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Yuki Misora

The Phantom in the basement.

0 · 832 views · located in New York City

a character in “Gold Cuts”, as played by Layla


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How to disappear completely by Radiohead
IMPORTANT: Due to the candidate's refusal to speak, all following quotes have been extracted from interviews with the inhabitants of the candidate's building of residence regarding their opinion of Miss Misora.


Real Name:
”Umm, I don't know. Does he have one?" - Mikey Woods, resident drug dealer
Miyuki Misora

Stage Name:
”He's pretty chilly." - Kat, prostitute

”We call him the Phantom. Makes music, stays invisible, is probably a horrendously disfigured man... Phantom of the Opera." - Jody Landragan, unemployed
Yuki || Yuki-hime (Her mother's pet name for her, meaning "snow princess") || Phantom (By the inhabitants of the building)

”I wish they'd just shut up." - AJ, resident

”To be fodder for nightmares?" - Mikey Woods, dealer

”Approximately 561." - Jody Landragan, unemployed resident

”Demon." - Lady Crystalfire, fortune teller

”...nipples?" - Kat, prostitute

”I guess it doesn't matter as long as they bleed." - Adam Lake, self-proclaimed vampire

Love Interest:
”I'd shit my pants if he looked at me." - Mikey Woods, dealer


”12'9" and growing." - Jody Landragan, resident
5'1" ||156cm

”He's a ghost, man. What the fuck." - Adam Lake, vampire resident
88lbs || 40kg

Eye Colour:
”The crimson river flows in its depths..." - Lady Crystalfire, fortune teller
Dark brown, nearly black

Hair Colour:
”Do ghosts wax?" - Kat, prostitute
Dark brown, nearly black

Distinctive Markings
”A horribly scarred face and a tattooed scalp. Lady Crystalfire says he has twelve arms but I was like, naw man. He don't have arms." - Adam Lake, vampire
An earring in each ear.

”I'd guess about 15 inches in length and 6 inches in diameter." - Kat, prostitute
He kept his head down and his hair tucked beneath a nondescript cap. His shoulder was pressed against the wall as he glided towards the staircase that led to the Basement. Not an eye so much as glanced in his direction. He was furniture. In the rare occasions that someone did notice his existence, they saw only a malnourished boy, small and hunched beneath a black cap with faded pink lettering stating "I l v isneyl nd" or something or rather. Even the hat was partially hidden from prying eyes. A hoodie - if that was what the worn and torn flap of material could be called - tucked the figure safely in its baggy grasp. Sweatpants threatened to fall and run from the scrawny boy as he shuffled forward one fraying sneaker at a time.

He was likely the only mortal who could creep down the disintegrating steps of the basement without falling to his death or initiating a symphony of creaks and moans. At the bottom of the steps, he shuffled the door aside, its hinges refined to grains of rust long ago. He closed the door behind him and was immediately submerged in darkness. He tugged at the pull chain light fixture in the centre of the room and the lightbulb flickered to life after a few long moments. By then he'd shimmied out of the old sweatshirt and removed his cap to free his locks. It seemed he was not a scrawny young boy after all. Only scrawny.

Dark hair cascaded down Yuki's back, curling softly at the ends where her hair brushed her tailbone. The warm golden light caught the soft gleam of her locks and cast a glow across her doll-like features. Natural eyebrows other women would have had to endure daily discomfort framed warm brown eyes that arched ever so slightly. If noses could be perfect, the one that sat between her eyes was it, curving gently towards an upturned tip that sculptors and plastic surgeons alike would fawn over. Plump lips led the eye to a small chin and slim neck. Yuki hunched her narrow shoulders as if her 5'1" frame were not already small enough. From her slender frame to her fragile wrists, she looked like a twig to be snapped over a knee. Yuki clutched the old cap to her chest and in her mind, she was wielding her shield and armour.


”Virgins and babies." - AJ, resident
Sweets || Music || Theme parks || Fairy tales || Art || Reading || Writing || Makeup || Ferris wheels || Bed canopies || Order || Disney movies

”Garlic." - Mikey Woods, dealer
Harry Potter || Horror movies || Supernatural entities (demons, ghosts, wizards etc.) || Olives || Lemon steamed pudding || Mess || Corpses

”Everything about him is weird." - Kat, prostitute
Extremely superstitious || Pretends to be a boy || Doesn't talk || Lives in a basement not even the drunk, drugged, poor and reckless would inherit }} Keeps the basement incredibly neat and clean despite having no visitors

”Fire, stakes, garlic..." - Adam Lake, vampire
The supernatural (Harry Potter, demons, ghosts etc.) || Attachment/Commitment || Death of a loved one

”Creepy?" - Kat, prostitute
Yuki's nickname being "Phantom" and the fact that nobody has seen her face in four years is quite telling of what sort of person she is. She's incredibly antisocial and lives life as a hermit in a basement not even a stoned drunken fool would brave. The entire structure of the building is crumbling and the basement bears the worst of it. It is not that she has a death wish, she's merely reluctant - although "reluctant" might be understating it - to interact with others. She fears that so much as a glance at another human being will lead her to become hopelessly attached and vulnerable to loss. There's not enough of her heart left to bear another piece being stolen. Besides, what's left of it is wholly devoted to two people - her mother who raised her, and the sister in soul who pulled her up when she'd fallen.

