I Won Chopped!

Jul 04 22:30:02 <gumbal1> Imagine the absolute worst time Madeline could suddenly get summoned to a high-rise hallway. Now, take into account all scenarios, no matter how inconvenient/inconcievable, and factor that into your guestimation for such. Somehow, Miriam picked the exact right time to suddenly whisk Madeline away to a…rather reality-like reality…oh, huh, this is still the waking world. Well, leaning against a doorfram ('632'), box of what look
Jul 04 22:30:02 <gumbal1> s like a pack of chinese fried-rice takeout in her hands, is…maybe Miriam of Dunsen. Mads gets the feeling it's a projection more than anything, even with all her finery. "It appears a priority assignment has come up that I feel your skillset would be perfect for, Dreamweaver Maddox." The box is offered to Madeline. "Eat. I know how hungry humans tend to get." (repost for logs)
Jul 04 22:30:57 <Nemi> Madeline is dazed by the abrupt transfer of location. She HAD been curled up, watching cartoons, and here she is again. Wan-faced and uncomfortable, she nonetheless reaches over for the fried rice. And she WAS hungry, at the least, so she digs in with whatever she's given- failing that, a fork pulled out of the air. ".. really? I mean.. guh- I like, what can I do?"
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Jul 04 22:34:34 <gumbal1> It's…blueish, the the rice, as if doused in a blue sauce. The rice has an otherwise yellowish tint, the meat is thin and blackened, and it's fucking amazing, if oddly soft and sweet. "I have recieved a request to deal with one Bernard DuPont. My client tells me that Bernard has been suffering from night terrors, and that his deteriorating mental state might cause trouble for himself in the near future. I want you to fix this
Jul 04 22:34:34 <gumbal1> , while at the same time making sure Bernard is not attacked in his sleep by errant spirits…I should mention that this apartment complex is teeming with those."
Jul 04 22:36:03 <Nemi> "..ohmygosh this is so /good/ and.. And, uhm-" Madeline looks up from the food, talking with mouth full. ".. okay, okay, night terrors. I can- try and handle those and.. Okay. Spirits, I like, I think I get it."
Jul 04 22:39:06 <Nemi> ".. I don't think I've ever tried to stop a spirit."
Jul 04 22:40:06 <gumbal1> Mahsal cooking is a lost art, though that might be because almost all of them don't need to eat to survive. It's popular amongst ascendants, however. "His door is locked. I trust you realize that this should not matter to you in the slightest. He is in his bedroom, preparing to sleep. I would ask that you not let him see you…your physiology, as a dreamweaver, is unique, Dreamweaver Maddox. You operate on a level closer to spirit
Jul 04 22:40:06 <gumbal1> s than most humans. I trust you realize what that implies."
Jul 04 22:40:52 <Nemi> Madeline slowly nods, and swivels to the door. ".. Is this it?"
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Jul 04 22:43:11 <gumbal1> "It is indeed. I will keep on the lookout for counterfeits who wish to steal our business and rob you of this valuable learning opportunity. Now, onward. Do not dissapoint me."
Jul 04 22:44:50 <Nemi> Madeline nods. She finishes the food and just disappears the carton. And like so, she attempts to slip into the Dreamworld overlaid atop this one, to step into the bedroom without leaving a body or visible self behind. It's a classic trick she'd learned and honed over the past year, hardly a problem for her.
Jul 04 22:52:38 <gumbal1> The Dreamworld here is…thicker. Denser, with the residue of a thousand failed starts in a slowly gentrifying city, a thousand dead friends the government let die and a thousand more about to succumb, a thousand broken men and women who's only percieved salvation laid at the six hands of a one-eyed monster. Still, it's a basic trick, and it's pretty easy. From the decor, Madeline can tell Bernard is probably some sort of chef, wh
Jul 04 22:52:38 <gumbal1> at with the certificates and assorted kitchenware. There's a few framed photos on an end table, a few of a polaroid of a portly gold-blond teenage boy with a skinny, platinum-blond boy of similar age. Another few of a sinewy blonde young man that looks vaguely like the teenage boy from earlier, along with a tall, olive-skinned woman, muscled like an MMA fighter. The pictures have been accumulating dust for some time now. A few env
Jul 04 22:52:38 <gumbal1> elopes lie on the kitchen counter, ignored and unopened.
Jul 04 22:55:58 <Nemi> The dreamy Madeline quietly walks from the door, peering at the envelopes as she approaches the bedroom. This place sat ill with her, the cold and discomfort and the sheer weight. But she was here to help. It gave her purpose.
Jul 04 22:58:04 <gumbal1> It's your standard apartment. Probably built in the seventies. There's a short hallway leading off from the righthand side of the living room-kitchen, wherein a bathroom and a bedroom door sit at opposit ends, a broom closet door between. The enve;lopes are envelopes, likely not bills from the look of it and not too dusty.
Jul 04 22:58:57 <Nemi> Any notables in the return addresses? Madeline carefully appraoches the bedroom door, pausing to listen and to briefly project her sight past the bedroom door, at least.
