Author Topic: Alternate: Making Meaning  (Read 5804 times)

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Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2019, 04:25:45 AM »
Yes.  She could crush him if she wanted, it would be as easy as lifting a finger.  The thought gave her a shred of security.

The idea of allowing another--besides Damien--root around in her mind was unnerving.  Invasive.  This Barrow was essentially a stranger, professional or not.  She detested being under examination like some sort of specimen and felt that enough when Damien ventured into her mind to be sure that she would not slip back into the embrace of madness. 

That she wouldn't lash out at him again.

This Barrow was aware that she could seriously harm him, and yet was offering to open himself to her in this way.  Because Looking was hardly a one-way street.  She could just as easily reach through the connection established and do damage if she wanted.  So what did she have to fear?  Except what it would reveal.

Nerves buzzed in the pit of her chest.  This would take the awkwardness and pain from having to verbally tell him what happened--well, what Damien told her had happened.  But to what end? 

She was fine.  Just fine.  Fine fine fine. 

Opening this door...  It would lead to other questions.  Maybe she could control what he saw?  Doubtful.  Assuming that it would work (she had her doubts) they would be experiencing the scene for the first time together.  She wouldn't be able to control what he saw except to shut him out if things went somewhere she didn't like.  Would admitting that she couldn't remember be her own undoing? 

Did that even matter now?

"I..."  She looked away, to a far corner of the room.  "I can't recall details...of what happened."  If she had been warm her face wold have flushed at the admission.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2019, 05:04:35 AM »
It wasn't exactly a yes, but nor was it was no and a push of mental force. The amnesia was now a symptom, and honestly hypnosis was the best way to treat it. He wanted to avoid pathologizing her, and so decided not to share that observation for the moment. Instead he decided to try empathizing with her. As someone who only had select access to memories, he understood what that felt like.

"Not being able to remember can be frustrating," he said, softening his voice and trying to look supportive, not like he was pitying her. He wasn't. It was frustrating, but he feared that she was too defensive to see support for what it was. "We can start slow," he assured.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2019, 05:27:14 AM »
Frustrating. 
It was so much more than that.
She was missing ten years.
It was just a black hole.

The last time she remembered seeing Nadia was...London, the late 1800s.  When she left Nadia there after...

The Mistake.
Moya malenʹka lyalʹka...


she went To Ground.  Then moving on to America.  And this city.  She had written Nadia letters, of course, in her absence.  Eventually, they had reunited in the city, Sonya presumed, sometime in her decade-long lack of memory.  That much she was able to piece together from what Damien had told her.  There was little she could recall.  Some parties she had thrown here.  Yes, Nadia had been to one of them at least.  It was like old times and...

It meant nothing now.

Sonya shifted in her chair and looked directly at Dr. Barrow.  There was the impulse within her to intimidate him, increase her auric pressure and make him quake before her.  It would be satisfying to watch him whimper and curl into a ball.

But that would accomplish nothing. 

"Okay,"  she breathed.  It felt like admitting defeat. 

Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2019, 06:23:03 AM »
Dr. Barrow showed the smallest of smiles. "Thank you for your trust," he complimented. He held the pocket watch high in his right hand, letting the chain extend down and slowly began to move it back and forth like a pendulum. He started a metronome on his desk, and made sure the progression of the watch matched, the tick tick tick. He opened the small black book in consultation, but didn't directly read from it.

"I want you to focus on blanking out your mind. Focus on something small, a symbol of your fledge. Think of how it represents her, reminds you of her. What is the meaning? What is the significance? Don't answer me externally. Create the meaning." Now the voices finally whispered into his ear, a single word. "Paint it, like a picture in your mind."

If Sonya was applying herself, she'd begin to lose touch with the office, replaced by a sense of blackness and emptiness. Only the symbol of her fledge would remain. Dr. Barrow's voice sounded almost distant, until he somehow stepped into the blackness and now stood next to her. The whole process took about ten minutes, with Dr. Barrow prompting her as much as needed. Once inside her mind, he asked her, "What is it we're looking at right now?"
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2019, 07:00:36 AM »
How cliché.  Sonya watched him handle the pocket watch suspiciously.  Once set, the metronome set her on edge and adding to the nerves coiled in her chest.  Self-consciousness--shame--filled her face.  The entire situation felt ridiculous.   