Despite being aloof, Yuki is an incredibly kind person. Her compassion is ingrained to her personality and she has always be soft and gently spoken. Although she's always tried to be honest, she's not the sort to blurt something cruel even if it's true. She believes in staying silent if you have nothing nice to say. Her kindness extends from human beings to animals. Unlike many people, she doesn't hate anyone. In fact, she's only strongly disliked one person in all her life, and that was not without cause.

Whilst she isn't the sort to be aggressive or even defensive where her own wellbeing is concerned, she is extremely protective of those she cares for. She doesn't form attachments easily, but once she loves, she loves with her whole being. She is more selfless than she is selfish and thinks of others before herself. The only pity is that she doesn't exit the basement long enough for her to share her empathy with the world.

”Transubstantiation." - Mikey Woods, dealer
Proficient in multiple instruments || Remarkably good at art || Can write backwards || Reads music || Highly empathetic and good at reading people || Highly organised || Is proficient in all household chores like cooking, cleaning and sewing


Known languages:
”I am the medium through which he communicates with the living." - Lady Crystalfire, fortune teller
Japanese and English

”Uh, Jesus?" - AJ, resident
Mother || Kyoko Misora || Deceased

”I hear he was disfigured but has an incredible voice so he lives beneath the opera house." - AJ, resident
Yuki's childhood was a happy one. Although the only family she's ever had was her mother, that had always been enough. They weren't wealthy by any means and she learned to work not long after learning to walk. Her mother never completed high school, making getting a well-paying and long-standing occupation rather impossible. She worked odd jobs here and there, from a hotel cleaner to a waitress and shoe maker to laundromat operator. Her mother was an incredibly talented musician and artist, however, two things which she passed on to her only child. Her mother had a handful of loyal violin and piano students and she sold a few artworks here and there. Yuki helped her mother make shoes in primary school and ran small errands for the people in their neighbourhood. They spent a year homeless but Yuki was happy so long as she had her mother by her side. She was also given an education at a local public school and her mother taught her Japanese at home.

She only ever asked once who her father was but her mother broke down in tears. Yuki never asked again. She knew from what little she'd been told that her mother was given away by her parents to a family who was abusive towards her. Her mother was never able to completely recover from her past. Yuki was her greatest pride and joy, she said, and nothing else mattered besides Yuki's happiness.

One of Yuki's fondest memories is of going to Disneyland. Growing up, she'd always been fascinated by the stories of princes and princesses and she watched every Disney movie available on cable television. Her mum had been saving and took Yuki to Disneyland for her 12th birthday. They couldn't afford any of the food at the stalls but they did manage to get one photo with Bucks Bunny.

Not long after their trip to Disneyland, Yuki's mother fell ill and was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was in the last stage and it was an aggressive strain. The doctors said she would only have three months left with her daughter. She survived for seven instead, and Yuki cared for her every month and every day. Her mother passed away on Yuki's 13th birthday to the sound of her daughter's voice as she read the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker.

There was not much for Yuki's mother to leave behind after her death, and being underage without any known family members, she realised she would be placed in foster care. Having heard all her life her mother's stories of how cruelly people treated children who weren't their own, Yuki refused to allow herself to be put into foster care. Somehow it felt like a betrayal to her mother to call someone else her mama and to love someone else.

With only one backpack, a violin, a cap from Disneyland and one photograph of her and her mother, Yuki left. She slept on the streets and earned most of her money using her remarkable gift with the violin. Pimps and madams approached her to lure her into earning money in other ways, saying "with that pretty face of yours, you'll be rich in no time," but she refused. Her mother had always warned her to remain pure in soul and body. To be kind, gentle and honest, pure like the snow that was her namesake.

During her time on the streets, she met another runaway who called herself "Angel." They became close companions and together, they found a rundown building occupied by bits and pieces of people from all backgrounds. In order to avoid the vulnerability of being pretty young girls, they disguised themselves as boys. To avoid suspicion, they chose to live in the basement where there was hardly anyone else. There they found relative happiness in their routine lives. That was until Angel met Wolf.

Perhaps she fell in love with Wolf, perhaps she grew bored, desperate or unhappy, but Angel became the youngest member of the gang, Red Eclipse. She came back bloodied and bruised, and then the holes started appearing in her skin. They fed her drugs and Yuki watched helpless as her friend wasted away. The light faded from her eyes until she was little more than a moving body to be used and battered. Hope appeared when Angel met Dan. At least, Yuki hopes it was hope and not just another abusive relationship.

Angel left one night, like every other night, except this time, she didn't come back the next afternoon, or the one after that. Yuki does not know what happened to her friend and sister, but she likes to think Dan whisked her away like a prince on a white horse to some place far away where Angel is living her happily ever after.

