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So I finally began writing again
Yay! 33%  33%  [ 5 ]
Good Job. 27%  27%  [ 4 ]
.... 40%  40%  [ 6 ]
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 Post subject: In my absence.... A quirky story thread
Post Posted: Mar 19th, '17, 02:18    


lunar_eclipse66
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Joined: Mar 18th, '11, 18:00
Posts: 8521
Hugs: 24362
Mood: Cold, cold, cold as ice.
So many of you who talk to me know I kinda disappear quiet often from the site depending on how busy I am or if i'm just not feeling it. Lately I've been in a horrible mood so I started writing again to combat it. This little story doesn't have an official name yet so I'm just gonna call it Absent Glow. I hope you enjoy as I post each chapter and feel free to comment.

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Real talk for a moment: Can we Go back to that month that Pokemon Go was released. Everyone was so happy and the only people down my throat were old men at work who complained about a cell phone app kids were playing. Can we have that? Please.

Image


I have a hangout now but its rather lonely. Wanna come in and read a story?
We're All a Little Bit Insane Inside...

I'm an artwhore: x-broken-wish-x Silly Chu

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 Post subject: Re: In my absence.... A quirky story thread
Post Posted: Mar 19th, '17, 02:23    


lunar_eclipse66
Chapter 1

Danny was sitting in the old oak tree staring at the moon. A day ago, it was full and now was beginning to shrink. In the past year, she has gotten very familiar with the cycle. It seems to move by faster with every passing month, and some of the previous months seem like a blur when she tried to recall events that occurred on particular days. When did using her abilities just become common place for her? She tried to think back but could not pinpoint a particular moment where it suddenly felt normal.
The current state of the moon made her feel conflicted every cycle. It being close to full made her feel like she was in control, but the knowledge of it shrinking with each passing day sent a chill down her spine.
"Hey," Mel's voice broke Danny's train of thought, "I need to go handle something in town so I'm leaving for a few hours."
"Is it another mission?"
"Well kinda," she replied, "you should head inside though. This way I don't have to worry about you falling out of a tree."
"I'll go eventually."
Mel's form disappeared from the bottom of the tree. Danny quickly turned her head and found Mel less than a foot away from her, balancing on the branch that Danny was currently sitting on.
"Don't get yourself killed by falling out of a tree. Do you need me to say it in Latin?"
Danny slowly stood up and rested her back against the trunk, "we're lucking this branch can hold both of us."
Mel took an uneasy look at the ground and disappeared again. She reappeared at the base of the tree, “I need to get out of here if I’m gonna make it to this thing in time. Please be safe.”
Mel dashed into the tree line and quickly vanished, leaving Danny by herself again. Danny slowly sat back down on the branch thinking it would be safer. It was too close to the full moon for him to save her if an accident did happen so maybe going inside would be a good idea, she thought to herself. She decided to give herself a few more minutes of moonlight and then stood up. She wrapped her body around the trunk of the tree and slowly started to shuffle down. The bark was stabbing the tips of her fingers and she was really beginning to regret wearing her fingerless gloves today. Danny looked down and saw she was about six feet from the bottom and was debating whether or not it was safe enough to jump down.
Before she could make her decision the ground quickly quivered, and Danny lost her grip as tree shook with it. She landed on her back after falling the six feet to the ground. She was too dazed by the fall to really sense anything for a few seconds. Danny stood up after she registered the fall and picked herself back up. She began brushing off the dead leaves stuck to her jeans and stretched out her back. She hoped her back would get better before the new moon. She pulled a leaf out of her hair before she started to notice the smell of smoke.
She began wandering in confusion trying to find the direction of the source. The branch she was sitting on pointed towards the house she shared with Mel. Smoke was starting to move through the trees coming from the opposite direction. Even though she was sure it wasn’t her home burning down, Danny found herself walking in the direction of the smoke. She heard an explosion coming from the direction she was headed and, she found herself running until she reached the source. In a small clearing, barely big enough for a house, there was a pile of concrete rubble with smoke billowing out from crevices. Danny recognized it as the remains of the concrete slab she and Mel often had picnics on.
Out of curiosity, Danny walked over to the pile and started moving chunks of concrete in an attempt to investigate. The unstable pile collapsed into a tunnel. Danny stepped over the remaining pieces and stood on the first stair. Smoke continued to pour out and a flame could be seen deeper in the tunnel. She called out and received no answer.
Anxiety was the next emotion that took over. She began to question if this was the job Mel had to do. Could she have miscalculated? Is she hurt, trapped, or worse, dead? Another explosion occurred deeper in the tunnel. Danny pulled her shirt up to cover her nose and mouth and dashed down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs there was a door loosely on its hinges that looked as if it was blown open. The door led to a long hallway lit by tiny balls of fire scattered across the floor.
“Mel!”
The sound of breaking glass could be heard coming from somewhere down the hallway. Only one door out of the six connected to the hallway was open. This door looked as if it was blown in as well and fire had taken over a good portion of the room. The left side of the room was lined with human sized tanks. All of them were covered in a thick layer of dust, except for one that looked as if it had shattered. Danny’s eyes suddenly noticed movement. A few feet from the tank, a teenage girl laying on the ground was making an attempt to pull herself towards the door.
Danny rushed to the girl’s side. The girl didn’t even notice her while she coughed and struggled to continue moving. Danny could now see how bad the situation really was. Small shards of glass were stuck in her arms and chest. There was a liquid on the floor that looked like a mix of blood and water. A large piece was stuck in her right leg. Danny tried to flip her over as carefully as possible.
“Are you okay?”
The girl’s eyes closed and there was no response. Danny could still feel a pulse. She readjusted her shirt over her nose and mouth and as carefully as she could, tried to pick the girl up. Danny struggled to lift her off the ground but was able to get her body to hang over her shoulder. The girl was heavier than Danny had expected, and she realized this wasn’t going to work. Instead Danny had to resort to dragging the girl to the exit by roping her arms under the girl’s. By the time they had reached the hallway, Danny’s shirt had fallen down to its normal position. The fire balls on the floor were beginning to burn out leaving the place darker than Danny remembered it.
The stairs were now lit by the moon and the stars instead of flames. Danny climbed two steps and was hit by fatigue. The smoke in her lungs made it feel like this girl was getting heavier as she tried to puller her up the first step. She underwent a coughing fit. Afterwards, her brain felt dizzy, and she questioned if it was even possible to make it to the top step at all.
Panic set in. It seemed like Kato would not save her this time around. There was one other way she could get out of here with her life while still carrying the girl. Danny thought about the risk of using her abilities while in this state. The full moon was last night so she felt confident in her control, but the limp body in her arms worried her. It was possible she wouldn’t survive the experience. Danny gave up on the debate and pressed her hand to the girl’s chest. She felt energy transferring to her hand and spread throughout her body. Before feeling restored, Danny stopped. The girl still had a pulse. With her newfound strength and energy, Danny continued to drag her body up the stairs and into the fresh air.
Danny carefully placed the girl on her back away from the smoke and then fell to the ground herself. She ripped off her gloves as fast as possible lay flat on her back. Her hands were intertwined with the grass, and she could feel the blade shrivel and dry out between her fingers.

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 Post subject: Re: In my absence.... A quirky story thread
Post Posted: Apr 6th, '17, 16:30    