Jul 04 23:02:54 <gumbal1> It's all from Diane, Florida. The man in the bedroom, Bernard, is…probably not well. His hair's completely grayed, and has receeded pretty far. He's certainly rather brawny in his old age, but he carries himself like a frail old man. His bedroom is bare, save a simple bed and two more photos of the mysterious people from the end table, along with a floor lamp. Soon, that's turned off, and he finally lays down. It's…twenty minu
Jul 04 23:02:54 <gumbal1> tes before he actually falls asleep.
Jul 04 23:05:26 <Nemi> Children, relatives, maybe? Madeline can't figure it out, and she watches him like a creeper as she waits for him to pass to sleep, unseen and intangible near the foot of the bed. A proud chef, clearly this room was for sleeping and little else.. Once he sleeps, she carefully reaches out, to try to find the door to his dreamscape.
Jul 04 23:08:31 <gumbal1> The door's right there. Human minds are simple like that. It's old, ratty, fit more for a shack than for a human…but it's sturdy. Whoever Bernard is, he's good at keeping all this down.
Jul 04 23:09:14 <Nemi> But a door is still a door. Madeline steps inside.
Jul 06 20:35:21 <gumbal1> Of course, coming through a shack door, Madeline might've expected that she'd come out of a shack. Or in. Turns out the former is right, though the location…aside from the shack, Madeline finds herself on a rather empty gravel road, save for a pair of train tracks running down along it. It seems to go on forever in either direction, as do the thick forests walling it on either side. The sky is grey, dull, overcast. Madeline gets the f
Jul 06 20:35:21 <gumbal1> eeling Bernard should be nearby, along with two other…constructs really is the best term here. Just down to her right exiting the shaft, along the tracks. (repost for logs)
Jul 06 20:40:51 <Nemi> Madeline swivels her gaze from side to side, trying to zero in on the feeling of- company, for lack of a better phrase, near her. She hadn't expected this- but in a way, it made some sense. Waiting for a train, perhaps, as a metaphor. Or another metaphor for regular, terrible disruptions to the dreamworld.
Jul 06 20:45:00 <gumbal1> No company as of yet, aside from Bernard and the constructs. It appears he's not been possessed, at least. In the distance, Mads can maybe sortof see a few figures.
Jul 06 20:47:12 <Nemi> Madeline shall head that way, following the tracks on toward the distant figures. For now she'll obey the rules of the dream, as to not potentially be more a disruption than a help.
Jul 06 20:52:38 <gumbal1> Madeline makes fast time, or at least in the sense that dreams have a thing with closed distance outside of tense nightmares. Coming closer, the figures are…relatively normal. It's Bernard, first of all, looking to be in his mid-twenties, and, oddly enougm looking stressed as hell as he walks somewhat behind two figures. In contrast, the two figures walking away from him are somewhat cloudy, but recognizable. One of them looks to be a
Jul 06 20:52:38 <gumbal1> n older version of the platinum-haired boy from earlier, dressed as a cop and missing an eye. The other is the tall lady from the other pictures, around the same age she was for them. Neither of them look happy. Something tells you there's a reason Bernard isn't speaking to them.
Jul 06 20:52:56 <gumbal1> Outside of the dream, Bernard rolls over in his sleep. Madeline may or may not notice this.
Jul 06 20:56:26 <Nemi> Madeline does notice this- she's still very anchored in the waking world, for better or worse. She hides herself, wrapping herself in dreamstuff, to get closer, to watch their faces and what the figures are doing. To let the dream progress further on and reveal itself to her.
Jul 06 20:59:36 <gumbal1> There's no wind. No train whistles to indicate the sound of an approaching train. Nothing. It's too quiet. Why aren't they trying to break the silence…eventually, Bernard does. "…listen, I-" For a man his size, he has an oddly light voice. "Shut up. Please." At the very least, the platinum-blond man's is deeper. "I don't want to hear it."
Jul 06 21:00:38 <Nemi> And Madeline still walks as their shadow, listening intently. Something inherited from her grandmother: That drive to learn all she could before diving in.
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Jul 06 21:05:02 <gumbal1> Did Miriam say something about night terrors? For all the tenseness, it doesn't seem to be anything beyond a normal, if somewhat melancholy dream. "Jon, I just wa-" 'Jon' turns around, irritation in his good eye, as the woman continues walking away. "Bernard. Just shut up. Please."
Jul 06 21:05:49 <Nemi> Miriam /did/. The waking Madeline, or some projection thereof, is keeping watch for that. But this Madeline- her attention is firmly on the conversation. She examines the people involved closer, looking for any similarities in the face.
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Jul 06 21:10:11 <gumbal1> The woman continues walking, and Bernard finds himself looking between the two in apparent anxiety. "Jon, this…this isn't fair. We're friends. We're…" There's a pause, as something suddenly groans from below. Like rusted metal being dragged across a dirty factory floor. Jon doesn't seem to notice, merely staring at Bernard before speaking again. "…really." …was Jon always that young-looking? It's almost like he's de-aged ten yea
Jul 06 21:10:11 <gumbal1> rs. "…friends. Yeah. Real good friends. Then where's my right eye, Bernard?"
Jul 06 21:12:06 <gumbal1> Something's poking from the trees, near where the woman currently is. Fleshy, though marked in places. Wrinkled. Eyeing the woman with a peculiar look.
