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More Than Ever Before

More Than Ever Before

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Tons of chumps speculate what comes after life, but I'll bet they weren't expecting this shit.

857 readers have visited More Than Ever Before since Averagebear created it.

Introduction

yeeeeeee




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LINKS: Tab⇞⇞ OOC⇞⇞ FAQ & Updates ⇞⇞ Chat ⇞⇞ People
STATUS: Accepting ⇞⇞ Full ⇞⇞ Open ⇞⇞ Complete ⇞⇞ Dead


You'd hope your death would end the chaotic spiral of events your life held, but as it turns out, "the end" only meant being thrust into world so alien you might as well have been sent the Mars to play a terribly confusing game made by a joke in a leather jacket. And, somehow, the fate of the world depends on you winning. Of course.



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        A cadaverous man in a leather jacket a couple sizes too big and a few years too old slunk down the shoddy street during the distrustful time between dusk and dawn- that one hour of night where every alley seems a bit sketchier, every tree a little gloomier, every person a tad more suspicious. It was that time of night that every good mother forbids her children to spend anywhere but indoors. And for good reason, he supposed. He was out and about at said time, and he personally could verify that he was nothing but bad news. He did not hum and he did not whistle, did not carry an empty booze bottle nor a billowing cigarette. Come on, he simply couldn't abuse every cliche, could he? No, the flickering street light and violent wind were far enough in setting the mood of this current night. Though in all honestly, he could go for a cig. Great, now that seed was planted. His lips tightened with a heightened awareness of the ache for burning in his throat and the foggy battle between urge and impulse control. He clicked his teeth as he made it his goal to simply walk, a vacant look on his face and hands shoved far into his pockets. He'd pick up a pack after the job was done.

        How coincidental that those feet of his carried him all the way to you on this dreary night- yes, you.
        "Huh, I wonder if all of 'em are gonna be so weird lookin'..." the man though to himself, running a hand through his greased black hair as he looked you up and down from a safe distance. After his quick inspection, he slithered over to where you were situated and tapped you on the shoulder. Before you even got the chance to ask him, "who are you?" or "how did you get in here?", he'd already sighed like he was about to do something very menial and cleared his throat. "Save it." he cut off, "Listen, I'm real sorry to say, but I'm gonna have to kill you. Well, I guess that's not true. I mean, me killing you is true, definitely. It's just that I'm not particularly sorry." he drawled, though his voice didn't carry any malice. In fact, you'd reckon he'd sound like he was ready for a good, friendly conversation if you weren't too busy wondering what the hell he was talking about. "If it makes you feel any better, we'll be seeing each other again after this. It's not like you'll be bored or whatever. Is that why all of you are so afraid of death? Boredom?" he frowned as he pondered the question, a face that might have been him rolling the concept in his mind like a piece of foreign tasting hard candy in his mouth. "Guess it doesn't much matter, huh?" he decided, shrugging.

        "Oh, I forgot to introduce myself!" he gasped before clicking his tongue against his teeth. "I was so close to nailing it this time, too. Um, I'm the... what do you call me again? Uh... shitballs... Oh! Right, the 'Boogeyman'. That's what it is. I guess I can bust a move or two." he was sure to clench a pair of bunny fingers as he said the word it right in time for his quick eye roll. "But you can call me Griff. Don't worry, I'll explain this all later."

        Suddenly, his calloused hand was cupping the back of your head in a strangely intimate way. His black eyes bored into your own. "Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."he said, a new sense of serious hovering over the two of you. "One of your kind, Dalai Lama, I think, said that." he explained. The next thing you knew was nothingness, for good ol' Griff's index finger had transformed into more of a talon, and as it extended from the base of his hand, it slid through your skull and into the brain matter locked underneath it. Quite frankly, you were dead and gone. His other arm quickly wrapped itself around you to hold your limp body up. "There we go- quick, painless, and without damaging the goods. Job well done." he mumbled under his breath, looking at your body one more time before setting you down on the chair or patch floor that was most convenient. "Ehm, somebody call 911!" he halfheartedly cried if you'd been in a public place. If not, he'd walk right out of the building and onto the next someone.


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        Griff the Boogeyman has got some big plans for you, compadre. Aside from showing up at your doorstep (figuratively or literally, depending on who you are) and shoving his finger in you (and perhaps there're two very different plausible meanings to this, too), this naughty monster does have a use for you. In fact, his plans should interest you greatly... his goal is to save Earth from being destroyed. You see, Griff's a man of ambition, but he's no fool. He understands that in order to get junk done, you've gotta have a little help from your friends, and when you don't exactly have many friends left for one reason or another that may or may not involve being a huge asshole, the next best thing is captives. After your death, your soul was delivered to a place called Ever. Now, don't get all weird on us. This place ain't heaven or hell. Nobody's gonna greet you wearing a robe (though Griff could arrange that if you're into it). The Ever does contain dead humans, but not exclusively dead humans. It's home to all sorts of itty gritty bugaboos ready to jump your bones and give the remains to their pets, from dudes like Boogey to ghouls of ghastly proportions to bodacious baberette witches.

        You arrived in the Ever with only a slip of paper in your hand that read,
        "DATE OF DEATH: 08/09/2011" at the top, and your personal information filling the rest of the sheet. There's also "important document; do not lose or sell" written in very small, red letters at the bottom, but who really cares about discreet warnings? It probably doesn't matter, anyway. You're in a decent sized line with other likewise freshly deceased candidates, but not all of them are Griff's doing. He's not some sort of animalistic, murdering brute! Not entirely, at least. Once you were at the front of the line, a sassy woman chomping on a piece of bubblegum impatiently demanded your "ticket into Ever", snatched the paper you came here with, and shoved you through the gates along with tons of other confused and displaced humanoids, shuffling about like beffuddled cattle. Luckily for you, Griff grabbed you and the others and huddled you all together. You're apparently special because you've been specifically chosen to assist the mad man on his quest. He insists that your death was necessary because the only way to save your planet (filled with your family and loved ones) from its impending doom is by pullin' strings in Ever, and therefore it really wouldn't work if you were all gross and living. Death was inevitable, anyway, as Griff would say. But, hey, he's willing to be diplomatic. He might not know what that word means, but he'll still work for it if it'll mean shutting you up. He's arranged a deal: You'll help him out and he'll bring you back to Earth, body and all. Mind you, this is no small feat. He's really going out on a limb for you here. Lives are awfully costy. Call it indentured servitude or call it a service to your world. Either way, what a generous guy, no?

        I know it's all very confusing, but Griff is more than willing to answer your questions... Not everything is bad in the Ever. Didn't you hear about the powers you get? Before you know it, you'll be running around Ever like a pro, assassinating and thieving like any good friend of the infamous Boogeyman would. Besides, you only have to assassinate the Queen of Ever... No big deal.

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        Howdy, Average here. I'll be your adoring GM during this adventure. First, I'd like to say that this will be a shorter roleplay than the ones I usually try to pull off. We shan't be traveling from kingdom to kingdom and there won't be a long time line to follow up with. We've got one mission and although it's broken off into different segments, it'll be fairly brief, as far as roleplays go. In this roleplay, the story will be fed to you via me. I'll be the narrorator, the puppeteer of all NPCs, and the player of Griff. Essentially, you'll be nearly as blind as your character. You should just worry about interacting with one another and focus on character growth, as the rest is up to me! It'll be almost like playing a video game only with considerably more writing. Obviously, there's a shit ton of ambiguity in this introduction I've written and I assure you that it's entirely on purpose. I'm encouraging for you to truly immerse yourself into the world and try your character's skin on for size by doing so. Or, at least that's the goal. I'm not gonna throw answers and secrets out into the open in this roleplay. You'll only know as much as you snoop, hahaha.

        Something important to know about this is
        the PM system. When your character approaches an NPC or Griff in a private setting, if there's something substantial that person has to say at that point in time, I will respond to you in PMs and that interaction will be private between you and I. You can uncover knowledge and information this way. Afterward, you can choose to publish the encounter in the IC board, or keep it hidden from the public eye. This way, the information given isn't a collective one. What your character might believe to be true could be the complete opposite of what another does, and I find that whole concept rather quaint. It's a lot like the real world that way. Therefore, feel free to have your character ask as many questions as you like! Or, if you're not playing the talkative type, you know, just beat the info out of my NPCs. Seduce it outta them. Whatever.

        Furthermore, I do not believe in character "slots". It's practically begging for people to make hopelessly 1 dimmensional characters, and that's the opposite of what I'm aimin' for here. Make someone unique and believable. The roleplayers will be picked based on their character's potential input rather than a first-come-first-serve basis. As onetrickpony insists, this is a competition (everything is a competition). After you submit your character, onetrickpony and I will review it with one another and then give you constructive criticism before you will be accepted into the roleplay. By the way, onetrickpony isn't a GM. He just likes to read through character sheets and point out the flaws because he's a big ol' asshole (a helpful one, though).

        Oh, and I guess I'll just put it out there that we'll be experiencing some mature themes here. Griff'll probably curse like a sailor and there may or may not be nudity. I'm an art major so that pretty much means I just draw/sculpt naked people all day, so genitalia doesn't even make me bat an eye anymore. Hahahaha. Yahoooooo!


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        Okie dokie, here are some details I thought I'd share for helping you understand the nonsense in my brain. First of all, in this roleplay, when someone dies, their soul is transfered over to the Ever. Upon arriving, you can kind of tell that the person is only a soul because they're somewhat transparent in the bonier places of the human body (ie: knees, elbows, hands, ankles). As time progresses, they become more and more solid, almost like 'growing' a new, better body. Furthermore, when you pass over, you unlock abilities that your mortal body couldn't handle. It's a bit like unchildproofing an electrical outlet. It can be assumed that the reason Griff chose you is because of this power he saw within you, so when making a character, try to make your power both interesting and useful. It doesn't neccessarily HAVE to be combatitive, but that's more than likely why he chose you. I don't wanna hear junk like, "ummm... he can... shoot... fire... from his hands..." 'CAUSE WE ALL HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE. Feel free to do something else fire related, as long as it's not terribly bland. The sky's really the limit here. I'll help you brain storm if ya like. 8)

        Also, I might make a list of useful questions your characters would probably like to know. But I don't know. It depends on how devious I'm feelin'. >;}

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        Ooookay! Here's the skeleton. It's kiiiinda lengthy. I wish I could make them short, but I know from experience that I get to know my characters sooo much better after having filled out a long profile for them. I discover things I hadn't even thought to think of, and that helps later one when you're trying to play them. It's a pain in the ass, but it's worth it. And you'll feel all proud after you're done and I throw compliments atcha! B)

        Again, I'm more than happy to help with any of this. Just send me a PM and we can chataroo.

        Code: Select all
        [center][size=200](CHARACTER NAME GOES HERE)[/size][/center]
        [img](A picture- preferably not a photograph but a drawn piece of art. If you need help finding one, just ask. Align it however which way you want.)[/img]
        [font=algernian][size=120][u]BASICS[/u][/size][/font]
        [b]Name:[/b]
        [b]Nickname:[/b]
        [b]Age:[/b]
        [b]Gender:[/b]
        [b]Sexuality:[/b]
        [b]Race:[/b] 
        [b]Nationality:[/b] (You're allowed to be from all around the world)


        [font=algernian][size=120][u]APPEARANCE[/u][/size][/font]
        [b]Eyes:[/b]
        [b]Hair:[/b]
        [b]Height:[/b]
        [b]Weight:[/b]
        [b]Skin Tone:[/b]
        [b]Build:[/b]
        [b]Body Markings:[/b]
        [b]Voice:[/b]
        [b]Description:[/b] (at least a paragraph)


        [font=algernian][size=120][u]MENTALITY[/u][/size][/font]
        [b]Quirks:[/b]
        [b]Fears:[/b]
        [b]Likes:[/b]
        [b]Dislikes:[/b]
        [b]Personality:[/b] (at least a paragraph)

        [font=algernian][size=120][u]EQUIPMENT[/u][/size][/font]
        [b]Future Armor:[/b] (Talkin' 'bout the armor you plan on them getting once they get their super neato powers- IF ANY AT ALL) 
        [b]Casual Clothing:[/b]
        [b]Carried Items:[/b]
        [b]Main Weapon:[/b][list]  (Again, this is for what you plan on getting in the future. You'll probably want one, but it's not neccessary)
        [*][i]Name:[/i]
        [*][i]Type:[/i] (sword, bow, etc...)
        [*][i]Made of:[/i]
        [*][i]Length:[/i]
        [*][i]Weight:[/i]
        [*][i]Description/Info:[/i]
        [/list]

        [font=algernian][size=120][u]COMBATIVENESS[/u][/size][/font]
        [b]Skills:[/b] (at least two) [list]
        [*][i](useful attribute you were born with):[/i] (description of attribute)
        [*][i](useful good attribute you were born with):[/i] (description of attribute) [/list]

        [b]Weaknesses:[/b] (at least two) [list]
        [*][i](something you're lacking in regards to battle):[/i] (description of weakness)
        [*][i](another thing you're lacking in regards to battle):[/i] (description of weakness) [/list]

        [b]Powers:[/b] (Be descriptive here! This is what made Griff choose you out of every other human in the world. State what it is and how it works. At least a paragraph)


        [font=algernian][size=120][u]HISTORY[/u][/size][/font]
        [b][i]Martial Status:[/b]
        [b]Family:[/b]
        [b]History:[/b]
        [b]Where/How Griff Approached You:[/b] 
        [b]Opinions on the Mission:[/b] (How you feel about Griff killing you and forcing you into doing his dirty work for him, I suppose.)
        [b]Relations:[/b] (If you want any pre-existing relations between your character and someone else's. I definitely don't want most people knowing each other, so doing this only if you reeeeeeaaaaaaaaally wanna, ahaha.)

