Paradigm Shift

Een RPG die zich centreert rond het leven in een stad waar alles kan gebeuren.


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Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge

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51 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op wo jul 01, 2015 9:42 pm

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“I’ve done.. done terrible things,” Bryce whispered, avoiding eyecontact. His hands were shaking. “Horrible things.” He searched for the words but they wouldn’t come. “I’m a fucking monster Lo. Honestly I-“
“No,” she said sharply. “Shut up and don’t you dare talk about yourself like that ever again.”
“You don’t understand,” Bryce voice cracked. “It’s not just petty shit. I’ve- I’ve helped him with- with..” He couldn’t finish the sentence. He couldn’t tell her the details. She’d want nothing to do with him, he was certain of it. He looked out the window, trying to block out the memories.
“I just did all of it. All he asked of me.” The words were softly spoken, nearly inaudible. “Everything…”
“Stop right there.” Bryce looked at her now. “Not a single word. I don’t care what you did. This isn’t your fault.”
But the words did nothing. The guilt was buried deep down inside him. A year of it had built up slowly but surely. He shook his head. He couldn’t remember the last time he wanted to get drunk so badly. He wanted to forget. He needed to forget.


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52 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op ma aug 17, 2015 6:13 pm

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When you were with a man like Iseco, you got used to a lot. So generally, it took a lot to surprise Margaret and it was nigh impossible to shock her. It also helped that she had nerves of steel, of course.
Yet nothing had prepared her for this.
It was a warm summer afternoon. She was calmly working in the house, getting a few things done that she couldn’t finish yesterday. It would not be long before Iseco would be back, which was good, because she wasn’t going to do all those dishes on her own. Anyone living under her roof worked for it. She had her job as well, so she simply could not do everything inside the house on her own.
Footsteps. She looked up. She was not greeted with Iseco’s usual cheerful ‘’afternoon!’. Was something wrong? She frowned.
“Margaret?” Iseco’s voice sounded from down the hallway.
“Yes?”
“You.. You might want to look at this.”
And she did.
In the hallway was her partner, with a small, dirty bundle in his arms. Margaret’s jaw dropped.
“Iseco is that-“
“Someone left him alongside the road,” Iseco answered grimly. Him. It was a little boy. Margaret hesitated before she stepped closer. She and Iseco had always been clear on the fact that neither really felt like having children, but the way he stood there, she knew his mind had changed.
She carefully partially unfolded the cloths in which the little one was wrapped. Almost no hair on his head yet and the few strands that were there were almost white, so blonde. His eyes were closed and he was sleeping peacefully.
“He looks nothing like us, Iseco,” Margaret said. “Nothing at all.”
“Well, do you want me to put him back?” Iseco said jokingly. Margaret looked up and sighed. Then she looked back at the little boy.
“Let me hold him,” she said, instead of answering the question. Gently, Iseco handed her the little abandoned baby.
Even through the fabric she could feel the warmth of this little body. He was breathing steadily. And unlocked more memories than Margaret liked. She blinked.
“Margaret..?”
She didn’t answer. How could one do this? Just abandon a child like that? And so young too. It was a miracle he was still alive and could not have been left there too long ago. She looked up.
“He stays.”


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53 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op ma aug 17, 2015 7:02 pm

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“Bryce?” The young man looked up, eyebrows raised. Roya stared at the floor. “Do you think.. Do you think I’m a bad person now?”
She had expected a lot of things, but not that Bryce would laugh.
“What kind of question is that?” he said. Roya hesitated.
“I mean, after what I did…”
Bryce shrugged.
“The way I see it, someone can act like a fucking saint just to have people like them, and not actually be a good person. And sometimes you do bad stuff ‘cuz you have to, but you don’t want to. Doesn’t make you a bad person. Just someone who fucked up. We all fuck up.”
As crudely worded as it was, it was surprisingly wise for Bryce. Roya nodded slowly.
“I see.”
“Look at this way; they started shooting. They could’ve fuckin’ asked you to maybe go hang out somewhere else, but they opened fire. I know I’m not as considerate as you are, but as far as I’m concerned, asshole had it coming.”


