Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dreams of Corruption and Pursuit - Set 3: Radioactive

Patricia's Wellness Journal

Set 2 - Enter the Sandman

The consequences of our actions are sometimes hard to see, you know? You think you're doing the proper thing, the right thing. Or maybe you think it's a choice so small as to be unimportant. But regardless of how right or small a thing is, you've woven a thread into the design and it can't be taken out now.

Kelsey had a plan to deal with this outbreak of dreams. We were to head into the housing complex as potential buyers asking about the neighborhood. He has the money to do that, just buy himself into an exclusive, company-only, neighborhood. I've heard and seen a little bit of his finances and they are quite impressive. The rest of us were to play along with that idea. In particular, I was set to be his personal assistant. The problem with this would be that military fatigues don't go well with the secretary to the rich and famous vibe which meant doing a bit of shopping.

I got more than I meant to. There was a dress, luxurious, probably a bit more expensive than I could really afford. Red, satin, with a vague shine to the fabric. Something out of my youth and high school days when my mother would send me to prom in a dress that cost as much as three months income for me now. It was not especially inconvenient to the idea of a fight or other action, but battle would be the last thing anybody would be thinking about if they saw me in that dress. That was a dress to advertise excess and hedonistic pursuits.

It called to me. The fatigues and military surplus theme of my wardrobe suddenly felt very laughable. They were beneath me. Just touching the dress I could taste the lust-flavored blood and sweat that would arise from putting that dress to work. You'd chide me for thinking about it and you wouldn't be the only one. Something else advised waiting, as if it was too early yet for that measure, but the dress might not be there later if I waited and it screamed for my attention. I was drowning, my Contact demanding and giving me no quarter to resist. The next thing I knew, I was home, and the dress was in my closet.

I saw it on my way out to meet the others, dressed in a smart skirt, blouse, and jacket ensemble that would let me pass myself off as a secretary without sacrificing anything in terms of combat-readiness. The sight of it awakened a vague memory of spending a third of my savings in one shot on that dress. The fuzzy, blurry sound of the cashier warning me that they would not accept returns. The dress was mine, for better or worse, sitting in my wardrobe of practical clothing which were pushed aside as if they feared infection by the newest item.

This wasn't something I could deal with right then, there wasn't time. I had to meet the others. Once we got there, it looked like Kelsey had a bit of his own trouble. He looked a bit frayed about the edges, something I've started to associate with him having had a bit of a conflict with his wife. I think I heard later that she had hoped to do something with him tonight since he'd cancelled his appointments. Of course, what was he going to say, that he was off to shut down a witch from poisoning people's dreams?

Getting let in was easy enough, we rang the doorbell and a man by the name of Richard let us in. The woman from my dream was inside, apparently her name was Chelsea, watching some sort of inane reality TV show and told us that she had expected us to come the night before. There was a pleasant conversation of sorts and tea was offered though I did not partake. Mostly I did not want to have the burden of a tea cup and saucer to deal with, but a quite thought occurred to me that one should not eat with one's enemies.

My Contact was eager and wide awake. I could smell the blood flowing in everybody's bodies and hear the hearts beating upstairs and around me. My own heart beat to a slow beat that belied the adrenaline and endorphins that must have been filling my veins and arteries. My tongue quietly traced the shape of my teeth and lips within my closed mouth.

They confirmed matters easily enough. Their mistress had night terrors and they were spreading those out through the City to dissipate them. I could sympathize with their plight, but their solution was ultimately selfish. When Richard suggested that it was better to burden the people than themselves, Kelsey's teacup shattered in a tiny explosion. I had already adjusted my seating posture to be ready to move so I turned and asked "Shall I?"

When Kelsey nodded in response, I stepped forward swiftly as I could and swept the man forward in an over the shoulder toss that sent him sprawling into Chelsea. I stretched my clawed fingers out and opened my mouth, hissing a dare past my fangs them to take the fight to me. The woman almost did so, drawing out a large pistol and aiming it in my direction. She hadn't accounted for Evan who swept forward, sword suddenly in hand and lashing a line up her limb such that her pistol dropped.

I called out the word that there were more people up the stairs and encouraged Kelsey and Ophelia to head upstairs while Evan and I handled things down here. The EMT handled Chelsea in an incredibly efficient manner, by simply reminding her that tonight wasn't her duty night as she had herself said. To which she happily agreed and left the room to bandage herself.

This left me to keep Richard busy, and this was not difficult. The man was clever and intelligent, but I healed too fast and was too well-trained for him to be able to get around me. He certainly ruined my clothes hitting me with chairs and whatever else he could get his hands on, but I mostly just ignored it and pushed him about like a child while Evan watched Chelsea to make sure she didn't try anything else.

Kelsey found the stairs eventually, they'd been concealed by some sort of magic and went up the stairs with Ophelia where they had found the third guardian Kelsey's Muse had warned us about. I could smell her from downstairs, young and fresh, a child. It wasn't my place in this battle though.

A glorious song filled the house and the fight came to a stop as Richard turned to look up. Ophelia's song, the song that normally filled the House of Black Feathers. A song to stir the hearts of men, women, and ghosts. But it was melancholy and sad, speaking of loss and pain. It stirred something in me that pulled the eager lust for battle and sensation down back to a quiet presence.

My Contact had shifted again and I had a soft notion of the hand of Providence in action. We had been brought together for the purpose of bringing Ophelia to the side of this woman's bed, and we never learned her name. Once there, Ophelia sang to the sleeping form and when she awoke...when she awoke there were screams.

Nothing they could do would put her to sleep again, but Ophelia assured everyone that things would be better soon that she just needed to work out her fears and burn them away before she could begin to recover and I stated my opinion on their decision to jump straight to assaulting the minds of others before seeking other cures for their mistress.

Kelsey was a bit appalled that we showed any sort of sympathy for this woman. There was something about him that wasn't...him. But then again, there was something in me that rose up that wasn't me either. It felt like Kelsey and I arguing over second chances and not knowing the whole situation, but it also felt more like my Contact arguing with his Muse.

The matter was cut short when the police came in response to reports of shots being fired. Chelsea admitted it was her acting in self-defense noting that Evan had a sword, though by then his sword had already been dismissed to wherever he kept it. Evan cooperated with the police, giving the rest of us time to slip out unnoticed. I would like to have had more time to see what became of the woman in the end. I can't help but feel that we've left behind a loose thread that could be a problem for us later.

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