. Nagged at the back of her mind like a frantic, insistent flea.

"His concern is valid," Ginny said finally, voice as blank as her expression. "What are you doing here?"

The girl closed her eyes. "Look, I'm just lost. That's all. Thanks for the help—honestly, I really appreciate it—but I need to find my family."

With that, the girl turned to leave. And it was then that Ginny realized what was bothering her.

The girl was unfamiliar. Unfamiliar.

Ginny never forgot a face.

A million things flashed through her mind at once; almost in reflex, her hand snapped out, closing around the rubbery arm of the girl's coat to prevent her from leaving. The girl turned around again, something like surprise flitting across her face, before it melted into exasperation. She opened her mouth to speak—probably in some sort protest—but Ginny beat her to it.

"I don't recognize you. Where are you from?"

Her tone was conversational, masking the acceleration of her heartbeat. For Ginny could think of two immediate scenarios.

Scenario 1—the girl was telling the truth, but the moment she left she'd get caught by regulators, thus leading them to Ginny and Finnegan's position.

Scenario 2—Skylar's brother was right, and the moment the girl left she'd be heading out to rat on them.

Neither situation was acceptable.

The girl had to stay.

Unfortunately for Ginny and Finnegan, it seemed that the girl had other plans. Ginny wasn't exactly the athletic type, you see, and the strange girl had the advantage in height and strength. Before Ginny could fully comprehend what was happening, the unknown girl had muscled her way out of her grip and was dashing across the beach all full speed.





Won't you look, dear, at my credentials?
Well it's just a faceless figurehead
I've forgotten all those small essentials
In chasing scraps of gingerbread