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54 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op zo sep 20, 2015 8:30 pm

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“He’s violent. Crazy. Deranged.” The man shrugged. A brief, loaded silence followed. “I’m not saying this out of spite. If I believed he could be helped, I would have tried my darnedest to help him. But that’s the thing, right there. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. You can’t force someone to let you in.”
He slowly sat down in his chair and took a sip of his water.
“The boy’s not gonna add up to anything. Not now. Not ever.” He put the glass down and smiled sadly. “No matter how hard you try.”

55 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op wo sep 23, 2015 10:07 pm

Zane Northland

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Margaret was watering the plants when she noticed Riot outside, sitting on a trash can, his back towards her, smoking a cigarette. His shoulders were pulled up a little, even though it was not a cold day.
Whenever he sought out isolation like this, Margaret could not help but compare him to a little broken bird that desperately tried to fly, without giving itself time to heal.
But that was the thing. This was no physical fracture. No time could truly mend these wounds.
Things could get better in time, and Margaret prayed every night that they would, but those wings would never fly again.
Riot got up. He flicked the cigarette away carelessly and started walking away, still unaware of his foster mother looking on.
Slowly, he became smaller and smaller, walking down the street, until he walked into an alleyway, going out of sight.
Slowly, Margaret put the watering can down. There were days where the weight on her shoulders almost seemed too much. Where the helplessness was choking and where she felt like there was nothing she could do to chase away the demons that haunted this boy ever still. Those days were the worst. But they, too, passed eventually. Making room for brighter days, hopeful ones.
Because the boy was strong. He was hurt beyond measure, but he also had an inner strength that would pull him through eventually. Maybe not now. Maybe not in many years to come. But Margaret believed that there would come a day where he could at least find some sort of peace.

56 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op di okt 13, 2015 10:03 pm

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Het was zo'n typische warme nazomermiddag waar je slaperig van werd, op een aangename manier. Riot zat tegen een boom geleund, met Solance tegen zich aan, met haar ogen dicht. Zijn armen lagen losjes om haar middel.
Hij keek omlaag. Haar blonde haar was losjes en eenvoudig opgestoken. Voor haar was dat gewoon routinematig geweest, hij vond het er elegant uitzien. Goed, hij had nog wel de zelfkennis om te weten dat hij niet echt de expert in elegantie was, maar hij twijfelde er niet aan dat Solance onder elegant viel. Ze had iets bovennatuurlijks. Net een elfje. Of hoe zo'n fantasyfiguur ook heette. Riot was niet zo'n kenner.
Hij keek om zich heen. Ze zaten niet ver bij hun huis vandaan en er was verder in geen velden of wegen iemand te bekennen. Zelf de honden waren slechts herrie aan het schoppen achter het huis. Er was toch niet echt sprake van een tuin, dus Riot zat er niet mee als ze er een puinhoop van maakten.
Hij keek weer naar Solance. Was ze nou in slaap gevallen, of lag ze gewoon te relaxen?
"Solance?" mompelde hij zacht.
Ja, die was in slaap gevallen. Hij glimlachte even en trok haar iets dichter tegen zich aan. Hij zou zelf ook zo weg kunnen dutten, zo veilig voelde hij zich op dit moment.


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57 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op vr okt 16, 2015 5:06 pm

