Another Kid's Sandbox


delia2_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Another Kid's Sandbox
Synopsis When it comes to places to play, two people are interrupted by a dreamwalker in order to receive a warning.
Date August 10, 2011

In Dreams

Brightness is a welcome sight in the crux of the day. A golden orange sun hanging behind clouds, rolling green fields, a forest of the deepest pine-blue in the distance. The village is sprawling, with wide cobblestone streets, and cottages with thatched rooftops.The overhanging upper floors of these houses dangle flowers and chimes and ribbon decorations, coloring the cream and brown of the homes with splashes of color in celebration. Bundles of apple and maple trees dot the landscape, under a crystal blue sky. A school bell rings in the afternoon air, a clarion call amidst hustle and bustle that doesn't find Delilah in it. The candy-colored environment suits her, perhaps.

She lies sprawled on a grassy knoll, overlooking the little villas and the treetops, and she is able to see the taller mountains in the great distance, as well as a winding little river that spills from the forest. Beside her is an empty blanket- she has rolled off of it in half-slumber, wriggling her way onto the grass under the sunshine. Unbeknownst to her, the picnic basket on the blanket has been the target of a tactics operation by an anthill. When she does wake from her napping, it is because several of them have crawled up her ankles.

"Buggers!" Pale yellow feathers fly when she bolts upright, the forelock and sheet of her fiery orange mane shaking as she starts to wag herself about, trying to throw the stragglers off of her. Tail swishing and hooves bucking, the reaction becomes quite the mess when she begins to stamp her way over the trail of ants trying to tote away her brown basket, bold as bold can be. "No! You give me that back! I brought that for Kicks!" There is menace in those big brown eyes. "Carrot and alfalfa sandwiches are not for you." Stamp, stamp, stamp.

Picking her front hooves off of the ground, likely covered in smushed ants, Delilah grabs the basket's handle between her teeth and flaps her way up into the air, taking the food along for the ride. Stupid bugs, ruining a perfectly good nap. How dare they!

~You can't play—- ~

It's an echo across a great sandy expanse, faint and fading, until it strikes the far wall, a towering barrier of wood, flaking.

~You can't play your game—- ~

When it returns from the other side it does not dim, but grows louder, longer, a rising tide of thunder in sing-song.

~You can't play your game in another—- ~

She can feel herself at the edge of a parapet opposite, at the cusp of the dune-rollicked space, a even sided demarcation of dryness and grit.

~You can't play your game in another kid's sandbox!~

Joshua knows the sound to fell walls, and Jason's passed it on through strings, not horns, and so down down down over the edge she falls, stone silent and swift as she lands, face down, in another kid's sandbox, not her own, for any sand of hers would not sting her eyes and fill her mouth so.

Nor would she feel, pressing pressing at the back of her head- can't get up, can't get up.

~Are you scared?~

There's nothing to breath, just the earth inhospitable, slowly swallowing, being swallowed.

~Piss piss piss up to your eyes scared?~

Raven's drowning on dry land.

Her face presses through the sand, it's painful, almost as though she's being used as the shovel to dig her own shallow grave. Twisted to the side, she's allowed one single breath of air as a reward for what's coming. It's maneuvered back into face forward position and Raven can feel the grit trying to burrow its way into her skin.

When wetness strikes the back of her black hair and the dirt around her turns to foul smelling mud, there's only one conclusion to make. Too quickly the mud cakes and dries as a blast of heat burns everything around her. Then it falls away to darkness and darkness brightens becomes colors too vivid to be truly real.

Raven, isn't moving. At least not in the normal fashion.

Unless the normal fashion is a freefall through cartoon landscape and toward a yellow feathered pony. Delilah lifts her head just in time to see the child flailing toward her, a child that doesn't look quite right. She has no colors to be proud of, except the striking shade of her eyes (which are at the moment wide with terror). There's no mark on her hindquarters, which obviously makes her a deformed pony of some sorts. No wonder she's soiled and rough looking.

Generally when bodies collide and one is going at an extreme velocity, there is pain. There's no bounce. There's no plushy sensation like being thrown into a pile of carebears. Finally, grassy knolls do not deflate when a sharp fingernail punctures the ground, putting a hole into the environment and causing the surrounding scenery to collapse slowly like a giant blow up castle.

When things like this happen, rabbits do not stare through blue eyes at two guests who are so very different from each other one might as well call them night and day.

But this… this is what happens.

Delilah- Honeybee, as she is commonly known as- perches on a nearby cloud with her basket; she does not have time to sit and enjoy the view, however. There is some sort of thing coming down through the air at her! The pony lets out a squeal of surprise, as the gangly little blank-flanked thing hits her right through the bottom of the cloud. They both go flying down, down, and the rolling hills outside of Ponyville deflate and swallow them up like marshmallows in a straw.

Spat out, a moment later, in some other place. Delilah, fluffy wings askew, and butt in the air, squirms her way upright, head pivoting around, eyes under a mess of hair that she suddenly has to tame back with a full body shake. Brrrrt!

"Oh! Hi- hey!" She starts into yelling about getting knocked out of the sky, but stops only partway into the initial shout to stare down at the bunny instead of the gangly, dirty creature. A suspicious squint plasters itself there, fixed on the rabbit.

