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Leo Mathers

What happens when you're hollow inside?

0 · 304 views · located in Widow's Peak

a character in “Evermore”, as played by leisurelyatwar

Description

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NAMEXX Leopold Frances Mathers

NICKNAMESXX Leo

AGEXX25

SEXUALITYXXdemisexual
xxxxxxGENDERXX cis-male

NATIONALITYXX American Mutt

ROLEX Loved one left behind

HEXXX#584b29
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M I R R O RXXM I R R O R

H E I G H TXANDXB U I L D: 5’10” lithe

Shoulders always sunken, dark eyes always low, Leo always seemed smaller than he was. He buried himself in layers, his hands always cold. Soft earth shades filled his closet, never anything too bold. He was never one who wanted to stand out. His dad’s like to buy him clothes to wear, but Leo would always recycle the same few outfits preferring the comfort of their familiarity. It made him self-conscious trying on something new, always tugging at the sleeves and adjusting the fit.

His face was one that provoked the same sentiment from old women growing up, “He’s going to be a heartbreaker one day.” He never was.

People would notice his face first. His full lips with a cupids bow that so many paid money and suffering to achieve. The dimple on his chin would deepen at certain angles, more of a shadow than a divot. Hazel eyes that sloped down at he corner of his eyes with dark full lashes that always seemed to be somewhere else. His skin was poreless, stretched across high cheekbones and a chiseled jaw line. He had all the ingredients to be handsome – yet he seemed to have his affect that the longer you stared at him the plainer he became.

Inner beauty shined outward, something he learned from Elodie. So what happened when you were hollow inside?


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W H OXXA MXXI?
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P E R S O N A L I T Y:
Leo had always been a quiet boy. He was always the kid off on their own playing in silence. Parents would urge their children to befriend him, hoping to schedule play dates so they could steal time with his dad’s. He knew most kids who would come over were more interested in his toy’s then his company. He didn’t mind, sometimes just gifting a toy to someone. His dad’s always bought him the new toy when it came out, he never held onto them long. Leo preferred the simpler pleasures.

It wasn’t that he preferred books, they were just much lower-maintenance company than others. He wasn’t especially chatty, there wasn’t much to talk about. Others would tell him he was a good listener, though it was usually people who were bad at listening who said that. He never understood how that was a compliment – to be able to do the bare minimum in the conversation and just listen.

His life was aggressively mediocre, a byproduct of small-town life. He always kept to what he knew, he liked knowing what his next day would hold. So many people were chasing something bigger, the next adventure. That’s why he loved planning a future with Elle, she helped him imagine past the next day.

After her death others would say he changed drastically. He’d always been shy, but there’d been a warmth to him that was gone now. His smile always failed at the last second, the light in his eyes gone. He’d assure his parents that it was just a symptom of his medications, that he was fine – that they didn’t need to worry.

Even now Leo still cared about other’s more than himself, preferring to suffer in silence then see that wounded look in his parents expression when he admitted he was in pain. Every motion he made was for someone else. He got out of bed in the morning so that his parent’s wouldn’t ask him how he was feeling. He ate every meal so that when other’s discreetly asked if he ate that he wouldn’t have to lie. He took his medicine so that his friends didn’t start texting him doing wellness checks when he fell off the grid.

A lot of the time it felt like his life wasn’t his own, he was just stuck in this cycle fueled by other people’s concerns. There were still moments of joy, or at least glimpses of it. He found it in others, in making them happy. He was still the same boy preferring to depend on what he could give others than just being accepted for who he was.

Q U I R K SXA N DXO D D I T I E S:
Leo is often caught in a blank stare. It happened so much he took no offense to any obnoxious measures others took to snap him out of it. He’d laugh and apologize, asking them what he’d miss. With friends he always hung out on the fringe, preferring smaller conversations. He always insisted on paying tab even though he rarely drink. It didn’t mix well with his medicine. He had timers that went off on his apple watch reminding him to take them. Always with a drink in hand, his medicine gives him dry mouth. He’s prone to having at least 3 different beverages at a time, often leaving half empty glasses around the house. It drives his parents mad.

F E A R S:
Since having been diagnosed and treated for general depression, Leo had a sense of impending doom looming over him. His therapist said that it was a common feeling among those who experienced PTSD. Watching someone die right in front of you from an accident was traumatizing, ingraining this fear that he could lose anyone at any moment.
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ImageT H EXXP A S T

Leo was born by surrogate to the Mathers, owners of Mathers Construction – one of the largest suppliers of jobs in the area. They had helped renew much of Widow’s Peak, even with the many delays and strange occurrences on sight. Between their regular donations to local charities and their scholarship program, they were well beloved in the community.

Growing up, many of Leo’s classmates would have their parents try to force a friendship in hopes to grow closer to Leo’s parents. Everyone knew that if they went to Leo’s they’d leave with a present. His parents bought him a new toy every week, some of them he never opened. He was constantly giving them away. It had started just because he could sense the envy seeping off of others as they saw his lifestyle, forced to be there by their parents. He noticed if he gave people gifts they were happy when they left. Soon everyone wanted to be his friend. He knew it was because of the gifts but he didn’t mind. It took the pressure off of having to be someone that they could like.

There was only one person he ever really cared if they liked him or not. Elodie was in his grade. She was the only one who ever refused one of his gifts, who didn’t hang around for the perks. He was too shy to try to connect with anyone any other way. It was easy with Elle though. There was a warmth that radiated from her, even as kids. He just liked being around her.

It took him years but eventually he built up the courage to ask her out. After that he was floating on air. She made him want to be a better person. They had dreams to move in together, his parents offered to help pay for an apartment off campus if he wanted. He wanted to show Elle the world. River rafting was meant to be something fun to blow off steam, there wasn’t much adventure to be found around here but you had to start somewhere.

He had been the one to call out to her as she fell. Others who had been around said he’d closed the distance between him and her in an instant but it was still too late. He still saw her face often; in his dreams or in the faces of others. It was impossible to shake her, haunted by her death. His parents tried encouraging him to return to school but he kept putting it off. They got him a therapist, psychologist, a prescription. It was impossible to just move on.

His dads put him to work in their construction company. It felt good to work with his hands. He fell into the routine, grew to like it after a while. When he just went through the motions it was easier to let his mind drift into nothingness. The anti-depressants helped numb the pain.

So begins...

Leo Mathers's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Markus Vasco Character Portrait: Erin Mohaghan
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3.00 INK

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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #4d5676
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xxxnever did I think I'd be coming back around
xxxdigging up old memories
xxxalways used to be the one to let it go
xxxkept my fears in a suitcase

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A gasp filled the empty apartment, and a formerly still body sat bolt upright. Soren gasped for air, his heart still pounding in his chest.This had happened every single night since he’d first woken up in this apartment. Every time he woke up, he woke up afraid, but the memories of the dream disappeared as soon as he tried to remember them, vanishing like smoke into the abyss of his mind. His phone was hovering a foot off the bedside table, and he snatched it from the air, checking the time. He didn’t know why he could suddenly move things without touching them or why they tended to hover in midair when he was upset about something or why he seemed to flicker in and out of sight at times. He didn’t know why his memory was so blank. He didn’t know where he was, why he was here, or what the hell he was supposed to do about it. He’d hoped he might figure it out with time, but two days later and he still had no idea. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something he needed to do and that something was urgent, and every morning he found himself reaching for his phone as if the answer would be there. It never was.

It was late morning, later than he’d meant to sleep. Groaning to himself, he grabbed the packet of smokes on his bedside table, pulled on a hoodie, took up his usual position, sitting on his window sill with the window open as wide as it would go, and lit up a cigarette. Even if he couldn’t remember what the dreams were about, or why he was here or what the hell was happening to him, he knew that a smoke was one of the only things that could calm the tremors in his hands and the shaking of his breath. It seemed that the things he couldn’t remember outweighed the things he did. His memory was just a gaping void, full of things that he felt he could almost remember, but the minute anything became halfway clear, it would just slip out of reach. Except for a few memories, and almost all of them were ones he would have been fine with forgetting.

And then there was the name. Markus Vasco. It had been his first thought when he’d opened his eyes two days ago, and it was a name that seemed to be constantly whispered in his mind ever since. He’d done a bit of research, and it seemed he was a tattoo artist somewhere in town. Soren had the address written down on a piece of paper, but something was holding him back, stopping him from going and looking just yet. What the hell was he supposed to do? What was he supposed to say? Hi, two days ago I woke up with total amnesia and for some reason, the only name I could remember besides my own was yours. Do you have any idea about it? Because I sure as hell don’t.

He sighed, blowing out a lungful of smoke out the window into the street and watched as it twisted and curled, before fading into nothing. Somebody had once told him the cigarettes would kill him one day, and he’d just laughed and shrugged. He blinked at the sudden memory, but the faces around it were gone, empty faces he just couldn’t recall no matter how much he tried. He stubbed out the cigarette and closed the window, figuring he needed to get dressed and figure out what the hell he was going to do for the day. There was a leaflet abandoned on the counter, one that had been shoved into his hand by someone on the street yesterday, advertising the town’s Halloween festival. Even if the night itself was just under two weeks away, the town seemed to run events for the whole of October. Soren went over to pick up the leaflet. Something, deep inside him, told him that was where he should go tonight. Well, it wasn’t like he had any better plans.

He spent the rest of the day just in the apartment, doing a little more reading into this Markus Vasco. He’d considered googling his own name more than once, but every time he went to type his name in, a wave of panic and anxiety came over him, telling him not to do it. He figured that reaction meant that he probably wasn’t going to like whatever he found, so he just never looked. But he couldn’t find much on this Markus person either, and he knew that meant he probably just needed to get over himself and go talk to him. He promised himself he’d do it the following day, but first he’d decided to go to this Halloween market for whatever reason.

He pulled on his trusted silver jacket, put on some eyeliner to make him feel a little more like himself (another thing he instinctively knew and couldn’t explain), and headed out. It was cold, but it had at least stopped raining. His breath came out in a swirl of fog as he walked, pulling his jacket a little tighter around him. Torches lined the streets, giving everything an eerie and atmospheric look. Stalls lined Main Street, with local businesses all running stalls of all and every kind. There were people selling handmade masks and costumes, local artists selling art, and so much wonderful looking and smelling food. He bought a cup of hot apple cider and wandered down the street, looking at the stalls and wondering what it was exactly that had drawn him here, or if it had just been curiosity and something to do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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#, as written by Caille
E L L E X A L D R I C H
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-Few Days Ago-

A bright light could be seen through her eyelids. Her back was stiff as if she slept far too long, and her eyes slowly opened to reveal her irises to the moonlight. She was almost mesmerized by the moonlight that she nearly did not notice the whooshing and trickling sounds of water.

Her heart started to beat in her chest harder and harder as she was picking up on more of her surroundings. Quickly she rolled off of her back and onto her stomach, so that her arms could extend in front of her to push herself up and onto her feet. As she got up sand began to slip off her clothes, and even more dusted the ground as she turned her back 180 degrees to look at the water in front of her.

She could start to feel all sorts of emotions rise up inside of her looking at it, and it got to the point she had a headache that was growing in strength by the second, before she had to just look away.

Exhaling sharply she began to wipe the sand off of herself before she started to take her leave from the stream. She had no idea where she was, but she walked until she found a road, which had said Widow’s Peak was up ahead.

-Present day, October 17th-

The apartment had been so empty and lonely, Elle hated being there. She didn’t talk to many people and she felt like she didn’t know anyone. All she could remember were different places that existed and what some people looked like.

Not to mention the apartment building she was living in was not something she ever saw herself in, maybe she would have to get a new place or get a job so she could save up and move out of town, but so far she needed to check it out and see what this place had to offer.

The blonde had been walking down the streets of Widow’s Peak. She could tell that fall was popular here as she saw multiple signs about the festival going on for the next couple of days with various events that were fun for the whole family. For a minute she wondered what a family would be like to have and to take to a fall festival. She imagined having two little kids, a girl with brown pigtails and a messy blond mop on a little boy as they ran towards the face painting station.

It was a brief flash in her mind, and she couldn’t help but smile. Hopefully one day she would get to do something like that.

There was a particular place that was in Elle’s head, and she couldn’t get it out. She wanted to be able to remember exactly where it was, but it was clear as day in her mind. Maybe it wasn’t even here, but she had to at least try and find it. A name was ringing in her ears as she tried to find it, one that came up in her dreams a lot since being here.

After a couple of hours walking around, thinking about heading back she saw the house. Her blue eyes grazed over the house and for a moment she could feel a warmth in her chest that felt almost nostalgic.

