Replies: 226 / 4 years 281 days 18 hours 56 minutes 30 seconds
Original idea by OptimusPrime. Made with permission and edits
Some might have called it a gift
To him, it was leverage
Zoe is a ten year old girl with an extraordinary ability; inside her head laid an alternate version of her residential city. No amount of wild imagination could create this type of alternate reality of hers. It goes beyond make-believe and imaginary friendships. The city is a construct of her own mind, a mind palace transformed into a kingdom. Acting as a mind palace, parts of the city has images of her memories with representations of people she knows or things she has seen in her life. She has the power to send people, body and soul, to this city without lifting a finger. In the time span of a blink, whomever she desires can vanish in mid air without leaving any traces behind.
August Ludger is the proud founder of Ludger Foundation of Science (LFS). He has help make great strides in science and medical research with his family's fortune, long-time reputation, and a PhD in Biology and Chemistry. He became aware of Zoe's powers and took the girl underneath his wing. Records show that Dr. Ludger adopted the child, but she is often seen by his side at the LFS facility. Using her unique skill to his advantage, he eliminates any obstacles presented. Nosy reporters, have vanished from the public eye without any explanation. Anyone deemed as a threat to August or his business are sucked into the girl's world by command. There, they suffer from horrors unable to be comprehended by anyone but Zoe.
Being August's personal hit man, Zoe's mind has eroded further and further into corruption. Eventually, everything began to rot to the core. Her once peaceful city now laid in ruin and roamed by numerous, deadly creatures that Zoe has seen in some form in her life. Dinosaurs, skeletons, hell hounds, gigantic rats and insects, even man eating plants began to emerge on the empty streets of the mind city. Any survivors they will soon be killed by Dr. Ludger's private team of armed tactical team. He and his men are allowed to enter or leave the girl's world whenever they please. However, since the increase of corruption, even Zoe doesn't have total control over the creatures. A trip to the mind city is still risky for Dr. Ludger's men.
Stuck in this world is one lone survivor that has bested every obstacle Zoe has thrown at him. Jake, former secret weapon for August Ludger, has been trapped in Zoe's mind for about two years. To stay alive, he hides away somewhere in the city, dodging the creatures and hidden from detection. Danger around every corner and every step is a risky one. In the years he's spent in this hell, Jake has learned how to navigate the mine field of creatures and hazards. Now, he is no longer alone. A few poor souls have been dumped into the city, left to the mercy of a powerful child. Jake can either help them to escape or leave them to die. Time for him and the other victims is running out and they must find a way out until the girl's mind ultimately becomes so rotten with evil that the city...collapses.
Age & Gender:
*To note: Only people that have been part of the experimentation of the company can have powers. No one is born with it.
Age & Gender: 19 year old Male
Special Skills: Inhuman agility and reflexes. His powers consist of Telekinesis and a psychic sixth sense, otherwise known as Foresight.
Short Background: The precursor to Zoe's position of personal weapon to August Ludger, Jake has been raised in a sheltered life. His abilities of premonition aided the man in getting ahead in the field of research. Sometimes, he was ordered to use his abilities to kill. Upon turning sixteen, Jake disobeyed an order and threatened to go to the public with Dr. Ludger's cruel treatment. As punishment, he was sent to the mind city left to die. However, his abilities kept him alive far longer than August anticipated.
Personality: Facetious, Head strong, Cunning, Temperamental, Resilient, and Humorous.
Age & Gender: 10 year old Female
Special Skills: She has the ability to capture anyone she chooses and transports them to her mind palace/city. The environment is entirely up to her creation. She can create any number of beings that act in accordance to her will. She can see through their eyes as though she was present. She, herself, cannot transport herself into the mind palace, but she can bring people out at will. Although, with the corruption spreading, she is slowly losing control over her ability.
Short Background: Zoe was an orphan for all of her short life. She was raised in a Catholic orphanage and was treated well as far as she could remember. When she was five, she remember moving to a nicer place with this nice rich man. He said that he was her new dad and he would make her very special. She didn't remember much of the stuff that made her special. Zoe only remembers that she could make this big place with lots of animals and things in it. Her new dad is nice to her, but he makes her do things to nice people. It's not so bad anymore. She's starting to like doing it too.
Special Skills: With a PhD in Biology and Chemistry, as well as a Bachelor's in Business, Dr. Ludger uses his intelligence and vast wealth to get ahead in society. His German lineage gave him advantage in his field with many successful people in their preferred fields. And with money comes it's own kind of power with a private armed guard at his facilities and lingering behind him wherever he goes.
Personality: Calculating, Head strong, Cunning, Impatient, and Resilient
Age & Gender: 16 year old Female
Special Skills: She can create things by writing it down. The bigger the object is the more of her energy it takes. She has to have seen the object before too.
Short Background: She doesn't remember much of her past, all there is are the white walls of the lab she was trapped in. She was an experiment to the Doctor. He soon considered her a failure when she tried to make a run for it, showing she had a mind of her own. As punishment, she was thrown into the girl's world to die. She's never been able to speak, so she carries a book around with her to write in.
Personality: A little shy at first, but she can be stubborn. She doesn't know much about the real world, so she sometimes crosses the line without even realizing she has.
Age & Gender: 20 & Female
Special Skills: Her intelligence
Short Background: Constance is studying the sciences and developed a love of literature, Constance wants to eventually become an investigative journalist. While studying, she secured an internship working for August and she started to notice things that shouldn't have been going on. She wants to have a clear understanding of what had been going on in the labs and she had been collecting evidence to expose the Doctor for what he had been doing. She was too close and he caught her snooping
Special Skills: She can transform and manipulate her body in any way she wants, adding or reducing mass at will. In the Mind Palace, Callisto spends her time in a fearsome form inspired by the rest of the creatures in the Mind Palace.