lunar_eclipse66
Chapter 2


Danny could feel her heart rate slowly drop to normal, but her body still felt beyond exhausted. The grass under her hands was drained of all life and it no longer served a purpose for her. She slowly sat up and looked over at the body next to her. Her chest was moving, barely. Checking her pulse while in this condition was dangerous so at least she was breathing. Danny struggled to her feet and walked over to the closet tree. The parts of the trunk in contact with her hands shriveled and darkened. After a few seconds, Danny felt more stable. The sound of what seemed like rustling leaves caught her attention. She whipped around, but only saw the mystery girl and the tunnel they had just escaped from.
Danny turned back towards the tree, “Fuck!” she screamed out into the darkness, “what am I supposed to do with her? The house is almost a mile out; I can’t carry her that far.”
The girl began to cough wildly. Her eyes opened for a split second and she pulled herself onto her side as if she was going to puke. Danny jogged over to wear she left her gloves, and struggled to put them on as she dashed over to the girl. The coughing ceased only for a few moments. The girl took in a few deep breaths of air and continued once more. Danny sat her up. The coughing stopped again, but before Danny could ask her anything, another voice called out from the woods.
“Did you both come from that smoking laboratory?”
A tall figure wearing a jumpsuit and respirator stepped out of the tree line on the opposite end of the clearing. In his hands were a fire extinguisher and a few pieces of paper. The figure removed the respirator and showed his face. He was a gentleman who appeared to be in his early thirties. The man was clean shaven, short dark hair, and a piercing gaze.
He held the papers up to his face and flipped through them, “I have no records of you. Oh well, it will make this a bit more interesting.”
Out of fear, Danny shouted back, "who are you?"
The gentleman ignored her, "Well I only planned on collecting one live sample for experimentation, but I guess two works in my favor." He placed the fire extinguisher on the ground and from a distance observed the two, "then again I may only bring back one live sample since it seems like the younger one is close to death as it is."
He took a step closer, and Danny screamed, "who do you think you are? Like hell am I coming with you."
He finally acknowledged her voice, "you don't have a choice dear."
With a snap of his finger, two dozen rat sized creatures charged into the clearing from all directions. Most of them, hopped on top of her pinning her body to the ground. The gentleman ignored her screams and opened a bag that was hitched to his side with an awkwardly large belt. From the bag, he pulled out a series of syringes and capped vials. With materials in hand he slowly marched over to the teenage girl and knelt beside her body. He inspected her body and the shards of glass in it. The gentleman lightly placed his finger on a shard and realized that it was ice cold. Her arm twitched, and he reeled his arm back to his side and glanced at the papers.
"It looks like you are barely clinging onto life. I was originally just going to leave you here, but you seem to be struggling so much. It might be better if I just end it for you here after I take samples."
He pulled out a piece of tubing with a tiny syringe-like needle and attached it to one of the vials. He was inches from piercing the skin when a hazy purple ball of light flew by his face. The gentleman was stunned, and turned not sure of what to expect. The creatures that he had sent after Danny were sprawled across the ground and lifeless. She was in the process of getting to her feet. He noticed that bite marks covered her arms but were more concentrated towards her hands. Something else caught his eyes. Her gloves were no longer on, and not only was a purple haze surrounding her hand, but on the back of her hand was the outline of a perfect circle. It was glowing just bright enough to be seen through the haze.
The gentleman dropped his papers, “now it makes sense. You didn’t belong here from the start because you’re contracted.”
There was no way to deny it; he was looking at a true witch. Between the powers and demon mark, there was no way to deny it. The thought thrilled him while shaking him to the core. He had never come in contact with a true witch before. He had only read about them in literature and researched experiments creating artificial witches. This was his opportunity to study a real witch. There was only one problem that stood in this was. What kind of power does this particular witch have, and how will that effect his ability to capture her? From his research, he knew that a witch's power is always related to the demon they made a contract with. There was a faint symbol in the center of the circle on her hand, but he could not recognize it. Whatever this power is, it turned his pets to carcasses and sent something whizzing by his face. Did that ball of light have mass, if so how much, or was it simply energy?
