Summer Nights - Whateley Theory Prelude

«Scene Starts»

[23:02] <@David-Visage> "You care sure that you will be okay?"

[23:02] <@David-Visage> Her cousin, older and heftier than Izabel by far even if much of his bulk was muscle, asked of the girl in concern. He caught her as she was about to head out of the apartment, pulled her aside at the door, and dropped his voice into a lower 'adult' tone as he asked the question.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> Inside the apartment, the door propped open to allow some of the cooler evening air into a place stuffed with far too many relatives, a baby was crying. A glance back showed Izabel the baby's mother, another 'cousin' of hers, rocking her child while chatting with another visiting member of the family.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> Normally her home was not too full, even with her siblings at home, but with all the visitors for a 'family meal' it felt packed without a hint of privacy or quiet.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> "I shall be fine." She insisted, finding it hard not to smile at the way he was acting, "I am just fetching a few things from the shop for mama. It is not far and I shall be back soon."

[23:02] <@David-Visage> At least that was the excuse that Izabel had used when speaking to the tolerantly approving mama and volunteering to fetch a few things. Little things that could be done without, but it was obvious that mana herself would have been glad of a reason to get away if she could have.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> Seeing the doubtful expression on her cousins face, and for the life of her even with her new and clear thoughts it was hard to recall what 'nickname' he was calling himself this week, Izabel offered innocently, "I can protect myself. Or I could stay and arm wrestle again…?"

[23:02] <@David-Visage> He pulled back, flushing red at the memory of how that had gone, and his gaze flicked down over Izabel's body as though to try to see how she had the strength which had won her the contest.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> Of course his gaze almost -jerked- back to her face after a moment and it was hilarious how the boy-man had noticed her recent 'developments'. Mama had promised to take her shopping again soon, but she was now fitting what had been a comfortable t-shirt in a tight way which had a few aunts clucking in disapproval.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> "If you are sure then it is fine." He said finally, obviously ignoring his own reactions, "I shall see you back soon, Izabell, but be careful."

[23:02] <@David-Visage> "I shall, Gregor," She replied as she headed away, down the corridor towards the long stairs leading to the entrance of the apartment block, "See you later!"

[23:02] <@David-Visage> After living her all her life her feet knew the way as she almost skipped down the steps. Her body felt light, strong, and better than it ever had. It was as though it and her mind had simply blossomed since the day when her eyes had changed and the heat had-

Thoughts slid past each other, minds merged like drops of water, and memories merged in a container of flesh which gave them form and relevance.

From two came one and, once more, that one was alone again.

Just somewhat more than she had been before.

[23:02] <@David-Visage> Izabel hit the bottom step with a thud of both feet, keeping her balance when a normal girl should have lost it, and there was something different behind her eyes than when she had started down the stairs.

[23:17] <Serafina> Who is she? Who is Izabel Wallace? Is SHE… yes, she is. One look down confirms that it is her new body, in her old clothes. A mixture of old and new, like everything in her life. A long sigh, exhaling, feeling the heat flow up her throat in a manner both soothing and terrifying with… potential. Swallowing, feeling the heat flow back down, tracing out into her veins as her mind slowly settles.

It is confusing… but perhaps the exemplarism of her mind helps as she glances back, seeing curious children watching from the floor above, and gives a wave. Act normally, don't stop smiling. Nobody can see… and if they see, all they will see is the surface, which has become quite effectively distracting to inquiry. She heads for the foyer.

[23:22] <@David-Visage> With so many of the family moving in and out of the apartment it wasn't a problem to slip through the foyer, albeit with a few nods of greeting from one relative or another as they lingered around the door, and out into the street.

[23:22] <@David-Visage> It was cooler outside, especially compared to how stuffy the air of the apartment had been, but the summer evening was not cold by almost any standard.

[23:22] <@David-Visage> Except, perhaps, by the standard held by the corner of her mind which felt that being heated by an inner fire would be safer.

