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The March Hare

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The Planet's Last Dance
« on: February 07, 2014, 11:19:28 pm »
“Just for a minute
The silver forked sky
Lit you up like a star
That I will follow…”

The Lightning Strike, pt. 1



It was raining, a rarity in the small desert town of Atlas. Rivulets of water raced down the windowpanes and pooled near the sill where a little girl of eight years old tapped at the glass. With a curious smile, she traced the lines of rain up to the lock on her window and then down again only to continue on to a new trail left behind. The little girl was easily amused by this, as reading books and coloring had lost her interest hours ago, and because the electricity went out with the storm not so long after that, young Sofie Wolfe had nothing left but to daydream and wonder when her father was returning home. Her mother wasn’t much entertainment either, fretting downstairs in the kitchen all the while lighting the vast assortment of candles they had gotten from her grandmother (A Christmas, birthday, and general gift of choice). Between watching the rain and listening to her mother complain, Sofie opted for the former and stayed in her room.

In the distance, past the pouring rain and afar, she saw the shining blues and reds of police cars driving down the street. Sirens blared loudly as police passed, followed quickly by an ambulance and a fire truck. Once again curious, Sofie leaned forward, forehead to the window, hoping to catch a better look at what was happening. When that didn’t work so well, she arose to her knees, unlocked the window, and lifted it up. She was instantly drenched, but despite that, the little girl leaned out.

A few houses down, a boy was standing at his front door. Barefooted, taller than most boys his age, and drenched from head to toe in his Superman shirt and cargo shorts, Sofie would have missed him if it wasn’t for the suddenness of his appearance. He was there and then not, and the girl didn’t really think that much about it, only that he was there now, doing what she was doing.

He stared out into the distance towards what looked like a plume of smoke over the horizon, black smoke on a dark gray sky. She couldn’t see his face fully, the rain too heavy to see through completely from that distance, but she could see the set of his shoulders, the wet gold of his hair, and the way he seemed to brace himself for something.

Thunder roared and lightning struck, stealing the little girl’s attention. She turned back again to see if the boy did the same thing…

…But he was already gone.





The big day was nearly here. After all the talk about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Atlas High’s Theatre Department was finally executing the plan to make the October play a public one. Ms. Hannigan was adamant on the venue being the old opera house, as it was a living testament to how old the town of Atlas was, and since it was to be renovated at the beginning of the new year, the owner allowed one final play as a salute to the old – and in with the new. The date was set for October 30th, a day before Halloween, and two days before the anniversary of the “crash” that made Atlas so famous to the neighboring cities and an attraction to any visiting tourist.

As a part of the technical crew, Sofie worked with costumes in the green room or helped with lighting when she wasn’t mending a tear one of the fairies made in dress rehearsal. She found herself feeding lines to the actors more often than not, pricked herself a couple of times in doing so, and vowed to never become the techie who became the actor’s puppy. Unfortunately, vowing to never do something didn’t take away from the fact she was already just that. It seemed whenever something was needed, she was the to-go person to go to the market, fetch a glass of water, feed lines, touch up make up, and basically worship the ground they walked on. Or at least, that’s what her friend saw whenever she came to visit after volleyball practice.

One good thing that came from this though was the decorations. It seemed once the town found out the high school was performing in one of the oldest buildings in their history, they jumped on the boat to make everything, from light post to posters, as extravagantly “fairy-like” as possible. Mixing and matching Halloween with aliens and fairies seemed to make Atlas look tacky as a whole – but it was all in good fun, and Sofie enjoyed that at least.

It was also incredibly funny to see some of the parents of popular kids poke and prod their sons and/or daughters to help with the big event.

Needless to say, the Wolfe girl was looking forward to the play, and as she sat in the auditorium of the old opera house, listening to Ms. Hannigan direct and move around the stage like it was made for her and her alone, Sofie smiled. Even if she was the designated puppy of the play, she was sure this would be the greatest few days ever. It would definitely be worth it in the end.

She had no idea.



