Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

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Ailyn
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Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Ailyn » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:59 pm

"Hey, is Frankie Southam in her dorm right now? I have a few books to drop off for her."


Blending into the college life wasn't hard in the slightest. She'd first acquired the pair of Eldritch passengers when she was a junior in high school, actually-- vigilantism came second to doing well in school and graduating with top marks. She almost had, too.

Then, the warehouse in Manila happened, and she found a higher calling. A new purpose. One that trumped all other menial, meaningless trivialities of her previous life. School was no longer a consideration, and a few days after the summoning, she had subconsciously quit going to her studies entirely. Her parents took up an immediate concern with her motivation and health, but she could not blame their ignorance. The world was still unknowing of the monumental role the powers-that-be had placed upon her, and it was better for all involved that she'd left immediately after her first rebirth.

The winding hallways of the academy made it easy to get lost in thought, but Ailyn kept her mind focused as she stalked the dormitory's various corridors in search of a singular girl. Her footsteps were silent, her movements reminiscent of a wraith; faint wisps of smoke trailed in soft wisps from her shoulders and elbows, and her boots left subtle burn marks upon the laminated tile.

Eventually, her eyes caught a name above one of the doorways. Nearly unintelligible-- though that was to be expected, with the target she was dealing with-- but readable nonetheless.

Frankie.

Ailyn curled her hand around the knob, and the brass fixing melted within the inferno of her palm. With a quick push inward, the lock's mechanism became dislodged from within the frame and the door swung open, slowly, silently. The Angel of Judgement entered the sizable dorm room, closing the door behind her and taking the knob with her. She doubted Francine was stupid enough not to think there was some sort of break-in, but there wouldn't be any visible burns upon the entrance to the room-- she'd made sure of that.

Of course, that little shit wouldn't be able to help herself, would she?

Ailyn counted on that.

The vessel moved to the girl's bed and sat on its edge, moving to lay upon the covers with her arms crossed upon her chest in silent waiting. Eventually, her eyes drifted to the alarm clock on a bedside table beside the bed, and she slowly reached to turn it on and tune the built-in radio.

Eventually, she settled on the soft, static-laden voice of Todd Rundgren.

Hello, it's me...
I've thought about us for a long, long time...

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Mach2
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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Mach2 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:31 pm


Classes were done. For the day, anyways. Despite the graduation ceremony being just around the corner - Frankie had a countdown going on her phone, ticking off the number of days - her teachers insisted on assigning homework. She had a book report due. One more math test. And whatever other small tasks were assigned before the last day of classes. And then she was done. She'd spent the last week meeting with her teachers, trying to figure out where she stood. Her grades were far, far from good, but they crossed the threshold of adequate. So long as she kept up a consistent effort until graduation, she would get her diploma.

But she couldn't relax until then. So when classes let out, she'd packed up her bag and headed back to the dorms with every intention of sitting down, sneaking a cup of coffee from the cafeteria, and staying up late to crank out a first draft of her last book report. But when she rounded the corner and caught side of the door to her room, she stopped.

It was open. Just slightly ajar, with the doorknob missing entirely.

She sighed, her posture slouching in frustration as she bee-lined towards her room. She had what felt like a mountain of homework to get through, and dealing with a break-in was sure to delay her progress. Best case, nothing was missing. Worst case, she would have to...well, she wasn't sure. Waste time going to the school office to report it, delay her homework, and jeopardize her chance of graduating on-time. Already, Frankie was itemizing her belongings in her head. Her phone and laptop were with her, tucked into her backpack. Her wallet, though, she'd left in her dorm. Her motorcycle helmet. Her headphones - the nice ones that she'd gotten for Christmas. Her expression darkened as the sounds of some 70's ballad drifted to her ears from within her dorm. Angrily, she shouldered the broken door open, shrugging her backpack off as she did so. What kind of thief leaves the radio-

She didn't even get to finish the thought. Her bag fell to the floor with a dull thud, while her eyes fell on the figure lying on her bed.

Immediately, Frankie became hyper-aware of the exposed scars around her neck. She'd finally stopped wearing scarves and turtlenecks, trying to force herself to come to terms with the shining burns that laced across her shoulders and throat. But in this moment, she felt practically naked, and wished for nothing more than the shielding coverage of a thick scarf.

