Echo had been standing on the sidewalk for five minutes, looking at the shop's facade. It was six o'clock in the evening. The sun was a blazing deep-orange ball in the sky that cast long shadows. The hybrid grasped the door handle, pulled.
It was cooler inside, and she paused as she looked around at the shelves. She didn't know if she'd find what she was looking for here, but if she didn't at least look, she'd never find out.
There was two hundred dollars folded tightly in her back jeans pocket. Help, real help, probably wouldn't be cheap. If she had to live off of mac and cheese for a while, it would be worth it.
Echo stepped towards the counter, jammed her hands self-consciously into her pockets. Wondered how she was going to start explaining.
Marta's voice cut through the silence, and Echo looked up from putting away the art supplies. The older woman was a retired schoolteacher who'd opened Cornerstone after moving to Nevada from Denver. She was short and chubby, her once-black hair shot through with wide swathes of white. The hybrid liked her because she sensed her goodness, and the children the center took care of during the day gravitated towards her with ease.
"Sure," she said easily, finishing with one task before adding, "Just let me clean up these books and then I'll get my keys. Tell Gabe he can either wait in your office or outside."
"Thanks, hon. Drop me a note in the morning, and I'll give you some money for gas."
( Other People's Lives )
The reason she'd decided to seek the Irishman out was because she had to tell <>someone abut the progress she was making with her Wolf side, and Cian was the obvious candidate. She loved Papa, and beyond that she respected him, but he wouldn't have understood her reasons for exploring her Otherness after all this time. She didn't want to have to face his possible disapproval.
The drive to the Cove was uneventful, and the lot was moderately full. The hybrid parked her vehicle in a slot, killed the engine and got out. She hoped she didn't catch the man when he was busy.
Echo had gotten the job at the daycare center. She'd lucked out and they hadn't wanted someone with a teaching certificate, just someone who was good with children and could drive the communal van to take them on the occasional outing. The job wasn't going to make her rich, but she enjoyed it and it got her out of the house.
She'd finished dinner, and was now contemplating a run out in the desert. She'd kept up with the practicing, and shifting didn't hurt anymore. Searchlight was so quiet at night that she no longer worried about being spotted. One of the benefits of living around so many retirees was that they all seemed to go to bed before it got dark.
There were two lawn chairs on the trailer's front yard, and a plastic table for drinks and sometimes sandwiches. Echo didn't really have visitors, but sometimes one of her close neighbors would stop by to talk.
Life was pretty good.
James sat under an umbrella at one of the city’s lunch bistros. The patio had drawn a few customers because the weather was nice. His club sandwich was long ago eaten; only bread crusts and crumbs remained on his plate, which he had shoved to the middle of the table. His Pepsi was half-drunk. Headphones pumped Doug E. Fresh into his ears. Periodically he took them off and wrote in a spiral notebook. James had gotten work as a DJ at a club and he was dreaming up a new mix that fused rap and funk. It might not get played, but it got the juices flowing and he was getting cabin fever at home.
He stopped to read the ads on the side of a city bus. Vidal Sassoon. Siefried and Roy. When it took off, it coughed a cloud of smog into the air. The reddish-brown fumes dissipated and he put down his pencil. James rubbed the legs of his pants and tried to crack his neck.
There was a chill in the morning air but it was still balmy inside the greenhouses, and Emmy hummed softly to herself as she inspected the jasmine and honeysuckle she had recently re-potted. She had decided upon waking that she would not open the shop today and instead spend the time with her plants, and had left a handpainted sign on her front door reading "In the Greenhouse" for anyone that might come calling.
She smiled. The honeysuckle was doing well enough that she would need to add a trellis soon to allow it to expand; she wondered if it would play nice enough with the moonflower that they could share.
"You are such a lovely little thing," she said fondly, and leaned forward to take a deep breath of the sweet fragrance it produced.
[Thread open to Echo]
The ticket price was manageable, and a few tickets had gone out free for radio promotions and the like.
Luckily for the undead, the decor did not include wall-to-wall mirrors, though there were a few on the high ceiling.
In various corners, Vegas performance artists entertained to ooohs and aaahs. For instance, there was a man eating a gleaming sword in the corner.
Thread: Open to Anyone
When Cian took her home from the meteor site, he'd mentioned that he worked at the marina in Cottonwood Cove. She suspected that the other were was guarded about his life, and in any case her shyness prevented her from pressing for details, But she got some pamphlets about the place at the community center and did some reading up. She'd finally bought a television, a used black-and-white model, but because Searchlight only got a few channels there wasn't much to watch during the day.
The hybrid parked the van in the marina's lot, locked the vehicle up behind her. She wondered if they offered cruises on Christmas day. Maybe she should have called ahead and asked if Cian was working today. If he wasn't here, she wouldn't know where else to look.
She'd gotten up at her usual early hour, then had breakfast and did her exercises in the front yard. Sometimes she wondered if her nearest neighbors, the Snyders, ever saw her out there, and if so what they thought of it. Then again, if they thought she was weird, they'd never mentioned anything. That was strangely comforting.
