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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-04-12, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Hell is Empty

Hell is Empty
A Superhero Roleplay

A hero is a man who does what he can.
-Romain Rolland-

Death, after all, is the common expectation from birth. Neither heroes nor cowards can escape it.
-Ellis Peters-

The year is 1931. The Great Depression has crippled the United States and the world. Unemployment is at an all-time high, and the War to End All Wars still lingers in the minds of many. Crime festers in American streets due to unemployment and economic troubles, and law enforcement is too preoccupied to deal with all of it. Urban decay is at an all-time high, and nowhere is it higher than the city of Dustbowl, Ohio, a sprawling urban metropolis of 7 million people in the American Midwest. The police are blind to the crime in the streets, and the politicians are too busy worrying about their own money to care about the common man.

But there are those who would fight. Those who would fight for the justice and freedom of the common man, or those who would fight for the sadism of intentional harm. Those who would take the law into their own hands and clean up the streets, or those who would see the walls of society crumble at their whims. Those who would raise a city or knock it down. Those who would save and those who would condemn. Those who defend and those who destroy. Heroes, and villains.

YOU are a superhero, for lack of a better term. A hero, villain, or rogue who is seeking to don a different outfit and fight crime for whatever reason, be it justice, personal gain, or pure chaos. Each of you will be operating independently to begin with, but you may form alliances and gain nemeses as the story progresses. Your actions and personalities dictate the world around you, and your every move shapes Dustbowl as it struggles through the Great Depression.

It is October 19th, 7 PM, and across Dustbowl the various heroes, villains, and rogues of the city are taking their steps ever closer to their destinies.

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Fiona: Life is good for you in this shithole section of hell called Dustbowl, Ohio. At the moment you’re sitting in a small speakeasy on 9th and Parker in South Dustbowl called Shiny Lou’s Chime Club, nursing a glass of cognac, smoking a cigarette, and listening to Black Bottom by Annette Hanshaw. You and “Shiny” Lou Messberg are good friends, and you’ve just completed a well-paying job for Lou smuggling some moonshine from Arkansas into the city with a well-placed word, and perhaps a well-placed bullet as well. The smoke in the room parts by the door as a scraggly, bearded man walks into the bar, muttering to himself and sitting down at the counter. “I’ve come to see that five-legged dog you got,” mutters the man, and the bartender, noticing the clue phrase, wordlessly slides him a glass of whisky. You smile and watch the man shakily sip his drink. This is your perfect target.

Anya: Your modest but expansive house is just on the edge of Dustbowl, and it’s in your cozy library that you sit in now in your comfortable evening robe, rereading Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse and drinking a delicate cup of Ullanovost black tea. A single flickering gas lamp is your only source of light as you pour over the words, savoring them like a dog gnaws on a bone. But your reading is interrupted by a very loud banging noise coming from your front door. Grumbling, you put down your book and take off your glasses, crossly and quickly walking to the door. The journey is long as your house is huge by Dustbowl standards, but after two flights of stairs down you make it to the front door (I need to get a butler,” you mutter to yourself). Finally, you open it. Standing at the door is a dirty, disheveled homeless man, his long hair soaked in sweat and clutching his chest. His shirt is dripping blood. “H-h-help m-m-me,” he stutters before collapsing on your porch. “Yebat,” you curse, and drag him inside the house to give him medical attention.

Jack: Walking down the streets of Dustbowl late at night is cold, but you’ve got nothing better to do. As Masquerade, you don’t care. Rounding the corner, you notice a ragged looking homeless man standing on the corner, fanning his hands over a small fire make in a barrel. The moon peeks out from behind some clouds, and you see the glint of a pearl necklace hanging lazily out of his pocket. Perfect. “Hey,” you call out. The man turns around. With a flick of the wrist, an illusory ten-dollar bill appears in your hand. “Want to make a quick buck?” “Sure,” calls back the man, walking hurriedly forward. He took the bait. With a snap, you swipe the sword out of your cane and punch the man in the face at the same time. As he reels backwards, you deliver a lazy backwards swipe across his chest, leaving a deep cut. He falls back onto the ground and you pluck the necklace out of his pocket, then hurriedly run. “Bills to pay, things to do,” you mutter to yourself as you leave the man bleeding on the ground.

