Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

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Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

Post  Clarice Tompkins on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:26 am

Clearly, this place had need of her. As was clearly evidenced by the rudeness she'd been subjected to last night, the residents of Highgrove House were quickly on the road to Hell, and what was more, they didn't even seem to mind. Father would want her to help them, and it would be no primrose path, of that she was certain. At her last place of incarceration, it had been only a few that were the truly bad seeds while the rest were perhaps not up to Clarice's high standards, but at least they knew to keep a civil tongue around her. Or civil fingers, where typed communication came into it.

Why it had to be Clarice to right this place when she had so spectacularly failed her last mission was not hers to know. Father moved in mysterious ways, and only he could see the true design of the threads of time he wove. It was likely that what she had done at her last residence had been exactly what she'd needed to do. Yes. Her actions had sparked something important, and now she was needed elsewhere. Specifically, she was needed here.

She needed a battle plan. There were so many here that needed her guidance. The poor things knew nothing but wickedness and pain. They had been so long in the darkness of their ignorance that the light she cast would of course be regarded with suspicion and contempt at first. Patience was needed here. And, in the interest of cataloging her efforts for future generations as well as keeping track of what she learned about what she needed to do, she would need to keep a record.

So, grabbing a composition notebook from her things, she made her way to a fairly secluded area. It was a sort of lovely little indoor garden. Golden afternoon light streamed through the windows providing plenty of light, and Clarice settled herself with her notebook. She began making notes on her observation from last night. Interaction with those two deviants was a good start, but she would need more information if she was going to really help these people.

Acting prematurely had been a problem for her in the past. Not that she wanted to give them time to dig themselves in deeper, but well, it was a trade-off. By waiting some of them would surely become so entangled in their sinful ways that helping them would prove more difficult, but she would also gain a bit of perspective so that she could see the best way to actually help them. It was like that stick game she and Corrine had played as children. If you moved the wrong stick, the whole pile shifted and you lost.

Clarice just needed to find the right stick.
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Re: Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

Post  Talon Rogers on Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:41 pm

Talon had finished his lunch, and since this was a free period--his first afternoon free period since arriving at Highgrove--he had decided to find somewhere quiet to curl up and read. He was far more relaxed than he had been in some weeks, calmer and suffused in a kind of happiness. Michael was here, and Talon was here, and everything would be all right. But the night before had been kind of overwhelming, and he hadn't kept up with his daily reading schedule. Therefore he was a day behind, and he knew he needed to read what he was supposed to have read last night before he could, in good conscience, read tonight's reading. Of course, he probably could have just pushed everything back a day, but he didn't like to do that. It felt like cheating.

Therefore, he began slowly wandering the halls of Highgrove's main house. He didn't want to go too far, as he only had about an hour before he would need to report to the kitchen for duty, but he had always read quickly with a high reading comprehension rate, so hopefully if he stayed inside he would be able to finish his reading in time. It was a sunny day, though, so unlike the gloom of the day before, and he didn't want to be inside if he didn't have to be. Quite a quandary.

At last, though, he found the Solarium. It wasn't too far from the kitchens, but it was bright and sunny and warm, and it would be, he thought, the perfect place to read. Entering, he spotted a girl sitting on a bench, scribbling in a notebook. His first inclination was to let her be, and find somewhere else to sit, but she had chosen the spot with the absolute perfect light in the room. Besides that, he was a touch lonely, and he hoped he could make a friend other than Michael--not that he didn't love his little brother, just that he didn't want to stifle the poor kid.

All the same, he hesitated. He was wearing his rosewood cross tucked in his shirt today--mainly so it didn't get tangled up in anything while he was doing his chores--but the shirt he had grabbed at random was one of the shirts that had been distributed to the Youth Group at the Church of the True Light. Royal purple with gold screen-printing, the front showed a lighthouse, glowing on a hill, and "Psalm 43:3" written below it, printed on the breast pocket; on the back the lighthouse image was duplicated, accompanied by the name of the church, splashed across the width of his back. It wasn't that he was ashamed of his religion, far from it, only that he knew other people could be nervous about meeting someone who was so obviously religious.

Still...nothing for it but to try. Talon took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, adjusted his grip on his leather-bound King James Bible, put on a smile, and walked over to the girl. "Excuse me, miss," he said in his warmest voice. "Might I join you for a few minutes?" He held up his Bible. "I shan't bother you if you don't wish anyone to speak with you."
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Re: Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

Post  Clarice Tompkins on Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:00 pm

Clarice looked up from her notebook to see the last thing she expected to see here. A young man, wearing modest attire and carrying a bible. And not just any bible, a King James bible. In Clarice's opinion, whenever anybody attempted to colloquialize the bible they sucked half the meaning out--you never saw anyone translating their precious, secular Shakespeare into common street talk, now did you? And if even art like that was inspired by God, then how much more respect should be showered on His Word?

