Author Topic: The Return  (Read 247 times)

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Offline rainshadowck

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The Return
« on: March 28, 2019, 09:57:40 PM »
Sonya was silent during the car ride to Awelfor Manor, eyes fixed out the window and scanning the trees on the side of the road.  When she had awoken there in Damien’s basement, alone save for him and one of Pierre’s fledges, she was filled with a kind of dread that she could not place.  Damien had politely requested to check her mind for signs of instability, and she hesitated before fully drawing back all of her defenses like a curtain.  She felt rather like a specimen under examination, sharing these parts of herself only with her fledges.  With Nadia.

The last few days had been a blur for the vampire--and there was nearly a decade-long void in her mind.  It was as close as she could be brought back to and that had seemed adequate enough for now in order for her to go home.  Damien had told her she was gone for eighteen months.  That she had appeared suddenly in a bar dressed like it was the 1900s.  That she had attacked him, Pierre, and yes--Nadia, in a frenzy.  That Pierre had only stopped her by breaking her neck, rendering her unconscious for two days as she healed.  She remembered none of it, and if it weren’t for the serious expressions on his face she would have thought they were all trying to pull something.  The weakness that she revealed to Damien and Pierre was a point of shame.  Never had she intended--

to hurt her, why did she hurt her?

--for them to witness such an intimate part of her existence.

Finally, he told her what she had most dreaded to hear--why she had awoken alone without her daughter. Gone.  She's gone.  Too much damage now.  Far too late to try to...  And in that moment rapids of panic swept over her, threatening to pull her under once again.  Thoughts were a chorus of din.  The intensity was sobering and instead, she fell into a deep silence. 

The car passed a spot at the mouth of the driveway and she became aware of the fact that there was a body stored there in the woods.  Wordlessly she passed this information to Damien, unable to restrain the fear from passing with it.  She knew enough not to do this sort of thing within the city limits, that there were consequences to that now.  She truly must have been out of her mind to be this careless, and she was seized with the cold realization that there could be other kills scattered throughout the city.  Would she be able to remember them?  A chill moved palpably through her as the car moved down the driveway and approached the gate to her home.

Sonya strained against herself, reaching for memories that faded when she approached.  Thoughts slipping like silk over her mind, a gentle tease before dissolving into nothingness, a scarf carried away by a gale.

When the car finally came to a stop Sonya sat motionless, feeling through the tension for some semblance of reassurance.  She would have felt immense shame for this before, but that seemed to fall away.  He had traversed through her mind--there was nothing left to hide from him.   Wordlessly she stepped from the car and made her way up the steps to the front door.

Crossing over the threshold of her own house made her feel as though she were revisiting an empty dream.  Her eyes lingered on the painting in the foyer of her sire, holding his memory in her mind as if it were someone else’s.  Gradually she drifted further into the house, listening, smelling.  Nothing was familiar here, though an echo of déjà vu persisted at the back of her mind. 

The grand room that held the piano was where she came to a pause before gliding over to the instrument.  She slowly dragged her fingers through the dust and held them up to her face, studying the dirt with a strange kind of fixation.  There was an image that came to her mind of that soft Italian human, his number on a scrap of paper, his warm fingers on the keys of the piano.  On the top of the piano sat that same scrap, though it was face-down underneath an ashtray full of unfamiliar cigarettes.  With stony expression, she tipped it over to let the ash and butts spill and pulled the phone number into her hand.  She reached for the cellphone--her cellphone--that lay by the mess, holding and studying it in an unfamiliar way.  It took her a moment of haphazardly pressing and holding down different buttons before deciding that its battery was drained.  She couldn’t remember how to charge the thing and wasn’t about to ask.

Still holding the scrap of paper, she moved through the room to the doors and stepped out onto the deck.  She was greeted by the ocean breeze, the salt air teasing stray locks of hair as she walked to the edge of the railing.  Memories held by a dam, unreachable as if beyond thick ice.  There was something here between images of masquerade parties and rubbing elbows with other wealthy elites.  The closer she examined it the stronger a sense of terror grew within her.  Sonya set it aside for now, leaning over the railing and looking out at her estate.

There was a ghost of something here in this place, making the hair on the back of her neck bristle.  As she stood in this very spot it was almost as if she could feel someone’s hands at her waist and lips on her shoulder, somewhere deep in a memory.  When she drew her mind closer for examination, the feeling tumbled out of reach into the void.  There was a sharp tremor in her hands. 