Connor: Shiny Lou’s Chime Club is the perfect place for you. Small, out of view, quiet when you want it quiet, and fun when you want it fun. Tonight, it’s quiet, as Annette Hanshaw drifts lazily from the radio. You’re sitting in the far back booth, sipping on your second whiskey of the night. Today was a bad day. The visions were strong today, and the same one from yesterday too: the man in all white, with the bright red circle where his face should be. And the laughter, oh Lord, the laughter. You shudder to yourself just thinking of it. Trying to distract yourself, you watch the beautiful woman at the counter some more. She has that smoldering allure around her, like the films stars you can’t afford to see. Maybe one of these days you’ll work up the courage to talk to her; both of you are here every night. But tonight, a man you’ve never seen before walks in, sits down, and starts drinking whiskey. You squint at him. He seems familiar. That’s not good.

Bill: A cat you found in the alley on 11th and Jackson is following you as you cross the street into Murray’s Hamburgers. She waits outside and watches you as you wander in to sit at the counter. It’s your dinner break, since A&A Construction have you guys working a shit shift building this new tunnel to Who-the-fuck-Caresville. You watched your boss crush a rat with a girder today for no reason other than to crush a rat with a girder, the same guy who also told you today to either clean up your crazy Breed fuckin’ around or find another job. Racist asshole. The waitress walks to you. “Two cheeseburgers, fries, extra pickles, water,” you grumble. It’s a two cheeseburger kind of day today. As you wait for your food, a young man wearing an apron with Dustbowl Ice-Cream written on it hurriedly walks in and sits next to you. “Beef hoagie, toasted, make it fast,” he hurriedly says, then looks at you with a nervous, stupid grin. Please, please don’t talk to me, you think.

Albert: I’m gonna talk to him, you think, waiting for your hoagie roll and sitting at the counter of Murray’s Hamburgers. Sure, you’ve only got a twenty-minute break for dinner, but you might as well make it interesting. You look behind you to check to see that Mary is working the counter. She’s busy talking to the third customer of the day, but she looks beautiful, messy apron and chilly face and all. “I’m gonna ask that girl to a motion picture tomorrow,” you say to the man sitting next to you, nudging him and pointing back at her. “Been saving up money for it for three weeks now. Won’t that be swell!” He turns to you and stares at you dully. He’s a weathered, scarred Injun, and you immediately regret talking to him as he grunts and resumes staring at nothing. Now, however, you feel bad. I oughta’ say something.

William: Your luck today has been fantastic. First, the successes on the corner today – six dollars in charity today. Six dollars! And the piece de resistance, of course, was the pearl necklace that fat rich lady dropped out of the hole in her shopping bag as she walked past. Quick as a flash, your hand darted out and caught it, slipping it into your back pocket. And now, 7 PM, your luck is about to get even better. “Hey,” you hear, and you turn around to see a strangely dressed man with a cane, waving a ten dollar bill. “Want to make a quick buck?” he asks, and of course you agree! “Sure,” you say, and walk towards you. That’s when your luck ends. Before you know what’s happened, you’re lying on your back, clutching your bleeding chest and breathing heavily through your broken nose. The necklace is gone, and you’re hurt. You stagger to your feet, leaning on the fence to support you. The minutes pass by in a pain-filled haze as you dazedly half-run, half-shamble to anything that looks like a house. Finally, you don’t know how long it’s been, but you arrive on the doorstep of a fancy house and pound on the door. The door parts to reveal a striking Russian women in a night gown, looking at you with disapproval. “H-h-help m-m-me,” you stutter, and then you collapse.

Jason: You wash your hands in the small puddle beneath the gutter, wiping the man’s blood off of your palms. He’s a nobody, a nothing, and that’s how he’ll be remembered as he slumps against the alley wall, dead and fat. You took his watch and twelve dollars and thirty-six cents from him. You debated taking his shoes, too, nice black Bruno Magli’s, but you decided against it. Even I’ve got standards. You shudder as you shake your shoulders and walk out of the alley. You’re a rich man now, at least by your own reckoning, and you might as well celebrate. You haven’t had a drink since ’29; why not now? Across the street, the broken neon sign proclaims “Shiny Lou’s Chime Club.” Perfect. You look both ways, then cross the street into the bar. “Welcome to Shiny Lou’s, home of Max, the five-legged dog,” the greeter cheerfully says. “Fuck off,” you mutter. You’re here to drink, not to chit-chat. You sit at the bar, remembering what the greeter said. “I’ve come to see that five-legged dog you got,” you grumble, and the bartender’s eyes light up. He slides a glass of whiskey across the countertop towards you. Bingo.