        [/list]




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        Ok, this looks like a lot, but it's really not. Hahaha. I swear I'm not a bossy bitch. The TOS and all that jazz obviously apply to this roleplay as well.

        c o m m u n i c a t i o n
        Like relationships, a healthy roleplay lasts through communication between the players and GMs. It’d be nice if you engaged in any conversation in the OOC thread, ranging from polite to batshit crazy. Remember that if you have any concerns, questions, or problems, I’m just a PM away. I’m always willing to help.

        m a n n e r s
        Never get sassy with another roleplayer in the OOC. Never ignore someone. We’re not beasts here, people! It’s so rude. The only reason I’d ever boot someone from a roleplay is if they instigate fights. And while I won’t tolerate aggression, don’t whine either! DO NOT BE OFFENDED BY WHAT ONE CHARACTER SAYS TO/ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER. I get this allllllll the time. When characters are fighting, it's to add spice, not to hurt your feelings. Also, even when the negative thoughts aren't vocalized, that's simply because they're thinking as the character, which is really what we're supposed to be shooting for. There's always that one person in the OOC who says something like "How mean!" and then talks about how their character is being so misunderstood. It's all apart of the roleplay.

        b e l i e v a b i l i t y
        This is somethin' that's been bothering me lately. If one character thinks something, the other character involved DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IT WAS THAT THEY WERE THINKING. Period. Unless it's written that they made a facial expression or gesture to convey this thought, I hereby forbid your character from commenting or reacting based on a hidden thought.
          example of unacceptable behavior:
            -She approached the man with a coy grin. "Hello, mister." she cooed as she noted how handsome he looked in his dapper new suit.
            -He smiled at her before grabbing her hand and placing gentle kiss on her knuckles, but on the inside all he could think was, "Dear god, does this woman ever shower?"
            -When he kissed her knuckle, she reeled back from his touch. She could just tell that he was lying to her! He was ugly anyway!
          example of acceptable behavior:
            -She approached the man with a coy grin. "Hello, mister." she cooed as she noted how handsome he looked in his dapper new suit.
            -He smiled at her before grabbing her hand and placing gentle kiss on her knuckles, but on the inside all he could think was, "Dear god, does this woman ever shower?"
            -A blush crept onto her face. A real kiss! He must fancy her quite a bit. Oh, heavens! What a hunk!
        Alright, so maybe that's not actually acceptable at all, seeing as how they're poorly written one liners... but you get the point.


        s u b m i t t i n g
        If you're interested or in the process of making a character, post in the OOC to let us know to look out for ya'! Post your WIPs , however, in the tab or through PMs, not in the OOC. Don't want to clutter up the board, now do we? If you have any questions or concerns about the skeleton, just ask away and I'll be glad to answer. You can submit the character to the tab, but if you're still working on it, make the character synopsis "WIP". Once you're finished with your character, change it to whatever you damn well like. Also, please try to upload that nice little icon for your character. If you're not sure how to make a 100x100 icon, I can definitely help. After submitting, it won't be long before we're PMing you with constructive criticism and/or praise. :)

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 11 authors

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Character Portrait: Griff
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The impatient, for lack of a better word, man sighed heavily into the crook of his own impossibly pale palm as he leaned across a brick building and stared agitatedly into the crowd of bustling corpses. "For fuck's sake, how long is it going to take these kids to pass through the rift?" he grumbled, an unpleasant scowl painted across his angular face. He didn't expect Carl, who'd been waiting this out with him for a while now, to respond, yet it didn't stop him from babbling anyway. The blokes he'd murdered just last night had still yet to emerge into Ever and it was currently well into the next morning, the second moon peaking far into the ethereal sky and perching right above the other one by now. Man, he despised a laggy rift. His hand darted from his chin to run through his hair. It wasn't that he was tired in the physical sense, as he didn't sleep, but that he was sick of standing in the same place for so long. He was a restless creature, always needing to do something. Just as he was beginning to think that perhaps it would suit him better to go get a pint, forget about the humans he'd offed last night, and start again new with a more punctual batch, a familiar glimmer (which might have been peculiar to any newcomer of Ever) rippled in the distance at the end of the line. Griff sprung off of the wall with a sharp intake of breath and trudged closer to the gate, shoving past dazed humans in his excited haste.

There, way in the back, a figure flickered into sight. Weathered, dark skin and a hulking mass pattered into visibility until it was clear that the man was none other than Duane. "Yes!" Griff called, slamming his fist into his opened palm before jogging back to Carl. "Our initiates have just arrived, buddy boy. Try to calm 'em if you can. I don't think all of 'em are gonna be too happy to see me." he said, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck. He turned back around real quick to see the other new recruits appearing and clapped his hands together, a sloppy, crooked grin smeared across his stubbly jaw. It was hard to tell if he was acting like a kooky old man or an enthusiastic child, but whichever it was, it didn't suit his tough-guy exterior. As each one of the recruits got passed the gate, Griff would grab them by their wrist and drag them over to where Carl stood, for the most part ignoring their "Huh?"s an "Where am I?"s. Naturally, their thinking processes would be stunted for at least five minutes after arriving- something that was convenient for having complacent newcomers in Ever. The guides who ushered groups of them had a much easier job herding brain dead humans, that was for sure.

Once they were all collected and huddled together, he gave a friendly (in his sense, mind you) close-lipped smile. "So, um, what's hangin'?" he asked, shoving his hands in his pocket and staring eagerly at the group. After a moment of short lived silence, he shook his head and realized that he couldn't expect much of an answer. After all, to them, it'd been only a couple minutes since he'd been taking their lives, despite the fact that he'd been waiting for literally hours. In any case, he really needed to work on this 'leader' thing, didn't he? He racked his head for something cool and flashy to say, but couldn't come up with anything substantial, so instead pulled out a pack of cigarettes and offered them to the group. "Smoke? he offered, handing the box to the person directly to his left with the expectation of them passing it along the line and back to him. "Right, right, I guess I promised an explanation. OK, well, my name is Griff in case you don't remember, and you'll be working for me for a hopefully short but truthfully indefinite period of time."

You're currently in Ever. Don't worry, you're not in hell or whatever. Heh, I guess the best way I can describe it is that Ever is kinda like the real world- or one of the real worlds, really- and Earth is sorta like a test drive. A day care for the subpar species, in a way. No offense. It's just, if you'd been born in Ever, imagine how terrible that'd be. I mean, you lot aren't even born with a collective knowledge to draw from. Sooo, you're placed on Earth to build up a set of skills and uses before you're shipped off to this dreary piece of shit."
he drawled. It was strange explaining such fundamental facts to them, and he was somewhat afraid that he'd forgotten to touch up on important information. His gaze swept over the landscape. It was dim and chilly, and all of the buildings around sported Gothic architecture and a good deal of weathering. They were off in a corner of the plaza in which all the new humans shuffled about.

"Oh!" he piped, rubbing his chin, "and, for the record, you are dead." He nodded as if to emphasize the point. "As in I did kill you. Sorry about that, I guess. Ok, ok, let me make this clearer. I'm on a mission to save Earth. The Queen of Ever is planning on destroying it, and that doesn't sit well with me. You're going to help me save it and I'll give you your life back. If you want it back. Whatever." he said whilst rubbing the crust away from his dark eyes and blinking a couple times. The entire time he'd been talking, he'd successfully avoided making any eye contact like he was trying to concentrate on the topic at hand and couldn't afford distractions. You could see him scanning through his mind to see if he'd forgotten something before he finally made a face that said he was mildly proud of himself. He finally took a look at the shoddy group of guys and gals and sniffed. "Any, uh... Any questions? Sorry if I didn't explain anything too well. Why doesn't everyone introduce themselves and you can ask anything you need after that, huh?" he piped, looking far too pleased than he should be. Humans were oh-so-very exciting.

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Mal dragged in a breath, stumbling slightly into the person in front of her. For a moment she stared about, eyes wild and chest heaving, trying to comprehend the sudden change of scene. One moment she’d been kneeling on the asphalt, about to… Well, that wasn’t really important right now. What was important was what she could now see was a long, winding line of slowly shuffling people before her. An orderly queue, how utterly Canadian. She could work with that. With a shrug of her shoulders and a crook of her eyebrow, the customary mask of relaxed, vaguely amused apathy backlit by just the tiniest spark of fiery arrogance faded in over the surprise. She raised a hand, delicately flicking the gentleman before her in the back of the ear.

“Hey! What the fuck is this, huh? Did someone roofie my drink or something?” The man yelped and turned, clapping a hand over his ear. “Why would you do that?” He demanded. Mal shrugged, twirling a stray lock from her ponytail. “Just answer the question, dorkwad. I don’t get any more patient when I’m left in the dark.” Getting over his initial annoyance, the man shook his head, despondency bleeding into his words. “I don’t know. I was driving home from work and then there was this noise… I don’t know.” Mal yawned, stepping neatly past him and walking the length of the line, ignoring the disgruntled stares.

After a few moments an impressive wrought iron gate appeared. Mal paused a moment, reaching into one of her pockets and retrieving a slightly bent joint. There came the flick of a lighter, and the flicker of a flame, and Mal cupped one elbow in her hand, surveying the vista before her with the detachment of a general surveying his troops. “Bit presumptuous, ain’t it?” She said aside to one of the people in the line. The women half raised her hands in a universally recognized gesture of helplessness. Mal took another drag from the joint and stepped forward, elbowing her way to the front of the line. The girl at the gate had the same glazed, frustrated look of any public service worker. “Ticket into Ever,” The lady drawled, and Mal shoved the paper at her without another glance. Expelled from the gate and the crowd, and it was at this point that the city before Mal truly came into view.

“Woah,” Mal said, a grin tugging at her lips, “This is fuckin’ sick.” It looked like Tim Burton had barfed all over a set for Lord of the Rings. Crazy, angular architecture, whimsical spires, and grotesques lining the parapets. Dark, old worn stone. Stone older than you, and your father, and your father’s father and so on. Mal took another contemplative puff, feeling the familiar warmth bubbling up in her chest. She licked her fingers, carefully putting the cherried end out. “I don’t know what in holy hell this is, but I am digging it so far…” She murmured, gaze flicking over the groups of milling people before it came to a screeching halt.

It was him. The man from the concert. Mal frowned, eyes narrowing. Why was he here? He moved quickly, and without a word of explanation began to drag her towards a motley crew of people. Mal went willingly enough, though her lip curled slightly at someone moving her about so forcefully. But this wasn’t the time to make a scene. She knew jack shit about basically everything right now, and this guy, whoever the hell he was, seemed to have a better clue than her. So the blond girl allowed herself to be shepherded to the circle. She said nothing, simply considering those who stood before her. Motley didn’t even begin to cover it. None of these people looked like they had a damn thing in common.

There was an older man, tall and leathery, but tough. She could see that in the steady, assured stance. A lady with curly red hair and funky looking eyes. What the hell was the overarching theme here? There was a tan-skinned, dark haired girl with staring blue eyes and some scars. Mal’s curiosity blipped. She had a thing for scars, to her they were stories, summed up and transcribed on flesh. She made a mental note to ask her about them later. Assuming, of course, that she didn’t decide to ditch these folks long before then. Next was a man, quite tall and pale of skin. Dark hair and dark eyes. This one seemed more corporeal than the others, his hands were opaque, as opposed to the slight translucence of the first two girls and guy.

Mal glanced at her own palms, cracking knuckles that were semi-transparent. Freaky-deaky. Her stare moved on, landing on each person in the circling briefly before skittering away. They all held different variations of bemusement on their faces, so at least she wasn’t the only one not in on the joke. Rockabilly guy, Griff, her drowsy memory called out, launched into a little spiel, dragging Mal’s eyes away from an interesting tattoo on the arm of a punkish looking fellow. It was probably an important speech, but really, to Mal it was just: “Blah blah blah, Ever, blah blah, subpar species, blah blah blah blah, dead.”

So he’d killed her, huh? Just like that, snuffed out the like a fuckin’ candle in the wind. Mal searched deep within herself and came to the earthshaking conclusion that she really didn’t give a rat’s ass. She chewed meditatively on a nail, before raising a hand. “Hey, I’m Mal and I do have a question. Are you one of those creepy fucks that gets off on killing girls in the middle of sex? Cause you might want to warn a chick next time you’re gonna try it. Only fair to give them a head start running.” Missive delivered, she rocked back on her heels and dug out the iPod in her pocket. It beeped sadly in her hand and promptly died. Mal swore quietly, twirling one of the earbuds between her fingers. Her patience was starting to wane.

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The mass of bodies that convulsed around her didn't faze M at all. She sifted through the unfamiliar faces of the newly deceased and glanced around for Griff. He was pretty easy to spot in a crowd like this, then again he did blend in at the same time. The new arrivals should be there by now, she didn't care for Griff's speeches at all, and he had already given her an idea of what was happening. Obviously these people weren't just people he had killed without purpose, these people weren't exactly special, but they weren't ordinary at the same time. M could tell, Griff had something special in mind. He had mentioned something about a mission vaguely, she didn't care about details right now. She would just get him to tell her later, or when he explained to the others in full. If he didn't, she'd just improvise, a lot.