Jul 06 21:13:25 <Nemi> Madeline quietly drifts to place herself somewhere between the woman and the wrinkled thing, bringing her not only closer and perhaps in the way but in a position to try to read the strange, fleshy creature. Jon's de-aging was- odd, to say the least, but so far nothing seems terribly amiss beyond relationships and the twists and turns they take.
Jul 06 21:18:01 <gumbal1> The thing is…there's multiple things at play here. The world isn't sure whether this thing should be one thing or the other, so it's making a mix of both. Though it has no consistent form, Madeline gets feelings of mixed guilt and…something horrid. That odd lack of something truly horrid seems to have died away, with whatebver this thing is. The woman continues walking, though she stops to look at it.
Jul 06 21:22:47 <Nemi> Madeline stops beside the wooman to look at it too. This foreign, shapeless thing.. It's like a parasite, latching onto Bernard's guilt and using it to take its own shape. She immediately tenses herself, even though she lacks a true self here, in this dream, ready to defend the memory of the woman.
Jul 06 21:25:14 <gumbal1> ~child.~ It's voice, whatever it is, is heavily androgynous, yet strained by a sort of age. ~would you like to play.~ Coming out, the markings from earlier seem more like…tattooes.
Jul 06 21:26:56 <Nemi> "You shouldn't," Madeline whispers to the woman. "It shouldn't be here."
Jul 06 21:30:14 <gumbal1> The woman suddenly snaps to attention, and suddenly becomes a lot more clearer. Her absurd height (easily 6'11") makes a rather noticable gap between her and the short Madeline. "…yeah. Heard that a lot." There's a bit of a South-Texas accent present. "Dios Mio, don't tell me Berny's brought his friends into this."
Jul 06 21:32:29 <Nemi> Madeline's doing her best to remain hidden, of course, though she still speaks. "His friends? Why would he bring friends in? What happened?"
Jul 06 21:39:29 <gumbal1> "No fucking clue, amiga." The fleshy thing begins circling the woman, as Madeline feels the argument back with Bernard and Jon suddenly get a lot more heated. The woman ignores it all, pulling a lit cigarette from nowhere and taking a drag. "Berny's a jealous prick. He tells me he fucking loves me, supports me, wants me to be happy." The fleshbeast, by now, is practically breathing down her neck. "Next thing I know, he's got a hateboner
Jul 06 21:39:29 <gumbal1> for my new girlfriend. Dunno." ~he's jealous of you. sara actually loved you~ "Figured."
Jul 06 21:40:36 <gumbal1> Outside, in the waking world, the air seems to almost get a bit heavier.
Jul 06 21:44:46 <Nemi> The waking Madeline feels out the heavy air, looking to see what she can sift up- and ready to fight whatever might manifest. The dream Madeline approaches the fleshbeast, keeping her eyes on it, almost glaring. But she continues to speak to the towering woman. "Why would he be jealous? He couldn't handle the thought that he wasn't enough for you?"
Jul 06 21:47:01 <gumbal1> The room is still, for now. At least, physically. Mads gets the feeling that the fleshbeast is eyeing her back. ~cause he's a fucking wimp with grandpappy issues. come on, sandy, you can do better.~ "Yeah." Sandy respons, eyes glazed over. "Figure I can."
Jul 06 21:50:03 <Nemi> "You should decide that for yourself, Sandy. Not just let pressure and guilt tell you that," Madeline pushes back, staring the Fleshbeast down. Not that Madeline could ever do such a thing, spineless little wretch she is.
Jul 06 21:53:34 <gumbal1> A shout from frustration can be heard, and Jon storms off, down the tracks, going unusually fast. His formerly pale skin seems to have darkened into a golden brown, even segmented in some place, in fractals. Fractals like…feathers. As if on cue, the air in the real world suddenly gets heavier. "…I guess. But he's a wet blanket. I just-" ~don't listen to her, sandy. bernard's a fucking wimp. who lets their grandfather do that to the
Jul 06 21:53:34 <gumbal1> m?~ Something flashes in Madeline's vision. Strained, bruised flesh, accompanied by a dull thudding sound. ~come with me. you'll need the speed.~ Sandy nods, and the fleshbeast suddenly starts contoring, into a vaguely equine shape.
Jul 06 21:55:25 <gumbal1> Fog suddenly starts collecting at the other end of the tracks, and Bernard suddenly panics, running away from it and, consequently, towards the other two. He's…he's got your standard dream slowness. Something really bad suddenly begins coallescing within the fog, though Madeline can't quite spot it through the clouds.
Jul 06 21:57:00 <gumbal1> Meanwhile, in the real world, thick black clouds begin collecting at the window to Bernard's bedroom.
Jul 06 21:58:04 <Nemi> But here, Madeline is a dreamweaver. She reaches across the space, and she'll grab for Bernard, to tug him over toward Sandy and the flesh-thing. "You'll have room for more passengers," she says, as if stating a fact and not a request. "Because as much as you hate him, you can't just /give up/ on him." In the waking world, her projection eyes the clouds, aiming to just crack the windows
Jul 06 21:58:04 <Nemi> open and blow the clouds out. A metaphor for her real intent to dispel the building terrors, but nonetheless what it appears as.