And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-04-12, 09:32 AM
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I sat there, sipping my second whiskey of the night. Shiny Lou’s Chime Club was perfect or me. A quiet little bar that nonetheless had a prospect for a great deal of fun. Of every kind I thought as my eyes lingered on the beautiful woman at the counter. I didn’t normally drink so quickly but I wanted to get drunk. Anything to make my mind off my earlier visions. It was the same thing over and over. The man in all white, with the bright red circle where his face should be. And the laughter, the bloody fucking laughter. I couldn’t bear it. And no one understood. People laughed at me, mocked me then came running to discover their future.

Maybe I shouldn’t have publicised my gift, it had brought nothing but trouble. Still the money was good and it meant I was a pretty rich guy although I wasn’t stupid enough to go flashing it around. My black, ankle length trench coat was the only display of my wealth when I was out and about while, back at my house and at my shop there were some pretty damn expensive safes and I had wired up the shop with a kilogram of explosives

What can I say, I was a paranoid guy. Okay, maybe a bit too paranoid considering I had military grade explosives in the basement. That stuff cost me a fortune, luckily I had recently stolen a few 18k gold diamond pendants that gave me over 20000 dollars. From one job! Seriously those guys were absolutely loaded. I could have killed them, stolen everything in the house and then lived in luxury for the rest of my life. Unfortunately the idea didn’t occur to me at the time.

I ran my eyes up and down the woman at the counter. She had the kind of allure that you often found around film stars, not that I had actually seen one for God knows how long. Maybe one day I’d actually talk to her, considering we were both here every night. Then the door swung open. A man I’d never seen before walked in, sat down and began to drink. Wait a minute. I recognised him. There was something about him that was so damn similar to the guy in my vision.

This was majorly creepy. I felt my hand unfasten my shoulder holster and grip the Browning HP pistol concealed there. My other hand reached through the small slit in my jeans and gripped the knife strapped to my thigh. I controlled myself and brought my hands back into view. I could ill afford a blood bath in the middle of the city. My influence with the cops wouldn’t help me if they found the remains of every patron in the bar that hadn’t been fast enough to escape the pistol's rounds. Added to that the bullets had been hand made by one of the best gunsmith’s in the city.

The man was an old friend and I had been put in touch with him through my brief involvement with the gangs. I had gained many contacts and a great deal of influence considering I had been the only person fit to inherit the gang’s assets. That the rest of the gang had been massacred didn’t change that in the slightest. The cops would trace the bullets back to him. I wouldn’t get him thrown in jail over a hunch and an eager trigger finger. And if I was taken in the police might investigate the shop. The stuff there wasn’t exactly shits and giggles. I had a license to sell firearms, everything from pistols to sniper rifles I was allowed to sell. The kilogram of explosives was not licensed.

Military grade explosives like that would get me thrown in prison for 2 lifetimes and then some more. I might break out, eventually, but I didn’t want to take that chance. Far better to just not get locked up in the first place. So, decision made I continued drinking my whiskey although I kept my eyes open for any kind of trouble heading my way. I may have had a problem with starting a fight but by God I had no problem with finishing it.

Last edited by Santaire; 03-07-12 at 07:36 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-04-12, 11:27 AM
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Bill shrugged his coat tighter around himself as he made his way through the streets. The soft padding of tiny paws was almost lost in the chilly twilight air as his silent companion kept pace with him up to the corner of the street. A neon sign illuminated the street corner where they had stopped, declaring the eatery within to be 'Murray's Hamburgers'. Bill bent down and stroked the sleek black cat, scratching it behind its ear. No more needed to be said, the cat would wait and Bill would bring it some food from inside.

Bill stood erect once more and made his way inside. This place was new to him, he'd yet to find a welcoming diner near the latest construction site he was working on, and that immediately put him on edge. He tried to hide his unease but his gruff order for "Two cheeseburgers, fries, extra pickles and water" would have given him away to any who knew him. The waitress nodded and moved off to the back. He smiled thinly, maybe this place would be okay.