Yuki lives in the basement, removed from the rest of civilisation. Years have passed but she hasn't left even though she could if she wanted to because she's afraid if she does leave, Angel might never find her again. The two made a promise to each other all those years ago that they would always come back for the other.

Despite knowing better than to interact with the building's inhabitants or anyone for that matter, when a few of the kids began playing music, Yuki could not help but be captivated by it. She found herself itching to be a part of something bigger than herself again. To be able to make music that spoke to a person's inner soul. Every day she played her worn violin in the streets, and every night she played her violin in the basement, but one violin could never express the full capacity of the human soul. She began drawing neat staves on scrap paper, and in one night she'd written 8 songs. Years of silence accumulated in her heart and finally it found its escape. She slid the music quietly under the doors of the band members, hoping one of them at least could read music. This continued indefinitely. The band would simply wake up and find music so carefully composed of blood, sweat and tears.


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So begins...

Yuki Misora's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuki Misora Character Portrait: Eleonora Santoro Character Portrait: Ilyas Naqvi Character Portrait: Iris Fulcon Character Portrait: Zayne Pierce
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#, as written by Layla

The figure sat hunched in the darkness, a mere impression of something or rather that no one seemed to take much notice of or even realise was there. In another life, it might’ve been a spy for the FBI but in this, it was nobody. Its hair was tucked beneath a nondescript hat claiming "I l v isneyl nd" in an echo of what might've once been a violent shade of pink. A malnourished shoulder was pressed against the wall, its emaciated body hidden beneath a hoodie decades past its shelf life.

Miyuki Misora had arrived long before the first Hoodrat trickled in. She liked to be early and besides, she had nothing better to do. She curled into herself as she watched Ilyas and Iris grow in frustration. It wasn't any selfish reason that Zayne was late, of that she was sure, but even she was feeling the inklings of fear as she watched as candidates and staff ebbed from the building one after another. She wondered if Ilyas and Iris were tired; they'd been standing for over an hour. Or maybe more. Less? Yuki had lost track of time months ago, or had it been years? She could scarcely remember how old she was. 14? 30?

She shivered beneath the fraying cotton of her hoodie, a particularly large hole at her elbow causing her special discomfort. Yuki couldn't remember the last time she ventured further than 500 metres away from the building. It was strange seeing these many people, but she would be safe if nobody noticed her. She would be safe. Yuki clutched herself tighter.

It was worth it, she reasoned. She would never miss the day when Iris, Ilyas and Zayne made it big and escaped the limits of those four, crumbling walls. The judges would be hypnotised three bars into the song or less. They couldn't not be. These three were the most gifted musicians she'd heard in her life, more so than any of her mother's students and they certainly deserved it more than anyone. They needed this and Yuki wanted to be there when they got it. Yuki nearly jumped as the glass doors slid open. The last time she'd seen automated doors was when she went grocery shopping with her mother which was rare in itself. Someone entered. Zayne?

“That’s it. No more. Audition’s over. Everybody out,” barked a young man. He shifted his iPad Mini from one hand to another, his head tilted back with the band-aid arrogance of an employee fresh out of a prestigious university but inept to Gold Cuts’ prominence and austerity. He glanced behind him at the door to the auditorium that sat slightly ajar like a kindergartener seeking reassurance for the dozenth time. What he saw seemed to satisfy him, as he returned to exuding his self-imposed superiority upon the members of Hoodrats. “Obviously you don’t want it enough if you’re late,” he added. “We’re very busy, you know. We’ve heard thousands of bands. You should feel honoured you’re even in the same building as Paradox. They’re already exhausted and you had the guts to make them wait!” He spoke with a sense of delusive familiarity. "Leo pushed herself so hard she nearly collapsed.”

"Leo is quite fine, thank you.” The voice echoed from the hallway around the corner, washing over the young staff member like an ocean tide gently but firmly tucking a baby crab back into the waters. The sound was like liquid gold in zero gravity. Each word had been delicately scripted on musical staves to form a whimsical melody that allowed the listener a mere glimpse into the netherworlds. Already Yuki could hear the notes that ethereal voice could sing. Everything. That voice could sing any and every note. It could read the phone book and ensconce all mortals.

“Miss Santoro,” the man addressed quickly, a blush blooming over his face as spun around. Despite his meek retreat, he was tall with broad shoulders. Yuki couldn’t see the source of the voice beyond the slither of long hair that glistened like snow.

“John, how are you?” the woman asked.

“No. I mean, good. Thank you, Miss Santoro.” John mumbled, averting his eyes that were wide with shock and pride at being addressed by Paradox’s lead singer by name.

“What appears to be troubling you?” she asked sympathetically.

“Nothing, Miss. These candidates were late. I was just sending them away.”

