The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

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The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:02 pm

Elias had been feeling his new home out, trying to understand how it worked. Most of the kids seemed to think that this place was hell on Earth, but it was practically a tropical vacation compared to the other hospitals he had stayed in. He suspected that if any of the other residents had ever been in a proper mental institution, they wouldn't be complaining about this; real nuthouses didn't have pools and rose gardens. In the week or so that he had been here, he had seen most of the facility through his extensive, bored wanderings, but he'd never been here before. He couldn't retrace his steps if he tried; he had been poking about in places that looked vaguely abandoned and forbidden, and the stairs had appeared as if from nowhere. This room was dark and full of nebulous shapes, looming and eldritch in the gloom. Elias walked through the labyrinth of ancient junk, brushing his fingers along the dusty surfaces, leaving clean streaks. It was pleasantly quiet in this portion of the attic, the only sounds the muffled thud of his shoes against the floor and the slippery sound of his fingers sliding along the rows of junk.

This place reminded Elias of the attic in his father's house. The people who had lived there before them had left heaps of their antique garbage in the attic, and Elias and his brother had spent hours sifting through it. When they were small, they had played pretend in the cobwebbed corners of the room, and when they got older they'd used it as a sort of fortress. Their dad had a bad knee, and he found it hard to climb the steep ladder to the attic; it was a place where they could get away from him and his inordinate rage. They spent a lot of their afternoons sitting in the half-light, talking and sometimes smoking, filling the small space with grey clouds. So this crowded, dusty, creepy attic seemed kind of cozy to the wandering boy, kind of like home.

Elias slipped to the floor after a moment of wandering, leaning his back against an old desk. He opened his journal and propped it against his knees, writing a few lines of observations about this attic. Dark, musky, crowded, silent. He had been keeping a record of the interesting things he had found and seen around here so far; the list was getting long. Highgrove seemed to have an infinite supply of secret nooks and crannies, places that Elias felt that he shouldn't see, but at the same time should. It was definitely more interesting than the average mental institution. The most interesting thing in the last hospital he'd stayed in in Leeds was the wilting ficus that none of the staff could remember to water. It was probably dead by now. That made him sad for some reason.

Closing his eyes to the darkness for a moment, Elias put down the irritating felt-tip marker they made him write with, closed his journal, and sighed. He hoped that he could come back here sometime and stage a more thorough investigation; there was bound to be some fascinating things up here if he bothered to look. Right now, he felt that he should probably leave before someone noticed his absence. As little as he cared about being punished, he really didn't feel like being lectured. Being chastised made him feel tired and like he was a thousand years old. Before he stood, he wriggled a finger under the adhesive on his wrist and took a long scratch at the tragically nearly healed-over cuts. He managed to tear a little line of scab off, and felt a small, damp patch of blood well under his finger. Satisfied, he pulled his sleeve down snugly and stood. At that moment, he heard footsteps and froze. They continued toward him, ominous and slow, and after a moment of tense waiting he found himself face to face with another attic explorer.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:58 pm

Faith was searching for good hiding spots, a pastime that reminded her -with a vague pang of regret- of her childhood. It was very different at Highgrove compared to then. Rather than searching for a place to stay for five minutes whilst somebody searched for her as part of a game, she was trying to find an area where she could retreat too when everything outside got bad, when she couldn't deal anymore. It was always important to have a hiding spot, she knew from experience, a safe place. At Hillsview it had been in her bedroom, where few other people ventured, where there was a lock on the door and a closet to huddle in. At Highgrove, nothing thus far was too appealing. The attic had potential; she had realized that the second she'd seen the Off Limits sign on the staircase. It just got better and better as she creaked open the door, seeing piles of junk. There were infinite spaces to hide in there, and Faith would have put good money on a bet that a knife, razor blade, something sharp would be buried in the years of abandoned property. It was obvious the area hadn't been cleared up, after all.

She began making vague plans in her mind, ideas about what she could bring sneakily to the attic in order to make it feel nicer, more hers. Maybe some sheets and a duvet, if she could steal them away. A few books - was there a library she could steal from? Definitely some snack foods. If she could make it homely enough, being at the home would feel a whole lot nicer; a whole lot safer. She had only been there for half a day, and discovered during that time that it wasn't quite as nice as she had thought. Better than Hillsview, she allowed, but not a five-star luxury resort... So lost in her own thoughts as she walked reverently through the crowded, dusty space, Faith didn't register the presence of another person in the room. Not that it was easy to see him - hidden as he was behind a desk, an antique closet blocking him from her view.

There was a filthy window over in the far corner of the room, the only source of the limited light. Automatically drifting towards it, she continued to make more and more elaborate plans for what she could do with 'her' new room, not stopping to consider the fact that other students, or maybe even staff members, might have had the same idea. The room felt peaceful, as though she had been the only soul in there for a hundred years; it certainly wasn't a hive of activity. Maybe it has just been me, she thought. Maybe nobody has been here since...since...since somebody died in here. Feeling pleasantly creeped out, Faith took a few more unhurried steps towards the window, considering the possibilities for what she might encounter upon searching the attic more thoroughly. Maybe a body.

As prepared as she felt for the discovery of a dead human, she was evidently far less ready to come face to face with a live one. There was a small creak behind her, the sounds of the floorboards adjusting after years of rarely being walked upon, causing her to whip around as though she had been shot. All her previously amusing thoughts about ghosts seemed far less funny once she was twenty feet away from the door, her escape route. It took a second for her eyes, roaming the room for dead bodies and murderers, to settle upon the still figure of Elias - who she had apparently walked straight past. Faith squeaked from shock, her heart feeling as though it was about to beat out of her chest, and then came to her senses and screamed.

Discovering that she was alone in what she had thought to be her own hiding space, with a boy she had never met before, in what she hadn't quite ruled out as being a psychiatric ward, scared the living daylights out of her. After screaming once, twice, loud enough to be heard on the staircase and almost high enough to shatter the window she was standing beside, Faith stared with wide eyes at the stranger. She should probably try to calm him down, apologize for barging in, maybe beg him to let her go. Anything to prevent her getting hurt. As she opened her mouth, however, trying to prevent him from doing...whatever he was planning on, a completely different sentence slipped out. "Who the fuck are you?"
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:06 pm

The last thing Elias expected her to do was scream. Honestly, he didn't know what he expected her to do because he'd never met a girl in an attic before, but whatever his expectations were they certainly weren't that she would react in that particular manner. Her screams were loud, too, probably loud enough to attract the attention of the people below, probably loud enough to pop someone's eardrums if they got too close. Or maybe they just sounded that loud because he was standing two feet away from her in a crowded attic. Either way, he wanted her to stop making that awful noise. By the time she finally managed to calm herself enough to scream 'who the fuck are you?' at him, he was already thoroughly panicked. Who did she think he was, a serial killer? A ghost? Elias didn't think he looked particularly intimidating...she was almost as tall as him and probably only twenty pounds lighter. What could he possibly do to her? He didn't know how to reply to her question. Tell her his name? Tell her that he was in no way a danger to the safety of anyone but himself? Should he just run out of the attic?

