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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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 Sixteen

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Scottie Elisabeth
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PostSubject: Sixteen    Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:41 pm

As I reached the last step to Miriam’s floor, she was already closing the distance between us, throwing her arms around me at her first opportunity. I hugged her, grateful to be in her company once more. Even more so, I was grateful she didn’t seem to be holding a grudge.

“Let’s go in,” I coaxed as she held me. She nodded, refusing to release my hand until she had pulled me to the couch with her. She was so insistent on maintaining physical contact. Miriam was quiet and it was evident she had been steeping in her guilt. If I was lucky, maybe she wouldn’t call me out on mine.

“What happened?” she finally breathed, nervous as she averted my eyes.

Though I felt guilty being so point-blank with her, I needed the attention to remain off of me. The last thing I wanted to do was summarize the encounter that I still didn’t understand. For now, I was better off if she felt guilty. “Who’s Leviathan?”

Miriam exhaled through pursed lips as she pulled away from me. “Collin, there’s no need to talk about that.”

“Apparently there is,” I argued, my patience thin with the contact break. “Apparently the answer to who killed the archdemon and who took my machine has to do with whatever you’re going to tell me about Leviathan.”

Miriam sat back from me then, uncertain. “What?”

It was frustrating watching her mind work without sharing with me. She infuriated me, having all of this knowledge that I didn’t, and instead of cluing me in, she thought independently of me, coming to her own conclusions while depriving me of mine. I shrugged, trying to keep myself calm. I needed to keep her on my side. “Just tell me. We can’t afford secrets now.”

“Okay,” she breathed. Her body tensed. “But you know me.”

“Miriam,” I complained, and she held her hand to my chest, making eye contact with me once more.

“Please, Collin. I just…thought this was all behind me. It’s difficult for me to process.”

“Miriam,” I growled, more impatient. I was growing more uncomfortable by the second, being in the dark about the apparent key to the questions we had been trying to answer. “Who is Leviathan?”

“Leviathan is…an idea,” she started, choosing her words carefully. She crossed her legs to give herself a bit of distance from me. “Henry didn’t just come up with the concept for his machine. Charlotte planted it in his head. She had tried for ages to get him to build something like that, and when he wouldn’t, she put him in a position where he had to. That’s why she took so much life from him, and why we stopped being friends. I didn’t think we should go about it like that.”

“We?”

Miriam blushed, edging toward the arm of the couch, further still from me. “Charlotte knew this guy. I only met him a few times, never was introduced. I think Leviathan was his idea. Charlotte talked about it all the time though, and eventually I started getting excited about it too. Can you imagine how hospitals could utilize a machine that harvested and recycled Glow?” She looked at me then, looking for my approval, but I was too ashamed of her secrecy to offer her the warmth she desired of me.

“Anyway,” she whispered, turning to look out the window instead. “The point, Leviathan, was to make it so that humans could receive Glow, much like we can, except instead of harvesting it for themselves, they would go to a hospital for it, or some sort of donation clinic. But I think the guy wanted it to be a paid commodity. Charlotte did, anyway. I just couldn’t get behind that.”

“So, because of this concept, you tricked Henry into making his machine,” I repeated, “which led to him putting the call out that I answered…” I stopped then, cutting my eyes to Miriam. “Was that part of the plan? Me?”

Miriam turned to me, her eyes desperate as she stared into mine. “I didn’t have anything to do with Henry, or with you. Charlotte dated Henry for ages, but I never met him. When she told me what she did to him, I walked away. That was the end of it. I don’t know what happened after that. I don’t know if it had anything to do with you or not.” She paused then, clearly putting pieces together. “But clearly you knew Charlotte. So maybe?”

I read the question in her eyes before she asked it, and yet still, I prayed she wouldn’t.

“How do you know Charlotte?”

“What did my machine have to do with it?” I ignored her, hoping she would drop it if I didn’t entertain the question.

“What?” she asked, suddenly lost.

“My machine. The one I used with Sophie. What did that have to do with anything? Why did they take it from my safe?”

Miriam shrugged and I was grateful the deflection had worked for now. “I don’t know. Maybe the same reason?”

