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 Screams In the Dark, March 1 & 2 // Closed
Storyteller
 Posted: Mar 5 2018, 12:45 AM
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MARCH 01, 2017
Amelia Bradshaw was in no mood for nonsense. The normally lighthearted woman liked to make herself available for her clients but she was a professional. Being nitpicked and harassed by Markus Grant from the middle of nowhere, Nebraska was beyond irksome but the contractor was relentless, demanding that his head surveyor show up and reassess his property. She had warned him that the land was not... Right. Had tried to convince Grant not build his stripmall in that specific spot but he had been almost obsessed.

And now he was pouring his crazy into one voicemail after another, texts at all hours, e-mails until the alert sounding made her flinch.

So she had returned to Broken Bow...


MARCH 02, 2017
Amelia woke up in the fetal position. She was crammed into the corner of an extremely elegant hotel room, one that was way outside of her price range. The kind of suite that came with a living room and a hot tub. The kind of room that you saw in movies with an expensive bottle of champagne sitting in a bucket of ice.

Yup. There it was.

Groggy and confused, Amelia staggered over to the massive floor to ceiling windows that stretched across one whole wall. New York City was bathed in night, the only light coming from the hundreds of other windows in the skyline and the endless trail of vehicles far below on the street. How the hell had she gotten to New York? She didn’t even remember leaving the Nebraska work site. One minute she’d been walking beside a grinning Markus Grant down into the pit that was being dug out to serve as a foundation for his beloved stripmall, and the next... Amelia searched her mind but came up blank.

There was no sign of anyone else having been in the room, her purse was right there, the wallet not missing the forty bucks or any of her credit cards. Other than the memory loss and the overpriced room, nothing was actually wrong. Those two things, however...” Amelia dug through her purse to pull out her phone, but it was dead. Dropping it, she went over to the standard phone that was beside every bed in every hotel room across america and dialed a number she had known by heart since college.

“Shane, something is... Something is wrong. Call me.”

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Storyteller
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 11:38 PM
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Amelia had grown up just across the bridge from the city in a small, affluent town in North Jersey. Morristown had a lot of history, a lot of money, and more country clubs than common sense. Thankfully, Amelia’s mother had a solid head on her shoulders and had successfully raised her daughter to be a person and not a vesicle in pearls and lace gloves. Amelia had grown up working, had earned her place at NYU, and had worked in a field she loved. She made her mother proud.

And when things went wrong, Amelia knew her mother would be the voice of reason and comfort she would need to get a grip on any situation.

So Amelia went home. She hadn’t found her car in the hotel parking lot (another mystery) and so had taken NJ transit to the Morristown station. Sure enough, despite the late hour, her mother was there to pick her up, looking concerned and just a little older than the last time they’d seen each other. I really need to stay in better touch, Amelia decided to herself as her smaller mother gave her a warm, familiar hug. They spoke on the phone several times a week but Amelia was sure she could do better with visits.

“Welcome home, Ami.”

“Thanks, Ma.” Amelia grinned down at her mother and the two walked arm in arm to the sleek, sensible sedan that was waiting to take them home. “I think I just need to sleep a few hours and then I’ll take you to a diner for breakfast.” That would give her time to recharge, get her head back on, and revive her phone battery.

And call Shane, she told herself firmly. Slate was the only other person she trusted that had been to Broken Bow. Maybe he had gotten somewhere with why that place felt so off.

And why the last thing Amelia could remember was teeth.


Over the next two weeks, Amelia did not return to work, unable to go more than a few days at a time without experiencing some sort of blackout or memory loss. She would go to sleep in her childhood room and wake up on the lawn or standing in the pool, or staring down at her mother while she slept. She was beginning to scare herself but the family physician said Amelia had never been healthier. Her reflexes seemed to be off the charts, bordering on precognitive. Though she was still slim and slight, there was an energy running through the geologist that made her feel like she could have lifted her mother’s sedan and sprinted up the interstate with it. The doctor’s pronouncement, however, was met with skepticism and despite being in the best shape of her life, Amelia had him refer her to a neurologist.

She never made it to that appointment....


The day of the fifteenth, Shane had gotten a slew of increasingly strange, hysterical, and borderline inappropriate voicemails and texts. Clearly something was seriously wrong. The house was dark when he arrived, one single light flickering on the front door as he approached, the same pattern over and over. Little short bursts with a few long holds that repeated in an endless loop. There didn’t seem to be an origin to the light, the hard circle of illumination on the front door seeming to come from nowhere at all.

The door was unlocked and the smell hit Shane in the face as he entered. Copper and soap and sewage, strong enough to choke him. The lights were all out, the familiar hall to the kitchen littered with crumpled pictures that had been smashed off the walls, shards of the hall mirror, and bits of the wallpaper were scattered along the carpet. It looked like claws had dug into the drywall and dragged along slowly, and all the while that annoying flashing light followed after him.

The same, repeating set of short and long flashes in a loop.

A soft weeping directed the X-Man to the kitchen. “Shane... You made it.” The chilling voice from the dark kitchen was eerily pleased, familiar but somehow all wrong as the weeping continued. “You smell amazing...” There was a sickening sound of meat tearing and hungry lip-smacking. “I thought we could go on a roadtrip.” More wet chewing and a bubble of laughter with zero warmth to it. “Nebraska is lovely this time of year.” The flashing light began to speed up, the same pattern at a panicked speed.

If Shane had enough sense to turn the light on, a grisly scene awaited him. Amelia Bradshaw was sat back casually at the kitchen table, her bloody boots kicked up on a placemat. There was a grin on her face, teeth barred. Blood was smeared around her mouth and chin, dribbling down her neck. Her hands up to the wrists were glistening with dark venous blood, fingers tangled in... Well what had been her mother’s small intestine.