[23:26] <Serafina> Faces, places, all familiar… but something questions them, questions everything. It is like… how it had felt going back to her textbooks after her mental changes, only now it wasn't facts and figures and processes of calculation. It was her life. She swallows fire, she holds it in her belly, and she walks out, putting her hands into her pockets as she makes a last hello-and-farewell and steps out. The street… her street, their street. Her home.

[23:33] <@David-Visage> Relatively speaking it was quiet outside, away from the voices and aunts and uncles and -cousins- without end. Instead the sounds of the city, muffled by it being mid evening, gradually took over with the sounds of cars both near and distant could be heard.

[23:33] <@David-Visage> A horn sounded in the distance and Izabel found herself flinching before registering the sound as merely a horn. Before relaxing the tension in her stomach which threatened to press inwards until the heat inside her burst into flame.

[23:39] <Serafina> Her sisters and her cousins, who she reckons in the dozens, and her aunts!6 Wait. Where did that come from? Gilbert and… huh. She doesn't remember it. Must have picked it up… somewhere. Relax. Feel the sharp fist of heat slowly loosen, soften, spread. She is safe here. She takes the steps down from the stoop in a single graceful hop and lands lightly. Feels good as she takes in a breath of cool air, and exhales hot.

[23:43] <@David-Visage> Her sneakers hit the pavement with a thump but she easily aborted the impact and kept moving, the action effortless and smooth as though practised. A car rumbled by on the road, the driver's voice arguing on a phone loudly enough to be heard as he passed, and the bright lights of the city rendered the sky far about a wash of light.

[23:44] <@David-Visage> It is evening, a quite time in the day when meals have or are being eaten and those who wander about in the night have yet to become active.

[23:49] <Serafina> Out there in the wide world… Well, forget that. Here, she belongs, and she could have made it to the market with her eyes closed even before. Now, she doesn't want to close her eyes- she's gotten rid of her glasses, and enjoys the glances she's getting from people who remember 'little sister' Izabel… and those who don't, though you can't find many people who don't know her by sight, at least, in these few blocks area. And yet, everything is new. Even the smell of the city, which had always been near her baseline of the tenement, suddenly is up for analysis.

[23:57] <@David-Visage> The sights and, especially, the scents of the city were not always pleasant yet there was a vague conflict between her familiarity and how every did seem new once more. From the looks she received, including a few appreciative ones, to the faint stench from a garbage can put out a little too late to have been collected several days before.

[23:57] <@David-Visage> A few unhappy looks had been directed at her, from faces which seemed vaguely known, yet her feet kept her going. The bakery over there was closed just now, but it sold lunches for many to be picked up fresh each morning, and that building there always had it's 'rooms for rent' even if a few were sold by the hour.

[23:57] <@David-Visage> Her stomach growled vaguely. Even if Izabel did not feel hungry she had recalled 'burning' a lot of food earlier in the day, showing to amazed relatives what she could do.

[00:06] * Serafina runs her hand along her purse- it is something she had gotten new, and not a hand me down. Something that was hers, even if, seeing herself in the reflection of the door before it opens, she can admit that it doesn't suit her. The new her. She wonders, in some part of her mind, what other comfortable things don't fit her any more. And she smiles, as she lets the doors close behind her, air conditioning flowing over her warming skin. Some part of her, the new part, is more familiar with the unsettling looks than she should be- for once, familiarity flowing the other way.

[00:11] <@David-Visage> The corner store was different than the bakery she had passed before. Perhaps cleaner in a worn, plastic, and soulless way. Just one more branch of a chain with its shelves and cheap products. All watched over by a single man behind the counter, half unshaven and bearing a name tag, who was more interested in the book he read than in any customers who had come in.

