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“My Amelia, I’ve missed you terribly. Tonight is worth, to me, any consequences that may come of it.” -- Espionage
For all of Miriam’s beauty and natural poise, her severity was unmatched. -- Glow
PEOPLE VS. OUR CREATOR "We create our gods, not the other way around." -- Clockwork Horrorshow's Unjust -Injustice for All-
"You're dead, Julia." -- Quarantine
“I almost forgot which one you were, girr.” -- The Mannequin Diaries

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Scottie Elisabeth
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PostSubject: One    Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:07 am

A knock. A broken lock. A dark room. A slight stench permeating from the lumpy couch. Time to sit. Time to wait. The routine was just that. My days all ran into each other lately, as everyone seemed to be falling on hard times. It had been over an hour and my eyes were well-adjusted to the lack of light. A glance around the room would make this place indistinguishable from any other—a lack of knick knacks from various trips to the pawn shop, TV on the floor instead of on a stand, no furniture save for the grimy couch, pictures on the wall of a couple, filmed over with a layer of dust and grime from cigarette smoke—the usual. My own cigarette rested between my lips, the red tip the only illumination in the room. Blackout curtains suggested my mark worked night shift, probably in addition to day if her repayment log was any indication. She was struggling. Who wasn’t?

Footsteps outside approached and ceased as undoubtedly the owner went to turn the key. Would she scream? Run? Bear arms? That was the only part that was ever unpredictable, the only part that was ever any fun. I put the cigarette out in the ashtray on the arm of the couch.

“I could smell you from the street,” the woman complained as she pushed the door open, the room filled with the light of daybreak. Upon flicking the switch next to the door, her eyes found me, and I fought not to flinch as mine adjusted. The door closed behind her as she removed her bag and jacket, her uniform for a bar underneath. “I don’t have the money.”

“Lyca, right?” I stood, crossing my arms over my chest, slightly disappointed at the blaze introduction. When she neither agreed nor refuted, but instead turned to the kitchenette, I continued. “We sent you your final notice two weeks ago. I’m here to collect.”

“I know what you’re here for,” she spat as she poured two glasses of Crown. “But as I said, I don’t have the money.” She pushed one toward me on the counter before downing her own. “I don’t have what I don’t have.”

The glass was cold, the Crown warm from its store in the cabinet, but a drink was a drink. There was a clink as I returned the glass empty to the countertop. I looked at her, but she would not make eye contact with me. “Final notice means final notice.”

“I know,” she folded her arms over her chest. The silence was heavy between us.

“Need I remind you of your contract?”

“I don’t need reminded of my fucking contract,” she shoved her hands in her pockets, pulling out a small wad of twenties. “Here!” she demanded, throwing the bills at me. “I won’t be able to pay my rent or eat or camouflage or have fucking electricity, but whatever. Just take it. That’s what you’re here for.”

I counted the bills, my eyes still on her. “You’re short.”

Her eyes widened as she sniffed the air and eyed the money in my hand. “No, that’s what I pay every week.”

“You received your final notice, Lyca. There is no more ‘pay every week.’ I’m here to collect in full.” I dropped the stack of bills on the counter. “And you’re short.”

The woman eyed the bills, eyed me, and I saw her searching for an excuse, a word, an idea, anything. “I’ll get it,” she raised her hands to me, her claws extended as her anxiety grew, and she cowered slightly as the gravity of the situation hit her. “I don’t have it, but I’ll get it. I promise.”

“Come on, Lyca, we’re past that and you know it.” I unfastened my jacket, eyeing her. “I need the remainder of the loan in full, right now, or you know what I have to do.”

“Please,” she dropped to her knees, her eyes turning a crystal blue as she stared into mine. Her camo was failing her. “Please, I just need more time.”

“Don’t we all,” I half-whispered, watching as her heart caught in her throat. Her eyes were pained. I knew she would cry if she had tear ducts. “Do you want to do this here, or…?” I looked around the room, eyeing with disdain the sour couch. It was always the couch.