"J-J-Jesus, c-c-calm d-d-down!" he cried, a little louder than he intended, waving his journal at her, gesturing for her to shut up. "Y-y-you d-do'nt have t-t-to s-s-scream. M-my n-n-name's Elias. I w-w-was j-j-just l-looking around-d...wh-who the f-f-fuck are y-you?" The jolt he had been given by the girl's screams had made his stutter ten times worse; he had trouble just forcing the words out, and wondered if she could even understand him. Any embarrassment he might had felt at that fact was eclipsed by the utter confusion of this confrontation. He looked at her more closely after a moment, noticing her facial scar, wondering if she had put it there herself. But that was just one of the thoughts that was blundering through his rudely awakened mind, and it hardly stayed there for more than a second. The stupor of molasses-thick depression that his brain was used to had been whipped into a unexpected frenzy, and it was, needless to say, confusing and messy.

Elias listened, trying to see if he could hear any footsteps from below, but he couldn't. Maybe no-one had heard her screaming bloody murder. That was unlikely, but he supposed it wasn't impossible that no-one had been near enough to the forbidden staircase to hear. It was, after all, supposed to be off limits to students. The last thing he needed was for this crazy screaming girl to accuse him of attacking her or something, even though if anyone was the attacker here it was her. The shock was beginning to wear off a little, and Elias was beginning to feel slightly irritated. He'd been having a perfectly nice, quiet moment in this nice, quiet abandoned attic before this banshee of a female had intruded upon his peaceful reverie. How fair was that? He just wanted to be left alone...how hard was that going to be to manage here? Suddenly, Elias wanted to go home, a sensation he hadn't really had yet. A lump formed in his throat, and he found himself struggling not to cry. That was just what needed to happen to make this even worse, if that was even possible. Bursting into tears in front of this total stranger.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:48 pm

Heart still racing, Faith stood in a position that came naturally to her: shoulders hunched and legs positioned in such a way that would have made fleeing an easy option, had she not been pressed against the far wall of the room. The black haired boy (or was it brown hair? She couldn't tell in the dim light, and the second she had the thought she chastised herself for thinking about his hair color, of all things) wasn't blocking the exit, but if he chose to jump up as she started to run, he could easily get there before she did - blocking the door. There was always the window, but...no. Glancing behind her, she didn't like her chances. As well as getting covered with more scars, something she desperately wanted to avoid, she was pretty sure that jumping out of a third or fourth (or was it higher?) floor window wasn't such a smart idea. No, she'd just have to convince Elias to leave first, run for it, or fight him if it came down to physicality. It barely even occurred to Faith that the two could just have a normal conversation and each leave when they wanted, without feeling threatened. Like that was going to happen.

Her position was that of a victim, not of a fighter, and she forced herself to stand a little straighter, trying to look a little more confident. If there was one thing she had learned from five years in a children's home, it was that the vulnerable looking kids got picked on. It didn't look as though Elias was about to attack her, if she thought about it - he looked more like the one that was being bullied, not like the one who had been hidden under a desk, just waiting for a vulnerable girl to come along so he could scare her and maybe take advantage of her... Since her therapy, Faith had been calmer around men, but being moved to a new home and being taken off her old, very calming medication hadn't helped her anxiety surrounding them one lick. Elias was just the unfortunate bystander who got the full force of her paranoia.

The second he began speaking Faith groaned, not considering the effect her reaction would have on him. Did he really have to stutter? Her fear drained away, calm replacing the previous anxiety. She didn't have anything to be scared of from a boy that couldn't get out a sentence properly; she knew that type. They were the bullied ones, never the ones to start an attack, more like the ones that would get the crap beaten out of them. She felt a lot safer. "Christ, I'm c-c-calm already," she muttered, not quite loud enough for Elias to hear. She knew that attacking his speech was pretty cruel -probably like somebody mocking her scar- but Faith felt as though she had no choice. She had to prove that she had control over the situation, that she was the one with the power or in charge. Otherwise he might try to hurt her. Besides, he was a boy, and boys weren't as self-conscious as girls - it wasn't as though it would do him any harm, after all.

Rationalizing rapidly, she waited for the kid to finish his little speech (which took a ridiculously long time) before she smirked at him. "I'm F-F-Faith," she replied nastily, feeling a pang of guilt but squashing the feeling down as best she could. If she didn't hurt him first, he'd just walk all over her, thinking he could do what he liked. "And I'm just doing a little exploring of my ow-own. What the f-f-fuck is wrong with your speaking?" Probably not grammatically correct, but at least she didn't stutter continually like he did. Trying to act as though she didn't care that she'd possibly damaged a near strangers confidence, Faith wrapped some of her hair around her finger, automatically tugging it forward so it partially covered her scar as she stared down at Elias. He looked as though he was about to cry, and she prayed that he wouldn't. That would just make her feel awful.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:09 am

Elias, once again, having never met a girl in an attic, was not prepared for her to mock his speech impediment. That was a pretty low blow; he was pretty sensitive about his stutter, probably because he hadn't been born with it. It hadn't started to get bad until after the death of his father. Before that, he'd stuttered occasionally when he was nervous, but it wasn't all the time, every sentence, like it was now. Doctors had said it was psychogenic, caused by the sudden violent trauma of the death -- no, the murder. It was like a stigma.

He wondered what he'd done that had prompted her to be so mean...there wasn't any reason for it. That fact had been dogging him all his life; no matter how nice or polite or obediant he tried to be, someone was always mean to him. It really didn't matter what he did or what he didn't do; people were going to step on him because he was easy target. The only time he'd ever fought back was when he'd shot his dad in the back of the head, and he neither could nor would want to shoot every needlessly unpleasant person in the head. Any self-worth that might have been instilled in Elias by his mother as a child had long ago been beaten out of him, so there really wasn't much there to damage. But he couldn't help but feel a pang, even tough he told himself that she was just a spiteful little girl lashing out at whomever happened to be around her. Elias stood there, fighting valiantly against tears, as Faith finished making fun of him, and then, trying his best to keep the words intact, replied,

"You d-don't have to b-be a bitch about it. I kn-know my v-v-voice is f-fucked up." Then, the words came rolling out without his wanting them to, revenge for her intolerance, he continued, "J-just like your f-face. S-so leave me alone." He knew it was childish and cruel and stupid, but he didn't care. He was angry, and he didn't know how to express it. He certainly couldn't hit her -- she was a girl, a thin one, and she couldn't fight back. Not that Elias particularly wanted to fight. In fact, he would prefer to avoid it. But if Faith had been of the opposite gender and had said that, he might have taken a swing at her. It was how he had learned to deal with his problems.