[00:18] <Serafina> Other people here know her… but nobody she needs to greet, nobody she feels a need to interact with as she darts down between the low aisles, glancing at the varied wares as she goes. Let's see, she's a few items to pick up. Glancing at her list, she feels a strange sense of disorientation that passes quickly. She knows where to find most of what she needs, of course. And between them, there is not much area of store to search for the rest. Her well used sneakers are silent on the over waxed, almost greasy floor as she mentally recounts her money, and picks up some snacks. She isn't hungry… but she has room.

[00:23] <@David-Visage> The bell on the door jangled somewhere behind her as Izabel searched the shelves for the next item on her mental list. Recalling where it had been before hardly helped when the store had been stocked haphazardly, only those in the more prominent places staying in position from week to week.

[00:24] <@David-Visage> A foul smell near the cold cabinets warranted a quick retreat after milk had been taken and she couldn't help but look down to check if any… fluids had been there to perhaps stain her shoes. Luckily the glance also showed the shelves at ankle level which held the desired containers of salt she needed.

[00:32] * Serafina sweeps an arm down- just recently, she'd have never had the strength or the balance to pick one of those up from floor level, one handed, without even breaking stride. Another part of her questions it even now… and a third… well, she can feel the warmth flow, stomach to chest to arms to hands, and back, a pulse, a wave, a flame.

[00:36] <@David-Visage> A man in a t-shirt and jeans, his arms full of random junk food which her mama would never let her indulge in so much of, swept past Izabel with a scowl on his face. Too much sweat, the drops visible on his skin as though it were far hotter here for him than her, gave him a foul scent even as the sweatshirt tied around his waist by the arms soaked up whatever droplets made it that far.

[00:43] * Serafina makes a bit of a face, though she tries to suppress it after catching a glimpse of herself in the reflections off the big freezer doors. She hangs back, giving the man plenty of room. He doesn't look local. She pauses beside the magazine rack at the end of the aisle, mentally comparing her reflection to the cover-girls without trying to make her posing too obvious. On impulse, she grabs a bit more junk food, and a magazine. She'll just have to use her own money for that.

[00:47] <@David-Visage> "…five dollars for three!" The sound of a raised voice from the counter pulled her away from the brief distraction of picking a magazine (not that the meagre selection on offer had much to choose from). The cashier looked tired and bored as he tried to explain something to the man who was now yelling about 'rights', 'false advertising', and 'money!' with increasing stridency.

[00:51] <Serafina> Despite herself, Izabel cranes over to peer around the magazine rack at the raised voice… It's that guy again, really? But… he sure is loud. She rocks in place, rising to the balls of her feet and glances around the store. It's not a very busy time of day.

[00:53] <@David-Visage> "…should just gimme it for that, 'cause of all the lip and trouble your giving me!" The man almost snarled into the face of the cashier who had, somewhat wisely, stepped back from the counter and out of easy arms reach. A sudden motion, a bang which mad Izabel's heart skip a beat, and the man slammed his down onto the counter while giving the cashier a foul look.

[00:56] * Serafina yelps slightly, jumping at the sound, as the magazine falls to the floor. In that moment, all the parts of her are one and she can feel, taste heat at the back of her throat.

[00:59] <@David-Visage> The sound made both men look over, two faces turning towards Izabel. A pale face looked at her with worry, perhaps less for her than the situation, where as the now reddened and sweating face carried an enraged look.

[01:00] <@David-Visage> "What the hell are you doing? Trying to sneak off with something?" The man demanded as he stepped towards Izabel, loud and looming and stinking of sweat, without giving her a chance to properly answer, "Bitches like you, flaunting yourself and being thieving -whores-, are why the prices in places like that are ripping people off. You're being a thief, aren't you? Aren't you?!"

[01:07] <Serafina> Wait, what? Her hand automatically goes to the side of her face, but her glasses are back on the dresser at home. She backs away, sure-footed despite the pounding of her heart… She realizes with a gulp that her attempts at taking deep breaths don't seem to be changing the man's opinion of her. But it does stoke the fire inside her as she fetches up against the freezer door… feels the cold at her back, and the responding flush of heat through her body.