Kael Brown

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(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿)
“Oh jee… Daar moet wat aan gedaan worden. En snel."
Riot’s hand was tegen een snee in zijn schouder gedrukt. Ongelukje. Freerunnen was riskant. Hij haalde zijn schouders op en even vertrok zijn gezicht.
“Ik red me er wel mee,” zei hij ontwijkend. Solance glimlachte mat, alsof ze die reactie al lang aan had zien komen. Waarschijnlijk was dat ook zo.
Dat ze er zo rustig onder bleef zei genoeg over hoe vaak Riot er in was geslaagd in de kreukels te liggen sinds ze samen waren. Het was wonderlijker als hij zich een week lang niet bezeerde.
“Je hebt het beloofd, weet je nog? Toen ik- toen mijn arm…” ze viel even stil en Riot kwam wat dichterbij, bezorgd. Solance forceerde een glimlach die haar ogen niet helemaal haalde.
“Je beloofde dat als jij gewond was je mij ook toe zou staan je te helpen,” zei ze, alsof ze het vorige onderwerp zo snel mogelijk achter zich wilde laten. Riot’s kaken verstrakten. Dat was waar. Dat had hij beloofd.
“Ik ga de verbanddoos halen,” zei Solance resoluut en weg was ze, Riot een klein beetje verward achterlatend. Met de nodige pijn en nog veel meer tegenzin werkte hij zich uit zijn grijze T-shirt. De snee liep van de binnenkant van zijn schouder door tot een stukje op zijn borst. Hij was niet erg diep, maar door het bloed eromheen zag het er behoorlijk grotesk uit. De littekens op zijn bovenlichaam maakten het geheel niet geruststellender.
Solance was er weer, met het verbanddoosje. Riot voelde zich ineens behoorlijk naakt, al was het alleen maar zijn t-shirt dat nu op de grond lag. Solance trok een eetkamerstoel naar achteren en Riot ging zitten, een tikje gespannen. Het lag niet aan haar; hij vertrouwde haar blind. Maar nog altijd werd hij er niet zo blij van om aangeraakt te worden, zeker niet als er iets bloedde.
Voorzichtig begon ze het schoon te maken terwijl Riot onophoudelijk toekeek.
“Rustig maar, ik ben zo klaar,” zei het blonde meisje zacht, maar veel rustiger werd Riot niet. Een paar keer trok hij bijna zijn schouder weg, maar hij wist stil te blijven zitten, tot uiteindelijk de snee bedenkt was. Solance stond op en glimlachte naar hem, deze keer wel warm en oprecht.
“Nou, dat viel toch best mee?"

58 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op di okt 27, 2015 3:36 pm

Neil Vanderzee

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“Het is niet… dat ik niet zonder kan, maar..” Heather viel even stil, starend naar het plafond, zoekend naar de woorden. “Alles is wel beter, als ik gebruik. Voor even.” Ze vouwde haar armen onder haar hoofd en keek toen opzij, naar Bryce die ontspannen tegen een kast geleund zat, maar haar een beetje zorgelijk aankeek.
“Gebruik jij?” vroeg ze toen zacht.
“Ik heb wel geëxperimenteerd,” zei Bryce, voor zijn doen weloverwogen. “Maar daar bleef het bij. Ik blow wel eens, dat wel. Maar zwaardere dingen kom ik niet aan.”
Lange tijd was het stil.
“Ik wil gelukkig zijn zonder,” zei Heather uiteindelijk zacht. Ze rolde op haar zij. Het matras onder haar kraakte een beetje. Bryce keek haar een moment lang aan en stond toen op. Hij kwam naast haar zitten en ze kwam overeind. Zonder een woord te zeggen trok de jongen haar even tegen zich aan.
“Volgens mij ben je ook niet gelukkig met.”
——————
Her fingers were cold. She rubbed them against eachother in an attempt to warm them.
“They say that damaged people are dangerous, because they know they can survive,” she said with a faint smile. “But I don’t know if that’s true.”
Johnny looked up.
“Well, you’re not dangerous, but you’re pretty tough, right?”
Heather looked away, avoiding eyecontact.
——————
“You can come along on one condition,” Roya said seriously. Bryce looked puzzled for a moment.
“I’m trying to figure out which one it’s gonna be, but the possibilities are endless,” he then said with a light shrug. Roya smiled faintly and shook her head.
“Don’t bully Claire.”
“It’s not bullying, I’m just teasing her a bit whenever she’s being all uptight,” Bryce defended himself with a broad grin. Roya just sighed. This was not going in the direction she’d faintly hoped it would.
“When will you stop taunting her?”
“When it stopt being funny.”

