One Light In The Darkness - Survival RP
One Light In The Darkness
Rules (and I’m going to put them in bold so they’re not forgotten):
Minimize profanity.I don’t mind the characters having a mouth on them and swearing from time to time, if it’s in their nature, but don’t overdo it, and don’t use profanity in the narration.
No ERP. Just don’t.
Say no to godmodding! Godmodding is when you overestimate your own character and assert that he/she is immune to the actions of another or is simply over-exaggerating what the character CAN do. The DM will likely ask the roleplayer to edit their post, or the DM will completely override the action.
No metagaming. I’ll give you an example of metagaming. Cassadee has no idea that Richard intends to divorce her, but Richard’s roleplayer elaborates (through thought or speech to a person besides Cassadee) about Richard’s plans. Cassadee’s roleplayer finds out, and then asserts that Cassadee knows. There is no in-character evidence that Cassadee would know, and thus, it breaks the roleplay.
Don’t overstep your boundaries as a character. Your job is to elaborate on what your character does, says, feels, sees, and senses. Your job is not to dictate others’ roleplay by asserting their actions through your emotes, and you are not allowed to elaborate on even non-controlled characters. That is the DM’s job.
Proofread your emotes. There are not many things more frustrating than reading an emote with awful grammar. Proofread. That is all.
The Itchy Condor’s Guide to DM-Based Roleplay:
I suppose that I should state what a DM (dungeon master) is. The DM runs the roleplay, narrates everything that is happening outside of character actions, elaborates on the setting, and dictates results of character actions. Here’s one example of how a DM would interact with a roleplayer:
Christie: *Christie makes a desperate lunge toward her attacker, trying to quickly lodge her machete into his stomach and finish him off.*
DM: *Christie’s attack was far too slow to catch the attacker off guard; he dodges the attack, but in the process of doing so, he makes the unfortunate mistake of leaning off the edge, and tumbles down the hill. As he rolls down the rocky ledge, he breaks his neck and his lifeless body is finally seen hitting the bottom.*
No, the DM does not choose replied reactions at random. The DM, after reading the roleplayer’s emote of Christie, digs into her character bio and takes a look at her SPECIAL (elaborated on below). It is obvious that in this case, the roleplayer had a low agility (due to being slow in her attack) but a very high amount of luck. So, yes, S.P.E.C.I.A.L is important to your roleplay, as it defines the traits of your character.
Please, unless you’re short on time in general, don’t give us two-sentence emotes with barely any thought behind them. You don’t need to be rushed to give emotes. Even if you are in the middle of a conversation (or confrontation) with another character, if you can’t find the time to emote, the RP will simply move on, and the character will remain status quo with the group until you can emote again (at which point you can finish the confrontation/conversation and then time-jump to the present, or start in the present and flashback at the part you didn’t emote).
SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck):
I’m going to go with the Fallout system in terms of base stats because it is very well organized and simple:
Strength: A measure of your raw physical strength. A stronger character will be able to carry more equipment and necessities than others, and will be more formidable in close-quarters combat due to body mass. It will also allow the character to complete difficult, strength-driven tasks such as carrying/aiding a wounded character or boosting someone onto a ledge. In addition, a strong character will be able to utilize larger weapons.
Perception: How well you use your five senses. A perceptive character is one who can see an ambush coming. One who can hear the distant cries of zanes, and one who can *just* see a settlement in the distance. A perceptive character is one with keen senses and simply a knack for being aware of everything around.
Endurance: Your health and overall physical fitness. How many hits that you can take before falling? How often (or how critically) you become ill? How long you can press on without food or water? How long can you maintain a sprint before becoming tired? These are all proportional to the character’s amount of Endurance. A character that has a low amount of Endurance is a wet noodle. One who will normally not be able to withstand more than a punch or two, one who cannot handle the side affects of dehydration, and one who becomes tired before the day is done.
Charisma: Your overall attractiveness. “You’ll find there are some smooth talkin’ cowboys out there that got themselves a voice that sounds like an angel’s harmonica.” A character’s charisma is directly proportional to how well he/she gets along with others, and how well he/she can raise morale or perfect the art of persuasion. The least charismatic one in the group is likely an antisocial hermit who fails to normally interact with others. The most charismatic one in the group is likely a casanova who simply has their way, where they want it, when they want it.
Intelligence: Your basic intellect, curiosity in the world, and adeptness at critical thinking. An intelligent person is basically, well, more....intelligent. It is likely that the character received a solid college education if they have a high amount of intelligence, and thus, will be able to more easily understand concepts of science, mathematics, literature, and basic school-based skills that others would find mind-boggling.
Agility: A measure of your quickness and dexterity. An agile character is quick; one who could rob a rich man blind without him being the wiser. An agile character is one who could sneak through an entire military fort quickly without making a sound. Agility will allow a character to reload more quickly, attack more quickly and precisely, and be able to maneuver around enemies without detection.
Luck: How often good (or bad) things happen to you by chance. Your attacker accidentally waiting too long to lob a frag grenade after pulling the clip would normally be written off as complete stupidity, but there are some lucky individuals who stumble across good fortune quite often. Not much more can be said about Luck. It’s luck. An unlucky person would likely be subject to many mishaps that may-or-may-not be fatal. Moderate luck means that you are neither lucky nor unlucky.
