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The Journey into Town

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Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 23 Jan 2016
Posts: 44
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:24 pm    Post subject: The Journey into Town Reply with quote

They were twenty caravans strong and had been pushing down the road like metal bison on a migration to... that place. Where there would be some sort of portal to take them onward. They had done most of their driving at night, when traffic was low and kids were asleep. The MacIntoshes hadn?t taken many kids with them, their group was lean and once they found their destination the remaining thirty caravans would join them. The voyage had only hit one bump in the road, which was bad weather. Beyond that they had moved swiftly and easily through the evenings to the location marked on his map. This night, though, was different.

They had stopped at a campsite to rest and shower but when they tried to leave one of the metal bison wouldn't get back up for the road. The group mechanic was looking the engine over while MacIntosh swore under his breath and cut over to the rest area's bathrooms for a piss.

Ian angled the RV into a parking spot and climbed down out of the driver's seat. It had, in theory, been a very long, very boring drive with nothing but the stereo for company. He was a scrawny thing, all hair in his face and long sleeved button down shirts tucked haphazardly into jeans that were probably a size too small. He stretched awkwardly, locking the doors before he cut a line towards the rest area.

"Of course it has to break down now," he was the only one in the bathroom and his voice echoed just a little off the tiled walls. After the stream of yellow stopped and he gave himself a shake he went to the sink and washed his hands. There was black along his forearms from the grease of the truck he'd been looking at. It took some scrubbing to get it off.

When Mac got out of the bathroom he was stopped outside by the picnic tables by one of his crew who muttered something about the truck?s condition and he said, "Well, they'll just have to get strapped to the top, now won't they? We'll have to leave them behind and go on without and let them find their way to us."

On his way towards the vending machines to try something sweet, full of chemicals, and generally terrible for him from its mechanical jaws, he tilts his head curiously as he passes the picnic tables. Overhearing snippets of conversation, his steps slow.

"Hey man," mumbling, he clears his throat as a hand passes over the back of his neck. "Where y'trying to get to?"

Mac folded his arms across his chest and sized the stranger up quickly. He didn't look like a boxer or anything like that. Young, runty sort of guy, wasn't he? "We have about another 200 miles south to go." He was going to keep it vague because he wasn't sure what sort of company the kid kept. The guy that was talking with Mac also turned to look at the youth. Friend? Enemy? Target?

He wasn't immediately intimidating, that's for sure. He was skinny and slight. His clothes were rumpled from long wear or utter apathy. Mouse brown hair hung in his face, over long and unkempt. He was clean, though, and green eyes --when you could see them through all that brown, that is -- sparked with a quick-witted intelligence.

He looked from one to the other of them, plucking unconsciously at a ring pierced through his lower lip. "As it happens, I am also headed south. How many people y'need to make room for?"

He wasn't buying what the kid was selling and it showed. Mac took a step forward. He wasn't exactly bulky or slight, but somewhere in between, with a few marks on his face that said he threw and took enough punches that one more wasn't going to be a worry. Was he trying to see if the kid would back down if he went forward? "Whatcha want for it? How much you aim to charge? The drive is going to be days, kid. I don't want to cram two people into the back of your Honda civic."

The kid stood his ground, his hands falling to dangle limply at his sides. He didn't step forward, but neither did he back down, his chin lifting defiantly. Hooking a thumb back over his shoulder, he indicates the RV in the parking lot some twenty yards away. "That's my ride. Truth is, I'm gettin' ***' sick of being out here on my own. Maybe we can come to some mutually agreeable arrangement?"

"You're out here on yer own?" Mac didn't sound like he had much of an accent. It slipped in a bit, here and there. He was third generation so it was pretty far removed. He looked from the boy to his RV and then back to him incredulously, "You... are riding that thing... alone? What are you, running away to the circus cause you didn't want to do your homework?" Then Mac laughed and unfolded his arms from his chest, "I'm just bustin' your balls, kid. Sure, we'll take the help if you're not asking for anything."

The kid had a mild hint of an accent, but usually only when he was really tired or when he touched on certain words. Lips twisting in an irreverent smirk at the jab, Ian shakes his head. "Nah, man. I'm running away *from* the go**amn circus. And, yeah, it's mine." There was a notch of pride in his voice when he said this last. "So how many do I need to take on?"

"Might be too sensible for us then," he smirked and so did his compatriot. Then when he asked the details he reached in his pocket, pulling out a toothpick to pick at the base of his teeth, "Two. Just two louts that were out of their luck. When would you be ready to go? They can swap out driving for you."

That smirk still present in the edges of his mouth, he shrugs, "Gimme a second to restock on snackage, and I'm good to go." Tipping his head towards the brightly lit vending machines. Feet heading in that direction next, the kid hauls his wallet out of his back pocket, pulling a couple of badly crumpled singles from its depths before he replaces it. Feeding them into the machine with a little trouble and a lot of swearing, he eventually punches the right combination of buttons to give him a sugar rush for the next several days.

Pulling his prizes from the box, he has one arm full of them when he heads back towards the picnic tables. "All set. Y 'gotta name?"

"I'm Macintosh, this is Jeremiah, and that's our crew," he nodded to the line of RVs impatiently idling, waiting to figure out about what was to be done about their situation, "Can you pull up over to where we are?"

"Yup. I'm Ian." Looking out over the parking lot at a veritable sea of RVs, he struggles for a moment not to look impressed. "Quite a caravan y'got. Looks like maybe I joined a different circus, yeah?" Laughing awkwardly at his own joke, he takes a step back towards his own RV. "Be there in a sec."

"Liam? What are you, Irish?" He had misheard him, his head tilted to the side curiously and then he grinned at the circus comment and turned around, trotting back over to the "dead" RV. He was chatting up his crew, letting them know that the alternative ride had been found. Liam the Ian was going to save the day... and maybe in the morning if they didn't like him they'd steal his RV and leave him behind so he could learn a thing or two about strangers. In the meantime, they'd be on good terms.

That might be why he had a cooler full of energy drinks right next to the driver's seat - so he could keep his eyes open in the morning to prevent just such an occurrence? Letting himself back into the camper, he hoists himself back into the driver's seat. Divesting himself of his arm full of sugary snacks, he rips one open first, slotting the key into the ignition. Tugging his phone out of his other pocket, he sets it on the dash before throwing the vehicle into reverse. Navigating the parking lot, he turns the RV in a wide circle, bringing it up side by side with the one where all the people are standing around, presuming that this is the one that is stricken.

Pushing his way out to the concrete again, he rounds the nose to find himself back near Mac and Jeremiah. "Ian. Not Liam."

"Ian? Oh, that English, right?" Mac cracked his grin and pushed the short brim of his hat back to make a few motions, "It's gonna be Cole and Tommy that ride with you, if you don't mind. They are putting most of their stuff with us but a few things they gotta load in with you. No problem," he reached over and clapped Ian on the shoulder, "right?"

His face twists in an ugly expression. "I ain't no ***' Englishman," he says with a scowl. He knew he was being baited, probably, but couldn't help the reaction. "Cool, cool." His gaze searching out Tommy and Cole, he unlocks the side door and opens it up to let them on. The interior of the RV was... well. It was about like you'd expect a teenager living by himself to keep it. Clothes and empty energy drink cans just about everywhere. Stepping on, he kicks a few things out of the way, shoves a few more in a side cabinet. There. That counts as clean, right?

"Oh, with a mouth like that you sure aren't." Mac folded his arms across his chest, his smile one of approval. Jeremiah, the guy at his side before, was also smiling and nudged Mac saying, "I like the kid." Mac's smile faded a bit and then he nodded for Jeremiah to move on. Using his hands like a speaker he called out, "Let's get this show on the road! We don't have all day!"

There was a circular motion thrown up by Mac?s hands to encourage cars to get back in gear and back on the road. Tommy and Cole showed up moments later with two duffle bags and sheepish smiles. It never was good to have a car die, especially before a stranger. Mac held his hand out for Ian's phone, "Lemme give you a few numbers to call."