As she approached them, she studied all the other people that had arrived. She didn't look very long. She was still a good twenty feet away, but she had sharp eye sight when it came to scoping people out. She knew they were the right ones. Even though they fit well with the semi-translucent crowd, she knew that there was something different about them. That, and Griff was standing quite close to them, not too far off. She found it strangely comforting to have him close by, but that meant nothing other than knowing where her place was. Or at least pretending to know. She walked slowly towards them, even she was able to blend into the giant mish-mash of dead people. But her skin had a healthy glow to it, and her eyes didn't have the faint glaze that most of them did. Like they had been hypnotized or something.

The people that shuffled in every which way seemed disorganized, but that wasn't a problem for M. She gave them no sympathy, but she pitied these creatures deeply. She couldn't say that her situation was any better, but at least she could think clearly. At least she had a chance, a sliver of hope as thin as a moon at the last part of its cycle. She was five feet away from Griff and the new arrivals, but they wouldn't notice her yet. The sea of bodies wavered, and she was well concealed behind a line containing a large, hefty middle-aged Caucasian man. He seemed worse than everyone around him.

His face was pasty white, and his blue eyes were hazy like all the rest of the people. His hands were huge and meaty, and his waist was bigger than you would have expected. M didn't glance his way, but she did look around herself for a moment, analyzing all of the people's expressions. She didn't usually think of them as people. They were too much like zombies to be people. All of them, their faces were masks of confusion and fright. Each one of them had questions in their eyes, but one little girl stood out in particular to M. Her hand was clasped in a young woman's own hand, her mother most likely. M's gaze didn't stay on them for long, but M saw something in the little girl's eyes that made her wonder. Most of the time, a freshly deceased human's expression would be unreadable, save for the customary confusion and despair.

But this little girl had something more in her gaze. M could feel it burning in that tiny girl's eyes, something beneath those wide, doleful brown eyes that weren't unlike M's own in its chocolaty color. The small child seemed to shrink, and M saw her tiny hands whiten as she clasped the woman's hand even tighter. Her eyes got wider, and her lips were pressed into a firm, hard line. She was dressed rather oddly. A mixture of rags, really. A shirt that looked to be at least twice her size covered most of her tiny body was tied around her waist with a piece of dirty string. Her legs were not covered, and as a result she was shivering. M could see her bones sticking through the thin skin that was stretched across them. The little girl's face was gaunt and thin, and there was a haunted look in her eyes. But there was also a gleam that told M something, and she was surprised.

I don't need to be a mind reader to know what that little girl is thinking... M pitied this child. She could feel no sympathy, but she could pity that young girl. Dying at an early age like that and being sent down to Ever. M would have rather burned than be sent to Ever at that age. She's thinking, "Maybe... Just maybe this is a dream. Maybe I'll wake up and everything will be back to normal. Maybe this is just my imagination." M's facial expression stayed blank, and she continued to stare at the little girl, mesmerized for a while. She pulled herself together quickly, and looked away. She took slow steps towards Griff, trying to shake the mental image of the girl from her mind. That dead girl looked like a living skeleton. Bad choice of words... M thought to herself, snorting inwardly as she continued to approach the group as slowly as she pleased.

When she reached Griff's side, she stayed silent. Nobody would notice her yet, they would think that she was a stray person, having fallen out of line or something like that. Her left hand slid towards her right wrist, and she began to circle it absentmindedly, not even noticing what she was doing at the moment. But a hint of annoyance crept into her expression as she studied the new arrivals. They looked good for being dead, they were all semi-transparent, and that was what most of them looked like. But this was an odd group, to be sure. She didn't move from Griff's side, and her silence would most likely lead them to assume that she was cold to everyone in this way. She didn't speak, and she jolly well didn't have to anyway.

The only person besides Griff that she even slightly recognized would have been Carl. Where she had seen him before she could not figure out. She didn't let this show, and her gaze only flicked towards him once as she held her tongue, waiting to tell him the bad news. He had sent her on an errand that he knew she wouldn't enjoy, and she had ended up failing him in a way, unfortunately. She was curious as to know what he would try to do when she told him what he wanted to know. She was constantly watching everyone. And just in case... She was extra CAREFULLY watching Griff. She had learned from experience that she should never let her guard down when it came to Griff.

She felt a sharp pain on her wrist, and saw that she had begun to claw at her wrist without noticing. Her sharp nail couldn't slice through the cloth, but it would leave a few red marks on her skin, she knew this. She let her arms fall to her sides, and figured that his speech was finally over, though more questions were to follow. It was unfortunate that he would possibly be in a bad mood after this. But she wasn't sure whether he had sent her on a stupid useless errand, or he truly didn't know the information she was about to tell him.

She had been to the warehouse. Or what was left of the warehouse that is. It was a large building that was completely destroyed, and the area around it didn't look too swell itself. It sent chills up her spine, but she had approached it anyway. She had to check something very quickly, and then zip back to Griff's side once more, unfortunately.

The shingles of the warehouse had fallen off, and were littered here and there on the dead, grey, limp grass that rustled coarsely beneath her feet. A single tree with spindly, curving branches was nearly nothing but a gnarled tree trunk that came up out of the ground. Wrinkle after wrinkle, and gnarled knots disfigured the tiny, pitiful little tree. It looked as though it had never had a drop of water in its life. There was nothing that looked alive here, nothing at all.

There was a single door that entered into the warehouse, it was nearly rusted shut, and she wrenched it open with a flick of her wrist. She didn't have to look around the warehouse to know that there was no one in it. Usually there were people in it, that she knew for sure. She had even met a few of them here and there when she'd been with Griff. She had slammed the door purposefully and and raced down the dirt covered path once more.

The moon's dim light provided enough vision for her to run down the path, but she knew this path so well she coudl have done it in her sleep. Every curve, turn and twist had been memorized by M, and she used the information easily enough... But she was distracted tonight. Where had all those people gone? It irritated her that she would have to tell Griff that there was no one there.

There were often secrets, whispered things going on in the warehouse. She knew most of the secrets, and had met a lot of the people, but... Griff usually told her that shit, everyone had things they kept in the dark though, and she was sure Griff had a lot of that going on, too. Oh well.

But I was able to leave, and serve Griff instead. The thought of Griff snapped her out of her stupor, and she remembered what she was supposed to tell him. She leaned towards him, her body's weight being held by the tips of her toes as her mouth neared his ear, and her voice carried just loud enough for him to hear, but he would have to strain to hear the one word that would sum it all up. But M had come back with no one already, which would also be another clue to her discovery.

"Nothing." That one word meant many things. There was nothing left in the warehouse. There was nothing there, at all. She let her weight fall back, and she took a step away from Griff. A biting, chilly wind hit her, and it breezed past playfully, tangling her soft strands of black hair. She ignored the wind, and waited. There was nothing else she needed to say. Her eyes closed for a moment, and she let herself enjoy the wind that sliced across her face like the serrated edge of a knife. But it felt good, she didn't usually get cold anymore. Her hand went up, and she grasped a piece of dark hair and tugged it, hard. It was her own hair that she liked to pull out most of the time. She'd braid it into a rope and keep it in her pocket... T'was an odd thing to do, but when she had nothing else to do, she would do that.

Her other hand slipped into her coat pocket to finger the edge of a worn black journal. Her heart skipped a beat as she touched the frayed papery edge. She pulled her hand out of her pocket again, and remained motionless. Like a statue. She didn't see the need to introduce herself, but her facial expression showed extreme distaste and annoyance towards everyone, including Griff. She was an unfriendly person, she wasn't a social butterfly. She was anything but a social butterfly.

And her body language definitely showed that. Her back was straight as a wooden board, her legs as stiff as poles, and her arms were wrapped around each other. She tightened them against her chest, and her small frame looked ridged, like glass. Her face was softer, but her deep brown eyes were not like melting chocolate. They were more like the hard, brown stone of the earth, like frozen mud. She wasn't friendly, and she would never be. In fact, she didn't want to be friendly. EVER. They'd have to deal with her silence, she was sure that they could take up the challenge easily enough.

Such an odd looking group. She thought to herself, it was true, they were a rather interesting group. Griff had probably hand picked them all, she didn't really care, though, like most things she was passive about this was just one of the many. Add it to the ten mile long list of things she didn't care about. She hadn't cared about any of the other crew members he had once had either. She'd been here long enough to know that it wasn't wise to care, because even in death people get left behind, and M sure as hell wasn't going to be that person.

Guess I'll be working with them anyway. She glared icily around the circle, her lips curling into a slow smirk. Her posture became even stiffer than before, but her knees were still slightly bent, and her eyes were gleaming slits. She was watching Griff from the corner of her eye. She was on his left side, which means she would have to watch his left hand more than anything else. She kept waiting for the blow that could very well happen, you really never knew.

The glare was gone, just like that. She gave the group one more dirty look that clearly stated, 'you-don't-mess-with-me-I-won't-mess-with-you', and then she turned for a moment, staring out into the massive wave of people that they were situated in. The slow half smile that crept across her face made her look like a maniac. It caused her eyes to widen slightly, and it showed her two canines, which were sharper than usual. I'm not talking vampire sharp, but they were sharp, all the same. She stopped tugging on the strand of her own hair and let her hand fall back to her side. She took a step back from the group and let her gaze wander, but she could still see everything from the corners of her eyes, she didn't let anyone leave her sight, especially Griff.

Fuck being nice and giving them a warm welcome. Death was death, they would have to deal with it anyway. She found the people walking around them more interesting than the group of people Griff had just killed. Turning her head, she saw that her gaze had alighted on the little girl again. I can't just think of her as "little girl"... M scolded herself as she attempted to come up with a name that would work. Her stance suggested that she was slightly more comfortable, but her body never stopped being tense, waiting for a blow. Candice. M thought absently as she continued to gaze at the little girl. Yeah. That's a good name, I'll call her Candice. While she had thought of the name, M saw that Candice had looked up at her, and was returning her stare with one of her own. M felt a pang of an emotion she couldn't place, and tilted her head to the side, just the tiniest fraction of a millimeter. Candice did nothing, she continued to stare at M.

There was something in her eyes yet again that made M think that Candice was different, but she didn't have time to figure it out. Candice was herded with her mother to a different line, and M lost sight of her once more. M felt dazed, but she turned back towards the group and put on her poker face. But it wasn't perfect, like usual. Her jaw had slackened, and her eyes were still sharp, but less biting. She looked more depressed and angry rather than hateful now. But her soft lips were still tightened into a thin line.

M felt slightly claustrophobic at the moment. The crowd was pressing in, and she could hear the murmurs and the whispers of the entire clot of people. There were groans and moans, and complaints about how cold it was. Then there was the crying, the screaming, and the pleading. Most of the time they really didn't know what they were crying about, or what they were pleading for. It was all immaterial here. That was why M didn't talk. What was the point of talking without a purpose? At least that was the way M saw it.

M smelled the acrid stench of smoke, and wrinkled her nose for a moment. She saw that some people were smoking in the area, and stiffened even more. If she moved back another inch her back would bend and she would snap in half.

God damn Griff. Fuck this, why don't you just hurry up. She thought bitterly to herself, chewing the inside of her cheek to bits. She grimaced inwardly and cursed silently.

Why doesn't he just do something already so I can get out of here?

Only god knows why Griff was putting it off, and he very well couldn't tell M right now.

'Cuz he was in heaven, and where was she?

She was in bloody fucking hell.

Currently known as...

You guessed it, Ever.

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Waking up in a completely different place from where you started is always a little disorienting. When Jessie Shepard awoke however, it wasn’t the change of scenery, the fog temporarily settled into her mind, or the unfamiliar people leading her along that she found so peculiar. Perhaps it was because the muddled mind made her so complacent, but Jessie found herself too busy marveling at the quiet of her own brain to question much of anything that was going on around her. In fact, she hardly noticed the unnatural qualities of the land at all.

Running her fingers through her midnight-colored hair, Jessie held the ticket in her hand loosely, just barely registering its existence. Her usually racing mind was stilled to an unparalleled level. She wasn’t angry, or afraid, or guilt-ridden. She merely followed the flow of the crowd, enjoying this numbness, whatever it was, doing whatever she could to hang onto it. She suppressed the questions that were starting to form in her brain, or the worrisome suspicion she had relapsed into hallucinations again. She was more than happy to ride the wave of… whatever this was. It wasn’t until a sharp looking woman spoke that the cushion around her brain was ripped to pieces.

“Ticket,” she demanded, holding out her hand. Jessie blinked, finally taking a moment to look around her. She had no idea where she was.

“W-what…?” she asked stupidly, but held out her hand with the paper automatically. Her legs moved on her own, leading her through the gate, and it was then she saw the truth of what was in front of her. The jagged, exaggerated landscape that looked nothing like Philadelphia, the only place she’d ever known and the place she was pretty sure she’d been not an hour ago. She’d gone… to the drug store. Right, Connor and James were sick! Then… then what? Had she seen something that made her relapse? Was she back at the hospital, having this crazy dream?

It was Griff’s face that reminded her. Just outside the gate, a man grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her over to a group of several others. It took a second to think through the last remnants of her confusion, but by the time he’d let her go she remembered. He’d fucking cornered her. He’d blabbered on about some crazy-ass shit in a dark alleyway, real sketchy, and then grabbed her and then she was here. She looked around at the people around her, noting a woman who looked like she shouldn’t be able to stand up straight her chest was so huge and a guy who reminded her all too well of the punk-ass fuck ups in her neighborhood, harmless but a waste of space as they abandoned the hell hole they were in for drug induced happiness. She could recognize his type from a mile away. Then there was an old dude who looked way out of place with the rest of them, and a tiny Asian girl who gave off a seriously messed up aura. She had no idea what she could possibly have in common with these people that would bring them all together.