SPECIAL, by default, has five (out of the maximum of ten) points in each skill, with five extra to spend. Not only can you add these extra points to your special, but you can also take some points out of different skills.
Here is an example of a SPECIAL setup:
In this setup, I left Luck and Charisma at five, I distributed the points between Strength, Endurance, Intelligence, and Agility, before taking a point out of perception and placing yet another point in Endurance.
Yes, S.P.E.C.I.A.L. can change as time goes on. There are not level-ups, where you gain points to spend. There aren’t experience points, and there aren’t DMs who boost SPECIAL out of the kindness of their hearts. The DM will grant the player, perhaps once in the entire roleplay, an opportunity to gain a point. Whether it be a character being stranded from the group and building endurance living on their own, or digging into a textbook to gain intelligence, these opportunities are very rare, and they will grant you +1 into the skill that it applies to.
Be careful. There are opportunities, sometimes disguised as chances to get a skill point, where the DM intends to knock off points either temporarily, or permanently. For example, Robert, who was unperceptive enough to step on a landmine, sets it off. He is able to gain a few feet before it goes off, but not before it sends him flying into the ground and temporarily knocking out his hearing in one ear. This would be a temporary -1 to Perception. Or, perhaps Robert did not gain any yardage from the mine, and it sets off under him. His left leg, which shielded some of his body from the blast, was brutally pierced by the mine. It would later have to be amputated, causing the character to perhaps lose an entire -3 to Agility. Don’t worry, I’m not a cruel enough DM to ruin your character like that, but it’s still a possibility.
Gun Nut: You are proficient in using firearms to dismantle your enemies. You have a keen accuracy, and simply are a natural at shooting proficiently and quickly.
Unstoppable Force: There’s something about bludgeoning (or cutting) your enemies to death that just excites you. You are a force to be reckoned with while your are using any melee weapons.
Brawler: Simple, easy, and badass. Just how you like it. You very much enjoy working your way through combat by using your fist (or fist-based weapons).
Egghead: From day one, you were destined to win that fifth grade science fair. You were destined to graduate from Harvard with a PHD in neuroscience. Or whatever. You’re just really damn smart. It is likely that someday, you will get to the bottom of whatever causes humans to become zanes. This is just one of the many possibilities that could be imagined for someone who could be so damned smart! Yay you!
Survivalist: The survivalist is the one who can make something out of almost nothing. The survivalist can attach lethal poisons, caused by the mixing of specific plants, from the wild. The survivalist can create explosives, or dangerous weapons, out of everyday objects. The survivalist is a expert scrounger who can find use out of almost anything. Often times, a survivalist can use odd, but effective methods to avoid zanes.
The Good Doctor: You have extensive experience with medicine, and thus, you are an expert at crafting and applying medicines. You also have an at least proficient knowledge of diseases and organs, meaning that you can deduce what areas of the enemy are the most effective to strike, and treat sickness within the group.
Cutthroat: Not only are you quiet, but you are subtle in your methods, and experienced in the art of lockpicking. Only the most cunning of individuals are worthy of this trait, and only the most cunning can make it from place to place in the post-panademic world without making a sound.
Silver-Tongued Devil: You are the post-panademic version of a movie star. You are often able to persuade (or deceive) others into doing your will. People just tend to be like you. You have a way with words that is unrivaled by others.
Good Natured: You are more skilled in the arts of medicine and science, have a good way with words, but due to your good nature, you are less effective with weapons.
Child of the Night: The darkness is your ally; you are more likely to win combat scenarios at night, but during the day, you are exposed and uncomfortable, and thus you are less likely to win scenarios during the day.
Early Bird: You feel more comfortable with your skills during the daytime due to the comfort of being in the sun’s warmth and light. You are more likely to win combat scenarios during the day, but at night, you have a hard time seeing the enemy, and thus you are less likely to win scenarios during the night.
Warmonger: You have a knack for using weapons. Even though you prefer one or two weapon types over the others, you are simply more proficient with every weapon. This comes with a price, though. Your warmongering does not earn you any sympathy with your group, and takes your time away from valuing intelligence. You are less skilled in the arts of medicine, science, and speech.
You are allowed to distribute two points between the “combat” and “other” perks, meaning that out of the eight options available, you are allowed to pick two. Choose wisely, and choose what you will prefer to play your character as. If you have no interest in fighting, it is a wise decision to pick two “other” traits. If you prefer to be balanced, pick a “combat” and “other” perk. The trade-offs section is a section of its own; you can choose one, two (without the points counting for the traits section), or you don’t have to choose any. They are perks that help specific parts of your character’s proficiencies, but are deductive in a different proficiency. Because all four perks are opposites of each other (Warmonger is opposite of Good Natured, CotN is the opposite of Early Bird), choosing two opposites will simply cancel each other out.
Character Bio (Copy-paste and fill it out before messaging it to me):
Trade-Offs (If none write N/A):
The bestiary, obtained from the U.S. scientific records of the effects of Delta-415:
-Zane: Zanes (the slang word for the humans infected by Delta-415), in general, are operated by only their brain stems, and thus, their intelligence is a grim echo of their former selves. Regular zanes, who have stronger immune systems, were not quite as affected by the virus, but have still become mindless monsters, operated by their brain stems, whose only intention is to feed. These creatures are fairly weak, slow, and predictable.