Short Background: Callisto's parents came to Dr. Ludger asking for help for their daughter's fragile mental state. He took her in and instead of helping her, the good Doctor experimented on her until she developed special abilities. However, her volatile mood swings and weak grasp of reality made her too much of a risk for field work. Dr. Ludger would probably have disposed of Callisto sooner rather than later had she not taken matters into her own hands by escaping and forcing Zoe's hand to send her to the Mind Palace.
Special Skills: Well, if we can't count having an almost delectable genepool, his more notable abilities might be his intellect, experience in militant practices, and his expertise in mixed combat styles. He is a weapons and explosives technician and is VERY inventive. His eccentricities also keep him on high alert, he's quite strange and is surprisingly 'friendly' to really... Everyone, and everyTHING.
Short Background: Born in London to a baker and an immigrant, Angel could have been a normal and well-adjusted boy, if not for his own terrifying thirst for knowledge. From an exceptionally early age, he excelled in most areas, absorbing knowledge with the thirst of a black hole. Unfortunately, his exploratory nature led him to a few restricted areas, and he was seized by INTERPOL at just thirteen and charged with a number of deeply unnerving international crimes and security breaches despite his age. Before he could be locked away, however, he was then... 'Stolen', by the CIA. While there, Angel was trained by innumerable agents and his studies ensued, eventually leading him to four years of field-service for the US military. Three years ago, Ludger propositioned him, and in his curiosity, he agreed. Where better to learn and test and work than in a lawless world of horrors? He's quite at home in Zoe's head. Ludger finds his own ways to communicate with the odd Englishman, never really the other way around. Angel is a very peculiar specimen, indeed.
Personality: Easygoing, cheerful, fearless, brilliant, and overly curious. Remembers EVERYTHING. Science is his weapon of choice and his wits make an almost impenetrable shield. Very nosy, not afraid to invade personal space.
Roleplay Reply. Do not chat here. (50 character limit.)
[font “Sylfaen” The Stranger briefly observed these unfortunate souls that were trapped here. Two of them, from what he could tell, where mixed-matched science results due to Ludger’s well-funded project. They both seemed familiar to him, but it had been so long, he couldn’t place them. Maybe he was supposed to kill them in the past and failed; now they’ve come to seek revenge on him. Maybe they were cell mates of his once before. It was hard to recall anything before this place. Mostly because he couldn’t stay still long enough to reminisce, even while asleep. The other one was probably the unlucky one that got too nosey. Whatever the reasons were didn’t matter now. They would all die eventually and he would be alone again.]
[font “Sylfaen” Coming back to the dangers at hand, the one that turned into a bird, the fellow [s abomination] specimen morphed into a sphinx like creature, body of an animal with a voice of a woman. His bright green eyes witnessed the anomaly happen before him. It was oddly satisfying and disturbing all at once. A very adaptive one this she was. Perhaps she could survive here better than he. It would also be best if he just completely ignored the fact that she was butt naked there for like three seconds. The adrenaline pumping into his system didn’t have the patience to enjoy the rare chance that was presented and just moved on. He had seen a lot of things in his short life, but this had to be in the top five. Blinking several times as his brain registered the transformation, the stranger turned to the other two girls present.]
[font “Sylfaen” The smallest one seemed the most familiar to him. Something about her face rang a bell in his mind. He must have known her through the years under Ludger’s care. Her name had been forgotten through the time he had been captured here. Perhaps she would be useful still. Her powers were certainly unique. Maybe her name was Amber? Allison? Ashely? No, it was something rarer. Like the name of a color or something. Whatever the case, he didn’t have time to remember it now.]
[font “Sylfaen” Picking up the modified bat, the newest survivors gather together. They were not fighters, not yet. He believed they had the will. [b “Follow me and stay quiet.”] He ordered as he pulled the hood over his buzzed hair. He didn’t wait to see if they were following behind him as his crouched form slunk into the shadows. He would lead the survivors away from the shuffling horde around the corner. The stranger crept along the walls of the alley and pressed his back to it quickly ushering the others to follow in behind him. His piercing green eyes glanced around the corner to witness dozens of monsters poured into the area the group was at moments ago. Moaning armored undead skeletons, rabid humanoid rats, large carnivorous dinosaurs that were hard to pronounce, and packs of werewolves just to name a few creatures that stalked the streets disappointed to have missed the prey. It wouldn’t be long before the scent was tracked. They would need a safe place to hide for now. The stranger motioned for the survivors to continue to follow him. Luckily, the concentrated numbers of beasts cleared a path through the normally heavily guarded open streets and sidewalks.]
[font “Sylfaen” He navigated his way with to a fire escape ladder that led up to the roofs. It would be safer to travel that way rather than chancing the ground. Keeping his head low, the stranger glanced over the edges of the building to track the beasts below. Even though the group was safe from most monsters, there were still some risks with certain creatures. The giant lumbering lizards were always a problem, high or low. The werewolves and rats were agile and good climbers. The plants rarely grew more than four stories high. The biggest trouble was getting across the gaps. Jake could jump far enough, and the weird sphinx would be able to make it. He wasn’t certain about the others. [b “We’ll have to get across a few buildings before we can get the safe zone. We’ll have to move fast before she can find us again.”] He turned to the short one as asked, [b “Can you make something to get us across? I know you can do something like that with that notebook of yours.”] Jake remarked as he gestured towards the notebook the girl held in her hands securely.]
[font “Sylfaen” Seeming to understand his request the blue-eyed girl hunched down to her notebook with her hand feverishly scribbling something. In an instant, a think wooden plank was produced like magic. Jake catch it with her scuffed up hands and laid it gently across the edge of one building to the other. [b “I’ll go first and then everyone follow me one at a time.”] He said with one palm facing outward to halt the others in one place. He had to hurry across to the other building before their position was compromised. Jumping up onto the ledge, the toe of his shoes dangled over a long drop that would instantly kill any soul that fell. The height didn’t seem to faze him as the hooded figure scurried across the plank effortlessly. His form was crouched and his feet expertly placed so though he was held aloft there with an invisible force, guiding him to the other side. His balance almost cat-like as he jumped off the other ledge to the neighboring building. Silently, he motioned for the next person to follow as he held out his hands to help get each person land safely. The plank held firm as one by one the survivors made it to the other side without issue.]