Jul 06 22:00:39 <gumbal1> "Oh, thank-" Bernard stops, just eyeing the fleshbeast with an odd, slightly terrified look. In the real world, as Madeline aims to blow the clouds out, she feels…something. A similar thing to the evil in Sircatore, back in the AB House. Only stronger. Much stronger. The clouds, clinging to the edge of the window, begin coallescing once more.
Jul 06 22:01:44 <Nemi> A remnant. Great. The real-world Madeline, or the Hag thereof, or- there's some complex interactions happening here, but she's practiced this. She can handle it. Hopefully. "Climb on," Madeline commands Bernard, trusting him to be as spineless as the creature said.
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Jul 06 22:03:34 <Nemi> Madeline has so much more a spine, a presence, when the core import is anything but herself. But that's not news.
Jul 06 22:05:39 <gumbal1> Whatever the fleshbeast is, Bernard seems to be reacting to it in an almost identical way to the thing in the clouds, which is slowly advancing. Meanwhile, the Remnant seems to be taking form, into…Madeline. Then, however, it begins morphing, into…Madeline again. Though a different kind, an almost branching version, one where Madeline transitioned through HRT and FFS instead of Whole-Body Replacement and Dreamstuff. "…Berny's got
Jul 06 22:05:39 <gumbal1> a friend? Oh, ha. I'm eating well tonight."
Jul 06 22:09:55 <Nemi> In the dream, Madeline sighs, and she'll attempt to adjust the dreamstuff to create a mount for Bernard. She'll near on heave him onto it before leaping on herself to be his guide on and away from the clouds. In the waking world, Madeline also sighs. There's a marked difference between Madeline on her own and Madeline on a mission- she was a Maddox, after all. The one the former Special
Jul 06 22:09:55 <Nemi> Circumstances called the Maddox. "A remnant, now, too? Really? And you had to show me what could have been." The Remnant'd be tall, broad-shouldered, red haired and dusted with freckles. Fierce-looking, in the way her great-grandmother is. Like a younger Miss Fox. "You're hilarious."
Jul 06 22:17:00 <gumbal1> The mount is…some banged-up, scratched car with a make from the seventies. And yet it feels…almost safer than even a presidential limo, at least to Bernard. Madsremnant, meanwhile, chuckles. "Nive to meet you, too. Name's Burgrr, and you're really gonna want to get out of there right now." Bernard enters the vehicle, and suddenly the thing emerges. It's…easily larger than a city bus, and longer than several city blocks. A tan,
Jul 06 22:17:00 <gumbal1> fleshy thing, almost a cross between a human and a millipede, with thousands of human arms ending in greasy, unwashed hands for legs. It reeks of antiseptic and Italian cuisine, and its underbelly is covered in millions of tiny white hairs. All this converges into a point, a head with ram-horns and the face of an elderly man that almost, but not quite, looks like the real world Bernard. Madeline can tell something is wrong, though. It'
Jul 06 22:17:00 <gumbal1> s made of coallesced dreamstuff, but it's arranged all wrong. It's artificial, like it was made specifically to hurt.
Jul 06 22:22:38 <Nemi> Madeline climbs into the car with Bernard in the dream, but she's simultaneously spreading herself about the dream- and there, she tries to unravel the dreamstuff the monstrosity's made from. It's artificial, and she is a weaver of dreams with a great deal of practice. And here, she's the Maddox, not weak little Madeline. And she is undeniably potent. Special Circumstances was afraid
Jul 06 22:22:38 <Nemi> of her for good reason. And in the waking world, Madeline sneers. "Nice to meet you if you weren't going to try to eat him. Sorry, but I'm not going to let you do that."
Jul 06 22:27:57 <gumbal1> "Eat him? You know how hard it is to find someone who doesn't kill themself after the third week of wet nightmares in a row? I'm not eating my golden goose." The car is fast, as is the fleshbeast and Jon…but so is the monstrosity. Madeline does make some progress, ripping apart the monster into base, raw feelings of self-hatred, disgust, and otherwise…but something's strengthening it, rebuilding it back. "You know, I could probably
Jul 06 22:27:57 <gumbal1> end up dragging you along, too. Fuck it, I'm getting ideas already." Oddly enough, Madeline's getting said ideas too. They're…vile. Horrid.
Jul 06 22:31:17 <Nemi> "I feel them too." The Maddox quirks her lip- and presses an intangible hand directly into her taller counterpart's chest. "And that means I feel /you/. You're interesting. I wonder how long you'll last?" The Maddox quality was something that carried in the bloodline. They could be terrifying, even if most of the time they are the meekest, weakest ones around. And in the dream, Madeline
Jul 06 22:31:17 <Nemi> continues tearing into the creature as Bernard drives after the fleshbeast, but her interest follows whatever tendrils of emotional force are building it again. The strings that she wants to snip, and tries to, using the very mass of the creature against it. She should be afraid. Instead, she's just- upset.
Jul 06 22:31:29 <Nemi> The Chinese take-out was very good, after all. Hard to be afraid when you feel warm inside.