-Hunter: The hunters, similar to the regular zanes, have bony and deteteriorated flesh, and thus they are still weak, but they have the ability to move considerably quicker than their regular counterparts, or even sprint. They are distinguishable from the regular zanes by their tendency to move on all fours.
-Siren: Some female zanes, who have received an extremely heavy amount of the virus due to a weak immune system, have retained the ability to scream at a deafening octave. They are physically no more dangerous than the regular zanes, but their tendency to scream when provoked will alert most other zanes in the area.
-Juggernaut: “Jugg” for short, only few have ever seen these creatures. They prefer the dark underground, and few humans dare to brave the metro systems that lie below the major cities of the united states. Juggs are male or female humans who have received an extreme strain of delta-415 and, through mutation and an anomaly of the usual routine of the virus, have grown gigantic muscles and are basically impossible to kill. However, they are not very perceptive, and thus, if you see one before it notices you, there is a chance that you can sneak by it. Juggs do not share the same “herd” mentality as the zanes, and tend to be loners in the dark underground.
Work-in-progress, as there are different effects of the virus yet to be discovered...
Plot: The beginning of the end begins on September 1, 1957, after the Cold War has been stale for more than a decade. The Soviet Union has captured a squad of U.S. soldiers near the Berlin Wall, and is demanding ransom from the U.S., acting like simple villains to camouflage why they really captured the group of 29 men. Joseph Stalin, the totalitarian kingpin of the Soviet Union, ruthless in his methods, tasked the Soviet scientists with developing a weaponized virus which would strike into the heart of the United States, kill many of them, and invoke fear within the country. Stalin never lived to see this far-fetched dream carried out, nor did he believe it would come to fruition.
Joseph Stalin died in 1953, and the burden of power fell upon Nikita Khrushchev. However, even after Stalin’s death, his personal group of experimental physicists and chemists toiled away at perfecting the virus which would strike at the heart of Stalin’s enemies. When they finally believed that they had perfected it, they continued to operate secretly under the new Soviet leader’s nose. When the American soldiers were captured and brought to Moscow, the scientists drained them of their consciousness through morphine doses and injected them with the virus, Nikita Khrushchev being none the wiser. After the United States bargained for their release, the men were sent back to the United States, infected with the weaponized virus. It was extremely contagious, and the soldiers, relieved of their duties, who resumed their normal lives, infected everyone around them, and it spread quickly. After three weeks, which is now the estimated time of what the Americans would call “delta-415” to surface in a human, the hosts of the virus became horrific subjects.
The millions who had become infected were holding parasites that grew and festered where the virus had caused infection inside the bloodstream. Soon enough, the parasites were able to terminate the functions of the brain, except for the brain stem, which caused them to become mindless abominations with no motivations except to feed. The virus would terminate itself after most of the population were stricken by it, but it held a presence in the bloodstream of a “zane”.
Therefore, the virus is transmitted through being bitten. ‘Twas a horrific scientific failure by the soviet scientists, who did not anticipate the mutation that would occur in delta-415. The United States launched hydrogen bombs against the Soviet Union in retaliation, striking up a third world war. However, the United States dropped from the war shortly after the pestilence spread, and the nation grew dark. Survivors were few in number, and fewer by the day.........
Admission to the RP is currently closed, but if you're genuinely interested, feel free to message me and we can possibly work something out.
This is an IC thread, but this post is an informational one to guide the roleplay.
1. Connor Ritchie:
Name: Malcolm Langley
Physical Description: Mal has brown, coarse hair, which does not give cause for an accent in his dark green eyes. He is tall and physically fit (although he has somewhat of a small frame). Although his youth is beginning to stray away from him, he looks older and wiser than his younger self. His skin resembles the average white tone that one would expect from a caucasian male. He has a rather difficult time growing facial hair, but left unshaven, he will produce a noticeable amount of stubble. He has small, and not very noticeable acne scars from his youth. He looks quite handsome, yet aged.
Character Background: The brutality of the pacific theater of World War II changed Mal; he returned from the war (to his home in Atlanta, Georgia) as a colder, more hardened man. Not only so, but he returned to a wife who he realized had “slept around”, so-to-speak, while he was away. Following his divorce, Mal disappeared for a long time, and his neighbors started rumours that perhaps he had left his life behind, and moved to somewhere new, and others insisted that he indeed stayed in his house, and never left. After Malcolm re-emerged into the perfunctory routines of normal life, and ended the reclusive chapter of his life, he quickly sold his house and left Atlanta. Strangely enough, Mal must have inherited a ludicrous sum of money, because he bought a mansion in Houston as if he was simply picking out a new suit. As of 1957, not much is known about him, except that his former life is shrouded in mystery. Now, he lives in Houston, reclusive and consistently drunk, trying to forget his former life.
Trade-Offs (If none write N/A):
2. Connor Ritchie:
Name: Nora Williams
Physical Description: Nora is a bit shorter than average at five-foot-four, and has fairly skinny arms, but what she lacks in body strength, she makes up for in quickness and rapid thinking. She has a head of long, red, curly hair that reaches down to her upper chest, which is especially accented by her pale white skin. She has a light amount of freckles on her face and arms. Nora has somewhat apparent curves on her hips as well. She has a pretty face; not one that you would find on the front of a magazine, but a pretty one nonetheless, and a kind-looking one as well. Her presence is calm and soothing to those around her.