[font “Sylfaen” The last one to go was the blonde woman with glasses. She seemed nervous and timid as any normal person would in this situation. She took a bit longer to make the trek, but he quickly grabbed her by the waist and hoisted her over the ledge before grabbing the plank and sliding in toward him. Now they were fairly safe from more horrors, but not out of the woods yet. He led them all across roofs, back the way he had come to rescue them. It took about five minutes to make it to a dead area before he felt relief. Five minutes that felt like an hour to him. Cautious still, he navigated the group to an empty bowling alley where he had been hiding away for a few days now. He walked briskly down the side of the dusted lanes to the back room where people would supervise the machines that made the lanes work. Sliding back the hood and removing the banana, the stranger turned his head as he pushed open the door. [b “Welcome to my humble abode.”]]
[font “Sylfaen” The inside was sparse of any furnishings and personal items, not something one would expect from a long-time survivor of the mind city. There was a mattress on the floor in a darker corner of the rectangle room with a tattered blanket over it for cold nights. There wasn’t a small curtain that separated the bed from the makeshift bathroom and several weapons placed around along the walls and flat surfaces. He had his own collection of protective tools and wooden planks in a pile. Hammer and nails for just in case a horde came through. A stack of canned food items along with water bottles underneath two tables and a large map of the city pinned to a crumbling wall. There were red marks all over it. Some marks were circles, others had X’s. The symbols were scattered throughout the whole map with unknown meaning to the new arrivals. The stranger zipped off the black hoodie and tossed it to the poor excuse for a bed. The red banana unknotted and placed on top. The man was wearing a dirty T-shirt with dark stains that had been there for a long time. Lifting the shirt revealed a bag strapped tight to his abdomen covering over his abs. Opening the bag was a piece of bloody meat that dripped on the stone floor. Whistling a quick pitch as the stranger walked over to the left. A thin curtain showed a terrifying silhouette of a plant creature, similar to what the group had faced earlier. When he pulled the curtain back, it was a smaller version of the monster with one eyeless head that perked up to the stranger’s voice. The light from the sunless sky breached through a broken window so the group could see the carnivorous plant was but a seedling, not even a quarter of the previous plant. The leaves nestled in the bottom of the stalk uncurled to absorb a lot of the light peering through. The head perked up and opened up its jaw to a smile. The sharp teeth, almost wolf like in form and size, showed a big grin as the stranger cooed to it. [b “Hey there Gary. You hungry buddy?”] The stranger approached without fear as he tossed the meat to the plant that happily took the meal. The jaws chomped greedily while the stranger wiped his hands on a dirty towel. [b “Don’t worry about him. He’s tame, for the most part.”] He spoke as he removed the bag from his waist. [b “So, mind telling me how you guys got her and what did you do to piss off the big guy upstairs?”] He said with folded arms. [b “It takes a special person to get trapped in the Mind City and dumped directly in the line of a bunch of monsters like that.”]]
[b [i [#9f0404 Pain.]]] Consciousness slowly rolled back in, like spilled milk drip-dropping down the table [i [#849009 don't cry]] and splattering onto the floor. And then [b [i [#9f0404 PAIN]]] all at once, reality came crashing in. Callisto's eyes sprang open, but she couldn't see. She heard her own heartbeat, much too heavy for a bird. As sensation returned to Callisto's extremities, she realized she was not a bird anymore, she had reverted back [i [#5b0990 nononono, they can [b see] us!]] to human form while being knocked out. [i [#ff8c00 You can't let them see us!]]
The reason for her blindness was [#1e9009 [i you need to change!]] that her face was planted into the ground. With the front facing eyes of a human, this was less than ideal. With a herculean [i [#a77925 you're [b naked!!]]] effort, Callisto turned her head towards the sound of fighting.
There was a boy. A scruffy boy, Callisto's mother would most certainly not have approved of his tattered clothes or dirty bandana. Callisto saw something else though. This boy moved like he was born to fight things bigger than him. To fight and to win. The boy made short work of the plant, his features glowing green from the dust of his slayed enemy.
[right [#a72564 [i He will kill you.]]] [right [#75a725 [i This was a trap [#25a1a7 how can you be so stupid]]] [right [#3df628 [i He saved us?]]] [right [#a74e25 [i They're all monsters, people aren't allowed here. [#2574a7 only monsters like us]]]] [right [b [#cd0455 You're still fucking [i naked!!!]]]]
Snapping out of her own head, Callisto realized the boy was right next to her now. Asking something. Whether she could run. They didn't have any time before more would come. More what? People?
She mentally scrambled for a form, any form. She couldn't be human, she couldn't. Did she need to fight these people, fight the boy? [i [#04cd61 you won't win.]] Talk to them? She didn't want to do either. In the end, she settled for a middle ground. She grew thick red fur over her body, similar in hue to her human form's hair color. Her form became quadrupedal, with four clawed paws firmly on the ground. It hurt to change, she could feel her own body's weakness in places she knew she had suffered damage both old and new.
These areas always resisted change, they were less malleable. Callisto ignored it, tried to do the best with what she had. She left her head humanoid, excepting her eyes. She made them pitch black, like she had done sometimes while still being stuck in the white room. Black eyes scared people. She didn't know if she needed to fight or talk to these people [i [#2574a7 they're monsters. remember the girl. remember the chains?]], but it was better that they were scared of her either way.
She looked into the green, human eyes of the boy. "I can run," she said.
It seemed that much of what she had uncovered about August and his experiments were mostly accurate but this is not what she had expected when he threatened to make her disappear. Her first thoughts were that he would have her killed, leaving no trace of her existence but this…this was something where explanations wouldn’t be possible. One minute she had been stood in the office of her employer, and the next she had somehow been transported to streets that had seemingly been deserted long ago. If it were not for her disorientation she might have realised sooner that she was not, in fact, alone at all.