She exhaled then and I tensed, ready for another question I would have to deflect.

“Listen, don’t be upset,” she put her hand on my knee, again obviously trying to reestablish our trust, but all I could feel was relief that the subject of how I knew Charlotte seemed to be falling to the wayside.

“The tapes,” she began, her eyes sorry, “were for Henry to share with them how the machine worked. He had me package them sometimes, always addressed to just ‘Leviathan’ and I would always just leave them on Henry’s desk at the end of the day.”

Miriam stretched her neck to the side, clearly uncomfortable as she continued. “But I haven’t seen Charlotte. I assume it’s been her all this time, but I don’t know for sure. It could be the guy, or anyone.” Her eyes returned to me. “But I promise, I didn’t know it had anything to do with you. I didn’t know she was stalking you. I didn’t know she was obsessed with you. I didn’t know Henry was sending you to her house that night. I’m so sorry.”

I was relieved when she stopped there, and when she looked like she was going to cry from guilt, I hugged her, so relieved that she was so eager to take the focus from me and instead focused on what I was losing in this. When she fell into me, sobbing, I was so indebted that she was so selfless, that she was too caught up in her wrongdoing to pry about mine, so I hugged her while she cried and offered her that comfort she so desperately wanted from me, and she seemed grateful.

“I didn’t mean to keep this from you,” she breathed through her sobs and I held her tighter with each apology. She was so considerate. I couldn’t imagine her caught up with someone as manipulative as Charlotte seemed. Could my wife really be so different now?

“It’s okay,” I offered, feeling guiltier with each shudder of her body. I felt compelled to share with her, to share her burden by admitting my own part, but I was afraid, and for now, I would let her bear it alone. “Come on,” I coaxed, pulling away from her to wipe her tears. “Leviathan. What do we do? Do you know who the guy was?”

Miriam shook her head, seemingly embarrassed now that we had parted. “I don’t.”

“Think,” I begged her. “His face, his name? Anything?”

Miriam shrugged, exhaling as she composed herself. “I don’t know. I feel like maybe it started with an S? It’s been years, Collin.”

“Stewart?”

Miriam’s face dropped. “Lily said he was an imp. I…didn’t even consider…”

“Was he not?”

She rolled her eyes before slumping back into the couch. “Incubus.”

My jaw clenched with her revelation. “Are you serious? So he could look like anything? Lily could think he was her imp camo supplier all this time?”

“That would make sense though,” Miriam decided, sitting forward to put her elbows on her knees, suddenly energized. “That’s the tie to the resistance. If this guy is Lily’s Stewart, it would explain the lycanthrope connection. Do you think they would be rebelling against him? Lily said he was a cheat.”

I searched my brain for answers it didn’t have. “Charlotte made it seem like this wasn’t about the lycanthropes, though.” I desperately tried to remember her words, her slight toward them, but it was escaping me now. “She made it seem like they weren’t organized enough to take out the archdemon.”

Miriam stood then, leaving me to retrieve our familiar bottles from above her fridge. “Did Charlotte kill him?”

I followed, accepting my bottle as I leaned back against the counter, while Miriam found a spot at her table, facing me. “She says no, but can we trust her?”

“I don’t,” Miriam rolled her eyes. “But do you? You did before.”

“When I thought she was some poor kid.” I shook my head, annoyed that I had fallen for such a cheap cover story. “And fuck Henry.”

Miriam raised her bottle in the air, gesturing a toast, before taking a drink to seal our shared resentment for our former employer.

“Did Lily know?” I wondered out loud as I stifled a cough, my throat itchy with its warmth.

When Miriam shrugged, I was grateful she shared my uncertainty. It was nice being in the dark together once more. “She probably knew about the tapes but I don’t know if she would know what they were for.” Miriam took another drink from the bottle before narrowing her eyes. “Did she say anything else?”

“What, Lily?”

“I was there. I mean Charlotte.”

My heart thudded as I took a drink to stay composed. “Not really. She said to ask you about Leviathan. She said the lycanthropes were a joke. She said she had people working for her.”