After Griff finished going on and on about what sounded to Jessie like a bad plot for a comic book, the blonde with the busted lip spoke. She was still trying to wrap her head around the fact that she was honestly, legitimately dead, and this bitch was talking about sex? Jessie shook her head, putting a hand to her face as she tried to work out the thoughts that were now racing through her mind again. The never ending wave of crippling guilt and anger that had for one, beautiful moment dissipated was coming back to her. She had a family that needed her back on Earth. She didn’t have time for this bullshit. She had a job and a mother who was getting older; she couldn’t be dead right now. She was finally starting to get back on her feet.

But… if the world was really going to be destroyed…

“Uh,” Jessie piped up, removing her hand from her face to look up at Griff. And, she noticed, another guy who fit in with the rest of them even less than the old dude. At least he wasn’t see-through. Her gaze flickered between the two for a moment before settling on the Greaser. The left corner of her lips twitched. “Not to get in the middle of whatever the fuck you and blondie have going on, but that was the shittiest explanation for anything I’ve ever heard. What the hell is a Queen of Ever? Is she a god? How’s she gonna destroy Earth? Why? Oh, and why the fuck didn’t you just ask people who were already dead to help you? Since we’re so sub-fucking-par.” Her ice-blue eyes narrowed, her tone never suggesting more than irritation, but her entire demeanor saying she wanted to smash his face in. Now that she had tasted silence, it was even harder to go back to constant thoughts.

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Being a man of a pragmatic upbringing and a youth which was spent alternately crossing the Texas plains in search of work and diving into and out of burning buildings wearing nothing but a burlap coat, Duane Cooper was surprised - but pleased - that he had managed to die on something even remotely resembling his own terms.

Sure, it was completely unexpected - that greaser boy, pale as a corpse, appearing seemingly out of thin air and striding over to Duane like he owned the place - but it was at home (well, one flight of stairs from home), it was quick and it didn't hurt much. He'd always thought he would meet his end one of two ways; the preferred way being laid out in bed, rattling his last breath as he stared out the bedroom window at the sun slowly creeping into the sky over the plains and mountains, the crow of a bird circling somewhere overhead, quiet and peaceful like. The other method, the one he would prefer not to have lived out but nearly did on multiple occasions, would be in a building collapse when his luck finally ran out and everything - not just two ceiling beams - came crashing down on him, trapping him until his suit singed through and he burned to ash in a godforsaken basement somewhere.

No, Griff's timely intervention was neither of these things. It was not overly pleasant, but it hadn't been the building. And Duane couldn't complain.

However, he didn't expect it to be so simple. Death wasn't a drawn out affair like it had been in his imagination, fueled by the many TV shows and comics he'd been raised on as a kid and the movies he had watched and cherished well into his adulthood and early retirement. It was more like... Fainting. Or being knocked out. You blacked out for a little while and the next thing you knew you were awake again; usually in a strange place surrounded by people you don't know or remember, usually surrounded by fog, aching all over.

In short, death and transportation to the Ever was a lot like a bar fight. Duane looked about him, watching his fellow shuffling masses. A lot of them were much older folk than him, some of them were younger. Not too many of them looked to have died of violence. Still, he was a bit disoriented by just how many of them there were. Duane had no idea that this many people were on the world, let alone how many of them died every single day. Compared to them, he was just another number. He started breathing a little bit harder. Once he realized he was starting to get a little bit frayed in the nerves, one hand immediately slid over to the left pocket of his jean jacket and removed a pack of Lucky Strikes and his trusted Bic lighter. He flicked the top open and wrapped his lips around one of those wondrous Virginia Killin' Sticks, then popped the top shut again and lifted the lighter in a practiced maneuver, carefully gripped between the fingertips of his left hand. He flicked once, twice, three times - and finally the fire stayed, and the cigarette lit. He sucked in a slow breath, felt the smoke wrap and curl down his throat and into his lungs, closed his eyes. Then slowly breathed out through his nose.

His sinuses burnt as smoke filled them, the scent of tobacco familiar but the texture of the smoke itself revealing bad memories and even worse feelings of his wounded nerve endings flaring up. He quickly, impulsively, coughed as the rest of the smoke filtered through his nose, expelling the source but leaving the lingering pain behind for a few moments. He coughed, nearly doubled over as the burning in his nose spread slowly across his face, down his spine, across his body -

"Ticket to Ever."

He looked up. A receptionist's desk had appeared before him in lieu of the line of common folk ahead, headed up by a very disinterested-looking receptionist. She stared at him now with a glazed look of complete and total indifference. Duane assumed she must be from the city. Where-ever the city was around here anyways.

"Should be right 'round here somewhere..." Duane sounded confused, discarding a piece of paper that had been in his off-hand to search for the ticket in the pockets of his coat.

"Sir-"

"Naw, ma'am, ah know ah got a ticket 'round here somewhere." Dean refused to give up, still searching every pocket in desperation for his ticket into the hereafter.

"Sir -"

"Naw, I'm close, miss. Ah know it."

"Sir, you just dropped it."

Something in her voice made Duane freeze and look very stupid for a second. The look that the desk-clerk was giving him was equivalent to the look that a chef at a Michelin Star-ranked restaurant gives a mangy rat scrabbling across the kitchen floor. Complete and utter disdain flowed from clerk to cowboy as Duane sheepishly bent down, retrieved the crumpled paper and handed it to the clerk, who snatched it, gave him an annoyed look and said, "Welcome to Ever."

Just as he was about to walk past those (not so) Pearly Gates, a hand reached out and snagged him. Once they'd been brought to a stop, Duane got a look at his abductor - Griff. The same guy who'd killed him in the bar. "Well, mister," Duane said simply, lowering his hands to his side, "fancy seeing you again." He noticed a few others milling around - a redheaded girl, an older blonde, a spooky-looking man in clothes way out of his time, and - eventually - a tiny Asian girl. If that girl wasn't creepy, then Duane didn't know what creepy was. His brother and his oldest son had once gone to see a movie a few years ago, and Duane groped for the name of it, hoping, praying, and suddenly it appeared before him. The night they came home, Duane's brother had called to him and spoken at length about how creepy and fucked-up this one movie was.

This girl sounded a lot like the one his brother had described to him that night. The girl from The Grudge, or whatever it was.

Griff spent some time speaking, and meanwhile he noticed the girl flinching from the cigarette smoke filling up the air. In what he assumed was a gesture of politeness, Duane took his cigarette out and stamped it on the ground, grinding the half-smoked butt with the heel of his suede boots. Eventually, Griff opened up the floor for questions. Duane intentionally stayed quiet, letting everyone else go first - and boy, did they take the opportunity. Duane decided to turn towards the most aggressive one - he didn't know her name - and sigh. "Ma'am," he drawled softly, "Much as I 'preciate what you're saying, I have to admit that this is, after all, the man that stuck somethin' very sharp through the back of y'all's head and killed you in a matter of seconds, so can we try to refrain from insultin' him? Just to save our own necks for a while longer, see?" The cowboy slowly, carefully crossed his arms and shrugged, turning back to face Griff. "Ah got nothin; 'sides saying that if yore plannin' to hit that girl there -" he gestured towards M, having noticed the way she seemed to flinch around Griff - "Ah would suggest either tellin' me to walk away or turn my back so I'm not inclined to bust you one right here and now."

Having spoken his piece, Duane stepped back into the fold of the group, taking another Lucky Strike from his pack and storing it (softly, ever so softly) behind his right ear.

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Two calloused hands instinctively shot in front of him as he stumbled forward, trying to catch anything to keep him from smashing his goddamn nose across the euphoric asphalt. It didn't need to be any more crooked than it already was. When Ollie finally stood straight—huffing and snorting like he'd been forced into a mandatory marathon for his life—he plaintively smoothed his trembling fingers across the front of his leather jacket. An unexplainable desire to break something possessed Ollie. He retreated a few steps, bloodshot eyes scanning the nearby desk for anything he could smash against that swanky hootch’s fucking skull. He wouldn't regret it later, anyway. Cursing colourfully, the Frenchman slammed the side of his fist into the nearest wall. The bruises on his scarred knuckles were lilies of the metaphorical, dangerous Nile, blooming in black and blue and always promising clacking crocodile teeth. He hung his head low, like insect-infested clothespins on a sagging line, and clenched his jaw hard. Ollie ground his teeth against their adjacent cousins, until it felt like his pearly whites were sanding his chompers to the fleshy gums.

A few seconds ago, the Frenchman had been draped across his dented motorcycle, slinging his gangly arms through the kick pedal to keep himself from feeling like the asphalt was sucking his legs through the ground. Surrounded by storm pipes, curved and twisted like the intestines of giant, rusty creatures in desperate need of a thirty day, fix-you-right-up detox cleanse. It reflected Ollie, just fine. He'd been surrounded by muddy puddles littered with junky needles and rat feces—the perfect stew, if you wanted to off yourself slow and painfully. And now, he had no fucking clue where he was. The silty moonlight didn't penetrate the shadows. It just cast translucent worms across the orderly line of folks huddled in front of the isolated desk, waddling inch by inch like goddamn ducklings. Fingering his split lip with the pad of his thumb, Ollie flicked his front teeth before teetering closer to the crowd. Ollie bullied his way through the crowd, invoking loud harrumphs and surprised curses, until he finally reached the head of the crowd. His blood-encrusted fingers found the back of some beady-eyed, fat-lipped bugger's skull and drove it harshly into the counters freshly Windex'd window.

Thousands of pristine glass shards showered down onto the asphalt, only several marred by bright red blood. The clinking sounds that resulted from their ultimate contact with the floor echoed in the confined space. His chest rose and fell erratically even as the knuckles grasping tightly onto the edge of the counter turned white with lack of blood. Black hair, damp with sweat, hung limply in front of an abnormally pale face as his body shook with badly suppressed tension. The man's mouth gaped open like a fish, ticket fluttering from his sausage fingers. Both eyes were squeezed tightly shut. When he slowly edged them open, the first thing that came into his vision were hundreds of images of his own bedraggled appearance reflecting in the shards lying dejectedly on the floor before him. Again, Ollie slammed his fist against the counter, “Where the fuck am I, eh? Fuckin' putz.” The oafish woman behind the desk was fiddling with a phone, popping obtrusively large gum-bumbles while slapping down intricately designed tickets. Wobbling chins gawked at him. Instead of answering his friggin' question, she leaned precariously over and snatched the bunny-eared ticket from his pocket, followed by a stuffy-nosed nasal, “Ticket to Ever; next.”

The breath he hadn't even known he had been holding released in a sharp hiss. A balloon releasing it's pressure, wilting within itself in a heap of wrinkly rubber. A raw thump of his poisoned heart brought him back to the matter at hand. Ollie immediately patted down his chest, feverishly searching until his fingers closed around a crumbled cigarette box—it was surprising enough to find one soggy smoke, bent awkwardly. Good enough. He wasn't high. He wasn't dreaming. He wasn't stumbling through empty doorways looking for his shitty apartment, either. Flipping the mutilated thing to the corner of his bloody mouth, Ollie fished a semi-functional lighter from his pocket and cupped the device between his swollen fingers, flicking the metal clip until the cigarette blushed ember. He lifted his head to eye the whispering crowd coolly, consciously suckling all the nicotine his lungs could muster holding. “Lively bunch you'se are,” He said, exhaling a cloud of white smoke.

Thin, blue veins stuck out from the tops of his hands and the crook of his elbows. They weren't threaded like dead tree roots, anymore. It was quick, like lightning cracking against a tree trunk: it hit him. Shifting on the balls of his feet, Ollie was gonna' take a few steps towards the woman who seemed just as antsy to figure out where she was until cold, tapered fingers wound themselves across his wrist. He was tired. God, he was so fucking tired. His skull was splitting open. There was no exaggeration, at all. His mouth was full of cotton wool, his lips cracked and his heart was fluttering like a hummingbird in a cage. A hummingbird on copious amounts of steroids, drilling tawdry anger through his veins. Some stupid bastard had plucked his long fingers through his brain (Ponyboy from the Greasers, his brain supplied, albeit reluctantly), and someone beside him was shuffling on the dirty, greasy pavement. Without so much as an introduction or explanation, Ollie's legs suddenly slipped into movement as he was half-dragged, half-pulled towards an open area where other punks were standing. His mouth formed a hard, white line, and with each spoken word, Ollie's fingers tightened against his palms, digging his fingernails into his lifelines.

His muscles ached and twitched. Urged him to slam his fist into Griff's babbling mouth. Irritably bobbing his ashy cigarette, the Frenchman finally spat it in the middle of the circle, not bothering to stub the damned thing with the heel of his boot. Ponyboy was already offering another one, anyway. Despite feeling the innate compulsion to smash some teeth, Ollie accepted the smoke and popped it into his mouth. It was muscle memory. He retrieved the lighter, flicked the small flame across the cigarette's weaving tip and sucked in an appreciative breath. For a few moments', Ollie even closed his odd-coloured eyes. He didn't really give a shit what Ponyboy was saying. It didn't really make any sense. Ever was as disappointing as the crock of shit Christians fed their flock. The only initial shock was the fact that Ollie was actually dead, and so were these other people. Randomly killed in an alleyway while enjoying his poisons. Remembering anything clearly from that night quickly became a challenge he wasn't willing to tackle.