He'd vowed to pack in the current job if he couldn't find anywhere around that he was welcome. The manager was racist, and a murderer, not that anyone would listen. He'd watched the sick bastard crush that poor, defenceless rat with a girder, just for the sake of it! A man who could do that, imagine what else he could be capable of! But no, no-one paid any heed to the 'damn ornery Injun', it really got to him some days. The hate, the anger, the frustration... 'No,' he thought, 'Save it for later. Save it for the fox.'

The waitress had returned and moved on to others seated further down the diner's countertop. The smell of searing meat washed out through the opening to the kitchen. Bill felt a brief twinge and the momentary compulsion to vomit before the feeling passed. Damn, he'd thought he'd gotten past that by now.

Bill was pulled from his introspection by the arrival of a skinny fella wearing an apron. The man pulled out the adjacent barstool and plonked himself ungraciously down next to him. The man placed his order and flashed Bill a nervous grin. 'Oh hell, please don't talk to me, not right now, I'm not in the mood right now, please don't talk to me, aw hell he's talking to me.'

The waitress arrived with his food and he picked at it whilst half listening to the jittery guy chat away next to him. The extra pickles, a bit of bread, some cheese and a few fries went into a napkin for the cat outside. He was halfway through a bite of burger when a break in the man's speech let him know he was expected to say something. Bill grunted and carried on with his burger, fortunately the sick feeling had not returned an he was able to eat his meal in relative peace.

Regards

FD

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-04-12, 06:51 PM
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"Dinner-Break!" Albert's boss called as he himself went into his office to read a Dirty Magazine and Eat a sandwich.

"About time!"Albert said obviously annoyed, he had been working for the Past six hours, and this was his only Lunch-break, he briefly thought about taking off his apron, but decided it was a waste of time, he only had Twenty minutes after all! As he left he gave a Homeless man a Dollar he didn’t need before breaking into a run to get to his favorite eating establishment,"Murray's Hamburgers"

He must of looked rather strange, with his Dust-bowl ice-cream Apron on, which he was constantly tripping over as he ran, and his almost idiotic smile as he thought about his secret crush.

"I wonder if SHE will be there tonight." Albert says to himself as he ran past a few venders on his way to his destination, heck, he would go there even if his Mary didn’t work there, they had some of the best hoagies he ever had the honor of tasting!

He soon found his way to "Murray's Hamburgers", this place was like a second home to him! His Family had been coming to this place sense it's opening, and it was also the place where he met his Secert crush,Mary! He had been saving up his Money for the past three weeks so he can provide a decent date for her.

As he walked in ,he scanned the diner, "Okay, let’s see, Bill is here ,Mack is here, hmm...AH!" he said a bit louder then necessary as he spotted Mary, she was working the Bar tonight apparently.

He ran up in his typical Faison and landed ungracefully next to a man he was too busy to notice. "Hiya Mary! I'll take a hoagie roll with everything you got on it!" Albert said, flashing a Smile he hoped made him look good.

It was then he noticed he was sitting next to someone," Well, I don't want to be rude..." Albert thought to himself as he said something you usually don't say to complete strangers.

"You see that Waitress, Mary? I am going to ask her to see a Motion Picture with me tomorrow, I've been working over-time for three weeks to save up enough money for it! Won't that be swell!"Albert said enthusiastically, but then he noticed whom he was talking to,a Middle-aged man who looked like someone you would see living in a forest, Hunting Deer or beating up bears with his "bare" hands,{His little pun made Albert chuckle a bit, which earned him a strange look.} He immediately regretted talking to this man, he obviously didn’t want to be bothered and only grunted in response.

"Dammit! I did it again! Well if I just stop talking to him now it might hurt his feelings, guess there is only one way to go...." Albert thought to himself before attempting to keep their one-sided conversation going.

"So..How you doing, sir? My Name’s Albert by the way, what’s yours?" Albert asked politely as he stuck his hand out for a Hand-shake.

Last edited by Thebluemage2; 03-06-12 at 11:37 PM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-12, 01:12 AM
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Masquerade chuckled to himself as he saw the scraggly homeless man out before him. He flicked his wrist, creating an illusory 10 dollar bill as he shouted "Hey, wanna make a quick buck?" The homeless man's response was as expected, he said "Sure!" and quickly shuffled over.