59 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op za okt 31, 2015 5:52 pm

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“You’re a selfish prick,” Amber snapped, visibly having trouble to control herself. Neil shrugged.
“I’d call it morally flexible.”
The girl’s eyes narrowed and Neil considered making an Asian joke, but couldn’t immediately think of one he liked. She seemed intensely pissed off, really. But what did she expect? That the world would bend to her every whim? Surely she had some sense of realism left.
“You really think you’ve got a big dick, don’t you?” she said, and it would have come out mockingly, if she wasn’t so clearly infuriated. Neil permitted himself a smug grin.
“Cut me off at the knees and call me a tripod,” he replied.


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60 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op ma nov 02, 2015 9:06 am

Georgia Cunningham

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“You’re losing, Neil.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, doll. I have nothing left to lose.”

61 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op di nov 03, 2015 9:14 pm

Neil Vanderzee

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“I’m not looking for your sympathy,” Neil said slowly, not breaking eyecontact. Amber’s eyes narrowed. Neil didn’t for a moment believe there was any sympathy in those eyes, but he wanted it out of the way regardless. “I need something a bit more substantial.”
A frown appeared on her face. The tension hung thick in the air and Neil didn’t doubt she did not trust him one bit. Clever girl. Not even he trusted himself. But that was beside the point.
“Something substantial,” she repeated slowly. Her interest was peaked, that much he knew. But that was just the easy part.
He walked further into the room. It was dark, badly lit, and a downright mess. But that was why he had arranged their meeting here. No one came here unless they had a bloody good reason to.
“So. Why me?” Amber asked, audibly amused. Neil turned around.
“I need someone just as crazy as I am.”
Her expression made it clear that she wasn’t certain on wether or not that was meant to be offensive. It probably helped that he had just called himself crazy as well. However, he felt a little push was in order. What he was about to offer was pretty reckless and dangerous on his part, but what he was about to do was even more so and he had no guarantee that he would even make it to tomorrow. He was way past worrying about risk.
“You offend me,” she answered softly, but her tone betrayed her. Pissed or not, she was curious.
“I do that a lot. How does a massive discount sound to you?” Neil slowly sat down on the remains of an old sofa, seemingly relaxed. The girl considered it for a moment.
“Tempting. What do you need my help with?”
“Not necessarily yours. Anyone mad enough who isn’t likely to slash my throat over a carton of cigarettes. But glad you asked.”
Her eyebrows went up and the corners of her mouth twitched briefly.
“I’m listening.”
Neil pressed his fingertips together and looked away for a moment.
“My time is coming to an end. Rapidly. I failed to pay an impossible debt. But I’m not planning to lie down and die.”
“Then run. You had no qualms about that before.”
Neil permitted himself a grim smile, looking back up at Amber, who was lighting a ciagrette and carefully side-eying him.
“You don’t forget, do you? Yes, I could run. But how long do you think it’ll take him to track me down and cut me up like he does anyone that gets in his way?” Neil got up again, pacing up and down the room. “My death won’t be a clean nor a quick one, I know that for a fact and it doesn’t particularly thrill me, that idea.”
It was quiet for a moment.
“So I’m considering turning things around. A change in management, if you will.”
Amber had been about to take a huff of the cigarette between her fingers, but froze in the midst of the movement.
“You want to fucking snuff out Akira,” she said.
“Bingo.”
Hearing it out loud, especially in a tone that implied she had no faith in his idea whatsoever, made him realize just how desperate this was.
“And you expect me to help you out? Assist you in a murder.”
Neil shrugged and then nodded slowly.
“Yeah,” he said slowly. “Yeah, that’s about the gist of it.”