“Who?” Miriam interrupted quickly then.

“She didn’t say. Just that they had been in my house. That they weren’t ‘supposed’ to kill Soph. Fuck,” I sighed, rolling my eyes with another long, unappetizing drink. Poor Sophie. I’m so sorry.

“Did they?” Miriam gasped then, and suddenly she was next to me. “Collin…” Her arms were around me, pulling me into an embrace I didn’t realize I needed. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered into my ear as she held me there, standing in the middle of her kitchen.

“I don’t know what to believe.” Tears welled behind my eyelids. “Fuck, Miriam. She said they weren’t supposed to, and she wants me to believe Sophie died because she was old, but what if that wasn’t what happened? What if they did hurt her? What if she had that nurse call me because someone was in her fucking room?”

“Collin,” Miriam breathed, pulling me to her as she leaned back against the countertop. “Stop it. Don’t do this.”

“I have to,” I whispered in return. I pulled away from Miriam to look at her and her eyes were as heartbroken as I felt. “What if it had been Peggy? Wouldn’t you?”

Miriam’s eyes welled then as she nodded. Of course she would. She understood. She shifted uncomfortably then and I felt sorry for putting her on the spot. Like I didn’t want her to ask about Charlotte and me, I was sure she didn’t want me to ask about Charlotte and Peggy, or what it was Charlotte so wanted me to know about Miriam. Right now, though, it didn’t matter. I needed Miriam. I loved Miriam. She seemed genuinely sorry that she had been involved with Charlotte at all, and for now, that was enough.

“I miss her,” I admitted then, offering Miriam an out from her pain. She accepted it, moving to hug me again before taking my hand and puling me toward her bedroom. Now? I thought but didn’t vocalize as she guided me to sit on the bed before releasing my hand and moving to her closet. She rifled for a moment before retrieving a tired shoe box. With a sad smile, Miriam returned to me. She sat next to me on the bed, legs crossed, as she put the box between us.

“This is all I have of Peggy,” she offered then. Miriam closed her eyes to take a breath, her fingers hovering on the box lid. “They tell you not to dwell, that they’re just people, and I know that. But I couldn’t get rid of everything.” With a flick of her wrist, the box was open, and Miriam seemed to grow sadder with the contents exposed.

Several Polaroids made up the top layer of the box’s contents, most of just Peggy in various stages of her time with Miriam, others with the both of them. Miriam leaned back against her footboard as I picked up the photographs, and she crossed her arms as I assessed them, her breathing slow and deliberate. As much as she loved Peggy, this box just seemed to cause her pain.

Under the pictures were trinkets from their travels. A pack of cards labelled from the Smokey Mountains, a spoon with a handle in the shape of Idaho, postcards they had addressed to themselves. My heart struggled for Miriam as she sat with her hand against her lips, eyeing the box’s contents without the nerve to sift through them herself. This was for me.

Beneath the trinkets were a pile of worn-edged letters wrapped in a string. When Miriam had to turn her head, I put them aside and instead moved to the next layer. A soft, opaque yellow headscarf was next, and when Miriam saw it, she exhaled, putting her hands on her knees as she composed herself.

“It was her favorite.” Hearing her voice surprised me, as if I had forgotten Miriam could speak. “She was really heartbroken when she started to lose her hair. One of our favorite things was doing each other’s hair and when hers started to go, it hurt her more powerfully than just vanity.” Miriam sighed then, retrieving the scarf from me. “So I bought her this one day when she wouldn’t come out with me. She would do my hair and I would learn new ways to fold her scarf. She had lots of others, but this was the first, and this was the one she wanted with her when she was dying.”

Miriam’s tears began to fall then, but she smiled through them. “One of our last disagreements was what would happen to it. She wanted me to keep it so that I would have her favorite thing. I wanted her to be buried with it, because it was her favorite. Then, right at the end of things, it got snagged on one of her IVs and ripped. I was devastated but she was pleased, and even though she didn’t have much strength in the end, she finished the rip and the scarf was in two. She kept the smaller half and gave the other to me.”