Anyway, not only was this boy clearly a good Christian boy in appearance (1Samuel 16:7 - But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart, Clarice reminded herself), but he was also addressing her as a young man ought to address a young lady. It was so refreshing to be proven wrong about the people she was now forced to live. If she could make just one friend here, perhaps this place would not be so bad.

"O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. One of my favorite Psalms. I'm a little surprised to find someone else here who embraces the Lord. My interactions so far have led me to believe this place was populated entirely with vulgar heathens." Clarice's tone was dripping with disdain for the obscene boy who had practically terrorized her last night. What if she'd been sexually abused or something, and his disgusting talk had sent her into some sort of nervous breakdown? Some people were so inconsiderate of others.

A thought hit Clarice just then. Here she'd been, outlining a strategy to bring God into the lives of the poor souls here who were clearly in desperate need of Him, and she'd just happen to meet the one other person in this place who might be able to help her. Clearly, this boy had been sent by Father in order to assist her mission.

"Sorry," she said, again deciding that honey, rather than vinegar was needed in this situation, "I should have introduced myself first. I'm Clarice. It is a pleasure to make your aquaintance..." she trailed off, inviting him to supply his own name. If Father had sent this boy to help her, she was glad. It was far more help than He'd ever given her before, which meant that her mission here had to be that much more important, right?
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Re: Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

Post  Talon Rogers on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:21 pm

Talon's feelings ran the gamut from nervousness to relief to surprise to a sort of dumbfounded stupor. Not only did the girl seem fine with his overt Christianity, she was fine with it--indeed, she was obviously a Christian herself. It was when she rattled off the verse referenced on his shirt, however, that surprise took over. It was a rare person who could quote the Psalms from memory, and even rarer did anyone these days use the King James Bible. The language was too difficult for most people to understand. Talon had grown up with it, however, as the Church of the True Light insisted that children must begin with the artful, poetic language of the KJV.

Actually, Talon had a second Bible, which had been given to him on New Year's Day when he was fourteen. It was the Church's way of preparing children for full membership in the church; on the first of the year immediately following a child's fourteenth birthday, he or she was given a copy of the Young's Literal Translation and entered a rigorous schedule of learning, with intense, three-hour Bible study sessions each Friday after sundown. Talon was relatively intelligent and studied hard, and he was routinely the top of his membership class. However, he had not been received into full membership--a fact for which he was profoundly grateful, or he would have been expected to be complicit in Michael's "exorcism". He had nightmares still about that anyway and couldn't imagine what he would have done if he had been given a heavy object and told he had to beat the demon out of his brother. Committed murder, most likely, and ended up leaving Michael as heartbroken as he himself had been when Jackson was taken away. He preferred his King James Bible to the Young's Literal Translation anyway.

"It was the guiding statement for the church I was raised in," Talon explained, smiling slightly. "The Church of the True Light. My grandfather was a founding member."

He was surprised, however, at the venom in her voice when she spoke of the other students. You're in a home for disturbed youth, honey, he thought. Did you expect it to be all sunshine and roses? Aloud, however, he merely said, "Do you think so? I've only been here since last night, myself, and I'm afraid I haven't gotten to know too many of the other residents. I didn't really meet my roommates--I was exhausted and just kind of fell into bed. The only other person I know here is my little brother, and he's as sweet as they come." A tender smile came on his face as he thought about Michael. This girl would probably approve of him, too.

His smile widened and he sat down next to her, keeping his knees together and his feet tucked under the bench out of habit, as she introduced herself. "My name is Talon. It's a pleasure to meet you, Clarice." He started to hold his hand out to her, then checked himself. "I'm sorry, my manners." One thing that had been drummed into his head as a child was that a gentleman never extends his hand to a lady, but waits for her to extend hers first. Clarice had not done so, and therefore he should not shake her hand unless she initiated it.

A lot of the etiquette he had learned growing up was more than likely somewhat archaic, but Talon had a feeling this girl probably knew it as well as he did. She had the air of someone raised in a Good Christian Home. In fact, she reminded him a little bit of Agnes, his older sister, although he prayed she wasn't too much like Aggie. His sister had always been somewhat boring.
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Re: Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

Post  Clarice Tompkins on Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:29 pm

Finally. She had finally met someone to whom she could relate besides her grandmother. Corrine had always been a vain and self-serving person, and once she'd gotten older, she turned coquettish, almost shameful in her behavior and dress. The twins, Colin and Cooper, were young boys, rambunctious and loud children, as was only right of course, but still were not able to engage her on a social level. Mother was a weakling and a fool, and Father was either too blind to see her weakness or too proud to acknowledge it. In either case, he was too often gone to know truly what went on with his family.