Character Background: Nora was born and raised in Austin, and led a rather normal life. She went to college, majored in biology, and moved to Houston with hopes of becoming an experimental biologist. However, her dreams, like those of many others, fell short of what she wanted from them, and she landed what she thought would be a menial job as a housekeeper. However, it proved to be more complicated (and rewarding) than that. She grew attached to the man that owned the mansion that she consistently tidied up, and the man (Malcolm) began to feel reliant on her, so he gave her a room in the mansion, and now she wants more than anything for him to confront his past and be happy again. However, her pleads, as of late, have been falling on deaf ears.
Trade-Offs (If none write N/A):
Name: Cecily Dale
Physical Description: Cece is not unfortunately plain, but nor is she the loveliest thing you've seen in the decade. She has ebony hair that sits idly just below her shoulders, which she'll most likely have tied up off her back in any sort of manner, messy-or-not. Her vaguely curvaceous form is built more for agility and finesse. She has blue eyes. No, not as blue as the ocean or the sky, or some other 'deep' simile. Just blue. Her pale skin is free of unwanted blemishes. She stands at a common height, not a stretch, not short. Cece holds a simple look that covers how dangerous she really is when provoked.
Character Background: Cece has held a life that has never strayed from status quo. She had a simple existence; a year ago, she graduated from Rice University with a degree in music performance. She, like many others who aspire to be starlets, was an aspiring singer, who, unfortunately could not land a career from that ambition. She wound up as a waitress at a local diner, and has tended to receive enormous tips from her customers due to her outstanding work ethic and charming way with words. Not much more can be said about her life.
Trade-Offs (If none write N/A):
Name: Lacy Maier
Physical Description: Lacy has a rather cheerful disposition, which is reflected in her face. She has long blonde hair, which rests midway down her back and ends in wave-like curls. Lacy isn't bothered by her height, her parents and grandparents were all short. Her weight is about average, at least for her height. Her face is round in shape, and her large blue eyes are the highlight of her face. The rest of Lacy's face is rather average, a small pointed nose, and small lips.
Character Background: Lacy's family immigrated to the US several generations ago from Austria, and her family has since made it out to Texas. Lacy left the farm near Fort Worth due to the loss of her fiancÚ, who was left MIA at the end of the Korean War. She has since taken up residence in a small house just outside of Houston.
-The good doctor
Trade-Offs (If none write N/A):
Last edited by Connor Ritchie; 10-06-2013 at 09:07 AM.
Trade-Offs (If none write N/A):
One Week Before The Outbreak
August 25, 1957
Malcolm stood atop the large staircase leading into the living room of the mansion. His left hand gripped, while trembling, onto a marble post that generated an imaginary line toward the ceiling, signifying the entrance to the deck from the stairs. He did not admire his house. Men would commit many crimes to come into the wealth that he had gained, but he was still dissatisfied, and it tore at him.
Straightening his tie, Mal quickly descended into the living room. His black, simple, yet elegant suit set him apart from the white, decorated walls dominating the theme of the house. Once he finished descending the steps, he entered a long corridor and, by memory, took the 'first door to the right'. The library. The massive room, filled with hundreds of novels and non-fiction books, was the only place where Mal could find complete serenity. He sighed with relief as he let his body weight give way and fell backward into a reclining-chair.
"Nora!" Mal hollered in the direction of the doorway.
"One moment!" rang the distant, reverberating response from a different part of the house. After a few seconds of waiting, Mal turned with convenient timing, as it was just in time to witness the woman, clad in a simple, white dress, lean into the doorway of the room. Her head was covered with coarse, wavy, red locks that reached several inches lower than her shoulders. She was only of a medium height, and of an average weight. She muttered impatiently to Mal. "What?"
"Did you get today's pa-- oh, I see that you already have it," said Mal. In her right hand, the woman was holding a soaked, rolled-up newspaper.
"It's no good. The rain hasn't let up, and it was soaked before I was able to go get it," replied Nora.
"That's alright. Even if I ignore the fact that you forgot to pick up the paper until seven-o-clock, you're still an awful housekeeper," chuckled Mal. He clasped his hands together and popped his knuckles.
"Would you like me to at least read you the title?"
"Yes, I would very much like that."
Nora recited the legible pieces of the soaked paper. " 'Houston Journal: August 25, 1957. U.S. captives in Moscow liberated."
"So, they finally got those sorry sobs out of the Soviet Union?" asked Mal.
"Yes. Apparently they recovered on an aircraft carrier and were shipped back to the United States with honorable discharges," replied Nora excitedly.
"Good on them. I won't have to read about it anymore," said Mal sullenly.
Nora glared at him angrily. "You aren't in the least bit happy that they came back? Can't you feel empathetic about them, after what you've been through?"
The roofing on the mansion was done particularly well; it was pouring rain outside, and most of the noise was completely canceled out of the echoey rooms of the house. Mal raised an eyebrow and held a puzzled expression as he turned back to Nora. "What's got your panties in a bunch, Nora?..." He paused for a few moments. "Those men, after a while, will understand why I make sure not to think about it. Because thinking about what happened means an unreal amount of drinking to forget, and an unreal hangover the following morning."
