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 Fourteen

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Scottie Elisabeth
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PostSubject: Fourteen    Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:12 pm

“How did you know what to do?” I finally asked as we walked, unsettled with Miriam’s and Henry’s mutual secrecy.

“How did you?” she cut back, clearly referencing the tape, and my stomach dropped. An uncomfortable air of mistrust settled between us. The rest of our walk was in silence.

As we approached the duplex in the dusk, Miriam perked, and I again became part of her team, trusted at least while she needed to trust me. “Wait,” she told me as she continued on and I wondered if she was using the same tactic she had used at Lily’s. I obeyed, hanging back as Miriam slinked up the wrong side of the duplex, until finally she reappeared, this time waving me over.

We met again on the porch of the address I had been given and Miriam pushed me against the siding next to the door in a kiss that rivaled those at her apartment, but when I reopened my eyes, she wasn’t looking at me, but past me, through the window. “Can you get us in?” she whispered as she started kissing down my neck and I nodded, unsure of her intentions.

She handed me something then, her apartment keys, and I furrowed my brow at her as I accepted them. “Get us in,” she again whispered, but smiled, again pushing me against the wall to kiss me. Were we supposed to be more believable this way?

When I began to struggle with the door, and she traced her hand on my shoulder, it all clicked. That flirty, romantic couple, coming home after one too many, can’t quite get through the door. She was buying us time, just in case. I admired her attention to detail, even now, even as I resented her secrets.

The door finally submitted to me and I turned to her, lacing my arm around her as we went inside together, all part of her charade, and I closed the screen door quietly behind us.

Miriam immediately flicked the light on, much to my dismay. “What if someone’s here?” I chastised, but she didn’t answer me, instead moving deliberately to a back room.

As I looked around the well-furnished room with the papered-over windows, I resented the girl next door, the ‘teen,’ and I was annoyed at myself for falling for her fabrication.

“Collin,” Miriam called quietly from down the hall, all lilt in her voice gone. But before I could reach her doorway, she stepped out of it, closing the door behind her as she held her hand up to me. “Never mind.”

“Never mind?” I asked incredulous. “What’s in there?”

“Don’t,” she begged, her hand on my chest, her eyes pleading.

Of course, those weren’t the words to say for me to let it go. I opened the door to the room, Miriam’s hand on my arm as I entered, and I regretted it immediately.

The room was set up like in the old detective movies, with papers, photos, and bits of string lining the walls. There were photographs of people all over the walls. Some of them I recognized as marks, others as women or men I knew once. All the demons in our precinct were shown, most with one or two pictures, and then there was the wall to the right, with half a dozen pictures of Miriam, and the rest of the wall covered with me.

“What the fuck is this?” I asked as I walked toward my face-emblazoned wall, and then I saw the thing I was certain Miriam hadn’t wanted me to see. Tucked between pictures of me was a picture of someone else, of her, with a big red ‘x’ over a former caption—Companion: Sophie.

I stumbled back, grateful when I bumped into Miriam, and her arms wrapped around me while I still had my composure.

“Miriam…”

“I don’t know,” she whispered from behind me, her cheek pressed against my shoulder blade. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see it when I called you.”

“How did you know?” I asked her then, turning to break her grasp on me.

She pointed to a window near where we stood, where a small hole had ripped in the corner of the newspapers covering it. “I saw it from outside. Certainly didn’t look empty to me.”

“She didn’t look like a teenager on the tape.”

Miriam shuddered as she took another look around the room. “Who does this? Who has time to do all this? Fuck, Collin,” she took a picture from her section of her with straighter hair. “I haven’t had this blouse since my first week at Henry’s. My pen broke and spilled ink all over it.”

“Some of these pictures are from years ago,” I complained, unsettled that someone had been observing me all that time.

“What’s the theme?” Miriam mused, again eyeing the walls. “Other than ‘Collin.’”

I looked at the other walls again. Other than ‘Collin.’

“Miriam,” I eventually sighed. “It’s me. I know everyone. I’ve seen all of them like this.”

Miriam stared at her own pictures. “This is when I would have met you.”

“I’ve fucking met all of them,” I sighed, finding Lily’s photographs in the mess. “Everyone’s here. Even Sophie. Every mark, every date, every harvest, every demon in the precinct, every employer, everyone. Down to the day I fucking met you.” I pointed to the picture she had referenced earlier, to the blouse she had ruined. I could still see her walk through our office doors, the sun at her back, looking stunning as she entered, the first time I ever saw her, and she was definitely wearing that.

“Miriam,” I beckoned her, laying my eyes on a new photo. “That woman.” The woman from the bar, with all the rings, had clearly been a recent addition to the wall, with the barmaid just before her, in a picture of both of us at the bar. “Fucking everyone.”

“Who saw you?” Miriam demanded again, pointing at the barmaid. “You said no one was there. Someone was. Who saw you?”

Though I could tell her tone was in effort to piece together this ominous puzzle, I still felt on the defensive. “No one. The place was dead. There was one dude passed out in a booth. He definitely wasn’t of the mind to take pictures of us.”