There was a momentary pause before the the figure stepped forward, her fingers floating beneath the tablet John held. He seemed to freeze for a few breaths like a deer caught in the headlights before resting the device in her hands. The ends of a smile touched the corners of her full lips as she turned her gaze upon him. She glanced down at the iPad, her fingers dancing across the screen before she returned it. John stared down in confusion, wondering what she’d changed, if anything, before noticing the small printed numbers at the top of the screen.


“But…” he trailed.

“Why don’t you start heading home, John? You've worked so hard today,” she praised. “You must be exhausted. I will remember to put in a good word for you.”

“A-ah, yes. Thank you, Miss Santoro,” John stuttered, stupefied by the celebrity standing before him, staring into his eyes and whispering his name in that whimsical tongue of hers.

“I’ll bring them in.” John nodded but did not move. "Have a good night, John.” He muttered a farewell before shuffling away, revealing the full extent of the beauty that had been partially veiled by his body.

A waterfall of platinum gold cascaded down the arch of her spine, brushing the edge of her tailbone, its fair light rivalled only by her smooth alabaster skin. Eyes like shattered glass reflected the rare luminescence of aquamarine as they moved from one Hoodrats member to the other. Sharp collarbones slit across her body, juxtaposed by the soft arch of her naked shoulders. She wore a simple and elegant dress that curved into her small waist and swelled over her hips, ending halfway down her thighs to reveal the narrow legs that stretched to the envy of every woman. She was remarkably tall, especially for a woman, and her willowy build made her seem frail enough to be broken over one knee. But her firm gaze and the aura of regality radiating from her declared otherwise. She didn’t seem entirely real.

Yuki’s heart was threatening to tear itself from its socket with the force of her heartbeats. The woman was a queen. She felt the phantom bittersweetness of remembering her first and only trip to Disneyland, and the awe that consumed her when she gazed upon the princesses.

“Shall we?” the Queen asked, gliding with an uncanny grace across the space that cleared as she approached. She couldn’t even hear the click of the woman’s heels as she moved. Perhaps she was a ghost after all.

Yuki kept close, sinking into the shadows.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuki Misora Character Portrait: Alyosha Ellison Character Portrait: Eleonora Santoro Character Portrait: Ilyas Naqvi Character Portrait: Giovanni Santoro Character Portrait: Logan Kenneth Character Portrait: Iris Fulcon Character Portrait: Zayne Pierce
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ilyas naqvi
chapter i - a guide to actually getting somewhere

        Death awaited; chrono-guillotine the ominous judgment above their geese necks, the clock's cadence of twirling arms in the waltz of
        anxiety upon his nerves, and his axons coil into taunt spheres of twine.

        Right, they were thoroughly fucked, predestined for unfortunate lives, hexed and cursed and doomed to endure the worst – but he was
        never particularly talented in the business of throwing towels.

        "He'll come." Is his placid answer to the volcanic frustration of one blonde haired sylph – which isn't false, Zayne was sure to arrive with
        adrenaline leaking from the pores of his face in due time, it was just a concern of when. Heavy with the bindings of atmospheric nooses the
        flickers of his eyelids become decelerated during the hypnotism, spiral of the clock a formidable antagonist to the contradictory human
        mind, and his hands find his neck for the hundredth time, the tips curling against the nape in fruitless attempt of being self-soothing.
        However, if he wanted to be comfortable he'd smoke a joint (though, now that he thinks about it, is impossible – details, details) and besides,
        he never did too well with being comfortable in the first place.

        The threshold of panic didn't seize his cardiac muscles until their time to breathe out stardust in musical arrangement had come, announced
        in flippant tone of the overworked, underpaid, and it digs into his skin like incandescent fishhooks. A burn of peroxide from within and finally
        the springs release their energy and he rises, ball jointed doll of snapping, breaking motions and eyes feverish, constricted and ghastly and
        prepared to escape the weakened sockets. "Holy shit, we're going to die." Ah! An affirmation of distress! His words are pried out from
        dehydrated throat and strained into cat gut string. The look is dedicated to Iris, heart circulating blood at miles per minute and he finds shards
        of their synchronized demise sketched in swivet countenance. Yes – good question, what are they going to do? Attempt a 'the show must go on' maneuver? Plead for more time? Claim constipation? Create a nifty distraction by setting something on fire?

        He hardly acknowledges the band before them cascading into the back room of monochrome and modernization, only their radiating grief and
        his hasty heartbeat. Swiftly, in a wave of a motion Ilyas smothers himself, the palm of his hand covering the scruff of his facial hair (he wouldn’t
        don the characteristics of his pubescent self if he had shaved – but why would he? vanity was a strange thing, and he was quite smitten with the aesthetics the genetics of his father had given to him, and the phone number fitted comfortably in the back pocket of his jeans was a generous
        bonus) as the gears in his head turn, can literally feel the exchange of information whizzing from frontal lobe to those anxious fingertips.

        The light bulb bursts into a million fragments, the glass slivers rain down on him like transparent snow.