“Fucking run,” Neil managed to say, clutching the area right beside his shoulder. Blood was already drenching his clothes. Was it fatal? He had no clue. It wasn’t spurting out, so no major arteries were hit. That was something.
To his astonishment Amber seemed indecisive. “The fuck you waiting for?” he gasped, struggling with the words. “I ain’t getting out of here alive no more. You said that… If push came to shove it… It’d be each on their own… You ain’t… You ain’t gonna play the bloody hero now, are you?”
“Don’t be fucking dramatic,” the girl just said curtly, extending a hand. “There’s still time, come on.”
Against his own better judgement, Neil let her help him back on his feet. He swayed a little, lightheaded and nauseous. The wound might not seem lethal right now, but he wouldn’t exactly Houdini his way out of here in this condition. Why was she helping him? The whole discount wasn’t gonna fly anymore now that Akira knew about them and their little heist, so what was her catch? Having him owe her? He saw no way he could be useful to her.
Without saying a word, she grabbed his arm and placed it around her shoulders, supporting him, though it seemed to take considerable effort on her part. This was downright madness.
“This is suicide,” Neil said hoarsely. The pain made it hard to focus, and the feeling of the wet, warm blood on his skin didn’t so him any fucking favors either.
“Stop being a pussy and come on,” she growled. Neil would’ve made a comeback, but he needed all his focus to stay upright now.

The good news was that they were almost outside. The bad news was that the corridor was blocked by three rather burly, angry looking men. Neil was holding himself upright bij leaning against the wall. His face was contorted with pain and his breathing was rapid and shallow.
Amber looked like hell - having a fair amount of Neil’s blood on her top didn’t help at all - but she was in no mood to surrender, clutching the small handgun Neil had given her. A lot was needed for him to let go of that thing, but right now, he wouldn’t be able to hit an elephant from two feet away. And she had already proved that at least for now she was his ally. And his only hope of surviving this ordeal.
“Give it up,” one of the men said. “You hit one of us, both of you end up with a few new holes in your bodies. Or just you. Drugmule over there already seems a bit out of it.”
“Go fuck yourself,” was Amber’s coldblooded response. Neil had to admit it; the girl was a royal pain in the ass sometimes, but she had balls. They were just a little higher up.

At some point, he had passed out. Blood loss, probably. However, when he woke up - and he was fairly surprised that he did at all - he was in the hospital, nicely tucked in. The wound was bandaged, but it still hurt like a bitch. It took him a while until he realized Amber was standing in the doorway, with a faint grin. Her arms were crossed, but she seemed relaxed.
“Mornin’ sunshine.”
Neil frowned lightly and he studied her face. He had to know.
“Why?” he asked, almost bluntly. Amber shrugged and smiled almost smugly.
“I had a good day. Don’t think too much of it.”
Neil scoffed.
“Bull. You put your fucking life on the line. For me. That don’t sound like just a good day to me. Why?”
For a moment the smug smile wavered, confusing Neil even further. Then she just shrugged again.
“Hey, if it makes you feel like more of a man, I’ll let you bleed to death next time,” she replied. Neil shook his head.
“It’s not- it’s not that I’m not thankful, okay. I can count the people who’d do the same on one hand and I’d still have five fingers left. You don’t benefit from this. Why did you stick your neck out?”
The silence that fell was a rather awkward one. Neil realized he was probably a little too open and somehow that made him shut down again.
“No matter. Just… thanks. I owe you one.”

62 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op zo feb 21, 2016 7:48 pm

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As quickly as the battle had started, it was over again. The forsworn lay dead in the tall grass, as well as some unfortunate imperial soldiers.
"Let's go, Lydia," Eriseya said, looking over her shoulder. It was only then then that she realized that she was the only one left standing, panting and covered in blood. Lydia was nowhere to be seen.
"Lydia?" Eriseya looked around, worry growing in her stomach. "Lydia!"
And then she noticed her. Barely visible in the tall grass. Motionless as stone. Eriseya rushed toward her friend and knelt down beside her.
"No... No!" With a trembling hand, she reached forward to touch the other woman's neck. No pulse. "Oh no.."
Eriseya was hardly a mage, but she did know a tiny healing spell. She tried it. And again, and again, and again. But to no avail.
"No," she mumbled. She clenched her teeth and put her sword to the side. "Just.. wake up. Wake up, Lydia, come on" she said softly. She couldn't lose her. Not after all that they had been through together. With great effort she lifted the armored body somewhat off the ground, only to hold it closely.
She did not know how long she had sat like that. Eventually she had gotten up. She had carried Lydia's body to the river and let the current take her away.
She felt empty. The body was soon swallowed by the fast, roaring water, leaving Eriseya behind. All alone for the first time in ages.