She raised her hands to her face as her head lowered. Her feet were beneath her, but I noticed holes in her shoes where her claws had penetrated. She could rip me apart if she weren’t so exhausted. “How long will this take?” she finally managed, defeat in her voice.

I retrieved my notepad from my pocket and skimmed for her name. I whistled when I came to her debt. “I guess camo is expensive, huh?”

“How long?” she demanded, defeat being replaced with disdain.

“Half an hour,” I estimated, tallying in my mind. “Faster if you’re cooperative, usually, but I don’t do lycanthropes often, so I can’t make any promises.”

“Let’s get it over with, then,” she complained as she stood and avoided eye contact with me. “There’s a bed.”


“Okay,” I breathed, noting as she met her Glow quota. “That’s it.” I exhaled and pulled away from her. I rolled over onto my back, feeling so full of Glow that I thought I would explode. This was better than the multiple-mark nights I had taken in the past. This girl had debt, and I was now filled with it.

“That’s it?” she asked, pulling the blankets to her neck, likely feeling back in control for the first time since she arrived home. It would be only moments before she would undergo the transition.

“Your debt is repaid. Please call us if you need further loan assistance in the future.” I sat up, my head rushing with energy.

“Not likely,” she whispered under her breath as she turned away from me.

I dressed there, next to her bed, dizzy from Glow and absolutely energized. “Thank you for your business, Lyca.”

“Fuck you,” she groaned, her voice no longer her own, but of a woman 60 years older. There was a silence between us as she processed her voice and began tearlessly sobbing into her sheets. “How am I supposed to make a living now?” she cried out to no one as she evaluated her wrinkle-filled bare arm.

When I left her room, her sobs had transitioned into wails of frustration and anxiety. I eyed the money on her counter but left it; she would need it now, and her debt was taken care of. I felt high, every inch of my body filled with Glow and youth and excitement. I needed to get back to the office. With so much Glow, I needed to get it out of my system before it changed me. I felt my body responding already—my lungs no longer heavy with my daily cigarettes, my eyes no longer tired. I needed to hurry.

It was as if in a blink, I was back at the office. I did not remember the walk or leaving the apartment, but here I was. When I walked into the busy lobby, where the loans were processed, everything ceased. I must have been absolutely radiating the energy. The cashiers were in awe and slight panic rose over the faces of individuals that knew they had no intentions of paying back what they were borrowing. Others avoided looking at me all together. Those were the ones that thought they were better, that thought ‘well, I’m different,’ but they aren’t, and those were the ones I would definitely see again. Those were the ones that would try to sweep their loans under the rug.

I left the lobby and entered the hallway, doors on each side all the way to the end, where a nicer door marked the end of the hallway and the entrance to my boss’s office. I bee-lined, an extra spring in my step. Before I even approached the door, it opened, and the beautiful receptionist smiled at me. “Collin, you’re back!” She welcomed me in and before she could even close the door behind me, I heard Henry’s booming voice:

“I can see you through the walls, my boy! How many did you take care of tonight?”

As I rounded the reception area’s partition and entered through my boss’s open office door, he was beaming. “Just one,” I admitted proudly as I made my way to his desk. I took a seat in front of him as the receptionist knelt in front of me, unfastening my jacket and shirt.

“One?!” he demanded, his eyes lit against his dark skin. The stress of a man of his years left his otherwise youthful face. “That’s incredible.”

The receptionist began fastening electrodes to my bare torso, connected to a machine on my boss’s desk. My head continued to swim and I closed my eyes, preparing for the loss of energy once the switch was flipped. “Are you ready?” she asked me gently, her hand on my knee as it always was during this part.

“I am,” I answered, opening my eyes to see Henry’s eyes on me. “It was Lyca.”