Nora shrugged and left the room after dropping the soaked newspaper on the carpet. It was quite possible that she was the only reason why Mal had never considered suicide after the war and his divorce. Having company in his hollow, lifeless house seemed like only a small benefit when he paid only a modest sum of money to purchase the services of a housekeeper. However, it proved to be almost everything to him.
Mal stood up, reached for a book on the nearest shelf, sat back down on the reclining-chair, and read until his eyes narrowed and he let consciousness fade away as the night lingered into effect. The book was incredibly boring to him, but nonetheless, the arrangement of words pleased him. Thus, he hollowly ended an already lifeless, empty day as he fell asleep in the dimly-lit library.
Last edited by Connor Ritchie; 10-06-2013 at 11:23 AM.
Five Days Before The Outbreak
August 27, 1957
Mal inserted the correct combination, one that he had only used once, into the gun safe. The lock opened with a distinct 'click'. He had tried desperately to find a hobby, and in the process, he had bought a heap of rifles, pistols, and shotguns to go hunting with. However, he had owned these guns for two years and had barely touched them. The guns were in pristine shape; the manufacturer of the safe had assured Mal that they would be so. It was monsoon season in Eastern Texas; it was raining yet again. He could tell, because there was an audible leak somewhere in the small, dark room. He didn't retrieve any of the weapons. Instead, he only looked at them, especially the army .45 (that he had managed to smuggle home after the war) as if he wanted more than anything to seize one of the pistols and end it all, but could not muster the courage to unfreeze himself and do it. He sighed and slammed the safe shut, turning the knob to lock it.
Nora was gone; she had gone to the nearby store to buy groceries. Mal felt like a helpless child due to his constant reliance on his housekeeper. He left the dark room, slowly, still in his pajamas, and walked into the rather frigid living room. He let himself fall onto the couch, and took a sip of the large mug of coffee Nora had left for him on the coffee table. He retrieved his silver pocket watch that he had left the table, and held it in front of his face, gazing at the rather quirky object. It was perhaps one of the few inexpensive things he owned.
The front door opened, and Nora quickly came in, a grocery bag in each hand. Her red hair had been soaked. "Sorry. The store doesn't open until eight, and I had to wait outside for a few minutes," she murmured, as the sighed with relief. She set down the two grocery bags on a rosewood cabinet near the front door.
"Don't you worry about it. Has the rain let up at all?" asked Mal.
"A little. Still pretty heavy, though." Nora frowned and placed her hands on her hips, which were covered by the skirt of her soaked dress. "I need to change. Can you put the groceries away?"
"...Yeah, I can," replied Mal. Nora smiled with a small sense of appreciation before ascending the stairs and disappearing into the upper hallway. Mal stood, and seized the two unusually heavy bags before heading to the lower hallway and taking the 'second door to the left'. The kitchen had a distinct black-and-white tile design, which made it stand out from the other rooms. Beforehand, the floors were made of wood, but Malcolm insisted that he eat breakfast over a tile. Nora never understood Mal's obsessions. She only assumed that he had gone through a hard point in life, and had moved somewhere new to escape. She never received the impression that he was a solemn guy, nor that he was a cold, lazy man. The way Mal acted only generated more sympathy from Nora. No matter how much he took out his anger on her, she was still quite fond of him, and felt obligated to take care of him as much as she could.
Mal began to put the groceries away in a careful manner. Nora had a specific way of doing things, and Mal knew that no matter how he arranged the groceries, she would still end up wasting a good twenty minutes rearranging them.*
Malcolm finally emptied both bags, and reached into the bottom of the second one to see if he had missed anything. That's all of it. However, before leaving the kitchen, a small glint from the countertop caught his eye. As he turned, he realized that it came from the front of a small picture frame. He walked over to the counter and held it in front of his eyes. It was a picture of a young woman, probably in her early twenties, and a man in military apparel. He held the picture for a few more moments with a grimace on his face before throwing it onto the ground and stomping onto the back of the picture frame. The glass on the front of the frame shattered and littered the floor around it. Mal stormed out of the kitchen.
It was obvious that Nora had heard the noise, because she quickly strolled into the kitchen in time to see Mal walk away from the picture. She gingerly walked toward the face-down picture frame, to avoid stepping on the glass, before holding it up and looking at it. Nora recognized the picture because she had put it on the counter herself. She frowned, as she realized that doing so was probably a horrible idea. The still image was of Mal, and his ex-wife, Jessica. Nora had concluded that, even after more than a decade, Mal was still completely out of sorts following the divorce, was because he could never confront what really happened, and would bury it down with alcohol. Mal had opened up to her and told her almost everything to do with it, although, to be honest, it was not a matter of trust; he was hammered by the amounts of wine he had downed before doing so. Nora gingerly stepped out of the kitchen to retrieve a broom, but also as an excuse to look for Mal. However, he was nowhere to be found, and she quietly went back to her duties.