        "I know what we have to do." He states, stabilization resounding in the notches of his convex spine, hands continuing to conceal his face for
        several delayed seconds. “Yuki.” And the name is a torrent of rose water, spoken as if they were a brotherhood of gamblers tucking aces into
        their tailored suit sleeves. It’s an answer simultaneously obvious and obscure, and the corners of his lips curl as noxious clouds part to reveal
        the illumination of heaven. “I mean – no shit, right? She writes the music, knows the music Hell probably treats the music like it’s her bible,
        prayin’ in compositions and all that.” His grin feels insatiable, the bells of relief ringing within his lungs, singing of their hollownessas a new
        dread feasts upon the kingdom of his psyche, and Ilyas presses his lips together into a paper thin line, dodging eye contact of both Iris,
        the head-set professional and Yuki herself, the seraph wallflower.

        Maddened laughter absconds from his chest, the chortle startling the pair of canaries caged in the corner, feathers of citrus ruffling as his arms
        spread, hands latching onto Iris’ shoulders and shaking her for a moment – dammit! Don’t shake the baby, man! “I mean, don’t get me wrong.”
        Flip of the switch, recalibrate electricity and his demeanor transforms, furrowed brow puckering the skin between his eyebrows and jaw
        settled into severity, distant guilt already gnawing at his kidneys. “It wouldn’t be the same without Zayne, it’d probably be sort of fucking
        weird –– sorry Yuki, but I've grown accustomed to your elusive charms – but if he can’t make it in time, well, our dream can be saved.” The
        sunrise of a smile all but wans, and his hold on the blonde is detached, wrenched away as cement expands in the apertures of his psyche, sticky
        tar exuding from the roof of his mouth, closed by force, feels as if he had chewed a fistful of stale taffy.

        And his heart palpitates; it skips a beat, skips a beat, skips a beat.

        Until he's simply a machine, nodding, cannot even vocalize a word because they are submerged in the goo but it's Elenora fucking Santoro and
        his breath is stolen, evicted with the problem - her presence the catalyst to temporary amnesia- and he follows, heart beating, thumping,

        Oh God, they are so screwed.

alyosha ellison
chapter i - lemon drop

        “Oh damn that was cold.” Her eyes are bubbling champagne, popped and oozing with iridescent excitement, the pupils oscillating between the departing group of monotonous clichés and their manager of chiseled apathetic marble, the art form of detachment perfected by years in the industry of feral dogs and venomous snakes. “J, you might want to talk a psychologist; each day I see you grow a little more jaded and cruel –
        before you know it I’ll be calling you our old man. I could dress you up in suspenders then, it’ll make up for the loss of your cute factor.”
        During the years preceding the present these impish words would have never been illustrated by her silenced tongue, had only spoken to elders
        in tones of orchestrated respect unless her sense faltered and stumbled into grave mistakes, but now teasing him feels natural, on par with
        smiles and sipping the sweetest of fermented beverages.

        Speaking of fermented beverages, the cylinder of steel is lifted from the table, insulated water bottle crafted to preserve a refreshing cold abused
        to store red wine – justified if she is to be masquerading as their panel’s Paula Abdul, though the apparent role was self-chosen. She imbibes
        whilst maintaining act of moderate sobriety, nectar in her stomach, cradling her mood and leaving cherry painted lips particularly exuberant
        with each drop, alcohol’s melody the superior life-coach to humankind, and when the container returns to its place on the table a crossbreed
        noise of laugh and giggle rolls from her tongue to her teeth. “Dears, be hard on yourselves, and maybe we’ll see you next year – chin up!” She calls, hand waving with languid benevolence, and though she does not speak falsehoods, her sincerity is stunted, half grown and doesn’t shutter the conscious, everything instead pleasant and warm.

        But she was prepping, preparing herself for a gala worth of the twenty-first century, where the sky is caressed by fingertips and crystals are desserts swallowed whole, needed the ballroom to stretch her legs after this excruciating inertia.

        “I think that went relatively well, my ears aren’t bleeding, which is impressive enough. I give them a two point three.” Wicked, senseless
        rambling churns from her, a finger running through hair coddled into soft nightsilk, twirling the strands around the slim appendage of a doll.
        Is she the only one having fun around here? Sparing a glance to her bandmates she senses her vexation squirm and relax in the pit of her
        shrunken, raisin stomach, Gio beside her mesmerized by empty space and Logan tending to a dog that, despite her adoration for the slobbery
        canine creature, she refused to sit next to due to the hair that would cling to her clothes. Maybe today was a bad day for the sundress of floral
        dusk – and Alyosha exhales in a slow demonstration of theatrics, smoothing the wrinkles of the garment as she mentally begs an abandoned
        higher power to convince Leo to return to the land of monotony.