This. This was the worst-case scenario. Images of fire danced rose without permission to the forefront of her mind. "Get out," she said. It would have been more believable as an order if she'd been able to keep her voice steady as she spoke. She tried again to enforce her authority - this was Frankie's bedroom. This was her dormitory room, at Millenium Academy. It was supposed to be safe. "This whole building is filled with metahumans. They'll come running the second they hear anything. Get. Out."

At her side, Frankie's thumb and middle finger pressed themselves together so tightly the tips turned white.


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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Ailyn » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:48 pm

Get out.

"Come on, Trem."

Ailyn's tone was calm. Relaxed. It was an immediate contrast to Francine's own unstable, tremor-laden voice, the poetic quality of which was not lost upon the vessel. She remained upon the bed for a moment, the hint of a smile accompanying the infernal glint within her eyes as she moved, slowly, to swing her legs over the side of the mattress. A visible outline of where her body had one been laying remained imprinted upon the covers, the singed cloth a reminder of her being there.

She was well aware of the implications a home invasion brought. Ailyn had conducted plenty during her time as a vigilante in Manila-- it was a way of implanting fear and paranoia in a target in order to make them look over their shoulder with palpable fear, always searching for an enemy that may or may not be there. Frankie, being a highly impressionable teenager, was even more susceptible to the emotional instability the implications brought. The way that girl's voice broke, the way her body tensed up and froze like prey in front of a predator was evidence enough of that fact.

Francine would break, in due time. And then she'd finally make a mistake, and give Ailyn a reason beyond petty vendetta.


"Do you really think they'd be able to stop me before I get to you? Do you really believe they'd be able to stop me? Come on, Frankie. I think we both know I'm not going anywhere."


She stood up, now, movements still slowed. One finger was brought to her lips. Charred. Smoldering. Blackened by heat, emaciated. With a gentle shush, Ailyn crossed her arms.


"I came here to have a talk with you, Trem."

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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Mach2 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:21 pm


The pressure between her thumb and finger increased steadily, until it reached a point where the slightest shift would result in her digits slipping past one another - inevitably releasing an explosion equivalent to the detonation of a small bomb. Realizing how close she was to accidentally blowing her dorm room apart, Frankie forced her hand to relax. When that proved impossible, she settled for a clenched fist.

"Come on, Trem."

Her face twisted into a glare. To hear the title she'd chosen for herself twisted into a nickname and thrown back at her...from another person, she might have welcomed it. But from Ailyn, it was an insult. Her casual tone felt like a mockery of Tremor's own anxiety. "Do you really believe they'd be able to stop me?"

She was right. Tremor's eyes drifted to the space Ailyn had occupied, and the charred imprint that now decorated her bedspread. The temptation to run, to yell for help, to snap her fingers and create such a scene that someone was forced to respond, it was strong. But the fear of fire was stronger. She knew how fast Ailyn could react. At their last meeting, a detonation from Tremor had only managed to buy her a few seconds of time before the demonic woman was in pursuit. Not to mention, the destruction of half a restaurant. And dozens of burned patrons.

Today, it was a dorm room. And a crowd of students outside, who would likely fare no better if they tried to stand against Ailyn.

With a full understanding of the situation, Tremor nudged the broken door shut with the heel of her foot. "Talk, then," she answered, doing slightly better at keeping her tone steady, now that the intial shock had passed. Her body was still electrified with adrenaline, ready to launch into fight mode. But at least her voice was level. "What do you want?"


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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Ailyn » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:22 am

All things considered, the conversation between Ailyn and her killer was going surprisingly well. Francine had offered her the floor to speak, which certainly must have been quite difficult for her-- after all, the vessel was the one who scarred that innocent little neck, wasn't she? To stand there now, watching the arrival of one of the people you'd never want to see again-- it was almost satisfying to Ailyn, seeing how scared she was.

Frankie knew she was fucked, and she knew that Mendoza knew that, too. A smile crept across the angel's features, her scarred eye crinkling slightly as her expression warmed.


"Trem. Is this how you greet an old friend? Because-- that's what we are, right? Old friends. That's why I'm visiting you, now. That's what you're going to tell anyone and everyone who asks."


Her smile remained uncomfortably constant, the venomous tone betraying her soft expression.