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63 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op do maa 03, 2016 7:55 pm

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Neil chuckled.
“Trust me, there are no atheists on Akira’s blacklist,” he said with a shrug. “Might as well respect all religions. No guarantee where you’ll end up once he’s through with you.”
Asshole had a point.
——-

The room was dimly lit. The two men in it sat at an old table, near a window that was covered by wooden planks.
“I want to expand my territory,” one of the two, a Mexican man with a narrow face and merciless eyes, said bluntly. The other man was Asian. While the Mexican man was dressed in dirty clothes, the Asian man could have easily been on his way to a conference. He smiled faintly.
“And why would I allow that?” he asked softly. There was no trace of an accent in his voice.
“I don’t know, I think you could use a… vacation,” his conversational partner said, not even trying to hide the threatening tone in his voice. The Asian man’s smile broadened.
“You’re too kind, Sanchez. But I love my work. I genuinely do.” He leant forward a little. “I hope you weren’t planning on trying anything. I haven’t had a lot of fun lately and could really use some.”
Sanchez scoffed.
“You sick cunt, you,” he said. Akira chuckled.
“Clever comeback. I’m willing to let you make money here, but I want a fair share of it. Make it worth my while and we’ll talk.”
“I think I’m done talking,” Sanchez said coolly. Akira got up and straightened his jacket.
“Sad to hear that.”
He left the room. Outside two men were waiting, their faces apprehensive.
“Take him to the cellar. He needs to learn some manners,” Akira said with a shrug. “But do tell him that I won’t have time for him until tomorrow. I have a business to run.”
————-
“Do you think you can handle that, Neil?” Akira asked, sounding almost bored. Neil nodded,keeping his eyes on the floor.
“Yessir,” he mumbled.
“Excuse me, come again?”
“Yes sir,” Neil repeated, looking up. Akira came closer. He took the gun off of the table and put it against the underside of Neil’s chin. The young man felt his heart race. This was it. This was the end.
Akira lifted Neil’s chin.
“Look at me, Neil.” Neil looked at him, prepared to say or do anything to keep himself off of the man’s radar.
“What is it, sir?” he asked. He hardly even noticed the tremor in his own voice. The cold metal pressed against his skin was all he could think of.
“Don’t disappoint me. You know what happens to people that disappoint me. You try to run from me again, and I’ll have you wish you were never born, are we clear?”
“Yes sir.”
———
“Do we have to travel with a vampire?” Eriseya asked softly, not sure wether or not she could trust Serana, who was in one of the others rooms, cooking. Serion’s face went serious again and he frowned.
“Don’t make me choose Eri. I’ve been on my own for ages and after you she was the first one to care,” his voice seemed to crack and he looked away. Eriseya didn’t know what to say and she cast her eyes down.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t know you were still- I should have looked for you..”
“No, you had your own troubles. If you’re to blame for that, then I am no better for not having searched for you either.”