        Strangely enough, her endeavor in summoning magick seems to work, the blonde bombshell sashaying into the auditorium within her next
        breath. And all she does is wave, fingers curling towards her palm, corner of her mouth quirking - tugging into her cheek, transitory smirk
        vanishing in a second in her act of real magic, just as she buries the fallout of an old, bitter jealousy that it won't be her that Elenora sits next to
        - and damn, does she know the filter of brazen entertainment she'd experience if she did.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuki Misora Character Portrait: Alyosha Ellison Character Portrait: Eleonora Santoro Character Portrait: Ilyas Naqvi Character Portrait: Giovanni Santoro Character Portrait: Logan Kenneth Character Portrait: Iris Fulcon Character Portrait: Zayne Pierce
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The continuous comments form the seemingly benevolent Alyosha eased the pressure of having to say anything himself. She could definitely make up for his offstage silence.

There was still a low chatter between judges and J and other staff hurrying around back stage. Every other band had been early or perfectly on time. This sort of opportunity would not wait for just anyone. The paperwork behind it was incredible as well. He glanced again at J's paper filled table. Sitting behind a desk is not where Logan belonged, which aided to making dropping out of college such an easy decision. He did his best and stayed out of the bureaucracy and politics of the Gold Cuts. In that aspect, he did rather well. The problem was always the media and the rumors, but he really had no control over that. Those viewers who believed so deeply in the media were always disappointed whenever Leo and he appeared together, but not together. Many people liked to assume they have a history together, when in reality, they've avoided each others' private company completely.

He glanced around the all too familiar auditorium once more, remembering when he first came here with J to show the rest of the Gold Cuts staff his skill and worth. It didn't take much convincing. Besides, the need for a drummer in Paradox was crucial and completed the band. Now, more than ever, did he feel like the band was missing something.

“That’s it. No more. Audition’s over. Everybody out." The voice raised above the murmurs in the auditorium. He didn't really care for whatever was going on. Good, we can leave. Logan stood for a moment, Briar Rose shifting her head off his thigh and following suit by standing, reaching 38 cm at her shoulders. Then he realized Leo, walking down the aisle to the judges' table with the rest of Paradox. Voices rose again and footsteps echoed onstage as crew and contestants scrambled for to get the situation in order again. As Leo walked past to the empty seat next to him, he couldn't help but feel a chill run down his spine. He had history with many people, mostly women, but Leo was not one of them. She was a phantom. A ghost of a person. She haunted him. Of course she was incredibly beautiful and talented, there was no denying that. However, there was something missing within. Heaven knows how much Logan has going on within himself, mentally especially. He always thinks. His ability to read people is lacking, to say the least, but not so much is his ability to simply tell people what they want to hear. My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred; And I myself see not the bottom of it.

The next words were probably the first phrase he'd spoke all morning. "Bienvenue, Eleonora. Je vois que vous faites bien," he spoke at the moment she silently sat down. He didn't even have to look to know that Giovanni's eyes would light up at the appearance of his sister. Logan would often speak in many other languages, French being the most common for conversation, since every Paradox member could speak it rather well. He'd speak in other, less well known languages when he mumbled comments to himself. It wasn't intentional, rather habitual since he knew so many different languages that none felt like his own.

He let out a short sigh and sat back down, crossing his arms against the table in front of him. Briar Rose, again, followed his movements but this time lied down and rested her head on his shoe, something she'd done since she was a small puppy. She wasn't visible from the stage while lying on the ground. Last one. This group would have his attention for the next few minutes simply because he was now anxious to get back to the penthouse and his room.

Flipping open the thin folder than had just been placed in front of him, he scanned over the basic information and matched names to the faces on the stage before him, a slight smirk on his face. --

Ilyas Naqvi. Lead Singer and Guitarist. Even from this distance, Logan could tell he was staring directly at Leo. This guys wasn't the first one to become infatuation with her upon first encounter. Physically, the only thing he noticed was the amount of seemingly random tattoos Ilyas had. For his sake, Logan hoped they had a sort of meaning instead of useless stains. He seemed confident enough on stage, as a lead singer should.

Iris Fulcon. Backup Vocals and Synth. As he looked up to identify her, a clamor was heard off stage followed by her stumbling and apologizing. He smirked. They're really out of their element, aren't they? The girl's long blonde hair and slim limbs appeared to make her taller, even though he knew the tricks of being on stage. After all, though he was not short, people often thought of him as a lot taller. Height was relative anyway. She was pretty, simply pretty, suiting her nature girl vibe.

Zayne Pierce. Bass Guitarist. He was obviously the late one. With who could only be assumed as his little sister aside off stage, Zayne had rushed out onto stage, sweaty and panting as though he ran the entire way here. He better get used to that. First impressions are almost always judgements on someone's appearance. Tall, messy, slouched; even his mannerisms gave off an arrogant vibe. Does he deserve to be so prideful? Then again, who really deserves anything...