It only took a few moments of looking at it, so a few little blurry memories to flutter by. Ones of setting carved pumpkins outside of the house, or being nervous as she entered the door frame to have dinner for the first time. It only made Elle curious about what kind of first time.

Without even thinking she was crossing the road towards the house and walked up the the front door. Her hands traced the wood trim around it. She could feel her heart become happier as she stood there as she whispered the name that she felt was connected to the house, “Leo.”

Elle knew there was something significant about the name, she would just have to see who this Leo was, and maybe it would all click. Maybe this was why she had to come here. She exhaled softly and as she turned on her heel to leave she had nearly bumped into someone. Instead she was incredibly startled and placed her hand on her chest.

“You scared me. I’m so sorry, I will get out of your way.” Elle said as she began to make her way passed the female and back onto the sidewalk.

“Hi there! I’m with the Widow’s Peak Church, did you have a moment to talk about the lord?” She asked in her usual cheery way.

Elle stopped in her tracks and sighed, almost as if this was muscle memory or it just slipped into her head. It came out so casually as if she had been saying it for years. “No Zoe, I am good. I’m sure if I haven’t joined by now I’m not going to.”

“Do I know you?” Zoe asked as Elle’s eyes went wide, before turning to look back over to Zoe. That was right, Elle went to high school with Zoe, she was a couple grades younger, but always promoted no sex before marriage and purity rings. Now she was going door to door to talk about the lord?

Elle didn’t know why she felt compelled to lie to Zoe, but she did. “No, no you don’t. Namaste or whatever you wanna call it.” She said waving her hand as she walked away from the house. Maybe the festival would be the better idea.

Besides, maybe Leo wasn’t that important. Maybe that was who Zoe was with now and she was intruding on their little family. If anything the world felt incredibly confusing right now, and Elle just needed some sort of answers, but she didn’t even know what answers she was seeking for.

It felt like she was on the world’s longest hangover, but regardless she started to head back to the main area of town. Maybe she would make it in time to see what creations were made in the pumpkin carving contest, it had always been her favourite.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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0.50 INK

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The smell of warm spices and crisp autumn air filled the market, Leo taking in the scenery as his dads futzed over the arrangement of their tools for the pumpkin carving contest. Their family had won blue ribbon for pumpkin carving every year, his dads always eager to return to defend their title. The prize money would be donated to charity in their company’s name and they’d take a picture for the local paper. It had grown tedious over the years to participate in one event after the other presenting themselves as the beautiful little family behind Mather’s Construction. But it was good for business, and his parents genuinely enjoyed spending the time with him and creating traditions so he played along.

He’d picked the design, tracing it onto the pumpkin for his parents to take turns carving over the next hour. Some years he’d go with a pop culture reference, Stranger Things was a fun couple of years of designs. Leo had tried convincing his parents to do a Tiger King themed pumpkin, but they didn’t want to associate the show with their image. Instead Leo had opted for a harvest theme with an ornate designs of foliage to be carved at different depths to play with the light. It was a classic country design that the judges just ate up. Leo free handed most of it, he’d always had superior spatial reasoning.

“Alright, I think that’s it.” Leo said after some time, using the pumpkin to counterbalance his weight as he stood and leaned back to crack his back. His shoulders were stiff from leaning over for so long, he rotated his neck until he heard his joints click from the motion. His dad took the pumpkin, the other still arranging their tools.

“Stop fussing over the station, Michael. We have forty-five minutes.” His dad said. Leo resisted the urge to roll his eyes, already the competitiveness was surfacing. He scratched the back of his neck, his already mussed hair ruffled askew. His dad set down he pumpkin, Michael taking it and beginning to carve stale-faced without another word.

“You wanna hang around kid?” His dad asked him, reaching to smooth the back of Leo’s hair.

“Yeah, I was going to check out some of the vendors but I’ll be back before the judges come around.” Leo assured him, knowing his dads would want him around for pictures.

“You don’t want something to eat?” His dad asked.

“Nah, I’m not hungry.”

“You sure? There’s a place that has a whole turkey leg, or maybe a pumpkin pie?”

“That sound’s good. Maybe we can get one all together later?” Leo was expert in dodging the subtle manipulation to eat. His medicine gave him a low appetite, something that his dad thought gave him reason enough to monitor Leo’s eating.

Michael looked up from the pumpkin he was carving, sensing the tension. “Ray will you take over? I need to find my rubber tipped gloves.”

Leo gave his dad, Michael, an expression of gratitude – taking the distraction and ducking out the moment Ray had his back turned and disappearing into the crowd. It’d been years since he had been to a Harvest Fest with Elle, but still it was hard to walk through it without thinking of her. Memories of celebrating her birthday came in with the Autumn breeze. There were always reasons to remember her. She was in the touch of fresh fallen snow, the smell of fresh Spring rain, the warmth of Summer sun. There was no part of his life she hadn’t touched.

Leo tensed, his body’s rhythm sensing the oncoming alarm. His watch beeped, his hand already reaching to silence it. He pulled a small pill box from his pocket. His dad Ray would arrange his medicine every Sunday night. They had a set of seven small pill boxes that each had two compartments, one for morning one for night for each day of the week. It was small enough to fit into his pocket, he’d grab a new one every day. It had all become so apart of his daily life he barely registered when he was doing it now. He didn’t even need water to get down the pills, just swallowed them dry.

He’d been walking around for nearly half an hour and barely took in any of his surroundings. That’s how he spent a lot of his time, on auto-pilot. It seemed to be better than whatever he was before, or at least that’s what the people around him said. He could see people grouping around a hot apple cider stand, deciding he’d grab some for him and his dads before he headed back to the pumpkin carving. A flash of silver caught his eye, Leo doing a double take for a moment certain that he saw someone he hadn’t – couldn’t. He furrowed his brow, wondering when was the last time Soren had ran through his mind.

“Here’s your ciders!” Said the peppy worker, handing him a drink tray with three cups of cider.

“Thanks.” He said, shoving a few stray dollars into the tip jar as he took the ciders and headed back towards pumpkin carving area.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco
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Markus Vasco
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Location: Fall-Market Square | Outfitx|x#800000
xxxThey say I may be making a mistake
xxxI would've followed all the way, no matter how far
xxxI know when you go down all your darkest roads
xxxI would've followed all the way to the graveyard


The soft chirping of birds, the sound of the engine of a car that occasionally passed by on the busy street, and the sound of the wind softly hitting against the large pine trees that encircled the area were the only sounds that filled the air, in the otherwise entirely silent graveyard. A soft sigh escaped Markus' mouth as he remained crouched down in-front of one of the graves. It was somewhat worn and weathered, due to the constant onslaught of a vicious winds and harsh winters in the small town. Markus lifted his hand to wipe away the thick layer of dirt that had gathered over the front of the grave marking, his eyes seemingly life-less as the name Soren Bowers was now visible again. "I...I'm so sorry..." Markus choked out, the words came out as barely above a whisper. He could feel his eyes begin to burn once more as tears slowly began to creep into his vision. Markus sniffled as he wiped his nose, slowly getting to his feet as his hands shook by his side. "I'll...I'll be back sometime later this week..." he said softly, the words falling from his lips as his eyes glanced back towards the headstone and then to his feet. It didn't matter how many times he came to visit the two graves for his friends, the pain never left. Almost like he could never fully accept the fact that it had been seven years since Soren's accident, and five since-He shook his head of those thoughts. Doing his best to disgard them as best he could. He'd be back later, that was all that mattered.

Markus looked over the small headstone once more, before he began making his way back a few rows to the front of the graveyard, before stopping. Turning his head to look in the direction to his right, resided another grave. Somewhat newer than Soren's, but still somewhat old and weathered. His eyes glanced at the name, quickly averting it just as quickly as his eyes landed on those etched in letters. It was still too soon, still hurt too much to think about. Hell, shortly after the accident, Phoenix left for college, even though Markus couldn't blame her. The town took everything from her. First her girlfriend, and then her sister. It was only fair she left too but, it still didn't change anything that he had lost his last remaining friend from heighschool. But he couldn't hang onto those feelings and thoughts anymore. She was off in New York, making something for herself while he resided in this small little god forsaken town. He couldn't continue to be bitter, it wasn't healthy. He was just hurt, even if he didn't want to focus on it anymore.

He sighed once more, and turned and left the graveyard. He could come back anytime. He just needed to get his mind off things. And today he was in luck as the local Halloween Festival was taking place this week, and if he wanted anything to help cheer him up, this usually did the trick. But it was usually with his friends, but...Markus needed to grow up and accept what had happened and move on. Shaking his head to himself as he walked down the old worn pathway back to town.

Markus arrived in the market-place a few short minutes later, and the town-square was already buzzing with life. The pumpkin patch was busy as ever, with locals and visitors busily carving them for the small little competion they held every year. Leo and his parents must have been here somewhere, Markus thought to himself. They'd never miss out on this. A faint smile crept across his face for but a moment, as he could have sworn he saw the quickest flash of blonde main of hair flitter by in the corner of his eye. Markus took a double-take, as it would have been impossible. But by the time he looked off in the direction he thought he saw her, the person was gone. Markus blinked, his mind was playing tricks on him. That was all. As Markus looked back around, he could have sworn that a familiar face caught his eye among the pumpkin patch. The brown wavy hair, darker skin and eyes. It had been a few years but, there was no mistaking it. It was Phoenix. A small smile appeared on his lips, seeing her once again after all this time. But a somber feeling hit his chest, it couldn't have been easy for her to be here. For whatever reason-Oh. He blinked again as he saw a red-haired woman talking with her. Slowly he nodded as another smile appeared on his face. He was happy she was doing well for herself. She deserved it after all she'd been through.

Markus began to turn and walk away in the opposite direction of the two women, he wasn't ready to talk to her just yet and found himself practically walking into someone. "Oh shit, I am so fucking sorry. I didn't mean to-" Markus stopped as his eyes found themselves bounding over the person that stood before him. A flashy and shiny jacket, dark blue dyed hair. Maybe it was just an coincidence, but the moment the two locked eyes, Markus froze.

It wasn't possible, was it? It had been seven years. But those eyes and his face. However aged it may have been. But it couldn't be, right? Markus had been to the hospital. He went to the funeral for god's sake. This couldn't, there was no logical or realistic reason for it to be him, right? Markus found himself with mouth ajar as he tried to say something, anything at all other than staring at this man who simply could have just looked like him, right? After what felt like forever, which in reality was no more than a minute or two, Markus shook his head. Snapping himself out of his dazed stupor. "I am so sorry. I just...I was clumsy and didn't watch where I was going...And...I accidentally spilled your drink." Markus said numbly as he saw the freshly spilled beverage on the ground. "Uhm...How about I...How About I pay for a new one, huh? And whatever else you may want. Only fair, right?" he chuckled awkwardly, outstretching his hand to the man. "I know this is going to sound weird but...You don't happen to be from around here, do you? Sorry if that's a weird question just...I don't know. Sorry." Markus fumbled for something to say, anything to help get rid of the awkwardness he was feeling. "But what do you say...Let me buy you another drink?"





Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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0.75 INK

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Leo pushed through the throng of onlookers, careful not to spill his cider. He kept his head down, one hand wrapped around the drinks like a protective barrier as he pushed through. His parents saw him approach, beckoning him over.

"Got us some ciders," He said, grabbing his own drink then passing off the other two to his dads.

"What a sweetheart, thanks kiddo." Ray said, giving Leo a warm smile.

The judges were working their way down the line, Leo drinking his cider as he admired his parents handiwork. The pumpkin was beautiful, they were sure to get blue ribbon again - though it was hardly a competition. Everyone know the Mathers would win because they'd donate their winnings, it was the necessary order of things.

"Put your drink down," His dad whispered as the judge approached, photographer in step behind them. Leo tucked his drink behind his dad's back, stepping in between his parents as the judges pivoted to face them.

Leo gave them a smile, the small talk already static noise in the background. No one ever asked him to speak, an unspoken agreement between him and his parents. All they asked is that he showed up - and he complied. The photographer snapped a photo, all of them pausing for a moment to pause.

Snap, flash. His eyes drifted over the crowd, one face blending into another.

Then, he found her. Cerulean eyes clouded for only an instant, then like the clouds had parted before them he could see the light return. He hadn't thought he would ever see the shape of her smile again, lost in the curve of her lips. Suddenly short of breath, he realized he'd been holding it all this time. He gasped, slamming down the mug on the table.

His dads looked over at him with notable concern, Leo immediately apologetic.

"Sorry, I -" Leo looked back up, still seeing Elle's face in the crowd. "I don't feel good - I'm going to go find some place to sit."