In the time he was going over his options, Danny had gotten herself off the ground. After struggling to come up with a plan, the gentleman finally snapped his fingers. More of the rat-like creatures dashed into the clearing. One jumped at her and bit her hand. A second later, it fell to the ground lifeless. A few more bit her arm, leg, and shoulder. She kicked away the one on her leg and grabbed at the one attached to her arm. The creature died and fell off.
The gentleman grabbed the syringe he pulled out of his bag earlier and signaled for more of his pets to attack her. After standing up he felt a cold sensation by his ankles. He looked down and saw that the dying girl had grabbed onto his ankle. Ice began to form where her hand made contact with his clothes.
He was intrigued but had more important tasks, "I don't need to waste my time with a fake created in a lab," and he kicked her away.
With his pets serving as a distraction, he attacked Danny by grabbing the back of her neck and forcing her to the ground. Danny's thoughts were scrambled, and by the time she realized what was happening she was pinned. His left hand was holding down her left forearm and his boot was on the other. His knee was on her back, preventing any movement of her upper body.
“My hypothesis seems correct; it looks like you can only use your power through physical contact with your hands. I don’t know who your contracted demon is because I don’t recognize that mark, but I guess it doesn’t matter anyways. I can just bring you back and figure out myself,” he raised the syringe and pushed in the plunger just enough to push out a drop of clear liquid from the needle tip.
Danny could feel his breath on the back of her neck which sent chills down her spine. She tried to squirm and break one of her arms free, but it got her nowhere. Without her own knowledge, the grass beneath her hands became dry and brittle.
"Fascinating, even with that curly hair of yours in your face I can see your fangs."
In desperation, she began to scream for Kato. The gentleman began to laugh to himself. He figured she was screaming for her parent demon. He noticed the symbol on her hand was glowing again as she cried out, but even the name still didn't bring a demon to mind. He figured he had tortured her enough, and it was time to end this just in case her demon does hear her.
He started to move the syringe closer to her body when Mel's figure appeared behind him. In one swift motion, she swung a fire extinguisher at the gentleman's head and knocked him unconscious. His body fell over releasing Danny, who quickly scrambled to her feet. Before she could get her bearings, Mel hugged her asking if she was okay. Danny looked over and saw the still body that was holding her down a minute ago and nodded.
Her eyes drifted to other body, and the feeling of panic was back, "Shit! please tell me she's still alive."
Mel inspected the body as Danny picked her gloves off the ground and put them back on. Mel confirmed that she was still alive but not in great condition. They agreed to bring her back to their house. Neither Mel or Danny felt comfortable interacting with the hospital and explaining what happened. Danny had learned most witches lived in secret and would do anything to keep it that way. Even Mel's agreement with the government was highly classified. There is an abundance of medical supplies at the house so hopefully they can treat her there. There were two problems, getting her there and the fire still causing smoke to spew out of the underground lab. Mel decided she would take care of the lab using the fire extinguisher, and Danny was to sit and wait until she was finished.
Mel covered her face and disappeared into the lab holding the fire extinguisher. Danny sat next to the body she tried to save and stared at the body that tried to capture her. She could tell that he was breathing and felt uncomfortable but not uncomfortable enough to take another life tonight. She was barely comfortable with killing his small creatures when it was a matter of life or death. Mel returned shortly and the went back home. Mel carried the girl due to Danny's exhaustion, and they left the strange gentleman behind.