Constance hadn’t even had the time to take in the sights of this new world before chaos found her. It was the sound of metal shooting past her that seemed to cause her to become more alert of her surroundings and she scanned the street before her to watch the scene unfold before her. An indescribable beast which features that she likened to a plant seemed to struggle against metal chains that had launched towards it without so much as a warning. Her breath caught in her throat and her heart seemed to quicken with the fear that overcame her and she watched a woman try to wrestle with the creature with the chains that appeared to be attached to some kind of book. Constance closed her eyes for a split second and shook her head in hopes that it would make such a sight disappear but it seemed that it wasn’t a hallucination or a dream because when her eyes opened once more the scene remained the same. She wanted to run but no matter how much she told herself to do so, her legs wouldn’t carry her and soon enough there was another figure seemingly fighting the creature that had almost eaten her alive had the stranger not attacked it first. She made a mental note to thank her if she made it out of this alive.
She looked on in fear, wondering how she would protect herself should the creature redirect its attention back to her but she didn’t have time to think about that before the figure of a man landed directly in front of her. Where did he come from? Her eyes scanned the heights before her, wondering if he had jumped from the roof of a building and if he had, how had he not sustained any injuries from the impact with the ground. His landing was almost cat-like; gracious and without effort. A blade drew from his back as his voice shouted for them to stay back. Constance had no intention of disobeying and as he fought with the creature she found herself hyperventilating with the fear of the unknown. Before long, the stranger seemed to have dealt with the creature who had almost claimed her life and his voice shot straight through her, telling the newly formed crowd to follow him.
It went against every instinct that she had been taught in the world but this place was not the real world and she had a feeling that the instincts she had relied upon there would not help her here. Whatever that creature was, she knew there would be more and she knew that she was not capable of protecting herself against them and right now, these people had become the only protection she could rely on. The hooded man had made his way to the woman had been thrown into the building and she found herself steading her breath so that she would be able to function in a way that would allow her to stay alive while they journeyed to whatever destination awaited them. It was then that she noticed movement in peripheral vision and she shifted slightly to take in the sight of the woman who had the creature in chains moments before.
She wanted to thank her but for now, the words would not form. It was mostly from the shock and the fact that these people did not seem as unfamiliar with such creatures and they didn’t seem afraid. How was it even possible to be in a place like this where unknown danger roamed the streets without so much as indication of fear? The woman before her seemed to write something in her book and she wondered whether it was because she couldn’t speak or she simply preferred to communicate in such a way. Constance simply nodded in response, knowing that they couldn’t stand around in the open all day. She looked around once more, trying to spot any kind of movement that seemed out of place but for the moment it seemed clear and she made her way towards the rest of the group to offer them whatever help they might need.
[b “What can I do to help?”] She asked, finally able to form words but her voice sounded frightened and weak. That was something that she often tried to hide, and she had done so well in doing so when she stood before August being threatened with a fate she couldn’t have understood then but this was different. It was something that one had to be accustomed to, to be unafraid and that seemed to take a toll on her. How long had these people endured such a world?
Something saved her. What felt like claws suddenly gripped her arm and she was thrown away from the plant. She rolled a bit before coming to a stop, face down into the road. It was a good thing there were no cars here, but that didn't mean she was out of danger. She heard a crashing sound as the one who rescued her made impact with a wall.
As she finally got herself up, she saw a figure almost fly in to save them. He yelled for them to stay back, which she didn't need to hear twice. The girl stayed out of the way as the hooded man pulled a blade out to fight against the man-eating plant. The fight was over before it even began, the man quickly killing the thing in a few swipes. She was amazed by this, her eyes wide as she tried to process what had just happened.
She wasn't given long, the male saying they needed to get out of the area before more came. Azura quickly stood now, rushing to his side to follow. She stopped halfway though, realizing she was missing something very important. Looking around frantically, she spotted her book near where the plant was a few minutes ago. Her panic eased a bit, picking it up and holding it tightly against her chest. She couldn't lose this. It was the only way she could survive here.
Scolding herself to be more careful about it, Azura rushed back to the others, waiting to see if the one who saved her was alright. Since she was being taken care of, Azura turned to the woman she originally ran up to save. Quickly, the girl wrote in her book and then held it up for the woman to read.
[+blue Are you alright? We should help if we can so we can all get out of here.] Azura then waited for a response of some kind from someone. She wanted to get back to safety, and she figured the others would want that too. How much time did they have? She wasn't sure she wanted to know.
She kept a close watch on their surroundings, just in case something tried to sneak up on them. Taking a quick glance a few times to see how the woman was recovering and if she was able to run with them. Something about the male was familiar to her. She wasn't sure what, but now wasn't the time to ask questions. They needed to get somewhere safe and then they could talk. Azura kept her book open and her pen ready, just in case they needed to make a get away. What kind of thing could she create that could help them? She had to have seen it before, and it couldn't be too big, otherwise she would become a liability to them. She had to think carefully, not not wonder off in her thoughts. They would be alright, she had a feeling they would. This guy seemed like he had been here for a while, so he must know how this place works.
[font “Sylfaen” Pounding steps echoed across the rooftops as dirty, worn out sneakers patted on the pseudo-concrete surface. He heard the commotion from a mile away; someone was here. There had been many bright flashes in the central square of the city today. That could mean only one thing: there were new residences in hell today. A figure leaped across a wide gap from one building to the next, ending with a tucked roll. The figure covered his face with a dirty bandana with blood stains spat on the cloth. The color might have been red at one point, or maybe blue, but it was covered in old sweat and dirt. The black hoodie worn by the figure was covered in white bits of dry wall, mud, some blood stains from the wearer, holes and slash marks. The shield that the hood provided was thrown off by the rushing wind as the character vaulted over AC units and piles of debris. The garment used to belong to a poor sap that walked down the wrong alleyway and was ripped in half by one of the many unsightly creatures that dominated the streets here. His death made for another's fortune. It was warm and cozy once, but now, it reeked of sweat and body odor. Needless to say, there aren’t any available showers or washrooms in hell.]
