The story begins hereInterlude Scene CF 7
The characters plan to head away from the scene of their escape. They need some place where they can take a moment to figure out what is going on, and what they’re going to do next. I increase the Chaos Factor to 7, since clearly things did not go well in the last scene. Rolling against it, I get a random event: Altered Scene “PC Positive, Extravagance/Travel.” Nothing springs to mind for this, so I declare that they exit the scene easily. Not only does no one pay any attention to them, but no one will remember them later even if investigators show up asking questions.
The coterie heads to a local outdoor theater, a place used by various groups in the warmer months for shows and productions, but abandoned for now. It is surrounded by trees, and while the woods are sparse, they feel much deeper now. It is only a few hundred yards from the nearest main road, but the place feels primal, and ancient. It is also silent, and isolated. What few creatures would normally be prowling through these woods at night sense the unnatural presence of the characters, and either leave or hide.
They talk. For hours. About what they did and why they did it, alternating judgment, support, recriminations and accusations mixed with promises of support and love. They talk about what they are, what they’ve become, and what they now desire. They avoid the “v” word for as long as possible, until they admit that it’s sillier to avoid it when there really is no better word that any of them know. Aside from movies and a few books, neither Maya nor Daron really know what it means to be a vampire. Trent (rolling Intelligence + Occult, dif 9 (for the dead keep their secrets), and attaining 1 success) knows a bit more, enough to correctly warn his companions about sunlight, and the need to feed, and the need to keep this secret. They talk, in ever increasing circles about how this happened, who did this to them, if it was a test, or a game. The government or conspiracy, aliens or wizards. Every possible iteration of who, and what, and why.
They do not talk about Vince, or Mavis. And not one of them even think about Suzanne.
At the end, nothing is settled, but they talk out of habit, and out of a lack of anything else to do. And then, the night begins to come to an end. The question now is, where are the characters at the end of the night, and what do they hope to do next?
Daron—Transform/The public. While unwilling to approach law enforcement, Daron wants answers. Answers he knows none of them are able to provide. He plans to talk to a doctor, or at least a med student friend of his. He believes there has to be an explanation for this, and a way to undue it, no matter what Trent says. Trent is probably talking out of his ass, anyway.
Trent—Extravagance/Lies. Trent is fascinated by the power coursing through his veins, and the thought of all the myths and tales and magic he once claimed to believe actually being TRUE. He fully intends to see just what it is he is now capable of, and what being a vampire means. But he has no desire to let anyone else in on their secret. A good magician (or artist) keeps their tricks secrets, and he is well aware that certain divine truths are only for the Initiated. Well, now he IS the Initiated, and he’s going to get some answers.
Maya has the most complex problem ahead of her. Not only is she cursed to become an undead creature of the night, but she also has the most extreme curse of all the coterie, being turned into a repugnant and disgusting Nosferatu. For her, I roll “Stop/Fame.” She is utterly horrified at what she has become, and just wants it all to end. She has no desire to let anyone know what has befallen her, and sees little if any hope for her condition.
Daron’s delicate attempts to bring up outside help are quickly shot down by both Maya and Trent. But, Trent’s enthusiastic embrace of what has befallen them repulses Maya and Daron. No one is on the same page, and the coterie can agree to little tonight. While they should stick together, they instead decide to attempt to return to their own lives, being physically, mentally, and spiritually drained.
And hungry. They are all still so hungry.
CF remains 7, as the characters didn’t really do anything this scene.
Sunday, November 8th, 1992
Daron heads home to his off-campus apartment. There are still a few things that I don’t know about the characters, so I’ll use the Mythic system to answer them. For example, does Daron have a roommate? He certainly doesn’t need one financially, but it’s always good to have a bro to hang with, or perhaps a girlfriend. Does he live alone? I decide that this is Unlikely, and the result is YES. He has the place to himself, and when he returns, he throws himself into the bed, and sleeps a sleep deeper than he has ever experienced. While he slumbers, his body shakes and violently convulses. If any were to witness, they would assume he was experiencing an intense epileptic seizure, but one that lasted minutes and hours at a time. Daron remains undisturbed, however, as it is merely his body going through its ultimate death, as it finally rids itself of anything resembling mortality.