-- His thoughts were sidetracked. Logan flipped over the band's profiles to the last paper. Incomplete. There was no useful information on the last member of this group that was auditioning. He glanced back up to the stage, only counting three contestants, until something caught his eye off the edge of the stage. Someone had followed Leo before she took off to sit with the rest of Paradox. Logan almost didn't notice, but now he caught a glimpse. A figure slumped back against the side wall, barely visible behind the edges of the stage. Beneath the baggy clothes, Logan figured it was a thin, fragile frame. Oh, who is she? She wasn't about to pick up and instrument like the rest, but simply observe. As the group introduced themselves, Logan kept his gaze on the figure that blended into the shadows.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuki Misora Character Portrait: Alyosha Ellison Character Portrait: Eleonora Santoro Character Portrait: Ilyas Naqvi Character Portrait: Giovanni Santoro Character Portrait: Logan Kenneth Character Portrait: Iris Fulcon Character Portrait: Zayne Pierce
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ilyas naqvi
chapter i - a guide to actually getting somewhere

        Reality’s fractal image expanded its fissures, enveloping them in the divine pandemonium; it’s a whirl of a foreign spectrum, forbidden
        for them to experience. Eleonora graced him with acknowledgment, the upturn of her lips a ripple in time itself, shattering all beautiful
        things in its wake, and it fed to him the tangible dream they had fallen into. Their lives materialized in this room of palanoia, suspended
        on the spiral of adrenaline, he felt it rotate in his knees and shutter within his origami heart. His daze shattered, glass pieces littering the
        ground, and from it transpires a nod to Zayne and a smile of muted elation – the grin extending further when waving to Eli, and beneath
        his soul he felt clouds push against one another and rumble raucous thunder, the ballad of a dream in the making, ten seconds closer,
        so close that he could taste it.

        The stage is mundane in comparison to the panoramas of neon rain and bellowed fire digitalized and stretched online, but it’s larger than
        anything they’ve set foot on, his echoing footsteps endless reverberations as he is granted to walk across it, each pace akin to walking on
        ice, as if the weight of his eternity could collapse it, swallow him whole. Ilyas finds that time is hardly concurrent; it’s a mish-match
        Frankenstein concept of ripped photographs, seconds luminescent simultaneously, the best and worst of the world radiant and diluted. He
        had to squint, inhale and exhale to register his fingers checking to voice of Aladdin – cliché as the guitar’s name was, but the stories
        woven within One Thousand and One Nights had created a home within him throughout the myriad of days where he had none but the sky
        to his name. Memory brought whispers of the ancient stories comforting him through the agony and bliss, decomposition, resurgence.

        But this was no comfort – he’d lacerate his fingertips playing, bleed out hymns onto the polished floor and suffer from self-chosen
        exsanguination. Music was his IV and siphon, a drug to bring him to his knees, to see God, occupational dimethyltryptamine. The cords
        hum in compliance, synchronized with the collision of good and evil, of grime and peroxide swirling, amalgamating in his soul, and his
        larynx droned alongside the scrutiny, vocals equal to the low frequency wedged in between the slivers of wood. This was it, now or
        never, the universe perched itself on his shoulders as he meandered closer to the panel, faces he had only caught glimpses of in magazines
        and televisions, and he knew all their names, but knew nothing about them. However, by the end of their song, they will know him,
        intimately so, each serenade from his throat an act of ethereal fortification. “We are Hoodrats, and I’m Ilyas Naqvi.” Like them his
        statement is that of the sewer, the abandoned humans that transformed into vermin to survive, he stood with the edges of his mouth
        solemnly curled up to his cheeks – waiting to begin, electromagnetic waves simmering the corners of his eyes.

        “Mortarium.” A lullby whisper for the microphone, caught tangled in a breath, the title of their song. They need no gimmicks to begin,
        no valiant shouts or war cries, no drummer banging thin cylinders to count the time, for they all had clocks in their minds, the incessant
        ticking of one – two – three – four. Aladdin is a skeleton, névé sculpted bones quivering as he plucks life from death, the hollow void
        saturated with ultraviolet violence and love, abhorrent lust and a trillion twine lashes. Notes of e, B, G tachycardia in the successions of
        cadences, he rings the neck in delicate fingers and strums and sinks. Here his eyelids feel heavy, spellbound by the harmony of past never
        forgotten, his eyelashes are oil by design and flutter, those aperture pupils dilating into pinpoints – they must be, it’s the greatest high he’s
        ever felt.

        “Goodbye to sleep,
        I think this staying up is exactly what I need
        We’ll take apart your head
        Take apart the counting, the flock it has bred.”

        The intro is a phantasm’s whisper chased by Morpheus’ fury, lying on a bed of needles, his voice the river curling around jagged rocks,
        molten obsidian and sinfully sweet black licorice. His fingers are of the corpse reanimated, curled around the microphone Ilyas sheds his
        skin, the demeanor of boundless optimism a vague reminiscence from an alternate universe, and in his esophagus bloomed lavender and
        wolfsbane. Each muscle was spun from the coals burned in the absence of love, his shoulders rose and managed ridged relaxation, his body a
        gravesite singing an ode to the treacherous arachnids that stuck them in their syrup coated webs. The air sucked inward was sharp, an
        icicle of a winter he couldn’t recall, missed a note and misplaced his fingers for a beat, the A note arriving a heartbeat too soon, but the
        appendages roll, they recalibrate themselves in quiet, serene ballroom dancing –

        “You walk straight, not like them
        To fool them into our sweet insanity
        Fake it enough, to vanish today
        Not for the first time, imbibe with lies.”