The Judges still had to announce the winner, his parents would wait until then to come after him. Leo pushed his way past the fringe of the festival, ducking down a quiet alley and bending over to catch his breath. He was certain he'd been mad, finally crossed that line where he was seeing dead people. He shook his head vigorously, losing his balance for a moment and struggling to upright himself. Propping himself against the brick wall behind him, Leo closed his eyes for a moment trying to slow his heartbeat.

The sound of oncoming footsteps made him open an eye, a silhouhette framed in light turning down the alley towards him. Leo furrowed his brow, his hand reaching out to block the light from his eyes. He felt his heart stop when her eyes met his.

"...Elle?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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#, as written by Caille
E L L E X A L D R I C H
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outfit Song Dialogue colour is #D4A9D6


Her body had been drawn towards the pumpkin carving section. The blonde couldn’t tell why she was drawn to it or how she could remember it was her favourite thing. It just felt right to say and it hit her in one of the warm spots of her heart. She could feel herself looking around at the people and seeing if she knew them or seeing if they knew her. Most people seemed to have more of a confused look for a second but it would fade.

It was when her eyes grazed by some of the carvings and landed on one in particular. The work was so intricate and nice. It took precision and years worth of practice to be that good, something only the Mathers could have done.

Elle could feel the thoughts of confusion wrap around her head and a headache coming on. Some things just came to her mind as if they were nothing, but they also seemed foreign.

The judges had come around to take a photo with the family that carved the pumpkin with all the fall foliage on it, and Elle had watched the boy in the middle hide his cider, which only amused her to the point of her lips curling up in a smile. Of course cider wasn’t the best thing to have in a photo that would be in the newspaper. Widow’s Peak probably tried to save what they could of their public image.

Her eyes glanced over the man in the middle again. Her heart could feel as though she knew him most of her life. She could almost feel herself step forward towards him to try and talk to him, but she realized she must seem like a crazed person. Instead her eyes met his gaze. His eyes were friendly yet sorrowful. Despite the fact that they were brown, they spoke thousands of languages and tugged you in closer. They were the stories of hundreds of years in foot traffic. But they were still kind and they were home.

Their gaze broke as he left immediately after the photo and went elsewhere. Elle was stunned for a few seconds, but immediately her feet carried her towards him. Her brain was trying to fit the pieces together as she ran to catch up with him.

It wasn’t until the last piece was in and she heard her name escape his lips. This was the person she was looking for, Leo Mathers.

Her eyes had gotten lost in his again, but this time it was like some of their best memories flooding in. It was their first date or the first time he helped her sneak out so she could party with everyone.

She nodded her head yes to him questioning if it were her. “Leo.” She spoke softly as she moved slowly to be in front of him before extending her hand out toward him. She desperately wanted to hug him, but she didn’t know what his boundaries were.

Elle had no idea what to say. He seemed like he was unsure of the fact that she was here and that she could see him. She could feel her heartbeat quicken, she didn’t know what would happen if he rejected her, was there something she was forgetting?

“Did something happen to us? We’re still together right? I feel like I have been dealing with amnesia the last few days. Did I hit my head hard the other day?” She couldn’t stop the rambling of questions that came out of her mouth, she could feel a searing headache trying to take over her thoughts.

“I-I’m sorry, I just don’t know who else to ask.” Elle felt a sense of comfort around Leo. She knew he meant something to her, she could feel some of the emotions and she had a decent chunk of memories. Elle just wanted more info and she hated having this feeling that she had blacked out or was concussed. How did she end up in the field by the water? Why was she out that far and not in town? Was it a camping trip gone wrong.

Her eyes had glazed over more a moment until she blinked and her eyes were more attentive to his. They were familiar and they felt like home. Before she even knew what she was saying or why it had blurted out of her lips, she couldn't take it back and she didn't know how to explain herself. Her hand had already instinctively gone to brush up against his, she hadn't grasped his hand or anything, but she did brush her finger against his.

"I missed you."

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Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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1.75 INK

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songxherexxxxoutfitxherexxxxdialoguex#584b29

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Elle's touch sent a jolt of electricity through him, more real than anything he'd felt for a long time. His thoughts were running a mile a minute but all he could see was her face. The sunlight on her back made her glow, painting her in shades of gold. If this was madness, he wished his mind had gone years ago. He reached a hand to cradle her head gently, his fingers twining through her silken hair. In so many ways she looked exactly the same except, like him, harder lines that traced her face marking the passage of time. Maybe this was his mind's way of finally letting him grow old with her.

"I've missed you, too." Leo didn't realize he was crying until he spoke, the words gurgling up and his vision blurred. He brought his forehead to hers, blinking rapidly in an attempt to dry his eyes.

He'd always thought the way they did these things in movies was overdone. The too-real hallucinations, the sudden dive into absolute insanity. Yet here he was, holding a dead girl who was as real as him. Even her hair smelled like cinnamon, though maybe that was just the smell of the Festival on him. Either way, Leo wasn't going to waste a single gifted moment with Elle - even if it was just in his head.

"You were gone...for a while," He wished he could pretend like nothing happened, like they were kids again. Leo wasn't sure if confronting reality would make her disappear, but he knew neither of them where what they were and couldn't pretend to do so. He reached for her hands, holding them between them.

"I've been waiting for you though, Elle." His forehead still rested against hers, afraid if he leaned back and beheld her again that he would start crying.

Her hands felt so real, he could feel their heat between his. Even her breath was hot on his skin. He closed his eyes for a moment and just let himself soak in her presence.

"I'm sorry you haven't been feeling like yourself, but you're here now." He whispered, his hands sliding to cradle her face between them. Tilting her chin up to guide her lips towards his, Leo leaned in to brush his lips against hers. "I'm going to take care of you, always."

A hand fell along her side, sliding beneath the fabric of her coat to wrap around her, tugging her closer. Her body pressed against his, she still fit perfectly. He reached further into her hair, desperate to hold on tight in case she disappeared in his own arms.

"I love you so much, Elle." Leo's words fell on her lips, melding his mouth against hers. At first he was slow, deliberate; years of yearning pouring into one moment. He gripped at the hair at the base of her neck, deeping the kiss.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Erin Mohaghan
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N I X I E X C O L E
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On their walk towards the pumpkin patch for photos, Nixie could get the slightest feeling that faces in the crowd looked familiar, but why? She would blink and they were gone though, so her best conclusion was that she didn't get enough sleep the night before and was making herself see the things she thought she did.

Phoenix had her fingers interlocked with her girlfriend's as their arms swung back and forth. The line up for photos was long, so they decided just to hang out and drink their drinks. That was when Katrina's eyes had caught onto something and Nix could tell. "What are you looking at now?" She asked her as she eyes tried to follow her gaze and eventually landed on the grand piano near by. "No, absolutely not."

"Come on, Phi, you have to. There isn't much else for us to do right now anyways. Think of how happy it'd make everyone right now." Kat said with her pleading face that made it next to impossible for the brunette to say no to.

"Fine. I'm doing it for the people, just so we're clear." Phoenix said as she handed her stuff to Kat to hold. She began to walk over to the piano. The ivory keys were where she felt most at home, and it took her a minute of staring at them before she sat on the piano bench. Part of her hated playing music in Widow's Peak these days. It just reminded her that her biggest fan wasn't there. It was easier living far away from home, because sometimes she would forget for a few a moments.

After she would stand up and bow after every recital though, she always looked for the same familiar eyes or the slight smile on her face. Some days she was crazy and she did see it. Nixie hated that playing was always associated with Xan, but she carried on playing because it was the only thing she had left of Xan and Erin.

Nixie was on autopilot and instantly her fingers began to move along the keys in a rhythm as if they were dancing along the keys. Nothing else in the world could pull her out of the trance she got in whenever she played this song, this was the one she called 'X' for Xan. It was a somber piece with a slow and dark base line, but at points the melody overlapping was upbeat and childish, until it turned more into a ballad.

While she was playing she hadn't noticed her phone had been ringing, but Katrina had answered it, just to hear a mention of the name Erin.

When Nixie was finished Kat was waiting at the piano. "I think its time to go." The words came in blunt, and the brunette was trying to figure out where she went wrong.

"Kat, what's wrong?" She asked scrambling to get up from the piano as she began to follow after her.

"I can't believe you would do this. I begged to move here for this?" The redhead said in a bit of a snap turning on her heel and looking into Nix's eyes.

"I really do not know what you mean, Katrina." The words escaped her lips, but the only thing that filled her mind was on how confused she had been.

"If you want to be with Erin, then just be with her, but don't do all this with me." It was with those words that Kat was storming off again. Phoenix had no idea what she even meant and why she was mad. Even if something had happened usually Katrina was patient and understanding, but perhaps Nixie had run out of having her be patient.

"Kat, Please don't walk away. Just talk to me." Phoenix said as she ran up to her and grabbed her wrist lightly to try and stop her before letting it go. "Please. What happened? Erin's been dead for awhile now. I told you this. How would I even be with her?"

Kat had sighed heavily before looking at her. "It's okay if she's alive Phoenix. You could have just been honest with me. But having someone call you and start with her name? Why would they have your number and why would it be tied to Erin? You know what, just forget it. I will be at the apartment if you need me. I just need time to cool down." With those words Kat had walked off and Nixie only stood there watching.

--

Nixie had decided to just go get a piece of apple pie at the local diner. It was her comfort food and it was all she wanted to consume while her girlfriend was mad at her for a dead ex girlfriend.

She sighed as she entered the diner and took a seat at the counter on one of the stools. "Apple pie with extra whip cream please." Nixie said, ready to go into a sugar high, it was better than subjecting herself to alcohol or drugs, which had always been super tempting after everything that happened.

Phoenix got her piece of pie and grabbed the fork, taking a bite. As she looked up from her plate, she looked around to see if she knew anyone there, the only thing was two figures in the back, looked eerily familiar. For a moment she could have sworn... No it couldn't be. Nixie ignored it and continued to eat her pie. Could it really be them?

Nixie had looked at her phone and saw the phone number that called most recently, and hit the button to redial. As soon as it began to ring on her end, she could hear it in the diner too. Immediately she got up from her seat, if someone was prank calling her and trying to ruin her relationship, they needed to be confronted. The brunette had no idea who it would be, but she had to do this. There needed to be proof so Kat could stop being pissed at her.

As she neared the back of the diner where the gang used to sit she noticed it had to be the last booth. When she got there, she didn't expect to see the two people that she did.

"Is this a fucking joke?" How was this possible? Was this just really good makeup and people wanted to be sick and twisted? Or was she going mental? Either way, Nixie ended the call on her phone and looked between the two of them.





E L L E X A L D R I C H
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outfit Song Dialogue colour is #D4A9D6


"I've missed you, too."

The words began to echo in her brain. She was confused but she was also comfortable. The same feelings of being safe and cared for came flooding back in to be around him. The only problem was, she felt something was off. Elle had been good for quite some time, but she felt as though she had only been gone since maybe a couple days ago. Leo didn't really offer any other kind of information though. Was there something he was hiding? or was it fine and she was the one being weird?

Her mind kind of faded from the fleeting thoughts she was having, instead all she could see were the tears that fled from his eyes and all her instincts kicked in like they were muscle memory. Her fingertips reached up to his face softly to wipe away his tears. She wanted him to be happy and she wanted him to be okay. Maybe showing up wasn't proving the best for that? Elle almost thought to try looking around for his parents, but her eyes felt stuck to his.

His hands had comforted her emotions from rising too much as he held them, and she let their foreheads touch. Being this close to him, made things feel less scary, like the day she had woken up in a field near the water. This made sense, and even though nothing else did, she would take her moments. Which concluded to her that she was right, that even if she wasn't feeling the greatest at least she was here now, at least she had him.

"I'm going to take care of you, always." The words were just short of making her begin to cry, but she composed herself just a enough, and let his lips brush against hers as one of her arms wrapped around his torso and the other rested on his chest. The movement happened flawlessly and there was no awkwardness about moving around him, it was easy.

She was about to tell him that she loved him too, but his lips fell onto hers. She could feel how much he was holding onto her and just how much emotion was in him. Her fingers clenched a little against the fabric of his sweater as she held onto him. Elle didn't want the moment to go, but eventually she needed air.

"Leo." She said softly, her forehead still leaning against his. "I love you." She could feel her heart beating fast in her chest. She had so many questions, but she didn't want to ruin the moment. Still she could tell that he was putting more into kissing her than he normally did.