Exiting the RV, he gives a nod to Tommy and Cole in turn. "Go on in guys. Hang out wherever. The room in the back is mine, but pretty much any other space is available. Have at it." Forest greens sweeping back to Mac, he pats down his pockets only to discover that he's left the phone on the dashboard. Oops. "Hang on a sec." Rounding the front of the vehicle again, he swipes the phone off the dash, then heads right back around to where he'd been a few seconds ago. Phone handed off nonchalantly.

The background picture was something stereotypical, something with girls about to fall out of their bikinis. He doesn't look ashamed.

There was a smile of amusement, but not surprise, at the picture. He hesitated and went through the menus, accidentally opening the page of his most recent messages. "Hey, where's the contacts... oh, there," and then he managed to navigate away from that little 'accident' to where he could program his number and that of Jeremiah and Sonny. He handed it back to him, "That's me and my two right hand men. So if you can't reach me the other two are just as good." Cole and Tommy were already climbing into the RV, giving a mutter of thanks as they did so.

Most recent messages were to some girl labelled "Redhead" and... his mom. The one to "Redhead" was nigh unintelligible, as it was written in letters and numbers that allegedly spelled out deeply meaningful song lyrics? The one to his mom said "Yeah, fine. Still driving." Ian watched as Mac fumbled with the phone, and there was a metallic clatter as he chewed on the ring in his lip. Taking the phone back when it was returned, he gave them an upnod. "Cool. Which one's Sonny?"

"The one with the arms as big as your head." He was still out of sight, apparently.

Mac clapped him on the shoulders, "Thanks, man, for helping us out. Not every day you meet someone who does you a favor." He took several backward steps and then turned, trotting towards the RV that was waiting for him. He climbed into the passenger seat and they flashed their headlights at him to follow them onward.

This... was not a promising description, but the kid shrugged it off like he saw people with gigantic arms every day. Shoving the phone back in his pocket, he sweeps chocolate locks across his forehead -- not to get them out of the way, as you might expect, but to make sure they were *more* in his eyes than previously -- and he turns to make the semi-circle one more time to the driver's seat. Letting himself in, he cracks open a fresh energy drink.

"Everybody settled?" Called over his shoulder to his new passengers as he put the RV in gear. "We're headed out. Hope you like Twenty One Pilots..." The last wasn't so much a question as a warning - he was cranking his stereo back up as he flashed the headlights in answer. Ready!
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Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 31 Jan 2016
Posts: 42
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They had driven all that night. Eventually Cole had nodded off in the seat next to him, and Tommy's snoring in the back was like someone sawing wood. They got about three hours before Cole's cell phone alarm went off in one of those annoying, loud rings. He woke up like the police had arrived and then laughed at how startled he'd been.

Cole cleared his throat and reached down, dialing up Macintosh. There was the scratch of his voice on the other line. He looked at Ian as he spoke, "Yeah... Yeah, we're good. What's the stop at? Right. Yeah. I'll tell him, no problem."

When he hung up he pointed ahead, to a sign they couldn't even see yet, "Macintosh says that there's a campsite coming up next that we're to stay at. If you pull over there we have spaces reserved and all. You'll be able to plug your RV in, too, if you need it."

It had been a long night. Ian was secretly relieved when it was clear his two passengers had fallen asleep. Though at first it had been nice to have the company, it was nicer still not to have to hop through the minefield of their seemingly casual questions. He'd put the cruise control on and the stereo on shuffle, and the miles fell away under his wheels.

All too soon it was over, though. Truth be told the alarm has scared the crap out of him, as well -- he'd only not been the brunt of their jokes because Cole's reaction had been more elaborate. Road weary and happy for the break, the kid nodded. "Got it."

It was only a few more miles to the campsite, and he eased off the road and smoothly into one of the spaces. Hopping out of the big van at last, Ian was all too happy to stretch his legs, bending this way and that to shake the road out of his joints. Fumbling around in one of his bags, he realized that he hadn't gotten cigarettes at the last pitstop. D**n.

Shuffling out from where he'd plugged the RV in, the lanky teen made his way to where some of the other travelers were congregating, balling a fist against a yawn. "Hey. Anybody got a spare smoke?"

"Hey Cole, Tommy," Macintosh had that light brown fedora on, but pushed back because of the dark. They had driven through much of the night and the sun was starting to break the horizon. He heard Ian speak and reached in the front breastpocket of his jacket, tossing him his cigarettes that had the snap menthol bead inside and the green stripe around the filter.

"How was the trip?"

Cole smiled in a sour way and Tommy outright laughed. Tommy had slept more than Cole, after all, and had spent less time figuring out Ian on the way. Cole nodded, "The trip was good. Like to see a bit more of Ian."

It was, between them, the discussion that said they weren't going to mug him for his RV and would, instead, absorb the kid. If Ian had protested, maybe they would have just taken what he had. For whatever reason, Cole had given the nod that Ian wasn't bad people.

Catching the pack of cigarettes, Ian fumbled it clumsily but managed to recover before they fell to the ground. Well, Ian hadn't actually had any sleep yet, you know? With a rough nod of thanks, he dug a cancer stick out of the pack, examining it a moment before shoving it between he teeth.

Closing the pack, he dug in his pocket for a lighter. It was bright pink, obnoxiously so, with sparkly butterfly stickers everywhere that made it look like Lisa Frank had thrown up on a bic. Thumbing the wheel once or twice, he got it to spark, lit the cigarette and took a deep drag.

Exhaling, he maneuvered the pack between his fingers, waiting for the right time to toss it back as he listened to Tommy and Cole. Bloodshot greens shifting from one to the other of them, a hint of a smirk coiled his lips around the cigarette. Sweet, he'd passed. "You lot are pretty solid. Nice to have the company," he agreed.

While Mac had called Sonny his right hand man, the guy seemed more like a bodyguard. When he stood behind Macintosh with his short hair and thick neck, it seemed like he was the sort that lived at a gym and read about body supplements.

Cole appeared to be the one he conferred with. He grinned at Ian's words, winking at him before he reached to take a cigarette from Ian, holding the tip out to him for him to light. "Well, we have an order to us, for sure."

Macintoshes' attention went to Cole. With his free hand he pulled out his cellphone and gave it a wiggle, "I just got word from our boy in the Barlow camp. He says that there's a goddamn werewolf in their midst. Can you believe it?"

Cole spit on the ground, "****ing cursed werewolves. You know a camp's gone sour when they have one of those."

Macintosh nodded and then shrugged, "I've asked him to get it sorted, see if he can't figure out what that whole werewolf business is about without drawing too much attention to himself."

Raking one hand through that messy mop of brown he loosely defined as hair, Ian was quiet through out the banter, dragging fiercely on his cigarette from time to time. When Cole reached for the bent pack of smokes, it was readily offered.

Thumbing the obnoxiously gaudy bic a second time, he lit a cigarette for Cole before he shoved the lighter back in his pocket, trading it out for his phone. Peering at the display with the same disinterested apathy of any kid his age, he damn near dropped the thing when he heard what Mac had to say.

"Holy ****, a ****in' *werewolf*, seriously?" His face twisted in a sneer. He hadn't meant to interject, but neither had he been able to stop himself.

Cole sucked on the cig and then handed it over to Macintosh, who nodded to Ian and shook his head, "It's **** ridiculous the sort of thing that happens when a caravan loses its way along the right path." Macintosh didn't seem to mind him any. He pushed back his hand and swatted Cole on the shoulder with the hand not holding the cigarette, "There's all sorts of crazy stuff there from what I hear. This place, Rhy'Din, we're going to have all kinds of access to places and things there."

"And the Barlows?"

Mac snorted and sucked on the cigarette that he been handed over, "They can get out or get ****. I think Mark's running things over there."

"Isn't he just a kid?"

Mac's jaw tightened as he looked at Cole, "I'm only three years older than him."

"Right, I mean... well. yeah."