Turning away from her, sniffling, he found himself looking at his own reflection in a dusty, outdated mirror. His face was starting to turn red, and his mouth was crinkled up with his resolve not to cry. It made him hate himself. He felt bad about being mean to Faith; he felt shitty about this entire encounter, in fact, and he just wanted to go downstairs and forget that this attic even existed. Elias looked away from the grime-encrusted mirror and back at the girl, blinking rapidly and hoping she felt as guilty as he did.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:03 am

As soon as Elias told her that she was being a bitch, Faith felt a strong wave of regret. Her aim had been to be mean, to hurt the boys feelings, but he just sounded so hurt. She hadn't wanted to make him cry. Biting her lip, she stared at the boy, her confident and hopefully intimidating pose fading quickly as she went a little pale. What if Elias had serious problems? He might be suicidal, depressed, have paranoia about his speech. What if she'd really hurt him? Her teeth were digging into her lip uncomfortably hard, and she placed her right hand on the same leg automatically, pushing down through the thick fabric of her jeans. It didn't really hurt, as there were no open wounds -only healing and old scars- but it just seemed natural to hurt herself. Almost as punishment for hurting Elias.

She was about to apologize. Before he spoke, Faith was beginning to formulate the words in her mind; trying to decide if she should explain everything, or just say that she was in a bad mood. It's my first day. I hate men. Being alone in a small space scared me. I haven't taken my prescription pills today, because I've been changed to some new ones, and I don't have my razor blades which are my safety net, and I thought I was alone up here and you scared me. Something honest, pure, sincere; she thought that it would make him feel better. As cruel as she could be at times, seeing a boy her own age or older look like he was about to burst into tears made her feel like she was about to cry as well, especially as she had caused his sadness.

The moment she opened her mouth in order to begin her apology, Elias added to his sentence, with words so cruel that Faith actually took a step backwards into the wall. Her left hand coming up, she covered the mark, feeling the skin beneath it burn as she went bright red with embarrassment. Even at Hillsview, nobody had ever brought that up - not in such a direct manner, anyway, and very rarely to her face like that. He was horrible, cruel, the most disgusting person she had ever come across - and as she opened her mouth to vocalize that, with expletives and adjectives galore, she heard a small pathetic squeak from her own throat as she burst into tears.

Great.

Not able to help herself, Faith tried to carry out all her insults, hating the ridiculous sound that her voice made -speaking whilst crying was one of the things she hated most- but feeling angry enough that she wanted to hurt Elias more than he had hurt her. Which sounded like a tricky task. "You're mean," was the best she could come up with straight away. "And you're really ugly and I bet you're a rapist or a murderer or something and you're a really horrible person and I was about to say sorry to you." It seemed terribly unjust to her. Faith sat down, leaning against the wall behind her and continued crying, both hands now covering her scar and part of her face. "I wish you were dead."

Her response was out of proportion for the comment that had been made, she was aware, but it summed up the emotions she was feeling perfectly. Without really thinking about it, she kept talking, almost shouting in a desire to make him feel regret for what he had said. "Do you know how I got that scar? I cut my face open with a razor blade, deep enough that I needed stitches. And I moved here so people wouldn't keep being mean about it. And it's my first day and the woman that came to interview me at Hillsview said that people would be sensitive about it and that means not saying horrible things like you just did!" Her voice went more than a little high towards the end, and Faith was in control of herself enough to know that she was causing herself unnecessary embarrassment. Resting her head on her knees, she kept crying, arms wrapped around herself. How could someone be that mean?
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:19 am

All the anger drained out of Elias as Fairth turned red and took a step back. His words had had more impact than he'd intended. Guilt rippled through him as she started to cry. He hadn't meant to make her cry, and the sight of her tears was enough to make him start crying in earnest, too. The noise he made, something between a gargle and a very non-masculine squeak, aside from being embarrassing, made him hate himself even more. He was just so pathetic. He wanted to explain himself, but she just kept ranting, and he couldn't get the words out. The longer she talked, the worse she made Elias feel, and by the time she was done he just wanted to lay down and die. This poor girl was just as fucked up as he was, she was probably younger than him, even, and he'd taken a terrible cheap shot at her. He'd hit her where she hurt most, just like she'd done to him, but there was no satisfaction in it. It just wasn't fair. None of this was fair. He sat down on the floor too, wiping his face with his hands before saying,

"W-well, g-guess what? I w-wish I was d-dead t-t-too." Saying it made him cry harder, feel even worse. He didn't know exactly when he'd lost the will to live; it had just happened, gradually, slowly, the thoughts accumulating each day, until it was all-consuming. At one point dying had been all he was able to think about. That wasn't the case any more, but he still would rather not exist, never more so than at moments like this. The things Faith had said about him were all true. He was really ugly, a horrible person, he was even a murderer. He'd killed his own father, for God's sake. She'd even gotten that part right. Her words didn't make him mad anymore; they just made him feel bad about himself. He felt like the useless failure of a person he'd always been told that he was. When he'd managed to get himself under enough control to speak again, both breathing and stuttering heavily, Elias said,

"I'm r-r-really s-sorry...d-don't cry. Y-you s-still look n-n-nice, even w-with the sc-scar. And if it m-m-makes you f-feel any b-better, I have a l-lot of sc-scars t-t-too. S-s-see?" He rolled up one of his sleeves and ripped off one of the bandages, exposing an ugly bled of old scars, newer ones, and nearly healed cuts. He extended his arm, bidding her to look. A few were darker, thicker than the others, the deeper ones from his suicide attempt, but they had been bisected a few times since then. Those cuts had sparked endless arguments with Carmela, an unfathomable number of stern looks from his psychiatrist, and too many wide-eyed stares and snickers from kids his age, but he didn't care. Elias hadn't found any other way to pull himself up from the heavy gloom that weighed down his mind other than cutting himself. It was a moment of release, of excitement, and just looking at the scars made him want to cut again. He repressed the urge as best he could and hoped that Faith would forgive him; he would still feel like an asshole, but maybe less so. By showing her one of his weakest points, he was making some sort of reconciliation in his mind. Showing that they weren't so different.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:01 am

Faith looked at the boy who was sitting about two, three metres away from her and almost smiled through her tears at the ridiculous situation they were in. It had been what, five minutes, and the pair of them were already bawling together just because she'd turned around and got a fright. No, not just because of that. Because she'd been mean. The urge to smile disappeared as an icy blade of guilt stabbed her in the stomach. It was all her fault. She had hurt both of them, stupidly. As tempting as it was to apologize, her pride got in the way, stopping her from opening her mouth. If I say sorry, I'll sound so stupid... Instead, she continued to sob quietly, hiding her face once again. It wasn't really Elias that had caused her distress - he had triggered it, but she would have broken down at some point that night anyway. She had lived in the same house for four years; moving to a new, strange county with nobody familiar was bound to be more than a little upsetting.