Barbara Bradshaw was torn open in what could only be described as a deliberately brutal, carefully cruel manner. She was still alive as her daughter tugged a few more feet of innards up to her mouth, ripping into them with her teeth. Amelia’s pretty smile and clear eyes fixed on Shane with perfect clarity. There was one thing that was clear as glass as she roughly tore meat away from her mother’s body.

Amelia was enjoying herself.

And the mysterious light?

... .... .- -. . / .-. ..- -.

Shane...

...Run

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Slate
 Posted: Mar 11 2018, 11:07 AM
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March 15th, 2017 – 9:30pm

The communications had come in a flurry of voicemails and text messages, each more confusing and disturbing than the last. Any attempts to return the calls were met with voicemail, and any texts he himself sent had gone unanswered. Not that he had wasted much time trying to call or text back. Never before had he heard Amelia sounding as peculiar, as distraught, and as completely unnerving as she did, and her texts ranged from unsettling to upsetting to nonsensical.

Shane wasn't taking any chances. Before leaving he had donned his X-Men uniform, feeling with absolute certainty that something was dreadfully wrong. He had also informed the team of what was happening (and for those not in the know, who Amelia was.) While he didn't know any actual details that he could share, he knew for a fact that Amelia Bradshaw was in some kind of terrible trouble. His comm would be left open for anyone carrying one to hear just in case something went wrong.

Unfortunately, Morristown New Jersey was over an hour's drive from the school, and feeling that he didn't have that kind of time he had to resort to an alternative means of travel. Nightcrawler might be able to teleport him to New Jersey by moving from point to point, but he would be in no condition to help if he was vomiting a week's worth of lunches after so many stops. So the best alternative had been Darkchylde, Piotr's somewhat creepy (polite, yet somehow disturbing) little sister.

The trip had been interesting, to say the least. Had Shane understood the nature of Illyana's teleportation he might have actually settled with the potential vomiting fits of Kurt's travel. It wasn't the speed at which they had arrived outside of Amelia's mother's house, but rather the pit stop that they had made in... wherever that was. It was probably best that he didn't think about it. There were more important things to worry about, after all.

Before approaching the house Shane had thanked Illyana for the lift before asking her to return to the mansion. Not knowing exactly what he was going to find, he felt that dragging Piotr's sister into a potential mess was ill advised. Besides, if he needed backup from any of the X-Men she would be able to get them there quickly to help if she was already at the school.

Shane approached the front door with a measure of caution, trying his best to sense anything through vibrations in the ground. Unfortunately the interior of houses, especially if carpeted, tended to muffle much of what he might have sensed, rendering his seismic senses ineffective. Stopping momentarily at the unlocked front door, Shane's eyes narrowed on a peculiar circular light that seemed to have appeared on the surface of the door, blinking intermittently. Looking around, he saw nothing out of the ordinary –nothing that was obviously casting the glow. It was odd, but with his thoughts anchored primarily in finding Amelia and seeing that she was safe, he slowly pushed the door open and stepped inside.

A sharp odor forced its way into his nostrils and mouth the second he set foot across the threshold, bombarding his olfactory senses with a highly offensive blend of raw sewage and something vaguely familiar. Metallic. He had considered shifting into a rock form on the spot, but refrained. While his geokinetic powers were significantly less useful inside of a house he didn't want to potentially shock Amelia or her mother by showing up in an altered form. Whatever had prompted his friend to send such bizarre messages might still be around, and he didn't want to play his hand too early either.

The house was dark, and having only been to visit Amelia at home once before he was only vaguely certain of where he was going. His eyes adjusted quickly enough however, and as they did he could easily make out the wreckage laid out before him. Shattered glass from the mirror and from picture frames littered the hallway leading from the living room toward what he remembered to be the kitchen, and as he moved quietly forward, making every effort to avoid stepping on the glass to help disguise the sound of his footfalls, he ran his hands along the severely gashed drywall.

A flash in his periphery, caught by some of the shards of glass on the floor, had the geokinetic momentarily turn his head. On the wall beside and slightly behind him a light not unlike the one he saw on the front door flashed out its pulses, and as he briefly stared at it with narrowed eyes the sinking feeling in his gut sank lower.

But he had to press on. A soft cry from the other room –from the kitchen– drew him onward, and as he entered the open, dark space a voice both familiar and foreign called out to him, apparently pleased at his arrival. The sinking feeling intensified.

While the voice of Amelia continued, commenting on his scent –his familiar, subtle earthiness that should not have been detectable from their distance from each other– a disturbing sound of paced, grotesque chewing seemed to accompany it. Shane hoped that his comm was picking up everything.

Listening intently to what was being said, Shane quickly and easily surmised that something was terribly wrong, and the chilling, unfriendly voice of his friend mentioned something that immediately caused his stomach to knot. Nebraska. The last time he had seen Amelia was during his impromptu trip to Broken Bow, where he had examined a proposed construction site and had acquired a pair of very unusual rocks that seemed to be completely outside of the periodic table. Shane had a terrible feeling that whatever was happening was somehow linked to that site –Amelia might not have mentioned the state otherwise.

The light flashing nearby, that seemed to have somehow followed him into the kitchen, began blinking more furiously in its pattern. Its Morse Code that Shane knew well. The full message hadn't registered when he had glimpsed the light on the door, but had in the hallway. He knew that he couldn't obey the warning on the spot however. If there was anything that he could do to fix whatever was wrong, he was determined to do it.

Reaching slowly for the nearby switch, Shane flicked on the kitchen light and immediately wished he hadn't. Amelia Bradshaw was reclining at the table with bloodstained boots propped up so casually. As his eyes traveled from what the woman was holding in her hands to its origin, Shane's arms began to feel almost numb, his whole body tingling with the despair of having failed to act quickly enough and a remorse for Amelia's still breathing mother.