"What's wrong Leo? Did we get in a fight and I forgot?" Elle asked as her eyes met his trying to search them for the answer. She hoped he had some kind of an answer for her, but who knew. Maybe she would have to find someone else who knew.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco Character Portrait: Atlas Blake Character Portrait: Cassidy Aisling
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #4d5676
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xxxnever did I think I'd be coming back around
xxxdigging up old memories
xxxalways used to be the one to let it go
xxxkept my fears in a suitcase

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MARKUS VASCO
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outfit: herex|xhex: #800000
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xxxThey say I may be making a mistake
xxxI would've followed all the way, no matter how far
xxxI know when you go down all your darkest roads
xxxI would've followed all the way to the graveyard

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Markus found himself staring blankly at the man as he began to speak. Trying to convince himself that he was just imagining things. That there was no way that this was him. There was just no way. It was seven years now, he had seen the body, been to the funeral, everything. So, there was no way, he was just seeing things he so desperately wanted to see. But then, the other man spoke and Markus could have sworn his heart stopped in his chest. His voice. That voice. It was his. And suddenly, Markus didn’t know what to believe. Was he truly losing his mind? Was this the day he finally just lost all of his remaining senses? Probably. But, even if he was just seeing things that weren’t really happening, Markus didn’t want it to end just yet. He shook his head, taking him out of his thoughts as he finally felt strength return back to his legs to help pull him along as the other man got back in line. Markus didn’t know if he was staring or not, but he must have been as his eyes scanned over the man that stood before him as he spoke. Nodding ever so slightly as he said that he was from around here. That he grew up here. Or, that he thought he did. Markus didn’t understand what he meant, but kept silent as the man continued to talk. Not like he had much of a choice, seeing as his voice caught itself in his throat and wouldn’t come out as hard as he tried.

He found himself continuing to scan over the man that stood next to him trying to understand what the fuck was going on. Hell, he was close to asking what kind of sick joke was this, until the man finally said that he was sorry about his memory, and how he had bad amnesia. And that if he seemed to come across as rude, that he wasn’t doing it on purpose. Markus took the cup the man handed to him, and took a sip. The drink helped clear his throat a bit, but not much. Markus finally found himself regain that strength he needed to speak, and he couldn’t help it as his voice came out in a shaky tone, try as he might to not have his voice break, “It...It’s okay.” he began, clearing his throat and took a deep breath as the two began to walk once more. Markus took another moment to gather his thoughts, he didn’t know what was going on but, if Soren was really fucking here, somehow...Well, he wasn’t going to waste it. He didn’t care. All he wanted was to be able to talk to his best friend again-no, the person he cared for more than a friend, but that was so long ago. As if it was almost a life time ago. But, however many years may have passed by, and however older he may have looked...This was Soren. His Soren. His best friend. Markus bit his lip for a moment and began to finally speak again, “Yeah...I guess you could say we used to know each other.” Markus said with a small chuckle, however forced it was.

This felt so unreal, but he wasn’t going to waste time with this. Markus sighed as he looked down at the ground before looking back at Soren. “We...We used to be best friends, Soren. Me, you...and one of our other friends.” he paused for a moment, finally for the first time his memory went back to how things used to be. Back when they were kids, the three of then. He shook his head once more as he continued, “But, that was a long time ago. A really long time ago...But, that doesn’t matter. You’re back and...That’s all that matters.” he smiled slightly, a rather genuine for the first time in a long time. He looked back at Soren, “I won’t ask what happened but...If there’s anything I can clear up for you...I’ll be more than happy to, if I can.”

Soren could have guessed from the man’s reaction that they had somehow known each other, but being told that they had been best friends just broke Soren’s heart. He watched the man, desperately hoping for something to be familiar, for something to just trigger the memories and they’d come flooding back. But besides that lingering feeling that they had known each other, there was nothing. Soren studied the man’s face for a second or two, before things fell into place.

“You’re Markus, right? Markus Vasco?” He said, his face lighting up in a smile at the realisation that the name finally had a face to match. Even though he asked it as a question, his gut told him he was right. Markus Vasco, his best friend… well, before. For a moment, there was that burst of emotion, just lingering for a second, but this time, echoes of the emotions remained. Not enough that he could remember why he felt them, but it was something.

“Well… I mean, even if you did ask what had happened, I don’t think I could answer. I… just woke up two days ago and… poof. No memories, no… nothing. All I could remember was my own name.” He decided against mentioning that his first thought had been Markus’ name for some reason. Now he knew who he was, he swore that the man’s face was familiar. But there was a bittersweet undertone. He knew who Markus was, but he couldn’t remember any of their history, any of the things that defined their friendship. All of the things he could remember were things he’d rather forget, but the good memories were completely out of reach.

“I… have no idea what happened. Just… nothing. Do… do you know?” He asked, turning slightly to look at Markus. There was a wave of that same anxiety he felt whenever he went to type his own name into google, except this time it didn’t go away, settling into his chest and wrapping around his lungs. Soren cleared his throat in an attempt to ease the building pressure, but it didn’t budge. He felt in his pocket for his cigarettes, but he’d left them on the window of his apartment. He took a sip of his cider, trying desperately to ignore the growing pressure in his chest.

Markus nodded slowly as he could tell Soren was trying to piece things together, and the moment he heard Soren say his name, a smile appeared on his face. But for just a moment. “Yeah. That, that’s me.” a tone of excitement rang through his voice, quickly clearing his throat as he recomposed himself. Taking a deep breath as he listened to what Soren said. Not exactly fully understanding but, for as far as Markus was concerned, why would Soren be lying about this? It didn’t make sense. Hell, none of this made sense. Markus took a deep breath, before taking a sip of his drink, “Uhm...I think it’d be best if we...Sat down first..?” he motioned with his head to a few benches that were off to the side of the main square, far enough away from most crowds. Once they both sat down, Markus put the drink down next to him on the bench, and clasped his hands infront of him before he began to talk, “Soren..” Markus began, “....Seven years ago...There was an accident...We got into an argument and….We both stormed off...I don’t know what happened exactly but...You got into a car accident, and...Sor... You didn’t make it.” his voice dipped at the end, as tears began to fill his eyes. He let out a long held breath in a small gasp, rubbing his head. “...You wouldn’t know this cuz...Well...You were gone after this but...Our other friend...Erin she...She died not too long after you…” he shook his head, his knuckles turning white as he gripped his knees as he looked away. This was the first time in years he talked about either of them. And now, he was somehow talking to Soren again? Whether he was really here, or Markus was just imagining it, he didn’t know. But, if this was really Soren, however he may have been here, he deserved to know.

Soren’s chest tightened even more as Markus suggested they should sit down, but he just nodded numbly. It felt like every nerve in his body was screaming at him to run away, to leave, that he wouldn’t like what he was about to hear, but he needed to know. He needed to know what the hell had happened to him.

But he never would have guessed what Markus was about to say. He had died. Seven years ago. It felt like there was a weight pressing on his chest now, enough that it hurt to breathe. He wanted to accuse Markus of lying, wanted to say it had to be some type of sick joke. But… deep down, it felt like he knew. When he desperately tried to call up some memory of the incident, all that came up were all the bad memories he’d tried not to think about. The shattering of glass less than an inch away from his face, the burning of cuts, and the sickening smell of whiskey. The fear of creeping through an empty house as silently as possible in case it wasn’t as empty as he thought.

“This… this can’t be happening,” he managed to force out, searching Markus’ face for some type of answer. “I can’t… how did I-“ The weight on his chest now was unbearable, and Soren realised that the light above their head had begun to flicker and both his and Markus’ cups of cider were now floating in mid air. His hands were flickering in and out of sight. “I need to go.” He bolted to his feet, looking at Markus for just a second longer. “I’m sorry.” He managed to get out, before turning and walking away.

He didn’t know where he was going or why, but all he knew was that he needed to get out of there before something bad happened. Back to the apartment, back to where he was safe, away from everyone else. The quickest way home was through the crowds, and his intense discomfort won out over his desire to be away from people.

It was when he was in the crowd, surrounded by people, that it happened. His vision suddenly went black, and it felt like he’d been pushed into a freezing lake, gasping for air that wasn’t coming and the cold practically painful against his skin, even through his clothes. And then there was a voice. Low and dark and sinister. “I’ll take things from here.” It sounded smug, as if this was a game. And Soren couldn’t do anything to stop it.

And suddenly it seemed like he was watching his body from somewhere else. Something else was wearing his skin. Soren had never stood that tall in his life, had never worn an expression like that, one that was somewhere between idle boredom and intense hatred. It took him a moment to identify what was wrong. The iris of his eyes was pitch black, darker than dark, chilling when you looked at them for even a millisecond too long.

A demon was wearing his skin and using it to wreak destruction. Soren wasn’t sure if the limitations of his strange new abilities were just gone or if the demon just knew how to use it better. Because handmade stalls, impeccably made stalls, were shattered to smithereens with just a lazy toss of it’s- his- hand. In only a few short moments, it had destroyed half of the carefully made stalls without a second thought. And it smiled, an awful, twisted smile that looked all wrong on Soren’s face. It caught two people staring at him in terror and that horrible smile widened.

“Haven’t you ever seen a ghost before?” It asked, in a voice that was both his and not his, reverberating all wrong for such an open area. “Consider this your first warning. Restore what was mine to me or I will use these vessels to bring more destruction than you can ever imagine,” it called. It turned its cold, harsh gaze on a figure that Soren swore he knew, and Soren panicked. He didn’t know how he did it or even that he could, but he flung his consciousness towards his body. And it worked, because there was that same feeling of being temporarily submerged in water, of breathlessness and not being able to breathe.

For a moment, he stood exactly as the demon had stood. And then his legs gave out at the same time as a wave of dizziness and exhaustion hit him, and he hit the ground, dazed and trying to piece things back together.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco Character Portrait: Atlas Blake Character Portrait: Cassidy Aisling
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A demon just smiled to himself as he let the man take back control of his own body. He was done playing games with that body, the townspeople in the market were frightened enough. But he certainly wasn’t done playing games. He could feel two more souls in a small diner, their fear and confusion and panic making them vulnerable and so, so easy to control. And oh, the destruction he could cause there… Finally, he was making the town pay for everything they had done, everything that had been taken from him. One of the souls put up more of a fight than the other, but he still took control easily and smiled that wretched smile. Only one of them had gotten the abilities of telekinesis. Never mind. There was plenty he could do with just the other's bare hands.

In the small diner, people were already hiding and running, the strange blonde woman having already disturbed them enough. The two women sitting opposite each other got to their feet in sync, their eyes both having turned a pitch, bottomless black. They paid no heed to the third woman who stood beside them. The glass in the windows near them shattered, one by one, closely followed by the lights hanging over their table. The blonde woman pushed past Nixie, not even acknowledging her. As she walked, glass kept shattering, lights and windows turning into mere shards without her even having to look at them.

The brunette smiled that awful, twisted smile and sauntered up to the counter. With strength that seemed to exceed what her frame should have been capable of, she picked up one of the stools and hurled it over the counter with enough force to break both the stool itself and shatter the tiles on the wall where it hit. She sent the items on the counter flying with a swing of her arm.

The two of them wreaked havoc on the diner, never touching anyone there but instead choosing to simply cause as much destruction as possible. The blonde had picked up a few cuts from the broken glass but hadn’t as much as flinched at any of them, and hardly seemed to notice them. When they got bored with the diner, they stepped out onto the street to find cops waiting for them outside. They laughed, their actions mirrored.

The demon briefly considered leaving the two souls to deal with things there and then. But no. He wasn’t done yet, and besides, he thought, the town needed to know what they’d done. They needed to know why they were suffering and that they could do nothing to stop it. They needed to know exactly what they’re dealing with. So when he spoke, he spoke through both of them.

“You took my love from me forty-nine years ago. Forty nine years, I have waited and waited for this moment. And now, I will make your precious town suffer. I will see it burn if I must. You will pay for all of the pain and the suffering you have brought seven-fold.”

Finally satisfied with the chaos he had caused and beginning to feel the drain of having possessed two bodies at once, the demon withdrew and let the souls regain control of their own bodies, smiling with satisfaction as their bodies crumpled with exhaustion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Erin Mohaghan
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"What? No...." Leo tilted his head to the side, confused by Elle's questions. If this was a hallucination of his own design, why would it linger on the one thing he wanted to forget. Cradling his face in hers, he imagined that onlookers might give him strange looks but they just walked on by like they were just another lip-locked couple enjoying the festival.

He pulled away, his hands still holding onto hers. It all felt so real. Maybe this wasn't meant to distract him from reality, maybe it was meant to force him to confront it.

"Elle," The words were already failing him, Leo exhaling roughly in an attempt to force them out. He squeezed her hands tighter as he spoke. "You've been gone for five years...you fell into the river and they never found your body...you were declared dead."