[01:07] <Serafina> Arm wrestling… jumping to touch the ceiling… she isn't hungry, but something inside her is. But even as it is, it responds to her emotional state.

[01:10] <@David-Visage> The cashier, pale for reasons more than his habitual lack of sunlight, tried to speak up now ith a slow and soothing voice, "Look… Everything's okay. No need to get like th-"

[01:12] <@David-Visage> "SHUT. UP." The words were half screamed by the customer, the angry man, as his hand went to the small of his back as though reaching for something there. Something that Izabel could imagine being drawn, pointed, and the trigger pulled… "You're in it with her! All of you are. She's trying to distract me so you can pull your con, take my money and say I didn't pay enough. That's it. Isn't it? ISN'T?!"

[01:33] <Serafina> He's so… big. And he makes her feel like he's crowding her right up against the cold. She can feel moisture as her heat melts the frost, condenses water on the freezer. "Stay away from me!" she gasps, seeing wisps of steam in front of her eyes. Feels the back of her shirt damp as she slides along the glass, trying to sidle away. "I did not do anythin-" She freezes as he reaches behind him, crushing the paper wrapped hostess pie in her hand- She can faintly hear the sound of salt trickling to the floor on the other side of her, where her fingers tore right through the packaging like nails in drywall.

[01:38] <@David-Visage> With her heart hammering in her ears it was hard to focus on the details yet, as though it was a horror movie in real life, she couldn't help but register the small things. The quiet rip as he pulled metal from behind him and it caught. The feel of salt pouring over her hand. The yelling and yelling he was doing and he gestured at her, his entire attention focused on Izabel rather than where the weapon was pointed.

[01:39] <@David-Visage> Then the quiet click of a safety and the quiet, threatening, voice of the cashier saying, "Let go of your gun, sir."

[01:40] <@David-Visage> Now there were two weapons in the shop and one was being held in a steady grip with an unwavering aim after having been retrieved from wherever it had been hidden behind the counter.

[01:49] <Serafina> Somehow… she doesn't feel safer. Or maybe it is just that she feels like she's about to melt through the glass if she stands there any longer. Wider eyes flick towards the clerk, then back to the sweating man. She realizes, oddly, that she's somehow glad that none of her family are here. It is a weird and sudden insight. She can feel the heat, held in her mouth and seeking other avenues through her flesh.

[02:11] <@David-Visage> The heat inside her seemed to compress upon itself as her worried, stress, and fears passed some ill defined critical mass. There was a tense stand off between the two men but as heat compressed into flame, drawing fuel from deep inside her, Izabel reflexive closed her eyes against the burning which she knew would be present.

[02:12] <@David-Visage> She felt strong. She felt powerful. She felt her body burn inside and knew, from being told by her family, that the glow in her eyes was quite… noticeable.

[02:17] <Serafina> She tries to take a deep, calming breath. But drawing air into a flame hardly calms it down, and she opens her eyes as the condensation soaking the back of her shirt dries, steams. She is terrified, wants to hide- both from showing what she is, and from the world full of guns… but she's more afraid, she realizes, of not seeing what is coming.

[02:17] <Serafina> The glass is dry as she straightens, pushes off of it- her body seems to almost balance itself, and she wonders if it shows any signs of her terror at all.

[02:31] <@David-Visage> "FUCKING HELL!" The words were loud, heartfelt, and distinctly panicked as the man with the pistol took a fumbling step back. Something about the sight of Izabel, perhaps that ruddy glow like embers which betrayed the low burning inside of her, had made the man panic.

[02:31] <@David-Visage> The cashier wasn't precisely doing too well on that front either, having paled beyond his previous pallor, but he kept his gun trained on the other man rather than turning it towards the teenage girl whose eyes were burning like hell itself and from whom steam was rising.