When he awakens, he is aware of the filthy mess that was once his bed, but is neither horrified nor amused by it. It is simply a thing, a mess to be cleaned. The sheets and blankets and comforter are stuck in the trash, and he thinks that he will need to purchase a new bed. He showers and cleans himself, and, dressing well, he leaves, ignoring the blinking lights on his answering machine. He’s going to get some answers of his own.
However, along the way, there’s an Altered Scene—“Move toward Thread, Persue Attention.” I decide that there are only two threads currently active: 1) Discover what happened to them, and 2) the Police Investigation. Unsure which this related to, I decide to roll for it, even (1) or odd (2)…the result is 1. Since he was already heading to his med student friend, I decide that he simply finds him easily.
Now, who is Daron’s med student friend? I have no particular idea, so I use a combination of a couple random rollers I have to get: Zoe Steinberg, an Insightful Statesman who wants to abuse atrocities, encourage the wealthy, and prepare knowledge. She’s a hard-partying friend of Daron’s, though one who keeps her illicit activities a closely guarded secret—she seems like an ideal pre-med student to everyone, save those who know her. She’s not at her dorm, but working on some project in one of the Biology labs. It is Sunday night, and so there are only a few dedicated students still working when Daron tracks her down. They have the lab, and most of the floor, to themselves.
She of course is concerned for her friend, especially since he missed all the parties this weekend, and he seems so ashen, and distant. He explains that he has come down with something, and needs her help. She’s always been there to help before, though her earlier aid was more focused on getting him access to certain secured rooms and chemicals, never for medical advice. She’s willing to help, but encourages him to go to the campus clinic if there is something seriously wrong. He insists on her help, emphasizing the personal nature of the crisis. She agrees, and does what tests she is familiar enough with to do check.
After the initial, most basic ones, she stops. “You’re fucking with me here, aren’t you?” She says with a smile.
“What do you mean?” Daron asks.
“Your pulse. You don’t have one. And you're holding your breath. What, did you take some,” and with this she rattles off a bizarre string of sounds and syllables that Daron could never hope to replicate.
“No,” he insists. “I’m not ON anything. At least, nothing I know of. Something…bizarre happened on Friday night, I think, and when I woke up last night I was, well, I was like THIS. I haven’t eaten in the past few days, and I’m not hungry,” he lies, “and I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me.”
How does Zoe respond? Inspect/New Ideas.
“Ok, ok,” she says. “Let’s say, for now, I believe you. I still think this is a fucked up joke, but sure. Tell me what happened, and I’ll draw some blood and we’ll see what we can figure out. But if you’re right, I’m not sure what I can do to help—you really should be at the hospital, like…now.”
Does he tell her everything? He wants answers, and he needs answers, and right now, Zoe is his best bet. I roll, considering it Likely, and the result is EXCEPTIONAL YES.
Daron takes a deep breath. “This is going to sound crazy, but I need you to understand. Last Friday night I was heading back to my place after rehearsal. I was going to get changed to head out and…Christ, I’m not sure if I even got home. I mean, when I woke up, I was still wearing the same shit I had on that day, so I don’t know. Anyway, yeah, heading home, park my car then…then the next thing I know I wake up in this fucked up basement….”
He tells her everything, more than he ever intended to. Trent and Maya, they had been there, but they had their own shit to deal with, but Zoe? Zoe he can trust. Zoe is his friend, and has done more fucked up shit with him than anyone else ever had. And once he begins talking, he can’t stop himself.
He tells her about the hunger, and the blood. He tells her about Mavis, and how warm she was. He tells her about Trent and Zoe, and what they did to Vince. He needs her to understand, needs her to believe him. Unprompted, but sensing her doubt, he grabs a scalpel and shows her that he doesn’t bleed, and then they both watch in silent fascination as the cut closes itself before them.
How does Zoe respond to this madness? Break/A Plot.
Zoe stares at him, hard. Unsure of what to say, or what Daron expects her to say. She slowly stands up, saying “there’s, a um, test…strips I need to get. In the back. I want to check something.” And, as calmly as she can, she makes her way to one of the various rooms branching off the lab.
Daron grabs her, hurting her, holding her with too much pressure, too much strength. She gasps, but he barely notices. “Where are you going? You believe me, right? You don’t think I’m crazy?”