As soon as Elias spoke, claiming that he wished himself to be dead, Faith closed her eyes. On this day, I, Faith Williams, informed a suicidal boy that I wished he was dead. I think I deserve to go to Hell. How did she get herself into these situations? Elias was the first student she had spoken to since her arrival, and they were both crying. She sincerely hoped that the rest of her interactions, as limited as she planned to make them, would be less disturbing. "Don't say that," she told him, slightly awkwardly. "That's stupid. I didn't mean it." It was as close as she'd come to an apology for a while, not whilst her pride was still smarting over the comment he had made regarding her scar. It was still covered with one hand, for fear of him saying something else about it - even though he had apologized, and told her that she looked nice, there was still a hint of paranoia left over from his remark.

Seeing his scars made her feel a little safer, and she let her hand drop from her face as she edged slightly closer to get a better look. The scars made her wince to look at, but she couldn't stop staring, entranced by the infallible proof that there was somebody as messed up as she was. She moved closer again, reaching out to take Elias' arm and then hesitating. She knew better than to touch scars without permission - after all, she hated it when anybody even looked at hers. Touching was out of the question - the wounds were private, telling the most secret of stories. No, they were invitation only. And who was she to make physical contact with a strange boy in an abandoned attic? God, this is a weird situation.

"How did you...do those?" she asked. "Wait, is that blood? Fresh blood?" Eyes moving from the marks to his face and back, Faith felt sick. Had he cut herself before she walked in? Or had he somehow done it because of her, after she had insulted him? It was hard to concentrate on anything except for her own rising urge to cut, and she was becoming noticeably anxious. "How did you cut?" she asked, without waiting for him to answer her question about the blood. "Did you...do it here? Do you have anything sharp?" Having already humiliated herself repeatedly in front of the stranger, Faith didn't think it would matter too much if she begged to share his cutting tool. After all, he understood what the urge was like, obviously.

Seeing wounds on other people was remarkably triggering, she had discovered. Right then, if she had a razor blade, she would have hurt herself in front of Elias - it had been four days since she had done anything, and the desire to do so was overwhelming. Her eyes, roaming the room frantically, abruptly stopped on an item just behind the boys back. "The mirror..." It was obvious what her intention was.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:28 am

"Th-they're from b-before I g-got here," he said quietly, the expression on her face kind of freaking him out. "They j-just haven't healed y-yet. I w-was...p-picking at it earlier. That's why it's b-bleeding, I g-guess." In retrospect, maybe it had been a bad idea to show Faith his cuts, because it appeared to have given her a few unpleasant ideas. More than a few, actually, judging by the look in her eyes. He hadn't thought about that. While the wounds of others were a trigger for Faith, it was the opposite way for Elias; anyone else's blood grossed him out, but his own had a strange calming effect. If she were to expose any wounds to him, he would have recoiled, maybe even felt a little dizzy. Diego had always taken a great sadistic pleasure in making sure Elias saw every wound he received, accidently or otherwise, then laughing at him at him when he complained. He supposed that was what older siblings did, but it was still mean.

Elias' eyes followed hers to the mirror, and a nameless dread rose inside of him. She wasn't planning to break it, was she? As appealing as the thought of having a sharp object was, the thought of breaking a mirror to get it was not as appealing, and just sounded like a damn bad idea. He would prefer that he quietly and unobtrusively obtain something sufficiently sharp on his own at a later, more opportune date. Besides, after this strange and emotional encounter, Elias just wanted to go to sleep for a week. Looking from Faith to the mirror and back again, the dread doubled. Could he talk her out of it, or was he going to have to physically restrain her? It kind of seemed like it. Though he wasn't exactly the best persuasive speaker, or, actually, the best speaker period, he said,

"Um...m-maybe you shouldn't t-touch the m-mirror. I m-mean, maybe w-we should go d-downstairs," he said. The last thing he wanted right now was to be stuck in an attic with a bleeding girl who seemed unstable enough to take a stab at him with a shard of shattered mirror if she felt compulsed. His number one priority at this point in his stay at Highgrove was still blending into the wall, and he didn't want to be known as the boy who had helped that girl break the mirror in the attic and then gotten stabbed in the throat with one of its pieces. Slightly put on edge by her intentions, Elias bit his lip and hoped that all of his encounters here wouldn't be like this. This as the first full-length conversation he'd had with another resident, and he'd already insulted someone quite harshly, cried, and showed someone all of his hideous self-harm scars. Hopefully his social interaction would become smoother with time, or he was going to have an emotional breakdown earlier than expected.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:43 pm

Faith kept staring at the scars, both fresh, red ones and what appeared to be very old white ones. She had never really seen another self-harmers scars, aside from a few pictures on the Internet, but the staff at Hillsview had got wind of that and restricted her access pretty quickly. For the most part, it was only her own cuts that she had any experience with. Despite knowing it to be true, she hadn't really believed that there were other cutters out there; maybe they existed, sure, but they seemed to be on a different planet. She'd never seen one, after all; why should she believe that she wasn't the only one? But Elias was holding out undeniable proof, proof which made her feel both ecstatic that she was no longer alone, and hurt, for reasons she couldn't quite identify.

She couldn't put into words why seeing his wounds made her want to hurt herself, but it did. It had something to do with jealously, in a sense; the urge to be the best cutter rose up strong, once there was somebody to 'compete' with. Aside from that, however, she could only identify a little sadness. Sadness for Elias, not for herself. It was fine that she cut - good, in fact; it helped her. Him self-harming, on the other hand, seemed totally unacceptable. Faith could suddenly understand why everybody got all concerned when they found out that she'd been hurting herself again. It just seemed different when it was somebody else holding the razor blade. And not just because she wanted it for herself.

"Why were you picking at them?" she asked, and then blushed. "Sorry. I know that's probably...you don't want to talk about it. I don't mind." She had always hated it when her various mental health professionals had asked her for the 'motivation' behind various incidents of self-harm, mostly because they always just seemed so stupidly petty. They laughed because I gave the wrong answer in class didn't seem like a valid reason, yet she didn't want to exaggerate and have to come up with something more dramatic. Usually, she would just shrug, and tell them -if she could work up the courage- that they were the psychologist; they should be the one with the answer to all her problems.

That never usually got such a great reaction.