——-

For a moment, he just sat. Hands on the cool leather of the steering wheel, eyes staring ahead without seeing anything in particular. He could have looked like any other young man getting ready to drive off, had it not been for the whiteness of his knuckles. Had it not been for his clenched jaw and the slow, deep breaths he was taking to keep himself under control.
For a moment he closed his eyes. And then he hit the gas. The old, dented black car gently rolled off of the porch and onto the wet streets. By now, his vision was a little bit blurred, and he ran the back of his hand across his eyes. Now was not the time, although he wasn’t sure there ever was a time. Admitting emotions could be a scary thing. Especially if those emotions were big, looming and it felt like they could just swallow you whole.
He stopped at a traffic light, faintly registering the barking of a dog and the yelling of a child, before driving on, away from the town’s centre.
His hands still gripped the wheel as if it was a branch of wood, keeping him afloat.
Suburbs turned into fields and fields turned into a thick, dark forest, on both sides of the almost empty road. Evening was starting to fall, but he had no plans on stopping anytime soon.
In the dense evening traffic, he had been distracted by the things around him, but now that he was out of town and the only one on the road, the hole in his gut was back and he felt a little sick.
He didn’t know where he was going, if he was even going anywhere.
Tree after tree after tree passed in the glow of his headlights and the monotony of it all was almost calming. Almost.
And he knew he was running. He knew he was fleeing. And the worst of it all was that he was fully aware that he was fleeing from himself. From the person he did not want to be, not anymore. Hell, did he even want to be anyone at this point? He did not dare answer that question. He could not own up to it.
“This too shall pass,” he mumbled, ever so softly. He’d read that somewhere. He didn’t know who came up with it, or why, but he hoped that if he kept telling himself that, it might just become true.
“This too. Shall pass,” he repeated, a little more clearly now. But would it? Would these clouds ever disappear? They hung ever so thick above him, darkening everything, threatening him constantly.
He gritted his teeth and sped up when a sign let him know he could go faster here. He turned on his car radio, but almost immediately turned it off again. He though sound would help, but it did not. It was an intruder in a silence he did not know what to do with.
On the backseat, his phone buzzed softly yet persistently. Briefly he considered pulling over and answering. But he did not. Even though he knew it would have been better that way. He could not.
The forest thinned. Trees made way for fields again and in the distance the lights of another city blinked. But that was not where he would stop. It was too close. Too close to where he came from. No distance in the world would cure the unrest that had taken hold of him, but at least a good distance would reduce the chance of running into anyone familiar.
For he did not wish to see pity on their faces. Nor resentment. Neither he could bear.
And so he drove, and drove. He drove until the night sky was covered in countless stars. He drove until his eyelids were heavy and he was too tired to feel. He drove until his tank threatened to run out of fuel. He drove until steering into an abyss did not seem like such a bad idea, though he knew he was too much of a coward to ever really do that.
Eventually he pulled over on the side of a muddy road, almost nothing more than a sand track. He got out of the driver’s seat and into the backseat. He took his phone and hesitated, but then he tossed it onto the passenger’s seat. He was running still, even without moving his legs.
He laid down on the creaking leather, with his coat as his blanket but the sleep refused to come. Memories resurfaced. Scenes that would be etched on his mind forever, no matter how hard he ran. He swallowed and pressed his eyes shut as if that would chase it all away.
And then emotion washed over him, as if it were a tidal wave that had been laying in waiting. He clenched his wrists. The muscles in his abdomen tightened involuntarily. But even a physical reaction did not make it more bearable. He felt crushed by the sheer misery that encompassed him and that made him want to disappear off of the face of earth.
“This too… will pass,” he whispered hoarsely, but the words had become hollow. Nothing but a useless mantra to keep the feelings at bay. It would not pass. It would be a part of him. And he would either learn to live with it, or find a way to die with it.


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64 Re: Van-alles-en-nog-wat-topic-van-Inge op vr aug 19, 2016 9:32 pm