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 09:59:16 AM »
He had made the executive decision to get rid of the blood-soaked dress she was wearing when they found her. He had sent one of Pierre's fledges to Sonya's house to retrieve better, more modern clothing with the hopes of keeping her both chronologically and physically comfortable as she adjusted to life outside of the sea floor. When Sonya had at last awoken, slightly disoriented, mildly pained, and highly embarrassed, Damien had offered her a hot shower and her own clothing as a first step towards returning to life. They didn't speak of the things that Damien had found in her mind and he tried to give her the benefit of not examining anything too deeply as he searched for traces of her madness. There was time missing, but not as much as he had first witnessed. It was a jump she would be able to coordinate on her own when she was ready - especially now that Damien was lacking in stamina to maintain proper mental guidance.

The headache he received from Sonya's rehabilitation still lingered. Damien was in the final stages of healing from Sonya's mental attack on him, but that damned headache still remained a constant, tiring reminder of all that they had been through over the past few days.

Pierre and Nadia were both, essentially, unreachable. When Damien rang and texted his fledge, there was nothing but the simplest of responses from him. Nadia, they both knew without having to verbalize it, was done with it all. The rehabs, the wild dramas, the abuse. A part of him ached for Sonya, one of his oldest friends, and that was the part of him that kept itself by Sonya's side, despite the mental attack. After all the loss and love found in his life, Damien didn't want to imagine what it must feel like to lose the affection and favor of an only fledge, as Sonya was facing now. So he stood silently. He remained silent as she explored the house, but kept a friendly tether to her, like holding the hand of a new widow. Instead he followed Sonya at a great distance, giving her the space to be alone in her house again, half-hoping it would jog the rest in her to keep her in the present.

But he missed Rachel terribly and was regretting his self-sacrificing behavior more and more. As he followed Sonya through the house, he wished that he could comfortably leave her to her own devices without worrying about her mental state. The pull of anxiety in his chest reminded him how bad of an idea it was. Sonya wouldn't be back to her proud self for a while yet, and the knowledge sat just as uncomfortably with him as staying to help her did.

"Do you remember anything at all here?" He said, joining her on the porch outside as she looked over the ocean she had recently arrived from. He wondered if it were a safe thing to allow. Sonya said nothing to him, as if he wasn't there. Damien could see the tremor and thought to ignore it. But instead, he placed his hand over the Ancient's on the banister in the most gentle way he could manage. He stood in silence, anticipating some kind of response, hoping for something positive.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline rainshadowck

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Re: The Return
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 03:34:03 AM »
There was something there, like frantic whispering under the din of panic.  She was straining--straining to go to it, to remember, to listen.  Thousands of claws dragging, pulling desperately, holding her back in the mire.  The tremor had spread up her arm and there was a flash of something--a fragment of memory carried over a voice--

"If you go back in there to it, I'll leave. But don't insult either one of us and sleep with it."

Sonya pulled sharply away from Damien, expression black with anger and fear for only a second before falling back into the tension of barely holding things together.  He had asked her a question--what had he said?  Did she remember something.

"Not really," she lied, voice weak and trembling.  She cleared her throat needlessly and turned away, back toward the house, and leaned her back against the railing.  She wouldn't--couldn't look at the thing beyond the veil here.  She didn't need to, it wasn't...important anymore.  Trivial drivel.  Yes, that was it.  A piece of her stony mask slid back into place and she felt, for a moment, a hint of confidence touch her.

"The parties."  She spoke barely above a whisper, reaching instead for those memories.  When was the last time she had hosted one?  Perhaps she could do that again.  It would be good to get back to familiar things.  Familiar people.  But what was the point of it all?  What was she doing with her time here?  She didn't give a shit about any of these people, the gossip, the politics, the bullshit networking--it was all a waste of time.  Keeping up appearances.  But for who?  To what end?  Someone had asked her these questions before. 

"What are you so frightened of? You who has all of Florence wrapped around her pinky-finger? You who has everything she could have possibly wanted?"

No, stay away from that one too.

Drawing her arms around her body, she squeezed her eyes shut and hugged herself tightly.  Her mind reached again to her Nadia--and a pain like twisting a knife into her gut blossomed through her abdomen.  She wanted desperately to reach through the blood and pull her fledge back, knowing that it would draw her here regardless of what Naida wanted.  It would only do further harm, and Sonya knew this more than anything else. 

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 11:43:31 AM »
Damien's frown deepened as she pulled roughly away from him. She was lying to him. He had always been able to see when she was lying - it was very much akin to the way Lucretia had lied. But there was sympathy for her still. He didn't feel the urgency to press into her mind to find what she had found out - the recent loss of Nadia was enough for Sonya to deal with without also having her privacy shredded to pieces.