Words failed him. Unable to imagine anything that he could say that would be remotely appropriate, his thoughts raced instead to what he could do. With any luck his comm had picked up some of the disturbing sounds, but he wasn't entirely sure if the X-Men knew to act on what they might have heard.

The light from an unknown source urged him to run, and while a part of him agreed another part forced him to stay put. Whatever this thing was, it had taken over his college friend, and while he might not be able to reverse it himself he knew he couldn't simply flee and leave this carnivorous monster to roam completely free. If he could perhaps subdue Amelia he might be able to get her to the mansion where Hank could perform whatever tests were necessary to figure out just what the hell was happening.

He had to do something.

Without a second more of hesitation, Shane accessed the hardest mineral he had within his new uniform: topaz. Eight of ten on the Mohs scale of hardness. His body instantly transformed, becoming reddish-orange , faceted gemstone. If it came to blows, he definitely didn't want to end up like the walls in the hallway. Or like poor Barbara Bradshaw.

But he didn't attack. Having dealt with possessed friends more than once Shane was at least partially convinced that something of the sort was happening to Amelia. If he could perhaps reach her, he might be able to get her some help. And if he couldn't, then perhaps he could get some help.

“Wait,” he said, his tenseness hidden only by the fact that his body was solid stone and his nerves were likely all but undetectable by anyone aside from a telepath. “Back up.” Shane had used the words deliberately, in hopes that someone on the other end of the comms would hear. “What's this about Nebraska?”

“Ami, I'm here to help you. I can get you some help. You just have to tell me what's wrong.”



Tagged Nightcrawler and Darkchylde for the mentions.
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Storyteller
 Posted: Mar 21 2018, 08:03 PM
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Despite his request, Illy had opted to simply remain outside, eyes wary on the home Slate had disappeared into. She was not going to simply abandon him in the middle of such an evil place. She had read about ‘suburbia’ and the vibe coming from the house was making the hairs on her arms stand on end. Even with her social shortcomings, Illy did have a nose for danger.

Inside- the light on the wall was flashing spastically, trying to warn Shane away, to get him to do the one thing he seemed unwilling to do. Run. Instead he stood there attempting to talk to it, the garish, bloody monster that was wearing his friend like a pantsuit. ‘Amelia’ grinned as she chewed her disgusting meal, eyes fixed on Shane as he transformed into topaz.

“Oh, aren’t you gorgeous,” Amelia praised with a nod. She let her boots drop off the table, splattering the blood pooling on the tile so she could lean forward and inspect Shane with keen interest. Her smile broadened to reveal the large hunks of meat caught up in her teeth. “This is so exciting,” she informed him. “You’ll love it. And you’ll get to be with your friends. Once you convince them to meet her Majesty.” She sounded like Amelia. She had all of Amelia’s energy and excitement, but it was all wrong. Terribly, horrifically wrong.

Shane had questions and Amelia momentarily pursed her lips, considering him carefully. Her mother’s shuddering gasps were marginally annoying and no longer as entertaining as they were a minute ago. Amelia gave a small shrug. “We should go to Nebraska. You and me. You should see what a mess Grant made. We told him not to build there but he was so insistent.” As she spoke, Amelia began to press one of her boots again Barbara’s head, entirely nonchalant.

“Wrong? Shane, nothing is wrong.” To contradict her words, Amelia leaned into it and put her boot clean through Barbara’s skull. “I feel amazing. I’m stronger. I’m faster. I swear I’m smarter. You’re my best friend, Shane. You deserve this, too.” It sounded so heartfelt, and maybe would have had a more resounding impact if she wasn’t standing ankle deep in her mother. With a small laugh she stepped toward him, a hand reached gently forward. “Just let me show you.”

Before he could say yes, or no, or fuck off, or really even decide what he wanted to do with Amelia’s genuine offer, the light that had been getting progressively more wild gave up trying to make the geokinetic see sense and simply exploded from midair. A flurry of purple, particalized energy appeared from midair and body checked him away from the outstretched hand.

“Motherfucker, we said RUN!” The voice that came from the energy cloud was pissy and young, and distinctly female, and for a moment Shane would see a pair of familiar blue eyes, even if he couldn’t place them. It whipped around him at a startling speed, protectively. “Get away from him.” The words were oddly fuzzy and echoing but extremely stern. Whatever the glow cloud was, it didn’t want Amelia anywhere near Shane.

The purple energy lashed out and Amelia let out a scream that immediately turned into a laugh. “You can’t watch over him forever,” she chuckled. “He’ll come looking for me again. It’s in his nature. He wants to save me.”

Amelia looked through the energy straight at Shane with the same bright, lovely grin she always wore in his presence. “He will come back and I will take him home. And then... We will be all of you.” Fast as a blink Amelia darted out the back door and into the night, leaving Shane alone with a purple energy cloud that looked at him with two cool blue eyes lit with annoyance.

“Stop being stupid,” it told him. “Before you get us all killed. Again.”

As rapidly as it had appeared to protect him, the light cut off, and the particle cloud with it and Shane was alone with the body of Barbara Bradshaw.

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Slate
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:07 PM
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If Shane hadn't been transformed into solid crystal his heart might have raced. His thoughts still raced and his mind still reeled at what he was seeing and hearing. The frantic warning flashing on the wall had sped up, and while he had no idea where it had been coming from he was beginning to wonder if he should simply heed its advice and run. But he couldn't. Amelia wasn't right. Her insistence that nothing was wrong, her boasts of improved strength, speed, and intelligence only made him realize all the more that something about her was absolutely, incredibly wrong.