Jul 06 22:36:10 <gumbal1> For all the appearance Burgrr's taken so far, it's all Bernard down there. Nights and nights of this, built up into the nightmare standing before her. The memory of the chinese food is warm, sure…but something's wrong. The niceities are reacting with the Remnant's physiology, though not completely destroying it. "In…Haven, was it? How strong are my brethren? Do they crumble at mere memories of a helicopter mom who packed me lunch fo
Jul 06 22:36:10 <gumbal1> r school?" It's…very obviously the remnant that's putting it back together.
Jul 06 22:40:16 <Nemi> Snip snip snip. The Maddox tilts her head as her dreamself continues its work. And now- a holding pattern, to keep the Remnant reacting until she figures out exactly what to do. "They keep being destroyed. And why do you have to take /that/ shape? It's not a good one. Too ugly, too badly put-together.. And my mom never hovered around me. THat was the /problem/. You look like what I
Jul 06 22:40:16 <Nemi> could have been but you don't know anything, do you?"
Jul 06 22:46:20 <gumbal1> "I can change shapes, if you want. Give me a few minutes to eat away at your psyche a bit more. Oh, excuse me, like Miriam isn't projecting her inability to sire children onto you." The monstrosity of hands…actually seems to be dying down, a bit…though it soom becomes obvious why. As bits of dream residue fall from the wreck, they each begin to take on individual forms. That same beast, with one hand instead of many. All crawling un
Jul 06 22:46:20 <gumbal1> usually fast towards the vehicle Bernard and Madeline are in. "…ha. God, Deepwood was telling me about a Kat, but I didn't think…christ, is that Nasser on you? And Southey, too?"
Jul 06 22:47:15 <gumbal1> "Where do you get the time to meet these people?"
Jul 06 22:48:32 <Nemi> "We were friends." says the Maddox, calmly enough. "And where do you get the time to haunt nobodies? I always wonder about you Remnants. What are you remnants /of/?" In the Dream, Madeline shifts her focus from chopping apart the big thing to… Absorbing and repurposing dreamstuff. Devouring the crawling beasts that form out, repurposing them into fuel to propel the car on, or to fill
Jul 06 22:48:33 <Nemi> the roadway ahead of her.
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Jul 06 22:53:45 <gumbal1> It's…this probably isn't healthy. The restructured dreamstuff is nauseous, horrid, like slurping down gasoline or tar. "Me? Some idiot named Angel got her apartment firebombed. I'm just the sorrow of her brother and ess-oh…you're trying to eat them, aren't you?" And, near immediately, the remaining beasts change composition. What once was flesh becomes rotten meat, feces, broken glass.
Jul 06 22:56:12 <Nemi> "So you're just globs of emotions, clawing toward something you can't be. That's sad." The Maddox taps the red-headed Madeline's chest. "Says a lot about you." In the dream, Madeline stops to vomit out the slurry of toxic dreamstuff, depleting herself some. And she realizes that as they continue their flight she can't continue on her own. And so she's going to try something new- to
Jul 06 22:56:13 <Nemi> conjure her Hag too. A waking Madeline. A dreaming Madeline. And a Hag. A tripartite goddess in her dreams.
Jul 06 22:59:26 <gumbal1> "Like you're any better in that department. You aren't exactly flesh and blood yourself." The thing, the Old Hag, appears right alongside her. Bernard freaks a bit, but is calmed by its distance from the other terrors. "…uh, weird girl? What's going on?"
Jul 06 23:02:26 <Nemi> "You've got people fighting over you," Madeline assures Bernard as she sics the Hag, in all its terror and wonder, on the pursuing beasts. She'd recall if it it were overwhelmed, but here? It's a blunt instrument, to smash the Remnant's fingers in Bernard's psyche. "Aren't you popular?" The waking Maddox shrugs, staring her counterpart down. "And you are? Even still I'm something you
Jul 06 23:02:26 <Nemi> can't hope to be. There's what, only one, two Remnants who've ever become physical? You're named after /creepypasta/."
Jul 06 23:07:27 <gumbal1> "Why the hell would I ever want to be an unstable mess who can't stand up to her emotionally abusive girlfriend?" The Hag does a really good job at smashing up the bits of remnantfingers. "Why would I want to pretend to be human?" And, suddenly, the mist seems to receed in the dream.
Jul 06 23:10:44 <Nemi> The Maddox sneers. "Then look at you now. You're even /worse/- you're the thing that this mess 'discarded'. You're preying on a hollow man. You're /pathetic/." In the dream, Madeline keeps driving, the leash on the Hag light- enough to keep it tugged back into reach as they go, but far enough to let it get its fun, to beat back the mist and the things inside. It retreats to Madeline's
Jul 06 23:10:45 <Nemi> side, crowding the back of the car as the mist recedes. Madeline's eyes are forward.
Jul 06 23:17:08 <gumbal1> "I don't think you understand what I am, then. Bernard here is quite literally a gourmet feast for me." The clouds seem to break, actually, as the winter sun shines down. Jon and the fleshbeast gradually come to a stop as the danger receedes. "Whales eat krill. Humans eat organics and sugar. I eat sorrow. It's rather nice. Speaking of, I'm liking the vitriol from your responses. Pretty powerful stuff. Think I'm done with my appetizer, t
Jul 06 23:17:09 <gumbal1> hough."