Miriam’s eyes pried mine for answers but I had none to give. “Someone saw you. Someone knows what you did to her.”

“I feel like I’ve got a bigger fucking problem than that,” I snapped as I gestured to the obsessive wall. “Who the fuck cares that someone saw?”

“Wasn’t that the night…?” Miriam trailed off, but this time I followed her thoughts.

“You think someone punished me for the fucking barmaid?”

She immediately shook her head, clearly regretting her question, but it was there, thick in the air between us.

“You think I got her killed.”

“Collin!” Miriam finally interrupted, grabbing my arm. “Stop it. I don’t think that.”

But then I saw it. My wallet, sticking out of my pocket in the photograph. I had it then. And it would soon be in my safe in Sophie’s room.

“What if I did?” I whispered to myself more than her, my eyes trained on the barmaid. She was the only mark I had taken more than I had to from. Was Sophie my punishment? “What if it was?” I asked Miriam directly then. “What if it was me harvesting from the barmaid. What, did they run to my house and kill Sophie in the time I was at Henry’s?” My tone was sarcastic, but I only wished my question truly was.

“Collin.”

“No, really?” I asked her then. “I went straight to Henry’s, and then home.”

“Didn’t he keep you too long?” she whispered and my heart sank. He had. He took too much and the whole process ended up taking longer than what it would have.

“Fuck him,” I growled, ripping his picture from my long line of acquaintances.

“Collin!” Miriam coaxed, grabbing my hand as it crumped his image. “She’ll know we were here.”

“Oh drat, you found me out,” a voice purred from the doorway and we both turned to face it. The ‘teen,’ looking far more womanly, leaned against the wooden frame. Her arms were crossed over her chest, as if she had somewhere else to be, but her mouth wore a devious smile.

“Hello, Mirry. It’s nice to see you again.” The woman’s voice was threatening, but her expression didn’t change. I wanted to touch Miriam, but I didn’t, and she released my wrist. I just stood, dumbstruck, watching Henry’s killer as she spoke so familiarly with his secretary.

“Charlotte.”

I cut my eyes to Miriam then. She knew her? Miriam’s posture was defensive, but I couldn’t read her eyes. Was she defensive against the woman or me?

“And Collin,” the woman stepped toward me, her sultry walk not unlike Miriam’s, and extended a poised, flawless hand to me. “Just couldn’t keep you away, could I?”

“I saw you,” I blurted, uncomfortable, and her hand hesitated in the air between us. “I saw you on the tape. Who the fuck are you?”

“What’s the matter, Col?”

I stood straighter. I wasn’t used to hearing that shortening from anyone but Sophie. Had she heard her call me that? Or was it coincidence?

“Are you embarrassed you fell for my ‘my daddy’s so awful’ act? Henry thought you would.”

Miriam tensed next to me. She had known from the moment I mentioned it that something was wrong with the mark and I hadn’t listened. I hadn’t thought twice about it.

“Who are you?” I demanded again and the woman giggled a soft, youthful giggle, watching me struggle through her mental hoops.

“She’s Henry’s succubus,” Miriam spat and again, I cut my eyes to her. She looked at me apologetically. “The reason he created his machine.”

Henry thought you would. I couldn’t comprehend all of the words being spoken. It was too much and none of it made sense.

“Why do you know that?” I asked Miriam quietly, too overwhelmed to address the woman before me. Succubus? Miriam had hinted the possibility with the barmaid, but I hadn’t guessed…

Miriam rolled her eyes, clearly wanting to wiggle out of her own defense. “I knew Charlotte when she did it. I always thought she was who gave Henry my information. My…date…with Henry is why I got the job.” Miriam eyed me guiltily then, looking for my comfort, but I had none to give.

“But I didn’t know it was her. And I didn’t know she lived here.” Miriam insisted, her eyes returning to her acquaintance. “I don’t know what all this is about.”

“Are you two hungry?” the new succubus asked and I fought off a shudder. Her calm in this was unsettling. “I’ve got Collin’s favorite.”

My eyes flicked to Miriam. My favorite? She left us then in the room alone, and Miriam immediately hugged me, willing me to give her strength for something, but I wasn’t sure what.

“I’m so sorry,” she apologized into my ear. “I had no idea. I would have kept you away.”

“From what?” I growled, uncomfortable with her in my arms. How much was she keeping from me?

“Listen to me,” Miriam put her hands on my cheeks, willing my eyes to soften, but they couldn’t. I could barely look at her. “She was an emergency plan, nothing more.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

Miriam’s hands folded in front of her, no longer touching me. “Collin, Henry had emergency plans for everything. And his emergency plan in the event you turned on him was her.” She paused, her eyes still searching me, but then she hurriedly added, “just like the emergency plan for me turning on him was you.”

The difference being, you only worked there a year. I swallowed, unsettled where I stood, and again alone. Miriam couldn’t be trusted. This Charlotte certainly couldn’t be trusted. Even Henry had planned to turn on me.

“Who is she to me?” I asked then, feeling the connection but unable to pin point her. I had trusted her before, when I had come to collect from her, without knowing exactly why. Something made Henry choose her to watch me and I needed to know why. Was that what the photo-plastered walls were about? Henry? Or was there more here yet?