Elias' voice seemed a little panicked when she pointed out the mirror, and she reluctantly moved her eyes away from it and focused on his instead. It didn't appear that there was any chance of him becoming her ally in that little expedition; that was fine. She could just act normal, and go up there again on her own once he'd left. The thought that a staff member might attempt to stop her didn't enter her brain. "You're right," she told him with all the sincerity she could muster. "It was stupid. Sorry." Like an addict who needed a fix, as that was what she was, Faith was willing to lie to get her way. "Shall we...yeah, let's go." Giving him a faint smile, she stood up, waiting to see if he'd follow or invent some reason to stay so he could get to the mirror himself.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:27 pm

Elias didn't really know why he had been picking at his cuts -- it was automatic at this point. He could feel safe as long as he had a way to hurt himself. It was the one thing he had always had control over, the one way that he could always express his feelings. Today hadn't been a particularly bad day until Faith had stumbled into it, but the urge to self harm was still there. It wasn't a reaction to bad feelings anymore; it wasn't a reaction to anything anymore. It was a daily compulsion, a ritual he had to perform just to feel normal. He didn't really like talking about it, because it had always seemed really personal, but the first time he'd been put in the hospital he'd met a lot of other cutters. Suddenly, he'd felt like part of a really sad club. That feeling had never gone away; he looked at people wearing sweaters on mild days and wondered what they were hiding. He looked at someone crossing their arms and wondered if they were bleeding through their sleeves too. It was actually kind of comforting to know that he wasn't alone in it.

"It's okay. N-no reason, r-really. I j-just... d-do it n-now. L-like, automatically. Just b-because." Elias replied, rolling his sleeve back down. The first time he'd ever cut himself he'd been twelve years old, trapped in his abusive home and searching for some small escape. He had done it with a safety pin, locked in his bathroom -- the small, bloody scratches that it had produced were hardly worth it, but it was a start. By the time he had graduated to razor blades, he was doing it every day, just a little, so his father wouldn't notice the evidence of his weakness. After he died, hiding it was no longer necessary. It horrified Carmela, who had evidently been expecting her sudden motherhood to be a cakewalk; she didn't understand it, and thought that if she guilt tripped him enough he would stop. This had the opposite effect. The next thing she tried was patronizing, cajoling -- 'Elias, don't you want to go swimming in the summer? Don't you want to wear short sleeved shirts?' When that backfired on her, she resorted to screaming at him over it. This was obviously detrimental to her cause, but she was too frustrated to care anymore. There was no cure to this apparent ailment, which irked her to no end. She repeatedly asked him why he felt the need to 'do this to her', and he had never had an answer. The only thing Elias could say was that the pain of injuring himself was a momentary key to his cage -- for a minute or two, he could crawl out of his own mind and all its consuming thoughts and focus on something else.

Elias stood when Faith did, eyeing her with some suspicion; he wasn't stupid. She wasn't going to be giving up on the idea of the mirror any time soon. As soon as she was sure that no-one was around, she was going to come up here and shatter the mirror. He knew that it wasn't any of his business, but it seemed so tragic. Aside from the facial scar, she was a pretty girl, and the thought of her mutilating herself made him sad even though she'd been kind of a bitch to him. Confrontation, however, wasn't Elias' thing. If he'd been a different guy, maybe he would have called her on it, but that wasn't his style. Still, the idea that Faith might die up here and that it would be his fault was awful. Suicide was a double standard for Elias; it was fine for him, but if anyone else tried it it suddenly became a tragedy. Frowning at her, he said,

"Y-yeah, we'll g-go, b-but.." Looking into the mirror at his own discontented expression, Elias realized that if he didn't say something he would feel like an asshole for the rest of his life. Picturing Faith bleeding out on the attic floor, alone among the mountains of dusty junk, he continued, "J-just...w-will you be c-careful?"
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:15 am

Faith nodded, thinking that she could understand what Elias meant. Cutting wasn't just a release of pent-up energy for her; after a while, it had become something automatic, routine. Even if she was in a good mood, when she had access to a razor she would hurt herself - just because she could, really. She had the power to control what happened to her own body. It was nice to have just that, although it seemed that authority figures, trying to do what was 'best' for her, did everything they could to take that away. Highgrove, the psych ward...they were the same, really. Full off adults who thought they knew what she needed, when in fact she coped just fine with a razor blade and nothing else.

Her eyes stayed on the mirror for a few seconds after she stood up, the desire to get what she needed so badly strong. But she had to pretend, make Elias think that she wasn't going to touch it. Faith wasn't one hundred percent sure that he wouldn't go running to a staff member ten seconds after they left the attic, ready to tell on her. There's a crazy girl upstairs and she's going to cut herself. Elias seemed trustworthy, simply because they had a shared secret, but it probably wouldn't last. It was very likely that he'd turn out to be like any other boy, once they were out of the strange situation they had found themselves in - it was just the eerie atmosphere of the attic that had made them feel close for a while.

As soon as he asked her to be careful, Faith's heart softened. How...cute. She stared at him in the semi-darkness, feeling slightly touched. Did he actually care if she hurt herself? Or was he just protecting his own ass, making sure that he wouldn't get into trouble for letting her do what she was so obviously planning on doing? "Of course I will," she told him, touched. "I...well, you do the same." Awkwardly, she gave him a little smile, before walking towards the door. The more time they spent up in the attic, the more likely it was that somebody would miss them -well, maybe Elias; she didn't know anybody that would go looking for her- and the more likely that they would be stopped from going up there again. Mirror or no mirror, it seemed like a nice hiding place.

Waiting at the top of the staircase for Elias, Faith wondered if he would tell anybody where they had been. "Maybe we should...you know, keep this quiet. Nobody has to know about up here, do they?" Her voice was slightly anxious. "I mean, it's really nice, and...I don't want the staff ruining it... You know what they're like. What they'd do." Please agree, she thought, almost desperately. Don't ruin this for me. She needed to have a back-up hiding spot, after the attic; it was too risky, she knew. But finding a back-up could wait until she had secured the main hiding spot, first.

She wasn't sure how they were going to get down the stairs sneakily, especially if he didn't agree to her plan of keeping the place secret. They'd have to watch out for passing staff members -and students; if everybody began going upstairs it would be ruined as a hiding space- as well as taking a bit of a risk - sticking their heads out to see if anybody was passing would require a bit of luck. The fact that both of them had managed to sneak away was fairly impressive, she thought; hopefully they would be able to get out in the same manner.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:31 am

Picking up his journal, Elias followed Faith over to the top of the stairs, then stopped, taking one last look around the interesting old attic. He listened to her, slightly bewildered; telling the staff had never crossed his mind. He didn't have a huge trust for authority figures in the first place, and besides, to tell them about Faith he would have to implicate himself, something he wasn't willing to do for her quite yet. As for telling other residents...Elias certainly didn't have any friends here, and the acquaintanceships he had made had been impersonal and brief. There was no-one to tell. In the end, if Faith decided to come back up here and break that mirror, it would be her decision and her problem, and he had no right or really any power to stop her. Betraying her would be a terrible transgression, a breaking of some strange trust that he didn't understand but wouldn't infringe upon. It would have been like giving up his brother to his father, something which he hadn't done and didn't intend to do the equivalent of now. Her promise to be careful had likely meant nothing; he knew that first hand. He'd made numerous promises over the years of the very same nature, and every one of them had been an outright lie. But at the same time it made him feel a little better. Maybe she would think twice now.