He lived off a diet of cigarettes, alcohol, coffee and drugs. Sooner or later, it was bound to kill him. Ponyboy got to him first—lucky him. Ollie took the chance to look around, glancing towards the Gothic buildings with gilded gargoyles. Each one expressed a different looking scowl, fangs and talons raking empty air. Something crackled in the back of his skull, shimmering behind his eyeballs. “And why the flying fuck should we do that?” The seething voice grated from cigarette-laden lips, skittering blatant annoyance at being told what to do. He'd been inadvertently scratching the palms of his hands with his nails. His heart was beginning to hammer in his chest, so loud he could almost swear he could hear it. Ollie's glassy eyes raked across each unfamiliar face, flitting pupils contracting and retracting. A gray-haired sonnuvagun stood nearby, tall as all hell with a wrinkled, burnt face; tough as a worn boot. Then, there was a mass of mean-looking broads. Y'know, Ollie had weaned himself from calling women broads, but now that he was dead, there really wasn't any sense in it. Subtlety was for wankers.

Ollie bobbed his cigarette in anxious circles, then up and down, until the lady with the split lip and big shiner spoke up. He arched an inquisitive eyebrow, then let it drop. Wouldn't have surprised him one bit if Ponyboy admitted to being a necrophiliac who loved preying on dead corpses, not one bit. If he wasn't completely sure this wasn't some hallucinogenic nightmare, Ollie might've been a little more concerned. Or maybe not. It wasn't like he was given a fucking choice. Another woman, Asian from the looks of it, stood as straight as a wooden plank. Legs slightly bent, arms a'twitch with barely restrained annoyance. The Frenchman was pretty good at reading people, but only when it came to seeing how pissed off they were and how much they wanted to throttle someone. The black-haired women to his left asked every single question he really didn't give a shit about—not saying that they weren't good questions, because if he'd cared, he might've asked them himself. But, he didn't. He wanted to get back to where he was: in the dumps. He wanted to laugh.

Since we’re so sub-fucking-par.

"Ponyboy and the Greasers."

Musing quietly with his newfound admonition, Ollie removed the cigarette from his lips and flicked the ashes across the toes of his boots. The tall sonnuvagun even had an Old Western accent, drawling across tumbleweeds and holstered revolvers. Though, he agreed with his last statement. O' course, Ollie was a piece of garbage, but even he didn't turn his cheek when witnessing domestic abuse. He chewed on the inside of his cheek, twirling the cancer stick between his fingers.

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Carl tapped his fingers to the melody of a mandolin expertly played by a Romany woman with one eye. The woman’s name was Helene Fa and she was a prostitute, but a more accurate moniker would be courtesan. The drinking establishment known as Peccatore was busier than usual as she played infrequently but was always in high demand. Men and women both clamoured over each other to get close as they dare to the musician as she was cordoned off by a pit dug into the earthen floor about a foot deep and a foot in breadth, soaked in pitch and set aflame. Such precautions were needed due to the fact that Miss Fa, as whores go, was top of the line and the cause of many altercations, grudges and all out fistfights. Carl was immune to her whiles but was a slave to her songs. Most were there to bid on the auction that determined who was to bed her this evening; Carl, per usual was there for music and to pilfer intelligence from the various conversations going on. Zarkus the bar’s owner knew him by name and offered the utmost of hospitality as due to Carl's lulling presence fighting would be kept to a minimum.

Peccatore had been his haunt for the ninety-some years he had been in Ever and it has changed little. The entire district of Bab-el-Huk where the bar was located was confusing to navigate. All the buildings wore uniform sand colored facades with splashes of gold and red, as massive white awnings flapped in the breeze like the masts of a whaling ship. Black Market merchants with carts selling everything from clothing and jewelry to raggedly cut mammocks of meat clogged alleys making it impossible to transverse the block without walking it’s entire circumference.

Entering the tavern, the decorum was an affront to the eyes; with arcs and right angles smashed together influenced by Byzantine and Italian architecture. The yellow stucco walls had vulgar tapestries representing only the most lascivious of sex acts in embroidered detail. The windows were leaden stained glass mosaics, mostly of phalli and women in diversified states of undress. A mural was painted taking up the entire ceiling with the same care as that which adorns the Sistine Chapel but Peccatore’s was of a Satyr that bore the likeness of Alessandro Tozzi, previous owner of the bar. The Tozzi Saytr was twenty feet in length and brandishing a thirty-five foot long phallus that is depicted as impaling two women, a man, a horse, a lamb, some type of gourd and finally Zarkus himself. It would seem Tozzi had a grudge with the Turk and when Zarkus won the bar in a card game he kept the mural claiming, “Never has such a flattering portrait ever been painted of me.”

Carl knocked the burnt remnants of tobacco from a meerschaum and loaded another bowl. He only smoked from a pipe when Helene played as it reminded him of being at his Grandfather’s estate, when Gypsies would come to entertain in exchange for using his family’s land before migrating to their next impromptu camp. Carl would partake in the sticky pastries and haunting music while his Grandfather helped himself to the Gypsy maidens. The caravan stopped coming after the boy was thirteen and a girl perhaps a year older than him was brutally murdered. The girl’s throat was cut so deeply that she was nearly decapitated, her vertebrae protruding from the meat like an infant’s tooth sticking from an apple. The eight-inch wound where the child she was carrying was removed with the skill of a butcher, further defiled her corpse. It struck Carl as odd to see a girl he had played with dehumanized in such a way but as the boy’s Grandfather explained, “Those were not people, only talking animals and as he should no more shed a tear for a harvest calf, should he weep for those savages.”

Carl looked at the woman playing her music with deft precision, her slender brown fingers caressed the strings in wanton flourishes and forceful plucks. She did possess a certain fairness he was remiss to admit; the woman’s black hair usually shining like an oil slick was drying and highlights of amber shown through the dark locks. The oil that kept her thick hair in check was now running down her face and body, expedited by the heat of the fire. Sweat mixed with oil dampened her white linen half-shirt quickly making it semitransparent and exposing the contours of her anatomy to those closest to the fire. Helene smiled and met his gaze, which he quickly broke. He finished his drink and ordered another that a man named Malik Imn Sullafa brought with haste. “Say my brother, you gotta stop torturing yourself,” Malik said, sitting the drink down on the table before continuing. “I see you sit here all day and for what? You gotta see the down town sights man, ya dig? She a fine piece of woman.” Carl huffed at the man’s presumption and sipped at the bourbon. “Malik my friend, I would just as absurdly take your advice at love as much as you would my advice at being a Negro.” Malik frowned. “Man you know we ain’t called that anymore, jive ass motherfucker.”

The man waved his hand at the chair across from him and Malik sat down. “What’s the word?” Sullafa smiled wide exposing most of his teeth and laughed. “Thunderbird. How’s it sold? Nice and cold, what’s the price? Forty twice.” The man chuckled and Carl remained deadpan as wrinkles of confusion furrowed his brow. “Damn you square, never mind. Griff will be waiting for you by the pearly gates. Don’t be late.” He nodded. “Anything else Malik?” The man shook his head but quickly snapped his fingers “Fuck, yea your wife wants to talk to you Helene said, or see you, some shit. I told her no sale but I’d let you know.” Carl frowned. “You may relay to Fraulein Fa that whore is not my wife.” He said sternly. “You are cold as ice my man.” Malik said getting up from the table and holding out his hand as if offering a boiled sweet to a child. Carl remembered the strange cultural gesture the man taught him some twenty years before and held out his hand in kind. Malik slapped his palm and snapped his fingers in one fluid movement. “Right on brother, stay black.” Carl nodded. “Indeed, I will try my best.” He left the bar and had one more stop before meeting Griff and his battery of hand-plucked souls

Carl made his way through the winding streets of Koenigstraße, a two street section full of Germans that gravitated to the poor sector most famous for pickpockets and whores. In the small light from lamps and torches he moved past the prostitutes, thugs and smudged-faced thieves. The collection of sunken eyed miscreants gave him a once over and went about their business, content that Carl was one of them and that very idea made him feel disgusted. He rushed to meet one of his few friends an ancient Bavarian named Leopold. They shared more than a genetic kinship; they were men cut from the same cloth, Years spent for both of them fell away like leaves from a dying alder. Carl firmly planted in the bowels of a shady bar for the better part of a century and Leopold occupying the same hovel on the strasse for three hundred years.

The older man lit an oil lamp and smiled as the younger approached. “Sieben! Mein Gott, look at you a flush to the cheek? You always have such a fretful expression what has changed? Oh…” Carl blushed. “She was playing today, the one-eyed gypsy, your liebeschen?” Leoplod laughed a hearty, rumbling laugh before quieting it promptly. “To answer your question, I have not heard what Griff’s Grand Opera will be. But a safe wager, you will have to get your hands dirty Carl.” The man sighed. “Now before you go…one move is all I ask.” Sieben sighed and sat down on an upturned barrel. Leopold put a small table with a chessboard between them and smiled. “You indulge this old man much.” Carl nodded. “But then I have to go or I’ll be late.”

The chessboard was dark wood with brass accents and the pieces were carved from Ceylon and Cantonese jade, respectfully. Leopold would set up the board when Carl was coming over and they would stare at the pieces, flip a coin and the game started. “One Move” is what they called it. Though only one move, some games would last hours. “I think you will be happy mit my game today.” Leopold said. Carl muttered a response looking at the setup of pieces as the coin was flipped. “Sieben you are up.” The old man said, leaning back and lighting a cigar. Carl checked the position of the pieces and looked at Leopold who smoked quietly with a slight smile daring to form at the corners of his mouth. “See anything worthwhile?”

The younger man did see a child-like move that was served up far too easy to not be a trap but in looking over the board it was a perfect sacrifice. “Rook takes Queen, Check.” Carl said. “And my Rook takes yours. You think it was worth the loss to rid the board of the Queen?” Leopold asked. The other man stared at him. “I think it was necessary; after all old friend, one has to break eggs to make an omelet.” Carl stood to leave and the man grabbed his wrist. “I hope you still think that at days end.”

Griff was indeed waiting at the entrance to Ever, looking pensive as his team was running late. Carl didn’t remember much from his passing. He remembers the U-boot, how a depth-charge made them surface and how deck guns punched holes into U64 until the sea reclaimed them all. Carl damn sure didn’t recall how long it took to get to this place. The two men were largely silent as they waited, chain-smoking and creating a cigarette graveyard at their feet. Griff would make interjections but to Carl they sounded rhetorical so he refrained from answering or even acknowledging the comments – that is until the lost souls began to arrive.


The new souls were yanked and pushed towards him like a horrific version of Mister Ford's assembly line. What could he really do but offer platitudes. Sorry you've passed on...here's a cigarette. Preposterous. He then heard Griff begin offering cigarettes. "Listen everyone, there is no reason to be alarmed." He said, his voice over the years dwindled only to a slight accent to betray his lineage. However, after speaking with Leopold the accent became thicker, paired with a condescension he did not intend but was an unfortunate by-product of talking to the man. "Just file over here and wait. If anyone is feeling terribly anxious you come stand closer to me. Everything will be explained. Take comfort that your translucence will pass eventually."

Most that came through were querulous, confused though one woman seemed down right incensed to even go so far and insinuate that Griff was some sort of sexual deviant. The large older man seemed to be the most vocal and most rational, the dark haired girl looked perturbed. A man with a leather jacket likely meant he was one of two things; a pilot or he drove a motorbike, probably a loose cannon and hot-headed. Carl sighed and lit a cigarette as he thought he saw the hazy silhouette of the woman called M dart between bodies like a spectre. He knew the woman was one of Griff’s associates but knew little more than that. When most arrived, disenfranchised expressions fixed on their faces Griff told them of the plan and how they were going to kill the Queen of Ever. Carl thought back to the chess game and rolled his eyes,

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Mona Feldokov


ImageIt was just like any other night. Things were beginning to get a bit routine and too habitual for her liking, however, Mona didn't complain, or hadn't started to just yet. The woman was getting quite stir-crazy and sensitive to her need for change. So this sudden death shouldn't have made her so angry, but it did. Sure, the woman enjoyed a bit of change to scenery, maybe even drastic life changes, but to be thrown into another world severing any ties to the previous one did make her furious. She had a little sister to raise, her mother being no help at all- but wasn't it like that in almost every family in Eastern-Europe. Mona had gotten a taste of the other world before making a conclusion that Ukraine was shit of a country, there was nothing but remnants of the soviet prison that was once this region. Mona was old enough to understand the change the country went through. But there she was, slithering back to this hell-hole after she'd experienced the best few years of her life. Why was she tugged in this direction can only be described the ties and family, but Mona being Mona, even then, others could hardly agree that it was family that pulled her back.

Mona was back for good. Or at least she thought so. That night was just like any other night. Here she was- in afterlife, she presumed. Lightheaded and dazed, stumbled along with the line, feeling like cattle. She didn't feel right, but she knew she was dead as soon as she lifted her transluscent hands in front of her face. Although she moved inevitably with the line, she'd been far too focused on her hands and her current state to notice the crowd around her. Holding in her hands was a slip of paper she hadn't noticed before, and upon closer inspection, her previous idea was confirmed. Here was her date of death. Her date of death. Swallowing a lump that had suddenly formed in her throat, Mona finally looked up and around. She wondered if anyone found her and that murderer she remembers seeing, and her mother and sister, how were they reacting to the news. She'd kill for a vision right about now.

"Ticket to ever."