Ian's gaze traveled from Cole to Macintosh and back, trying to get a handle on the way of things with this group. Cole had said there was an order to them, and that much was definitely clear. Now that they didn't mind him being in their group, he had to find a way into that order that would give him permanence. A place to belong.

Evidently relieved that his outburst hadn't upset anybody, Ian nodded along. He waited until the exchange was up and then shrugged nonchalantly. "Age ain't the problem, sounds like. Sounds like the goddamn werewolf is. What's it living with them or sommin?"

Right now he was mostly discounted. Macintosh must not have seen him as a threat, or as someone that needed to be sorted. He was like that bum on the transit you confessed your sins to. Maybe on the next stop they would simply drop him off... except that they were attached to his caravan. Not him, not yet. Not enough that they were initiating him or anything.

"I think so. Not sure what the situation with that is, yet." Mac admitted with a shake of his head, "Don't you need a silver bullet or something for them?"

Cole shrugged his shoulders, "For a real werewolf? Man... I got no clue. You know who we need to talk to?"

Mac shrugged and then waited for Cole to go on with what he thought.

"Talk to that fortune teller. Mami Fortuna or whatever. She'll give us a clue."

Macintosh grinned and looked sidelong at Ian, "You ever been to Rhy'Din? Think Mami Fortuna has a book on how to deal with that?" He then yawned and sucked on his cigarette. The tip glowed orange and it seemed, all of the sudden, that he was tired.

So here was a chance for Ian to prove his usefulness, yeah? He took a deep drag off his cigarette, pinched it between two fingers, and fixed his gaze on Mac. "I know a thing or two about werewolves," he says, exhaling a cloud of smoke. "Silver bullets don't work. Somethin' about the metal casing melting or coming apart or... sommin'. " He shrugged, gesturing an explosion with his hands. He knew what he was talking about but not the science behind it, you follow?

"Y'gotta get up close. Like a knife or chains or whatever." A nod. Seemed Ian had Seen Some Things.

"How you know **** about werewolves?" When Macintosh spoke, it almost sounded like he was irritated. He wasn't, but he was pushing Ian. Maybe he wanted to see if the man would stand his ground or not.

Mac looked lanky, and he was. Just of average height with a roughness to him. Like he was still being developed by a photographer. He didn't seem unstable, but maybe like he was always on his toes, asserting his position in the "pack."

Ian had expected as much. He was a skinny thing, skinnier than Mac, but he pushed back when he was pushed. Not hard, not enough to assert aggression or a bid at authority. Just enough to say he knew what's what.

"....Remember that bit a few hours ago about running *away* from the goddamn circus?" He said with a scowl. "I seen werewolves before." And the look on his face said he wasn't a fan.

"For fact, then?" And now Macintosh was looking at him as if he was worth more to him than bull****. He arched one of his eyebrows and a slow, approving smile formed. "Hey, if you don't mind Cole driving, you can catch a nap in my RV with me when I drive."

Ian was getting a chance, that one in a hundred, to be side by side with Mac. Given that there were twenty caravans about easily forty people, it wasn't a seat easy to get. But this werewolf talk had made him slide right up to the frontline of his attention.

It was something that made Cole look uncomfortable, but he didn't say anything.

"For fact." Ian hid his consideration of the offer in a drag on the cigarette. Finishing it, he flicked the cherry off it in an offhand way and exhaled again. "Yeah, cool." He agreed, trying to walk a line between appreciating the offer and not looking too eager.

His gaze veered around to Cole then, peering at him all mock-suspiciously. "Y'ain't gonna like... drive off with it, right?" He knew he wouldn't, but it seemed like the right joke to make just then.

"Cole doesn't leave me," Macintosh assured him with a smile before flicking his cigarette, "We'll take a five hour rest here and then get back to the road. There's showers and all that. And if you want food," Mac pointed with two fingers to the a trailer painted sky blue, "Mama Dee is going to make breakfast in an hour. You can help yourself then."

Mac grinned, but didn't wait for Ian to hit him up with questions. He turned, Cole scampering after him and Tommy grinning, a tooth missing on the left side of his mouth.

Ian grinned. He had a feeling that was the case, but hadn't been able to resist. "Thanks," was all he said as Mac took off. The kid could probably (definitely) stand a shower and some food, but the first thing on his mind for sure was a ****n' nap. Saluting their retreating figures with two fingers, he wiped his hand over his face and turned to head back into his RV.

Only when he was inside did he realize he still had Mac's cigarettes. Tossing them on a table, he kicked his way through a litter of dirty clothes and energy drinks to his bedroom at the back. Flopping belly-first onto the mattress, he groaned, burying his face in the pillow.

Just before he fell asleep, he set the alarm on his phone to wake him up for food. And then, almost as an after thought, he flipped to his messages and wrote a quick message to his mother.

"Hey Ma," the message read. "stopped 2 get sum sleep. Still doing good. Miss Frosted Flakes, tho. Don't have 'em in the stores around here and every1 seems pretty grumpy about it. Luv u. Nite."
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David Evans

Joined: 06 Feb 2016
Posts: 8
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Can Be Found: Wait, what day is it? Depending on the day, he could be anywhere. Ask him where he'll be performing.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

((All conversation is texted not spoken.))

Late into the evening, on the road and in his bead, he was away from prying eyes. When there was someone on the inside, it was best not to even talk about it. For them, it had seemed like Dave had died. No one said a word about him, not to Mac or anyone. And now that days had passed it had felt like he died. Conversation on his became distant. Items which had smelled like him became diluted.

It prompted him to send the text: How are things in Candyland?

Homesickness wasn't something that travelers understood, so the feeling was sickening and he felt uncomfortable everywhere. That nasty deep down feeling of regret, the wondering if he was the kind who could pull off something like this. The phone was in his hand, and he was idly running his thumb over the edge when it lit up and buzzed against his palm. A humorless chuckle at the message and he responded: "Friggin terrible, this camp is a damn mess."

?Could always be worse, yah?" Mac smiled at the screen and realized that when he sighed that an enormous amount of relief had come with it. Dave was fine.

The next message came to him shortly after, "You have something you need to do and it's going to be difficult."

He thought on that. Could it be worse? No lover, no family, no drugs, no guns, he were on some sorta little kids retreat with full grown adults. So he replied. "You haven't been here, you can't say that." Laughter rang out and he pulled the half joint he pocketed from the night before and lit it. Curiosity piqued and he peered to his phone.

"Good, I am bored as all *** here. I hope its good. And if its a honeypot you can get right off it. I won't do it."

Mac looked at the ceiling of his RV and then, after laughing at his text he lit up his own joint and drew on it. "Honeypot? No, it's more than that. You're going to have to be careful as ***."

A pause and he swallowed. He couldn't have cotton mouth this early, but it seemed like he'd dried out before he typed, "Someone here says wolfbane will poison the wolf. I want you to get some and try it."

He just stared at the screen and took a deep breath, Quinn was a pretty good guy, he had pretty good weed, but, if Mac said to do it, he'd do it. Another long hit taken and he ran his thumb over the screen. "Cool, you want me to try and kill him...or just see if it hurts him?" That was the million dollar question wasn't it. It was posed so casually as if they were talking about laundry, or the weather.

?He's the only wolf there, he's the biggest threat. I've heard so many things on how to deal with his kind and I don't know what's true." A pause, realizing the question wasn't entirely answered. He took a draw from the joint, held it and continued to type, "If he dies, that's cool."

"Nice, gotcha." Thinking a moment he wondered where to get it, and what to do with it. "So, you just steep it like tea? Or eat the plant? Or should I find out myself?" Another hit taken and he held it long enough to blow out next to no smoke. "Hows things? You staying outta trouble?"

?No idea. You're going to have to get clever. You're good at that." There was the question about trouble and his thumb smoothed over the screen of his phone before he tapped on the keyboard again. "So far it's dull. Just the road and some stupid hangups. Should hit Rhy'Din portal tonight." He squeezed out the tip of his join and set it aside for later.

