Thursday, March 9, 2017

Night 2 -- Maya's Story

Maya’s Story

Like the others, there are some questions about Maya that need answering. I use a combination of some random rolls and what I know of her to figure out that Maya lives on campus in an all-girls dorm, sharing it with one of her best friends, Audrey Nakamura, a Thoughtful Artisan.  Audrey was slightly worried when Maya didn’t come home Friday night, but thought little of it. When she didn’t come home Saturday, she grew nervous, but could come up with a few explanations for her missing friend. By Saturday night, she was fearful, and sought out anyone who might know where Maya might be. It was only Maya arriving home near dawn that night that calmed her. She meant to get up, to talk to Maya, to make sure she was ok. But Maya seemed to be in one of her moods, which honestly put Audrey at ease more than anything else. They would talk tomorrow, and she looked forward to the rant that Maya was sure to provide.

When she comes back from lunch, though, things are worse than she could have imagined. Maya’s thrashings freak her out, and there is a horrible smell permeating the room. Every conceivable bodily fluid covers Maya’s bed, and Audrey tries to wake her up, to calm her, to find out what the hell is wrong. Maya has buried herself beneath her blankets, and it’s difficult to get her to wake up. Eventually, she seems to come to, saying odd, nonsensical things. Audrey doesn’t know if its drugs or something worse, and she hesitates, looking at the phone, thinking she needs to call someone. 911 or the RA, she didn’t know, but she had to do something. As the covers are pulled back, she hears Maya saying her name, quietly, as if from a distance. And, where she expected to see her sick friend, she instead sees some horrible thing instead. Unthinking terror grips her heart, and Audrey screams in primal horror.

Maya is barely awake, but the screams snap her to complete consciousness. The utter fear in her friend’s eyes scares her more deeply than she thought possible.  No, she cries to herself, don’t let her see me. Not now, not like this! It is a childish cry, a cry to stop the world, to make something horrible just not happen. But, something inside her answers.  (Obfuscate 2: Charisma + Stealth, 4 dice, versus difficulty Wits (3) + Alertness 1, 4. 2 success) And she seems to vanish from Audrey’s sight. Audrey stares at Maya’s bed, not seeing anything, and not even remembering what had been there that had frightened her so. Seeing the glazed look on Audrey’s face, Maya flees the room that had once been hers. Audrey is left wondering why she had been scared, and figures that it must have been a nightmare, her worry for Maya playing tricks with her. But she cannot explain the ruined state of the bed.

What does Maya do? Assist Portals.

She runs downstairs. In the basement of the building, there is a communal room, clearly meant to serve as a dorm dining room or the like. And, perhaps, at one time it was. Large tables dominate it, with a kitchen off to the side, which was rarely if ever used. She and Audrey and a few others had once thought of doing “weekly dinners” with some friends, and had successfully pulled it off exactly once. But that was the last anyone had used it. She knows there is a cupboard in there, empty save for some old cleaning supplies.

Naturally, some people see her rush down there, but does anyone care? NO, they’re college students, and someone running through the halls at noon does little to draw their notice.  Maya secures herself in the cupboard, and falls back to sleep, hoping she will remain safe and unseen.

Does anyone bother Maya the rest of the day? EXCEPTIONAL NO. Not only is she left unmolested the rest of the day, but when she awakens, no one is around. What is her plan? Kill Environment. 

Maya realizes that she was foolish to have ever come back to her dorm, not even thinking about how she would affect Audrey. She needs to get out. Get out, and not come back until she can find some way to fix this. She needs to get to her room, but can’t bear to see Audrey again. She bides her time, and patiently waits till she’s sure most people will be out to dinner—she knows Audrey often meets with friends on Sunday nights, a sort of continuation of their “family night” plans. Once she figures the time is about right, she calls the dorm, and when she receives no answer, she heads to her room.

Ambiguous Event – Arrive Rumor. As she walks up the back-stair case, she overhears a group of girls talking…apparently, a bunch of student’s bodies were found burned alive, and they’re all “so freaking out” about it. They’re wrong, she thinks, but with word already spreading, the need to get out becomes even more critical. Stealing into her room, she grabs a few changes of clothing, all her cash and ID, her Leatherman, the big “survival” knife, and the can of mace. She dumps her books and notes onto her desk, and tosses what she needs into her backpack. She notices that her bed has been stripped—Audrey being a dutiful friend, or the police gathering evidence, she has no way of knowing. She thinks of calling her parents, letting them know she’s ok. Or leaving a note for Audrey, to reassure her, to explain. But she has no idea what she would say, or how long she will be stuck like this, or how this could hurt them. No, she thinks, only what is necessary.

She does take a moment to hit the showers, to clean herself. It’s her first real look at the changes that have overcome her, and she is fascinated by her new green and molted skin, and it’s dry and cracked nature. Part of her knows she should be horrified and revolted, but it seems so natural and mundane that the very fact it didn’t alarm her is, itself, momentarily alarming.

She dresses, and goes to the mirror, getting a good look at her ruined face. Fuck it, she thinks. This might be what I am now, but it’s not going to last. It does not define me. She smashes the mirror, marveling at her own strength. She pulls a knit cap low over her head, and pulls her hood up, concealing her face from all but the closest examination. It will do, for now.

Two things concern her. First, getting away. Secondly, she needs to feed. It’s difficult to think things through when she’s so hungry, and just wants to lash out at everyone. But what to do? She understands that she’s strong, so much stronger now than ever before. But how strong? And what was that thing with Audrey? She saw her, Maya knew. Looked right at her. And then…forgot. For how long? Why? She needs answers, but she needs time. What does she do? Desert Liberty.

