Author Topic: Late-Night Snack  (Read 7511 times)

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Offline Cy for Cypher

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Late-Night Snack
« on: March 01, 2011, 11:09:29 AM »
The previous night, Ami would have had strange dreams.

They were amorphous, but powerful, pure surges of emotion that pounded through the dark spaces behind her eyes. She would be taken on a pure chemical roller-coaster, sometimes frightening, sometimes elating, but always, always exhilarating. The dream came in a slow surge of slowly building anticipation and ended in a cymbal-crash of adrenaline before it finally left her to her much-deserved rest.

Not before it imparted a message on her subconscious, though.

Leave your window open tomorrow night.

There could be little doubt as to the identity of the creature that had played her slumbering brain like an electric guitar. And, even if there was, after dark, Left Leventhal removed what remained of it when he appeared the next night, quite without preamble, leaning on her windowsill. He looked much the same as he always had, grinning like the cat that ate the canary, his gingery hair brushed back and his eyes hidden by his sunglasses.

“Been a while since I had a dream that good,” he drawled casually, “You got one hell of an imagination, girl.”

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2011, 11:36:53 AM »
Unlike most people, Ami normally dreamt in black and white, but her dreams were always abnormally vivid – possibly because of her photographic memory. Or her ritual use of hallucinogens.

Whatever the case, however, night-before-last\'s dreams had been crazy weird and in color. She  couldn\'t precisely recall what she\'d dreamed about (Though at one point she\'d been a spy), but the whole time she felt like she\'d been sliding headfirst down an ice tunnel, and at the bottom there was either a pile of knives or a pile of fluffy, indestructible puppies.

She woke up sweaty, with a message in her brain. She didn\'t ignore messages from people who could make her dream like that.

The next night, her window had been open for approximately three minutes when Lefty showed up – to find his host still in the violently red silk kimono she used as a bathrobe, cigarette in one hand, coffee mug in the other, glaring haggard-eyed morning-hate at the open window.

One minute there was nothing there, the next –

"Fuck!" Ami seemed to be on the floor.

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2011, 11:49:47 AM »
Lefty’s grin vanished and he dove for the coffee cup, managing to catch it artfully by the bottom before it unleashed a hot caffeinated apocalypse onto the carpet. He stood up, one brow raising behind the dark lenses of his sunglasses at the woman sprawled on the floor in front of him. “What, is that how they’re doing it nowadays?” He turned and, with great delicacy, set the coffee cup on the windowsill. “Man, I spend too much time in the country.”

And then fell flat on his rump in an ungainly heap of limbs in front of Ami, grinning broadly. Might as well level the playing field, so to speak. “Hey doll, what’s shakin’?”

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2011, 12:02:40 PM »
Goddamn, her combat skills were way off. She\'d meant to lunge for the machete on the bedside table, but all she\'d gotten was a faceful of carpeting.

She glared up at her intruder as he spoke, but her look softened as soon as she recognized him. Though peeved, she even gave him one of her mouth-twitch miles as she pushed herself up off the carpet into a sitting position, legs outstretch on the carpet in front of her.

She should\'ve known it was him; who else would be interested in her dreams?  The lapels of her robe were gaping apart slightly as a result of her tumble, and she rearranged them unselfconsciously while shaking her head.
"Fuckin\' Lefty," she muttered, trying and failing to sound annoyed, "Shakin\'? Nothing shakin\' here. The hell you been?"

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2011, 12:12:50 PM »
“What, you were expecting maybe…” Lefty began, and then was quite unable to think of a suitable person to complete the phrase. Frowning, he added, “Uh, anyone else?”

His grin returned full-force. “Ain’t nobody but me can craft a dream like that, girl. Consider yourself blessed.” His reputation secured, he went on, “The real question is, where haven’t I been? And the answer to that would be… uh, east coast. I went west. I was out in Oregon for a while. Checking out some stuff. Hit the road and went south. Nearly got hit by a train. Stopped in Mexico for the November holiday.” He cleared his throat and added in a dark, portentous voice, “El Dia de los Muertos.”

“Aaand then I went north. Hit New Mexico. Seemed appropriate.” He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, his leather jacket creaking slightly at the change in position. “You wouldn’t believe the kind of people you run into at truck stops,” he confided, his voice deadpan and his expression serious.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2011, 12:20:06 PM »
Ami\'s left eyebrow crept higher and higher toward her hairline – still as short and black as ever – while her companion spoke.

"Believe me when I tell you I would." Ami looked at the cigarette in her hand; frowned and flicked it away when she saw that she\'d crushed it, "Somebody offered to pay me twenty bucks for Morgaine at a truck stop once."

"You want some, uh, coffee?" she asked. When Archer had been around, she\'d learned how to be a good host. Well, an okay host, at least. "Or breakfast, I guess. You can tell me about almost getting hit by a train while I make it."

Breakfast, of course, would be Hot Pockets – but he didn\'t need to know that jsut yet.