Lightning

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Re: The Planet's Last Dance
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 02:22:00 am »
Even now, he could still remember the screams, ugly and filled with pain. His sister was sobbing on the bed, the sheets crumpled, her dress torn, hands up to her elbows frozen in crystal clear ice. Their foster brother, older than them by seven years was screaming, rolling around on the floor, frantic, hands clawing at the burns on the left side of his face. Around them all was a sea of flames, the wall paper burning black, the curtains their foster mother loved smoking to ashes.

He'd done this to her, was all Noah could think. He made her cry. He needed to be punished.

The boy had no control over the destruction he was causing, the flames now of their own mind, wicked and licking up every bit of their precious home. Terrified, he began to sob, echoing his sister's cries, her icy hand now clutching his.

He never meant it to go this far.





"Barrow. Noah. Are you listening to me?"

Noah, blinked, blue eyes dark, lost to the conversation that was occurring between him and Mr. Wales.

"You can't pass with these kind of grades, Noah." Wales continued, gesturing to the papers spread across his desk. The letter D seemed to be on constant repeat.

He thought D was for diploma.

"Look, Noah. I know you're a smart kid, and I really don't want to fail you so..." Mr. Wales glanced at the classroom door as if a suspicious someone might be there, listening in on this one sided conversation.

"Ms. Hannigan is in need of some extra hands for the play, and I know you've got a thing for," The history teacher gestured to the headphones around Noah's neck, "Music and all. And she needs someone to man the sound board, so, how about it? Do that and I'll pass you."

Wales's mustache twitched, waiting for the youth to respond. It was obvious, his interest in Ms. Hannigan, Noah thought, almost finding it funny. Still, he had no interest in such a boring and stupid job, even if it was to help some poor teacher get laid.

Gabe's voice, his conscious Noah was beginning to figure, echoed in his head. "School's important, Noah. Try caring about it, at least a little."

Noah clicked his tongue, "Fine, Mr. Wales. I'll do it."

The history teacher smiled, "Great. I'll let Ms. Hannigan know you're helping out."




On retrospect, he shouldn't have listened to Gabriel's sensible voice in his head because this was utterly stupid and most of all, boring. His usual headphones had been replaced with the headset that was the standard bit of communication between the rest of the "techies" or so they were called. It also wasn't so much communication as it was gossiping and complaints. Apparently each one of these headset wearers had their own opinion that was just dying to be heard.

Noah's head was beginning to ache, irritated.

The soundboard was nothing impressive, simple, easy to understand with masking tape stuck below switches and buttons, simplifying everything further. He merely had to sit on his chair and make sure the cues were adequate. Beside him, Cordelia was smoothing out her dress with painted fingers. As always, her attire was a bit ridiculous, but it was a ridiculousness that Noah had grown use to. The lace, the frills, all the pastels, it was Corr, and it had been, for quite awhile now.

Noticing his eyes on her, Cordelia smirked, one slender hand going for the various controls that dotted the sound board.

"Don't." Noah warned, turning away. In the headset, someone was saying how Catherine Smith looked "totally fat" in her dress.

"Here, take this. I can't stand listening to that shit anymore." Noah removed the headset, tossing it carelessly to his sister. "Tell me if they say anything actually important."
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 02:23:33 am by Lightning »

Pride

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Re: The Planet's Last Dance
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 08:47:38 am »
Even at nine years old, Gabriel Roth never hesitated.

The decision to jump from the rainy lawn to the burning dining room he saw through the closest window was made in the blink of an eye. The question of searching the first floor or the second was answered the moment he took his first step toward the sound of screams. To teleport up the stairs in three rapid jumps was decided even before he fully realized most of the smoldering steps were in the process of collapsing. The choice of which room to search had been concluded long before he reached a burning doorway, led by the sound of broken cries.

When he could not see the room well enough through the smoke and flames to teleport into, Gabriel dove forward through the fire.

The fair-haired boy rolled across the ground, putting out the small flames that scorched the red S of his favorite shirt. He was distantly thankful for the heavy downpour that had soaked him to the bone, protecting him from the worst of it; a shirt could always be replaced.  Sky blue turned to the scene, eyes dancing with reflected flames as he glanced from the screaming teen to a pair his own age, clutching together.