Suddenly the notion occurred to him, maybe she wasn't a hallucination, maybe she was real. They never found her, it's possible she washed up somewhere with amnesia and has only just returned. He reached towards the lines in her face that he'd never imagined before, subtle signs of age that marked the passage of time. His brow furrowed with concern, weighing what made him more insane - hallucinating his dead ex or convincing himself she was still alive.

Before she could process and react, the sounds of sirens cut through the silence between them. The eyes of the town watched as the patrol car rounded the festival to the diner where a crowd of people began to gather behind a line of police. His brow furrowed, one hand letting go of Elle's as he stepped forward the other leading Elle.

There was rarely any crime in Widow's Peak that created a spectacle, most of the time the cops were someone you called after the fact. As they neared the fringe of those crowd, two figures stepped out from the diner. From this distance it took a moment to recognize them, but when they looked up and spoke he could see their faces clearly. Their eyes and voices might have been demonic but the rest of them still looked like Xan and Erin - two people he'd never expect to see together in life or death.

Leo had been to Xan's funeral, seen her too-stiff body in that casket. He hadn't been to Erin's but he remember when it happened, his parents had sent a floral arrangement. These two were definitely dead, without a doubt. He stood there stunned, his face twisting into an expression of horror. Out of instinct he let go of Elle's hand, stepping back to look at her - making sure her eyes hadn't turned black as Erin and Xan's had.

"What - who ...?" Leo struggled to get the question out, one hand going to his head hoping to keep himself from spinning out. He grabbed a hold of the closest person to him, pointing to Elle as he looked between them craze-eyed. "Do you see her?"

“What?” The stranger looked at him confused, still baffled at what they'd all just witnessed in front of the diner. They looked at Elle, then to Leo before pointing back to Elle. “Her? Yeah, I see her.”

Leo stumbled back, trying to put distance between him and Elle. “What are you?”



Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Erin Mohaghan
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Elle Aldrich
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Dialogue colour is #D4A9D6

Elle could feel the emotions within her body swirl around in every direction. She had no idea what was going on, and she thought once she reached Leo she may get some clarity. Maybe he didn't know as much as she hoped he would, but that was fine. Elle could feel the sadness swell inside of her as she watched his facial expressions shift from confusion, hurt, and confusion again. She could tell that something wasn't connecting for him. Maybe she was wrong about what she thought she knew.

Instinctively she wanted to pull away. Was she remembering things differently? Then the words came crashing down around her and the word 'dead' circled her brain over and over again. There was a searing pain at the front of her head and she instantaneously had her palm pressed against her forehead. "Dead?' Did she maybe survive and that's why she couldn't remember much.

The blonde didn't have words to say, but her mouth was agape as she just stared into Leo's eyes. "Dead" she whispered the word silently back to herself. Elle couldn't process any of it, but before she could even have the chance to ask more questions or to get confirmation about things, the sirens could be heard and immediately he was leading her through the alley way and onto the street.

When they got there, Elle noticed two familiar figures. The names escaped her for the time being and she couldn't explain why, but she felt like she did know them. Instead her head shifted back over to Leo as everything was going on.

It felt like a bunch of glass had been knocked over and shattered beneath them. She felt his hand pull away from her and he was questioning if she were real and seemed to question on who she was. Elle could feel the emotions rising up again as she could feel the tears welling up and making her line of vision blurry. He stepped away from her though and instinctively she took a step back from him. She wanted to go towards him, but she could feel a certain sense of alertness and fear seep into her blood stream.

She just stared at him as the tears began to fall from her eyes and trickle down her cheeks. "What do you mean I was declared dead?" She asked softly her voice breaking up a little bit as she was holding back sobs. With the noise of the sirens, the crunch of footsteps, yelling and various other noises trickling in she could feel herself slipping into a series of images.

Elle could hear the yelling of her father in the background but the images she could see were a mixture of red and blue. There was a force against her body that swept her down and there was no ability to scream. The blonde haired woman came back to the streets of Widow Peak with Leo standing in front of her. All she could feel was her stomach moving in slight ways that made her want to throw up, but as she moved to try and lean against the pole next to her, her arm went through it and she nearly fell to the ground.

"I don't know what I am." Elle said as she slowly stood back up again. This was a mistake coming here.

(Wil post Nixie's post a little later.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco Character Portrait: Erin Mohaghan
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #4d5676
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xxxnever did I think I'd be coming back around
xxxdigging up old memories
xxxalways used to be the one to let it go
xxxkept my fears in a suitcase

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The Sheriff took a few moments to talk to them. Nobody could have blamed her for not believing their stories. Soren barely believed it himself, except it had happened to him. But instead, on hearing their story, her mouth just pressed into a hard line, as if it confirmed her suspicions. “Alright. Well, none of you seem to be in any state to answer too many questions. We’ll do what we can to keep things as calm for you guys as possible, but if anyone gives you any trouble, you call me, you hear?” She instructed. She had a stern, but not unfriendly expression, the type of person you could believe was doing the right thing. “Now get yourselves out of here. If you remember anything that could be useful, you tell me right away. And don’t you worry. The supernatural and this town are well acquainted,” she said, before turning and walking back to her officers. Soren noticed an elderly woman waiting to talk to the sheriff. The woman’s eyes were bright with observation, and for a moment, she turned her attention to look at the group. And then she nodded to herself, ever so slightly, as if a point had just been proven. When the sheriff spoke to her, she spoke to the old woman with a tone of respect. They spoke for a few seconds, before the old woman nodded and approached the group.

“You kids need to get yourselves something to eat. You all look like you’re about to pass out, especially you.” She poked Soren in the ribs, and he just stared at her with confusion. “Don’t worry about your friend. Demonic possession is exhausting. She’ll be just fine, just give her a while to wake up. Now, like I said, you kids need a good meal and an even better sleep. But tomorrow or whenever y’all are feeling better, you come see me, you hear? My house is that old witchy looking house on the south side of town, you’ll know it when you see it. And I’ll make sure to have a pot of Gramma Bloom’s special tea on. Now go on, scram.”

When the old lady spoke, people listened, and they were no different. Soren stuck close to Markus as they made their way to the nearest restaurant that was still open. Instinctively, they stuck together as a group, but Soren almost wished that they could just… slip away, just him and the only soul that seemed any way familiar. He knew that he had known most of the others, but he didn’t know how, and he hated that. He hated not knowing. But Markus was helping to carry the unconscious woman, so they just stuck with the rest of the group. The server gave them an odd look, but evidently decided against asking too many questions as she seated them at the largest booth. Even still, it was a bit tight. At first, the physical contact of being so close to someone else was comforting. But then Soren’s knee brushed against Markus’ and his heart jumped in his chest, a reflex reaction Soren didn’t quite understand.

He couldn’t quite meet anyone else’s eyes, couldn’t quite deal with the fact that they all seemed to have some memory of him while his memories were ghosts themselves. Honestly, he just wanted to go home, but that wasn’t an option. And besides, as overwhelming as everything seemed, he did want answers, and he felt like this was his best chance at getting them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco
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0000Erin0Monaghan 000000000000000000000|00000000000|Markus0 Vasco

Ghost | Attirex|xhex: #8BA3A6 0000000000000000000000000000000000 Human | Attire | xhex: #800000

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Everything seem to happen in a weird mix of slow-motion and impossible speed for Markus. One moment they were asking their friends if they were all okay, as well as the oncoming presence of police officers. Something that Markus felt was welcomed enough, but not any less concerning. But it didn't matter if he had lived in Widow's Peak his entire life or not, he had never experienced anything as otherworldly as to what was happening now. Countless people he remembered attending their funerals, or at least hearing about their deaths, were here now. Somehow in the flesh-er well, whatever they were now. It was only when one of the officers walked over to speak with them that he recognized her as one of the officers who was there at the hospital on the night that Soren-Markus shook his head. He didn't want to focus on that. Not now. All he cared about was heeding her words, to get out of here and to let them know if anything comes up. "Yes ma'am. We'll be sure to update you if anything comes to mind." he blurted out, but by the time he said it, the officer was already far enough way from them. Markus simply shook his head, looking back at Soren for a moment. As an old woman approached them, Markus had walked over to Erin's unconcious form and slung one of her arms over his shoulder gently, allowing her weight to entirely fall on him as he supported her, "You're gonna be okay, 'Rin. I got you.." he mumbled softly, as if she would have heard him, but it was more so to himself. He didn't know what was more confusing, the fact that somehow his two best friends were well alive, or at least back from the dead and that's oddly all he cared about. He didn't know exactly why or even how, but if this was just a dream, he was going to let it last for as long as it could. He didn't want to say goodbye just yet.

Markus had managed to walk back over just in time to see an elderly woman saying something about stopping by her home sometime, and something about tea. He had only gotten such a small amount of the conversation that, he didn't really know what was happening. Simply looked at the others for some semblance of context. But, the group clearly decided that it'd be best to get some food and hopefully speed up getting Erin to wake up. Maybe if she smelt some food, it'd do the trick. Markus thought, and the group was off to one of the local places.




Everything around her was a dark, murky color. As if it was just a large abyss of ink that she was suspended in. But, somehow still laying down on her stomach, as Erin finally found the strength return to her arms, enough to prop her up to a sitting position. Rubbing her eyes for a moment, as if trying to adjust to light, but, it was just endless darkness. After a few short moments of looking around, Erin noticed that there wasn't total silence. If she focused hard enough, she could have sworn that she could hear the ever so slight sound of soft rain, splattering onto what she could only assume would have been pavement. Suddenly, a deep, cutting fear dug its way into her stomach. Her fingers clenching the surface below her as she sat frozen in place. But instead of feeling nothing like she had just moments prior, she felt that hot, yet cold sensation one gets when scraping their skin against stone before that sharp pain of broken skin set in. Her fingers continued pressing into what felt like asphalt below. Digging further, and further in until she could have sworn she tasted blood in her mouth as she licked her lips. A habit she always had when she was scared. Further, and further, her fingers continued to press into the ground below, to the point of where it felt like she had made impressions in the cold ground. Skin dragging across cold, wet concrete.

And then there was a sheering pain that shot out across her back. Spreading from the back of her hip, all the way up to one of her shoulders, that caused her to let out a pained cry and a blinding light appeared across her eyes before she found herself bolting straight up in an unfamiliar place...




It had only been a few short minutes after they had gotten to the food joint when Erin began stirring in her sleep. At first, Markus had let her keep her head propped on his shoulder, as Soren sat on the opposite side of him. But after constantly having to pull her head back, he decided to just let Erin keep her head resting against the tabletop. Markus was all too busy in his own thoughts, when he finally looked back down at Erin's sleeping form, to see her eyelids flittering rapidly. As if she was suffering from some sort of terrible nightmare. Which, he honestly couldn't blame her for. She had well, rather literally been through hell itself and back. What her dreams were like when she was still alive, before the accident well, she had already had clear signs of copious amounts of nightmares. From the nights when she'd stay at his home for the night, he'd lie awake to hearing her mumble and whimper in her sleep. Which, often times ended with Erin crawling into bed with Markus, finding comfort in a familiar presence. Which, was oddly something they both found solace in. So, seeing Erin asleep once more, right next to him, still in evident enough stress caused his chest to tighten. He wanted to wake her up, but he knew that usually resulted in someone being punched in the face, usually him. So, he decided to just let her ride it out until she woke up on her own.

Markus began to sit back in the booth, when suddenly Erin jolted awake, seemingly out of breath as she looked around. The expression she wore on her face could only be explained as a deer caught in headlights. Which, Markus mused on for a moment before realizing just how morbid that comment was. All things considered. "Hey hey, 'Rin. 'Rin." Markus said softly, gently placing one of his hands to Erin's cheek, stabling her back to reality. His dark brown eyes staring into her hazel eyes. "You're safe. It's okay. Just breathe, okay...?" Markus said calmly, gently brushing one of his thumbs against her cheek. Just like he always had whenever she woke up from one of her nightmares. Erin stared back at him as her breathing finally began to settle itself, her heart still racing a mile a minute within her chest. Erin looked at the man who somehow knew who she was, and his touch...It was oddly calming. As if she recognized it. No no, she did recognize it. But why? Who was he? It was only when she finally glanced around her surroundings that she saw they were in some establishment, that also felt oddly familiar. And then her eyes finally landed on a few other individuals that sat across the table from her. Two she immediately recognized, somewhat. Xan and Nixie? Right? That was their names. It just took her a moment to remember things. But the others, she didn't exactly recall, then again, there were a lot of things she didn't remember. And the fact that everything was slowly coming back to her, the fact she didn't remember much began to tie her stomach in knots again.