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 12:27:12 PM »
“Whaaat? Your lead singer? That’s crazy.” His nose wrinkled in distaste. He stood and offered her a hand. “She’s worth at least fifty if you ask me.”

Assuming Ami allowed him to pull her up, and was able to stand on her own two feet without further assistance, he stuffed his hands into his jean pockets and shook his head. “No thanks,” he replied, looking over the tops of his sunglasses at her with those uncanny orange eyes of his, “Already ate.” He turned and retrieved her cup of coffee, offering it back to her. “I might take you up on the coffee, though. I don’t care who you are or what you are, caffeine is damned addicting.”

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 12:33:58 PM »
Ami snorted in reply. She\'d offered to let the guy take her for free; then Morgaine had lunged over the gas station counter after and impudent attendant, and mr. Truck Stop lost interest.

She looked at the offered hand critically for a moment before letting him pull her to her feet. Once there, she adjusted the short kimono and shrugged. That was just as well; Ami wasn\'t particularly interested in sharing her Hot Pockets, anyway. They were dinner food.

Gracioulsy, she accepted the mug of still-hot coffee, "Thanks for saving that."

At his request, she moved into the tiny kitchenette to pour him a cup of coffee, "You\'re still not getting out of telling me about the train."

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 12:50:06 PM »
“Hey, I’m a gentleman, ain’t I?” Never mind that he messed with Ami’s subconscious and appeared more or less uninvited in her hotel room. He figured that counted as gentlemanly behavior between friends. He trotted after her, still talking. “Hey, it’s a good story. I wouldn’t let you finish breakfast without hearing it. So. It started,” he began dramatically, “when I pissed someone off.”

Lefty had his run-in on the return trip, in St. Louis. He had decided to head home and had been following the Amtrak line north from Fort Worth, stopping every now and again to absorb the local color or dip into someone’s home for a snack. He was indiscriminate with his victims, but, being a generally kinder-spirited nightmare, never gave them anything too nasty.

He preferred the taste of exhilaration. “That dream I gave you last night? Like a fine wine,” he said, shaking his head. “Except, you know, less sour, and it didn’t smell as bad…” He paused. Hmm. Perhaps his comparison was lacking something…  “Man, it was like an old-fashioned Coke. Right out of the bottle.” Better.

One of his stops happened to be the home of what he could only describe as a magician. Humans were born without inherent powers, but they didn’t lack for cleverness, and this fellow knew his lore. “He… uh, got me. Woke up in the middle of the damn dream and got me.” He didn’t tell her how the man had “got him,” even though he liked and trusted Ami not to abuse the knowledge. The man had simply plugged the keyhole to his bedroom while Lefty was still inside.

And the guy had used Silly Putty. As if being caught wasn’t embarrassing enough! “So I had to stick around and do that guy’s heavy lifting for three weeks. And by heavy lifting I mean spying. It wasn’t even the cool kind of spying,” he protested. “It was like, ‘Is my neighbor stealing my mail?’ kinda stuff.”

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 12:57:04 PM »
"Got you?" she looked over her shoulder at him, brow raised. She pictured a big burly man not unlike Homer Simpson attacking Lefty with a lei. The corner of her mouth twitched upwards in a smile.

But she wasn\'t about to make fun of the guy for his weakness. Any more.

Her nose wrinkled, however, at the mention of mail theft. How lame.

"So where\'s the train?" she asked, turning to lean back against the kitchenette counter and holding the steaming mug out toward her guest. If he needed cream or sugar, she assumed he\'d ask. And be SOL, anyway.

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 02:20:26 PM »
“Hey, I’m getting’ there,” he replied, taking the coffee with a grin. He held it in front of him, but didn’t drink yet, as he was still rather absorbed in his storytelling. “Okay, so. Two weeks, I’m this guy’s stooge. I hafta do whatever he says, and the only way I get out of this is if I get done with the task he set for me. So I’m thinking, I gotta find a loophole. It’s all in the wording.”

He began to gesture loosely with the coffee cup. “His exact words were, ‘serve me dutifully until such a time as I have been satisfied with your diligence in the conspiracies against me.’ Apparently he thought he had to put on airs or something.” Lefty snorted. It wasn’t the same truncated gesture that most humans made; it was more like a full-blown exhale and decidedly equine in nature. It was a small reminder that the leather-clad man standing in front of Ami was only shaped like a human. For now. “I told him I spoke plain English, but that ticked him off. So anyway, I’m workin’ on a way to get out of this, and it’s so simple that I miss it for a while. I just got to uncover some kind of conspiracy, and then get him to tell me good job. That counts as being satisfied, in my book.”