"I w-won't tell anyone," Elias promised. He didn't want to lose this attic any more than she did. And while he was sure that eventually someone else would find their way up here, maybe already had, it was still a good, quiet hiding place. He needed it, and if he had to share it with Faith, then at least it was someone he knew would be discreet about it. She probably wasn't the worst person in this place to have to be around, anyway. There were worse things that could happen to a person than crying in front of a stranger, although he couldn't think of very many at that exact moment. Things could have gotten pretty ugly. Feeling particularly conspiratorial at this apparent secret that they now shared, he continued,

"G-getting out of here is g-going to b-be harder than g-getting in, I think." He listened, but didn't hear anyone down below. Maybe if they just dashed down the stairs and then acted casual, no-one would catch them. "I d-don't hear anyone c-coming. Do you think w-we should j-just...g-go?" He looked to her for a response, wondering if she had any sort of plan. When he had come up here, he hadn't been thinking of much of anything, but now he was silently cursing himself for even climbing the stairs in the first place. He wondered idly how much trouble they would get in if they were discovered up here, and the thought made him feel gloomy. The last thing he wanted to do was be lectured by a self-righteous staff member. This day would have gone much better if he had just stayed downstairs. Much less exciting, yes -- but Elias preferred things on the dull side.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:07 am

"Yeah, we'd both get into trouble if anyone found out," she told him, glad that he'd agreed, but eager to remind him that he'd committed as much of a 'crime' as she had. "What do they do for punishment here? I mean...it's probably a big rule that we can't go in there, and they'd probably do something really horrible." Faith knew she was laying on a bit thick, and tried to back up a little. "I mean...you know, extra chores." A fate worse than death, she imagined. Especially if they'd been assigned to the same chores group as she had - livestock. What was that, anyway? She imagined it had something to do with cleaning up after some of the animals she had seen upon entering Highgrove, which pissed her off a little. If they insisted on having useless cows and sheep and horses everywhere, they should clean up after them - not make the kids do it. Kitchen chores would have been a lot more entertaining, not least because she would have had access to knives.

Faith looked back at Elias, shrugging. "I guess, yeah." It would likely be best to just run out and act as though they'd simply been walking down the corridor; sneaking around would look more suspicious. Getting up the nerve to do it, however, was a little scarier. She couldn't quite shake the feeling that she was going to run straight into a staff member, who would immediately...well, do something nasty. She hadn't quite imagined what it would be; maybe something involving a dark basement, rats and a few chains. Like they did to crazy people way before she had been born.

Just deciding to go for it, she edged down the last few stairs and turned to look both ways quickly, checking that the corridor was empty. Safe. Getting caught would have been too horrible, especially because she had found that mirror. She needed just to know that it was there, to be her safety net. Smiling at Elias, Faith checked once again that nobody could see them, and then picked a random direction to begin walking in. She hoped that he would come with her, and not just because she didn't have a hope in hell of finding the dorms by herself. It would be pleasant to talk to him, to be a little less lonely for a while.

A boy came walking down the hallway, giving her an odd look, and Faith suddenly realized that she still looked as though she had been crying - she'd been so busy imagining smashing up the mirror, she hadn't even given her own reflection a thought. Wiping her sleeve across her face a couple times, making sure the gross mixture of snot and tears were completely gone, she turned to Elias. "Do I look okay?" she asked. There was really only one answer to that question, and she rolled her eyes. "I mean, do I look like I've been...you know, crying?" She would have preferred to walk around the building covered with dog shit then let anybody know that she'd been crying on her first day. It would make her look weak.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:37 pm

Elias actually didn't mind doing chores, but he didn't say that. It was probably weird. He and the animals existed in a benign state of tolerance; they gained something from his being there and he didn't have to feel weird around them. And while they were bad-smelling and needy, they were better companions than humanity had ever been for him. So extra chores wouldn't be too bad a punishment. He really couldn't think of a punishment that would be all that bad, but he didn't say that either. He just followed Faith down the stairs and into the corridor. She seemed to know where she was going, even though he doubted that she actually had any idea where she was, so he just kept following. Elias had never been much of a leader. He would rather have followed her off a cliff than be subject to the effort of asserting himself. The thought that she might want to get rid of him crossed his mind, but it didn't seem like she would be smiling at him if she wanted him to go away. Admittedly, Elias knew fuck-all about the inner mechanisms of females, but that seemed like a logical process for anyone.

When she turned and asked if she looked alright, he was momentarily lost for words. Well, technically, he had been somewhat lost for words for the majority of his life, but even more so at that particular moment. What was he supposed to say to that? He was glad when she ammended the question; that was a lot more straightforward and easier to work with. Elias was not entirely privy to the rule that you were supposed to lie and tell a girl that she looked fine no matter what she actually looked like. He knew that his stepmother always asked his opinion about her hair because he was always so 'honest about it'; what he didn't know was that that was largely a bad thing and that she actually just wanted to hear that her hair was fine.

"Yeah, a l-little," he replied, shrugging. She did, but not overwhelmingly; maybe he wouldn't have noticed it if he hadn't actually witnessed her crying. Once she had asked him that, he began to wonder if his face looked weird. He was well aware that after he cried he was often left with vaguely the same appearance as a casual crack user, and while he usually didn't take an overwhelming amount of notice of his appearance, he would have liked to avoid that look. So he asked her the same thing she had asked him.

"W-what about me?" he asked, rubbing a hand over his face. "D-do I look w-weird?" That was perhaps not the best way that he could have phrased that question, but with Elias it was a little miracle every time he managed to get a sentence out at all; it was best not to worry about how the sentence was worded.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Aidan-Jeffrey Corrigan on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:36 am

“It's Corrigan. A resident reported hearing a scream coming from one of the out of bounds areas. I’m going to take a look.” A.J. released the button on his radio and clipped it back onto his belt. Turning down the volume a bit, he vaguely heard another voice acknowledge his announcement.