The homeless man was on the ground bleeding from a chest wound and a broken nose before he probably knew what had happened. Masquerade rushed off with the pearl necklace as he muttered "Bills to pay, things to do..."

He rushed around the corner, sheathing his sword and chuckling at his joke; he didn't need the money from the necklace to pay his bills. But that didn't take away the thrill of it. The bursting, laughing, heart pumping rush of swordplay, of theft, of creating illusions, and of being the greatest actor in town.

Life was good for Jack; his needs were taken care of, and he was secretly rich. But, life was better for Masquerade. As Masquerade, he got to practice all of his skills.

He realized after several moments that, during his silent contemplation, he had actually been laughing out loud. "Awkward," he muttered, knowing there was nobody nearby to hear him. He turned toward a place he knew, a tall building with a fire escape. Masquerade climbed to the top.

As he looked out over the city, he began to chuckle again. Already he had a pearl necklace, and the night was still young. The night was still young.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-12, 01:14 AM
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John slips his mask off his face, and puts it in his pocket. Then puts his favored rifle under a piece of rotting plywood. "Almost impossible to hide a rifle on myself" John thinks to himself while making sure the rifle is completely hidden, "that should do it, not even a homeless can use this splinter of wood. I'll be back in a few hours to get it back" John always had a hard time parting with his gun, but there was no way to keep it with him at all times. "Shame that round had to be used, not common in gun stores. People should know not to fight at gunpoint." John guessed his appearance was suggestive that he didn't have bullets loaded.

"A couple bucks and a fancy watch, all that man had on him of value." John reflects back to his most recent robbery while entering Shiny Lou’s Chime Club . "No hat, have to get myself one soon. If my mask gets wet it'll be much harder to hide." After being greeted, John silently curses to himself, useless job for anyone. "Didn't come here to be greeted, came here to celebrate." John almost says to the man, but catches himself. Needless distractions.

John sits down and tells the bartender he wants to see the five legged dog. A glass of whiskey slides down the bar, John begins to drink it, slowly. "Been years since I've had a drink like this." Savoring the taste, this was the true way to celebrate.

John takes out the newly earned watch, inspecting it closely. "Now if only I knew how much it was worth." John tries to see if it fits around his wrist, "Needs to be adjusted", John has always had skinny wrists, but that's never effected his skills with a rifle. "Need the money anyhow, will sell it to a store owner when I get the chance." John puts the watch into his pant pocket, and takes another drink of his whiskey.

Freedom is the will to say two plus two is four, if that is true, then all else follows. -1984 by George Orwell

Join me in life, or slave for me in death. -Vlad von Carstien

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-12, 10:58 PM
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“Damnit… Stupid, stupid…” William McCutcheon cursed as he staggered through an alley.

Every breath brought a red hot flare of pain as blood trickled down from the chest wound onto his fingers as they tried to stem the bleeding. Blood from his busted nose was staining his scarf but it was far less urgent the knife wound. Thankfully the knife hadn’t pierced anything vital when it went through. It was bleeding a lot but it wouldn’t kill him right away if could get some help soon. The problem was that this was the part of town were the people were more likely to pull the bloody clothes from his dying body rather than get him some help. He didn’t begrudge the people for that. Most of them were struggling just to survive each day. The coat off a dying man could help keep a living man warm in the cold winter nights, the change in his pocket could buy some decent food for their empty bellies. If anyone was to blame it was the suits and crooks who were profiting off this world while everyone else was starving.

Of course he shared some fault in what had happened. The day had been going great and it had lulled into a sense of false security. His street act had earned his six whole dollars, more than Will had seen in quite some time. Even better he had managed to snag a pearl necklace from some rich broad who thought she was too good to pay for watching his show. Then some flop with a cane and a ten dollar bill showed up looking for some help. Ten whole dollars! It would have been easy money if it hadn’t been trap. Before Will could act the SOB attacked, breaking his nose with a punch before stabbing him in the chest. To add insult to injury the man stole the necklace from him! The money William could have made off selling it could have fed a number of starving people back at the Park.