He went on, “The trouble was, nobody was conspiring against him. He actually had some decent friends. I think the only time any one of his paranoid delusions came true was when I visited him.” He grinned crookedly. “So I figure I gotta do something. I start leaving suggestions in his friends’ dreams. Tell ‘em he’s doing nasty stuff--stealing and lying and talking bad about them behind their backs. I tell him something completely different, that someone is spreading rumors and that his friends are involved in bad stuff and generally getting him wound up. Sooner or later it all kind of boils over and there’s this big knock-down drag-out three way fight. And in the end, he thinks everyone was out to get him the whole time." Lefty was aware that he had potentially ruined those friendships forever, but he felt he was justified. That was what you got for screwing with a nightmare.

“Then I gotta kiss his ass and tell him how sorry I am it had to end like that. And he says, ‘You did what you could,’ which was good enough for me. I laugh and his face and tell him it\'s time to split.” He took a deep breath. “And I started to. But the bastard threw a horseshoe at me! He had one nailed over his door. Iron freaking horse shoe.” He paused uncertainly, and then decided to apparently trust Ami with another tidbit of nightmare lore. “I don’t like iron. It burns us nightmares.” He started to take a sip of his coffee, then paused, pulling it away before he could. “Wait. Where was I?”

He blinked. “Oh, right. Iron. So. It hurts a whole fucking lot. I kind of freak out like… uh, like that one time, and he sees my true form. Then he freaks out. Then I freak out some more, and I make a break for it. Bust out his whole damn window.” He looked particularly proud about that. He set the coffee down, because his hand gestures were becoming more and more animated, and he was in danger of spilling it. “And I just run. Man, I just keep running. I can’t change back, I’m out in the open, there’s some angry guy yelling at me through his window, I hurt, and I am not even paying attention to where I’m going. And when I stop…”

He paused dramatically. “Train tracks. Standing on the wooden part. The rails are steel, so they don’t bother me. And I take a moment to catch my breath--not that I was actually breathing, not having, y\'know, lungs at the time--and then there’s this… this huge sound--” Lefty’s descriptive powers apparently failed him then. "--and there’s a train! Heading right for me! So I high-tail it out of there and run summore.” He paused. “I mean, it was kind of far away. Far enough so that I didn’t notice the light right away. I actually could’ve stayed there for like five more minutes and been okay. But still. It could have hit me. What the hell, we\'ll say it almost did. Makes for a better story.” He scooped up the coffee and took a swig. “So there it is. The story of how I almost for hit by a train. Got any cream or sugar for this?”

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 02:44:36 PM »
As he recounted his tale, Ami\'s face retained it\'s default expression of near-boredom, but she found herself leaning forward inch by inch as he spoke. Ami love a good story, and if there was one thing she could say about Lefty, it was that he told a good story.

Also that he turned into a horse skeleton when girls tried to kiss him. But that was another can of worms.

Her expression remained placid when he told her about the iron, but she nodded slightly in acknowledgment. The information didn\'t exactly come as a surprise, however – she\'d learned that creatures of the ether tended not to like the heavy metals.

When he was finished, she took a sip of her own coffee and nodded, clearly satisfied. Even if he didn\'t really get almost hit by a train.

The nod quickly turned to an emphatic head-shake, "Nope. Joe nextdoor might. Could pay him a visit."

She needed to get dressed, anyway. It would be nice to be able to do it without having to worry about him sneaking a peek and turning into the aforementioned demon-horse.

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2011, 02:29:33 AM »
Lefty regarded his coffee dubiously at the information. “Okay. Be right back.” Whether or not he understood Ami’s motivations or was really just game to go and knock on random people’s doors for sugar was a mystery. He had yet to really get to know the other member of the Wild Hunt.

No time like the present, right? He left Ami to her clothes-changing and stepped out into the hallway. Wait. She’d said next door, but which next door? Maybe he should’ve asked. Instead of ducking back in and doing just that, he decided to try the one on the left. Hell, if it wasn’t her friend Joe, maybe they’d still have some sugar. He knocked on the door politely and waited.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2011, 08:52:37 AM »
Lucky for Lefty, he\'d picked right with door number one. Door number two would have lead to an encounter with unhappy Armenian man with whom the Hunt was not associated.

As it was, a refrigerator-sized blonde black man wearing a wife beater and khaki shorts answered the door and looked down at lefty. Then he looked some more, as if trying very hard to recognize the sunglasses-clad man. With a frown, he realized he couldn\'t. Instead, he said "Hey."

In the room behind Joe, somebody was singing.

Offline Cy for Cypher

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Re: Late-Night Snack
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 04:31:03 AM »
Lefty looked up, and up, and up, at Joe. Then he very slowly reached up with his free hand and slid his glasses further down his nose, peeping over the top of them at him with his weirdly-reflective orange eyes, as if making sure that what he was seeing was really there. Yep. A man big enough to break him in two.

“I really hope you’re Joe,” was his response. “Cause if you’re not, I am so sorry to have bothered you.” He slid the sunglasses up and a brilliant smile replaced his previous dumbfounded expression. “Hi! I’m Lefty. Friend of Ami’s. I hear tell that you got all the cream and sugar ‘round these parts…” He held up his coffee cup.