"I came here to give you a warning, Frankie. I've been following you for a while, now. Getting a sense of your routine. For a while, it was regular school things, humdrum, boring. And I was happy for you. I thought, maybe, that I wouldn't ever have to talk to you again."


Ailyn breathed, now, looking away to the bed-stand she had only acknowledged once before. The radio had sat upon it, softly playing the tunes of an old 70s song, but a different object piqued her attention, now. It was beside the still-playing electrical clock, the surface gleaming discreetly under the sun which shone through the windows of the room. Curiously, with an air of faux-innocence, the vessel reached down and picked up the rectangular thing, peering at the faces kept within the small wooden frame.

It was a picture. Francine, and her mother.


"This is a nice picture, Trem."


Her voice was still low-- and, for a moment, its tune carried the faintest hint of truth, if not melancholy. Her smile wilted, suffocated under the sight of Francine having something she never truly had.

A family. A life.

Purpose.

Do not think these traitorous thoughts, vessel.


"How did she react, when she found out you were sneaking out to play the hero? How much do you take for granted, Trem?"

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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Mach2 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:22 pm

Friends.

Her skin crawled at the thought. Even when the word was twisted into a threat, as it had been, the thought was appalling. Frankie had friends. Not many, but she valued the few that she kept. If anyone asked, she wasn't entirely certain she would be able to manage the lie that Ailyn was suggesting. She could imagine her roommate asking who she'd been talking to.

Just a friend.

She wouldn't be able to force her mouth to form the words. Not with the evidence of the demonic woman's visit still readily apparent throughout her room. Not with her doorknob melted into non-existence. Not with her bedspread burned and charred. Not with Ailyn crossing over to the bedside table, and picking up the one object in the room that she had no right to be touching. "This is a nice picture, Trem."

It was a nice picture. It had been taken two years ago, right after Frankie's sixteenth birthday. The photo featured her mother and her younger self, both grinning excitedly at the camera from the balcony of a high-rise building, the entirety of the Detroit skyline stretched out behind them. As a birthday surprise, her mother had pulled some strings at work, and acquired a pass for her daughter to enter the very wealthy and very restricted Opulence district. They'd eaten ice creams at Detroit's highest ice cream parlour that day, and snuck into apartment viewings for suites that none but the absolute wealthiest could ever afford.

The ice cream parlour was gone now. Most of Detroit was. She still had the photograph, and seeing it held in Ailyn's charred hands sparked a deep anger within her. "Leave that alone," Frankie snapped.

In a moment of boldness and impulsiveness, she stepped forward to seize the photograph that Ailyn held in her hands. She didn't consider any potential consequences. There was a line of what she was willing to tolerate. The line that had been established when she learned that her mother's apartment in New York had been broken into. And was crossed when Ailyn picked up the photograph.

As quickly as she'd stepped forward, Frankie retreated again, holding the picture tightly in her hands. "If you came here to talk to me, talk to me," she said, emboldened by her anger. "Leave my family out of it."

Had she known that her extracurricular activities - playing the hero, as Ailyn called it - would pose such a risk to those she knew, Frankie would have done a lot of things differently. She would have forced herself to train more, in private, before she took to the streets. She would have kept her face hidden, using something with more coverage than her motorbike helmet. She was hardly a public figure, but her identity wasn't enough of a secret to deter those who tried to seek her out.

And when they found her, they could find the ones she cared about.

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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Ailyn » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:22 am

"What, did I strike a nerve, Frankie?"
Ailyn teased, holding on to the frame a second longer as it was forcefully ripped from her grip before eventually letting go of the picture, her arm falling loosely to the side. She flashed a smile that was more akin to baring teeth and moved forward, encroaching upon the girl's personal space.

"But it is about family, Trem. That's all it's ever about. Protecting your mother, of course, but also showing her that you're mature, that you aren't some little girl anymore. You want to show her-- the world-- that you're a hero."


She stopped, now, arms folding across one another as her smile deadened into a complacent smirk.


"And I have to say, helping her load all those boxes into that moving truck warmed my little heart. It must have been horrible, getting out of Detroit, but you made it out. And then you left her. Came here, barely talk, sneak out when you can as your own little act of rebellion."


Her smirk turned to an effusive expression of bitterness, now, the faint edges of her lips curling downward as she leveled a burning glare at the girl which stood a ways from the bedspread.