"A ticket?" Mona began, staring down at the receptionist. "Is this what you're talking about?" Mona lifted the slip of paper that she held clutched in her hand only to have it snatched away. "Next!" The receptionist bellowed, making her jump. This informal way of greeting to the afterlife didn't sit well with Mona. Wasn't there supposed to be a ridiculous amount of angels singing to you and making you feel warm and fuzzy inside, or quite the opposite, bunch of demons scaring the shit out of you. Anxiety was the first flow of emotion she allowed herself to feel right now, because honestly, there was just one little problem. Mona was Catholic, this 'Ever' wasn't in the bible, she was sure. When she reached the gates, she stopped mid-step, a couple of people bumping into her but otherwise not rooting her from her position. What she saw beyond the gates was mind-blowing, and although she wasn't into fairy-tales, this fairy-tale was her reality now. Just as she was about to light up a cigarette and switch on her swag as she would enter through the gates, her smoking hand was tugged into a side-positioned crowd, causing her to drop her cigarette.

"You!" Mona growled, a guttural sound ripping through her as she was dragged. But the anger was extinguished somewhat when she joined a small group of people with just as many questions and anger as she had. This wasn't what she was expecting. She wasn't an earth-saving broad, not in the least- selfish, Mona saw herself as the least possible person to be able to save earth. It was far too much of a responsibility, something the woman fled from. After Griff, her murderer, explained their purpose, offered the possibility of questions, a couple of them were angry enough to spit fire. Mona, however, although as angry as them, decided against spitting in the face of the only man who can give her life back, but she just had to make sure, "Do you promise that you'll give our lives back to us? This is kind of a big deal, I don't want to go into this without that assurance."

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Before anyone had time to verbally club him outside the head, the familiar pitter patter of M's footsteps had tickled his eardrums. "Nothing." she had whispered into his ear. Griff would have reacted to said information rather dramatically if just moments later he hadn't being crushed in a sea of tyrannous banter. Truthfully, this was troubling news indeed. "Where the hell could they possibly be?" he thought, blinking several times in a way to supress his irritation. "Those jackasses better have an explanatio-" "-you one of those creepy fucks that gets off on killing girls in the middle of sex? Cause you might want to warn a chick next time you’re gonna try it. Only fair to give them a head start running.” the blonde droned sassily, seeming so aggravated that she might kick a bunny as she pulled out her iPod. Yanked out of his short lived reverie, Griff bit back a coltish laugh, bringing a knuckle to his mouth, though muffled remnants of his delight trickling out through the sides still. Lightly chuckling, he came up with a response. "You know, I was gonna deny it, but that's happened too often for me to say so truthfully. Accidents, of course. I swear, I wasn't trying to seduce you when we first spoke." he said, the smugness in his grin conveying the notion that she had been seduced despite this quite clearly. "Wait a sec- were you even listeni-" he began to ask, realizing that she wouldn't have assumed that's why she was in Ever if she'd paid the slightest bit of attention to his spiel. His slightly offended but still playful accusation was cut off by the woman with the hair that matched the sky behind her so well it almost blended in added in her own two cents.

“Uh, not to get in the middle of whatever the fuck you and blondie have going on, but that was the shittiest explanation for anything I’ve ever heard. What the hell is a Queen of Ever? Is she a god? How’s she gonna destroy Earth? Why? Oh, and why the fuck didn’t you just ask people who were already dead to help you? Since we’re so sub-fucking-par.” said the icy eyed short cake, a bark so ferocious that he wouldn't doubt she had a bite to match. Before he could respond, the cowboy was already taking care of it. Which one of the lassies he was talking to, Griff couldn't tell. It applied to either of them, really, and he was grateful for the short distraction regardless.

"Ma'am, much as I 'preciate what you're saying, I have to admit that this is, after all, the man that stuck somethin' very sharp through the back of y'all's head and killed you in a matter of seconds, so can we try to refrain from insultin' him? Just to save our own necks for a while longer, see? Ah got nothin; 'sides saying that if yore plannin' to hit that girl there, ah would suggest either tellin' me to walk away or turn my back so I'm not inclined to bust you one right here and now." the bronzed old timer had said.Griff instinctively hunched his shoulders in time to raising opened palms and forming an incredilous "o" shape with his mouth, as if to say, "Oh, come on. Are you serious?" Pushing his surprise back, he reponded. "I know we got off on the wrong foot, you guys, but I'm not runnin' around smackin' gits," he said, snaking an arm around M's shoulder and squeezing in a hokey demonstration of his apparent friendliness. He released her as quickly as he'd grabbed her, "and harming blokes already perfectly situated in the Ever. I come in peace! ... or whatever." he said, avoiding the eyes of the black haired woman who'd asked questions he'd stealthily avoided. Perhaps not so eager to answer questions after all.

"Ponyboy and the Greasers." the one he'd found hopped up on drugs snarked quietly. At that comment, Griff's head tilted on its side like swinging on a hinge, a sorta-smile that read as somewhat amused, somewhat embarrassed, and somewhat irritated. "Really?" his onyx eyes twinkled. He huffed out of his nose as his lips wriggle about his jaw in this weird grin. Finally, he sighed out a simple "Alright, alright," along with an understanding head nod and eye roll. "I get it. I'm a bit outdated. Time doesn't work the same in Ever as it does on Earth, anyway." he dismissed.

"Do you promise that you'll give our lives back to us? This is kind of a big deal, I don't want to go into this without that assurance." Piped the other woman- Mona, if he recalled correctly. Finally seeming to have had enough with all the poking and prodding, he threw his hands up in the air. "Look- I'm not a bad guy!" he defended. It may have seemed like he had been wounded that they hadn't marvelled at his charms. Truth be told, he really couldn't give a rat's ass whether they liked him so long as they worked for him efficiently, but Griff had always found that others felt more obliged to do a good job when on fond terms with the dude giving the commands. Indeed, their affections were hardly necessary for Boogey, but a pony show is a pony show and he'd already purchased a shit ton of miniature saddles. There was a pause while he scrucnhed up his face as if in thought. "Ok, I guess it depends on your particular view of morality, I'll give you that. I'd argue that my morning breath is at least... Oh, I'd say.... 25 times worse than any crime I've ever committed, though. I'm actually less of a guy and more of a thing, too, but details, details. I want everyone to take a deep breath and calm down. No offense meant. I know this is all very new and scary, but I promise I'll hold your hand if you need." he drawled, not intending to come off as patronizing but still managing. "Can't you have a little faith in me? Why else would I spend all that time and effort killing you? " Perhaps not his most convincing argument, but certainly not his worst.

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Cyrus Whitlocke



It was a twisted, darkling little humor that ensured the absurdity of his plight. Cyrus, though accustomed to evading, escaping, and killing above all else, was himself not any more able than this afternoon’s mark to escape the inevitable plunge into the abyss.

It had come when his guard was down, as such things were, he supposed, inclined to do. He’d arrived home promptly at seven in the evening, disassembled and cleaned his pistol, then stored it away in one of the kitchen drawers. No point in keeping the thing in a safe or something; there was at least one such instrument of death in every room within his home. An old piece of wisdom from a man who would have been better off without it and six feet beneath the ground. It was too bad that these things never had anything to do with who deserved them.

He’d gotten arrogant, he supposed, to assume that anonymity was enough security. So many places, so little time in each, and the Irishman had thought himself a real live ghost. Now there was a concept for you. Maybe it was tempting fate, that kind of paradox; someone had certainly seen the need to obliterate it. Now he was just dead, and oddly translucent, if in fact his eyes were still working correctly. Turning his hand over in the air in front of him, he decided they probably were. The discovery did not produce any signs of perturbation in him, rather, he glanced up and down the line of those assembled in this place without a whit of concern.

Interestingly, it did not seem to be what most of the religions said hell was. It was more like an American Department of Motor Vehicles, which was obviously a great deal worse. The long file of people seeking entrance into… whatever it was were mostly silent, though a few kicked up a fuss here and there, presumably when someone got impatient and started pushing through. Some fellow was calling for calm, though the condescension dripped from his tone rather obviously. Cyrus didn’t spare him a glance, instead taking in the people in his immediate proximity. A few old men, weathered faces mostly set into acceptance, a young woman whose hands fisted in her dress as though she were trying to claw at her abdomen through it. He didn’t much want to think about why that might be. A child here and there, all of whom he studiously ignored, not being particularly fond of children generally, and the sad ones even less.

The smell of cigarette smoke drifted from somewhere ahead of him, and he recalled that he hadn’t even bothered to take his long woolen coat off before sprawling out on the sofa amidst his sculpture garden of Swedish furniture. That meant he had a few of his own, and a disposable cell phone, not that the latter was likely to do anything good. He pulled it out anyway, noting that though it still seemed functional, it was predictably not receiving any signal. He dropped it back in his pocket, pausing in mid-motion when his fingers alighted on something unfamiliar. Drawing the slip of paper out, he noted that many of the others in line were holding one also and raised a brow. If only he could remember what exactly had happened…

He’d been drunk obviously, which was why it was strange that his rational faculties were working in full force at the moment. It did not feel as though any time whatsoever had elapsed since he’d told that intruder that he might as well take the opportunity while he had it. Frankly, it had surprised Cyrus a bit that he hadn’t bothered to fight at all- he’d been running so long that he simply assumed he valued his life more than his attitude had ultimately suggested. Even now, he found that he simply didn’t care that he was here, though admittedly the queue was on the annoying side. He pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers, which unconsciously melded into a tracery of the jagged line of white scarring that crossed it. He didn’t remember what that fool had said, the one who’d killed him, so he still wasn’t certain who’d gotten him in the end. He hoped it was anyone but his old man, really.

Next to him in line, looking irritated to be there, was a young woman of about college age, standing on her toes to see over all the people in front of her. She noted that he was watching her movement and sighed through her nose, shooting him an aside glance in mahogany. “I’ve never been too patient,” she explained, smiling broadly with good-natured deprecation.

Deciding that he might as well, Cyrus went ahead and interpreted this as an invitation to converse. “It doesn’ seem as though we need ta worry about bein’ late,” he pointed out, inflecting his tone with wry humor. Initially, the accent took a moment for her to process, but after a second she snorted in response and ran a hand through somewhat-tame auburn hair, shaking her head.

“You’re right, obviously, but if I’m going to have to be here, the least they could do is actually get me through instead of having to deal with all this bureaucratic shit. I actually kind of want to see Ever.” She was still balancing on her toes, which for a girl of greater-than-average weight was rather impressive on a slope, though she did wobble a few times.

“Ever?” Cyrus prompted, causing her to return to the flats of her feet and nod. He was actually fond of bureaucracy when he wasn’t dealing with it, since it tended to hinder any actual progress towards his apprehension by agents of your legal organization of choice. He chose to keep this to himself, of course, as generally the successful criminals were the ones who didn’t explain that sort thing, and despite being dead, he felt no need to divulge the details of what had been his life.

“Mhm. It’s what that guy told me this place is called. I asked him about it before he, well, you know. I’d been hit by a car, you see, and there he was, so obviously I had to ask him what the hell was going on. We’re all dead, and this is where we go.” Her matter-of-fact tone was actually rather impressive, and he nodded, unable to say more before they at last reached the front of the line and she handed over her paper to the woman taking them. His was next, and he slid the slip to the woman before she felt the need to bellow again, and stepped through the gates.

Immediately, he felt a hand close about his wrist, and resisted the automatic urge to throw the person who’d done so when he noted that the face was familiar. Right, this guy. Now he was confused. As someone who’d spent a good number of years as a hitman, he knew that they generally did not show up in their marks’ afterlives. Maybe it only happened when you were a horrible person or something. Raising an eyebrow, the Irishman nevertheless did not kick up a fuss, and eventually found himself in the company of the single oddest assortment of people he’d ever had the misfortune of being dead with.

There was immediately a bizarre explanation of their situation, followed by surprisingly-orderly outburst from several people, a blunting of sharp attitudes attempted by a man with a southern American drawl. Cyrus resisted the urge to roll his eyes, though more at the former than the latter. Some people were of the opinion that increasing their volume or vehemence made their words more important; he was not. Nevertheless, if he had been a more considerate man, he would have allowed for the fact that they had all just been ripped away from their lives and were now being fed absurdities in lieu of explanations. He was not this either, though, and he was already counting their excessive emoting against them.

Griff’s counterargument, such as it was, nearly had him laughing, and indeed, a certain kind of cynical grin did split his face. Why else would he spend all the time and effort killing them? There were multiple answers to that question, any number of which Cyrus would have offered with personable facetiousness if he’d thought anyone would take it well. As it was, he’d rather just get the whole thing over with. In a way, this was really just like life: he was still being hired to kill someone, only this time, the fee was his own life. Whatever he thought of that, the rest was straightforward enough. He didn’t buy the ‘save the world’ shit for a second, but he could appreciate the logic of a mutually-beneficial exchange.

Shrugging nonchalantly, Cyrus addressed his new employer. “Ya really didn’t have ta kill me ta get me ta agree ta tha', though I s’pose they don’ have regular flights ta this place, do they?”

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Nikolai unconsciously shucked his body, dead before he hit the floor. He fell and kept falling: through the grimy subway metro floor, through so many inches of black soil, through a swirling sea of blackness – just so much India ink and a speck of flotsam. Twisting shapes and ropes of possibility, past and future, as he somehow recognized them in his hazy insight, flashed past at a dizzying rate. He reached out with translucent fingers – brushed a strand – and was jerked to a juddering halt.