Mal, still in his pajamas, sat on a stool before the bar-counter in the lounge. Nine-o-clock and already drinking? My life's goin' to hell. He pulled the cork off a new bottle of wine and unsteadily poured it into a large wineglass. Mal had gotten over his wife. He didn't miss her smile, nor her laugh, nor her pretty face. That wasn't why he was still sullen after twelve years. It was that he felt something was horribly wrong with him. He felt as if there was something about him that was simply awful, if his wife were to go and do something so horrible to him. Surprisingly, this was the first time Mal had thought about it in some time. Perhaps Nora had succeeded, in her own way, as she had finally gotten him thinking.
Malcolm finished his wineglass and rested his head against the bar-counter, waiting for some sort of sign; something that would pull him out of his drunken, depressed stupor. However, it never came.
Last edited by Connor Ritchie; 10-06-2013 at 11:22 AM.
One week before the outbreak
August 25th, 1957
Lacy woke to the loud ring of her old alarm clock. In reality, the clock wasn't really what one could consider loud, but in the tired woman's tired mind it was louder then a whole pack of angry police.
The girl lazily rolled out of bed, and checked the time. Five o'clock in the morning. She had just enough time to get herself cleaned up and drive to work.
Lacy smoothed her white blouse into her skirt, and slipped into her heels. She took one last peek in the mirror before opening into the door and climbing into her car.
If her parents hadn't of been almost completely supporting her, Lacy wouldn't have been able to afford a house, much less a car. She worked at a small newspaper in Houston as a journalist, which wasn't exactly the most glorifying job.
The building was a mess when she got there, (As usual) which could be expected from a newspaper that covered things like alien sightings.
Ah well, a job was a job. Lacy sat down and got to work.
Five days before the outbreak, August 27th, 1957
Thank God she had the day off. Rather then waking at her usual time of five, Lacy woke at about nine.
Another perk of not having work was coffee. Lacy loaded her coffee with milk and creams and all kinds of creamers, and sat at her small kitchen table to happily sip her creation.
Days like this didn't come often anymore, ever since she'd lost Jacob.
Even his name brought back so many memories. And how unfair it was that he wasn't even drafted to fight until the war was almost halfway over. Whoever made that decision was stupid.
As the last delicious drop slid down her throat, Lacy let out a sigh, and stood to clean out her mug in the sink.
Now she had to find something to do for the rest of the day. By twelve noon, she had fallen back to sleep.
Three Days Before The Outbreak
August 29, 1957
"....Can't believe you just went out on a limb and purchased a bike...." said Nora with a puzzled look as she watched Mal turn off the ignition.
Mal ran his hands around the matte-black finish of the front of the motorcycle. "You're jealous. I can tell." A large grin was beginning to take hold in his face.
"Pfft." Nora turned and went back into the house.
"Nora! The sun's finally out, and you're still going to hide in the house? You're worse than me!" called Mal as he pushed the motorcycle into the garage.
He's right.... Nora gripped the steel handle of the aesthetically pleasing white door and shut it just after she had opened it. She walked back toward Mal. "Okay. Then, what do you want to do, excluding irrationally throwing your money into a garbage bin?"
"Food. I want food," replied Mal. Nora had never seen him like this. He was alive again. Before, he had never left the house unless it was absolutely necessary. It was as if some sudden burst of energy had brought him out of his depression. Or he was drunk. Very drunk. Whichever the reason, Nora smiled.
"Fine, but I'm going to change," said Nora.
"You're always changing your clothes. Can't you just pick out a pair and wear it?"
"No. I can't. Give me a few minutes." Nora went back into the house.
Oh, jesus. I think her influence is rubbing off on me. Mal slowly and gingerly closed the garage before entering the house through it. He excitedly ascended up the stairs until he reached his bedroom on the third floor. He opened the bag that he had brought home with him, and changed his clothes.
Nora and Mal returned to the front yard with almost perfect timing. They practically bumped into each other.
"Mal? Really?" asked Nora. Malcolm was clad in a leather jacket (one that Nora assumed he had bought *with* the bike) and a pair of jeans. He smiled and nodded. Nora had changed into a different dress; it was a white one, with a far longer skirt. "I only assumed that you'd want to ride the....bike," said Nora with an irritated, yet playful tone.
"Yep. No reason not to." Mal opened the garage, sat on the front of the polished, black harley, and raised his hand to gesture for Nora to come over. She sat on the back of the bike uncomfortably, trying her best to keep the white dress from hanging next to the engine. "Please, try not to let your dress catch on fire," said Mal as he turned on the ignition and moved the bike forward steadily. Often times, Nora had been one for safety, and neither of them were wearing helmets, or, any protective things for that matter. Hmmm...But mother told me that things would never happen to me if I didn't let them happen. And, at that, they left the house and rode off into the sunny Houston street.
"Be honest, if it wasn't a job, would you still stay at the mansion with me?" asked Mal. The music in the diner, which Mal knew as "Straighten Up And Fly Right" by Nat King Cole, was all-the-more reason for him to be energetic.
Nora looked up for a moment, likely pretending to think about it, and then smiled at Mal. "You haven't paid me in....Two months. I haven't bothered you about it because recently, until this morning, you've been all...Out of sorts."
"Oh....But still, you get to live in a mansion and use my money for things. We're like an old married couple, except not," said Malcolm. Nora laughed at the remark, and then took another sip of her glass of water. On the other side, Mal was taking sips of a bottle of beer, likely a name that Nora didn't know of. She never drank. Her mother had raised her to be strictly straight-edged and innocent. Things had changed, and like her mother said, Nora had let things happen for her, instead of putting everything away. But still, she wasn't one for drinking.