Earlier in the day Hank McCoy had been taken into custody when it had been discovered that the drug known as Kick apparently had something to do with one of his own formulas, and what Amelia was describing seemed awfully similar to what he had heard about those on the drug. Drastically improved physical capabilities and powers at the cost of sanity. If the woman wasn't possessed then she might be on Kick, though he hadn't ever imagined Amelia to be the type to resort to any sort of drug use outside of over the counter cold medicine or headache relief.

If it was Kick, then Shane would be having some incredibly sharp words with McCoy during visiting hours.

But the prior mention of Nebraska made him sure that this was something else. The last thing he remembered about the state was going to Broken Bow to investigate a site for Markus Grant. Finding something specifically wrong had proven impossible for him right away, and Shane had hoped that Hank would have been able to get a good reading from one of the two rocks he had brought back from the proposed construction site, but apparently it was too late. Whatever had been the source of his fear during his initial investigation was apparently worse than he could have ever imagined. The anger that he felt at Hank at the possibility of Kick being responsible for Amelia's cannibalistic now shifted toward the fact that he had apparently been lax about finding something wrong with the rock sample he had given the man. If he had found something –anything– he might have been able to get a court order to have the proposed strip mall site shut down before this was able to happen.

Shane winced as Amelia sank her boot deep through her mother Barbara's skull, and while the physical effects of seeing such a sight and knowing what it meant didn't affect him he felt remorse for the woman who lie torn apart on the floor. She hadn't deserved such a grisly fate, nor had Amelia deserved to be subjected to the whims of whatever it was that had taken control of her form. As the woman approached him, apparently offering him a place at her side with her Majesty –a term that had only registered several moments after the word had initially been spoken– Shane wanted to pull away. Or attack the person who was no longer his friend.

Before he could make any kind of a move the flashing light that had tried so hard to convince him to flee exploded and a flash of purple energy slammed into him, sending him flying backward and away from Amelia's offered hand. A female voice, familiar yet at the same time foreign to him, reminded him that he had been warned to run before swift-moving chaos ensued. Whoever had warned him had taken to actively protecting him from his former friend, and even as she was struck by a purple blast of energy Amelia boasted that they couldn't protect him forever, because he would want to save her.

The worst part was that she wasn't wrong. Shane did desperately want to save Amelia.

Before the woman fled she issued an ominous warning and was gone in an instant. And before the energy cloud and the light vanished it admonished him, telling him to stop being stupid before he got “them” all killed. Again.

Again?

With that, Shane was alone. Alone in the house of the deceased Barbara Bradshaw: a woman who had done nothing wrong but love her daughter.

Rising to his feet, Shane knew that he needed to get back to the mansion. If he was found at the scene of an obvious murder, body of solid crystal and having been likely standing in blood, it would be impossible to explain. As much as he wished he could do something for Barbara rather than simply leaving her there he knew he had to go. “This is Slate,” he said into the comm he had left going as he slowly made his way toward the entrance to the house, “I'm sure you heard everything she said and basically what happened, but you didn't have to see it. Amelia had killed her mother.” He paused for a moment in words and in step. Hearing the words spoken aloud hurt. “And she was eating the remains. I don't know what's happening, but she escaped when someone saved my ass. She's still out there.” With that Shane resumed walking.

To his surprise, Darkchylde remained outside of the house, watching with narrowed eyes. Shane had asked her to return to the mansion, but in that instant was glad to see that she had ignored him. Even if he had little to really say, he would be glad for the quick lift back home, where he could... what, exactly? What did one do in this situation? Amelia Bradshaw was apparently some kind of a monster being led by some kind of a queen. The queen of Nebraska. That bitch.

And what of that light that had warned him away? The person who had appeared seemed vaguely familiar, but his fuzzy mind couldn't place her at all in that moment. Why had it said that he would get them killed again?

Shifting back into his normal form he regarded Illy with a completely defeated expression before saying, “There's nothing we can do here... let's go.”




At this point Shane returns home.



Beast for the mention
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Storyteller
 Posted: Mar 23 2018, 02:47 PM
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Amelia was perched in the trees above the house, crouched down among the branches as she watched the geokinetic leave her childhood home in a hurry. She could take him there. Descend on his fragile human form and force the teleporter to take them back to the nest. That would be two more for her queen, and with powers, no less. Having a teleporter would be invaluable. And Slate was beloved. If her Queen had him, she would shortly have all of his friends.

But she waited.

It was more fun to make him suffer.

She did love to make people suffer.

When they had gone, Amelia dropped out of the tree and landed effortlessly, carefully circling the spot where Illy’s stepping disk had disappeared. Interesting. Amelia was still covered in blood and wandered slowly inside. The urge to shower the human filth off was strong but Amelia simply returned to the kitchen, taking a moment to enjoy the hellish scene she had created. The mutilated body of a loved one, the blood pooling and still warm on the costly tile, the insides all over the outside. It was beautiful.

Grinning, Amelia pulled out her phone and snapped a grisly selfie, making sure Barbara was in the background before sending it to Shane. It would be a shame if he didn’t remember it all in perfect detail. “Alright, sweet Ami,” she whispered to herself. “Time to see what you’ve done.”

For a moment the young woman was still, blinking rapidly in confusion. It was like she was waking up, her expression changing rapidly from cruely cold to immediately horrified. “Mom?” The question was barely a terrified whisper and the only sound in the otherwise silent kitchen. “Mom? Oh god. Oh god...”

Amelia brought her blood-caked hands up to cover her horrified face and let out a strangled scream the moment she saw crismon staining her skin and the pieces all began to click into place. There she was, covered in bits of her mother, the woman’s body broken at her feet. The last thing she could remember was cooking breakfast for her mother. Clearly that had been hours ago. She had blacked out again. She’d hurt her mother. She’d killed her mother. She’d eaten... “Oh god.”

The vomiting began immediately, Amelia dropping to her knees to purge her stomach contents. In case there was any doubt, her mother’s wedding ring appeared among the meaty chunks and stomach acid. Sobs wracked her body as she knelt among the carnage and even in her grief she could feel it bubbling back up. The delight. The amusement at her horror. The pride in what she had done.

You feel me, don’t you? It whispered. Look at what you did, Amelia. It’s beautiful. And soon... You will be too.


Gunslinger

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Gunslinger
 Posted: Mar 31 2018, 04:47 PM
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continued from A Rucus Among Us
March 15 @ 10:18PM


Darkchylde's traveling disc erupted in the hallway, depositing her, Mercury, Impulse and Gunslinger where they could hear the sounds of Amelia sobbing. Blinking to clear his eyes, John placed a hand on the Mare's Leg at his side, the short weapon being a comfort give the scratches and wrecked hallway. Taking out a small container of Vasline, he dabbed some at each nostril and softly said "Death smells bad. Ya'll might want to follow suit." Or more accurately, scent was tied strongly to memory. And the smells of death and decay were not what one wanted to carry with them. Slipping a small flashlight out and hitting his phone to record video and audio as he'd worked out with Faust, he then slipped on his gloves and looked around.

There was broken drywall. Blood spatters. Wrecked items everywhere. And in the hardwood floor was scratches, starting narrow and getting wider, more frantic.

Shining his light at the floor, it picked up a fingernail trapped in the seam between two floorboards, light shining off of the high polish color on the nail.

Frowning, John shut off the light and slipped it in his shirt pocket with his phone, camera on his phone recording and transmitting where he had the lens above the pocket.

Holding a finger up to his lips as he inched forward, John looked in the kitchen and saw the form of Amelia. Carefully making his way into the room, he looked at the body. Despite his excitement, there was the very real fact that someone had died. Someone with hopes. Dreams. Ideas. Someone who had everything she was and everything she could be and everything she could potentially be stolen from her, ripped away simply to toy with and torture Slate.

Just work it like you've learned to, John thought to himself as he looked at the woman. Means. Motive. Opportunity. Means: Obvious superhuman strength. Opportunity: daughter of victim and thus easy to get close. All we lack is one thing. Motive. Why she did it. What her reasoning was.

So the question was how to figure out what happened and why it happened.

Knowing that everyone tended to be the protagonist of their own mind, John moved his coat to conceal the weapon at his side, looking both ways for any other trick or trap before strongly saying "Ma'am? We heard stuff going on and stopped by to make sure you were okay." Looking around the room and adopting a look of wide eyed surprise as his accent thickened subtly in an attempt to make him look denser and dumber, John said "My God. What did this?" He figured whatever the answer was, it might reveal something, some sliver of information to make sense of it all.
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Darkchylde
 Posted: Apr 1 2018, 12:24 AM
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Illyana had brought the small band of daring young heroes through Limbo to deposit them in the hall outside of Barbara Bradshaw’s kitchen. Shattered bits of glass, the remnants of the framed pictures that had no doubt been hung up on the walls. Someone had left impressive gouges in the walls and floors and Illy regarded them with level-headed indifference. It might have been perfectly unsettling for the more sheltered children but... Illyana just shrugged.

John moved down the hall toward the sobs and the Darkchylde padded along behind him, axes in hand. She was not nearly as patient as Gunslinger and far less willing to play mind games. The thing crying on the floor as though her heart had been ripped out was not to be underestimated and while John played dead, Illy began to stretch. No point in pulling a muscle while she beheaded the creature. Let it pretend it was upset all it wanted.

She knew a possession when she saw it.

“John...” Illy gave a small warning hoping he was smart enough to keep his distance from Amelia. She was planted firmly behind the cowboy and in front of Mercury and Impulse as John played dumb to get the monster to speak.

And speak she did.

Amelia looked plenty startled when a gaggle of children appeared in her mother’s kitchen, the twenty-six year old gazing up at them with horror on her face and a mixture of tears and blood smeared on her cheeks. “You can’t be here,” she whispered. “You can’t be here... I did this. You kids have to leave.” She could feel it. Amelia could feel its excitement at the sight of young mutants. At least, two of them were mutants, the silver girl and the boy with glowing eyes. They were lovely and perfect and young which meant they could be molded in the image of the queen so easily.

“Please go. I’ll hurt you. I’ll... I’ll...” Amelia groaned, her blood covered hands fisting up in her hair as the swell of amusement from the back of her head bubbled out of her mouth in dark laughter. “Get out. GET OUT. I did this. I tore her apart. I ate her.” She was growing hysterical even as she choked on her laughter. “Shane was here. Oh, god. She wants Shane.” Her queen -no. Not her queen. It’s- wanted the X-Man so she could turn him, use him to turn the others. She wanted an army with mutant powers and now here were these kids. So young. So inquisitive.

The perfect gift for her queen.

“Mutants...” Amelia chuckled again, letting her hands fall into her lap. “I can smell you.” And they smelled like dessert.
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Impulse
 Posted: Apr 1 2018, 01:24 AM
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The devastation inside of the house was unlike anything Tony had imagined. Hearing the chatter and noises over the stolen communicator did little to paint the scene and the image that Darkchylde had created only captured a small portion of the kitchen. Deep gashes in the floors, ripped up drywall, and shattered photo frames littered the house, making what was likely once a charming residence more resemble something out of a horror film. The sobbing coming from the kitchen only intensified the feeling that they really shouldn't be there.

Whatever it was that Gunslinger wanted to do Tony hoped that it didn't take long. He also hoped that things wouldn't go south while confronting Amelia and that they might get some better insight into what was actually happening. Her comments to Slate had been vague, but there were clear implications that the woman was serving something else. Only a week and a half ago Tony might have questioned whether or not possession could actually happen, but after hearing a few stories and seeing what some of the other mutants at the school could do he was more or less convinced that it was not only possible but probably fairly easy to do. Even a telepath could probably pull off something resembling possession, making someone perform unspeakable acts against their will.

It was deeply unsettling.

Tony lagged behind John and Illy, standing alongside Mercury as their leader stepped forward and addressed the sobbing woman. Pretending to simply be passing by might have worked well enough if Illy wasn't so obviously armed and he and Cess weren't very clearly mutants. Amelia seemed genuinely shocked to see them at first, but then as she pleaded for them to go she appeared to struggle with whatever was inside, wrestling her for control of her form. Aside from the obvious statements regarding her murdered mother, Amelia once again mentioned the presence of another; this “she,” probably referring to her Majesty from before.

When the metaphorical dust seemed to settle, with Amelia uttering the word that described the little band of meddling kids so very accurately, it was clear that the monster had taken over control of her body and mind again. Tony had a strong feeling that things were about to get a lot more dangerous. Bracing himself behind John and Illy, Tony prepared for a potential need to discharge some energy into the woman. Drawing the energy up from within, Tony let it well up a bit in his hands, feeling an almost tickling sensation in his fingertips. While his body as a whole showed no obvious signs that he was directing the flow of energy within him his eyes glowed just a bit brighter as a result of him manipulating it.

In the best case scenario, nothing bad would happen. In a slightly less good scenario he would have to utilize stunning force. In the worst case, the woman might be completely fried. Tony hoped that it wouldn't come to that. If there was any way to reverse the possession process he'd rather see that happen. Even then, she had killed her own mother; there was no coming back from that.
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Mercury
 Posted: Apr 2 2018, 05:19 AM
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Bad. Very bad. Not good.

Cessily had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach when she stepped into the circle that Darkchylde had created, and it only grew in intensity when they were ported into the disheveled house. There it was again, that all too familiar iron tang of blood and putrid smell of perforated entrails. Whatever glimpse they had into the house moments before didn’t do the eerie chill that had settled over the space any justice. Something truly terrible happened here, and as the four of them inched closer to the source of that terror Cess didn’t make a sound beyond the crunch of her bare silver feet over broken glass. And when they proceeded through the hallway and into the kitchen, she was so chilled by what she’d seen Cess dared not breath.

There was death, everywhere. On the walls, on the ceiling, still slowly decomposing in the middle of the kitchen near the architect of this carnage. Her ginger brows furrowed, trying to make sense of the sobbing woman at the heart of all of it, but her eyes widened in disbelief as the woman began to speak, rapidly deteriorating into madness.

Amelia’s words had the metallic girl instinctively clenching her hands into fists, the shape of her knuckles unconsciously shifting away from individual digits and into a less defined mass of liquid mercury. Ever bit of sense in her mind was shouting at Cessily to heed the lady’s warning and shake Illy until she magic’d them back home. But as the seemingly terrified woman’s good intended words morphed into something far more sinister and her tears turned to that sickly grin, there was no more guessing involved for Cess. They needed to leave, and they needed to go now.

“We shouldn’t be here…” Cessily dared to whisper what a brief glance over at her compatriots confirmed. A brilliant deduction from Captain Hindsight. Amelia’s incensed laughter prompted Cess to step forward, knowing full well that she was the least vulnerable to the clawing, ripping, and tearing that had been the demise of Amelia’s poor mother. Placing a hand on the blonde’s shoulder first, Cessily slowly stepped beside and slightly in front of Illy, just behind the fearless leader John. In the event that things went south, as the shiver going through her liquid form hinted, she couldn’t let her new roomie and their only way out stand right in harm’s way. Beyond what was immediately apparent at the scene, something was terribly wrong with this woman, and whatever that something was currently wanted to rear its ugly face. Even though Illyana had proclaimed herself to be the demon-touched protector, Cess wasn’t about to take that risk.

Caked in the dried blood of Amelia’s mother, the last words that the thing cast their way prompted a worried glance to Gunslinger. The boy who had all the deductive answers… did he know why this crazed or possessed woman was smelling them? I mean, given her outward appearance, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to assume Cess possessed the X-gene… but the way it referred to the lot of them as if they were aromatics stuffed into a Thanksgiving turkey was too much. Looking to Impulse, it was clear Tony had the same idea, his preparations for what might come next glowing blue in the low light of the disheveled home. Glancing just over her shoulder, Cessily whispered to the blonde girl who at this point she assumed was their only chance of getting out of there without incident.

“We need to go,” she reiterated, her tone soft and low as she addressed Illy from her peripherals while the main focus of her sight was glued on what was left of Amelia. “It’s not right,” she couldn’t help but reiterate, the ‘It’ in this case being the shell of a woman who was looking Cessily and her friends over like they were an assortment of tasty dishes. If the girl still had a heart it’d be pounding in her ears right now, the moments of uncertainty and tension lingering between the group teens and the formidable murderer they’d barged in on only compounding on eachother. She didn’t want to be here… she just wanted to be back home in her room. Where the next time Cess heard a ruckus, she’d mind her own damned business.
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Gunslinger
 Posted: Apr 7 2018, 08:29 PM
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Eyes studied Amelia intently as the woman started to talk. There wasn't enough data to put together a whole picture, but there were some possibilities when looking at her obvious strength and the murder the woman had entered into. Despite the horrific circumstances, John couldn't help but wonder what exactly was going on with the woman. What I wouldn't give to have a full fledged psychiatric evaluation on her, John thought. For she wasn't fitting any typical pattern for a killer.

Part of him wondered with the mention of some 'Queen' if that meant some form of possession or mind control powers were at work. For that would explain the strong dissociation better than most typical psychological ailments would. For now Amelia wasn't denying the action, but seemed to be trying to shield others from her actions.

Keeping a good bit of distance between him and her, John calmly said "Smell us huh? That is rather neckbeardish of you." Tilting his head, John then said evenly "So what are you? Weird disassociation due to powers? Someone or something controlling her like a demented puppet master?"

While he knew his powers were pretty mild in comparison to his friends abilities. But he also knew there was one advantage he had over them. And that was he could shoot a hell of a lot better, and had a bit less compunction about putting a bullet in a foe. Slipping a hand under his jacket and brushing it back to rest a hand on his Mare's leg, John thumbed the hammer back just in case as he put hand on the stock. For they did have one possible sliver of new information, and it was the reason he had Hana running video and audio to save it. Just in case something bad happened.

A 'Queen' indicates either a damaged mind, or some form of organization, John thought. And the former is a lot easier to deal with. Particularly without knowing more. "So where is this Queen of your's located?" John asked evenly. Glancing around, he drawled "Don't really see her around here, so suppose you are going to have to speak for her." Yet even as John talked, he kept his eyes on the face and hands of Amelia. Cause on average, it was hands that would kill someone. "Don't suppose you would be willing to clarify who that Queen is a bit? And why she wanted you to come out here besides sniff at underage kids like a creeper."

Which really wasn't what anyone would think at Amelia acting like a graceless Hannibal Lecture with super strength. But approaching it like he was trying to dominate it or in fear seemed more likely to set this thing off. As predators be they human or animal tended to react with violence against those that showed weakness. Those that looked like prey or threat. So being stable and willing to bat the bullshit back and forth seemed like a better option to him.

Presuming of course her psychology fit a standard profile. For the problem with reliance on such things was most tended to play the averages. And sometimes... the outliers were what you wound up facing.

Darkchylde Mercury Impulse
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Darkchylde
 Posted: Apr 10 2018, 03:21 PM
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Something warm blossomed in Illyana’s heart as her roommate slid up to protect her. Perhaps, when they returned home, the small Russian would have to go into better detail about exactly where she came from and why getting in between her and the danger was kind but unnecessary. Illy was not afraid and if the possessed woman didn’t mind her manners, the blonde would just gently remove her head from her neck. No big deal, no mess, no fuss. “It is fine, Cessily. We will go home shortly. We just want to know about what this Amelia has inside her head.”

Because after two minutes of listening to her speak, Illy was certain that the woman wasn’t alone in there but she wasn’t entirely sure what they were dealing with. Demons didn’t tend to just volunteer information. “Vigilance, John. I do not believe taunting it will get you the information you are after.” Illy shot Gunslinger a warning look and tightened her grip on her short axes as Amelia slowly stood. It was a smooth, fluid movement, the grin on her face as she turned toward the nosey teenagers positively beatific.

Amelia began to work her fingers into her mouth one at a time to suck the tacky blood from them like it was nothing more than cheeto dust or barbeque sauce, not once taking her eyes from the kids. “I came here for one... Four sounds better. Much better.” Amelia had not dared to hope that a whole group of super powered creatures would appear before her. Her objective had been Shane, her orders clear. Bring him home so that her queen could use him to lure in the others. Four children would surely bring Shane and his friends to her all the faster.

This species was absolutely ridiculous about their young. If they felt their precious babies were being threatened, they would surely show up in force. A force that would be no match for the might of the Brood. Or perhaps Amelia would simply take these children and go looking for more. Surely once she reported to her queen, her gloriousness would give Amelia a whole regiment to root out Shane and his mutant brothers and sisters.

“It’s information you want...” These children were already more intelligent than most of the humans Amelia crossed paths with. “Very well. How about we play nice, delicious little mutants?” Amelia’s eyes glanced around the room, lingering on the obvious Impulse and Mercury, to the bloodthirsty Demonchylde and the collected Gunslinger. “We shall trade question for question until I get bored.” She leaned back against the kitchen table, nudging a piece of her mother away.

“How many of you are there?” Amelia asked, stalling beautifully. “And where?” It didn’t matter if they answered or if they fought. It didn’t matter if they did nothing but gawk at her. They belonged to her now.
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Impulse
 Posted: Apr 14 2018, 10:23 AM
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Mercury was right. They shouldn't be there. Unfortunately there was no changing that now. Sure, Darkchylde could warp them back to Xavier's, but in the time it took the group to step onto the teleportation spot there was a chance that Amelia could leap right onto it and go right along with them. That could present a whole host of problems.

Despite his and Cessily's own misgivings about confronting the woman who had just torn apart and consumed her mother and sent an X-Man into a complete rage, Gunslinger seemed intensely curious about Amelia's mental state. Tony would be lying if he said he wasn't curious as well, but apart from the obvious problems with the scene in which they stood there were other very real concerns. Illy seemed inclined to stay as well, which more or less made the vote an even split –though Tony had yet to really voice his opinion.

Everything about the scene was already wrong, and seeing the woman before them casually sampling the blood on her fingers was almost enough to make Tony's skin crawl (more than it already was considering the smell of death and fresh blood permeating the room.) Amelia claimed to have come to the house for one, but that four sounded better. They had inadvertently walked right into what was now admittedly a trap set for the X-Man Slate. The fact there were four of them set the odds in their favor, but Amelia's capabilities were unclear. Was she a mutant? Did whatever was possessing her give her augmented abilities? These were all very legitimate and important questions, but the electrokinetic didn't believe the answers would simply be handed to them.