Yeah, he could be clever. He'd get it done, Mac wouldn't have put him here if he didn't think he could do it. "Let me know when you're here, maybe I can get away, brief you on this and that, you know, whatever. Be nice to see a friendly face, or faces, you know, little taste of what's real." He too extinguished his joint and set it in an altoid tin with his lighter.

"Real is good." And that was how he said goodnight to Dave. ***. Don't get yourself killed over there, man. He darkened his screen and laid back, slowly shutting his eyes and wishing that he could just fall asleep that easily.

That didn't need any response, so he tossed the phone onto the bed beside him and reached over to pull a pillow closer. He propped it between his knees and turned on the tv. Some sort of news broadcast, mostly, Dave couldn't fall asleep to silence, and this place was eerie quiet at night.
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Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 31 Jan 2016
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Can Be Found: on the road
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"**** this ****," Mac said, throwing a rock at a sign which said that the East end portal to Rhy'Din was thirty miles in the other direction, "How did we get turned around?"

Cole was like a statue. Somber. Unable to offer an explanation. The line of RVs idled impatiently. They wanted to be on the road, and for the cars it didn't matter what the direction was so long as it was forward. Mac frowned and grabbed the brim of his fedora and tore it off his head, "How did this happen?"

They had gone the wrong direction, and doubled back. They were back at the crossroads with no signal and all signs telling them to go back the way they'd come.

Ian was stressed out, wired to the gills and feeling jittery. Some combination of too many energy drinks and not enough sleep, to be sure, but there was something else, too. He couldn't shake this strange sense of foreboding that followed him like his own personal rain cloud, a constrictive tension in his ribs that made him think of those commercials about an elephant sitting on your chest.

Watching Mac pace, he'd lit his cigarette, peering first one way down the empty street and then the other. Something had been niggling at the back of his mind ever since they'd been here last. He'd tried to comment on it before and gotten blown off, though, so he tried to squash the thought and stepped off the road into the tree line. "Be right back, Mac." Ian called over his shoulder.

"Be right back?" Mac looked at him as Ian shot off to do... well, whatever he was going to do.

Cole finally looked up from the ground and said, "I think there's just stuff going on, you know? The maps just aren't agreeing and we followed the signs."

"Yeah, well, something's ****ed and it's cost me almost a whole **** day,"

"Jus' wanna check sommen'. One sec."
He called, lifting one hand in something like an apology. Pushing shaggy brown waves all the way to the left to clear them out of his eyes, the teenager ambled along into the underbrush, his gaze downcast. He'd stepped off the pavement in almost exactly the same spot that the stupid beater car had been sitting, and walked a zig zag path that lead him to each of the most distinctive trees. Looking for somewhere at least semi private to piss? Maybe so.

"Oy, Mac!" He called a few minutes later, lifting his voice so it would carry. This time he raised both hands, waving them to mark his location. "C'mere."

Cole was trying to square off with Mac about things, but he just wasn't having it. He rolled his eyes at whatever Cole was saying and paused when Ian's voice told him to head over.

"It better be worth the steps," he muttered before crossing over to him. Mac was in a loose grey hoodie that was pulled overhead, casting a shadow over his brow.

Though he'd sooner die than admit it, Ian's heart was turning backflips inside its calcium cage, his breath shallow in his ears. The expression on his face fell somewhere between really aggravated and scared as ****, frankly. Calling Mac over like some obedient dog? It had been a ballsy move and he knew it. All he could do was hope like **** it paid off.

"I was lookin' for a spot to piss and trying to figure out what's been eatin' at me since we crossed this spot last. Then I saw this," he explains, pointing at a spot where the thick vegetation surrounding the base of a particular tree is trampled. Not just bent leaves like a coyote came past looking for dinner, like actual broken ferns and an indent wide enough to have been a person's stance. "Looks like someone else was standing here recently. So I checked it out. Here..."

Mac was there and he looked like he would bite or slug Ian if what he called him over for was anything other than important. Lucky for him, it was. Mac paused at the story and then saw Ian bend the leaves back. Squatting he peered, "Well, I'll be ****ed..." He reached out and grabbed at the thing, pulling it from it's little hiding place to check it out.

He turned the curious box over in his hands a few times before he motioned others to join, "Oi, get me Selma." And it was Selma, apparently, who was his technology nerd. She even had the hipster black rim glasses and plaid shirt to go with. It wasn't long until she nervously confirmed what they already knew and said, "It's a signal blocker. A good one, too."

Ian exhaled a ragged breath, the one he hadn't really known he was holding. Dragging fiercely on the cigarette, his eyes fixed on Selma while he waited for her to confirm the sabotage. His gaze might have lingered there a moment or two longer, even were it not for the next point he wanted to make.

"That car. The ****in'... piece of **** car with the tall dude and the bimbo."

"Did you see this?"
Mac looked at Cole and his eyes were sharp like knives. It made Selma uncomfortable and the air sort of paused.

Cole bristled and said, "It's a little black box somewhere on the road. It was just missed is all."

Mac stepped up to Cole, holding the box close to his face, "It cost us a whole **** day, is all. Do I need to start sending boys to do your job right?"

It seemed as if everyone was waiting for a punch to be thrown, but it never was. Cole stared and stared at him until Mac snorted. At that point he finally looked away. Mac threw the box on the ground and frowned, looking between all of them, "Let's hit the road and let's not waste anymore time. Ian, you ride along with me. Cole, you drive his digs."

Ian watched the stare down quietly. Interest in his eyes, he's quiet about it, patting his pockets down blindly for his pack of cigarettes because he isn't about to look away. When it ends, he flicks the cigarette he's just finished out into the underbrush, finally taking a moment to look down and notice that the pack he's looking for is empty anyway. "****." he mumbles, pushing his hair back down into his eyes.

Nodding his assent at Mac's instructions, he thumbs his keys from his front pocket, tossing them to Cole on his way back towards the road. Only when they're almost back to the road does he break away from Mac. "Lemme just get my backpack. Be right there."

Cole's jaw flexed like he wanted to say something. Badly. Nothing came out, though. He just shook his head and strutted over to Ian's RV like he'd known it for years. Didn't look over his shoulder though it still, somehow, felt like he did.

A live wire of tension seemed to hold Ian's spine erect, his posture almost too straight. Every muscle in his body was rigid with anticipation -- confident that the blows were coming sooner or later. All Ian worried about was whether Cole would just point blank deck him, or if he'd do the devious thing and rabbit punch him in the kidneys.

It was almost worse when the other man didn't hit him, truth be told. He pulled open the door, leaned over the seat to hook the strap of his backpack, slung it over his shoulder and made his way to Mac.

Mac didn't drive. He sat in the passenger seat with Sonny Big Arms as his driver. That was the one he called his right hand, though it was clear the man wasn't an intellectual. For that, Cole seemed to be his general. Now that Ian would be joining him he took a seat in the kitchen area at the table, pulling out some notebooks, a pad of paper and a joint while he was at it.

With a nod of greeting to Sonny, Ian followed the leader to the kitchen, taking a seat opposite him. Torn between wanting to apologize and wanting to say I told you so, for once in his life Ian did the smart thing and just said: "Got a smoke?"

The RV, fairly large and much nicer than what Mark had, began to vibrate as Sonny started it back up and hit the gas pedal. The world shook for just a moment, then they adjusted.

Mac looked at him and then picked up his joint. From the front pocket of his green t-shirt he pulled out a lighter and lit it. After a puff he passed it over to Ian, "You're cool, right? I need to talk to you about something."

The shudder was jarring if you didn't know it, but Ian had grown up on RVs like this. For him it was strange when he went too long without feeling it.

Taking the lit joint with a single tip of his chin in thanks, he stared at it for just a moment before he presses it to his own lips and takes another deep drag. Cigarettes were basically his security blanket in all this, seemed like, and in their absence the joint would have to do. The question brings a flicker of a smile to his face. "I am. What's up?"