[font “Sylfaen” Bruised hands clutched around a wooden bat that came equipped with “upgrades”. Nails and barbed wire were hammered in at the top. It didn’t have blood caked onto it despite it’s obvious signs of use. The handle was smoothed out from sweaty hands and the nails were jagged from being repeatedly bent back in place. Surviving out in the city was dangerous and one needed tools thrive in a place like this. A sword and sheathe were draped across the stranger’s chest for emergencies only. A bat was easy to replace, a sword was not; a sword in good condition was a rarity at least.]
[font “Sylfaen” He had to move faster, jump farther, breath harder, if he wanted to get to whomever had come through the portal in time. Every second meant either saving another victim or losing one. Dark brown eyes darted all around the streets trying to find out where the commotion was coming from. The normally docile beasts that lurked were perked up to the new presence of presences. [i Shit.] He hissed in his thoughts as his body lurched to the picked-up pace.]
[font “Sylfaen” Hoofing his way closer to where he knew these people would be, the stranger glanced over the edge of the five-story building to see new comers [s fighting] struggling against a single-headed man-eating plant. Luckily for them, it didn’t have any eyes. [i Good. There’s still hope for these poor souls.] He thought as he swung his legs over the side of the building and began to scale down it silently. There was no time to waste, others were coming because these new guys made too much noise. In a few minutes, they would all be screwed. There were three people, from what he could tell briefly observing them, and two of them seemed to have powers too. The smaller girl looked vaguely familiar, but he didn’t have time to think about that. The other woman could transform without effort into animals. It seemed useful to him and he had kept an eye on her for a while. There was no need for him to intervene, and he had no idea if she was trustworthy or not. The smaller girl had been in hiding and almost impossible to track. That’s probably why they both survived for the short period of time they’ve been here.]
[font “Sylfaen” The blonde one was a complete mystery. He had not foreseen her arrival like all the other victims before her. She was young and pretty and completely…innocent. He couldn’t detect any powers from her like the others. She was a normal human with a curious mind, or at least he assumed that’s why she was here. This one didn’t seem to be capable of protecting herself since the plant thing practically swallowed her whole almost if it weren’t for the other two that stepped in. He huffed to himself before continuing down the building’s side. Reaching about several meters over the ground floor, the stranger leaped off the building and landed gracefully on his feet. No bones cracked, no pain came. A perfect landing with no sign of the action save for the small gust of dust away from him. The hood laid back to reveal dark brown hair thick from an old buzzed cut. One scar ran vertically across his crown. Another scar divided his right eyebrow in half permanently. Cruel green eyes never strayed from the beast in the alley.]
[font “Sylfaen” [b “Stay back!”] He shouted to the victims near him as he slowly drew the sword holstered at his back. It was a Hanwei Practical Single Hand sword with slightly dulled edges. The weapon was very unimpressive, but it was certainly cut its foes with provoked. The stranger did not hold it like an expert, but he was no fool. Whipping it around, testing the weight, the stranger started toward the plant. The slapping jowls dripped with saliva imitation as the head searched the air for its next prey. The hooded figure lunged forward in a seemingly blurred motion as it flashed straightforward and then jumped in the air, sword held above his head. The green eyes stared crazed and blood-thirsty with the bandana covering the grin underneath. One flourish and the beast’s head was sliced in half with incredible force. Another quick motion and the sword cut through the base of the plant. Whirling around 360, the sword cut again at the base to sever the plant from its roots, killing the damned thing. The jowls ceased its movement toward the stranger’s body as the rest of it fell over lifeless.]
[font “Sylfaen” However, the monstrous vegetation did not remain a corpse for long as the body dissolved into green particles that lifted towards the sky. [i Now she knows where I am. It’s only a matter of time.] The stranger thought as he turned to the new arrivals with a stern expression. [b “I suggest you come with me if you don’t want to get eaten alive. More creatures are coming.”] The bandana moved to the time of the jaw that spoke from the stranger. His tan skin had blood stains and cuts all over the exposed parts. He looked more than a little worse for wear, but extremely capable. Trust would remain up to those that wanted to live more than those that wanted immediate answers. Sword re-sheathed, the stranger darted over to the one that was knocked into the building. [b “Can you run?”] he asked quickly now with sincere concern in his emerald eyes. [b “We don’t have much time before more come.”]
Callisto hit the ground with a wet thud, pinned between the hooves of a hunkering, twisted wildebeest. Its milky eyes stared down at Callisto, currently in the form of a glaringly orange cheetah, with a disturbingly flat face and eyes seemingly too big for its head. [i [right [#dc143c nonono, we need to run away, away, they will hurt us we could die..] [#00008b We should just kill it, then we'll be safe!]
[#ff8c00 why are we even here?] ]]
Callisto tried to growl, but she hadn't really managed to get the vocal chords right and she almost choked. The wildebeest grunted, its breath foul and rotten. Its teeth weren't like a normal wildebeest, Callisto noticed. It had bloodied canines lining the entire jaw, and then one more layer inside that.
She needed to be bigger. She wasn't going to die here. With a hoarse screech, Callisto turned her lithe body [i [#2e8b57 no what are you doing you're hurting it, stop!]] and clawed deep gouges alongside one of the wildebeest's front hooves. It shrieked at the unexpected pain and Callisto scrambled away. She ran. In her cheetah form, she ran faster than she'd ever run in her life and it was [i exhilerating]. She almost forgot why she ran in the first place, but then she heard the pounding of hooves behind her. [right [i [#00008b You're going to die, you idiot!]]] She sped up, feeling a twinge in her right hipbone where she'd landed after the wildebeest had slammed into her. [i [#800000 it's okay. You can't get hurt in this place. It's not real.]] Infront of her was a wide space, a roundabout for cars, but without any cars. It was like a fighting ring. Callisto slowed down and turned. [right [i [#8a2be2 Yesyesyes, kill it [b Kill it!]]] [#00ff7f You can't kill it, it's not real.] ] The wildebeest, maybe 50 meters behind, was barrelling towards Callisto, but it was limping now. It was angry, because of the pain. Callisto tried to smile, but a big cat's muscles don't work that way. As she stared at her enemy, she let herself grow. She didn't think too much about how she changed, just that she needed to be [i bigger]. The skin of the cheetah ruptured and new muscles sprang forth, too fast for skin to settle on it.