"Uhm..." Erin started, still not fully awake from the hellish nightmares she had endured. "Where...Where am I?" she questioned, dark eyebrows knitted tightly across her forehead. Markus gave her a sympathetic smile, as he gently placed his hand on one of her's. "You're safe, and with friends..." he started. Giving her a small smile. Erin slowly nodded, she still wasn't fully able to comprehend what happened after she had interacted with Nixie and Xan at the diner but, whatever happened must have been bad enough that they went to someplace else to talk. Least that's all she gathered. Erin gave a small, silent nod before looking back at the others, not directly looking any of them in the eyes as she spoke, "Can...Can anyone tell me what the fuck happened back at the diner..? Cuz I sure as shit don't remember anything after...Blacking out?" she questioned. "I..I remember this cold sensation creeping over me and then...Just...Nothing. Like an endless abyss." the blonde shuddered for a moment, as if even just recalling the events sent a shiver down her spine. "I...I didn't hurt anyone, did I...?"





Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco Character Portrait: Atlas Blake Character Portrait: Cassidy Aisling Character Portrait: Erin Mohaghan
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#, as written by Caille
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N I X I E X C O L E
#DE8245 | Outfit | Getting Food w/ Gang

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The Sheriff had let them go and honestly that was a relief for Nixie. She did not want to have to explain something she didn’t understand and she didn’t want to seem like the town’s crazy person, but there was no denying the things she had seen from people she never expected to see again.

The brunette had stayed silent for once in her life as the thoughts and emotions stormed inside. There was so much to unpack, but who even had the time for that? She struggled to fall into line with the old friend group and how they all used to be. More than half of them were supposed to be dead, and she hadn’t seen Leo in years nor had she seen Markus. Not to mention Cas’s douchebag doctor was here.

Nixie just felt a sense of being overwhelmed and uncomfortable around everyone. When they got to the diner she slid in so she was against the wall and her sister beside her. How often does your dead sister come up from the grave? she pondered and honestly she just wanted to scream into the abyss and pretend nothing happened.

Of course, she was excited to have Xan back in her life, but how long was she staying? Or how long before she would be going again?

She heard Erin asking about what happened in the Diner and if anyone got hurt. Her heart began to swell as she could feel her muscles getting tense, so naturally, she needed to fidget with something and the salt shaker was the closest thing to her.

The salt was poured into her hand and pushed around with her fingers as she began to speak and inform Erin of what happened.

“You and Xan got into this state of being possessed. Black eyes, creepy-ass voices, and the two of you began to destroy the diner and scare a bunch of citizens. From what I noticed and overhead, no one was injured.” She concluded as she let the salt particles fall from her hand.

“Oh, there was something interesting about forty-nine years, waiting so long blah blah make the town suffer and a lost loved one? I have no idea… You better have ordered potato skins, or I’m sulking the next 24 hours.” She said as she crossed her arms over her chest looking at the others. How was it even possible that at least four people who had died came back to life? Was this some shitty dream, because Nixie wants none of it.





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E L L E X A L D R I C H
#D4A9D6 | Outfit | Getting Food w/ Gang

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Things had moved fast for Elle and it wasn’t long before they were joined by everyone or so she assumed everyone. Elle had a slight inclination for who some of these people were, but she really had no idea. She was lucky to have found the person that matched the name she had stuck in her head all this time.

The blonde took her seat in the final booth spot, she felt uneasy and unsure of what to say until she could feel Leo come in beside her on the chair. It was comforting and she knew that no matter what happened if she had Leo, she would be fine until she could figure things out.

She listened to what the brunette girl playing with salt had said about what happened in the diner and she had summed up what had been said. Elle coughed a bit and spoke up, she remembered what had been said almost word for word. It had caught her off guard in the first place, but the words were in her mind still, “Forty-nine years, I have waited and waited for this moment…. Uh, I will make your precious town suffer. I will see it burn if I must. Then something about pain and seven-fold.” She said hoping that it would trigger someone to talk about it.

She girl looked around the table, but the words ‘being that ghost’ echoed in her head. Was she really a ghost? Her eyes flitted down to look at her hands while she felt the sadness creeping in. Is that all she ever could be? She could see her hands fade a little bit, but instead, she just clenched her fist.

“Town must have pissed some dude off a long time ago. Some dude with magic abilities or maybe it's a woman, we have no idea. I’m not going to judge.” Elle kind of rambled a bit in an attempt to distract herself from the impending thoughts.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #4d5676
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xxxnever did I think I'd be coming back around
xxxdigging up old memories
xxxalways used to be the one to let it go
xxxkept my fears in a suitcase

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When Erin finally woke up, she awoke with a panic that Soren recognised. It was the same panic that he woke up with every morning. Markus reassured her, telling her that she was fine. He was as kind to her as he had been to Soren, something which resulted in a variety of emotions in Soren, something which he decided against dwelling on. She asked about what had happened in the diner, and Soren glanced at the others, wondering exactly what had happened.

When one of the girls- the one Markus had called Nixie, he thought- explained what had happened, a shiver ran down Soren’s spine. It was exactly the same thing that happened to him. He kept his eyes firmly on the table in front of him, idly tracing patterns in an attempt to occupy his mind. But apparently, through Xan and Erin, they had given one message, something about suffering and burning.

“Consider this your first warning. Restore what was mine to me or I will use these vessels to bring more destruction than you can ever imagine.” He said, without glancing up. “That’s… that’s what it said when it… possessed me,” he admitted. “The old woman said something about coming to see her. If it was forty-nine years ago, she might remember what happened. And she seemed to be unsurprised by the whole thing so… I dunno, she seems like she could be a good place to start to ask questions. I don’t know about you guys, but I’d prefer not to be a vessel for ‘more destruction than you could ever imagine.’” He managed to force something like a smile as he finally managed to look up at the rest of the group.

Some of their faces were familiar, some more familiar than others. But more than he’d ever experienced before, or perhaps more than he’d just noticed, the hollowness he’d been feeling felt like an absence. And it just made it feel all the worse, made it feel all the more noticeable. Everyone else seemed to recognise each other or to at least have somebody that they knew. But the best he had was Markus’ word that they’d known each other and vague feelings of familiarity. He glanced down again, the realisation that it seemed they’d all known and could remember him making him feel more like an impostor than ever. Maybe this was some huge mistake and he wasn’t the person they’d known at all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole Character Portrait: Markus Vasco Character Portrait: Atlas Blake Character Portrait: Cassidy Aisling
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #4d5676
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xxxnever did I think I'd be coming back around
xxxdigging up old memories
xxxalways used to be the one to let it go
xxxkept my fears in a suitcase

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MARKUS VASCO
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outfit: herex|xhex: #800000
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xxxThey say I may be making a mistake
xxxI would've followed all the way, no matter how far
xxxI know when you go down all your darkest roads
xxxI would've followed all the way to the graveyard

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Once the food arrived, the conversation halted for a few minutes as everyone seemed to realise in sync how hungry they were. For a few minutes, they just seemed like a bunch of normal twenty-somethings, enjoying the festival and teasing each other. In fact, they’d paid up and had left the restaurant as a group before they seemed to collectively realise why they were there. And then they stood, huddled in the cold, nobody knowing what to do or say, and nobody seeming to want to leave. When Leo suggested they went back to his, everyone seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Leo’s family had enough rooms that they didn’t all have to sleep in the same room, but they did have to share a room. Asking Markus if he wanted to share was a far too nerve wracking moment for Soren, and the relief when he agreed was significant. At that moment in time, having to deal with any of the others when he still could remember absolutely nothing about them just seemed too awkward and too uncomfortable for him. He couldn’t remember much about Markus either, but the feeling of familiarity was a start, and it was something he was desperately going to cling to.

He pulled off his jacket and sat down hard on the bed as they got to the small bedroom, exhaling heavily and running a hand through his hair to brush it out of his face. He wasn’t sure if he should say something, if he should acknowledge everything that had happened, but the words didn’t seem to come. The best he could come up with seemed to be, “Jesus Christ, what a night.”

Everything after the diner had felt like some weird lucid dream for Markus. Having followed the group wherever they went, when they all sat down and ate together, and eventually when they all decided to go back to Leo’s. Something they probably would have done when they were younger. This all felt so unreal to Markus, if he was being honest. But, just in case this truly was a dream, he stuck closely by Erin and Sor. He wanted to be next to them as long as he could.

It was only when they arrived back at Leo’s, and were given rooms to pair off into, Markus had originally wanted to stay with someone who hadn’t come back from the dead, but after brief reconsideration, he agreed to the arrangements. It was only when they got into the room, that he realized something. The exact detail of the arrangements. But, without hesitation, Markus grabbed a pillow and blanket and plopped down on the floor and laid down, staring up at the ceiling in silence. The silence went on for what felt like forever, as he debated on whether or not to say anything. It was only when Soren broke the silence, that he let out a sigh of relief.

Markus turned his head a bit in Soren’s direction, pausing for a moment as he thought. None of this felt real. It was almost like a dream. Feeling like it was all how it used to be when they were kids. Sleeping over each other’s houses. It was just so odd to him. Yet here they were, and Soren was none the wiser. Markus chuckled to himself for a moment, “Yeah...You could say that.” he muttered out a reply.

Markus’ reply worked half a smile out of Soren as he kicked off his boots, before sitting cross-legged on the bed. He wanted to talk, wanted to ask some of the questions that had been buzzing around his head, but he didn’t know where to start. And then, suddenly, there was a crashing feeling of guilt. He’d been focused so much on his own feelings, he hadn’t even thought about how Markus had to be feeling. He sighed, lying back on the bed so he was staring at the ceiling and didn’t have to look at Markus.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “For… all of this, for everything. I wish I could remember… something.” He managed to shoot a glance over at Markus, where he was lying on the floor, and instinctively laughed a little. “I would have taken the floor if you’d asked,” he added, almost reflexively, without thinking.

Markus simply blinked and shrugged as his initial response, his mind still trying to think of something to say. There were a few brief moments of silence that filled the room after Soren spoke, before there was a soft chuckle from Markus. He turned onto his side, propping his head up with his arm. Glancing up where Soren was, before looking back down at the floor. “You don’t need to be sorry, you know. It’s not your fault, I-” he paused, taking a deep breath as he had to stop himself from saying anything he didn’t want to. “It’s not your fault. The things that happened before, it was my fault. I can’t be upset at you...Not anymore.” Markus slowly sat up as he spoke.

“For as long as I’ve known you, Soren?” he started, glancing up at him for a moment, “I can’t be upset if you forget anything. All things considered, none of us know what’s really going on but, I’m just...Glad to have you back. I’m glad to have my friend back again, however long it may be for..” he said with a faint smile, his eyes becoming a bit glossy before he shook his head and cleared his throat. “But, it’ll be fine. We’ll be fine….” Markus said with a nod, keeping his eyes glued to the floor.

Markus’ words managed to work a proper smile out of Soren for what felt like the first time since he’d woken up in that empty apartment. Something deep inside him was so inexplicably happy to have Markus around, which left Soren wondering about the exact nature of their relationship before. But it wasn’t something he could ask Markus, that much he did seem to know. And then there was the mention of “what happened before”, the feeling that… something had happened. Something bad. But even thinking too much about it made his chest tighten again, and he didn’t want to push it again. Not after what happened last time.

He glanced away as well, as Markus said something about “however long he was there for.” That was the thing; if they’d come back so inexplicably, they didn’t know how long they’d be around for. The demon or whatever it was that had possessed them earlier seemed to have plans for them, but how long did they have? Soren cleared his throat and shrugged a little, smiling as he glanced back up at Markus.

“For what it’s worth, I’m not planning on going anywhere just yet. We’ve got some demon-busting to do first,” he said.

Markus chuckled a little at the comment, glancing over towards Soren for a moment, “I guess so…” he paused for a moment, thinking about it for a moment before nodding. “We should probably try to get some sleep then...Seeing as we have work to do tomorrow…” Markus laid back down, letting out a heavy sigh as he stared back up at the ceiling, “Goodnight, Sor.”

“Night, Markus.”

Soren found himself staring at the ceiling for a while, both unwilling and unable to sleep. The events of the night kept flashing through his mind, remembering what his body had done and everything that had happened. Would it happen again? What could they do if it did? Would he hurt somebody this time?

Eventually, he fell asleep, almost against his will. The nightmares came. They always did. Shadowy figures screaming abuse, shattering glass and the smell of whiskey, and the screeching of twisting metal. But that night, something cut through the rest. It was still yelling, but it was a different voice. It was his voice, but the words weren’t clear. And then he saw the face of the person he was yelling at. He was yelling at Markus.