After she did some tidying up, she picked up the keys to the van and locked the trailer up behind her. She wanted to go up the highway to Vegas and catch the Strip before it got crowded. If it was ugly without all the neon, that would make her drawings better, more realistic. She was always looking for ways to expand on her talent, and urban landscapes were good for that in her opinion.
The roads were deserted because of the early hour, and when the hybrid reached the city she parked her vehicle in a metered spot. Dropping coins into the slot, she studied the street. Where was the best vantage point to start from?
When she finally woke, the clock on the nightstand said it was four-thirty in the afternoon. The sun was gradually sinking towards the western horizon, throwing long shadows in the front yard. Echo rubbed the side of her face, grimaced at the bad taste in her mouth. But at least the headache was gone.
She rinsed her mouth out at the kitchen sink, then poked around in the fridge for something to eat. There was chili, beans and rice, and leftover roast chicken. She chose the chili, scooping some into a bowl and putting it in the microwave. When the timer went off, she carried the bowl out onto the tiny porch. There wasn't much of the day left, but she wanted to enjoy the sunlight while it lasted.
She'd had the strangest dream during all that sleep, where she'd been giving birth to the alien from the crater. Mama and Papa had been there. He'd been in Wolf form. The dreamscape had fragmented at the point when the creature walked under it's own power from the delivery room, dropping her into a deeper slumber. She was going to call home tomorrow. Just to hear familiar voices would make her less anxious about her dreams.
It landed on the outskirts of town at the end of a dirt path. The land was part of an old horse ranch, abandoned in the early 1970s, so no family emerged from the cabin to investigate the fiery hole in their property, and no animals paced nervously along the fences.
A cactus sizzled and popped as it caught fire near the crater.
[Thread: Open to Anyone]
Rhiannon closed her eyes. It was simple. One foot in front of the other, just like on the ground. A bottle swung lazily between two fingers.
‘Ma’am, get down, please!’
She took a step.
High above the street, the muffled sound of a stranger’s voice didn’t matter, or the sharpness of headlights, the whoosh of fast-moving air. Nothing convinced her to get down. The overpass bridged two neighborhoods that were bisected by the freeway. She had climbed onto the guardrail to sit first and let her legs dangle over the side. Then she stood up. It was then that a stranger slowed his car and rolled down the window.
‘Get down or I’m calling the cops!’
Rhiannon smiled to herself. “By all means, go call ‘em.”
The tires squealed as the man's car peeled back into traffic.
Downstairs was the gambling section. Upstairs being where the main party was being held. Only the two floors existed and it made for a nice, self-contained atmosphere.
No actual vampires or other denizens of the night, of course. At least, for the most part. They tended to find nights like this a little offensive.
Something else which would be changing later...
[OOC: Open to everyone! Make yourselves at home and things will take a change for the violent in a little while. :)]
Despite the relative heat of the end of summer, the desert was chilly at night. Echo had driven a mile out of town onto the highway. She pulled the van to the shoulder of the road, killed the engine. The landscape beyond the vehicle looked barren, like a view of the moon.
There was a moon that night, high and silvery in the black expanse overhead. Stars glittered along with the shimmer of the larger orb. The hybrid opened the door, got out to stand next to the van. Would someone notice it parked here, like a State Trooper? If they did see it, would they search for the driver, or would they just have it towed?
Never mind. She couldn't worry about that. She would only be gone for a few hours, anyway. Plenty of time to get back before the sun came up.
( Practice Run )
She'd gotten up before the dawn, skipped both breakfast and her tai chi routine, then made the drive to Las Vegas in the gloom before the sun came up. She had an idea for a new series of sketches, urban settings in Vegas, and she wanted to catch the Strip while it was deserted. She wondered if it would look uglier in the daylight, without the neon drenching everything to make it glamorous. If it was ugly, that would make it better, more stark.
She parked herself on a bench at the bus stop, set out her pencils and the new sketch pad she'd bought. It was so early that even the street sweeper hadn't come by yet, and there were random pages of a newspaper floating down the sidewalk like tumbleweeds. The sun was just starting to come up. Natural light was the best to draw by.
When I was in my junior year of high school, we got this assignment in English class to keep a journal for a month. We were supposed to write down our thoughts and feelings, as if we were writing letters to someone, someone we knew well. A parent, or a close friend. I was even more inarticulate then, but I was really good at writing stuff down. I got an A on the assignment.
I really did try to have an open mind. Whatever you think, whatever he thinks, I looked him in the eye and was the first to offer a handshake. I know what it feels like to be judged before someone gets to know me, and I tried to put aside whatever natural prejudice I felt and the things Papa told me. I failed, but I tried.
( Catharsis )
The vampire moved his shoe to read the carvings in the bench.
Eddie Luvs Sheila
[Thread: Open to anyone]
Nervous didn't begin to describe it.
She'd worn the same outfit she'd worn to the event at the Skylark, polished up her boots. Her clothes might not be super-fancy, but they were new and silk was expensive. Artists weren't necessarily known for their choices in couture, anyway.
Echo lifted the fresh cup of coffee to her mouth and sipped at it, then added more sugar. She should have asked for decaf, but they'd been out. At least after today she'd have an answer, whether it was yes or no.