“Crazy? Daron, you just told me that you and your friends murdered people. Look, I don’t know if you’re high, or been fucked with somehow, or what, but I don’t know if you’re crazy or not. But I do know you’re hurting me, and you need help.”
Daron looks at the arm, the one that holds her as if she was a child, not really registering it as his own. He forces himself to release her, and calmly tries to reason with her. “Please, Zoe. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s bad. It’s really bad. And I need your help.” Will she?—EXCEPTIONAL NO.
“I am trying to help” she says, and kicks him in the groin before making a desperate run out of the room. Daron barely even feels that attack, and grabs her again, desperately trying to make her understand “Zoe, please, Zoe, look at me, Zoe, stop, please stop, just stay, please stay.”
And with that, she stops. She is still terrified of him, and horrified at what he had told her, but she does as she is told, and stays. Her sudden acquiesce frightens Daron more than her attempt to flee.
“Ok, great,” he says. “Um, how about we sit back down? Is that ok? Or, just move away from the door, alright? Please, just come over here and sit down? Zoe” he focuses himself on her “sit.”
Obediently, and quietly, she sits herself down on the nearest stool. While she says nothing, her face betrays the growing sense of existential terror building within her. Daron himself understands something of that terror, as for the first time, the essentially alien nature of what he has become begins to dawn on him. He is freaking out, and unsure of what to do next.
His first thought is of Vince, and of how Trent did what he had to do. Or so he claimed. He looks at the scalpel on the table, and looks at Zoe. Beautiful, clever, fun Zoe. Of her warmth, and her touch, and of Mavis, and of how cold he is, and how wonderful and peaceful it would be to be warm again. Of how it was her fault, really, if she had just been his friend, had just LISTENED to him, he wouldn’t have to do this.
But, no. He doesn’t know what he is. But he knows he’s not a monster. He talked Suzanne down, and he talked Maya down, and he can talk Zoe down, too. He was always good with a speech when he had to, and this time will be no different.
“Look, Zoe,“ he says. “I…like I said, I think I got hit with some chemical, like, maybe some of that nerve gas shit, or some crazy LSD or something. I don’t…I don’t even know anyone named Maldvis or whatever her name was supposed to be. I just, I’m really messed up, and you’re right. I’m going to go to the hospital and get some help, ok? You were right, and you did help me, and now I’m going to and get some real medical help. Thank you for listening and, I really am sorry that I grabbed you—I shouldn’t have done that, especially with you helping me so much. Just…just write all this up to, you know me, having another crazy weekend. I mean, wouldn’t be the first time I can’t remember something, right? And it’s all so fuzzy and messed up, like a dream, and I don’t even think there WAS a basement—I think I was just in my apartment all weekend, ya know? I think, yeah, one of the guys had dope or something, but it was laced with, well, fuck if I know, but it was like, whoa, ya know? Like, really. So, ok, I’m going to go to the hospital now, ok. Zoe? We’re cool, right Zoe? I mean, you don’t need to tell anyone about this, because I’m going to the hospital, right? Zoe, please, let me know everything is ok.”
Zoe looks at the cold, hard eyes in front of her. Eyes that remind her of someone she once knew, someone she trusted and even loved. But the eyes staring at her belong to no one she has ever seen before. “Sure,” she says, forcing a laugh, telling this stranger in front of her what he needs to hear to let her go. “We’ve all been messed up before, and have crazy dreams and shit. But, um, whatever you got, it’s bad, ok? You really should go and get to the hospital.”
“Right,” the stranger says. “I’ll go right now,” and neither of them are fooled by his lies.
Daron walks quickly out of the Biology building, grateful to be away from the lights and the smells, and from Zoe, and from the fear of what he was ready to do to her. Thoughts of her, and what he had wanted to do, threaten to consume him, but two things bring him to his senses. The first, is the cold, refreshing feeling of snow falling on him, the first real snow of the season, blanketing the campus. Making it looks pure, and new, and innocent. A world where any problem is over at the end of the semester, and everyone knows that nothing they do here has any real consequences, no matter how horrible it may seem at the time.
The second is the flashing lights and sirens of police cruisers driving onto the campus.
The story continues with Trent
The story continues with Trent
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