        – As if he was born for this.

        Finite infinity. His fingers extend outwards, curl and grip the microphone and he strangles it, a step back, the subsequent lean forward,
        and already are his lungs singed with the enervation, the alveoli cathedrals of ashes screaming for revenge, recognition, anything from this
        world. The poison perforated his skin and fingernails, it was the mucus in his frontal lobe, the bile of twilights dedicated to the maddest
        of crows, the alcohol to rip them to sheds and sanitize them in a handful of words. In times like these he can’t see, can’t hear – but he doesn’t
        detach himself from the threshold, and instead it envelops him, when he feels everything that’s ii and has ever been in existence; every
        wasted breath, every stray tear and broken blood vessel – he sings and growl in the alcoves of humanity and rips its pancreas out with his
        whittled teeth.

        “I'll find sleep in the end tonight
        I can't shake this little feeling
        I'll never say anything right.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuki Misora Character Portrait: Alyosha Ellison Character Portrait: Eleonora Santoro Character Portrait: Ilyas Naqvi Character Portrait: Giovanni Santoro Character Portrait: Logan Kenneth Character Portrait: Iris Fulcon Character Portrait: Zayne Pierce
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#, as written by Layla

The room was entranced. The music reached its evanescent fingers into the audience, grasping each person by the neck and wringing them dry of any memory of ever having heard anything so... Painful. Pinpricks of liquid misery tapped against dilated orbs but were quickly submerged by a different sort of liquid emotion. Excitement. Elation. Discovery. This was what they'd been waiting for.

Eleonora gutted the flaws in the music, a note pitched a fraction flatter than the G natural it was supposed to be, a twinge of a guitar string, the cracks in his voice - although it suited his artistic style - and the graze of two unintentionally discordant chords. As the blinds were pulled over J's vision for the first time in the weeks that they'd auditioned the thousands of amateur bands, he drifted into music nirvana whilst Eleonora's lids remained mildly lowered in apathy. She could see their value and appeal but training them would be costly. Time-consuming. They were volatile, over-emotional little girls who trampled over artistic organisation. She could almost see their musical precision being flung across the room.

She plastered a look of apt contemplation on her face. Mmm, yes? No? How many stars? She would admit the song's composition was interesting. Eleonora had always been able to predict the melodies of all songs and she always knew what note would come next. Popular music in particular followed a set of unwritten rules that allowed for almost everyone to appreciate it. There were only so many notes available on a stave, after all. But somehow she found it rather challenging to glimpse the song's chorus, bridge and ending. When she expected a minor 7th, she received instead a minor 6th. The cadences were odd. The augmented chords were odd. The whole song was odd and yet, strangely perfect. They were simple melodies and it was like art. You might think "hey, I can do that too," and yes. You could've. But you didn't.

The corners of her lips twitched upwards and she swallowed the urge to leap and clap with glee. She expected the composer to be a very, very interesting man indeed. She wondered if it was the lead singer - Ilyas Naqvi - who wrote the song. He certainly sung it as if they were his very own thoughts. The music suited him remarkably well so maybe he did write it. Or the composer was a person close to him, or he was better than he looked at making a song his own. The rest of the band members were decent as well but their body language prior to the first tap of music eluded to their state of pre-epiphany. They didn't realise how good they were, it seemed. Interesting.

As the last trickles of music relaxed its grip on its listeners, J stood. He clapped. Furiously. And the audience joined him. Eleonora smiled and brought her hands together. Pull apart. Collide. Separate. Collide.

"It's very fortunate we decided to wait for you," Evelyn Jones, personal secretary to mysterious Gold Cuts President, said.

Eleonora beamed at her. Of course. As if she hadn't stopped John Warren Jr. from chasing them out of the building not fifteen minutes ago. They'd wanted and waited for them all along.

"I think we can all agree on the winner of this competition," J said, his eyes never leaving the band onstage. Eleonora watched him carefully and noted the slight puff of his chest that suggested pride. He seemed rather familiar with the self-proclaimed rodents. Murmurs consumed the room before it was engulfed in silence and then, tentatively, whispers of "yes," "they'll do," "best band" and firm nods.

"Gio, Logan, Alyosha, Leo," he addressed them. "Will you take these... Four," he said after a pause, casting a glance around the room. Four? Leo could see only three. Ah, maybe it was the mysterious composer. "As your apprentices? Promising to guide them through their contract and stay with us?"

"I do," Leo said, embedding a solemn stare into each individual Hoodrats member, with a nod to the ceiling for the mysterious fourth member - or God - before returning to rest on Ilyas, a hand placed over the layers of flesh and bone that veiled her heart. "I promise to breathe down your neck in sickness and in death."

Laughter rippled across the auditorium; J trampled the urge to roll his eyes. Leo tossed her new singing underling a wink.