Miriam caressed the fabric between her fingers. “For the first few months, I had it with me all the time, either tied to my purse or my wrist, but when it started getting dirty, I couldn’t bear the thought of losing it.” She folded the scarf in her lap then, as if she were afraid to let it leave her fingers.

Beneath that were a collection of seemingly random objects, one of which I recognized from our first night out. “Your heel?” I asked as I held up the broken fragment of shoe.

“She bought them for me,” Miriam told me almost apologetically. No wonder she had been so upset to lose them. I returned the fragment to the box.

“I don’t feel better about Sophie,” I confided then, unsure of her gesture.

Miriam nodded, her fingers still tracing the yellow fabric. “You won’t.”

Oh.


Last edited by Scottie Elisabeth on Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Sixteen    Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:12 am

Though I felt guilty being so point-blank with her, I needed the attention to remain off of me. The last thing I wanted to do was summarize the encounter that I still didn’t understand. For now, I was better off if she felt guilty. “Who’s Leviathan?”----Okay, there's the selfish Collin I know. I was starting to worry he was becoming a little sappy. You know, with the titbag in the last chapter and all. And fuck yeah, I'm with you Col. You be straightforward. You deserve to know.

It was frustrating watching her mind work without sharing with me. She infuriated me, having all of this knowledge that I didn’t, and instead of cluing me in, she thought independently of me, coming to her own conclusions while depriving me of mine. ---Way to sum up their relationship with just one tiny paragraph. It's nice to have it said. This really is the way these two work. It's so raw, to have it said that way. It almost shatters everything romantic between them. Why? Because it makes it so painfully obvious that there is so much these two don't know about one another.

“Miriam,” I complained, and she held her hand to my chest, making eye contact with me once more. ----Absolutely love the hand to chest part. Love. That. So. Much.

“Miriam,” I growled, more impatient. I was growing more uncomfortable by the second, being in the dark about the apparent key to the questions we had been trying to answer. “Who is Leviathan?” ---I'm really digging the back and forth between them here. You've nailed the tension/frustration. You write these two so well. They have such a chemistry. I envy it. I love it. I fucking love your writing. One day, I'm going to grow up and be you. Yes, one sweet day.

------Oh no fucking way. No fucking way. I'm blown away right now. I'm actually blown away right now. Leviathan isn't a person, but goddamn it's a good fucking plot. And I get to continue loving sweet, sweet Mir. And no info dumping here. It's so good. That's why I waited until I got to her asking how he knew Charlotte before I commented. I was literally sitting here with my mouth agape, eyes flying down the effing screen. I never, not in a million years, seen that coming. I didn't even really put much thought into the machine. Like, I didn't even really care that it had been stolen. I was like, yeah, pssh, duh someone stole it so they can have Glow. I never imagined that there was a REASON behind the machine. Never. That never even crossed my mind, and yet it makes so much goddamn sense. I mean, really, I feel stupid. And you look like such a fucking genius right now. That was a plot point I never seen coming. Wow. And I can totally see the pieces falling together now. I can see why the other creatures of this world are going to be pessed off at Col or Mir if they believe they are using this machine for personal gain. And of course, the guy behind Leviathan. There are still questions, of course, and that's beautiful. Like the Archdemon and what Col will do about Charlottle, etc. But wow. Wow. And also, I want to applaud you on the way you wrote Mir pulling away from him. Perfect mental picture of her crossing her legs. Perfect mental picture of her leaning toward the couch arm. And the way you mixed that with the dialogue. Good God. You're amazing. Her dialogue up to this point has been so natural and fluid. I didn't at all feel like you were info dumping me. Not in the least.

“Listen, don’t be upset,” she put her hand on my knee, again obviously trying to reestablish our trust, but all I could feel was relief that the subject of how I knew Charlotte seemed to be falling to the wayside. ----Yes, of course. You can continue to be selfish, Col. Wouldn't have you any other way.

----And you do it again.


Again. Fucking goddamn shittyass bitchtitty Stewart. You totally pulled the wool over my eyes with that one. I should have totally seen that coming. Totally. Why didn't I? Goddamn, this twist is killing me. You seem to have this plot nailed. I don't see how you don't have it figured out from here. I just love how you made me underestimate him SO much, and then boom, "You're stupid for underestimating him." Goddamn you.