Why had she agreed to do this in the first place? 

She watched the watch move back and forth for a moment, listening to what Barrow said, feeling the fight flare within.  If she wanted to, she could get up and walk out--never come back.  She could fly across the room and pin him to the wall by his throat.  Rip it out, if she wanted to.  He could be a puddle on the floor. 

It would accomplish nothing.

Finding the pocket watch too distracting, she closed her eyes and settled deeply into the chair, choosing to focus on the sound from the metronome instead.  The first image that flooded her mind was the series of portraits of her daughter that she had been working on.  Perhaps too literal, and she didn't want to chance Barrow seeing that.  Not that she was ashamed of it.  No, of course not.  Painting was private.  These were works in progress, after all.  Best to find something else.  How could she sum up the whole of her in a symbol?  It was a trivial exercise. 

The only thing she could conjure up was a mirror.

The ticking pushed her into a deeper place as the tense expression on her face smoothed.  It was easy enough to slip into the black void of nothingness.  It was a place she was familiar with, one she went when going To Ground to whether the passing of time.  Alone.  So when she was joined by Barrow she reflexively threw up a wall as if her subconscious sought to protect her from intrusion.  It took a beat to peel the defense back.  She offered no apology for it.

What is it we're looking at right now?

There was blackness. A full-length mirror in the distance that wavered when she focused on it.  She hesitated, not answering or drawing closer.  Slowly she pulled it closer.  The surface was tarnished, showing a faint and disjointed reflection. 

"I..."  she stopped, focusing on the tick of the metronome that cut through the quiet.  "I don't know."

She was supposed to be finding an image for her daughter.  She couldn't focus enough to think of anything.  If she could just...

The portraits shimmered into view, free-floating in the darkness, hovering overhead and making a slow orbit.  These were not the expressions she had painted.  There was something familiar about the looks on Nadia's faces.  Pain.  Anger. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2019, 09:51:06 AM »
The mental wall through him off guard, and for a moment he was trapped in the blackness. He was about to pull out entirely, fearing that the exercise had failed and that he'd need to start much slower. What could they talk about? Gardening? However, as he was about to leave, the defense came down, and the image of Sonya became visible. He stood beside her as the mirror came into view. He frowned at it. Mirrors were quite literal views into the soul, but they were also a distorted image. Mirrors inverted reality and replaced it with expectation, self consciousness and pride. In the mirror, Jimmy stared back with his wry smirk, messy hair and his fucking ugly flannel. 

Wonder if you'll fail her too Barrow, the mirror said to him. He didn't think Sonya noticed any of this. Perhaps the mirror showed them different images?

Luckily, the image changed into the portraits and he was able to regain his focus without much effort. He studied Sonya's face as well as the image. The woman was beautiful, severe, and at least in these paintings, angry.

"Tell me about the images," he asked, giving no more instruction than that. While an echo and faded, the hum of the metronome could still be heard, as both of them slumped in their chairs.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2019, 11:02:53 AM »
"They are paintings."  She said, rather obviously, in a whisper.  She was locked in a staring contest with one in particular.  Nadia's eyes shimmered.  Sonya could almost feel the lump in her daughter's throat, the burning desire to let tears squeeze through. 

"I... I've been working on a portrait."  She didn't admit that there was more than one.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2019, 12:07:04 PM »
Dr. Barrow nodded, and walked towards the painting. She had talent, and he considered telling her he thought so, but he considered she'd likely accuse him of patronizing her, a common misconception he'd seen patients make when dealing with compliments. Instead he studded the expression. He itched to try and force a premonition, but that wasn't an approved treatment yet, and besides it's was premature. He wondered if her mind could expand this image, and so he decided to try and lead her that way. Yes, that was his best option.

"Tell me about the painting. Why did you decide to paint it?"

He hoped the more she spoke, she'd think about it. Those thoughts would create new images, hopefully bigger images. He decided at this moment he enjoyed the treatment relationship!
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2019, 02:20:39 AM »
Sonya looked away from one of the circling paintings to Dr. Barrow, then back up at them again.