Jul 06 23:18:48 <Nemi> Madeline slows the car a little and offers a smile to Bernard. "See? That wasn't so bad." The Hag looms in the back seat, as it does. And the Maddox tilts her head. "Well, you learn something every day. You really think you can take me on? Come at me."
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Jul 06 23:23:41 <gumbal1> "Alright, well, you asked for it." The dream stays pleasent…though Madeline suddenly feels a thousand unseen hands grasp at her form, her psyche, her very being, holding on with a death grip. It's…uncomfortable. Unpleasant. A lot of things that start with 'un'. "I could've done this before, but I kinda wanted to see how you tick and stuff. Thank Bernard for the idea."
Jul 06 23:27:04 <Nemi> Grasping at /her/. Dream Madeline has the foresight to tug on the emergency brake and slam her foot down on the regular brake before she's fully immobilized. But the Hag was an unforeseen factor- a Factor that was swinging already into action, scrabbling its way up the metaphorical hands to their source. And it was very, very, enthusiastic at the prospect of doing unpleasant things to
Jul 06 23:27:04 <Nemi> whatever's on the far end. The Maddox squints at the redheaded Madeline. "You'd probably realized there's two of me. I think you picked the wrong one."
Jul 06 23:31:32 <gumbal1> As the Hag makes her way over, things begin flashing in Madeline's mind. The musty smell of a filth-stained matress. The straining and bruising of flesh. The hurt, physical and emotional, of betrayal, Thankfully, some of the hands lose their grip as the Hag finds the Remnant at the end and begins tearing away.
Jul 06 23:33:46 <Nemi> Madeline- thinks she understands. It's a hurt that she's never experienced personally, but inhabiting so many others' dreams, their memories and terror and sorrows and joys, she's become well acquainted with how awful human beings are to one another. It's no wonder the Remnant was feasting. Not eating him, but everything he gave off. It made Burgrzz strong. But the Hag was a fearsome
Jul 06 23:33:47 <Nemi> force. She holds her ground, in reality and the dream alike.
Jul 06 23:38:12 <gumbal1> Burgrr staggers back, its form broken and reassembling, into a flurry of people, before settling on a filth-caked Zita. The flashes are still coming, though lessening. The dream, meanwhile, seems to be switching, as dreams do, into…well, that's a good sign at least, that it's some fucked-up cooking show instead of anything personal. "How long do you think you can keep this up, Maddox?"
Jul 06 23:39:50 <Nemi> "How long do you think you can last?" The Maddox replies, smiling sweetly. The Hag continues its rampage, its wroth directed directly onto the Remnant. Madeline, in the dream, settles a bit, disturbed at the flashes of history and memory she received, but- glad it's merely a mundane nightmare, now.
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Jul 06 23:43:15 <gumbal1> As the hag works its magic, the flashes lessen, and the Remnant's forms grow weaker and weaker. A broken, burned Katlyn. An emaciated, starved Leah. A Kiefer Spirkowski, drained of body fluids. Mr. Bun-Bun, caked in dirt and burn marks. And finally, a puddle of black goop on the floor, the reflection of a dark woman Madeline's never seen before reflected inside it.
Jul 06 23:45:40 <Nemi> And the Maddox remains impassive, even as Madeline whimpers on the inside. The filthy Zita- that's something she's seen. A broken Katlyn, a starved Leah.. They earn less of a pang of regret than does the empty Keef. The filthy rabbit makes her upset. The goop? That just confuses her. The Hag is loosed, barely reined in, and Madeline drops to her knees to peer into the goop. ".. Who is
Jul 06 23:45:40 <Nemi> that?" She asks, quiet.
Jul 06 23:47:22 <gumbal1> ~…angel johnson. she had dreams. easy nasa material.~ There's no voice to it, now. Just a soft pounding in Madeline's head. ~…you gonna kill me, now?~
Jul 06 23:47:38 <gumbal1> ~do it. fucking do it.~
Jul 06 23:48:51 <Nemi> Madeline just watches the goo for a while. Before replying, "You came from shattered dreams. That's.. Sad. But- I'm sorry. I'm not going to kill you." She looses the reins on the Hag. "Goodbye, Burgzz. I feel bad for you. But I won't miss you."
Jul 06 23:50:30 <gumbal1> ~…if you don't. i'll come back.~ The woman in the reflection hasn't moved at all, even as the puddlbe begins shrinking. ~i'll kill you. i'll kill katlyn. i'll kill zita. i'll kill sanctum itself.~
Jul 06 23:51:03 <Nemi> "The Hag will." And the Hag does.
Jul 06 23:52:33 <gumbal1> It's a simple thing, to hurt the puddle. ~see you in hell, mads. it's been fun.~ And the puddle evaporates.
Jul 06 23:52:58 <gumbal1> Bernard, meanwhile, tossess in his sleep.