Henry stood, his mouth turning from awestruck to a greedy smile. “Yes, that makes sense,” he nodded. I could see him counting the Glow totals in his head. “You can have the week off after this one.”

The receptionist flipped the switch to the machine. My head immediately fell backwards, a rush of electricity flowing through my torso and limbs. “Do you mind?” she again asked gently, her hands now on both my knees as she knelt to hers.

“Carry on,” I managed, already exhausted. I barely noticed as she unbuckled my jeans. Instead, my mind was struggling with guilt. Lyca had reminded me of another lycanthrope—Lilly—who had held the role of Henry’s receptionist before the current succubus, Mariam. Lilly had served as muscle many times on difficult debt calls with me and I missed her. She couldn’t afford enough camo to be pretty, but she was funny and wonderful company. It had hurt to see Lyca change against her own will, fighting to resist turning into the beast she was underneath. I shivered, breaking from my thoughts to respond to the cold, wet sponge pressing against my pelvis.

“Sorry,” Mariam responded quickly, returning to cleaning so that she could harvest her own percentage from me.

My body was too exhausted to form words so I remained silent, trying to remember to breathe as my body drained. I felt for Lyca. I knew from Lilly just how expensive camouflage could be. It was the reason she was no longer with us—Henry never allowed his employees take on loans from him. I wondered how long it would be before I would collect from her.

“We’ve barely begun here,” Henry rattled off, his voice almost giddy. “Christ, Collin.”

My eyes opened to see Mariam toweling me now. Her eyes flicked up to mine as she positioned herself, our routine as familiar as it ever was. She, again, was asking my permission, but this time silently. I gave her a slight nod before slumping back into the chair, letting my head fall to the side as my eyes again closed. Though my body was exhausted, I could tell Henry was right. It would be awhile yet.

Again, my mind went to Lyca. Poor thing. Her apartment had been dingy; I wonder if she even got to spend any time there anymore. A picture on the wall was of a young man and a younger her, clearly a marital photo; where was he now? Her work clothes had been well kempt, despite it being the end of her shift; it was one of the few things she had control of anymore. She was a smoker, or had been a smoker, but when it came right down to it, she turned to drink; what was so wrong in her world aside from her debt with us that a debt collector in her home doesn’t seem like a boogeyman? I shifted in my chair, uncomfortable, before remembering where I was and muttering a “sorry” to Miriam.

And her debt? Camo was expensive, yes, but why did she need so much of it? I found myself thinking of Lilly again; she had opted for cheap camo, which left her unattractive but disguised. Lyca had been beautiful but her hard life was evident even through her camo. Was she a stripper? Is that why she needed so much? And why she now worried about her source of income? I exhaled slowly, suddenly guilty for not looking at Lyca once she had aged, the side effect of losing Glow. No one would find her beautiful again and it was my fault. She had spent her whole life going into debt to ensure she looked her best and I took it away without hesitation. My stomach knotted. The exuberance of the Glow was wearing off now and I was beginning to realize just how shitty that score felt.

Miriam’s hand rubbed my thigh comfortingly, a sensation I needed more than our routine. I shook my head, trying to erase the thoughts so that she wouldn’t have to hear them as she tried to work.

“Sorry,” I again found myself muttering, and I opened my eyes to see Henry’s brow furrowed at me.

“Are you alright?” he asked, no longer eyeing his machine.

“I’m exhausted,” I admitted, my words slightly slurred.

“Well, I’m finished,” I heard Miriam’s lovely voice chime as she wiped her mouth and rose from her knees. She spent a moment fastening my jeans before reaching down to touch my cheek. “Thanks.”

I forced a smile, feeling far too tired for niceties. “Do you feel it?” I managed, unable to vocalize to Henry just what I was experiencing.

She nodded before turning to him. “The machine is draining much more quickly than normal. The current feels more…electric. It didn’t feel like Collin was in control at all. I’m not sure it’s wise to do scores this big at once.”