It was uncomfortable to watch her so pained, both because of the pain itself and the observance of the suffering of it from the Ancient who was so private about her true feelings. He was at a loss for words for both himself and for her. His instinct was to provide comfort and protection and recovery as best he could, but Sonya had rejected his attempts. The current uncomfortable dynamic between them made for another awkward moment on Damien's end.

He exhaled and looked out over the sea, the same view as Sonya. His comment had slipped out before he had time to stop himself, the overwhelming urge to fix her problem flavoring the tone. "Just give her time, Odessa. She just needs some time."
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline rainshadowck

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Re: The Return
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2019, 04:06:44 AM »
"Easy enough for you to say," she spat, leaping to anger like the comfort of a warm embrace.  He had his fledge.  He had his love. 

"I will be lucky to see her again."  Sonya turned again toward the ocean, a tempest of desperation beneath of venom of her voice.  The railing groaned beneath her biting fingers as anger and fear moved within her--two tides competing for one shore.  She grappled with wanting to be left alone and desperately needing his support.

You must find me an awful pathetic sight, she mused bitterly into the ether, unwilling to speak it aloud. 

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2019, 04:30:46 AM »
The connection that he had maintained with her mentally snapped as she lashed out at him, Damien instinctively cutting ties in fear of his own mental peace. Walls replaced his friendly tether, despite his best attempts to hold them at bay. The warm embrace of his friendship was stained with his reluctance to open up to her and offer his support. He scolded himself for that comment, knowing that such a comment would never have been helpful to her.

I do not see you that way, he breathed silently, truthfully to her, re-establishing a firmer hold on her hand - but only mentally. His affection for her bled through that connection as he looked out at the sea, his tone in her head soft, but distant. I see you as a woman who has lost her way, lost her child. I see you as a woman on the verge of a change and I fear for you. For what you could become, for what you may miss in this endless life. I fear losing you to this madness. Because I know that there is more than this to you.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline rainshadowck

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Re: The Return
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2019, 04:50:26 AM »
Sonya was stunned into silence at his reply and stared openly at him with a questioning expression.  There was the furious impulse within her to lash out at him again--but he had spoken truth.  She was reluctant to feel it, to acknowledge his wisdom.  Deep shame clawed at her throat from the inside, intensifying when she felt the affectionate current passed to her.  She looked away, back to the sea, and said nothing to him for some time.  What could she even say?

There was an urge somewhere to cry, leaving her feeling like a foolish child and she fought stubbornly against it.  It was astounding to her that he had stuck by, in spite of what she had done.  This reminded her of the value she placed on their friendship and, uncharacteristically of the proud woman, she felt guilty for betraying it so viciously.  All of this swirled within and around her, mixing with a sense of terror that she would be flung apart and scattered into the wind.  A tremor began again and she gripped the railing tighter to suppress it.  The crushed railing would have to be replaced if she remembered to care about such a thing.

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2019, 08:17:15 AM »
He felt the coloring of her emotion - her anger, fear, shame, even guilt - and remained there with her, weathering her storm. Gently, he placed his hand back over hers and continued looking out over the sea.

I know you are strong, he passed to her like a summer breeze. You do not have to convince me. And I know that you are hurt. You have changed, Odessa. We have all changed, despite our remaining the same. We must allow for change in order to remain here. That has been our problem, you and I. We have always tried to keep things the same because we believed that they would.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

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Re: The Return
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2019, 08:48:24 AM »
Exhaustion washed over her, battling against the chaos within, Nadia's image firmly at the center.

Without her fledge, Sonya had no one.

What am I supposed to do?  a frantic and broken thing emerged from her.  She gripped Damien's hand, gentler than the railing, still shaking.

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2019, 09:25:26 AM »
He found it interesting - relieving even - that Nikolai had never come to her mind, locking the thought away from her. Damien fought with himself over it.

On the one hand the prick had seemed to provide her with some sense of comfort. Certainly he had been aware of the physicalness between the two of them, the lust, the hunt for life, the debauchery. He had become a part of her daily life before she had gone to sea, his scent familiar on every surface of her house. They had wasted several years together and Odessa seemed, more or less, content. And then there was the fact that it was Nikolai who had brought it to their attention that Sonya was missing in the first place all those months ago. He was the one who had found her cellphone, keys, and personal items left behind gathering dust. It was Nikolai who first contacted Nadia, who had then reached out to Pierre to get Damien involved.

On the other hand, Damien was suspicious about how much of a role Nikolai played in pushing Odessa into the sea. He was insane, with no interest in anyone but himself. He was a wildfire that was actively trying to spread and had set Sonya in his sights. Nikolai Armani had no morals, no standards, no backbone or loyalty to anyone. Damien had a very difficult coming to terms with the idea that he could offer Sonya anything of substance other than carnal satisfaction. Nikolai had willingly betrayed his good friend in order to save his own ass. He had betrayed Rachel and Damien had almost lost her and Pierre to Laurent all in one night. He was part of the reason Rachel couldn't leave during the day.