Neil Vanderzee

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“Can’t we just… gather evidence and go to the cops?” May said, hesitantly. Neil almost smiled. Almost.
“One that will eventually lead them to me,” he said casually, “ and while you’re a nice enough sort, I am not risking several years in prison. And two, assuming you’d actually manage that without Akira catching a whiff of it and removing a few of your brother’s fingers and shipping them to you, the expression ‘snitches get stitches’ is a valid one. If you’re the one to get him behind bars, from his point of view you’ll be the one who ruined everything he built up. Meaning that when he gets out - and trust me, he has to lawyers to pull that off - he’ll come for you, wherever you are at the time.”
He was quiet for a moment, watching her as the words sank in. He wasn’t even really trying to scare her, he was just relaying what he assumed would be the consequences of getting the cops involved.
“So.. then what?”
“We disappear. Me, you, and your brother. At the same time. If you vanish, he’ll know and he’ll get to your brother before you can. If you’re brother vanishes he’ll know you’re up to something as well and might decide to find other ways of pressuring you. If I make a run for it on my own you’ve lost your inside man.”
She studied him now, eyes slightly narrowed and brow furrowed. She seemed unsure of wether or not to trust him, but Neil was not too worried. Unless she had other contacts in this world, she needed him, just as he could really use the help of her and her brother.
“You have a plan, don’t you?” she asked, displaying the same intelligence that had made him cautious when she had been in his car the first time, asking too many questions.
“I have a plan,” he admitted. Her eyebrows went up as if to say ‘well..?’ Neil allowed himself a little smirk and folded his hands on his lap.
“If we all just make a run for it, it won’t work. He’s likely keeping an eye on your brother, and maybe on you as well.” He gestured around. “Which is why we meet in this dump.”
“If we’re all being watched then running is suicide,” the girl said sharply. Neil nodded.
“True enough,” he said. “But that’s only as long as we have his undivided attention, isn’t it?”
“You want a distraction.”
“Clever girl. Yes. I want to make sure he’s got his hands full the moment we get the hell out of dodge.”
“How?”
“I have a few ideas. One is leaving one of his rivals some anonymous tips that should get them eager to check some of his places out, all at the same time, preferrably. Another is getting people to light several of the buildings he owns on fire. But they all require us to involve more people, I’m afraid.”

------------

Morning was starting to come. The two both had circles under their eyes and were sitting on the doorstep of the old, haunted building. The sun was rising slowly and there was something reassuring about it.
It was over. They had made it out. Alive. Riot was still stressed and on edge, but relieved at the same time. They had banded together and he had relied on a stranger a lot more than he had thought himself capable of. Usually it was the other way around, like with the childlike girl he had met at the trains, for example.
But not this time. This time it had been someone else who had been strong when he had lost it and it was a bit of a weird sensation.
A cigarette dangled between his fingers as he stared into the forest without really seeing much.
“Thanks,” he mumbled. He heard the blonde woman chuckle softly beside him.
“No need for that. Had I been alone in here I’d have gone crazy,” she said nonchalantly and Riot looked to the side. His expression had softened a bit. She grinned and quickly took the cigarette from him, taking a quick puff after which she gave it back, laughing at the somewhat baffled expression on his face.
“You know? You really need to lighten up a bit,” she said casually and Riot frowned, on guard again.
“The fuck do you mean by that?”
Loréne’s face grew serious.
“All that shit you carry with you, it’s fucking eating at you man,” she finally said and Riot couldn’t do much but look away.
“Bullshit,” he muttered with a defensive shrug.
“No. Look, I don’t know exactly what the fuck happened to you, but you’ve given it more power over you than it deserves. You can do better than that.”
Riot had no answer to that. Instead, he just shrugged again, not really sure what to do with those words.
“It’s not like I can flip a fucking switch,” he finally responded, still not looking at her.
“I know that. Trust me, I’ve been there. My life hasn’t been easy either, fuck no. But the only one in charge of my happiness, is me,” Loréne said firmly, and now Riot looked up again. He hated it, but he felt insecure. This was something he had not defense against, especially not now that she was opening up herself.
“And that goes for you too. You’re stronger than you realize. Too strong to let the past take your joy away.”
“What happened to you then?” Riot asked. He dumped the butt of the cigarette on the ground and put it out with his foot. Aside from their talking, nothing but birds could be heard in the forest and it was oddly calming.
Loréne laughed, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“No changing the subject. Nice try, tough,” she said. The corners of Riot’s mouth moved briefly. “I mean it. It’s no good, letting the past dictate everything. You’ve got yourself a girl, a house, a bunch of dogs and a job. You got family. You can make it work. But only you. No one else can do it for you.”
Riot was silent, so she went on.
“And it won’t be easy. Trust me, I know first hand how hard moving forward is. But the past is gone. There ain’t nothing left for you there.”

----------------

Boop.

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