"It is my daughter."  She said quietly.  "I hadn't ever painted her before and I wanted to..."  To what?  Keep her memory fresh?  Hang her beside the portrait of her sire in the foyer?  Add her to the painting of Alessandro in the basement that she hadn't touched in years?

In the distance of the blackness hung the mirror.  Its reflection held a version of Sonya in her home, surrounded by these paintings set on easels, working on one with the tiniest paintbrush she owned.  Sonya refused to acknowledge the distant object and the window into her memory, focusing hard on the orbiting paintings and Dr. Barrow.

Her face went through a variety of subtle changes as she cycled through sorrow, pain, and anger before eventually settling on a guarded expression. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2019, 04:22:09 AM »
Dr. Barrow watched Sonya's face go through it's range of emotions, and from simply an empathetic lens he got a sense of what those faces meant. The anxiety level was rising, and he wondered whether that was a good sign, or a terrible one. Her psychic defenses, not to confused with her mental defenses, were starting to fail her it appeared, the return and prominence of the mirror the doctor's clue. Jimmy no longer cast a reflection. Instead, Dr. Barrow saw what Sonya saw, and from the tiny paintbrush to multiple paintings, he guessed this was part of what brought her in today.

"Do you ever feel stuck, like you're repeating the same patterns over and over again?"

He moved his body to block her easiest view of the paintings, hoping he could direct her gaze back to the mirror.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2019, 07:46:56 AM »
Sonya blinked hard, surprised by his words.  It felt funny somehow, to question an immortal on this.  Such was the endlessness of undead life, the repetition of existing through the ages accumulating wealth and power, watching humans procreate and die.  But no.  She had done a very different, unlike-Sonya thing as soon as she returned.  All her dresses were gone.  There would be no parties for networking.  She didn't give a shit about power anymore.

The problem now was, who was left after that costume was shed?

Somewhere in her mind was a flash of a memory manifesting itself in the blackness like a flare, illuminating silhouetted figures in the distance.  One was hers, she knew.  The other stood behind her, wrapping arms around her figure, leaning lips into her neck.

Something she wasn't supposed to remember.

For a moment the entire vision wavered, threating to dissolve as Sonya tipped precariously into the edge of panic.  No, she mustn't see this.  Barrow mustn't see this.  The paintings were gone now with an echoing snap reverberating through the air.  The mirror was nowhere to be seen.  Defensive walls came crashing down and she pushed him forcefully from her mind. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2019, 07:55:17 AM »
Dr. Barrow saw the panic, and tried to calm her, reminding her that these were only projections, but it was to no avail. He should've joined the defense, asking more about the paintings and what was comfortable. He cursed his curiosity at the image in the mirror. He shot back into the conscious world, his head now aching. He rubbed his temples and took off his glasses. His tie came undone, and he looked slightly peeved. After a moment, his face relaxed back into neutrality, and he waited until Sonya had her physical bearings before speaking.

"That was an important moment," he observed, his voice a little strained - and a little more working class - due to the headache. "It seems we stumbled on something."

He kept the interpretations general, and non judgmental. If he could keep her talking then they might end the first session with some goals. If she felt shamed by the need to push him out she might become angry and discontinue visits. These were his theories at least.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2019, 08:03:49 AM »
Her entire body was rigid when her eyes snapped open with a furious gaze.  Frantically she reached for stability, gripping the armrests of the chair and resisting--with great difficulty--the urge to dig her nails in.

Stumbled on something indeed.
But she had no intention of looking at that.
No.  That would ruin everything. 
Whatever that meant.

She cleared her throat needlessly and was silent.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2019, 08:08:47 AM »
Dr. Barrow sat pleasantly, not bothered by the silence between them. He decided to try and wait her out. Silence was very loud in therapy, and if he spoke it would only defuse the tension, but it would have no therapeutic value. He didn't force her to keep eye contact, but more or less just sat patiently and waited for her to respond in some kind of way. Whatever it was would be interesting if nothing else.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Alternate: Making Meaning
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2019, 08:21:25 AM »
Sonya was not in the mood for awkward silence.

"What do I owe you and when do I return."  Her voice was level and devoid of emotion.  Internally she felt emotionally exhausted.  Ridiculous weakness.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente