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Song Challenge!

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1Song Challenge! Empty Song Challenge! on Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:46 am


Prompt me with your favorite tunes, and I shall spin a tale for you~


2Song Challenge! Empty Re: Song Challenge! on Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:03 pm


Nilly wrote:Prompt me with your favorite tunes, and I shall spin a tale for you~

Jorn's cover of Ride like the wind


btw: glad your starting this up again.

3Song Challenge! Empty Re: Song Challenge! on Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:02 am


Taking into account my previous two challenges, have an oldie but a goodie! This is the original backstory for my mercenary, Diane Elae (Diana Elaenor), and boy has she come a long way from this. Also, this story? This story here, nearly got me a writing job.
-----------Hunter’s Season – Kamelot-----------

The tavern was noisy as usual, tankards clanking against each other and smacking on wooden tables and into faces as bar fights broke out quietly in the far corners. Diane just watched it all from the counter as she waited on her order of ale, shaking her head in dismay, and she looked at the barkeep when he handed her the mugs of the pale brew. “Thanks, Mack.” He just grunted and went about filling the rest of the orders as she took the drinks to her table. She was seated alone, but expecting guests – and the regulars at the Minotaur’s Horn knew to stay away from her.

As she sipped her drink, she spotted a single dwarf making his way through the room. From this distance, he looked normal, but she recognized him from the description she’d been given. It was her client, Larthru Copperbeard – typical dwarf stock, but his hair was even brighter red than most dwarves’ she’d seen. Hell, it was even redder than hers – and her hue wasn’t a slouch. His clan name was well-earned. As he drew closer, she noticed that he walked with one hand slightly outstretched, brushing it against people and tables and sidestepping them with ease, and it was then she realized the truth of the matter – he was blind. His eyes looked normal enough, but they didn’t see – they didn’t move, nor did the pupils seem to let in the light: they stayed as pinpricks, as though he’d stared too long at the beautiful sun above or too intently into the furnaces below the dirt.

Finally, he arrived at her table and found her hand upon it, rubbing one rough finger over the back of her wrist and feeling the bracelet there – the identifying object they’d agreed to – and nodded in satisfaction before seating himself next to her after finding the chair. He took one whiff of the ale and grimaced, an irritated mutter leaving his neatly groomed and braided beard, and he gently pushed it away. “I’ll be havin’ none of that, Miss,” he said, “need my facilities around me at all times.”

“Well, if you’re going to need my assistance, I assumed you wouldn’t mind a drink.” She looked him up and down; dwarves, she thought in a slightly scornful manner: lived underground, never saw the sun if they could help it, so intent upon their forges. Vilified magic of all sorts, yet used enchantments on their own weapons as they were forged – hypocrites of the highest class.

Larthru however was an odd one indeed; rather than stay in the dark of the mountains he came from, his career was one forged from fine gemstones and delicate jewelry. His hands were rough and quite large in comparison to her slender digits, and his skin was deeply tanned from two centuries under strong skies. “So, then, lass, you be the mercenary to guide me about the city?” he grunted, tapping his fingers against the wood table. “Because I assure you, I can find my way about just fine.” The dwarven accent so common in most of his folk was almost missing – it was odd to hear.

“I can see that, but if your letter was telling me the truth, you deal with some fairly unscrupulous characters and want some security, just so your ass is warm on those cold, dangerous black-market nights,” she said dryly. He was silent for a moment, and she wasn’t sure what to say next – until he began to laugh, and laugh hard.

“I think we’ll be getting along just fine, lass.” He patted her hand and took his tankard, taking a hearty drink out of it. “I’ll be stayin’ here in the city for a few years. Whether you want to stick along for all or part of my stay is entirely up to you. I pay well and also can get you decent lodgings if that’s what you want as part of your payment.”

“Generally, if I’m being a bodyguard, the term is that I am a stay-in guard at your place of residence. You’re a gem dealer, so it makes sense to have your contract muscle guarding you at all times.” She sipped her drink some more, watching him. “Why are your eyes like that?”

“Believe it or not, I made the ridiculous choice to stare up into the sun through a sapphire. Haven’t been able to see since, I haven’t. Even more stupid, I was told that staring at the sun through a diamond would fix it.” He scoffed and glared across the room at nothing. “Bloody moron, I was.” Diane started chuckling and knocked back the rest of her ale, standing up.

“Yes, I do think we’ll get along just fine.” She took his arm after he finished his tankard but he shook his head, patting her bicep.