[02:48] <Serafina> "Go away… " she says, as she lets the torn box of salt fall to the floor, straightening her shirt. She thinks her fingers should be shaking, but her body is on point. It is burning with poise, and… "Go away or I shall…" She doesn't know what to say. Certainly not, 'burn my clothes off' and probably, despite the sudden manic vision, beating the shit out of him.

[02:52] <@David-Visage> A vaguely scorched scent had begun to drift around Izabel as she stood there, not burn precisely but a scent as though an iron had been just pressed against damp cloth. In this case, however, it was the clothing which was pressed against her body which gave this hint as to her soaring temperature as the flame inside her began to burn hotter, began trying to grow larger as though in response to her fears.

[02:54] <@David-Visage> "You're a demon. A -demon whore-!" The man spat but while there was anger and hate there was also fear in his tone. Fear of the girl who just stood there silently, body seeming to tremble with suppressed rage. A moment later he stumbled into motion, something inside him breaking, and he ran for the door yelling about, "Thief and whore and…"

[02:54] <@David-Visage> The door slammed shut behind him, leaving Izabel and the cashier alone.

[03:03] * Serafina doesn't fall down… the queasiness grows as she leans on a shelf for support. Pulls her hand away with a gasp as her hand melts right into, through, a plastic bag with a terrible smell and bits of pretzel and cheese cracker fish sticking to her fingers. She burns even as she feels the fires in her belly cooling, her mouth is filled with heat, her eyes… She <next>

[03:03] <Serafina> <more> can see her distorted reflection in the distant doors as they close with a tingle, two bright points meeting her gaze. And then she throws up, hanging onto the counter as she leans forward, steam rising in great gouts around her mouth and then from the floor.

[03:03] <Serafina> Fortunately, not very much. Her fuel is spent, her embers are cooling.

[03:07] <@David-Visage> It was a metallic clank which finally distracted Izabel from her fears, the near dying heat inside her, and the stench of her own vomit. When she looked up she saw that it was the cashier, that 'sad man' who always seemed to focus on his novels and games rather than people, who had just slid a metal mop bucket to where she could be sick in it if the need so took her.

[03:09] <@David-Visage> Calmly, gently, and with that g-… -weapon- he'd held nowhere in sight he murmured, "You can use that. You're… Bella, aren't you? Do you want me to call your family, your mother, if you give me her number? Before I call the cops in about this. You're a brave girl. We can just let things cool and it's a crazy guy. Nothing to see here."

[03:12] * Serafina blinks. "…Thank you," she says, softly. "I'm sorry. I…" she glances to her purse. "I can pay for… everything." She hopes. Let things cool. She glances towards the steaming, half charred and half stewed remains of dinner. "…May I sit down, please?" She leans over the bucket… but nothing comes. She swallows, tasting nothing. It takes a few moments for what he's telling her to sink in, and she glances up at him with eyes that are back to their exemplar 'normal' grey green. "…th-Thank you," she repeats, more sincerely. More aware of him, suddenly, and self conscious in the same instant.

[03:17] <@David-Visage> "…sure. Just wait there now, Bella." He said with a slow nod, eyes wary yet his voice was calm, "Just give me the number and I'll phone them. That was quite a show but its over now. You did well. Real well."

[03:23] * Serafina blushes- to her, it feels brighter than the burn in her eyes had been. She fumbles for her purse, pulls it protectively to her chest. Mumbles the number, as she closes her eyes- she can do that, now.

[03:29] <@David-Visage> "Just hold on there." His voice told her somewhere beyond her closed eyes, beyond the ember glow that is in her mind rather than in her vision. "You've been a good girl. We'll sort things out before it gets too hot…"

«Scene Fades»

Session Notes:

This session was run on 02 May 2014 between David-Visage (acting as GM) and Serafina (playing Izabel). Minimal alterations to content (primarily in formatting, removal of OOC comments, and correction of spelling) have been made.