He did not stop to wonder at the ice on the girl’s arms or question why the howling teen’s face was burned so horribly. He did not wait for the distant sound of sirens to arrive in minutes when the flames of the room would consume them all in seconds. He simply moved toward the bed and grabbed them both by an arm.

“Let’s go.”




“Set, hut!

The ball snapped. Gabriel surged forward, cleats tearing at the earth as he reached for the football the quarterback handed off. Large, sure hands brought it safely to his chest and bright blue turned forward, meeting the rumbling mass of a half dozen, two-hundred pound boys rushing to crush him. The halfback did not waver, but rather picked up speed as he lowered his center of mass and moved to meet the defensive threat.

The gaps between the rushers were small and lasted only for a brief moment, but it was all the seventeen year old needed. A couple of twists, a juke, and a quick jump over one who dove at his legs sent a majority of the players sprawling or trailing in his rapid wake. A single player was all that remained between the broad-shouldered halfback and the goal. The defensive teen seemed to be anticipating the moves that had gotten Gabriel past the others, his weight forward on the balls of his feet and eyes trained, ready to catch the football star no matter what direction he chose. Gabe grinned.

A powerful shoulder caught the surprised safety right in the chest, knocking the boy to the earth and left his wind far behind him. Gabriel skidded into the in-zone a mere eight seconds after the ball had snapped, pulling the helmet from his head to let free golden hair bright gleaming from sun and perspiration. He grinned back at the cheering offense, their cries loud over the defeated grumbles of the defensive line who had failed to contain him yet again. The shrill blast of his coach’s whistle announced the end of practice and brought with it another cheer, this time from all the players as they moved as one toward the locker room. Gabriel stopped where the safety still lay on his back, trying to catch his breath. He offered his hand.

“Good try, Anderson.” Gabriel complimented as he hauled his teammate to his feet, clapping him on the back when he steadied. “Just remember that going through an opponent can be just as effective as going around.”

“Yeah, yeah. You just move too fast for a guy your size, Roth. I forget that you can hit like a truck too.” The other boy complained good-naturedly as they moved toward the locker room. “I would suggest you come chill with us tonight, but I’m guessing you’ll be helping out at the old opera house tonight too?”

Gabriel glanced at him, confused. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, you’re not? I overhead Mr. Wales telling Ms. Hannigan that Noah was gonna run the soundboard for the theater play. And since, ya know, you’re always hanging out with him and his sister, I just figured…”Anderson trailed off, a little uneasy at the look Gabriel was giving him. “I mean, you’re definitely welcome to come chill with us man, I wasn’t trying to-“

“It’s fine, don't worry about it.” Gabriel assured him distractedly. Noah agreed to do something helpful for a teacher? That didn’t sound like him at all. He turned his stare back to the smaller boy. "Are you sure you heard correctly? It was definitely Noah Barrow?"

While Anderson nodded weakly, the memory of Noah’s inexplicably pointed scowl after Gabe's call to have a good evening seemed suddenly relevant. Why was he getting the vague sense that the music lover’s participation was partially his fault?

“I think I will head over there anyways, just to check things out. Never seen a play before, let alone set one up." Gabriel shrugged, his friendly smile seeming to finally ease Anderson's concern. "Who knows? Maybe someone there could use my help.”
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 08:58:56 am by Pride »

Jill the Ripper

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Re: The Planet's Last Dance
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014, 02:15:22 pm »
"No way, that's your problem, loser." Uninterested in the headset, Cordelia dropped it on the soundboard, her brother now leaning over it lazily, pushing switches as he saw fit.

Wheeling her chair a little further from him, her foot up on the arm of his, the brunette slumped down in her seat in a frothy mess of lace and tulle, printed cotton skirts and bows, just taking the boy in.  In his jeans (old, and fading) and his hoodie (also old, probably unwashed), her brother was the stark opposite of her - unkempt and uncaring.

"Let me do your hair, at least." She said suddenly, nudging his chair with her shoe, thick and white, a Mary-Jane with copious bows and straps.  "You could be so hot, Noah, you don't even know."

Warily, he glanced at her foot, still prodding, and said, "I'm always hot."

Cordelia pouted, lips glossy.  "That's not what I meant, and you know it." Then just for good measure, she kicked him lightly under the arm of his chair, on the thigh.