Because Ian had watched a lot of movies. And when someone asks you whether you're a god, the answer is always 'yes', even if it isn't true.

When the joint was handed back to him Mac put it to his lips for another drag and held it in his chest for a long moment. Then his eyes squared off with Ian's. The kid was new to them, and so far hadn't been stupid but useful. Maybe trusting strangers like them was the only stupid part about him, but Mac could work with that.

"You get that money isn't important, right?" He looked around himself as a demonstration, "That the money it takes to buy things is a fleeting thing. Money's about as useful as a ring or... anything with a detached sense of importance. What matters the most is information, is being in the right places and getting the right things. People don't do the math these days." He handed the joint back towards Ian, "You get that a dumb man may rob a store for a thousand dollars whereas the smart man taxes it and gets two thousand. You follow me?"

Holding spicy smoke deep in his lungs, Ian held his breath through the first half of the bossman's rhetoric, green eyes more or less glued to him attentively. Exhaling at last, the boy nods, scratching at what little peach fuzz there is along the edge of his jaw. Taking the joint back when it was offered, Ian knew better than to interrupt any part of that until Mac actually gave him room to speak, and when he did he nodded, taking another drag.

Rolling the joint between his fingers, he carefully tapped part of the ashes off, fixing a run in the seam before he hands it back. "I getcha. People get so caught up in chasing the money they miss what's most valuable." He really hoped that was right, anyway.

"That's right. And in Rhy'Din there is nothing so valuable as these supposed portals which can take you anywhere in a blink. There's money, there's technology. And when it comes to selling and trading, you can double your profits because you can get the goods to people sooner. You're at the center of a place of infinite trading possibilities." Mac took it back and then looked down at the face of the table, "And what daunts us only is the things we don't know about. But we're not lazy, right?" He nudged a book to Ian. It said it was about werewolves and looked like something a nerd in a basement would have written, "We just have bad information. I don't know what sort of weapon Quinn is, or what makes him tick. But I need you to come to me with anything you think can weaken that creature."

Ian nodded, trying to absorb this information. Exhaling his second drag, he puts one hand on the book, sliding it closer. Peering down at the front cover, his hair all in his eyes, he cracks the cover and flips through some of the pages, examining it. A moment later, he lifts his gaze back to Mac with a nod. "Sure, Mac. Maybe there's something in here that tracks with what I already know."

Scratching at his face again, his gaze spills over Mac's shoulder, tracking the trees as they fall away behind them through the windows. After awhile his attention went back to Mac. "One thing that's been on my mind. Are we sure there's just the one wolf? They're supposed to like.. have packs, right?"

"I've had a few scouts go ahead. There's all sorts of **** in that city. But it seems like if you just keep your head low and don't get noticed you can do just about anything you want. No, my problem is the Barlows. I don't want them trading over those routes or having any of the control they've been having with the portals. They can join us..."
another pull off the joint before he pinched out its light and set it aside. Smoke rolled out from his lips and mouth like a dragon, "Or get bent. But that wolf isn't going to be the one that tips the scales. I've got a guy on the inside keeping an eye on him."

Ian nodded, wisely keeping his mouth shut. In his short time with Mac's crew he'd already learned that if he planned on opening his mouth he better have something useful to say, something he could back up with violence if necessary. So for now he said nothing, opening the cover on the book again and scanning over its contents.

The weed had him feeling pleasantly disconnected, and at the same time highly paranoid. So he jumped a little when his cellphone went off in his pocket, and snickered like an idiot at himself for jumping. Digging the device out, he thumbs over its display. Reading the message there makes him laugh all over again. "Me Ma' wants to know how I'm gettin' on with my new friends," he says by way of explanation, shoving it back in his pocket a moment later. He'd answer Ma later -- wouldn't do to text her back which he was stoned.

"Is dat so?" Mac said looking at his phone. It was hard to tell if he was annoyed, amused or suspicious. He had a sort of coldness to his gaze, but it wasn't mean. "Well, maybe your Ma should meet us someday to set her little worried mind at ease, huh?"

Ian snickered readily at the prospect of introducing his mother to Mac and his group. "Yeah, maybe so."

"So..okay. What do we know about these Barlows, then? How have they been holding their position for so long?"

Mac chuckled, "They've held it because it hasn't really been challenged. People don't go to that city, but it's full of opportunity. My guy says they're staying off the water in the glen and that they've got only a few guns between the whole lot of them. Should just take us showing up and telling them to take a hike to get them out of town."

Ian flipped a few more pages in the book, pausing on some information about strengths and weaknesses. Though his gaze was on the book, he was hearing every word that Mac was saying. "No guns? F'real? That's just... impractical, innit?" Chuckling, he lifts gawky shoulders in a shrug. "Makes things easier for us though."

"Every camp is different. The Barlows have been long time asking for this. Now, this is what I've got,"
he nudged the other books to Ian and then nodded, "And here's a number. You don't say names when you talk, hear me?" The card set on the table, written in his own hand, "You give him some clues on what to do about this werewolf problem we got."

Ian nodded. More books? He accepted them, taking a glance over the titles and then stacking them up underneath the one he's already looking through. His gaze lifted to Mac, though, when the card with the number was slid over to him. He read the digits and then raised his eyes to the boss man once more. Direct contact with the man inside? This was a big job and he knew it. "I gotcha, man." He said with a serious nod.

"I'm going to get some sleep. When we get to Rhy'Din I have but one thing for you and Cole to do. Figure out who's thirsty for money and if we can't get them under our wing. I don't want any more people in my caravan, I just might need my own kind of werewolf if this is how things pan out." Mac stood up and called to the driver, Sonny, "Hey, you good up there?"

The man called back, "Yeah, I have another four hours in me, boss."

Ian was trying to be cool, but he was a little bit high and something really important had happened. So he maybe stared at the man opposite him for a few seconds longer than he should have, but at least he had good reason. In a delayed reaction, he nods, unsure whether to acknowledge the significance of what he's been entrusted with, and maybe freaking out a little about screwing up. "Alright, we'll get it done," he says lamely, mostly because he felt he should say something. "I'm gonna look through these for a bit, mind if I catch a nap on the spare later?"

"Just don't leave any **** behind in the bunk."
Mac shrugged his shoulders and then made his way to the back, "There's some hot pockets if you need to eat something. We lost time today so we're not pulling over if we don't have to." He was briefly illuminated by the light from his cellphone as he sent a message, no doubt to Cole, about what he'd decided.

Ian nodded, his attention returning to the books at hand. "...'ppreciate it, man. Thanks." But did he mean permission to crash out, the food, or the job? All of the above? The flare of the phone screen made him look up, and he saw Mac texting someone, assumed it was Cole. Oh good, he wouldn't have to explain it to the insecure second, then. That was something, at least.
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Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 23 Jan 2016
Posts: 44
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Can Be Found: With Ian
3161.90 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Events had been such that it was a whirlwind, and Mac was still thinking the situation over. He was outside his enormous RV that was only a year old, smoking a cigarette as he looked down at his cellphone screen and contemplated what he would say to Dave about it. What could he say? Levi, Mark Barlow's right hand, was in the RV. It was like a fortune had just fallen into his lap.

If you considered that fortune to be bumping into someone on a property they considered camping on and realizing who you just bumped into. It was odd, having that strange moment of recognizing someone you had never met. Mac knew him from pictures, from stories and social media. In some ways, he knew him from Dave. At first Levi hadn't seemed to know who he and the other men were. He had smiled politely and seemed distracted and disinterested enough that Mac simply couldn't let the opportunity slip. The manner in which he would set up a meeting with Mark to discuss terms had been vague. Dave was originally going to have to play some role in manipulating Mark to a location and Mac didn't like that. If Dave was going to blow his cover... if he was going to endanger himself, it had better be ****ing worth it or not at all. You didn't jeopardize someone like him without it being worth the risk.