Jul 06 23:54:01 <Nemi> The waking Madeline shakes her head and turns to peer about the room- and she pauses a moment to tug Bernard's sheets up over him. A little thing. In the dream, Madeline smiles to him, a little sad smile, much as what she gave the dying Remnant. "Are you okay?" She calls the Hag back to her side, still smeared in putrid remains and happy for it. Learning how to call and bind her Hag
Jul 06 23:54:01 <Nemi> was probably the greatest trick Miriam ever taught her.
Jul 06 23:55:36 <gumbal1> "So Chef Murderclown is forcing me to use my intestines in place of protein, but I'm not worried. I'm gonna make a good meatsauce with-" Bernard suddenly breaks from his confession-cam to turn to Madeline. "…I don't fucking, alright."
Jul 06 23:57:15 <Nemi> "Okay. You're really an amazing chef. I think we should go somewhere nicer than here. I mean, can he really force you to say?"
Jul 06 23:58:37 <gumbal1> Bernard looks over to the cooking host (a bloated, nightmarishly gangrenous pigman versuon of Guy Fieri), who merely shrugs in response. "…I guess not. Where'd you have in mind?"
Jul 06 23:59:37 <Nemi> "Where were you, the last time you were happy?" So, Guy Fieri as normal, then.
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Jul 07 00:02:17 <gumbal1> Rude. The scene changes, back to a small diner. A terrarium with two alligators inside sits in the corner, and it appears to be closing time, from the afternoon sunset streaming through the blinds. "…god, I miss this place. Sold it off for a profit as seed money. Worst mistake I ever made."
Jul 07 00:04:25 <gumbal1> "Anyways, what can I get ya?"
Jul 07 00:04:53 <Nemi> "You know.. Last time I was in Diane.. There was a place like this for sale." Madeline's soft, meek again. The Maddox, that thing borne of crisis, recedes, and she's just a sweet and nervous girl again. "That wasn't that long ago. Fifteen thousand up front, and with financing. You could do something like this again."
Jul 07 00:07:51 <Nemi> "Anyway, um.. I'd really like a burger. I haven't had a good burger in forever."
Jul 07 00:09:12 <gumbal1> "…maybe. I own a place down on Silas Street. Business is nice, but…" Bernard heads for the back kitchen. A greasy mirror is present on the wall, allowing Madeline to see him search through the cupboards for food. A burg is prepped on the grill, though Bernard's attention is taken to…something, further into the kitchen.
Jul 07 00:10:58 <gumbal1> "…any special things? Avocado, mushrooms? Bacon?"
Jul 07 00:11:33 <Nemi> She'll gently slide her 'camera' view around the corner and to the kitchen. Otherwise? She just sits at the front counter and kicks her feets. "I love um, avocado and mushrooms AND bacon. I um.. California, you know. Avocado on ~everything.~" It's joking. ".. What's wrong with the place on Silas Street?"
Jul 07 00:15:08 <gumbal1> It's…a fucking mess. Things are misplaced, cabinets are open, and there are two people huddled under a fire blanket, sleeping on the floor. It's…Bernard and Sandy, from the look of it. "Right." Onto the burg it goes. "It's four and a half stars on yelp and certified by damn near every assosciation based in Florida. It makes me tens of thousands a year. It's the place any Diane chef wants on their resume. And it's soulless drivel
Jul 07 00:15:08 <gumbal1> ."
Jul 07 00:15:30 <gumbal1> "…right. Side order?"
Jul 07 00:17:46 <Nemi> ".. soul is important." Madeline says, voice soft. "If something- somethings- close to you are gone then- what's the point, right?" Madeline scootches her stool closer to the counter. "But- as long as you're here, as long as you're alive, like.. You can change that. You can do different. .. and um- do you do waffle fries? I love those."
Jul 07 00:21:47 <gumbal1> "I can do waffle fries, yeah." No premade ones, but thankfully, there's batter and time is weird in dreams. "I loved this place. It was hokey, for chirstsakes we had live alligators. And, the best day of my life was when someone handed me the keys and told me it was mine. It was…" Bernard's…tearing up a bit. "I…keep the things you love close, Madeline. Don't…don't let it all slip through your fingers."
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Jul 07 00:24:55 <Nemi> "I know.. It's- hard, sometimes. What's the thing they said in that song?" She watches him closely. "You never know what you've got until it's gone..?" And something you're deeply aware of but too afraid and paralyzed to try to change. Like your abusive girlfriend and the ways she spits in your face, and yet you keep coming back because she gives you just enough that you can't live
Jul 07 00:24:55 <Nemi> without her. ".. its- thanks, for that. But don't forget that you're in a place where.. They left, but- everything's not over. You have to know you can move on, move forward. Right?" Was it hypocritical to try to give advice when you're paralyzed yourself?
Jul 07 00:30:46 <gumbal1> The food is done, and brought out to Madeline. Bernard sits down opposite of her. "…it's hard. I don't think there's a day that goes by where I don't think of how I could have changed everything." The scene changes. The cafe is crowded with people, all enjoying themselves. The alligators in the corner are watching over their children playfighting in a decidely non-alligator like display. There, a fat man that looks like a mayor sits a
Jul 07 00:30:46 <gumbal1> cross from Bernard, trying a burger very much like Madeline's, while Jon and Sandy stand beside him in anticipation. He…loves it. The three hug in celebration. "But…" And the scene shifts back to what it once was. Empty, save remnants of the past. "I guess there's not much I can do, eh?"