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 Post subject: Re: In my absence.... A quirky story thread
Post Posted: Jul 9th, '17, 03:11    


lunar_eclipse66
Danny rummaged through the closet in the bathroom, trying to find the emergency first aid kit and extra gauze. She could hear Mel's voice on the phone with her boss a couple rooms over. Her body had finally stopped shaking from earlier, but the pain from the experience still persisted. Her back, neck, and lungs all still ached even with pain killers. She found the extra gauze in a bag on the top shelf. After pulling out two small boxes, she spotted the handle for the first aid kit.

Mel was still on the phone as she ran into the living room with them, "We can take care of her for at least a week while she's injured, I just need some more information... I understand there was a fire but you should be able to retrieve something... I'll keep you updates on her condition, please just send me information when you have it."

Mel hung up and sighed so Danny asked, "what did they tell you about her?"

Mel answered, "Absolutely nothing. They are researching about her past now. They may even need a DNA sample from her to get anything."

Mel grabbed the first aid kit out of Danny's hands, opened it and began searching for antiseptic. They slowly began to remove pieces of glass and covering wounds. Every piece of glass felt cold as they removed them from her body. Some of Mel's suspicions about the girl were validated when the realized ice had appeared on the couch cushions underneath her.

Danny turned to Mel, "She's kinda like us, but there was one thing that guy said that bugs me a bit. He mentioned she was lab grown, and I can't find a demon mark. I haven't searched all of her yet, but what if she's not tied to a demon?"