Screaming. Screaming in the middle of the day at a quiet children’s home in the country. That was not a good thing. Sure kids screamed at one another from time to time. Hell, when he was younger A.J. had done plenty of screaming. Too much. And in his experience, it was never good. Especially in places like this. The kids weren’t exactly...well...normal. It wasn’t the nicest thing to think about them but it was true. He knew that better than most. Takes one to know one, I guess. It was one of the reasons why he took this job, afterall. He didn’t know what it was like to not have a place to call home or a family, but he could relate to what had driven most of these kids here. He knew what it was like to feel displaced, broken and...wrong. And while he had almost ten years on some of the residents, the scars and the raw emotions they invoked were still there. Almost as fresh as they day they were inflicted. Almost.

But at this exact moment in time, it was the reports of a scream that saw him walking briskly down the hall. He didn’t want to break out into a full run. There was not need to alarm anyone else. Watchful blue eyes and attentive ears absorbed everything in their path. Any one of the residents could have been the screamer. Or the one causing the screamer to scream. If they were smart, they wouldn’t still be lingering about the prohibited area. It had been a few minutes since he was told about, what the wide-eyed kid had called, the “death wail of a banshee.” Not a believer in banshees and the like, A.J. had assured the kid that it was just another resident probably just letting off a little steam with one of those therapeutic yells. Fat chance of that. As he walked, his mind ran through the possible scenarios that he could possibly run into.

Kids fighting...easy to handle. Some kid beating the crap out of another kid...tricky, but still easy to handle. Forced sexual interaction... The thought threw off his concentration and his gait slowed for a few seconds. Please don't let that be it. Please don't let that be it. The thought terrified him. Disgusted him. Angered him. With renewed purpose, he continued along his way. His eyes scanned every face that crossed his path in the hallway. He was looking for that tell tale look. The look of someone in fear, or anger. The look of someone who had been crying or the guilty look that someone people couldn’t keep off of their faces when they’d just done something they weren’t supposed to do. They were all looks that he was familiar with. He’d learned to watch out for them, to try and read faces like a book.

Turning a corner, he spotted just what he had been looking for. Two residents; a boy and a girl. Both looking a bit disheveled in the face. Almost as if they’d both been crying. Why would they both be crying? There was no way to know, except to ask and he intended to do just that. His instincts told him that these two were guilty of something...he just had to find out what it was. “You two. Stay right there. I wanna have a word with you.”
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:40 am

Faith kept rubbing her eyes, trying to get the tell-tale 'I've just been crying' look off her face. It wouldn't go away completely, she knew, until she could wash her face with cold water; years of experience of hiding her tears had made her a near expert at making sure nobody would be able to tell. She had always thought of others who cried as weak and pathetic, the same applying to herself - it was something to hide. The girls that went around bursting into tears every time they saw a picture of a neglected puppy completely baffled her. To Faith, crying was a private activity, not one to share with the world. Sorrow became less passionate when it was shown publicly.

She gave Elias a quick check. "Um, you look like you've been crying," she told him. "But not weird." The pair of them could probably get away with tear-stained cheeks and red eyes until they found the bathrooms; as long as they didn't have to talk to anybody, or get looked at too closely, they would be fine. Faith was confident in her ability to get away with it, having spent a great deal of time walking through school corridors and hiding tears, usually en route to a bathroom where she could have some privacy. She hadn't even considered the idea that Highgrove would have slightly more observant members of staff, being it a home for troubled teenagers.

"Is it hard to talk?" she asked, or began to ask, when a loud voice interrupted her. Faith's head snapped up, body tensing, a feeling of shock running through her. She hated it when people yelled; it always made her jump, made her look stupid. The man walking towards them wasn't one she recognized, although she barely knew anyone. He looked scary, the sort of person that made you want to burst into tears the second they started speaking. "What'd we do?" she hissed at Elias, then suddenly realized. It was obvious what they had done. But how did the man find out about it? She couldn't tell if he was a security guard, a random intruder, a teacher or a therapist, which made him even more worrying. On the bright side he was definitely too old to be a resident, lessening the chances of him being completely mental somewhat.

Faith gave the man her best innocent look, one cultivated from endless lying about spots of blood found on her sheets, standing still in the corridor as he moved closer towards them. "Is everything okay, sir?" she asked, with forced politeness, jumping in before Elias could speak (or stutter). Acting as though one respected people was a good way to get out of sticky situations, but something she hated doing, particularly towards men who didn't show any courtesy back. The sooner this guy fucks off, the better.

"I was just, um, trying to find the dorms. It's my first day, you see, and Elias...noticed that I was lost, and offered to help me." Fixing a bright smile onto her face, she watched the guard closely for any signs of softening, praying that he'd just continue on his way and leave the pair of them alone without asking any further questions - especially not ones that she couldn't jump in and answer. Whilst Faith was just barely competent enough to get away with lying to a chimpanzee with mental retardation, she had the feeling that Elias would be a thousand times worse, blushing and stuttering away. Please just go along with what I said, she prayed. Come on. Don't get all honest on me now.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:49 pm

That was good enough for him. He'd spent a lot of time crying since his father had died; before that, crying had been made into some sort of mortal sin, a folly that got you nothing but the barrel of a gun pressed to your head. After a while, when the memory of those consequences had somewhat faded, the floodgates had opened. Elias was, by nature, a crier, which didn't do anything for his already-ruined self esteem. Tears were both an expression and a cause of the self-hatred that had come to make up a not-so-pleasant part of himself. He wiped his face on the back of his hand one more time, and therefore wasn't prepared when the harsh voice of another male barked over Faith's question. He jumped, a physical reaction to the years of instant fear response to that same sound. The man who had approached them looked severe and, as much as he hated to admit it, frightening. He was most certainly a security guard; Elias had seen him before, but had never had any interaction with him.

"What'd we do?" He thought it was pretty obvious what they'd done, but what he didn't know was how the security guard knew that they had done it. Maybe it was their tear-stained faces? Did they look particularly guilty? Had he heard Faith's scream? At any rate, Elias didn't have time to formulate an answer before she was shooting politeness and relative charm toward the guy. He was glad someone was doing it; it gave him a minute to make sure that his words would come out semi-coherent instead of a jumbled mess of tangled consonants. Her lies were a little clumsy, but they were believable, at least. Elias was an awful liar; it didn't take a genius to figure that one out. When she was done speaking, he nodded in agreement and backed her up with,

"Y-yeah. I w-was j-just....helping." He smiled a particularly lukewarm smile -- he'd never been good at faking any emotion at all -- and fixed his eyes on a point beyond the guard's head. Getting caught trespassing in the attic hadn't exactly been on his list of things to do today, and if he had been alone, he would have probably gone unnoticed. This was all Faith's fault, but he couldn't muster up enough energy to be angry at her. She was a not-so-bad person now that he knew her a little more; now this security guard was the enemy. All he wanted was to get away from the man without any more trouble. But if they got away with this it would be a miracle; Elias and Faith were hardly the next Bonnie and Clyde.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Aidan-Jeffrey Corrigan on Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:14 am

“I’m telling you A.J., it works like a charm. You should give it a try, bro.”