Still, Levi was int he RV, bruised a little about the ribs and blindfolded, but no worse for wear. Cole was standing beside him, smoking a joint and squinting along the road. They had parked away from the property they had bumped into Levi on. Mac wasn't ready for this to erupt into war. Not yet.

Cole looked at him, "Do you figure they'll just tuck tail and leave town? This scrawny little bunch has to know they're out done."

Mac arched one eyebrow but didn't look at him as he spoke, "There's stories all through history of a small army defeating a large one. They have the home field advantage. Even if it is smart for them to just turn it over, that doesn't make it any easier on us."

"So, what are we going to do with him?"

Mac sucked on his cigarette, held the smoke in his mouth and then exhaled. He held the cigarette between his lips, which bounced a little as he spoke, "Two in the head ought to work. Put a litle note inside his jacket. That should get the Barlows to get the message." He reached back, pulling his 45 caliber pistol and looking down the sight of it. With a push he popped the bullet cartridge out of the pistol to check how much ammunition he had.

It wasn't that Levi didn't know who the men were when he saw them. He'd set up the camp to be alluring to them: low rates for parking and hooking up to the electric, close by to the city for the andventurous types and even a hot spring nearby to relax the weary road from the camper's shoulders. But what Levi hadn't expected was for the campsite to be nearly at capacity so soon. He had thought days, not hours.

It was easy to pretend to not know who they were, but the moment that Mac had recognized him, the game was over. Levi resisted being taken and there were a few of the Mac caravan that sported bruised eyes and shins from his punches and kicks. But they'd bested him and now he sat in an RV going who knows where.

The blindfold made it impossible to gauge when they were going to hit a pot hole or go around a curve. Each time that happened his body lurched in one direction or another. He grunted, the pain in his ribs seemed more intense because he couldn't see. The sway of the RV seemed like the rolling of the ocean and left him feeling queasy. In college he'd taken courses on how to relax the mind and body. Using those techniques, he traveled back to the happier moments of his life: Nasya's birth, the deck of cards on Christmas day, a beer with Mark and Quinn on one knee with a box in the palm of his hand.

The day dreams abruptly ended when Mac responded to the question. He could hear the click of the gun outside the RV where they were talking. His heart raced and he began to sweat. "No! Don't!" He struggled against his bonds but for no use. "Please!"

Ian was pacing, a lit cigarette dangling precariously from the corner of her lower lip. A scowl was firmly etched into the lines of his brow, the conflict in his green eyes mostly concealed by a thick shock of mouse brown hair brushed deliberately into them.

Mac squinted towards the door when he heard Levi and looked mindly annoyed. He jammed the magazine clip back into the gun and then grasped the brim of his hat and pullled it down, "Can someone cram a sock in his mouth or something?" Mac caught sight of Ian and motioned, pointing with his gun, "You. Get a pair of your socks and cram it in his mouth."

That seemed to appease Cole, who looked between Mac and Ian and then held out his hand to the boss, "How about I handle this one?"

"No thanks," Mac smiled ruefully, "You don't send a message by having someone else shoot."

The teenager was also sporting bruises, an ugly green and yellow affair along the left cheekbone; the corner of his mouth opposite the suicidal cigarette red from having torn against his molars. Only one of these decorations was from the lawyer, though -- the other was left over from his last altercation with Cole. There was a tension building there, one that had already bubbled over twice now as Ian proved more and more useful to the team, Mac consulting him on an increasingly regular basis. He dragged fiercely on his cigarette, looking from Mac to Cole to Levi back to Mac. He nodded.

Stooping to haul a set of socks out of a backpack that happened to be near his feet, he made short work of the distance over to Levi, leaning close as he exhaled smoke in the other man's face. "Shut the **** up," he said roughly, waiting for the lawyer to cough or gag or open his mouth to speak. Soon as he did, Ian shoved the ball of socks in and turned away.

Veering his focus over to Mac now, Ian shakes his head. "Don't kill him, boss."

Oh God. Smelly, dirty, icky, germ-ridden, fungus filled socks! Levi could hear everything from his spot in the RV that was going on outside of the open door. Then there were footsteps, the RV bouncing just a little as what must have been the thin one crossed the floor. Levi had smoked his share of cigarettes before, but he wasn't expecting the acrid fumes to invade his nose. His mouht popped open and before he could cough, the socks were shoved into his mouth.

"Mmnngh! Mnngh!" his voice muffled as he struggled again. He moved his aching body left and right, pulled at the binds on his wrist and fought against the powers that be that were holding him in place. He was going to get athlete's foot in the mouth. Or worse!

It wasn't until he was forced to inhale through his nose that he realized that the socks had a vanilla scent to them, as if they'd just been laundered. Well, maybe they weren't so bad. They were clean but still left his mouth incredibly dry.

"The **** did you just say?"
Cole spit the words. He was bigger than Ian by about forty pounds. He didn't have arms that were tree trunks like Sonny but he was more or less Mason's build and type. Was this a third bubbling over? Mac never stopped it, he never sorted them out or even discouraged the behavior. It seemed he was more than happy to have the two of them compete like dogs for the beta position. That's what it was really about, wasn't it? Everytime Ian stepped up Cole looked like he wanted to take a piece out of him.

Though, to what Ian said, Mac raised his hand to Cole to quiet him and pushed his hat up by the brim with the nozzle of his gun. Safety was on, but he had an itchy trigger finger. "You got five minutes to convince me or just step outta the way."

Ian was ready for it, of course. The tension sung in his rigid stance, the squaring of his shoulders, the way his fists had balled almost by instinct. But he didn't spare a gaze for Cole, not one. He didn't respond, either, his attention remaining squarely on the man in charge.

"He's a **** gold mine, and you're just gonna... kill him? I mean, the second he's dead he's worthless to us. Why not use him a little, for the..."
he'd pulled the cigarette from his lips to speak, his eyes narrowed, his hand gesturing around with the cancerstick clamped between thumb and index finger, billowing smoke. "The theater of it. Really get inside ol' Barlow's head and **** wit' him. Just think. He's wonderin' where the hell his second went and startin' to get all nervous about it an' suddenly here comes the **** with a message from us. He's got to be thinkin' 'oh, ****. They're already here. They already jus'... snatched him up like it was nothin'. And they're so ready they din' even bother to kill him." He nodded, scratching almost spastically at his jaw, the fading bruise there. "S'psychological."

Oh hell no. I am not telling Mark **** except that you're here. Kill me, let me go. Quinn will kill the lot of you so do your **** worst. The thoughts ran rampant in his head and looped in that circle of bold defiance that only he could hear. Realistically, he knew that the better message would be his body dumped into the middle of the Barlow camp with something saying who had done the deed.

Keep talking, man. Keep talking. I'll agree to anything you say, just let me get home to Quinn and Mark and Ko and Grace and Mason and the rest of my family. Just let me go. I want to go home. The thoughts were making him hyperventilate through his flared nostrils and his head began to swim.

Thank God I left my ring. They can't have it. It's mine. He gave it to... me... His body went slack and he slumped where he sat, passed out cold.

Mac did psychological intimidation the same way a dictator did. Public executions and a brutality that made those who wouldn't ball up their fists take a step back. It was the way Capone had run things, though he was reputed to be an idiot. Didn't want to be an idiot, did he? Tapping the side of his leg with the gun he looked at Cole expectantly.

There was an annoyed shrug of Cole's shoulders, "Just shoot the guy. He's second in command and isn't that a message? You let him go and he's just going to enrage the Barlows."

Mac nodded a bit and then paused, holstering his gun behind his back before he plucked his cigarette from his lips, "It's a message, but I like where Ian's head is at. If we put two in the head of this guy, it's a war. Plain and simple. I'd gut any man who took one of my boys from me. Maybe gettin' Levi back with a message will be more... persuasive to them to just get the hell out." Mac squinted at Cole, his eyebrows still raised as if examining him, "And the more you get for the less you pay, the bigger those profit margins. Let's keep him for a day and then shake him loose somewhere on the outskirts of town."
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Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cole spit on the ground and nodded, "Me and Ian will drop him off outside town."