Mel stood up, "Well she could be more like me. I don't have a mark because I was born from a demon and a witch. Also, speaking of that strange guy, I want you to stay inside for the next week. They didn't find his body where we left him. This goes for her too," she pointed to the unconscious girl.

Once everyone's wounds were treated, Danny grabbed some comfortable stuff for the girl to sleep with. It was already decided that she would sleep on the couch, and as comfortable as it was, it got cold in that room at night. Danny also grabbed new clothes that were not torn. When Danny came back with everything, Mel asked for the clothes, and shot Danny a look of disappointment when her own cat onesie was placed in her hands.

Danny shrugged, "my stuff is too small and most of your stuff would be too big. At least this won't fall off of her."

Mel quickly undressed her and dressed her again. The girl remained unconscious even as they propped her head up with a pillow and covered her with a blanket. after everything was complete, Mel sent Danny off to bed, and realizing how tired she was from the night's events, she left without arguing.

It wasn't until a few hours later that the girl woke up. The girl's eyes slowly fluttered open and adjusted to the dim lighting of the room. She was confused the moment she realized she was looking at an unfamiliar ceiling. She began to feel pain throughout her entire body which reminded her of the events that occurred earlier that night. She tilted her head to the side and saw the back of the couch. With much difficulty and ignoring the pain, she sat up. The entire room was strange to her. A low ceiling, colorful pictures along the walls, windows, doorways without heavy security doors. She could even hear the rain outside on the roof. She looked down at herself and realized she was under a checkerboard blanket, and in a black and white one piece that was surprisingly soft.

Next to her sleeping, was a woman she had never seen before. Her face was smushed up against the arm of the couch and strands of her red hair were sticking up in all directions. She was in baggy clothing that hid her real dimensions, but what really caught her eye was what was on her lap. On her lap was what looked like a cat at first, but as her eyes adjusted turned out to be a wispy figure of smoke. The figure turned its head as if it was staring straight at her a. With the same mannerisms as a real cat, it stretched as it got up on all fours and stuck its tail straight up into the air. It silently leaped on to the couch and stepped onto her lap. She reached out her hand to see if it was real, the cat rubbed its head against her hand as if it was inviting her to pet it. During the action it felt as if a cold pocket of air was grazing her hand. She couldn't feel it standing on her either. She mover her hand above the smoky figure, and it responded by lifting off its front paws and bumping her hand with its head. She felt the cold air mass again. The cat then sat down as if it was satisfied with the interaction it had.

"You can see her. Then it looks like you are like us," The girl turned her head to see the unfamiliar woman awake and rubbing her eyes.

"Can you tell me where these powers come from?" the girl asked as she demonstrated by forming a shell of ice around her own hand.

Mel answered, "I'd be glad to, but I need one thing from you." She paused and her face turned serious, "what is your name and why were you in that lab my friend rescued you from?"

"My memory of everything isn't that great, but I remember some things. I remember being called Claire, but I think the official name in my doctor's book was CL-02 or something like that. That place you found me has been my home for as long as I can remember."

Mel stood up, "That information helps a little, so thank you. As for my end of the deal, this would be a lot easier to explain with Danny, but I'll let her sleep. Most likely your powers come from a demon like ours do."

"Does that mean you can create ice too?"

"No. Every power is different and depends on the demon you got it from," the smokey cat that had been sitting on Claire's chests sat up and leaped on to Mel's shoulder, "this is my power."

Claire sat in confusion.

Mel continued hoping to clear things up, "we are what the world often calls witches. All witches receive their powers from a demon of some sort. There are many demons so the powers vary quite a bit. The most common way to become a witch is to make a contract with the demon. This is what Danny did to receive her powers. The way I received my power was a bit different. My mother was a witch, and my father was a demon."

"Are there other ways?"

Mel replied "I have no clue, every witch I have come in contact with was either in contract with a demon or, in one other case, was born from one."

Claire's confusion only got worse as she tried to determine what group she was a part of. Seeing this, Mel stopped the discussion and told her to go back to sleep. Mel walked off into another room, and Claire closed her eyes, trying to doze off.