“I…I d-d-don’t kn-know, P-Patrick…I d-d-don’t w-wanna lie t-to any b-b-body…”

“You must like staying in trouble…”


Sparked by the current situation, the memory was sudden but laughable. Lie, lie, lie. Deny, deny, deny. It was the classic teenage stratagem for getting out of trouble. It was a strategy that A.J. never really used himself but saw all the time. His older brother Patrick was the master of it when they were growing up. Because of his stutter and quiet nature, A.J. was a terrible liar. With the severity his stutter, any lie that he attempted was hardly believable. It was just as well. Lying never felt right to him. It felt…dirty, almost. Is that why you lie to yourself every day? Maybe that was why he was so good at spotting liars. Takes one to know one. Hushing the voice in his head, he focused his attention on the two teenagers in front of him. The girl looked to be the more accomplished liar between the two of them. No surprise there. As far as the security guard was concerned, the majority of the female population was made up of liars. Women lied. It was a tool in their massive game of manipulation that they played with each other and the rest of the world. To a certain degree, it made him sick. They made him sick. Doesn’t stop you from letting them take you home…does it? Doesn’t stop you from letting them--Focus, damnit!

A.J. quirked an amused eyebrow upwards when the girl asked if anything was wrong. And the “sir” on the end of that was just priceless. This one was a piece of work, for sure. A liar, a manipulator...just like the rest. He eyed the two kids for a moment before speaking, “I’d say that there is something very wrong here, miss. Someone reported that they heard screams coming from one of the prohibited areas.” He paused, his eyes gauging their reactions to his words. He was looking for the tiniest twitch, the faintest cut of the eyes from one to the other. He’d catch it, just like he’d caught them. Hopefully, they’d be smart enough to admit their wrongdoings and take their punishment with some dignity.

"I was just, um, trying to find the dorms. It's my first day, you see, and Elias...noticed that I was lost, and offered to help me."

A.J. sighed, as he hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his pants. Well there goes the honesty part...let’s see if they’ll salvage some dignity.

As soon as the boy spoke, A.J. knew they were lying. Even before then because it was written all over his face. But the way that he spoke, truly gave it away. The kid was a stutterer and A.J. had never met a stutterer who could lie worth a damn. For a moment, his heart went out to the kid. He knew how he felt...how he must feel. The teasing, the anxiety...it brought back memories. Painful memories. Turning his attention to the stuttering boy, he looked him in the eyes and spoke calmly. “I know some thing's going on. So, why don’t you just tell me what happened. What was all the screaming about? Be honest. You two get into a fight or something?"
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Faith Williams on Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:03 pm

Faith was relieved when Elias agreed with her, glad that the boy hadn't shown a sudden honest steak. Actually, we were up in the attics having a good old crying session because we're both babies, and then Faith got the grand idea of smashing a mirror to cut herself with. She was so pleased he hadn't gone with the truth. While she certainly hadn't been at Highgrove for any length of time, she had the feeling that their punishment system would be fairly strict - especially regarding girls that went into restricted areas and planned to harm themselves. Extra chores were the least of her worries. Corporal punishment seemed likely, although the thought made her smile. Hurt the girl that tried to hurt herself, that'd work.

Eyes widening at the mention of screams -honestly, it had just been one little shriek, not the sounds of an orgy- she looked at Elias and then back to the guard, an exaggerated motion. "Screaming? In the attic? You should probably check that out, Sir, not waste your time with us. There might be something horrid happening up there." She hated lying, but hated the idea of punishment more; even as she spoke, however, she heard how stupid her own words sounded. It was a reasonable idea (hell, in her opinion, A.J. should have ran straight for the attic) but it wasn't presented well enough to be anything other than an obvious deflection. Looking down and away every other second, blushing beet red... Faith was irritated with herself. She was almost as bad as Elias, and that was truly saying something.

Not quite ready to give in, Faith jumped in when A.J. looked away from her, desperately spinning lies even as she spoke in an attempt to draw the attention away from Elias. "Honestly, I was lost and he was helping me out, and I was crying because - because I miss my last home, and he was crying because he...felt bad for me." She considered tacking on a few sentences involving magical pixies, ghosts and vampires; it wouldn't hurt her stupid story in the slightest. But adding a comedy element...nope, he didn't seem like somebody who would laugh and leave them alone. Acting completely mental? Faith supposed that she could burst into tears -they were fast coming, anyway- and pretend that she had multiple personalities and was therefore not responsible for her actions or something, but...no.

"I screamed because I was scared," she continued after a few seconds of thought. "I was about to go up the stairs, but I tripped on the second one, and Elias came and...you know, asked if I was okay and all that." Still unable to give the full tale, Faith looked pleadingly at A.J., hoping that her admittance of going into a restricted area would be good enough for the guard to accept. Maybe they'd get off with a slap on the wrist, rather than being chained up in a dungeon with rats.
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Re: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:58 pm

Of course, the guy was going to focus on him -- he knew that at some point he would be able to pry the answer out of Elias if he worked at it hard enough. He'd identified the weakest link. It was a depressing reality, but Elias knew that he was most always the weakest link. He was a mouse, a crybaby, and there was little intuition needed to figure that out. He had known that someone had heard Faith's screams; it would have been too good to be true if they hadn't. Just as he was opening his mouth to say something particularly stupid and unconvincing, Faith jumped in again with her seemingly neverending stream of lies. He couldn't keep up with the velocity at which falsehoods were streaming from her mouth, so he didn't even try. A tiny voice, perhaps his father's voice, at the back of his head told him that he should not let a girl fight his battles for him, but he tried not to listen to it. That little voice had never lead him anywhere good before. But as it became increasingly obvious that Faith had no idea what to do or say, the little voice became louder and louder. He didn't know what to do -- Elias didn't particularly care whether or not he got in trouble, but getting Faith in trouble too seemed like a mean thing to do.

Unsure of what to do, he looked from the girl to the guard, his expression pained. Finally, with the object of stopping the growing snowball of lies that Faith had set in motion and avoiding being yelled at, something the mere thought of sent him cringing, Elias blurted,

"W-we w-w-were in the attic, or, um...I w-was in th-the attic f-f-first, and F-Faith c-came up. She d-didn't see me, and I sc-scared her." He gave Faith a helpless look complete with sad kicked puppy eyes and mouthed, 'sorry'. He really was sorry, but the mounting threat level had been making him too nervous to let her keep lying. The thought of how lying like that would have gone over in his father's house made him want to find somewhere to hide. Actually, this whole day made him want to find somewhere to hide. Maybe the security guard would let him go now that he had the truth. Elias hadn't addressed the crying issue, but he wasn't ready to admit to anything in that order. Faith would have to field that one with her creative lies.
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