Jul 07 00:32:00 <Nemi> Madeline picks up the burger, and she nods. "You can't change the past. I mean- I know like, it's just me /saying/ this, but.. The past's happened. You just need to live with what it's left you." She takes a bite.
Jul 07 00:32:25 <gumbal1> It's…dreams are driven by emotions, and there's so much emotion put into this burger. "…what about you? What's your story?"
Jul 07 00:33:50 <Nemi> And emotion can fill you up. She sets the burger down, clearly approving. ".. thank you for showing me all this.. And- my story?" She thinks a while. ".. Have you ever- felt like you never belonged? You put on a face and tried very hard to fit whatever that was, even though you knew it was everything you weren't?"
Jul 07 00:35:30 <gumbal1> "…I didn't think there was much for someone like me. Still don't. But I think we're different people, and belonging means different things to us." Bernard stays silent for a bit, before cracking up. "God, to listen to me."
Jul 07 00:37:34 <Nemi> "You're right, though." Madeline picks up a waffle fry and munches at it. "People- um. They want different things. Because they're different. I wanted to be someone I didn't want to- I wanted to not want to carve myself open because I hated what I was /so much/ and.. I wanted not to have to play pretend /so hard/ because of what I had and… I kind of got my wish. But I don't even really
Jul 07 00:37:34 <Nemi> exist anymore. I'm- like, a fantasy. But I can help you." She puts on a smile. It's weak, but it reaches her eyes.
Jul 07 00:40:06 <gumbal1> "…I have no idea what that means, but I'll take it." It's a smile returned by the old man before her. "If what you said is true, I think I'll buy this place back up. I'm gonna…I'm gonna have it back."
Jul 07 00:40:39 <Nemi> "It might not be the same place- time does that.. But- it's something you can do for /you/. And that means a lot."
Jul 07 00:40:58 <Nemi> Madeline munches another waffle fry and tentatively puts a hand to Bernard's shoulder.
Jul 07 00:41:11 <Nemi> She wishes she could follow her own advice.
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Jul 07 00:41:47 <gumbal1> "Right." Bernard…kindasorta flinches at the shoulder touch, but relaxes a bit soon after. "Thanks, weird dream girl."
Jul 07 00:43:04 <Nemi> "You're welcome. I'll- I'll be watching." Waking Madeline watches Bernard, still watchful for creeping spirits and terrors. Dream Madeline settles in her seat, and after a thoughtful nibble.. ".. These fries are /really good/."
Jul 07 00:44:52 <gumbal1> Nothing. No Remnant's willing to go near a deathsite of their brethren. "…thanks." At least Bernard's sleeping semipeacefully.
Jul 07 00:46:50 <Nemi> And that tells Madeline she's done something helpful. She smiles again, and she finishes her dream food. "I think you'll be sleeping easier for a good while, at least."
Jul 07 00:48:10 <gumbal1> "Right." Bernard nods, then suddenly checks his phone. "…Gastonomus Fieri wants me back in five minutes. I still haven't even begun preparing the meat sauce."
Jul 07 00:48:29 <Nemi> "Don't let me keep you!"
Jul 07 00:51:00 <gumbal1> Bernard nods, and suddenly he's back in the kitchen. Normally, disembowling yourself and having to use your intestines as the meat would be traumatizing, but Bernard looks and acts more worried about Chef Deathtruck's exlusive right to use salt in the Nightmare Ravioli Surprise round (classic NRS is typically oversalted to make up for the ichor). Oh well.
Jul 07 00:52:09 <Nemi> Madeline watches from her audience seat. This was a- normal surreal nightmare. Not something she needs to intervene in. A symptom, perhaps, not a disease. She watches and will keep watching until Bernard wakens, perhaps rested and not poisoned for the first time in years.
Jul 07 00:54:52 <gumbal1> The judge (who's basically Freddie Mercury dressed in a David Byrne suit) is nice to Bernard's cooking, at least. As he announces that he's won chopped, the dream ends, and Bernard faces the morning sun with a smile for the first time in too long.
Jul 07 00:56:37 <Nemi> And Madeline lets herself drift from the dream, drift from the room in the intruding rays of the sun back to the hallway outside.
Jul 07 00:57:04 <gumbal1> Miriam's still there, after all this time. "And how did it go, Dreamweaver Maddox?"
Jul 07 00:57:35 <Nemi> "The remnant is gone. Bernard woke up smiling. It.. Didn't feel like he'd done that in a very, very long time."
Jul 07 00:58:33 <gumbal1> "My client will be very happy to hear that, if he has not already passed on to the afterlife. Now, I believe you have class in…five minutes. I suggest you get ready." And Madeline is dropped off into her room.
Jul 07 01:01:15 <Nemi> ".. five minutes?" Madeline squeaks. And she rushes on to get ready, urgency putting the night's events behind her.
Jul 07 01:01:25 <Nemi> But at least she did some good. She just needs some to happen for herself.
Jul 07 01:01:35 <gumbal1> ~SCENE FIXED~

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