“I don’t know what this is,” Miriam insisted again, gesturing to the walls. “I promise. I knew her, but I’ve not even spoken to her since she robbed Henry. I cut her off when she started doing things like that.” Miriam rubbed her arms, chilly despite her sleeves, and though I felt the urge to reach out to her, I couldn’t.

“I don’t know why she was watching you. I don’t know who she is to you. Do you recognize her?”

I shook my head, raising my hand to rub the back of my neck, where my hairs stood straight. There was something about her but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

“Come on,” Charlotte purred from the other room and I searched the air for a smell, but there was none.

“I don’t know what she’s going to say,” Miriam begged, puling me into another long embrace. “But you know me. Please, we need to be a team. We’ve got to be a team.”

“Miriam—”

She interrupted me with a kiss, her body pressing forcefully against mine, desperately trying to reestablish our connection before we left the room. What was she hiding? “Collin, please. You know me.”

“Do I?” I felt the need to ask then. Miriam looked so guilty and I couldn’t understand why. If Henry was entangled with this succubus, what said Miriam wasn’t too, other than Miriam? She was Henry’s secretary. He never did anything on his own. If he met with this woman, Miriam would have undoubtedly known about it, just as she knew about the tapes, just as she knew about the binder.

I was on my own.


Last edited by Scottie Elisabeth on Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:36 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Fourteen    Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:03 pm

“How did you?” she cut back, clearly referencing the tape, and my stomach dropped. An uncomfortable air of mistrust settled between us. The rest of our walk was in silence. ----Uh, duh, because they're security tapes, Mir. A course his death is on them. Gawl. And hilar. *Agrees to stomp down the street in unison, angered at each other.*

When I began to struggle with the door, and she traced her hand on my shoulder, it all clicked. That flirty, romantic couple, coming home after one too many, can’t quite get through the door. She was buying us time, just in case. I admired her attention to detail, even now, even as I resented her secrets.---Lol, I was all like, "Woah Mir, too soon for another sexy time. This is not the place, this is the duplex." She fooled Col and ME! She's amazing. I love her.

-----You can't effing do this to me. You just can't. There. I said it. Now take it back.

Miriam shuddered as she took another look around the room. “Who does this? Who has time to do all this? Fuck, Collin,” she took a picture from her section of her with straighter hair. “I haven’t had this blouse since my first week at Henry’s. My pen broke and spilled ink all over it.” -----I love this. Love how she makes it personal, how you made it personal.

“What if I did?” I whispered to myself more than her, my eyes trained on the barmaid. She was the only mark I had taken more than I had to from. Was Sophie my punishment? “What if it was?” I asked Miriam directly then. “What if it was me harvesting from the barmaid. What, did they run to my house and kill Sophie in the time I was at Henry’s?” My tone was sarcastic, but I only wished my question truly was. -----I agree. It has to be something more than that. This sounds like someone who has a long-time beef with Col. Could this possibly be someone from his past? Someone like his wife? Lol, farfetched, but you were being that way first! It's obvious to me at this point that this is something this person has been dedicated to for a long time. And they obvs harvest some kind of hatred for Col. Revenge.

----Not commenting because eyes flying down page. Had to stop and tell you I loved this -----> “Who are you?” I demanded again and the woman giggled a soft, youthful giggle, watching me struggle through her mental hoops.

-----This raises far more questions than it answers, and I love that. But. I. don't. like. Collin. Turning. On. Miriam. Although I fully understand it, I don't like it. Miriam knows things he doesn't, but it's obvious she had no ill intent not revealing them to Col. And this bitch. Charlotte. Elch. She def has a connection to Collin somehow. She is simply camouflaged. That's why he doesn't recognize her but KNOWS he knows her. And what is she making? Maybe something she used to make Collin in the distant past?! Lol. Can't be his first wife. Can't be. Idk though. I want to KNOW who she is. Common sense says I couldn't have not met her before now because her reveal would mean nothing to me. She is someone in Collin's life. She has to be. I'm so fucking torn on this. And Miriam, don't beg Collin to remain close. Just fucking slap him when he's being dumb. Okay?

DON'T YOU EVER LIE TO ME AGAIN ABOUT THE DUPLEX! THEY TOTALLY GO TO THE DUPLEX! THIS IS TOTALLY THE DUPLEX CHAPTER! STOP MISLEADING ME, BECAUSE IT'S HATEFUL! YOU'RE THE WORST! HOW DARE YOU END A CHAPTER THIS WAY. IF YOU'RE NOT PUTTING 15 UP TONIGHT, YOU'RE DEAD TO ME. DO YOU HEAR ME? DEAD TO ME! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. HOW DARE YOU.

“Why do you know that?” I asked Miriam quietly, too overwhelmed to address the woman before me. Succubus? Miriam had hinted the possibility with the barmaid, but I hadn’t guessed… -----And what does this mean? So far, I'm not seeing a connection to the barmaid herself, just the act of him stealing from her. Does this mean that Charlotte was the barmaid and has many different camos? Idk. Help.

You're the worst.

Love, Bf
!!!!!11!!!!!!

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