"You don't know how lucky you are, Frankie. You really don't. You can say you're aware of how well you have it, but you really won't know until you feel the sting of losing everything you care about, everything you thought was just. You can join the Society, you can try and have your picture-perfect little world, but you won't. Ever. Because I'm in it. I will make it my mission to convert every waking moment into misery for you, because that's exactly what you did to me."


She stood, now, in a flash. Inhuman speed placed her in front of Francine, now, and Ailyn gripped the girl's shoulder with a searing palm. Not enough to scar, or burn, but enough to cause a stabbing discomfort where her blackened skin touched.


"You know what the best part of that all is, though?"


The vessel's smile returned. She leaned in close, mouth next to ear as her scalding words were unraveled to Tremor.


"I'm going to love every moment of it."

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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Mach2 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:35 am


Frankie was maintaining her composure. But barely. Ailyn's words struck her hard, sparking a deep-seeded fear, and a twisting pang of regret. She'd seen them leave Detroit. In the aftermath of the Alpha's attack, it was a small wonder she and her mother had been able to get in and collect as much of their things as they had. It had been rushed, it had been stressful. Loading as many boxes as they could into a truck, and driving out of the city without quite knowing where they intended to go next.

And Ailyn had been there. Watching. Frankie had thought every time their paths crossed, it would be a violent event, filled with fire and injury. The thought that Ailyn could exist in the background of her life, in the corners where she couldn't see, simply waiting and observing, was more unsettling than an outright attack. It was jarring, to consider how much this woman had seen. Enough to know where Frankie went to school, enough to know where her dorm room was, enough to know just how frequently, or infrequently, she called home. She'd been trying to do a better job of keeping in touch, but evidently it wasn't good enough.

She knew it wasn't good enough.

And despite what Ailyn said, the thought of losing it was something that had crossed her mind. Frequently. She'd lost her home when they'd left Detroit, and couldn't wrap her head around the possibility of losing more.

"I will make it my mission to convert every waking moment into misery for you, because that's exactly what you did to me."

Frankie's jaw clenched so tightly she could hear her teeth creak - partly to suppress the urge to scream at Ailyn to leave, but moreso to crush the instinct to gasp in response to the woman's burning grip. It wasn't enough to leave a permanent mark - Frankie knew what that heat felt like. But it was distinctly uncomfortable. She was maintaining her composure. But barely. She knew that if she gave her mind the freedom to consider the implications of Ailyn's threats...she would break.

Weakness was the last thing she wanted to show right now. "Get out of my room," she ordered quietly. She met Ailyn's burning gaze directly, and her tone was carefully level. But at her side, her fingers were pressed together once more, poised to snap.

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Re: Hello, It's Me [CLOSED]

Post by Ailyn » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:28 pm

Ailyn met Tremor's command with a sardonic, malevolent giggle.

"Do you really think you're in a position to order people around, Frankie? Most of all me? Let me make one thing clear."


Another hand closed around the girl-- this time, her hand. The vessel lifted up Francine's clenched fist, the heat turning skin red wherever the charred digits found purchase. Ailyn saw both middle and thumb poised to snap, but she only smiled, only chuckled at the sight of an oncoming offensive.


"You have nothing. Nothing to threaten me with. Everything I had to lose was taken from me, that night, on the bridge. By you. I want you to get that through your thick skull-- you brought this all upon yourself. Or have you fucking concussed yourself enough times that you can't understand me?"


She threw the clasped hand down, releasing her grip upon both fist and shoulder. Ailyn moved around Frankie, now, circling her halfway before backing up towards the doorway. The same smirk across her face remained, the gleam of the inferno within her eyes remaining ever-constant. Her boots placed blackened, warped footsteps upon the hardwood floor, and smoke stretched in wisps from her shoulders and hair.


"Here's what's going to happen, Trem. You're not going to tell anyone about me. Not your schoolmates, not your mother, not your little Society blowhards-- because I will know. I will. I always do."


Without looking, Ailyn's incinerated claws dug into the door to the bedroom and swung it open. She flashed another smile.


"If I find out you've been talking, Francine, I swear on my life that the last time you'll ever see your mother will be her charred corpse swinging from a bridge."


She turned, walking out the entrance into the hallway and closing the door behind her.


"In fact, I'd give her a call. Call it a check-in."

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