But that like the bleeding knife wound he was now suffering from had been his own damn fault. He had allowed himself to get careless because of his great mood. It had been the first rule of being a performer, never lose focus, don’t get careless and always remain in control of the situation. Had he remained focus and in control he would have seen the punch coming, he could have dodged it and returned the favor. He could have delivered a measure of justice on the flop before throwing him into the gutter with considerably lighter pockets. But no, he had gotten careless and was now paying for it.

More and more the world around him seemed to fade into a pain-inducted haze that stretched on and on. The alleys and streets he had memorized for his late night acts becoming an unending, ever-twisting maze of concrete and brick. ‘There’s a hospital a couple of blocks from here,’ Will thought as he gazed up at a street sign that seemed to Fifth Street…or possibly Fifteenth. ‘No wait Fifth Street is where the Doc lives. Doesn’t matter he’ll help me.’

However the houses all appeared to be identical, blurred boxes with some random glowing lights. None of them looked right but he couldn’t wait much longer. Staggering to the closest house, William started desperately pounding on the door as hard as he could. What seemed like an eternity but could have just as easily been a minute passed before the door opened revealing a ticked off looking woman in a night gown.

“Please…help…” Will managed to utter before his knees gave out from under him and he plummeted to the ground.

‘If I survive this that cane-twirling flop is going to pay…’

With that darkness took him.

'There's a fine line between not listening and not caring. I like to think that I walk that line every day of my life.'
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-12-12, 02:22 AM
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As Fiona looked upon the bedraggled citizens of this shit hole of a town, she couldn't help but feel contempt for them. Staring through the haze of smoke that hung thick in the air, she shook her head and thought of the fat stack of $10 dollar bills that sat snugly in her pocket. The job had been lucrative indeed. She hated Arkansas, hated it like she hated the sad sops that lived in this town, but the pay had been good and Lou had been desperate. Lou was a friend, an old friend, a friend of her father's. A good man, more importantly a man with connections, connections she used on a regular basis. The people in this town were easy marks, especially the gangs and con outfits. A well placed word, a wiggle of the hip, and she was in the money. Sometimes she lamented the fact that her power, her ability of suggestion, rarely was needed. She used all the weapons at her disposal and men were fools when a beautiful woman was concerned. Curling her lips around the end of her cigarette she took a long pull of the fragrant smoke, closing her eyes in contentment as she did. She lived the highlife here in Dustbowl. She had plenty of money, endless sources for more if she ran out, and all the comforts that her wealth supported.

Looking across the bar, Lou came into view from the backroom, an unmarked box in hand that he quickly stowed behind the bar. She smiled as she watched him, her thoughts returning to her recent trip to Arkansas, her eyes following the smooth swirling liquid in her glass as she toyed with it. Lou's man in Little Rock had been an asshole. When she arrived he had tried to charge her twice the price that he and Lou had agreed on. He had been gruff, angry, no doubt the kind of man that settled disputes with his fists rather than words. Prohibition had made these kinds of men all to common in her line of work. They thought they could run roughshod over anyone, charge whatever they wanted. He had looked at Fiona with evident scorn as soon as she had stepped out of her Packard, a leering smile on his face, his hands overeager. He never knew what hit him and Fiona watched, smiling as he loaded all of his stock, plus a his private collection of rich Cognacs into the secret compartment under the driver's carriage at a 5th of his asking price, acting for all the world that he had just made the sale of the century. Captivated by her voice, he acquiesced to her every whim. The weak willed ape. She had longed to put a bullet in him, but she knew that she had signed his death warrant all the same. His boss would not be happy at all, he would suffer. Suffer much longer and much harder than anything she could have done.

The sound of the front door brought her from her reverie and turning toward the sound she watched as a scraggly, unkept, bearded vagabound entered and made his way quickly to the bar, talking to himself and fondling something in his pocket all the while. Seating himself at the bar he mumbled today's catch phrase and soon enough he was tucking into a glass of Arkansas' finest. Finishing the little bit of cognac from her glass, feeling the warming liquid tumble down her throat, she couldn't believe her luck when he pulled out a rather expensive looking watch, inspecting it like it was the first time he had seen it. The man was an idiot to flash that kind of merchandise around where every pick pocket in the world could see. Smiling to herself and noting the pocket he returned the watch to, she stood and sauntered over to the seat next to his. Smiling as almost every eye in the place followed her progress. She slid the stool right next to him out and sat delicately on the edge. Placing a hand on his arm she got the man's attention, "Evening honey. How about you by a girl a drink?"