When he woke up, everywhere was bright. The panic didn’t seem quite as strong as it usually did, even if it was still there. And for the first time, the dreams didn’t fade the minute he woke up. He could still see them, still remember them. Except the dream where he was yelling at Markus seemed less like a dream and more like a memory. He didn’t look to see if Markus was still there or not, just headed downstairs in the direction of where he thought the kitchen would be.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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#, as written by Caille
In Collaboration with Leisurelyatwar


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#584b29 & #D4A9D6
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Leo’s dads would have been more than understanding the circumstances, that much he was sure of - but they all needed sleep right now and couldn’t have this whole conversation again. He had made sure everyone was set up with fresh sheets, brought everyone cold water bottles. Making sure to give Elle enough time to change, he gave her a pair of his pajama pants and a t-shirt to sleep in.

He knocked on the door quietly, making sure to hear her say come in before opening the door. Tucked under one arm was his sleeping bag, the other a fresh cup of Elle’s favorite tea - or at least, it used to be. He didn’t know what she liked anymore or if she remembered the things she used to like. There was a piece of him that wished it could trigger some sort of sensory memory, scared to pry but still wishing to pull his Elle closer to him.

“Just thought this might help with sleep - no caffeine.” He offered the cup to her, giving her a half-smile.

Elle felt like a lost soul ever since she had been wandering the streets searching for Leo. Even though she found him, she couldn’t help but feel lost because she had little to no memories about what had happened and even if she had, would anything happening now make sense? Those who thought the others were ghosts seemed to be just as confused by everything, so maybe she just needed to be patient.

Still, Elle was looking around Leo’s bedroom and she felt like things should be popping in and out of her memory or at least spark it, but nothing. Was this how it was going to be? Was this how she used to be? Elle couldn’t help, but feel a little out of place, but still, she switched into the clothes Leo gave her.

“Come in,” She said softly when she heard his soft knock on the door. She cupped her hands around the mug of tea, something that felt cozy and warm. “Thank you.” She said with a small smile back at him. The blonde moved the locks of her hair out of her face as she blew on the hot liquid before taking her first sip.

It was peppermint, and it felt soothing, it reminded her of Christmas time almost, but also on those nights she had trouble sleeping as a kid and her father was always so strict about everything, but not in that instance. “Is my dad still alive?” Elle asked, looking into her tea as if the drink could provide the answer for her. “If he is, I guess you guys don’t talk much?”

“He’s alive - but, no.” Leo looked a bit ashamed. After the way everything happened, it was too hard to try. His wallet beeped, Leo instinctively grabbing his pillbox from his pocket and taking his medication. After the fact, he realized he had done so in front of Elle without any explanation.

He waved the pillbox in the air a bit before stuffing it back into his pocket, giving her a sheepish grin. “Help’s my brain chemistry, supposedly.”

Elle guessed she wasn’t entirely surprised that her dad was still alive. Part of her wished she could see him and maybe things would be fine, but another part of her had a sinking gut feeling about it. Maybe it was best not to see him for now. If she had died and was suddenly back, she’s not sure what that would do for him.

She watched him flash something in the air a bit, a pillbox. She heard his explanation but her eyebrows knitted together a bit, “Y-you didn’t take those before… Or did you?” Elle sipped at her tea as she looked at him. “Did me… you know, dying to lead you to those.” The blonde asked as she pointed her index finger to the pillbox now in his pocket.

Leo frowned. It was a question he had asked himself a lot - but hearing Elle repeat it back to him now he realized how unfair it had been to ever frame it in such away. He shook his head, “No - I mean, not exactly.”

“What happened - I mean, it was really hard.” Leo did his best not to wince, already the visual of Elle slipping into the river flashing in his mind. “It definitely didn’t help, but . . . I’m in a much better place now.”

He moved to his desk, leaning against it. As much as he had accepted that Elle was now real and standing in front of him, he still didn’t know what he was supposed to do. Apart of him wanted to hug her, kiss her good night - but it felt like she was still coming. He wanted Elle to re-figure herself out, and him trying to force something wouldn’t help.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, shifting the focus back to her.

Elle watched the flicker of emotions dance across his face as he thought and then spoke about it. She didn’t have a lot of memories surrounding what had happened, but she could tell it had impacted Leo. She could never blame someone for being so impacted by something that difficult, but she would be lying if she said it didn’t hurt at all.

She just continued to sip on her tea. The lingering subtle peppermint taste in her mouth was calming despite the surrounding feelings. It was almost as if the knots in her stomach were loosening.

“I’m glad you’re doing better.” She said, and she meant it. Did she being here make things worse for him? Elle had to stop the thoughts abruptly and refocus on the conversation and what was happening now.

He asked how she was and she didn’t know how to exactly put it into words. Elle could feel the thoughts flash past her and weave together making no sense at all. “Exhausted.” That was the only word that could really come to mind.

“It's one thing to be out all day, but it's another constantly being surrounded by things that you’re supposed to know and you don’t or you have a faint idea of them, but not the whole picture. It’s kind of scary, but just kind of the same as being black-out drunk. You know you’re missing chunks of time but you can’t recall them for the life of you.” She finished speaking softly and managed to drink more of her tea, about three-quarters gone.

“I think it will get better though. It has to get better.” She whispered.

Leo gave her a sad smile. He could tell by the fog over her eyes that she still wasn’t all there. Apart of him wanted to stay up and tell her everything, but he didn’t want to trigger her. He stepped towards her then paused. When they found each other at first it felt like no time had passed but now he felt like they were at the start of it all over again - nervous to reach out.

“It will. . . “ He said, rubbing his hands together nervously. “We’ll figure it out I promise . . .tomorrow. We just need to rest for now.”



Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers
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Leo had woken up before all the rest, careful not to stir Elle as he grabbed a change of clothes and slipped into the bathroom to shower. Usually his dads would have left for work already so he was surprised to see them in the kitchen still in their pajamas when he came down. The look of panic in their eyes immediately unsettled Leo, pausing mid step down the staircase to look over at them like a deer caught in the headlights.

“Leo,” Ray said, running a hand through his hair. “Why is Xan Cole passed out in our den?”

Even though he’d just woken up to find Elle beside him, Leo still had a sinking feeling that this was all in his imagination. Hearing his parents just confirm it all just made it all seem real for the first time. Leo slumped down where he stood, sitting on the last few steps of the staircase and resting his head on the bannister.

Immediately his fathers came to his side, Ray wrapping his arms around Leo as Michael sat beside him. For a moment he thought he might cry, his head heavy as he rested it against his father’s shoulder. Even in their moment of panic when they saw their son needed them they were there without a question.

“Thank you,” He whispered to them.

After a few moment they relocated him to the table. Usually Ray would have been asking Leo what he wanted to eat and fixing him a plate he’d watch him eat, but instead they just sat and listened. He wasn’t sure they believed him, even with the dead girl in their den. When he mentioned Elle they gave each other a look of concern. They thought he didn’t notice but Michael excused himself for a moment, pretending he was getting a call - but Leo knew by his expression and the nod he gave Ray when he came back that he’d gone to see if Elle was in fact asleep in Leo’s bed. Not that he blamed them for checking - in fact he felt better that they did.

“So . . . now what?” Michael eventually asked, huffing under his breath as he put an arm around Ray.

Leo shrugged. That was the question they had been trying to figure out. He knew that they were to go to Gramma Blooms, but he was worried that all of them traveling together might make them more prone to triggering one another. Though a part of him felt like there was more to this than any one person could help them understand. The sheriff had seem so calm about it all, didn’t even miss a beat when she mentioned demon possession. There had to be more to it all.

“I think we’re going to have to look into it. Sheriff said to visit gramma Bloom. I want to look into the history of the town a little more though . . . we might split up so some of us can go to the library to look at the archives.” He tapped his fingers nervously across the table, staring ahead blankly as he sorted again through the day prior. So many things happened it was getting hard to keep count. “They said something about 49 years ago so maybe we can figure out whatever it is that they’re referencing.”

Ray reached out to grab Leo’s fidgeting hand, squeezing it reassuringly. Michael had already gotten up to grab his and Ray’s car keys, sliding them across the table to Leo. “Your dad and I will stay home today. You kids take the cars so you can get around town okay.”

“Here,” Ray was already nodding along, handing Leo his entire wallet. “There’s cash and distribute the cards, I don’t want anyone in a position where they don’t have cash for something to eat or gas - okay.”

Michael gave him a look, already sensing that Ray was about to go overboard. He stood up, walking back towards the kitchen and pulling out things from the fridge. “I can make everyone breakfast, we have eggs and bacon and pancakes and fruit . . .”

“Ray,” Michael said softly, crossing over towards the counter. “I think the kids might be a little overwhelmed if they come in and we’re hovering trying to serve them a feast.”

Leo did his best not to convey his relief. Ray seemed a bit injured for a moment, looking between Michael and Leo before sighing and putting the ingredients back in the fridge. As much as Leo loved and appreciated his parents, his dad Ray loved too hard sometimes it could be suffocating. While his friends might appreciate a big breakfast, he doubted that his dad would be able to allow them the chance to breathe let alone eat without peppering them with questions.

“Alright, well - I’m at least leaving this fruit out. Please eat some.” Ray said with maternal concern, the two grabbing their coffee and disappearing up the stairs to their master suite presumably.

After setting up some easy cereal options for anyone who came down, Leo grabbed himself a banana. He served himself a quick bowl of instant oats and sliced the bananas over it. His dad’s had a proper espresso maker but Leo was too impatient, often opting for instant coffee instead. People often maligned instant coffee as schlop, and most were - but Leo had found a brand while they were in South America that tasted just like a vanilla latte and he never looked back. He took his coffee and oats onto the patio, the large windows and sliding glass doors allowing anyone who walked into the kitchen or dining room to see him.

Xan woke up to her hand buried in a box of captain crunch and a back ache. It took her a few moments to remember where she was, the day before rushing to her all at once. The tv had been turned off and a blanket draped over her which meant someone found her - but also meant that Erin and Nixie had spent the night alone.

She shook her hair loose as she pushed herself upright, cursing herself under her breath. It wasn’t a good look that she left Nixie on her own their first night reunited. Sleeping had been difficult for her since coming back and she hadn’t eaten much at the diner the night before. While rummaging for snacks she came across a vape pen and dug into a box of cereal as she watched cartoons on netflix.

Wandering up the stairs, she tip toed down the hall peering into the kitchen. There was already an assortment of breads, fruits and cereals for them set out. Leo was out on the patio by himself, he didn’t seem to notice that she walked in. She looked around to see if Elle was anywhere around, but it seemed like the two of them were the first one’s up.

Popping a bagel into the toaster, she poured herself a glass of orange juice when she heard footsteps from above. She looked over to the stairs to see Soren bounding down them, still wearing that same dazed expression. Her lips pulled back in a tight smile, attempting to mask her concern.

“Hey - good morning, sunshine.” Xan took a sip from her juice, gesturing towards their breakfast options. “Looks like we can just help ourselves to whatever. You hungry?”

Her bagel popped behind her, Xan glancing behind her before gesturing over her shoulder. “You want a bagel? I just made one, you can have it. I’ll pop in another.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich Character Portrait: Nixie Cole
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Erin Monaghan
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Ghost | Outfit | #8BA3A6
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You keep on saying that I've changed
I know that I don't seem quite the same
Don't know where
Don't know where I went no
Don't know where I went wrong
But I keep singing
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Erin didn't even remember how long she was lying on her back, just mindlessly staring up at the ceiling as she hoped sleep would come for her at some point. But, eventually it did and she was washed in an ocean of darkness. While Erin didn't remember much of well, anything, she did know that the feeling that washed over her when she slept wasn't normal. After sleep came, all Erin experienced was a sensation of cold and empty. Dreams never really came. At least not what she remembered dreams being like. No. These dreams were just a void. It seemed like no matter what, they were always the same. A repeating cycle. She'd wake up in the same place. The feeling of cold and went cement beneath her. The sound of rain. Her fingers digging into the ground beneath her until her fingertips split and bled. Forcing her way up to her feet. Then silence mixed with the soft echo of rain..before a bright light and a sharp pain in her back...And she'd wake up again. So, Erin expected the same this time. But that wasn't the case.

This dream wasn't like the others, at least not fully. When Erin found herself in The Dream World as she came to call it, she was always laying down. Crumpled over herself in a heap on her stomach. Having to push herself to her side and then eventually up to her feet. But not this time. Erin found herself sitting upright this time. She looked around, inky darkness was all around once more. But that familiar, distant sound of rain could be heard.