“I’m not sure it’s wise for a receptionist to tell me how to do my job,” Henry snapped back, suddenly defensive of his machine.

I watched as Miriam’s face fell. She gave me an apology glance before moving to stand near the door. I just closed my eyes again, feeling pins and needles in all of my extremities. She was right; I wasn’t in control. Usually I would be able to monitor just what Henry was taking out, as well as what Miriam was, and stop it when they had received their share, but I had no clue what she had taken and I couldn’t feel the rate of the machine well enough to calculate. It was too fast. It was too much. It wasn’t safe.

My chest began to burn, but I could not force my eyes to open. It wasn’t until I heard Miriam shout that I realized the burning wasn’t just on the inside. I could smell it now, my skin as it burned, the electrodes overheated. When I finally managed my eyes opened, it was just in time to see Miriam recoiling from the shock she had received from the last electrode affixed to me. She then reached for it again, emitting a subdued whimper as she succeeded in removing it and similarly succeeded in burning herself again. “Collin?” she almost begged as she shook her burned hand next to her, her tone revealing that it wasn’t the first time she had tried to get my attention.

I sat straighter in my chair, much to the dismay of my torso, which now bore several spots of clearly burned skin.

“Are you alright?” she asked, her voice heavy with concern. She was cradling her burned hand in front of her now, but her eyes were focused on me.

“Why did you stop it?!” Henry demanded, slamming his fists against his heavy desk. “We weren’t finished!”

“It burned him, Henry!”

“We weren’t finished,” Henry repeated, glaring at me. “These things happen. You know that. You’ll heal.”

“I know,” I managed, my body aching from exhaustion. He wasn’t wrong, but it didn’t mean the process wasn’t just as painful as if I wouldn’t. “Sorry.”

Henry flipped off the machine, still whirring next to him, before standing and storming out of the office, pushing Miriam aside in the process. “Fuck both of you,” he muttered, slamming the door behind him.

Miriam had tears in her eyes when she again turned to me. She had worked for Henry for nearly a year and still had not adjusted to Henry’s outbursts. “Are you alright?” she asked me again, her voice quiet.

“Yeah,” I breathed, lighter for being detached from the machine. “Are you?” I nodded to her hand, still cradled against her stomach.

“I’ll go out tonight,” she shook her head, trying to dissuade my concern. “Good as new in the morning.”

I nodded again, letting my eyes close as I sat up straight, fighting my exhaustion and the resistance of my torso. “Don’t let him get to you,” I reminded her as a tear finally fell down her cheek. “You know how he is.”

“He’s an asshole,” she scoffed. “I don’t know how much longer I can do this.”

“You’ll get used to him,” I offered as I slowly stood from the chair. He would be livid now. I was already dreading how much he would dock my percentage in the future to get me back for what remained inside me today. “He’s just afraid. His machine isn’t working right. If it stops working, he starts aging again.”

“Come out with us tonight,” Miriam offered. “Find someone to help you heal.”

“I’m fine,” I insisted, buttoning my shirt as I avoided her eyes. “I need to get home.” Sophie would be waiting.


Last edited by ScottieElisabeth on Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:30 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: One    Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:41 am

Let me just preface by saying how remarkably beautiful and mature the language is. It always is, but damn,you really are amazing. You always make me feel like I'm still stuck in highschool and you've become this great author (the one I always knew you'd become lol) Anyhow, its beautiful. Each and every word progresses the scene seamlessly. It seems flawless despite the fact that you said it was a draft. Although it's just a concept now, you have done a fantastic job opening it. It has all the workings of aoemthing I'd like to read. It starts dark. It stays dark. Lol. That's just an element that always captures me: darkness. And no one does it quite like my GF. I was drawn in by just the description of the room he was in. The little detail about knick knacks is one of those small, favored ones. You know me, I don't get too into fantasy (Unless, of course, it's written by you) so you'll have to be sure and explain this lycanthrope thing to me as the reader. I know you've experimented with it before, but I'm not versed in the term. If you keep posting this, I'll keep reading it. I'm sorry this isn't too detailed, I'm on my phone. Dylan's dog chewed my laptop charger into a billion pieces.