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-01-12, 08:33 PM
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It wasn't large, but the room was well stocked with books. Books on many subjects, physics, engineering, weaponry, all sitting alongside such great literary works as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and other authors from all over the world. The lonely gas lamp cast a yellow, flickering light along the walls, as though the books were themselves ablaze.

It was a far cry from the world outside the window, the world of dark alleyways, dim speakeasy's and the quiet businesses conducted in both. Life was not so easy for the people of Dustbowl outside the window. They struggled through the harsh realities of life, realities a great many of their 'neighbours' were inured to. The house was but one of many along a picturesque tree lined avenue, one of many that decieved newcomers to the town into thinking this might have escaped the true ravishes of the great depression.

The book was recent, Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. The loss and isolation felt by Haller himself has spoken poignantly to any reader who themselves feel out of place in a world where they do not fit. Each word flowed off the page with a narrative brilliance unheard of this side of the century. On the small table beside the armchair a cup of pale porcelain sat steaming, it's contents were black, the Ullanovost tea still warm, the cup only half full.

Anya sat in the chair, a large, well stuffed armchair, slightly worn at the corners, her feet were curled up beneath her. A long evening robe fell down about her, curling in long folds on the sides and around the legs of the chair. Her hair fell about her shoulders in similar fashion, tucked behind her ears to keep her eyeline free. A delicate pair of half moon spectacles reflected the light as she devoured the book hungrily. She had begun reading only a few hours ago and was already nearly finished. Her knowledge of it almost extending to knowing it by heart.

Thump thump thump. The sound startled her out of her reverie. It was a hard knocking, fast, desperate, as though the man knocking hadn't long to live. How apt. She scowled, putting the book down, taking care not to disturb it's pages with anything so coarse as a bookmark. She removed the spectacles, folding them and placing them delicately in the deep pocket of her robe. She unfolded herself from the chair, rising in one marvellously graceful movement. The knocking only increased in urgency as she started down the first of three flights of stairs that would take her to the ground floor.

She pulled the door open, scowling. The man stood outside was swaying, blood trickling between the fingers he had clasped over his chest. His face was unassuming and average, with the exception of those eyes. They were gentle eyes, but it was deceptive, there was a steel behind them, a strength. The scarf around his neck was stained, blood once pouring from his nose, now dry. The very edge of a scar was visible beneath the concealment. Like the rest of his clothes the scarf was filthy, this was a man used to living on the streets, and one who had obviously suffered for it.

"Please…help…”

He staggered forwards and collapsed, crumpling from the knees and landing face down on her porch. "Yebat!" She swore, looking around, she saw that no help was in sight and took hold of the man under his shoulders. She dragged him into the house, he was light, mere skin and bones, obviously not well fed. As so many were not in these times. She pulled his unmoving form into the kitchen, a spacious tiled room with a large work table in the centre. She eyed it ruefully, before heaving him onto the table. His scarf fell from around his face, revealing his horrific mutilation, the reason for his concealment. Someone, years ago had taken a knife to his face, cutting a great slit from the edges of his mouth to the edge of his cheeks, giving the impression of some ghastly, ghoulish grin.

Anya grimaced, but ignored it, tearing open his coat and then the shirt beneath it, the cheap, ancient material nearly disintegrating between her fingers. The gory mess beneath was deceptive, the injury was only a single clean cut across his chest, blood loss and shock had done the rest. She poured water into a bowl, swabbing the worst of the blood away with a cloth soaked in vodka, only for more to leak from the cut. She did her best to push the wound closed, but it was too large, awkwardly, she pulled a needle and thread from a draw. Lighting a match beneath it to sterilise the needle. With rapid, deft movements she stitched the wound closed. She tore a strip from the hem of her gown, it held no particular sentimentality and was quickly pressed into use as a makeshift bandage. A little blood stained the impromptu binding, then stopped. Anya breathed out slowly, at least it had stopped bleeding, and he was still alive.

And me? I'll tell you about me later. You wouldn't be interested in me yet...


Last edited by Jackinator; 04-01-12 at 10:03 PM.
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