“When I thought she was some poor kid.” I shook my head, annoyed that I had fallen for such a cheap cover story. “And fuck Henry.”

Miriam raised her bottle in the air, gesturing a toast, before taking a drink to seal our shared resentment for our former employer.-----I love this part Laughing So fluidly you move them from the couch to the table. Impressive. And of course, of course they were going to start drinking lol. I actually love how they fall into that mode. I love their chemistry. I love them becoming so enthralled in conversation that these actions take on a second nature. And YOU just put those fucking words out like you didn't think a second about them. Super cinematic. Like watching a movie as opposed to reading. Goddamn that's super impressive. But that's how you've always written. That's why I'm going to grow up and be you one day Smile

“Did Lily know?” I wondered out loud as I stifled a cough, my throat itchy with its warmth. ---LOooOOooOOooooOVE!!!!!!11!!! And Stolen. Smile Theeeeeenks.

“I have to,” I whispered in return. I pulled away from Miriam to look at her and her eyes were as heartbroken as I felt. “What if it had been Peggy? Wouldn’t you?”-----I literally love everything about this fucking line. "Whispered in return." That's amazing. And Col, he's totally having my thoughts right now. He's totally my comments in the last chapter.

---No, I'm not crying. You are! That was so heartbreakingly sweet. Wow. Miriam. I couldn't love you more. Stupid Col, he so obvs didn't get the gesture. And I love his realization at the end. Just, oh. Yeah, oh. You don't feel better about losing people, Col. It never goes away, it just gets easier to deal with. Especially not if you harbor some sort of guilt with their passing.

----Okay. So these past two chapters raised just as many questions as they answered. But I don't feel so much in the dark anymore. I'm very enlightened, but I do feel the questions now are the final ones to be answered. The plot twists are perfect. I don't know what else you might have had planned, but I really like the turn this is taking. I'm so appreciative that you didn't use Charlotte as a scapegoat. I knew you wouldn't, but it's something we see all to often in the story telling world. This story is far more complex than I thought it might be. That's not because I doubt you're writing skills, but because I have never seen you stick to something like you have this story. And I'm so grateful you have. You seem to be a billion steps ahead of me. Every chapter now is a new realization.

I can't wait to discuss all of this with you. I should be out of class tomorrow around 2, so 8 for you. But I can talk between 11 and 1. I have a presentation to give, but that will only be a few minutes of that time. So hit me up when you get up, and hurry back from London and get back to Glow. I'm so sorry that we got off kilter. I'm sorry you haven't been in the frame of mind to write. Nothing else would have kept me away for so long. I'm so happy to be back, comforted really. This really is my favorite thing to do, you know, read and write and share it with each other. This makes me the most happy. And seeing you continue with projects like Glow, Espionage, TMD and Quarantine (in due time) make me more than happy. Thank you, for that. I need this. And I love you so dearly. So, so dearly. I really do. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE you!!!!!!!11!!!!!

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

PS. Ordered a new laptop that should be in by Thursday. It's a regular size 15' unlike my small 11' I've been using for 2 years now. I have to strain my eyes and hate using it. I can't wait to get it. It'll revitalize my reviewing skills. I actually used Jen's laptop to read this (15') because I'm so tired of my tiny one. And I hope your laptop stops being lame. Also, it has 12gb of RAM, so I'm hoping I can edit vids on it (which means less time in the Cinema Lab and more time on my own computer AKA spending more virtual time with Gf)!!!!!11!!!!

Don't you ever forget how much I adore/love you.  Razz *kiss*

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Last edited by Clockwork Horrorshow on Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Sixteen    Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:18 am

As these chapters go on, I hope you have't gotten discouraged that I've quoted less and spoken more. Of course, I could quote every fucking single line because they all rule, but because I know these characters and shit now, I love just talking out how I feel about what's happening. Just know, you're writing is still amazing. I just get caught up talking about the scenes as a whole. Plus, you make my eyes fly down the page. It's hard to stop unless I'm talking it out.


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