Soft gray light like early morning in the city met his eyes and the air was replete with the murmur of a thousand uncertain voices and the shuffling of bare feet. The veteran broker slowly took to his feet and played his eyes about the scene with uneasy meanness. He stood in the midst of a subdued mass of humanity, softly shuffling forward to a distant gate from which old gothic-style architecture beckoned. The shuffle and sway of so many herded beings was entrancing and he found himself falling into step with them. They were shockingly translucent in body and mind. Only vacant stares and mumbled uncertainties met his tentative probes.

"Chush' sobach'ya,” he breathed – a tender epithet for the mad spectacle.

In his own transparent hand, he clutched a scrap of glossy paper that had somehow made the nightmare journey with him. It simply proclaimed ‘DATE OF DEATH’ along with expected relevancies. He discarded it into the folds of his duster. Though he had stopped to take inventory, the muted throng moved around him and filled the gaps with their ceaseless shuffling, perhaps willingly or not, drifting forward to offer themselves up for entry at the gate – whether to salvation or immolation by hellfire, Navka knew not. He slowly shook his head with a pained expression on his face and rolled his shoulders in weary bemusement.

A single black feather drifted down, unnoticed. It was trampled by one of the vacant dead.

Out of a newly made gap in the crowd, a familiar figure appeared, shoving the translucent shufflers away with casual disdain.

“You – “ he began, but finding uncharacteristically little anger in his dead heart, simply allowed himself to be led by the arm out of the human river and into a group of somewhat more vital individuals. They were just as ethereal as any of the other walkers, but perhaps a little more vibrant in color and personality. His hard eyes took them in with sharp sweeps meant to cut and pierce.

It was surely a group to be pitied had he possessed the ability, Navka decided. A motley group to be sure: A dishevelled punk with shifty eyes and a hard sneer, a ravaged man in his late fifties perhaps, looking lost and pitiable as his kind were prone to be, and several trashy women looking dirty and unkempt. His upper lip twisted into a gnarled frown of disgust. Whores and misfits… Not one of them looked fit to shine his shoes. He’d known their kind in life – dirty little solicitor, that one! He’d taken vindictive pleasure in watching building security do their work.

He listened passively as the man – Griff – outlined his scheme to dethrone the local monarch and so bring about drastic and lasting change in the world of ‘Ever’. It was passé and a bit surreal. The ambition that shone from behind the scarred man’s eyes was deeply unsettling if not unrecognizable to the broker. He knew the type. Navka could see that the man was crafty, malicious, and on a corporal level, dangerous. His words were honeyed in a way that rankled with him.

A sonorous silence met his words as the gathered took in the information. They were all uniquely special in some way that had yet to be defined, but not indispensable. The silence couldn’t last, unfortunately. The not altogether undesirable but ditzy-looking blonde let loose an irreverent tirade of sexually-charged accusation. Navka shook his head in resigned candour – the fool was as good as dead.

To his chagrin and moderate disappointment, Griff merely laughed and riposted the indictment. A couple of the others looked somewhat incensed as well. He waited wordlessly with cap on head for the final score. But whatever happened, he knew that he’d end up on top. He always did, and some things never changed. Even in death, even in Ever

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"What can I say? Must have a chronic attraction to smug jackasses. Always did think it would be the death of me." Mal shot back, though the corner of her lip quirked slightly. It was more fun when they had wit enough to respond to her teasing. Mind you, drunk punks who got all up in arms from the barbs and jabs were fun too, ‘cause that would almost always end in tears and they were rarely ever Mal’s. Even so, she was of the opinion that everyone in the world needed to get that stick removed from their ass and lighten up… Before she removed it herself and beat them with it.

"I'll insult him any way I damn well please. What's he going to do, kill me again?” Mal grumbled at the John Wayne wannabe. “I mean, it’s not like I have any grand objections to this whole… quest... thing. Whatever. I don't really care now that I’m over and done with, and I don't really mind savin' the world and all that junk. Probably look good on the resume, if I can convince everyone back home I'm not a few fruit loops short of a full bowl." She said, rubbing at the dappled bruise around her eye with the heel of her palm. Somehow it felt more tender two days later than it did as it was happening.

Testing this hypothesis further, Mal dabbed lightly at the cut on her lip. That hurt too, and surprisingly so. Mal’s apathetic expression flickered slightly. Usually she wasn’t such a little bitch over so a small wound, but it hadn’t been just that. There were other things, things she could not put a finger to. Unnamed concepts slipped lazily through her thoughts, proving ethereal when she tried to grasp them more firmly. Colours, sounds, even smells? She sighed and rubbed at her temples, kneading away the strange, intrusive things. Now was not the time to be going crazy. A new point of interest occurred to Mal, and she spoke up again.


"Wait, wait, wait. We have to kill this queen, yeah? And assorted mooks along the way if we’re lucky… So who's to say we can't die again too?" There was no real fear behind the question, simply curiosity. If there was life after Earth, why wouldn’t there be life after Ever? Mal chewed this over this as she waited for a response, her expression calm and vaguely skeptical. Her fingers twitched, gently as moth wings, longing to clutch a cigarette or a joint, something to stick a final pin in the image of her whole zen vibe. But this wasn’t exactly the kind of conversation where one could pull out a spliff and start puffing away, and she couldn't bring herself to take one of the smokes Griff proffered. Hell, she may have low standards, but there was still some pride to scrape from the bottom of the barrel.

Beneath her cool facade, however, it was like somebody had force-fed a child a couple buckets of sugar, some kool-aid and let them watch cartoons for a day straight. In short, her excitement was almost palpable, and if you could see inside Mal’s skull your eyes would likely catch aflame from the sheer amount of exhilaration. This was like something out a book. Taken into the afterlife to kill an evil queen with a band of… fearless warriors. Mal snuck a glance at the circle again. Probably best to use that phrase lightly. Right now, most of them had a face like someone had pissed in their cheerios. And the “great and fearless” leader looked like he could play a poor man's John Travolta in Grease, give or take a few lost knife fights and an odd handful of beatings. But hey, it sounded like a chance for mayhem, and Mal wasn’t about to look a gift death in the mouth, even if it was her own. As these thoughts bustled through her brain, Mal found herself clearing her throat and giving voice to more words before her common sense could catch up with her mouth, though that rarely ever happened anyway.


"And another thing, why'd you pick a bunch of contrary asshats for this oh so important mission?" Mal looked around the circle, her grin crooked and halfway between joking and baiting. "And don't think I'm not including myself in that blanket label. I for one certainly didn’t hear “must work well with others” on the job description, and I don’t think most of this bunch did either. Wouldn't it have just been easier to round up some complacent desk jockeys?” Mal fixed her eyes on Griff again, still smiling lopsidedly, waiting to see if she’d get a rise out of anyone. After a moment’s thought, she amended her previous statements. “Oh, and deepest apologies to everyone who ain’t actually an asshat. Shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, yada yada yada.”

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Jessie didn’t miss the way Griff glossed over every single question she had asked. Trust me, he said, as if trusting a murderer, her murderer, was an easy thing to do. Her sharp eyes watched him closely, but his childlike demeanor gave nothing away. She had no idea who, or what, this man was, and oh did it piss her off. And try as he might, Griff still hadn’t given her a remote understanding of why she was there. She understood a job had to be done but… an outpatient of a mental rehabilitation center did not a hero make. Though, even if she wasn’t crazy, she still wouldn’t have ever been considered a knightly character. Looking around, she doubted any of them felt differently. Except maybe the old dude who apparently didn’t like it when guys beat on their girls. Not that she thought it was cool either, but the way he’d said it made her want to gag, like he had some higher moral ground to stand on.

When blondie, Mel or whatever her name was, voiced basically what she had been thinking, she couldn’t help but chuckle slightly when she mentioned “working well with others.” Which then totally pissed her off, because this was not a situation she wanted to laugh in. She wanted to scowl, and bitch, and all the other things she typically did. She wanted to see her family, to tell her mother that… what? She was dead, but she was okay? It was at that moment that the realization of being legitimately dead hit her. She hadn’t disbelieved it when Griff had confirmed their suspicions, but other than their surroundings and her vaguely transparent body parts, nothing had really changed. She still thought, still carried the exact same weights she had in life. Wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of rest? She didn’t want to sleep forever or anything, but the thought of going on like this for… forever, seemed terribly, terribly tedious. She idly wondered how old Griff and his male companion actually were. Then she wondered, if they’d been dead long enough to know all this shit about Ever, how the hell they had any fight left in them to want to save the Earth. 50 years of this and she’d be bored out of her fucking skull.

Which lead to the other point blondie had brought up. If they were gonna be fighting, and killing, people in Ever, couldn’t they be killed again too? What would that mean? Jessie did not feel nearly as calm as blondie seemed to. Beyond Ever there could very easily be nothingness. Maybe when she got really bored like she’d been thinking about before, nothingness wouldn’t be such a big deal, but right now the thought scared the shit out of her. The fear of death had plagued her after she’d found Jenny. Ever wasn’t death, not really. A departure from Earth maybe, but not death. Death to Jessie was a terrifying, lonely concept when forever stretched out before you and there was nothing more you could do, even existence having been wrenched from your grasp. This… this Ever? This just pissed her off.

She made the decision that, though she would stick with Griff, if only for her family’s sake back on Earth, she wasn’t going to put up with his bullshit answers. She would find a time when he was alone, because he would probably be more willing to share. If not, she’d make him more willing, the fact that he’d killed her once already be damned. And she’d ask him about all the questions that were swirling around in her head, and she wouldn’t leave until he’d talk to her straight. This was too complicated, too important, for him to be dicking around like he was.

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New bodies stumbled out of the woodwork’s, adding their own clipped input with differing expressions. While some added words of guidance and assurance, others trampled over them with obscenities, heated scoffs and plumes of impatient smoke jetting from their nostrils. His fingers absently twirled and rolled the single cigarette between his index and middle finger, embers burning and for the moment, ignored. Some lillylickin' European bastard casually appeared at Ponyboy's elbow, sounding more like a condescending psychologist speculating how stupid they really were to be lounging in his chair, than individuals who'd just realized that their lives had ended prematurely. A shepherd leading a herd of buffalo's swelling with rage, expecting them to be cowed with soft words and extended invitations to stand closer to him, as if that would solve all the problems. Hold hands and they'd simply wake up from all this crap. Ollie's semi-translucent fingers stop twitching long enough to draw the cancer stick back to his lips. The familiar shape usually calmed him, but at these inconclusive moments, it almost seemed to torment him. A simple white cylinder. Straight, thin, and disposable.

He inhaled fervently, desperately. Ponyboy's cigarettes, Ollie notes wryly, are pretty damn strong. Little, poisonous, vindictive cancer-sticks. It's all a chronic disease; a chronic addiction that never leaves you satisfied. The blue-tinted smoke filtered through his lips and rose slowly, making Ponyboy's goofy face at the other end of the merry circle hazy and dark. That's when he noticed the diversity of the group. A right proper circle of racial acceptance, it was. It reminded him of those annoying commercials on TV where coloured blobs would link hands and dance around a messy, Crayola-coloured Earth. Again, Ollie wondered whether or not this was some drug-induced euphoria. And these, these crackerjack assortment of individuals, were multiple personalities that mirrored his own: unimpressed and as relentless as a turbulent storm—trying to engulf anyone who'd entered the circle with a bucolic state of mind and ruffle up their feathers. Two devil's hunkered on his slumped shoulders, restricting his breathing by pointing out the obvious: you're dead, bucko, now try to get outta' this one.

A guttural snarl crackled through his thoughts like a woodcutting axe snapping a log in half. Ollie nearly chewed through his cigarette snapping his head back over his shoulder, only to catch sight of another woman stomping past the translucent line of ticket-receivers. She was listless. The kind of ticking time-bomb that's extinguished with slick fingers. He watched her purposeful gait transform itself into a crippled walk. Less assured and entirely distracted by the ragtag group assembled around their murderer. He didn't spit in Griff's enigmatic mug. He didn't wrap his numb fingers around Ponyboy's neck and shake, and shake, and shake—no, he didn't, even though there was nothing else he'd rather do. Ollie's cigarette bobbed as he absently chewed the inside of his cheek. He had to admit that the lady with the thick specs had a point. What if they were offered some kind of compensation for killing this Queen? Whoever she was; Queen of Ever. Ticket to Ever. Who the fuck would name purgatory... Ever? The Frenchman bowed his head, scratching the back of his neck with unduly annoyance. If this wasn't some proper-fucked dream, then maybe he would get a chance to live again. Maybe he could slink back to Alexis' fancy flat like a googly-eyed worm, begging her to forgive him again. Damaged goods delivered straight to her door; too brittle to love himself let alone another person. But he did—she was worth more than anything Ponyboy could offer. And she would say yes. She always did.

Ponyboy's abysmal eyes turned back to Ollie and he found himself staring back, arching notched eyebrows with feigned interest. Really, really. From his point of view, it looked like one of the Greasers snatched a Jelly-bean bag of assorted baddies with some goody-goody ladies and old gentlemen thrown into the mix. All of which came from different ethnicity’s. It wasn't a far cry from those diversity groups created for the sole purpose of getting along. “Tch. So, we're stuck in whatever were wearing.” A mere statement, hardly a question and not very important, either way. In other words: I have to look at yer' sorry ass wearing all that leather. He clicked his tongue against his teeth when Ponyboy ended his second spiel defending his honour and all that. Yeah, yeah; have a little faith in the kind soul who slammed a pinpoint finger through your skull, like a molten blade through warm butter. “Ya' didn't answer her question there, slick.” Ollie's words ran thick with distaste—maybe not for Ponyboy himself but at the situation he'd thrust into his hands. Responsibility. Saving the world from another damn apocalypse.