“I can walk on my own. Just stay close enough to me so that I can hear your voice.” He paused, “Or so I can smell that foul perfume you’re wearing.” Diane was insulted and huffed, crossing her arms as they departed the tavern.  “What are you, an elf?”

“…No,” she lied. “I just… like their fragrance oils but if it aggravates you, I’ll cease wearing it.” She absentmindedly touched the scars on her right ear where the pointed tip used to be; she bore no guilt about trying to mask her race.

“Nah, you keep on wearing it. I’ll adjust.” He smiled up at her – a warm, eye-wrinkling smile. She smiled back and guided him out of the crowded tavern.

This could be an enjoyable job.

Seven Years Later

Diane hoisted her dwarven companion up onto his horse, patting the steed’s flank as it tossed its head gently back and forth, and she smiled up at Larthru sadly. “Shame the contract has to end just because you’re heading home.”

“Aye,” he agreed, finding her cheek and cupping it in a warm, if calloused, palm. She leaned her face into his hand, wrapping her fingers around the appendage, and she closed her eyes. It hurt to know he was leaving; it was incredibly stupid to get attached to an employer, she knew that. Had it been any other being on earth, she would have simply done the job and likely have left after two or three years, but Copperbeard had done what nobody had done before: wormed his way into her heart without even meaning to. His calm but robust nature and his gentle way of dealing with others (when they weren’t being ignorant little bastards, at least) cracked a hole in the masonry around her heart, and it hurt.

They couldn’t be together.

It was hardly the race difference that was the problem. She’d finally caved four years into the contract and told him the truth – she was an elf, ousted from her family. He’d just smiled, taken her hand in both of his, and said it wasn’t any matter to him – she kept the rabble away from him while he worked, and that was all he could have asked of anybody.  To date, she’d been the most trustworthy bodyguard – never left his side, hadn’t stolen any of his wares behind his back. It didn’t matter much to him that she was of a race his kind hated.

No, the problem was simply unrequited emotion; he simply felt no love for her. Great admiration, immense respect and gratitude – but no love, and to make matters more complicated, he was in an arranged betrothal that had been in action for more than sixty years, and only now were the two families in complete agreement that the marriage would be sound enough to make both clans successful.

This was why he was leaving.

Oh, god, her chest hurt so terribly!

“If you ever return with your lady, I would be more than…” Her throat felt thick and she was choking a little on the words. He was tactful enough to politely ignore it, “… more than happy to resume the contract. These seven years have been quite fruitful for the both of us.” She cleared her throat, dropping her gaze and letting go of his hand. He took the hint and grabbed the reins for balance, allowing one of his small caravan’s guards to guide the horse.

“I would be overjoyed if the offer remained, Diane.” He offered her one final smile, then chuckled shortly and pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket. Which one, she wasn’t sure; he had hundreds if not thousands of pockets in that damned thing. “This is for you, as a parting gift, my mercenary.” He held it down and she took it, using a nail to rip the side open, and three silvery rings dropped into her palm. She blinked and he seemed to sense her confusion, “Read the letter. It will make sense in due time.” At last, his horse walked off after the rest of the caravan, and Diane examined the rings as she stood alone in the square. In the twilight, the stones looked black, but upon closer inspection they were actually a deep blue. Sapphires, perhaps? She opened the envelope further after slipping the rings onto her right middle and ring fingers, and she began to read the letter.


The past seven years have been some of the best of my two centuries in this lifetime. When I met you, I was unsure of how the agreement would work – but as things soon worked themselves out, I was quite content. The nights spent sharing stories and myths and the days traveling the markets were the happiest I’ve ever had, and I hope that in the future we can join each other again and continue the kinship we share.

Enclosed, as you no doubt have discovered, are platinum rings set with pure alexandrite stones. There are three, yes, and I imagine you are trying to fathom why you’ve received such a random number, or why I looked for the purest cuts of alexandrite. You mean a great deal to me, even if I am unable to return those feelings, my mercenary, and this was the best way I could repay you for all you have done. You told me that alexandrite was the stone of the year you were born, in dwarven terms at least, and I recall you being fascinated by the way the crystals would change color in the light as you tried to tell me which shade it was turning. I commissioned these three years ago and four more will follow. Yes, this means there will be seven rings. Each will be cut in a different fashion, each stone polished to the highest shine. You are like these rings, Diane – multifaceted, shining, and ever-changing.

May the Great Mother smile upon you in your journeys, and I pray we meet again. From now until the end of all things, you are a member of the Copperbeard Clan, and you can wear that name with pride.

Yours Sincerely,
Larthru Copperbeard

Diane stared down at the parchment in her fingers, digits trembling minutely as the paper rustled softly, and she closed her eyes, not allowing the tears to run down her face as she smiled with a sad joy.

She already missed him.

Among other things he had paid her with, part of her payment had been the small mansion they had shared. His kin would continue to pay her lodgings there until she left utterly, as taxes were owed to the city by all citizens.

It was… it was nice, having somewhere she could stay and not have to worry about whether she’d be able to find food or a roof over her head, really.

But once she arrived home, it didn’t feel like home. Despite the maid cooking dinner in the kitchen, she felt lonely. As she passed his deserted room on the way to her own after dinner, she couldn’t help but stare at the bare feather-stuffed mattress where he used to sleep. Night after night, she’d spent guarding him, and it felt alien to her to not be by his side.

She sat down on the bed, twisting the three rings on her right hand’s middle fingers as tears dripped without sound down her cheeks. She was cold.

She spent the next several weeks aimlessly looking for work, not that she needed to; she’d been paid immeasurably well as Larthru’s bodyguard and didn’t need the money, but she hated being idle. She found herself in bars and taverns more often than not, and she was starting to feel like she was an alcoholic for how much she drank. Even her maid had commented on it, saying it wasn’t like her.


She was reading in the study when a knock came to her door; at her almost inaudible grunt, the door swung open with a bang that knocked many of the papers off the walls to either side. She glared at the intruder, a drow with an eye-patch over one horrifically scarred eye. “What do you want, Shadow-Stalker?”

“Calm your tits, Diane.” To put it bluntly, Niro Shilstel had been born with all his points under the slots of intelligence and stealth, and none into charisma. He crossed the room, tracking mud across the neat tile flooring, and he flopped into the chair in front of the desk lazily. “I know you’re looking for work so I decided I’d drop by and see how that was going.”

“I don’t need your assistance.” She turned her attention back to the inquest she was replying to; no, sir, she wasn’t going to set fire to an orphanage after they refused to name the building after his grandfather, who as it turned out was rather notorious for sodomizing church boys. No, she wasn’t going to kill the nun who ran it, either. And fucking no, she would not agree to playing a prostitute he was bringing to a brothel party. That was just tasteless. “Finding work isn’t that hard. It finds me just fine.” She tapped her quill into the ink well again and continued writing. The scratching of the tip on the parchment was actually quite soothing to her ears and she had several wads of paper lying about the floor where she’d just doodled aimlessly for hours before. “The problem is whether or not it agrees with me.”

“Love, your standards…” His accent had a vaguely slummy note, he pronounced his ars as ahs. Very annoying. “… are too damned high.”

“Deal with it.” She pulled the reading lenses from her face and folded the arms, setting it in the velveteen case at her side, before putting the letter in an envelope. Melted wax waited in a bowl sitting just above a short, fat, black candle.

“I know. I can’t talk you into the slaying of children or women unless they’re mercenaries too.” He rolled his eyes; she had a ridiculous code of honor and he was quite sick of it. “Look, the job I’m offerin’ to you from my boss will pay you more than that dwarf ever could. There’s a caravan what got sacked just outside a dwarf mountain; no idea what they were cartin’ ‘cause it’s all gone now.” He pulled a small tin out of his pocket and raised an eyebrow; she scoffed under her breath but shook a hand. He grinned in thanks and tugged out a cigarette, lighting it with a match from the same box, and he inhaled the smoke gladly. “Anyway, boss is willing to pay you lots of gold to find out what happened. Thinking it was a cult that attacked. Bodies left on a pyre as far as our scouts can tell. Well, the scouts that came back, anyway. The rest never came back.” He blew the smoke out of his nostrils in a thin stream. “And you’re the merc with the best reputation when it comes to scouting, so, are you up to it, love-cakes?”

“Call me “love cakes” and I’ll tell you to fuck off.” She stamped the envelope wax and handed it to the maid, who seemed to zip in and out of the room without a sound most days, and steepled her fingers on the desk, frowning at Niro. “Why aren’t you doing it?”

“Because I value my life, that’s why.” He blew a ring of smoke at her face that made her cringe. “But come on, now, I know you’re basically itching to leave the city for a few days, a week or two. Let it go, love.” He took one more puff before standing, his cigarette perched between his lips as he sarcastically bowed. “I’ll take your answers as a yes and let my employer know. You’ll be given directions and a map.”

“But-“ Too late, he’d already stepped out. Damn him.


Days later, she was making her way out of a thick forest, whipped by branches and scratched by thorns. She wiped away blood that was trickling down her cheek from one of those thorns and squinted into the distance; yeah, she could see the site now. The caravan was fairly large and around it were small rounder objects; probably barrels, smashed crates, or something. With a sigh, she pulled her pack over her shoulders again and kept on walking. Her feet didn’t ache but her knees were aching fiercely; that was the only thing she hated about walking up-hill, her knees couldn’t take the strain of it, never had been. She was a jumper – not a walker.

Soon, the debris from the attack began to manifest in the grass around her and she spotted the remains of the dead scouts; eaten, it seemed. Scavengers mostly, cannibals didn’t live in this region. She turned one body over with her sword; there was an arrow or two embedded deep in the corpse’s chest. It was so molded over she couldn’t tell if it had been a man, woman, dwarf or drow. She grimaced and let the body drop back, covering her nose with her free hand as she continued on her way. She hated doing scoutings that involved dead people.

She stepped over the maggot-ridden corpse of a horse and shoved one of the barrels aside, the weather-beaten wood groaning as if in agony as she stepped on its planks, and she peeked into the ripped canvas of the caravan’s main body. She didn’t really see anything inside; something was shining all aglitter but it could’ve been rain water for all she knew. With a sigh, she dropped the cloth covering down and climbed on top of the wreckage, digging her fingers into the taut material as she clambered her way up, and she sat on one of the ribs, just observing the area. Twenty some people dead, all of differing sizes and shapes apparently, clothing gone, nothing made a lot of sense about this one, Niro, said the monologue in her head. This is just jack-shit weird. She rubbed her face and looked around a bit more, turning to see behind her better, and she spotted something interesting just under the overturned carriage. She slid down the tarp and scooped a handful of dirt, shaking it a bit to get the earth off and she stared at the little perfect diamonds in her palm. That was random. The sharp edges and points nicked her skin but she ignored it, just dropping the gems back to the ground; she had no greed for them even as she picked through the dirt pile some more. Every now and then, she’d find a brooch or necklace. A few pearls showed their iridescent faces to the world just briefly before being reburied under black dirt, and she stopped digging after a good thirty minutes. The area spanned ten feet and she’d finally started putting the gems into a pile to keep track of it. The pile came up to her knee – and most of these gems were small enough to be put into rings, earrings –

Her heart stopped and she looked back at the caravan, walking over to it and ripping the canvas open with her knife. Sunlight shone down on the sapphires and gems littering the side of the carriage, and she covered her mouth as bile rose up in the back of her throat.

This was Larthru’s group.

Oh, god.



She scrambled up over the next hill and checked the bodies there, noticing with a growing sense of dread that these corpses were alarmingly preserved in comparison, like a message. As she made her way further, the bodies grew farther apart and she found the very one she hoped not to find – Larthru. His father’s glass dagger sticking out of his heart, his hands were clasped against his breastbone and his face was actually quite peaceful, eyes shut as though he were merely enjoying a lovely afternoon nap. Tears welled in her eyes as she dropped to her knees at his side, barely comprehending the scene before her, and she touched his cheek. His flesh was ice cold to the touch despite the disturbingly hot weather that had mutilated the corpses on the other side of the knoll, and she cupped his face in both hands as she tried to understand what had happened.

“Come on, Copper.” She blinked through the tears and bowed her head, sobbing quietly. “This-This is just…” She lifted her head and looked around, nausea turning her stomach over. “…” She pulled the knife out of his body and stood up, blood dripping from the blade as though he had only just passed, and she found a rock and dashed the glass against the stone. It shattered beautifully, tinkling shards raining across the glass with a sound not unlike wind chimes, and she stared into the distance at a hilltop. There was nothing.


The elf used a broken spade she found in the caravan to dig a grave; and over the body and dirt, she placed heavy, flat stones to guard it against scavengers. Hands bloody from work with one fingernail ripped away, knuckles shredded and her arms sore, she knelt at its side, tears dripping off her chin as she stared down at the cairn. “…” She bowed her head and rested her head against the rock, beginning to cry softly.

Someone to remember only to the ground, when the sudden glory is gone. Mother, would you send a sign, a message down - consolidation with your only son? No more to defend, for someone to love…


So while Diane's origin story of being an exiled heir has remained the same, this key part of her impetus to reclaiming that birthright has drastically changed from an unrequited, bitter love to one of family lost. She grows to see Larthru as kin and steadfastly protects him, and he in his own way shows her a better world outside the mercenary life. Unfortunately, his timely demise is about the same, and her reaction is just as visceral if not more so: Having been banished from her home and spending a century lonesome, and finding someone she was proud to name family, losing a piece of her heart - a far different piece than what her original concept lost - drives her to vengeance and ultimately to the core of corruption - the seat of the kingdom of Riun Karnak, the Red Spire.

Buuut that's a story for another day!


4Song Challenge! Empty Re: Song Challenge! on Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:52 pm

Rhaevnn Xeno

Rhaevnn Xeno
Forum God
Forum God
Finally, had enough time to read this. So beautiful ;_;


5Song Challenge! Empty Re: Song Challenge! on Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:43 pm


Have one that wasn't inspired by any prompt at all! I am capable of writing happy ones, for the record, just I've been in a quiet/sad music kick this week.

---- Set the Fire to the Third Bar - Snow Patrol ----

Everything passed by in slow-motion, she noticed as she sat at the bar. Music sounded warbling, garbled. She and the bartender were running at their normal paces as she ordered her whiskey on the rocks, but the minute the glass came to rest in her fingers, he too began to slog.

And the world crawled.

Antoinette Sebrin ticked away the minutes with sips, with gulps; occasionally, the glass would refill with a glance up at the football game playing on the TV over the bar. The game roared around her, people jostling her and others as they shouted and cheered with every score or failed pass. Still, she felt far too sober for the day's events and ordered another whiskey, no ice. Trembling fingers lit a cigarette after grinding a glass ashtray down the polished counter, scratches faint in the lacquer. Nicotine and smoke in her lungs, unfelt, numb, as she stared at her reflection, cloud of grey leaving her lips as she exhaled. Her black eye was showing, barely hidden by the makeup and foundation, but both eyes red with exhaustion as she rubbed at the darker circles under her unbruised eye.

The bartender caught her attention, something about a phone call asking for her, but she shook her head and handed him a ten, muttering that she'd rather be left alone. He frowned at her but took the bill, heading back to the receiver and hanging up on the call. Filter between her teeth, she pulled her own phone out of her pocket to find a myraid of notifications filling her screen. Six missed calls, three voicemails, untold numbers of texts and a handful of emails, all wondering where she was, what she was doing, was she okay, was she hurt?

No, she was fine, she thought as she rested it on the counter, fingers still shaking as she tapped the growing ash into the tray. She'd never felt better. She'd never felt less emotional in her life.

She'd never been more scared that she would go crazy in a snap before.

One, two, three cigarettes and two whiskeys later, and she finally turned around to watch the bar. Emptying out, the game finished, and the only remaining now at this early time were the regular and the alcoholics. Running her hand through her short, spiked red hair, she felt the filth, the grime of a day spent running and running from... from what, she didn't want to think about as she dropped her head back to finish her drink.

Her phone vibrated, nudging her elbow not unlike a dog begging for attention. She grabbed it sloppily, fidgeting with the screen until she answered the call. Without bothering to look at the ID, she mumbled, "Wha' do you want, Dale?"

"Good, you're still alive. Jesus, Toni, give me a break and tell me where you are so I can bring your stupid ass home." His grating, dark voice didn't register; she paid no mind to the worry lacing his words as she stood up and started walking to the door. She had to leave; they couldn't find her, she needed to be alone.

"I'm f-fine." Toni shoved the door open and walked unevenly to her car, a monstrosity painted crimson with black licks of flame along the wheel wells. She stared at the man leaning against it, phone to his ear, and slowly dropped hers to her side and ended the call. "Bastard," she swore under her breath, walking a little more quickly before straight-up launching herself at him, fist coming up to connect with his chin. He took it like a champ, tilting his head back with the blow and grabbing her wrist before she could swing it back for round two. Tears ran down her cheeks, forgotten as she kicked at his knees and ankles, hating their mutual six-foot height; she was only a few inches shorter, but those made it difficult to kick his ass when she thought he deserved it.

Warm, muscled arms wrapped around her waist, surprising her some before she continued to rain blows down against his stupid mohawk, his shoulders, his chest, back, arms, anything her suddenly free hands could touch. And he just let her wail at him, patient as ever, occasionally rubbing the back of her head as though it would calm her down.

And damn her, it worked. She wasn't sure how long she stood there screaming obscenities and hitting and ranting and punching, but eventually it was all she could do to dig her nails into his arms and try to pull out of his grasp as she cried. Most of her words and swearing were gibberish now, but he picked through a few phrases: "she's gone, this is all my damn fault, never should have let her leave" and "fuck you, I can't go home, I did this to keep her safe."