Her hind legs bent and cracked, giving her legs that could lift her upper body from the ground. Her front legs grew thick and the skin of the former cheetah fell off in patches. Her claws elongated. Her fangs grew too big for her mouth, progressing down her jaw.
The wildebeest slowed down as it came closer, now that Callisto was towering over it. Still it did not show fear, like an ordinary animal would. It simply slowed down and turned, started stalking round Callisto, much like a predator would. Very unlike the wildebeest's Callisto had seen on TV. [right [i [#cd853f See, it's not real. None of this is real.]]] She followed the creature with her eyes, stretching her newly made clawed hands. They were tingling, itching, as if they didn't have enough blood in them. Callisto growled and this time she had gotten the vocal chords right. A deep guttural sound, that seemed to reverberate between the grey buildings around them.
The wildebeest seemed to take this as a cue, it charged towards Callisto with unnatural speed. Callisto hunkered down, just like the wildebeest had done to her. As they made contact, she grabbed the horns of the creature and, using its own momentum, flung it around her and lifted it off the ground. She let go and the wildebeest was sent flying into a nearby building. A sharp pain in Callisto's right arm made her gasp. When she tried to move it, it hurt even worse. She had dislocated it during her throw. She barely spared it any thought, however. When the dust settled, the wildebeest was gone.
A throaty laugh sprang forth from Callisto's jaws, hindered by her enormous front teeth and underdeveloped tongue. She kept laughing anyway. --- She kept to the shadows, stalking around in the form of a rat, a lizard, a cat, a wolf. Sometimes, a plant. She studied the creatures of the Mind Palace. Callisto mimicked their patterns and their forms. Sometimes she could trick them and she would spend time just walking with them, or sitting beside them. Sometimes she couldn't, and then she had to run, or hide, or fight, or kill.
It was fun, a game. But dangerous too. Her right arm still hurt, even if she could move it now. [i [right [#ffa500 Mom asked once, if we thought of 'this' as a game. [#ff0000 What did she mean?] [#4169e1 You made her cry.] [#32cd32 She was always crying.]] [right [#800000 only when you were around.]]]] She liked it here. Now, when she saw monsters in the shadows, there were actual monsters there. She could fight them. Not like before, when no one else could see and no one would [i listen] and she wasn't allowed to kill them. Things made sense now. --- The Mind Palace abounded with creatures, but Callisto hadn't yet seen any human creatures. Which was fine. Until she [i did] find human creatures.
Perching as an overgrown raven on a flagpole, Callisto looked down at a scene featuring two human girls [i [#87cefa They're creatures, they're trying to trick you!]]. One, she recognized. That girl had helped her get here. The other one was unknown, Callisto hadn't seen her before. [i [right [#32cd32 a trick!!]]]
Callisto saw the lumbering plant prowling towards the unknown girl. Apparently, the other one saw it too, except she acted on it. She summoned chains to bind the plant, with limited success. Callisto took flight [i [#4b0082 she helped you]] as she saw the young girl get thrown into the air. She swooped down [i [#f4a460 traptraptrap, they'll eat you, stupid!]] and grabbed the girl's left arm with her sharp talons.
Callisto whipped around, throwing the girl to the ground instead of into the maw of the plant. In doing so, however, she left herself vulnerable and was in turn knocked into a nearby wall by one of the giant plant's vines. The impact made her vision blurry [i [#008080 its okay, it's not real]] and all strength left her.
She sat in the corner of the small room. It was bright, white being the only color on the walls and floor. The only color came off of her pale skin and dark black hair. She was huddled up in the corner, trying to become small, as if she could disappear if she tried hard enough. If only she could. Then she wouldn't have to go through whatever it was that waited for her beyond the door. What would be her punishment this time? More experiments? Isolation again? Whatever it was, it wouldn't turn her away from her goal. She would get out of here one day.
At least, that's what she thought...
The girl in a white dress and bright blue eyes watched from her hiding spot. And alleyway that could only fit her, and even that was a bit of a tight squeeze. It was the first hiding place she found and where she had been for about an hour or so now. This place wasn't somewhere she wanted to be. To her, it was worse than the labs. At least in the labs she had a chance to escape. Here, she was dead. And all because of that little girl. She was in that girl's world now, and here was where people disappeared forever. Anyone that had been sent here were never seen again. No one could escape. She knew that. So what would she do?
The only name she remembered was Azura. She didn't know if that was her true name or not, but it was what most of the scientists called her, if they called her anything. She was one of the many orphans taken from the orphanage to be experimented on. Most would probably die in the process, but she was one of the lucky ones, according to some scientists. She didn't feel so lucky really.
Azura didn't want to stay in the labs her whole life, so she had made the choice early on to get out. It wasn't easy, and with as many attempts she made, she had yet to succeed. Seemed they were tired of her escapes and decided to be done with her all together. They wouldn't just kill her though, that would leave a body for them to get rid of and to possibly be found. Besides, why do the dirty work when something else could.
The last she remembered was seeing the little girl walk into the white room, a sort of smile on her face. It wasn't a cheerful smile. Not the kind you give when seeing a friend again. It was more sadistic, happy to be causing someone a kind of pain. Azura tried to stop her, but she couldn't write fast enough. She couldn't even get a letter complete before the brightly light blinded her and she suddenly found herself here.
This city was empty, as far as she could tell just from the looks. She knew better though. There were things here that were going to try to kill her. She wouldn't be sent here just to live out her life. No, the Doctor wasn't that kind. Thinking he might be was the stupidest thing anyone could ever think of. So she had to be careful, thus the reason she was hidden away. But she couldn't stay here.