Talon, on the other hand, seemed to not have any of the faults her family possessed. Of course, it was too early to really tell, and most everyone ended up disappointing her, but maybe just this once Clarice could give somebody the benefit of the doubt. "Please," she said, still trying her best to be friendly, and extending her own hand to shake, "One tiny slip up in manners is nothing compared to what I was subjected to last night. 'Evil communications corrupt good manners' I suppose." She really didn't want to talk about the jerk from the computer, though. The thoughts of him made her angry, and therefore more likely to say something she didn't mean.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. She called forth the verse to calm herself and it worked. "In any case, I'm certainly pleased to meet someone who does know how to treat a young lady, and how to talk to them. It's so rare to meet anyone my age who treats other people with respect, especially women." It was as if this generation had discarded the ideas of respect and courtesy and replaced them with vulgarity and selfishness. And women didn't even seem to be immune from this treatment, as though they were not delicate creatures to be admired and protected from the worst of the world. "Just out of curiosity, what church did you attend? Grandmother and I were not devoted to any particular church, although I did go to the Methodist service on Sundays."
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Re: Hello Clarice. . .(Open)

Post  Talon Rogers on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:42 pm

Talon accepted the hand she extended and shook it gently, inclining his head slightly in a bow as he did so. The etiquette of the Church of the True Light was somewhat Victorian in its nature, and he had been instructed on the art of how to conduct oneself with decorum when meeting a lady, in some detail. Clarice had offered her hand to him with the thumb pointing upwards indicating that she wished for him to shake her hand--not knuckles-first, which she would have done if she had indicated she wished him to kiss her hand. Had she done so, he would even have done that properly--bowing over her hand, his lips not touching her skin--the way one had to do it when introduced to a lady for the first time.

For the record, he hated kissing girls' hands and avoided it whenever possible, but there had been two or three girls in the Church who had persisted in holding their hands out knuckles-up. They had mostly stopped doing that after his "exorcism" when it became known to the elders, and subsequently to their daughters, that Talon Rogers was a Rahab, a Mary Magdalene--in short, a prostitute. (There had actually been a girl in the Church whose prostitute mother had abandoned her on the steps of the building at birth with a callous note saying that a child was no good to a whore; her adoptive parents within the Church had named her Rahab. She and Talon had actually become good friends after the news came out, and she had been the one person in the Church who would defend Michael from the slings and arrows of the other children. If he'd been forced to leave, he would have entrusted Michael to her care, but he was glad he hadn't needed to do that.)

His eyes widened at her statements. "I do apologize. One should never speak rudely to a lady," he said courteously. Normally he would drop the antiquated manners fairly early in a conversation--usually after the girl to whom he was talking giggled or looked at him funny--but somehow, he thought he was always going to be behaving in a courtly manner around this girl.

He smiled slightly at her quote. "First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verse thirty-three. Paul's discourse on the resurrection, if I recall correctly." Studying Clarice, he quoted almost absently, "'Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.'"

When she indicated her delight at meeting a man who knew how to address a young lady, however, his smile grew wider. "At least once a week, all the youth at my church were given lessons on etiquette. And as I have an older sister, I had ample opportunity to practice on her and on her friends. I must say it is somewhat gratifying to meet a young lady outside my own church who knows how to conduct herself properly," he added, and managed to say it with a completely straight face. He really didn't care how a girl conducted herself, especially now, so long as she didn't try to get in his pants. Of all the things he had forced himself to do while prostituting himself, the worst without a doubt had been having sex with women.

"Just out of curiosity, what church did you attend? Grandmother and I were not devoted to any particular church, although I did go to the Methodist service on Sundays."

"As I said, I was a member of the Church of the True Light," Talon repeated, and then realized what she meant. "Oh. We...er...it's hard to explain. We weren't--aren't non-denominational because that implies a certain absence of doctrine, and we aren't charismatic because that implies a lack of decorum that we do not approve of. I suppose you could say we splintered off from the Anglican Church, but even that isn't entirely accurate. The founding members came from several different branches of Christianity and were dissatisfied with all of them. Considered that, I believe, they were getting too liberal in their thinking."

How did he explain the Church? He decided not to go into details--about the role of men, the role of women, the hierarchy of the family, the doctrine and the membership process--unless Clarice asked. And somehow he doubted she would.
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