Mac looked between them and cut a smile and nodded, "Yeah, sure. You two do that."

This time Ian did square his gaze on Cole, the green eyes fierce, his scowl made it all to clear that he wasn't intimidated. "Yeah. Glad to." He answered, turning his eyes away from Cole almost dismissively as his attention swung back to Mac.

"...Sides," he continued casually, as a man used to having Mac's ear by now. "Isn't this **** some big shot attorney? Ain't he th'one always comin' up to defend us an' gettin' us outta jail n'****? We could use that, after."

"Us? No. We don't have a **** lawyer and he'd be more trouble in the courts against us than not but..." he paused and then looked at the door of the RV and then back to Ian, "You're right about him not just disappearing. It might give us a damn headache. Let me send a message to my guy on the inside, let him know."

To that Mac nodded and stepped away from the both of them. Levi would be with them atleast until tomorrow and then Cole and Ian could have another heart-to-heart about their differences. He sent a text to Dave.

To Dave: Got the rainman. Letting him go tomorrow with a message. Watch yourself. We're in town.

Ian had intended the word 'us' to mean travelers everywhere, not the Macs specifically. To his mind, a lawyer on a leash sounded like a real advantageous thing to have, but it wasn't the first time Mac had misunderstood him, either on purpose or otherwise, and he knew better than to press the point. Quiet, he nodded.

Taking a final drag off the cigarette, he flicked it away, out into the road, not caring whether it went out or not. Exhaling after a long breath held, his gaze slid to Cole once more. Giving the man a smile full of teeth and promised violence, he glanced back inside the RV at the passed out lawyer one last time. Such a waste -- there were all kinds of good uses for somebody with those kinds of credentials.

Mac wouldn't have thought they could get Levi in their pocket like that. All their leverage to compell him would be gone once he got to the Barlow camp. He didn't go back to his RV, but the one with Sonny. Eventually Cole went back in the RV, checked on Levi since he was passed out and then sank into the driver's seat. It was one of those long, boring nights.

By morning Mac had arrived with some Waffle House in plastic bags, stepping inside the RV, walking around Levi and putting them on the kitchen table, "Hey! Breakfast is served. Thought you two would need some fuel before you dropped him off."

Levi had woken up to the sounds of birds chirping in the woods around the RV. The unseasonably warm weather had trapped the birds with a snap of cold and he thought the birds sounded sick. He tried to move, but his ribs and spine screamed at him with agony to stop. He grunted around the sock and let himself fall into a light slumber. He may have been tied up and his body aching, but that didn't stop his mind from going back to a place of warmth, love and solace: Quinn.

Levi woke with a start when the door opened. He tested his bonds with as little movement as possible. Opening his eyes did no good, the sock was still in his mouth and he was still tied tightly to the chair. Oh good. Nothing had changed. There was food, and his stomach grumbled at the scent of waffles, bacon, eggs and maple syrup. "Mmmngh," he whined.

Mac left the food on the table and grabbed a chair, pulling it up in front of Levi and pulling out the saliva-soaked socks from his mouth, "Hey there, Mr. Legal. I know you have to be dying for some water." The familiar sound of a plastic cap snapping open followed. Somehow Mac knew how to make a loud, satisfying swallow noise followed by 'ahhh' just after. He reached forward and tugged the blindfold off a Levi, "And you can have the rest of this bottle, and your life, if you do just one little thing for me."

And then the blindfold came off. It was instinct to open his eyes wide. He quickly closed them again. The light was too much for pupils that had only seen the dark for more than a day. It sent a dagger of pain right into the middle of his skull. Then that sock was removed and Levi slowly closed and opened his mouth. The ache in his jaw wasn't something he hadn't felt before. But it had never felt that bad.

He opened his eyes, just a hair, to look at the man sitting across from him. His head lolled to the side and he licked his lips, thought it did little to bring moisture to them. "What do you want?" he croaked.

Mac was twenty six, a few cuts on him but looked mean enough that even seasoned criminals didn't want to **** with him. He wore a faded, plaid fedora and his brown hair was shaggy and thin. There were some that said he was handsome, the same way a scar could be sexy. In his eyes was the promise he had seen a lot and could impose a whole lot more.

Oh yeah. Sitting in the passenger seat just across from Cole, the tension between them so thick it was tangible, choking. Sleepless because he wasn't all that stupid, after all. Ian was all blood shot eyes and bad attitude by dawn, scratching at the light dusting of peach fuzz that passed for stubble on a cheek still smooth with youth despite the life he'd chosen.

When the door opened and the scent of food billowed in, it pulled a smile from the adolescent's face - the smile of a wolf who'd just walked up on a fresh kill. "Thanks, man," he said, climbing out of the passenger seat. Stretching his back, he yawned noisily without covering his mouth and moved to a seat at the kitchen table.

"Tell Barlow that I expect to meet him at a bar in the Marketplace called 'The Salty Dog.' I expect him there at seven. I'll bring one of my men with me and he can bring one with him. If he's a no show then I'll take that to be my answer." He moved the bottle to Levi's lips and then paused, looking at him, "think you can remember all that?"

The plastic of the breakfast food made that popping sound as Cole grunted and climbed from his seat to the kitchen table and started pulling off lids and jamed two pieces of bacon in his mouth and began chewing them like gum.

Mac smiled at Levi and wiggled the bottle again at Levi, "So you get to walk away with your life, some water and a message. How's that for benevolent? I can promise you most men haven't gotten this deal."

Levi didn't watch the man, he was watching that bottle of water. Each time it dipped and rose, went side to side, his eyes moved to follow it. He needed that water, desperately. Not just to ease his dry mouth but to replenish fluid that his body was naturally filtering out through his kidneys. When it was brought to his mouth, Levi leaned forward and tried to capture it. But Mac hadn't heard what he wanted to hear and Levi was denied even a drop of water. I'd pay a million dollars for that bottle.

His eyes opened a bit further and he gave Mac a baleful glare. "Fine. Yes." He then hung his head. Levi had never felt so weak in his life. He'd been broken, easily.

Ian just smiled, silent. His grin was a crooked thing, somewhere between glee and invincibility. He helped himself to some food, shoveling breakfast into his mouth like someone would take it from him. Well, around here someone might. When the lawyer caved, the smile was back with a vengeance.

The mouth of the bottle was placed to Levi's lips and he tipped it back. After a few swallows he pulled it away, setting it on top of the table. Mac looked at Cole and then Ian. Though he was smiling it carried a certain weight to it. A don't-****-this-up weight. Getting to his feet he went to the kitchen and prepared himself a cup of coffee as he spoke over his shoulder, "You two can finish eating after you deal with the lawyer. Take Michelle's car that's around back and make sure he's blindfolded."

Cole grunted before he got to his feet, seeming irritated that breakfast was interrupted but not enough that he would complain to Mac about it. He reached to Levi's neck and pulled the blindfold back over his eyes. He then bent down to undo the zip ties that held him in place. Cole growled the words, "Don't be stupid or I'll beat you stupid."

Once Levi was on his feet he put new zip ties to fasten his wrists together. There was the jab of the palm of his hand to Levi's shoulder to get him to walk. At least cole gave him the warning, "In two paces you're going to have to go down three steps."

Mac spoke over his shoulder nonchalantly, "Don't forget his water bottle. That was part of the deal."

Levi gulped the water as if it were ambrosia. And all too soon it was ripped away. He whimpered and let his head fall forward once again. He was greedy, he wanted more. Instead he got the blindfold put back into place. Freedom for his hands was short lived as the plastic bit into his skin once more as he was led out of the RV. Three steps down on any other structure wouldn't be nearly as steep. But Levi had grown up in an RV. It was instinctual to step further down than normal.