“Ya really didn’t have ta kill me ta get me ta agree ta tha', though I s’pose they don’ have regular flights ta this place, do they?”

Another cynical-looking bloke swaggered into the growing group without the Frenchman noticing. He immersed himself in his cigarette once more, breathing deeply until the smoke trickled from the corners' of his mouth, and completely exhaled until his features were veiled in smog. The majority of the group was young and flammable, flicking matches against the length of their veins, igniting their tempers. Right now, it seemed like Ponyboy had flapped a wet blanket over them. His eyes rolled slightly, catching vibrant glimpses of the amiably-grinning man's red hair. Amusement capered in his eyes; y'know, those peculiar set of peepers that mimic the colour of prized, grassy yards accompanied by earnest keep-the-fuck-off-my-lawn signs. He made a small noise in the back of his throat and pulled the cigarette from his chompers, flicking the ash in it's designated area. “S'yer not too bothered by this, either—ha!” The laugh came from nowhere, deep in the pits of his stomach, gurgling up his throat like an unwelcome serpent. “How're we gonna kill someone in Ever, purgatory, whatever, anyway?”

Once more, Ollie's eyes raked the newcomers for signs of any familiar faces. Unsurprisingly, there were none. Another man in his mid-thirties joined their gang of discrepant Greasers, looking like he'd just stepped out of one of The Godfather's films. He stood a few paces back, countenance pinched with shallow disappointment. Haughty superiority and disgust always traipsed along hand-in-hand. The blonde firecracker started talking again. The Frenchman tilted his head lightly, rapping his knuckles against the scars crisscrossing down his jawline. It felt like small slivers had been burned away with the flat-side of a small utility knife, but they weren't. They weren't. “Mission ta' kill an already dead queen in a magical place called Ever, with a merry group of asshats and cheery shmucks.” He skimmed a lazy glance in Mal's direction, before looking back at Ponyboy. The Frenchman stepped forward, faltering a few inches from the Greaser leading this Brady Bunch. Steady, aggressive fingers prodded him in the chest. “And yer' offering nothing but some promise that we'll save the world; get us a bunch of certificates after. Ya' gonna load us up with firearms before we storm tha' castle?”

This was the kind of bullshit Disney force-fed down your throats, albeit with happier endings. Save the world from some demented queen who wanted to be the loveliest of them all. Then, they'd link hands and prance off into the sunset. Become friendly ghosts that haunted their subsequent mansions. What bullshit.

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Their faces seemed to be coated with patches of dark dirt, speckled among rosy, putrid petals of flesh. There was a fire, one of them had told his guide thoughtfully. Another proudly piped up that she had called nine-one-one, pronouncing each number with such care. The smallest of them, but the least faded, determinedly held his guide's hand, peeking shyly Itzutsa's way when he noticed her observing them. She grinned and bent her fingers to and fro; an imitation of the human waving gesture. Oh, Itzutsa was a little jealous. An entire orphanage of passed children! Six of them! She has never gotten to guide so many tiny things. Lucky, lucky Mrs. Lucy McPhee. (Mrs. Lucy McPhee sure did not seem to think she was lucky at the time, but just watch. As soon as it was break time, she will tell Itzutsa all about their adventures.) Itzutsa's chest swelled for a moment before a sigh left her narrow nostrils. It had been moving slowly, though she could see there were no less people than usual. Perhaps even more than the average? There may have been a hold up in line; she recalled less cooperative new ones who would claimed to have influence in the other world--"Stalin," she thinks, was the latest record holder of fussiest deceased. Itzutsa did not get to escort him either, or ask him about how it was only certain humans have that a small amount of hair around their mouths. Yes, she was a downer daisy today, and she shamefully knew full well. But this would change. Itzutsa spied a moderately sized crew, unattended, yet curiously organized into a circle. And curiously, one among them was a face she recognized; wearing the hat of slicked back hair and the skin and scars of a man.

He had told her to call her him something, and she struggled to recall. Grief, was it? What a silly, pessimistic-fatalistic name. That can't be it. No one could expect Itzutsa to be the most retentive of human names, they were all said with such strange sounds! (Not that he was human, despite the name, but she saw him around far less often than she saw most humans, so the point was fairly moot). She had the mimicry of a parrot and was quick to learn, considering that she arrived at her new home without comprehension of any language outside her own, and without more than a handful of kin-sisters (most of whom took to swinging savagely at her after a session of exchanged words). Time and patience were her nurturing mothers in this world, kinder to Itzutsa than any being recipient of thanks she murmurs before bed. Still, huffing at her cognitive incompetence, Itzutsa allowed her loyal clipboard friend to sway at her side as she hissed blithe "Excuse Itzutsa!"s and "Please!"s and "Ooh--Itzutsa sorry!" and stepped gingerly around and right over shoulders belonging to those who certainly seemed to want to get insulted, but had too little time and attention to do more than rear their heads and gape and squint in their bemused mammal fashions.

"Lackies," she recalled of the other two she noticed to be locals. Someone--it was Leandra Carlie, when she introduced Itzutsa to her newly deceased son (Garret Carlie?)--had told her the word once, pointing her wrinkled thumb at one of them and loosely referring to the other. What was it they were "lacking?" That was what piqued Itzutsa's interest; for they seemed as well-endowed as any other human. No missing legs, no absent noses, no departed hair. So Itzutsa had asked Leandra for their names instead of the bizarre label, because at least names were always easy to grasp: The usage of a name was to call people over without insulting them, and to express a stronger bond of friendliness each time the name was used--a bit like a hammer continually knocking on a nail until it held steadfast. These were good things, so Itzutsa found names to be very agreeable indeed.

A woman held her child closer to her bosom as Itzutsa passed, but she did not think to greet them as she normally would.

"Carl" was one. Was that what he went by? Carl, the human with the hairs on the bottom of his face. She remembered seeing the back of his head many, many times around a specific bar (a required destination point during tours, for what reasons Itzutsa hasn't the faintest). The other non-new human nearby... Itzutsa believes her acquaintance must have gotten choked up on words for some strange reason ["Ehm, Itzutsa, her name's ehm. I just told you!"], and she never received the name of the other one, but Itzutsa was fairly sure the other's body was that of a female (though her chosen hairstyle gave Itzutsa great, troubling pause). She, much unlike Carl, was poised like a Keezin! This tickled Itzutsa just a little bit. It was funny because Humans and Keezin were not the same thing, and Itzutsa ought to know! How humorous! Thus, Itzutsa would have approached the lot in a jolly mood--had she not noticed the expressions worn by the others remaining. There seemed to be a quite few gathered 'round the Boogeyman and his Dead for a While friends, more than she had initially anticipated. Perhaps a family visit! Those happened once in a while... right? Yet as she drew ever closer, the number of them disturbed her. Five, six--at least ten! No, wait, two of them were Carl and the questionably-female-poised-like-Keezin-funny one. That left eight, which remained an uncomfortably large number when they were not tiny and children. Not that Itzutsa had a problem with groups. She loved human groups. She had a problem with them when they were unattended, and thus sought rectification.

"Excuse Itzutsa," she buzzed, maneuvering past the final barrier of translucent bodies. After overhearing some of the dialogue, she watched the ringleader of the merry band with surprise, pity, vexation, and just a smidge of affable recognition. She watched him with the eyes of a sister (a mutated sister who had been exposed to a wee chemical explosion) who did not want her stupid, know-nothing little brother to get in trouble with the parents, but, lest he repeat the bad behavior, did not want to let him off without at least an indian burn and a stern warning either. Normally Itzutsa would say hello, but this time it arrived in the form of "Um." and of "What Boogey doing?" That was first asked directly to him, but changed her mind nearly too speedily for the words to leave her mouth, for her attention immediately revolved about all the other (rather displeased looking) individuals next, "What Boogey doing...?" much in the same way one would say "Show me on this anatomatically correct doll where he touched you." Answers to the second query could not be delivered quickly enough either, for she turned a critical third eye in the Boogeyman's direction once more, squeezing her lips together into a snubbed lavender duckbill. She had giving off shimmering pale gold sheen before she came into the party's midsts, when she dulled into the shade of a gentle bruise.

But her demeanor softened soon enough. A thin layer of smoke swam about her shoulders, but she did not seem too concerned by it outside a lone nose twitch. Humming out her second sigh of the time period she pressed her lips together into an awkward smile. What a bad first impression she must have made. Shameful, shameful. "Itzutsa apologies," she told them with gentler tones, hugging her clipboard as she folded her legs, kneeling into a "sit" and reducing her height significantly. Never good to potentially intimidate the new ones. "Welcome to Ever. Would like to look at castle, Itzutsa hear?" She glanced amicably at the one who had mentioned it. Itzutsa was not sure they would be granted access into the edifice, but she could certainly take them to have a look. It was quite the lovely sight!

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Ever

Ever by Averagebear

"Ticket to Ever, thanks."

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Locations where Mobs and Items might appear.

Events

You can schedule events for your players to create notifications and schedule times for everyone to plan around.

Permissions

Add and remove other people from your Universe.

Orphanage

By marking a character as abandoned, you can offer them to your players as pre-made character sheets.

Character Portrait: Cyrus Whitlocke
0 sightings Cyrus Whitlocke played by Kurokiku
"What? You were expecting some profound musing on death or humanity? Here's one: people die. All the time. Doesn't sound so interesting, but think about a bit more, I dare you."
Character Portrait: Nikolai Navka
0 sightings Nikolai Navka played by SylentStand
"We're all guilty of the same things. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others."
Character Portrait: Olivier Filly Deschamps
0 sightings Olivier Filly Deschamps played by Yonbibuns
Your memories, your attachments; they burnt them all away. But they're not punishing you, they say. They're freeing your soul, relax. Something's gone. It's gone, gone.

The Forge

Use your INK to craft new artifacts in More Than Ever Before. Once created, Items cannot be changed, but they can be bought and sold in the marketplace.

Notable Items

No items have been created yet!

The Market

Buy, sell, and even craft your own items in this universe.

Market Data

Market conditions are unknown. Use caution when trading.

Quick Buy (Items Most Recently Listed for Sale)

Open Stores

View All » Add Character » 17 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Griff
Character Portrait: Jessica Shepard
Character Portrait: Carl von Reichelt
Character Portrait: Itzutsa
Character Portrait: Duane Cooper
Character Portrait: Mona Feldokov
Character Portrait: Celeste De'Lazio
Character Portrait: Mal Chance

Newest

Character Portrait: Mal Chance
Mal Chance

"The world needs people like me to function. God bless the fuck-ups, the junkies and the shit-disturbers. Otherwise all the normal people couldn't feel morally superior."

Character Portrait: Celeste De'Lazio
Celeste De'Lazio

"I don't know how you could get much ruder than blabbering on while you kill a girl the day before her bleedin' birthday."

Character Portrait: Mona Feldokov
Mona Feldokov

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It's just that yours is stupid."

Character Portrait: Duane Cooper
Duane Cooper

"Way I see it, we all got a job to do. This's just another thing needs gettin' done."

Character Portrait: Itzutsa
Itzutsa

"Cheery up! Itzutsa's still here."

Character Portrait: Carl von Reichelt
Carl von Reichelt

Better to be the right hand of the devil than in his path

Character Portrait: Jessica Shepard
Jessica Shepard

"I don't believe in atonement, but I'll keep kicking ass just in case."

Character Portrait: Griff
Griff

"Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."

Trending

Character Portrait: Celeste De'Lazio
Celeste De'Lazio

"I don't know how you could get much ruder than blabbering on while you kill a girl the day before her bleedin' birthday."

Character Portrait: Mal Chance
Mal Chance

"The world needs people like me to function. God bless the fuck-ups, the junkies and the shit-disturbers. Otherwise all the normal people couldn't feel morally superior."

Character Portrait: Itzutsa
Itzutsa

"Cheery up! Itzutsa's still here."

Character Portrait: Griff
Griff

"Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."

Character Portrait: Carl von Reichelt
Carl von Reichelt

Better to be the right hand of the devil than in his path

Character Portrait: Mona Feldokov
Mona Feldokov

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It's just that yours is stupid."

Character Portrait: Jessica Shepard
Jessica Shepard

"I don't believe in atonement, but I'll keep kicking ass just in case."

Character Portrait: Duane Cooper
Duane Cooper

"Way I see it, we all got a job to do. This's just another thing needs gettin' done."

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Mona Feldokov
Mona Feldokov

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It's just that yours is stupid."

Character Portrait: Duane Cooper
Duane Cooper

"Way I see it, we all got a job to do. This's just another thing needs gettin' done."

Character Portrait: Celeste De'Lazio
Celeste De'Lazio

"I don't know how you could get much ruder than blabbering on while you kill a girl the day before her bleedin' birthday."

Character Portrait: Itzutsa
Itzutsa

"Cheery up! Itzutsa's still here."

Character Portrait: Mal Chance
Mal Chance

"The world needs people like me to function. God bless the fuck-ups, the junkies and the shit-disturbers. Otherwise all the normal people couldn't feel morally superior."

Character Portrait: Griff
Griff

"Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."

Character Portrait: Jessica Shepard
Jessica Shepard

"I don't believe in atonement, but I'll keep kicking ass just in case."

Character Portrait: Carl von Reichelt
Carl von Reichelt

Better to be the right hand of the devil than in his path


View All » Places

Ever

Ever by Averagebear

"Ticket to Ever, thanks."

Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » More Than Ever Before: Out of Character

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