"Yes, I believe that I would live in the house, even if you didn't pay me to housekeep, and even if I didn't have the perks of living there, because you'd fail miserably without me," replied Nora.
"Do I really even need to pay you now, considering you just use my money at this point?"
"No," said Nora. Malcolm felt strange and awkward. I've already screwed this up once; can't do it again. She looked at him subtly as she took another sip of water. They didn't speak another word to each other for the rest of the meal.
As they left the diner, Mal placed his hands in the pockets of his jacket. He felt more self conscious now more than ever. "You do live in my house, use my money, and essentially live with me, maybe we should get ma--" said Mal. He stopped himself before finishing. The sentence played itself different than he had pictured it in his mind, and was less playful and more serious than he had intended. No. Oh no, no, no, no, no.
Nora raised her eyebrows in complete confusion. She ran her fingers through her long, curly, red hair. Mal backed toward the bike as if he had provoked a bear. Nora walked toward him, slowly and calmly, as she tried to maintain her composure. She smiled and held his left hand before becoming expressionless. "No, I don't think that's a good idea at all."
As Nora walked around the bike to sit on the back, Mal flicked himself on the forehead. He perceived, that once again, he had 'screwed up', and decided that there was no way in hell that after saying such a thing, that things would go back to normal. He turned on the ignition of the bike and rode through the sunset back to the mansion. Neither Mal nor Nora uttered another word to the other on the way back. Nora was too afraid of Mal returning to his drunken, sad stupor, to say anything else.
Last edited by Connor Ritchie; 10-06-2013 at 11:24 AM.
3 Days Before the Outbreak
August 29th, 1957
The tune of 'Straighten Up And Fly Right', by Nat King Cole, rang through the diner, adding a bounce to the aura of the place. Cecily smiled and patted down her simple black-and-white dress that bounced with her step as she started towards the table. She ran her hands gingerly up her up-do that had long since lost it's use of keeping her hair neatly and politely out of her face. The couple seated had caught her eyes previously. Maybe it was the girl's bright ginger curls, or the handsome man's energetic demeanor. Whatever it was, they sure were eye-drawing.
"Hello! Welcome to the Cherry-Coat Diner! I'm Cecily Dale, I'll be your server tonight. What can I start you off with?"
The couple were leaning in together as if they were trying to keep their conversation low-key. The energetic man with the leather jacket and brown hair leaned back and regarded the menu.
"Uhm. Hm. I just want a chocolate milkshake and a light beer. Nora?"
"Just a glass of water and a banana split."
"Alrighty we'll lighten that beer and split those bananas, anything else?"
"No, thank you." The woman nodded her head towards Cece and gave a light smile.
Cece watched the couple leave, leaning against one of the large, and various windows leading to the outside parking lot. She was on break, so it wasn't like anyone minded she was busy 'stalking' the interesting couple. She couldn't help it, she was curious. Was that so bad? It probably was. She didn't care.
The man had his hands awkwardly tucked into the pockets of the jacket, and his face was expressionless. His words seemingly cut off as he left his mouth slightly agape. The woman spoke, eyes widened with bemusement, hand in his. As she turned towards the motorcycle, the mans face had turned to a vague disappointment.
"Poor soul." Cecily frowned, and turned back to the diner. The song had turned, 'A Kiss To Build A Dream On', by Louis Armstrong.
"I love this song!" She exclaimed to no one in particular, and danced over to her next table, preparing her rehearsed greetings.
Cecily got home late, as usual, her eyes dulled with exhaustion. She whipped the cap off her head and waved it around haphazardly as she collapsed onto her bed, face down into the pillow.
"Mmph." She mumbled to herself, letting herself fall into the grasps of sleep, and dreams.
Last edited by RunnerFive; 10-06-2013 at 11:22 AM.
2 Days Before the Outbreak
August 30th, 1957
Cecily grumbled and slammed her hand into the alarm clock stationed by her bed to stop that infernal ringing. It's fourth ring died out like a pitiful whine and Cecily dragged herself out of bed, her muscles aching and her stomach grumbling. She quickly threw on a dress much like her previous, simple, black-and-white and stumbled down the stairs, heels (Shoe wise!) dangling idly from the hand she stabled herself with against the smoothed mint-green wall as she descended.
She dropped the shoes on the floor and threw open the pantry and chose a cereal at random. She tipped the box back, canting her head backwards to catch the cereal as it fell. She glanced at the clock and nearly choked, dropping the box.
"Right! Lunch Shift!" She exclaimed with surprise, coughing raisin brand all over the tile floor as she fled the room.
"Shoes!" She gasped and ran back, grabbing the heels off the table and hopping about, pulling them on as she dashed out onto the street and started running.
She could get there in time, right? I mean it's only a few blocks away.
She slammed the door open, huffing out her labored breaths and quickly retreating to the kitchen, feet cruelly sore from the brutal heel-run.
"Did you hear about the soldiers sent back from Russia?" One of the waitresses off to the side, hopefully on her break, gossiped towards three other greedy ears.
"What about them?"
"Yeah, that was like a week ago, right?"
Cecily drifted closer, curiosity overcoming her.