Dark blue eyes narrowing - dark black in the dim lighting of the control room - Noah said nothing about her violence, shrugging.  "Fine, do whatever you want."

Hissing excitedly, Cordelia bounced up, dusting off her skirt in reflex, the ribbons of her sleeves trailing after her fingers.  She was in soft colours, this evening - blues and pinks and whites (pastel stripes to go with cutely drawn cookies and animals, all along the bottom of her skirt - coupled with the white of her sleeves and collar, the rose-edged lace) - and the whole effect made her feel giddy, more childish.

On tippy-toe she stood behind his chair, hands hovering over his shoulders - his hair, dark like hers, had nothing of Cordelia's glossy shine, it's carefully manufactured curl, and without thinking, she brushed her fingers over his head, lightly.

The heat of him was like a physical skin, warm to the touch, like he was walking comfort and Corr felt herself lean into him more in response, fingers falling from his hair to curl into the front of his hoodie as she hugged him.

He made a small noise as she leant on him. "You're heavy." 

She was off him like a flash - leaving him with a furious punch in the arm as she flounced back to her seat, bristling.  "Next time you're dumb enough to volunteer for this shit, you're doing it alone."

I'll walk home before I do this again, the Barrow girl thought mutinously.

Lightning

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Re: The Planet's Last Dance
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 10:47:11 am »
You're the one who offered to stay with me, he thought, but said nothing of it, well versed in his twin sister's temper. She was a fiery one and often prone to melodramatics. It was a bit tiring at times, her attitude, but Noah had grown accustomed to it as he'd grown accustomed to everything else.

There were far weirder things about the both of them anyway.

Like the coolness of her hand, her skin. Cordelia was always cold, the ice to his fire. It was one of the reasons they clung to each other so, only comforted by their opposites in temperature.

Still messing with the controls, bored, Noah ignored the headset till the volume on it had grown too loud to ignore. Annoyed, he grabbed it, placing it on his head, immediately regretting the action. Voices were yelling, loud, a mess of sounds, all of it an incoherent mess.

The only word he could grasp was fire.

Corr had turned around in her chair, facing him, large eyes unblinking. She must have heard it too, and one look in her eyes and they both understood, it wasn't Noah's doing.

Looking at the stage, Noah spotted a familiar shock of blonde hair, hard to miss as he hurried in the opposite direction of most leaving the area.

Gabe never could resist playing hero.

Cordelia clicked her tongue, "Let me guess, we've got to go help him."

Noah was already out of his chair, "Yeah."

The March Hare

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Re: The Planet's Last Dance
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 07:51:24 am »
“Sofie, darling!” Ms. Hannigan called past the shining spotlights. Sofie looked up from one of the costumes she was sewing a patch on. The drama teacher continued. “If you please, our dear Oberon left his scepter in the prop closet. Do you mind getting it for us?”

I do. “Sure, Ms. Hannigan!” She replied back.

A chorus of “thank you, Sofie” seemed to echo across the auditorium as she stood from her seat, sidled her way down the row of chairs and down the aisle to the first exit. The lobby was to the right, old with dim lighting and tinted windows that gave way to amber rays from the outside. Sofie turned left instead, down the hallway and deeper into the theater until she made it around the back. Another hallway ended where another one started, leading to more rooms and closets.

Sofie opened one of the smaller doors on the right, usually locked from the outside (but was kept unlocked for the show), and the strong smell of tobacco hit her instantly. Jeff, one of the ‘volunteers’ forced by their parents to help with the play, was apparently on his second one. The first was at his feet, where Sofie looked first. “Uhm, excuse me.”

“What?” He looked her way once, snorted. “Oh, it’s you. Want one?”

“You’re not supposed to smoke in the building.” Sofie said in a hush.

“So? Other people do it, but they don’t get caught. Lay off.”

“You’re not supposed to smoke in the building.” Her quiet voice became a little sterner. “If you want to smoke, you can go outside in the designated smoking area.”

Jeff rolled his eyes and pushed passed her. “Bitch.” And closed the door behind him.

It wasn’t until she rolled her own eyes and bent to pick up the butt of the cigarette did she hear the click of the outside lock.