He hated the brat, hated the idea that Odessa had wasted her time with him. He was nothing but poison to everything he touched. So Damien bit his tongue and locked the reminder of Nikolai away. She didn't need to remember him right now anyway. Damien would prefer to keep it that way.

His thoughts returned to Sonya, his dear friend. He allowed a touch of his own sadness to wash over her. I don't know, Odessa. But you must find something. Return to your painting, or find something new. A new place, a new hobby, a new love. He gave her a mental caress like a hand on her shoulder. You will find your way again, dear one.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline rainshadowck

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Re: The Return
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2019, 08:42:42 AM »
Sonya shook her head but otherwise said nothing to reply.  It all seemed so trivial.  She just wanted Nadia.

She withdrew her hand, shoulders slumped slightly, and turned away from the sea back toward the house.  The phone number on the crumpled piece of paper was still in her hand and she peered down at it, expressionless. 

"I need to charge my telephone."  She stated hoarsely and made a move to go back into the house directly to the piano where the phone had gathered dust.  The charger would be somewhere in the kitchen, still plugged into an outlet on the island.  She would remember that eventually as she searched.

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2019, 09:19:52 AM »
Cellphone, he thought to himself, not pressing it into their connection. She left and he stood there on the deck looking after her.

I can't stay, Odessa. I have a displaced human who needs to be home now. He shifted his hold on her, preparing to release her to her own devices. It was certainly not something he was looking forward to, but the urge to return to his life was strong enough to keep him standing firm in this resolution. May I visit you again soon?
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

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Re: The Return
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2019, 09:24:19 AM »
Of course, dear. She paused, the dead cellphone in her hand, and turned back toward the deck where she left him.

Damien, She gazed openly at him, passing a deep sense of sorrow between them, I am sorry for the trouble I have caused you.  And she meant it.

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: The Return
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2019, 09:52:12 AM »
Damien smiled sadly. Thank you. My wounds are healed already, my friend. And it was true. The younger vampire had already forgiven her for the whole situation. Of the four who lived together in Paris, Damien had been the least affected by Sonya's actions and for that he was thankful.

Time heals everything one way or another, he reminded her softly as he took her hand and kissed it goodbye. With enough time, all will be forgiven.

He bid his friend farewell aloud, the mental conversation becoming too much for his recovering psyche. Damien walked back to his car alone, his thoughts closed off from the Ancient and focusing on the task of picking up Rachel and relaxing with her after too many nights spent blind. As he drove, he decided that it would be for the best to not tell Rachel all of the details behind his growing headache.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

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Re: The Return
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2019, 10:24:31 AM »
She put little trust in his parting thoughts, unwilling to see that anything about the situation could be reconciled.  Nadia was gone, left her in this disoriented state.  Gone. 

Sonya walked with Damien to the front of her house and watched his car leave the property.  There was panic edging in as he left--would he truly come to check on her, or would he leave her alone too?

Emptiness crept in to fill the void and she turned back into the house.  She spent some time checking each outlet methodically before finally finding the charger for her phone, feeling foolish all the while because this was something that she should've remembered.  With the plug in her hand, the knowledge of what to do with it finally emerged from the darkness of her amnesia.  She watched the blank screen for a moment as it accumulated enough of a charge to finally power on.  As soon as the screen lit up, the phone vibrated intensely in her hand and she almost dropped it.

There were a total of nine missed calls. Six of them, as well as seven text messages, were from the same number.  The contact name was not stored.  The only contact names that were stored were Damien and Nadia--that much she could remember.  Sonya pressed the screen to pull up the messaging app, navigating through the phone with muscle memory.

Friday, August 13th:
[5:32 pm]: We're going out tonight.
[5:47 pm]: ?
Saturday, August 14th:
[7:01 pm]: the fuck, Sonya.
Monday, August 16th:
[6:49 pm] you cunt.
[11:50 pm] Sonya.
Tuesday, August 17th:
[12:20 am] ?
Sunday, October 9th:
[11:59 pm] the fuck did you go?

Her heart leaped into her throat as she finished reading, something jolting through her body like an electric current.  There was fervent pushing against her mind again and frantically she deleted the entire text conversation.  Mouth intensely dry, she looked again at the number on the slip of paper and compared it to the numbers in her missed calls log.  None of them matched.  She scrolled again through her text messages, finding a match.  There were only a few messages, all in Italian, and the last one asked if he would be able to see her again.  Sonya began to type up a long-delayed reply to the warm, soft Italian boy.