Also, I need to comment on the descriptions around the dialogue. Top notch. Top notch. I'm envious.

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PostSubject: Re: One    Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:02 pm

Updated from a partial chapter to the full first chapter. Still a draft, obviously, but I'm moving on now so that I don't get stuck editing and forget to write the rest of the story! bounce
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PostSubject: Re: One    Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:29 am

A knock. A broken lock. A dark room. A slight stench permeating from the lumpy couch. Time to sit. Time to wait. The routine was just that. My days all ran into each other lately, as everyone seemed to be falling on hard times. ----The repetition of curt sentences here lends nicely to how you continue to set up the scene. The descriptors of the room are particularly nice, especially the bit about the pawn shot and lack of knick knacks.


Footsteps outside approached and ceased as undoubtedly the owner went to turn the key. Would she scream? Run? Bear arms? That was the only part that was ever unpredictable, the only part that was ever any fun. I put the cigarette out in the ashtray on the arm of the couch. ----This paragraph concludes nicely, almost serenely with the cigarette bit. I like the MC questioning the actions, essentially speaking the reader’s thoughts.

“I could smell you from the street,” the woman complained ---- I like the character’s acknowledgement of what the reader has already been made aware of, the smoking. It’s a nice reinforcement of that minute detail. And I just have to say, I fucking love the use of “complain.” I’m dumb and would never use clever words like that (as opposed to said, or some synonym of that). Your writing always opens me up to this beautiful vocabulary you have. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from you!!!!!11!!!

There was a clink as I returned the glass empty to the countertop. ----- <3 (Thank you Gee for teaching me that symbol.) Love, love, love this. The atmosphere is tense. You know he’s there to take something, and they are having a casual drink? That’s too fucking cool right there. LOVE THE ATMOSPHERE YOU’RE BUILDING!

“Come on, Lyca, we’re past that and you know it.” I unfastened my jacket, eyeing her. “I need the remainder of the loan in full, right now, or you know what I have to do.” ---The jacket bit. Love.

“That’s it?” she asked, pulling the blankets to her neck, likely feeling back in control for the first time since she arrived home. ----I love how you state what is apparent by her action, but not something readers would knowingly pick up if you hadn’t.

“I can see you through the walls, my boy! How many did you take care of tonight?” ----What an awesome way for him to acknowledge the “glow.”

----I need to acknowledge how you perfectly transitioned your language to this fit this upbeat mood; a stark transition from the language of the scene before. It’s so cool how you did that.

“One?!” he demanded, his eyes lit against his dark skin. --- <3 <3 <3 <3

“I’m not sure it’s wise for a receptionist to tell me how to do my job,” Henry snapped back, suddenly defensive of his machine. ----Lol I knew he was going to say that. Funny how I knew that, how you communicated him so well with so little words from and about him!

----Alright, I assume things of a sexual nature are going on here. Thank you for sparing the details, they don’t seem to be needed if I’m concluding right. Plus, I like the tone thus far. It doesn’t need to be sexually hyped, like most shit these days. I’m immediately curious and intrigued. It’s cool how the glow situation kind of relates to how people are about their outer-selves in reality. I also think this Henry guy needs to get bent. I like Collin thus far, despite him playing something of a bad guy in the beginning. It was apparent he was just doing his job. It was also apparent that all of this shit is going to come back on someone, and he better be careful! His going to back to Lyca seems to foreshadow something in the future. All in all, this is a great draft. I know you said you’re not going back to this, but it’s certainly something I would enjoy reading more about, even after I complete what you have. I’m curious above all else, and curiosity is one of my flav things to feel.

Kisses

-BF

!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!



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