…Did that… did he just-?

Sofie jiggled the knob of the door, shook it, and then knocked. “Jeff? Open the door; this isn’t funny!” No answer, except for the faint laughter that disappeared moments later. “Jeff? Jeff!”


Pride

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Re: The Planet's Last Dance
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 10:36:19 pm »
Gabriel paused in the doorway to the auditorium of the old opera house, giving a moment for his eyesight to adjust to the dim lighting

He’d never actually been inside of the ancient building before, despite it being located only a short way from his family’s pharmacy. His mother had always insisted the place was a death trap, only a single puff away from crumbling down entirely. While she may have been exaggerating slightly, Gabriel could definitely see how old the wood panels of the wall were, dry and almost black with their age. The carpet was threadbare and worn, the curtains home to a number of incriminating holes and the seats a long-time favorite spot for disposing gum.

That said, Gabriel was still impressed.

The wide arc of the ceiling, designed to amplify the acoustics, was covered with a great number of lights that reminded him of the stars. The center stage was marked with innumerable grooves and scratches, proud scars from past stories of romance and tragedy. And perhaps most of all, the decorations hand crafted by students filled the dark place with new life, colorful caricatures of aliens and fairies that forced the ancient gloominess into something that made him smile.

The fair-haired boy caught sight of Noah and Cordelia over by the soundboard, the sister lingering just behind the brother as she seemed to consider his hair. He began to walk over, a hand already raised in greeting, but hesitated when he watched Cordelia wrap her arms around Noah’s neck into a hug.  The raised hand shifted to run through his hair as he turned away with a loose sigh, amusement tugging the corner of his lips higher.

Well, he couldn’t go over there now. Cordelia would probably murder him if she knew he saw that.

He idled in the aisle for a moment and wondered what he should do now that talking to his best friend and his sister just became hazardous to his health. For whatever reason, it seemed Noah had indeed agreed to help out today. The circumstances behind his friend’s sudden interest in something beyond music would have to wait until later. The football player shrugged to himself and began to move down the aisle toward the stage, where he was sure Ms. Hannigan would need assistance with something.

 “Fire!”

The word was shrill, the very sound of sudden panic and fear. Everyone stilled, turning their heads to look at the girl running into the auditorium, as if everyone had simply misheard the initial cry. The girl was panting, eyes wild as she stared at everyone in disbelief, before gesturing wildly at the exit from where she had emerged. Her echoed cry was even louder, if possible. “FIRE!”

Almost as if on cue, smoke began to billow from the doorway, the first flicker of flames already touching the ancient carpet. The sight of it seemed to snap the stunned crowd from their silence, the sudden uproar a cacophony of student’s panicked voices as they scrambled against each other to reach the far exit first. Gabriel stepped out of the way and pushed himself against the wall, letting others stream by him as he turned concerned blue back to the sound booth.

Had Noah…?


“Sofie!” The Gabriel turned and saw Ms. Hannigan hurrying toward him, shepherding a large number of students in front of her with one hand while the other held a cellphone to her ear. Calling 911, most likely. “Has anyone seen Sofie?! Did anyone seen her come back from the props closet!?”

When no one answered in the positive, the blonde followed the teacher’s stricken glance to the doorway where the girl had run out of before, now completely consumed with flames. It didn’t take a genius to recognize what that look meant.

The missing girl was trapped somewhere beyond those flames.

He was moving forward before he was even consciously aware of his decision, a fish moving upstream as he weaved between students and approached the rapidly expanding fire. Most of the stage and its props were already alight, burning brightly and filling the dark room with flickering light. The blonde paused before the burning door, bright blue searching for a spot that wasn’t covered in flames.

But there wasn’t one.

Gabriel grit his teeth and steeled himself. It would hurt like hell, he knew – the brief memory of a nine year old Gabe wincing when a tiny, angry girl with hands like ice pressed burn crème against his minor wounds flashed in his mind – but severe burns would be nothing compared to a girl’s death if he hesitated any longer. Every moment he wasted could have been the extra second the girl needed to live.

He took a step toward the door and tensed as he prepared to hurtle through the flames.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 10:51:12 pm by Pride »