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 Post subject: Re: In my absence.... A quirky story thread
Post Posted: Mar 9th, '18, 06:33    


lunar_eclipse66
A few hours later, Mel was up again. This time she was making breakfast, the smell of which woke up Claire. She sat up and then struggled to get up out of curiosity. Some of these smells were completely unfamiliar to her. The pain pulsing through her body convinced her to stay sitting. The smoky cat sat on the opposite end of the room and perked up with Claire’s movement.

Mel’s voice could be heard from the kitchen, “Breakfast is almost ready. Just sit tight and I’ll bring it out for you.”

The cat got up and pranced across the room. It then hopped onto the arm of the sofa next to Claire. A few minutes later, Mel came strolling into the room holding a plate with scrambled eggs, some strips of bacon, and a piece of toast. She placed the plate and a fork on Claire’s lap and walked down the hallway. Mel walked up to the last room and gently knocked. She could hear Danny speaking to someone, but the door remained locked. She knocked again. There was still no response aimed at her. Mel banged on the door as if she was intending to knock it down. Danny answered almost immediately. The mark on Danny’s left hand was glowing purple, and Mel now knew who she was talking to this entire time.

“I came to wake you up, but it seems like you are already awake. But before we go eat,” she stared at the glowing mark on Danny’s hand. She quickly bent her face closer to it and began to shout towards it "(Where were you last night? Do you realize she almost died?) Ubi te heri? Mortem non cogitatis?" (in latin)

"(Good morning to you too, Mel )Tu exorientem Auroram Mel," (in Latin) a voice coming from the mark responded back, "(Thank you for taking care of her) Tibi gratias ago pro foveat."

Danny interrupted, "(You know I can understand you guys. I spent four years in the underworld and spoke mostly in Latin for the last two.) Scis me intelligere guys. Locutus fui in inferno annis duobus plerumque Latine.” (in latin)

"Sorry, I feel like its easier to speak my first language when I'm mad."
Showing off the voice replied, "I can speak most human languages and my own fluently so I have no problem switching between them."
Mel calmed down, "Also I'm sorry to be talking about you Danny as if you're not in the room, but Kato it might be best if she stays with you for a few days."

The voice responded back, "Is this because of the incident last night that Danny described to me earlier?"

"Yes. Just until I can find more information on this guy."

"I can open the portal before sunset, I just have a few things to take care of over here."

Danny replied to the voice, "I have to pack anyways so that works with me."

The voice responded, "Perfect. Te amo. See you then.'

The mark's glow faded. Before Danny started packing, Mel dragged her off to have breakfast. As they walked past the living room into the kitchen, Danny felt relieved to see Claire recovering, and that Mel was keeping a good eye on her with her familiar which she could only see faintly. In the kitchen, there were four other faint smoky creatures. Danny could not make out their shape but recognized them all as Mel's familiars. One watched the food on the stove, another watched something baking in the oven, and two more sat in windows. With a snap of her fingers, the balls of smoke, including the one with Claire, ran to the center of the kitchen floor and merged together to form one cat sized ball of smoke. Danny realized that she probably had them watching the yard all night, and it was tiring her out.

Mel turned off the oven and pulled out a full cupcake pan. She quickly mentioned that she should take some with her to Kato. He doesn’t eat often but enjoys snacks. Mel also took the time to remind her about she shouldn’t eat her last day there so she wouldn’t be trapped. It was awkward talking any further about her and Kato’s relationship so they stopped talking and served themselves food to break the awkwardness.

Claire faintly remembered Danny’s face now that she was in the living room with her. Everything seemed so weird to her. Claire had only met two other people with powers like herself and they both died in that laboratory while Claire was still young. She clearly remembered the doctors telling her not to worry, they were built differently, and her body would not give up as easily. Today however, two people who regarded themselves as witches stood in front of her. Both seemed healthy and at least one of them looked significantly older than herself.

The excitement of not feeling alone was overwhelming, and without putting much thought into it she asked Danny, “You were the witch that saved me last night from the fire, right?”

Danny had food in her mouth so she nodded.

“What’s your power then?”

Unknown to Claire, this supposedly innocent question made Danny feel uncomfortable. Claire began to fidget in her seat when she realized the awkwardness had dispersed through the room.