Once she'd simmered herself to silence, he sat her in the passenger seat of her car, found her keys and slid in through the driver's side window, remembering that the door still didn't fucking open. Dale inched the seat back a few clicks and watched as she fumbled with her seatbelt, blinded by a mixture of tears and drunken exhaustion, but he didn't do it for her. Her pride wouldn't let him. Instead, he simply turned on the ignitio, waited for her to complete her task, and began driving them home to the apartment they shared with their bandmates.

He parked the car smoothly as she began unbuckling her seatbelt, clearly itching to run, but he grabbed her by the wrist and just looked at her. Didn't glare, stare, or make faces - just... looked at her. She hated it. "Toni, we need to talk about this."

"No. We don't." She pulled her arm from his hand and got out of the car, walking straight to the front door of the apartment complex. "I'd rather live on the fucking street again than come back here and think about everything that fucker did to her sister and her."

"You won't have to. Vince found a place for us on the other side of town. They already grabbed their stuff and I've got mine at the new place. Just needed your help grabbing yours. The truck's out back." He walked next to her and opened the door for her, watching as she went for the elevator and began to hesitate, finger hovering an inch away from the button. Toni swallowed hard and stabbed at it with her fingertip, cringing as the elevator doors opened. "Let's go."

Silence filled the elevator as it ascended, Toni leaning in one corner while Dale stood squarely before the door. She stared firmly at his spine, imagining punching him as hard as she could and knocking him to the floor. Anger bubbled but stayed low, somewhat smothered by her misery, and at first, she didn't walk out of the lift when he strode out on their floor. He cleared his throat, gesturing down the hall. She begrudingly pushed away from the corner she'd deemed safe and shuffled after him.

Yellow tape criss-crossed the door next to theirs and she stared at the lines, at the broken door frame and splintered wood. Dale put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her from the sight of it, away from the memory. Toni walked straight to her room, past the empty kitchen, the bare living room. It didn't take long for her to pack all her things - her clothes thrown haphazardly into her biggest suitcase, miscellany thrown into other bags and her guitar in its case. "I'm guessing the furniture's going onto the truck?"

"Yeah. Needed your help with the dresser, damn thing's heavy." She looked around, noting that her bed and side tables were already gone.

"Heavy like the dead." She pulled her case over her shoulder and looked up at him. "Let's get the lighter shit in the Crab before we start hauling the bigger bastard out." She avoided his gaze. "Maybe put the dresser off til tomorrow." She crossed her arms, shifting from one foot to another. "This isn't that important."

"We'll come back for it later." He rested a hand on her arm and she flinched at the touch. "I know we're not touchy-feely. But I'm worried about you and her right now. She's safe?"

"Drove to my hometown. States and states and states away." She swallowed, her throat dry again. Her vision swam. "My friends'll keep tabs on her for me. Her sister's going cold turkey on everything because there's practically no drug culture, town's too small." She ran her hands through her hair, sighing. "And I can't ever see her again because I might take the people after them straight to them."

"You guys were gone for days. Did you really just... drive randomly til you got there?" He leaned on the dresser, looking down at the water stains and scratches that his hands rested on. He'd never really noticed how banged up it was before, and he realized now how broken-hearted his on-off fuckbuddy had become.

"Best chance at throwing off any tails. Besides, better safe than sorry. They know I hate my hometown, why the fuck would I take her there?" She shrugged nervously. "C-Can we stop talking about this? I don't feel so great." He nodded and picked up the bigger of the suitcases. "I'll meet you at the car. I need to sit a minute."

"Don't take too long, or I'll carry you out by your feet."

"Oh, fuck off, Dale," she said. She watched him go and heard the door click shut, and she shut her eyes, chewing on her lip. After a few minutes, she pushed off the wall and headed out of the apartment, guitar case tapping her hip with each step. She shut the door and looked to her right, at the door she used to knock on every day and spend so much time on the other side of. A hand absently touched the tape, feeling the plastic texture before she realized what she was doing and yanked her hand away, picking up her  bags and walking to the elevator.

Her phone went off in her pocket while she waited for the door to open, and she pulled it out to check the sender of the text.


She froze, heart aching in her chest as she hovered over the prompt, but in the end, she turned the phone off and slipped it back in her pocket, tears sliding down her face.

It was over.

I hang my coat up in the first bar. There is no peace that I've found so far. The laughter penetrates my silence...


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