"Can I have another sip, please?" his voice was raspy as he stood there, waiting for whatever was going to happen next.
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Levi Clark
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 27 Aug 2015
Posts: 129
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Can Be Found: Barlow Camp
6564.78 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See, this is why Ian had basically been using his plate for a shovel. It was a real pretty picture, him with his mouth full of every kind of food he could fit in it, maple syrup painting one cheek, his hands sticky from the bacon. Chewing with his mouth open, he nodded, wiping at his face with the back of his hand as he swallows.

Ian was pouring himself a cup of coffee while Cole was manhandling the lawyer, one with enough sugar to put a hummingbird into diabetic shock. Turning to follow them out once Cole and Levi were on the move, the kid was halfway out the door with him when Cole reminded him about the water. "Oh. Right. Water.?

Reversing course, he snagged the water bottle off the table, not bothering to grab its cap. Taking the steps at a run, he may have splashed some of the water on his way down, didn't seem to bother him either way. Moving around in front of Levi, he nodded. "Yeah,? he said roughly, pushing the plastic rim of it up against the other man's lips none too gently. "There. Drink fast.?
Cole scowled, glaring at Ian over Levi's shoulder. "That's enough,? he muttered, jabbing at the lawyer's shoulder again after only a swallow or two. "Let's move.? Snagging his prisoner's arm by the elbow, he struck off towards Michelle's car.

Levi hadn't expected them to comply with his pitiful request, so when the bottle struck his mouth, his already dry lip cracked. He tasted his own blood when he gulped down what little they allowed him. And then it was back on the move. He stumbled over himself a couple of times before they got to the car. He banged his head against the frame as he got into the back seat.

Cole was still throwing sullen glances at Ian as they walked in tense silence across the yard. "You drive,? he spit out, terse, as they approached the car. Probably he figured Ian would be too gentle on the man if he let him handle getting him into the car. Sparing his life, giving him water? "You a faget 'er summin'?? The words were gasoline, his smile a match.

"*** you,? came the answer as Ian yanked the car door open and checked the ignition for the keys. Satisfied, he slung himself into the car, adjusting the seat and then the mirrors. "Why, y'askin' me out?"

Levi let his head fall back against the headrest as he slumped down into the seat. He just wanted to go home. The two jackasses he was left in the care of were annoying but easily enough to be ignored. They're like an old married couple. The thought brought a small smile to his face.

He thought he was being addressed, but the other replied and Levi tried to drown them out. He didn't have the strength to tell guy number two that "*** you? could have been an invitation to guy number one.

"Let's just get this over with,? he breathed out, not lifting his head. He just wanted to get home.

Climbing into the back seat after him, Cole shoves roughly at Levi's side. "Move over,?" he growls, his eyes on Ian's in the rear view mirror as he slams the door shut behind him. "Keep talking, kissass.?" this was for Ian, a threat and also a promise. "Him. Not you. You shut up.? He elbows the lawyer in the side.

Ian put the open water bottle in the drink holder, turning the engine over to start up the car. He met Cole's gaze in the rearview mirror and did what he knew would incense the man the most -- made a kissy face at him, complete with lip-smacking audio. "Or what, asshole?? Putting the car in gear, Ian angled it for the road, not bothering to put on a seat belt or avoid any potholes.

"Hey!? he grumbled and scoot over, away from guy number two. Once he found a semi comfortable spot, he let his head fall back once again. He didn't care about being told to shut up. He really didn't have a lot to say. Though, the elbow to the ribs, waking them up to sing again caused a hiss of pain through clenched teeth.

"Oh shut up and just *** each other, will you? It'll be far better than this constant teasing. Trust me. You'll both feel a lot better.? The words flowed out of him like water over a cliff. It was dumb to anger either of them, but he was tired, hungry and dying for another sip of water. In short, he was cranky.

With an inward cringe, Ian slid his gaze away from the rear view mirror, watching the road as he merged into traffic, heading out of town.

"I told you to shut up you goddamned fairy.? Seething with pent up animosity, Cole cranked his fist back and punched the blindfolded man in the jaw with a satisfying bone-on-bone crack. He'd hauled back to do it again when Ian's voice cut through.

"Don't go wastin' all that anger on him, asshole,? he called in a singsong, glancing over his shoulder into the back seat. "Save some for me.?

It was a good thing that Levi was blindfolded because when the punch flew, he didn't have a chance to tense up and get hurt even worse. His head whipped to the side and he saw stars. His bell had clearly been rung and that was going to ache like a toothache for days. He brought his head back to face guy number two. "My sister is going to kill you. Only she gets to call me that.?

His jaw was already swelling and the red was beginning to turn purple. "That's if my fiance doesn't eat your spleen first.?

His gaze alternating between the road and the goings -on in the back seat, Ian was driving faster than strictly necessary. He wanted this over, wanted to get back to his breakfast. He squinted a little. "Fiance?? Attention diverted from his constant needling of Cole to the situation at hand. "Who's your fiance??

"The *** do you care??" Cole spat. He was thinking about hitting the smug bastard in the face again, breaking his nose for him. "Tell your sister to come find me. I got something real nice for her,? he said with a wicked grin, breathing in Levi's face.

Levi decided it was best to clam up now. He had said too much already. He curled his lips into his mouth and gently bit down on them to keep them from flying open. They didn't need to know who either of the people closest to him were.

When he smelled bacon and maple right up in his face he turned his head away. Please, God. Let them drop me off soon. I can't take much more of this.

It was the way that he phrased it that had snagged Ian's attention. My fiance will eat your spleen. When the man refused to elaborate, the teenager fell silent, considering it. He pulled off the road then, onto a dirt path he'd scouted out the day before. The engine rumbled, the tires sliding on the rough shale of the unmarked, unkept road. Suddenly a smile lit his face as he put it together, but it wasn't a detail he felt like sharing with Cole.

"That's right, you little bitch. Keep your mouth *** shut.? Cole reached forward then, smacking Ian in the back of his head. "Watch where you're goin'.?" He said as the car suddenly veered hard to the right, narrowly avoiding a hole in the road.

When the car stopped, Cole was already shoving the door open again, practically bounding out of the car's interior. Turning he reached back in, grabbing Levi by the arm and half dragging, half throwing him to the ground. "You're about a hundred yards from the road,? he said, bending down so his mouth was right near the other man's ear. "Don't you ***' move until you've counted to fifty or you'll regret it, fairy.?

"Where's his water.? Cole said, standing, as Ian also got out of the car with the water bottle in hand. He set it on the ground directly in front of Levi's face. If he moved to much he would knock it over and spill what little was still left. With a pen knife, he dropped to a crouch, cutting the zip tie that bound his wrists.

Pushing Cole towards the car he tips his chin at the passenger side. "Get in. We're not doing this here.?

Levi's head bounced off of the window and he grunted as they bounced along the dirt road. He had no idea if Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (he decided that guy one and guy two were too boring) were going to allow him to deliver the message or not.

Next thing he knew he was being bodily thrown from the car to land on his face in the dirt. And while the dust coated his mouth and nose, his eyes were blissfully saved by the bandana around his head. He lay there, still as the dead, even after the ties were cut.

One, two, three.... He counted to fifty, as instructed. He heard the car pull away and only then did he lift his head and remove the bandana. The bottle was grabbed as he sat up and he finished off what was left in one long pull.

Cole's posture bowed up the minute he was shoved, like he was thinking about wailing on the punk then and there, but Ian was already jamming himself back into the driver's seat, closing the door after him. It looked for all the world like Ian would leave him here, especially with the way he locked eyes with Cole through the windshield and deliberately made a show of putting the car in gear.

Cole pointed at him through the window, yelling ?'don't you ***' dare!' He wouldn't be made to run, not by that dumb ass kid, but his pace did pick up a little as he rounded the hood and threw the passenger door open. A string of obscenities could be heard over the crunch of the tires as Ian put the car in reverse, pulling a turn at the wide spot and shooting back out on to the road.
It's over, nothing's over
I'll grow up when I'm older
God only knows what I would do to you
It's over, nothing's over
I'll grow up when I'm older
God only knows what I would do to you

- Young the Giant "Nothing's Over"
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