Normally, Erin would have been annoyed by the constant amount of times she heard rain by this point..Everytime she felt asleep. It was all she heard and she didn't know why. A part of Erin knew what this was, but every other part of her wanted to ignore it. Pretend like this wasn't exactly what it was. A repeat cycle of her last moments. Erin sighed as she tried to think. Just anything at this point to come back to her. Anything at all. But nothing. Erin couldn't really remember names or faces. Other than the ones of the people she met since coming back. Soren. Markus. Leo. Elle. Xan. And Nixie. Nixie. Why was there a part of Erin that felt hollow? Missing even when she thought about that other woman?

Erin knew she should have felt something, seeing as Can said they had dated at one point but, none of that made sense. If that was the case, why couldn't she feel anything? Anything at all? It was only then that the sound of rain began to grow louder and louder. Entirely drenching Erin as it splattered across her face. She looked up where the sky would have been, letting the rain trickle across her skin. She just wanted to feel something. Anything at all other than this feeling of numbness and dread.

Erin opened her eyes and found herself suspended in space, water slowly filling up more and more. At every passing second it slowly began to encase her, as if she was in some invisible container that would eventually fill up and drown her..Erin tried to free herself, but any attempt felt heavy and weighted. Like she was tied down and unable to move. Chained by the confines of her mind. Like a barrier that she herself created to protect herself. But it all felt wrong.

You're drowning. she told herself. You're fucking drowning and no one is going to save you. You need to wake up. Wake up! her mind screamed at her. There was a large inhale as Erin forced herself awake. In those first few moments, she could have sworn she was submerged under icy cold water. Her lungs began to close and her chest was weighted. She felt claustrophobic. Yet here she was. Erin forced herself to sit up. Blinking as she tried to gain her bearings.

She wasn't in any place she recognized right away. Upon further inspection, Erin was lying in an empty empty bathtub. How she go there, she didn't know. Maybe she sleepwalked? She didn't know. Erin looked down at herself and saw she had apparently undressed herself for the most part as well. The bare minimum was keeping her clothed. Now she was begining to sleep walk? After a weird dream? Well, weirder? Lovely..

Erin forced herself out of the bath and dressed herself in the clothes from the previous day. If she could go back to her apartment, she'd get some clean clothes. Looking around, Erin splashed some water on her face. Looking herself in the mirror for a moment, fixing her hair as she combed her fingers through the mane of blonde hair. Erin took a deep breath and exited the bathroom. She could hear some faint talking from the kitchen down the stairs, or well, what she remembered? Erin contimpated going back to the room and check on Nixie but, she figured she'd want her space and instead chose to go to the kitchen.

Upon entering, she gave the two occupants a small, awkward nod and wave of greeting. Just then, there was a sharp pain in her head, and a flash of white light shot through her head. The faintest glimpse of a memory shot through her mind. It took her a moment as she grimaced. Holding her head. Erin walked over to one of the cabinets and as if it was routine, she retrieved a bottle of pain killers, and walked to another cabinet and retrieved a glass. Filling it with water as she took to pills, hoping to ease the pain.

Erin finally turned to look at the other two. Blinking for a moment as she looked over at Can, eyebrows furrowed. "It...It rained that night, didn't it? When...When I…" she cut herself short. Not dating to finish that train of thought. Her dreams should have been enough of a clue for her all but gone memories for her to gleene from. She didn't need to bring it up now. Looking over at Soren for a moment, she blinked. "You...You…" she started, pausing for a moment as so very hazy memories sparked across her mind. Trying to piece together whatever fragments she had. "You..You did music." she looked away feeling her cheeks grow a bit warm as the feeling of embarrassment creeped over her. "I'm sorry. My memories are...Really fuzzy right now. Things come back in bursts and...Fragmented. I'm sorry." she excused herself, reaching into her pocket as she retrieved a packet of cigarettes as she made her way to the back patio and into the cold outdoors.

The feeling of cold air brushing against her skin helped, but just barely. Erin retrieved a single cigarette, placing it between her teeth as she retrieved her lighter. Once it was alight, she took the deepest inhale and held it, before exhaling. A small cough escaped her lips as she leaned against the railing. Her eyes flickering about as she tried to wrap her mind around the random fragments of what she could only assume was her life before this one. If she was being honest, Erin was absolutely terrified. And if her constant bouncing of her leg wasn't any indication, she didn't know what was. But for now, she was trying to compose herself before she made her way back into the kitchen with the others. So, she for a few more minutes longer, she'd remain outside. To whatever scrambled of thoughts she had.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Cole Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Leo Mathers Character Portrait: Elle Aldrich
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Leo Mathers
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Human | Attire | hex: #584b29
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Erin Monaghan
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Ghost | Attire | hex:#8BA3A6
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Leo supposed he should have waited inside for the others but he wasn’t sure how long it’d be until the other’s woke up. He was scrolling through the local news on his phone seeing if there were any stories about the diner. Much to his surprise it was buried beneath other headlines about the festival. There was mention that an altercation at the diner let to some property damage but otherwise nothing. They had all witnessed Erin and Xan levitating with their eyes pure black, speaking in some demonic voice. Yet not a single word about it anywhere, not even on social media. He wasn’t sure how but he had a feeling the Sheriff had a hand in managing the exposure.

His watch beeped and like a pavlovian response Leo took his pills from his pocket and swallowed them dry. The idea occurred to him that he should call his doctor and see if he would need to adjust his medication with all these new stressors, but realized even attempting to explain the situation would probably end with him institutionalized. As weird as it sounded despite the pure insanity of the situation he was in, Leo felt better than he had for a long time.

The sound of the door opening on the patio caught his attention. Seeing movement from inside the kitchen, Leo realized that a few of his guests had woken up and began eating breakfast. Grabbing his things to go inside, he turned back to notice Erin leaning against the railing seemingly distracted. He glanced down, noticing the bouncing of her leg, all too familiar with the motion. Leo had spent a lot of time trapped in his own inner monologue doing the same thing.

“Hey, Erin. You sleep okay?” Leo asked softly, careful not to startle her.

Erin had barely been outside for two minutes by the time someone had walked over to her, she barely noticed them approaching before they spoke. Erin flinched ever so slightly at first, before an awkward chuckle escaped her lips. Realizing just how jumpy she was by someone talking to her. Shaking her head as she looked out, taking another drag of the cigarette, but made sure to exhale away from Leo. Part of her subconscious acted on its own, somehow remembering Leo didn’t exactly like smoking. She looked back at him with a small, nervous smile, and a shrug of her shoulders. “All things considered, yeah? I think so anyway.” she began, clearing her throat, “I think I ended up sleep-walking at some point last night, cuz I woke up in the bathroom’s bath-tub and...Yeah…” her voice trailed off, realizing just how insane she sounded.

“-All things considered, it was probably the best night of sleep I had since...All this shit started, I guess. I dunno…” she looked back over at him, “How are you managing with…all this? It’s crazy, right?” she asked with a small chuckle.

Almost on cue the sound of Queen came blaring from the kitchen. The wall was lined with large pane windows, allowing them to look in. He could see that Xan had begun singing, shortly followed by Nixie and Elle. Leo stuffed his hands in his pockets, watching his friends inside for a moment before looking back at Erin with a crooked smile.

“Crazy is one word for it,” He laughed. “Honestly, the last few years have been a haze and today I woke up for the first time in a while with some purpose so . . . could be worse.”

Leo waited a beat, unsure what to say next realizing he didn’t know what Erin did or did not remember. He didn’t want to trigger any episodes or make Erin feel any worse about not remembering things. All he wanted was answers and he was afraid of causing damage by asking them, but it was the only way to understand the extent of things.

“Do you remember coming over here at all?” Leo gestured around vaguely. “Like to my place? We’d all hang out here a lot in high school.”

Erin couldn’t help but grin when he said he woke up with a sense of purpose. She could only assume she used to know what her’s was. Now? Now everything was just a big and muddled blob of random images and flashes across her mind whenever she dreamed, or would be put into a state of severe anxiety. Least from what she could surmise anyway. Erin noticed the small break of silence after that, wishing she could think of something to say. But with her mind as scrambled as it currently was? Probably best to not even attempt small talk.

So when Leo spoke up again, a wave of relief washed over her, but only for a moment until what he asked finally settled in. What she did seem to remember, was more so out of muscle memory alone, like parts of her subconscious that remembered things did, but not Erin. Or least not the part of her that was in control when she was awake. God she wished that part did.

At first, Erin just gave a small shrug of her shoulders, and shook her head. Taking another drag of the cigarette before looking out into the backyard. She wanted to be able to say she remembered something at the very least. Even if it was just something to help ease Leo’s concern, if she could assume, they must have hung out often enough for him to have asked. She remained silent as her hazel eyes scanned the backyard, hoping that maybe just something would cause a memory to come back to her.

It was only when her eyes locked onto a large tree that she paused. Found herself staring at it for a few moments. There was a sudden sharp pain in her temple, causing her to flinch for a moment, placing her fingers to her head, and just as quickly as it came, the pain was gone. Erin blinked a few times, “Sorry....” she muttered, looking back out ahead of them. “I...I sometimes get these weird sharp pains in my head...But..” her voice dipped for a moment, looking back out at the tree. Erin outstretched her right hand, index finger pointing out as she leaned towards Leo, “That tree out there? The...The big one?” she started, side-eyeing him for a moment, before a small chuckle escaped her lips, “-I fell out of it one summer. Didn’t I?” she turned to look at him. Leo gave her a wide smile, nodding as the memory surfaced for him.

“I can’t remember everything but, I remember climbing it, for whatever reason, losing my grip and then falling. And…” she struggled for a moment, before looking down at her left arm, “-I broke my left arm and we had to go to the hospital. Right?” her eyebrows knitted together as she looked at Leo for confirmation, hoping that whenever her mind showed her was correct. For all she knew, she could be getting flashes of dreams, rather than actual memories. “...I get weird, fragmented memories every so often but...I think that’s a starting point?” Erin shrugged, not so sure of how helpful of an answer it may have been to his question, but it was all she knew.

“That’s totally a starting point!” Leo cheered, playfully clamping his hand over Erin’s arm. It was so instinctual, like two old friends. Then he remembered again he was still a stranger to her, giving a sheepish expression and scratching behind his head.

Erin couldn’t help but smile a bit, her face turning a light shade of pink as she was praised for having remembered it correctly. It was an odd feeling of embarrassment and contentment that she could at least remember something about a shared past. However small it was.

“I’m going to go inside, sounds like there’s a concert in there. Make sure you eat breakfast before we go out, we got a big day.” Leo gestured behind him, looking back to see Elle singing into a spoon smiling and laughing. His shoulders relaxed in a way they hadn’t for years. Maybe this was all unnatural but it all fell right to him.

Erin gave hima small nod of her head, she’d go back inside once she was done calming her remaining nerves, as well as this cigarette. She had gone back to looking back out at the tree-line that laid out behind the house, before turning her head over her shoulder to look back at Leo as she heard him speak again.

“Oh, also -” He paused, turning back to Erin. “Your fall, your slip - it was because of Soren. He was in the tree with you and he was the one who slipped first but you grabbed him. Then you lost your balance and fell.”

Erin just blinked and shook her head. She didn’t know why, but there was just that part of her brain that went Of course it was. She just couldn’t explain it. But part of her, somewhere still remembered, even if she couldn’t at that moment. Erin looked at Leo and gave him a knowing smile and nod, “Oddly makes sense.” she chuckled, and looked back out. Maybe she could remember as time went on, but what if there were things she didn’t want to remember? And what if those came back? That’s what scared her the most.

She waited a few more minutes to pass as she cleared her head, as well as finished most of the cigarette she had. Looking around, she spotted an old polished, ceramic ashtray by a seating area. Her eyebrows knitted together, as far as she could tell, neither of Leo’s fathers smoked. So...Why was that here? Did she really used to come here that often? Did she even smoke before all of this, that much that they had this for company? She wanted so badly to be able to recall something so simple like that, but she couldn’t even remember.

With a sigh, she crushed the remainder of the cigarette butt in the ashtray, straightened her clothing and made her way back inside the kitchen. Closing the sliding glass door behind her. There was a different song playing now, somehow she managed to know the lyrics

“Don't bother me, my misery
It's holding me
Won't let me speak-”


Erin softly sang the lyrics to herself as she made her way to the fridge, grabbing a carton of milk, a bowl from one of the cabinets, and poured herself a bowl of cereal, hopping up onto the counter, she silently went about eating her breakfast as the others talked and danced amongst themselves to the music.

this little bit of joy.