Slowly, she pulled her way out of the alleyway, looking around carefully. So far everything seemed clear. She needed to find a new hiding spot before she was found by something that wanted to kill her. Was there a difference between night and day here? If so, then going by common sense, she needed to get somewhere to bunker down before night came. It would only get worse in the dark. She could see a little better in the dark than most people, but not much. She wasn't a cat after all. So it was better to be safe than sorry.
As she walked down the empty sidewalk, she opened her book to a blank page and started to write. She was a fast writer, needing to be in order to use her gift.
Within seconds, a bird flew off the page, landing on her shoulder. It looked like any other robin, red chest and all. But it wasn't. It had been created by her. All she had to do was write it down, and it was done. It wasn't that easy though. There were many things she couldn't create because of a few factors. They were too big. Too complex. Or she had never seen it before. She also had to be careful to conserve energy. Depending on the factors, it could suck up all her energy and leave her exhausted. That was the last thing she needed to happen here.
[+blue [i 'Shelter everywhere.']] She thought to herself. [+blue [i 'But where is there safety?']]
Something was ahead of her. A woman. She looked distressed, looking around for something. Perhaps she had just arrived? The woman was out in the open though, there was no way she would last long. Especially with that giant plant coming towards her...
Azura's eyes widen and she quickly jumped into action. If she could, she would've shouted out to the woman to run. Her hand flew across her book as she ran towards the woman. Waving her hand across the book, the letters lilt up and turned into chains that flew past the woman and around the plant. She held her book tightly, trying to pull the chains and the creature back away from the woman. Of course, being as small as she was, she wasn't that strong. The plant made a big tug and Azura was sent into the air, dropping her book and pen. As she flew, she could see the plant's mouth open to show sharp teeth and a long tongue. Was this it already? She couldn't see her fate come at her like this, shutting her eyes tightly as she braced herself for the end.
The sound of fists coming down swiftly upon a desk echoed in the room as a young woman began to vent her frustrations at an object that would not be able to protest. Ragged breaths born from annoyance began to fill the silence that followed. Once upon a time, such exasperation would have existed due to the pressures of assignments set by those who wished to educate her but lately, the woman’s annoyance originated from a rather new quest; an obsession to expose a truth that could bring down a man and everything he stood for. All she needed was proof but it was hard collect. Securing an internship within the very same building as the man she wished to expose was done so with the intention of gathering evidence to support suspicions that she had before.
Her desire for investigative journalism was a passion that seemed to follow her wherever she went and even though her major was mostly within the sciences, there was nothing that she loved more than uncovering truths once concealed by deception. Perhaps her desire to bring this man down was also in line with her deep rooted morals and beliefs that the sciences should be respected and that humans were meant to discover rather than to become testing subjects.
The young woman in question was Constance James. Such a pretty young woman who could have gone far in life had she kept her nose out of business that was not hers yet she couldn’t help herself. There had always been something off about Dr August Ludger and the more she delved into his matters, the more she came to despise the man. He could have been a respectable man if he used his intelligence and influence for other things. When August started off this organization he had done so with the intention of fulfilling his legacy of his family who all seemed to make a significant contribution to the field that they once dominated. He could have done so much but frustrations and lack of the necessary results poisoned his brilliant mind. Constance picked up a picture of the Dr shaking the hand of someone who was recognising his contributions to the medical field and she found her head shaking with disappointment.
Perhaps it was the money that changed him. The large donations of money that he seemed to receive anonymously were only the beginning of the secrets that seemed to surround the man and his company. It appeared that studying the brain was a lot more lucrative than the stem cell research that he had once thrown himself into. The timing of everything was a frustration. The picture now found its way back to the desk as the woman’s fingers ran over the pieces of paper that littered the once visible desk. Her fingers stopped as her eyes scanned the paper before her. The history of the company was suspicious and she couldn’t believe that it was something that had gone unquestioned for so long. The deposits and the dates were linked and she read the numbers in her head, looking at the several large anonymous donations that had been sent to the facility right as began to go south. Just as the money began to flow, suddenly the stem cell research he had been conducting seemed to become unimportant.
The newspaper headlines next to it read [b Suffering orphanages saved?]. The article outlined the large amounts of money that several orphanages had received. It preached of how they were saved and how they were finally able to give the children that resided upon their grounds a better place to live. Constance knew better than that and even though she couldn’t prove it, she was sure that those missing from the orphanages were not really [I missing] at all. Perhaps sold or even taken from their homes but that couldn’t have been a coincidence. The police didn’t even try to look for them after a couple of weeks, ruling it as children simply running away and not wanting to be found. [I I bet they wanted nothing more than to be found. Their fate was far worse than simply running always from a life they had always known.]
If it wasn’t for the money trail perhaps Constance would never have noticed and even though August had gone to great lengths to conceal it from the public, it was all too easy to find information while working under his roof. The blueprints were readily available to those who had access to their computer system and as she spent days looking over them she couldn’t help but notice that there were parts of the building that were not on the original blueprints; parts of the building that seemed to be classified and blocked off from those who didn’t seem to have the necessary clearance.
Constance rose from where she stood and pulled all of the papers into a pile and shoved them into her bag and made her way towards the door to spend yet another day in a building that she had come to hate. She should have been scared for her life; she should have expected what was to come later that day but no amount of fear could overshadow her anger.
The last thing she could remember was the blinding light. Disorientation and breathlessness were all that she could feel in that moment. Long gone was the world she had known. Her female form moved through the deserted streets, showing nothing but the canvas of chaos that this decaying world had to offer. While she had refused to show fear when she stood before August, here she couldn’t hide it. Fear of the unknown; fear for her life. Here she was alone with no way of knowing where she was or even how she would make it home. Would she even make it home?
Her body shivered even though the cold hadn’t presented itself. Her eyes darted around, drinking in her surroundings that barely resembled another of the world that she had left behind. Images of the young girl seeped into her mind and her words echoed.