First, run. Rumors are already spreading, and she appreciates just how vulnerable she is if she needs to sleep or if anyone gets a good look at her. She can’t risk anyone wanting to ask questions. As calmly as she can, she starts walking off campus, just another student carrying a heavy back pack, off to study someplace quiet.

She’s not going to make class tomorrow. Or the next day. How long till she can get her life back? Will she? She shakes her head, driving the thoughts from her mind. She needs to focus on the now, the right here. She needs to focus only on what is necessary. Get away. Get someplace safe to hole up. Get food.

No, not food she reminds herself. Blood. She needs blood. She’s a vampire, and vampires drink blood. They’re not food, they’re people. People like Vince.  Vince, who she killed. Vince, who she murdered for his blood. He had a name, and he was her friend, and she killed him. Does she need to kill? Does it have to be people? Too many questions, and no one knows the answers. Not even Trent. Wait, where was Trent? And Daron? She needs to find them. Later though, she needs to eat, no, DRINK, and soon.

Character plan: Violate/Opulence

A homeless person, or a sex worker, perhaps? She knows that violence on such unfortunates is endemic, and the police will think little of investigating such people. But she can’t bear to inflict more misery on people already so ground down. Perhaps someone more…deserving of a little karmic justice. Rousseau did teach that when the people had nothing to eat, they would eat the rich. Perhaps it is time to set some theory into practice.

She takes the bus downtown. The night is quiet, being Sunday, but there are always some late diners enjoying their fancy meals, or yuppies who just can’t resist throwing their money away on expensive and fashionable booze, or other, even more cosmopolitan delights.  Few notice her, and if she is quiet and still, no one seems to pay her any mind at all. She finds a likely spot and waits. It takes time. She’s never sure what she’s doing, so she shifts, darting from shadow to shadow, doorway to doorway. Waiting for the right moment.

It seems to come a half dozen times. Lone men walking alone, heading down alleys ways. But it never feels right, there’s always a friend calling out to them, or another behind them. Once, she felt ready to, but a passing police car forced her back to the shadows. The man saw her, or at least saw her movement, and she notices that whatever stealth her new form has given her has its limits.
It is an interesting experience. She knew she was stronger than ever before, but it is amusing how the shadows seem to fit around her, concealing hers from others. Two things, in particular truly strike out at her. First, the waiting, the stalking, the (to be perfectly honest) hunting isn’t boring. It is...pleasant. Enjoyable, in its own way. It feels right, and proper. She was prepared to grow bored waiting and watching, but instead finds herself fascinated at the passing of the people along the street. Their idle movements, their blindness to the danger that watched them. Secondly, is how her body responds. It never gets tense, or sore. She can hold an awkward crouch, say the kind that would kill her thighs in Judo after a minute or two, for as long as she desires. She had understood, in a way, that she was “dead,” or at least that’s how Trent described it. But she didn’t really appreciate how few weaknesses inherent to being alive she no longer had to worry about. The smell of a dumpster doesn’t bother her—she doesn’t need to breathe, and even when she thinks about it, the grotesque smell of trash seemed…merely present. She is aware of it, of course, and knows that is foul, but it does not bother her. Rats and cockroaches that once had revolted her have become merely things, no more unnerving than anything else around her.  In fact, she notices with wry amusement, they seem far more scared of her than she had ever been of them.

Finally, after hours, she finds herself creeping in a doorway, when some Gordon Gecko wannabe comes walking by, yapping into his cell phone, bragging about crushing some deal or perhaps some woman, it is hard for her to follow. And she really doesn’t really care. There is no one else on the street, it is quiet, and he is alone. He had obviously thought himself a “master of the universe,” one who could walk where he wanted, when he wanted, and he expected safety. No, not just safety. Deference. Obedience.  And every night until now, he had been right.

But not this night.

Waiting until he had just walked past, Maya makes a second check on the street to ensure their privacy. Once she is sure they are truly alone, she pounces, willing her instincts to take over. She quickly knocks him down, her new strength dropping him to the ground. His surprise at the suddenness of the attack works against his attempts to throw her off, and when he sees her face, he freezes in shock. Leaning over the man, she bites, deeply, drinking her fill. She becomes lost in the sheer pleasure of the moment, feeling his heart beat, feeling it as if it were own, finally beating again. Only now does she realize just how much she had missed it.  A simple thing, perhaps, but one that had always been a part of her life and now, for a few moments, back again. Drinking the life out of this stranger, she has a sense of peace and calm that she had never known before. With Vince, things had been too chaotic and frightening for her to truly appreciate the taste and pleasure and unity that comes from consuming another being.

She sits on the street, watching the body cool, the snow fall, and marvels at how peaceful and calm the world seems now. She hears, in the distance, the sound of sirens. She listens with casual interest. It takes her awhile to even begin to think that the noise might even remotely involve her. Once she does, the horror and travesty of what she had done begins to well up inside of her, but she refuses to acknowledge it. There is work to do.  And she must do what is necessary.

She can’t let anyone know what she was, or what she had done. She rifles through the man’s pockets, taking his wallet and cash and cell phone. She takes out her knife, and stashes his throat, destroying the incriminating puncture wounds. Would it be enough? Would the cops chalk it up to a random street crime? Some desperate criminal with a knife, and a man in the wrong place, at the wrong time? They would investigate it, she knows, for he was rich and white, the kind of victim to ensure a thorough hunt. Would they think he had died there? The lack of blood might make them thing he was dumped here, but there was some blood, glistening in the snow. Could she move it? Did she have time? For the first time that night, she feels fear. Dear lord, what has she done? She has been operating all night on sheer instinct and cold logic, forcing her feelings deep inside. 

She looks back, but all she sees is Vince, laying there, betrayed and murdered by people who should have been his friend, people he should have been able to rely on. She runs deep into the alleys, running from the body and his accusing glare, running from what she has done.

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