Tony was ready to fire at a moment's notice, but he kept the energy coursing through his hands and body at bay enough that it wasn't made visible. It took effort, especially to hold it so close at hand for an extended period, but it wasn't anything he hadn't done before when training under his uncle's watchful eyes.

Amelia seemed willing to provide the group with information in exchange for some sort of cooperation (playing nice), which immediately raised a red flag. How long it would take the woman or her possible handler to get bored remained to be seen. The sudden desire to engage in conversation was, in his mind, unusual. The woman was outnumbered and quite honestly probably outgunned. She had fled from Slate, but was willing to hang around for four mutants? While Tony was very tempted to answer the questions the woman asked with the highest levels of snark that he could muster he considered his replies carefully for a few moments before saying in a low voice to the others, “I don't like this. Something's not right here. Why's she suddenly chatty? We probably should go.”

There was no way he was going to reveal the location of Xavier's or how many mutants lived there –not that he knew the exact address off the top of his head or the total number of mutants on the property. Giving the woman any kind of valid information seemed like a huge mistake, even if she would be hideously outmatched should she set foot on the school grounds.

He was ready to attack if it was necessary, but he hoped that his roommate and new friends would see reason and choose to escape instead.
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Mercury
 Posted: Apr 16 2018, 05:36 PM
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John really earned the look of incredulity that Cess shot him, seeing as she had no idea why he would want to goad the lady who was presently licking blood off her fingers as if it were spare jam from a jelly donut. Luckily Illy was on the same page, her words of advice to Gunslinger hopefully enough to keep him in check. Though Cess hadn’t seen Darkchylde in action, she didn’t doubt the words of assurance that came her way. But even so, they did little to dissuade Cessily’s sense of dread that was only building as the little game of cat and mouse continued on. Amelia’s casual air was what she found most unsettling. After everything she’d done to tear this place (and her own mother) apart, and even faced with a slew of obviously powered kids, she was as cool as a cucumber.

Nothing was right about this.

While Illy and John remained calm and inquisitive, at least Tony seemed to be on the same page as Cess. She traded a worried glance Impulse’s way, nodding once to confirm that she agreed with his proposed course of action to make like a tree and get the fuck out of there. Yet here Amelia was, by all apparent accounts docile and cooperative… albeit inclined to some unsavory cravings. They’d risked this journey for answers, and it seemed that they weren’t going to leave until they had them.

Cess stifled a shiver at the sheer creepiness of being called delicious. If anyone was as unpleasant to eat as chewing tin-foil, it was the girl made of liquid metal. Nevertheless, Amelia’s eyes danced over her like she was a sumptuous delicacy, bringing Cess’s lips from a worried line to a disgusted grimace. “We are not on anyone's menu,” she declared definitively. Where her hands had shifted amorphously before, they now each prickled with studs akin to a mace. Whether purposefully or not, she was readying herself for a fight she’d rather not partake in. Cess would be kicking herself for agreeing to get involved in this mess, given that she still had the means to do that if they even got out of here in one piece.

Whatever reason Amelia had for wanting to know about Cessily’s peers, it was in no way sufficient to draw anything but ire from the metallic girl. No way in hell would she give up her fellow New Mutants and X-Men, but Cess’s temper and disgust with the possessed woman before her were getting the better of the young woman. Where John had goaded Amelia out of strategy, Cess had simply let her flight morph into fight.

“If you think we’d ever give up our own, you’re just as crazy as you look,” she spat, hardly a sick burn but just enough for her to regret the words just after she’d spoken them. Invulnerable as she may be, Cessily had never encountered someone as sinister as the woman before her, and knew too little about the scope of Amelia’s power to feel very confident in this moment. But if she’d learned anything about being a New Mutant thus far, one had to fake it if they were to make it.
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Gunslinger
 Posted: Apr 16 2018, 07:10 PM
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Giving the slightest of nods to Darkchylde as her advice was on point, John had one simple thought about this woman in front of them.

She was far to collected. Which meant that this was likely not some form of mental disorder, putting the suspicion much more solidly towards possible possession or mental control.

Time to shake this up a bit, John thought as he regarded the woman in front of them. Dropping his left hand into his coat pocket, he focused for a moment and pulled it out, holding a stun grenade.

Slipping a thumb into the ring and smiling, John then slipped it loose, holding the spring and spoon down with his hand. Giving a cold smile, John drawled "Not playing fair to start with. Didn't answer our questions. Spat out your own." Holding up his left hand, John then asked "So.... know much about antipersonnel explosives?" Holding up the grenade, John then proceeded to lie his ass off as he said "You aren't getting anyone. As even if you tried, I'd turn loose of the spoon. And kaboom." Looking around, John smiled and said "Even if your body could withstand the shrapnel.... at this range.... the pressure wave and your ears?" Shaking his head and making a rapid tsking sound, John drawled "So best bet for you.... is leaving with zero. And us deciding not to leave this as a lovely parting gift on our way out."

For they had some information, just not as much as Jon had hoped for. So if a retreat was in order, he was fine with that.

As he didn't like the idea of giving away information for free. And thus far... the only information this woman had given was incidental alone. Which gives more possible grounds for this being an organization of some sort. Which makes her a scout. Who wanted Slate, most likely to gain data on us, John thought. His right hand trigger finger itched, as part of him was whispering that gunning this thing down was the safest bet. And if it had just been him.... he might have.

But while he was sure that Illy would be fine with that course of action, he doubted that Impulse or Mercury would be overly happy with it. And if he could avoid them seeing him put a round in someone, they didn't need to see that.

Tilting his head, John then said "So perhaps before we depart, you might feel like answering those questions? If not, I'd say do yourself a favor and carefully do nothing until we leave."
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