[font “Sylfaen” “Dr. August F. Ludger” the small gold letters read on the name plaque nestle atop the grand mahogany desk. Underneath the dark brown platforms laid hardwood floors that reflected like a floor made of mirrors. The charcoal leather lounge chairs and couch were placed surrounding a light green rug. The glass coffee table held the latest science magazines and medical journals, just for decoration of course. The decorations on the walls were pretty but meaningless. The wall to the left of the desk was solely giant windows that brightened up the office space. The office door faced the desk and the huge wooden entertainment center with a flat screen in the center. The ceiling was a smooth white while the walls were a bright gray color. Everything a founder needed to represent the head of a science research organization was placed in this room of importance. The man at the desk stuck out the most from this room.]
[font “Sylfaen” Dr. Ludger was an older man with gray strands of hair neatly combed around his ears. His dark brown, almost black, hair was smoothed over and tame. The man looked like he walked out of the 1930’s mafia and was brought into a present-day corporation setting. His dark eyes were cold and intimidating. August Ludger looked well-groomed in his suit and black tie. He certainly took on the appearance of the rest of his ancestor: well dressed and finely established. It took many years, but he was settled where he needed to be, the founding head of Ludger Foundation of Science.]
[font “Sylfaen” The forty-eight-year-old man eloquently filled out meaningless paperwork as some shuffling came to his right. In the furthest corner from the door was a small play area where a small girl laid on her stomach on a silky blanket, scribbling away with crayons and notepad. Only the finest materials were given to her with her Sunday off-white dress and sandals. Her hair about as dark as Dr. Ludger’s but with speckles of light brown decorated in a bun. A simple red hair band was place on her crown to separate the long lock from her trimmed bangs. Her olive colored skin used to be more golden, but has taken a paler hue. Track marks were hidden insider the crook of her arms and surgical marks obscured by her a blue star pinned to her head. This was Zoe Ludger, August’s adopted daughter as well as his secret weapon.]
[font “Sylfaen” A knock at the door didn’t even break Dr. Ludger’s concentration as he permitted entrance. The two guards that were assigned to protect Dr. Ludger held open the door to a young woman as she tentatively walked through the threshold. Constance James was an intern for LFS, young and beautiful; Ludger had a feeling that she would ask too many questions. His guards caught her snooping around in the file room last night. She was close to discovering something she shouldn’t, and that would be the end of Dr. August Ludger. However, she couldn’t be fired, or driven off the premises forever. No, she would be the one to blab to the press and send a a federal investigation on his business. He had already gotten rid of enough officials that he needed to keep his hands clean for a while. This, girl, would ruin him. Therefore, she had to be [i sent away]. Dr. Ludger looked up from his papers with a contented frown on his face. “Ah, Miss James, please come in.” He motioned for her to approach his desk as he stacked his papers neatly in front of him. Couldn’t have her reading his documents, now could he?]
[font “Sylfaen” She seemed more than flustered, which was understandable. As far as August could tell, she knew that things went missing around him and she must have been thinking that she was next. He would give her credit, though. She had the guts to come back to work the next day. That, he could admire. A determined little minx, wasn’t she? “Miss James, I assume you know why you’ve been called to my office.” He paused to allow her a response before continuing. “We accepted you into our fold and grant you access to our devices, and yet you commit a crime under my roof?” He sounded like his father whenever he caught August’s hands in the cookie jar. Miss James had her hands caught in a much larger jar.]
[font “Sylfaen” [#0000ff "The only crimes being committed here are the ones that you are carrying out."] Miss James argued. She stood more defensive than frightened.]
[font “Sylfaen” “Breaking and Entering is also a crime, Miss James.” His voice getting louder as he spoke. Funny, she didn’t seem as frightened anymore. He would have to change that. Dark eyes drifted to the guards that entered the room and stood at attention in front of the doorway. “Zoe, dear, could you come over here for a moment?” He asked with a surprisingly calm tone. The little girl looked up from her drawings almost robotically. She stood on her sandal feet and went over to Dr. Ludger with her eyes a cold, reserved brown.]
[font “Sylfaen” Miss James looked confused but not scared. Her eyes contemplate the information it gathered. Her eyebrows creased as she logically thought things through. The disappearances, the money being moved. It all had to do with Ludger and the arrival of his “daughter”. The pieces were finally pulled together to paint a picture.]
[font “Sylfaen” “Yes papa?” She asked in a cheerfully as she looked up at him and then glanced over toward the girl with blonde hair. Zoe frowned at her and then looked back at Dr. Ludger. “Do you want me to make her disappear too?” Zoe asked expectantly.]
[font “Sylfaen” [#0000ff "You can make me disappear but you will be in ruins one day! That I can guarantee!”] Miss James growled.]
[font “Sylfaen” Zoe turned to the blonde woman and scowled. “You’re really annoying! Don’t talk to papa like that!” Dr. Ludger placed his hands on Zoe’s shoulder to calm her down. The action made the little girl flinched slightly.]
[font “Sylfaen” [#0000ff “You can't keep making people disappear and expect that no one would care. Someone will notice I'm gone."]]
[font “Sylfaen” “No,” August stated as he allowed a smirk to form on his face, “no they won’t.” His voice was the last thing Constance heard before a bright flash blinded her and she vanished in thin air.]
[font “Sylfaen” Breathing a bit easier now, August nodded toward to men at the door. They were released from their posts and exited the room. With just him and Zoe now, he lowered himself to be more level with Zoe. “Now, tell me. Have you found you our special friend yet?” He asked with his hands on both of Zoe’s arms. She frowned with guilt as she lowered her eyes to the floor. August took in a deep breath a bit disappointed and frustrated. “That’s okay, Zoe. You’ll find him. He’ll have to come out of hiding eventually.” August spoke through gritted teeth. [i One of these days, Jacob, you will get caught. You will suffer for what you have done.] August thought.] [right [pic http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/d5fe7cd573af65ae50798e391a6e19d8.jpg]]
[size10 This post was made with permission of d1gn17y]