"Well! I heard they've been...off." The girl nervously fidgeted with her cap, twisting it uncontrollably as she spoke. "They've been showing odd symptoms, like, they've been acting sick." She exclaimed.
"Are we sure it's not just retiring stress from the whole experience?" Cecily thought out loud.
The girl straightened her posture and brushed down her dress, throwing her harshly wrinkled cap onto her head. "I don't know, that's just what I heard." She sauntered off, leaving the three other girls to boil in their questions.
Cecily put hers away, however nagging. I have a job to do. She told herself and stepped out.
Her eyes drifted to a peculiar blonde, seated at a table and regarding the menu. She drifted over to the woman and spoke.
"Hello! I'm Cecily Dale, and I'll be your server this fine afternoon. Is there something I could get you?"
The Day Before The Outbreak
Saturday, August 31st, 1957
Mal had surprised himself. He didn't resort to drinking after the scenario he had at the diner. He was quite thankful that things indeed did not change. Nora acted like the conversation next to the bike had never happened, lived in the mansion, and cheerfully picked up after him as usual. He knew that something happened at the diner. Whatever it was, he couldn't stop thinking about it. Or Nora. He was frustrated that she had taken hold of him like Jessica had. Things were different twelve years ago, though. Jessica had loved him first. And she made a point of it before he had even thought about it. It came very quickly.
On the other hand, Nora wasn't making things easy at all. The woman was an unsolvable riddle to Mal. The worst part of it was that he had no idea how to pursue the situation. Leave things normal and continue a perfunctory, lazy life, or kick a hornet's nest on the off chance that there could be something between them? Not a clue. Whatever the reason, he was determined to try the latter because he had a hunch that she had some sort of feeling for him. Malcolm leaned back into his armchair in the living room and fell asleep on that thought.
Malcolm awoke to being shoved. It was Nora.
"What time is it?" moaned Malcolm as he drifted into his consciousness.
"Like...Nine in the evening," replied Nora.
"Why'd you wake me up?"
"Didn't you hear about t-"
"About the what?" asked Mal.
"The soldiers who came back from Russia," said Nora.
"What about them?"
"They got very sick while they were in Russia, apparently. I feel as if the newspaper is exaggerating, but in some 'interview', a doctor said that their skin became pale and they steadily lost their fucking minds, Mal."
"Oh, jesus. The soviets aren't going to let you leave clean, aren't there?" said Mal.
"Evidently not," said Nora. "Get up."
"Why?" asked Mal.
"Because we need to talk," said Nora calmly.
Malcolm's heart raced, and not in a good way, as a response. Well, I suppose I will receive my answer on what this all means, then.
The dimly lit room made the situation even more awkward, and to pile onto that, Nora wasn't speaking. She had zoned out, and was deep in thought.
"I wanted to talk about what happened at candy coat, because you haven't been the same since," said Nora hesitantly.
"Were you serious about what you asked?"
"No," said Mal.
"I didn't intend for it to come out that way, and I'm sorry," interrupted Mal.
"That's what I assumed. If there's one thing that you really tend to be, it's unpredictable," said Nora. "I've known you a long time, and I know that you don't always say what you mean."
"How long has it been since you started working here?"
"Almost two years. Since right after you bought the house."
"Damn, you're right. It has been a long time," said Mal. He paused, and they didn't say anything for a few minutes. They just stood there, observing each other. Malcolm and Nora were like the Americans and Russians. Neither one knew which one would speak first, so neither one spoke for a while.
Mal decided to break the silence. He walked closer toward Nora. "You're....what....almost thirty?"
Nora shrugged. "I turned twenty nine a month ago."
"And yet, even though you're of the age when one would go out, meet someone, and start a family, you stayed here, and picked up after my mess, all this time..."
"Because...." Nora leaned in and her lips touched Mal's. If she were a judge of a quality kiss, she would've criticized the hell out of him, because it was awful on his end. Mal was in shock, and his face became stiff. The soft kiss that lasted only a few seconds, and it was likely that Mal was only really part of it for one of those seconds. After the kiss, Nora quickly left the room.
Now I have my answer, thought Mal as Nora left. He only stood in the same place, deep in thought. The epidemic that would come only the next day would occur in the absolute worst timing, as it might effectively serve as a halt between he and Nora.
Two Days Before the Outbreak, August 30th, 1957
It had been a long morning at work. The editor had been babbling to Lacy from the moment she arrived at the building to the moment her lunch break started about some "incredible" story he was on the trail of. Lacy hadn't caught the whole story, she had drifted off into a daydream when she had tired, but it seemed to have something to do Russia, or maybe Russians, and a virus. He was making up stories, and she knew it. No one just finds out randomly about a top secret Russian experiment.
She had high-tailed it out of the building when noon finally hit, and walked to the Cherry-Coat Diner a while down the road. She had never been to the place before, and had always gone back home to make herself lunch. However, one of her coworkers had recommended this place. Said it had "exceptional service".
Lacy took a seat at the bar, casually skimming over the menu. As good as a beer sounded, she had to go back to work, and didn't want to be sick there.
I guess I'll just get this turkey club, seems good enough., Lacy thought to herself, and placed the menu back at in its place. She attempted to return the stray strands of hair that had fallen from her bun to their proper places. She might as well look presentable.
The hair stubbornly refused.