Mel nudged Danny forcing her to speak, "Well my power is kinda," she paused trying to find a word, "weird, I guess." A purple glow formed around her hand; this glow then turned into a small purple flame that sat on her palm, "This is mana. It is the life energy that flows through all living things. I can take the mana of other living beings and use it as my own or manipulate it a little. The demon I'm contracted with is a lot better at it though. "

Claire found herself mesmerized by the purple flame until it faded back into Danny's hand. After the demonstration, Danny got up and fetched her gloves from her room. She forgot to put them on after talking to Kato, and although at this time of the month it wasn't dangerous, she still felt it was safer with them on.

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 Post subject: Re: In my absence.... A quirky story thread
Post Posted: Mar 15th, '18, 00:00    


lunar_eclipse66
Grant was having a rough day. His head was still sore when he woke up from the night before. He wasn't entirely sure how he got back last night. He remembered having a dream filled with blurred faces and the mumbling voices of two women. One was familiar; the other was completely strange to him. He woke up from this dream to find himself in the woods. The only memory he had after this was him stumbling past trees. he assumed that even though he couldn't remember it, he must have made it to town and found his house.

He realized he had been so close to getting what he wanted, but it all slipped away. He left the scene without a witch and without any samples to show for the work he put in. He tried taking a shower to calm his frustration. Out of all of the bad things that happened last night, there was one good thing. He knew contracted witches still existed, and he no longer needed to entirely rely on outdated data from cancelled experiments. He refused to get his hopes too high up though, for all he knows she could be the only one. If this was the case, finding and containing her would have to be top priority.

During his shower, he felt the bump on his head. it stung to the touch. After his shower, he checked the dilation of his pupils in the mirror. He was relieved to see that he probably didn't have a concussion. He shaved and combed his hair. Grant checked the time and smiled to himself; he still had plenty of time before work.

After getting dressed and eating, Grant casually walked into his basement. He passed by tables covered in paperwork, medical equipment, and chemicals. He finally stopped at a table against the back wall of the room that housed a computer. He casually logged in and opened up his computers files. After clicking through a few folders, he finally came to one titled, “Symbols and meanings”. After clicking on the folder a series of pictures began to load. As the computer strained to load the thumbnails of all 142, he stood up and grabbed a piece of scrap paper from another table. Grant quickly sketched the symbol he saw on the witch’s hand last night, hoping that his memory of each piece was accurate. He carefully sketched the circle, lines, and points from memory. When he was finished, the symbol was a perfect copy of what he remembered last night, a circle with two sharp points at the bottom and an X in the center touching the circle at all four points. The pictures had loaded in the time it took to draw out the symbol.

Grant created a new folder and sorted through the thumbnails, dragging those with similar characteristics into the folder. After sorting he opened the folder he created which now contained 42 photos. For these photos, he opened each file and compared it to the sketch. Every picture in the new folder had a circle because it was easy to spot from the thumbnails. So now his focus was on the markings within the circles. Three had an X that touched the circle at all four ends and, and only one had the correct angles. The only issue was it was lacking the two points at the bottom of the circle. He flipped through the pictures again looking for symbols that contained two points at the bottom of the circle. Only one contained the feature he was looking for, but the rest of the symbol wasn't even close to what he drew from memory.

This new symbol belonged to a demon that had not been cataloged before. This should have angered Grant, but instead made his curiosity run. For he knew this could be a demon that is not very active, it could be a smarted demon that has avoided the public eye well, or it was a young demon who hasn't had the chance to leave their mark on the world. Grant felt determined to figure out which it was and capture the witch in the process.

He knew capturing the witch would take a bit of effort. It would be foolish to think that she didn't expect him to be searching for her. He began to think about his strategy. The first part of his plan required some scouting, and he knew he had the perfect creatures to start the job. He stood up and walked away from his computer desk. On the same wall but six feet away from his desk was a door. Grant unlocked it and marched inside. The room was filled with small cages holding rats. Some cages were now empty; it upset him but not as much as it should have. After feeding and caring for the rats, Grant looked at the clock on the wall. He had work in an hour so he marched back up the stairs.

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