Unsightly, surely, and if not deformed then of some order of scruffy thing never to be found in the pristine lands where Honeybee trots and canters - still, the thing called Raven persists, rough around the edges, features ill formed at first, though slowly starting to resolve into the grim, tiny-world-burdened features of a child, age indeterminate, gender as much so, gawky and dark haired with wild yellow eyes that seem like fevered reflections of the pony's glossy coat and feathers.

Wide, those eyes, nonplussed to find themselves both free of stinging grit and fixed upon what for all the world looks like a cartoon pegasus. Those seeking sense in dreams bark up the wrong tree, but there's nothing in Raven's recollection that matches up with what she's seeing, and at first the shock of the fall sustains the panic of suffocation.

She scrambles to her feet, growing inches taller (but not many) as she rises, aging into herself. Diego now has the slightest hints of what the very charitable might call womanhood, but little more. Her head lowers, neck bending in the instant and expectant resentment of the perennially guilty as the Dee-pony begins to exclaim, but as the focus of fault shifts from herself to something(one?) else, she quickly spies whom else might serve as the fall guy- even if it was she that was doing the falling.

A rabbit? "What's-" voice still rough from sand, she coughs, then starts again, "what's goin' on?"

Silly pony, rabbits don't talk.

At least not where Raven Diego is from and certainly not where the rabbit is from; a place that is just now bleeding into the periphery of all three creatures. Grass underfoot is crushed as the rabbit thumps its leg a few too many times to be considered a greeting. Those knowledgeable in lapin language would begin running…

Right about now.

Once again Raven's head explodes with pain. This time from a pair of shoes that knock her about the ears and neck. They belong to a woman with a blue face who dangles by the neck from a tree limb. Her eyes are still open, practically bulging out of her skull. They are not as pretty a shade as her visage.

Delilah's ears perk forward when the rabbit thumps its hind leg, lifting one hoof to begin to follow, only to be distracted by movement in the corner of her eye. She looks up, with liquid brown eyes, which widen in terror. She stamps her feet, turning around flank-first and backing away with a skip and a defensive flap. You don't need to tell her twice. The pegasus reels about again, tucking her wings against her ribcage and trotting after where the rabbit had run as fast as a blink.

"Wait! Wait! Don't leave me here! Come back!" She remembers something, screeching to a halt and turning her head to see if the girl is following. "Come! Come away!"

It's pretty unlikely that reluctant Raven ever picked up Watership Down, and the poor suburbs of Atlanta had a pretty thin stock of wildlife, so add to that a resounding knock on the side of the head from the foot of dead weight, and you can see why she's not so much with the instant reaction.

She catches up, though, as pain recedes to make way for terror as she sees the dangling strangled. Better settled, more of her sleeping brain firing as the dream increases in vividness and lucidity, the pony's voice - it's tone, its accent - sounds a much more inviting and trustworthy thing than her initial fear and doubt figured. When addressed directly, Diego twist her head and sees the bolting rabbit and the lingering equine, and is able to discern pretty quick which way the wind is blowing.

She's fast fast fast, little legs lengthening to let her leap the distance between herself and Delilah, and - arms outstretched as she does a dive - she hurls herself onto the pegasus' back, grasping her about the neck in a mad 'take me with you' cling.

No Perseus, perhaps, but she can still hope to bum a ride.

The maze of twisted houses seem more a backdrop to a Tim Burton movie than anyplace a regular person (or pony) would call home. The rabbit leads them down streets, through alleys, across overgrown lawns so thick that it can only be seen by the wave of the grass that it parts on its way through.

At every intersection it turns and flees in a different direction. In the distance faceless soldiers march in straight lines, only two deep but enough to block absent foot traffic. The more corners they turn the more obvious it becomes, the spectres have but one purpose, herding the trio back to the hangman's tree.

"You're in danger," a disembodied whisper tickles at the ears of both the person and pony. "It's the soldiers that killed the woman. You need to be careful." It seems so familiar, the story, the voice… especially the voice.

Small, but big enough for a little person to cling onto. Sable's hands snag at the feathers where her wings join her hide, and there's little to do besides wince and gallop forward after the rabbit. No Perseus, no, but it's well enough that she doesn't simply fall off of the pony. Dee moves at a fine clip after the brown blur, hooves coming down on cement with sharp tacks of sound. She reels at one road, when the files of phantasms grow more present- the pegasus turns more abruptly after the rabbit now, narrowly avoiding direct eye contact with a faceless entity.

When it seems Delilah catches up to it, it bolts to the left, the right, the left-

Another alley full of figures blocks the way, as the voice comes lilting into their ears. Delilah backs up where she had come now, only to find that the rear of the street she had come from is now covered in uniformed bodies. Dee opens her wings up wide, arching them above her head and flapping noisily as she canters in a circle. The gesture is a threatening one, but perhaps not from a short, pastel pony.

"Help! Where did you go? Rabbit?”

The speed of the flight elongates Sable to Sable-size, no great added burden, but the weight of knowledge continues to expand as her present name returns, and with it present worries and present longings and present presences, and there's something about that accent-

But the dream throws too much of what's new and novel to permit the dreamer to properly sort through extraneous files. She's in here, at the moment, clinging for dear life to the back of a winged pony, a task that - to her - feels quite as difficult and demanding as doing the actual shadow-soldier dodging, as Dee is.

Dodging proves not enough, though. As dark ranks surround and as the pastel pony begins to circle her lone wagon, Sable sits up straight on her gracious mount like a proper cowgal, and surveys the steady tread of troopers. She winces as the voice delivers its troubling message.

Sable looks down at Delilah's mane'd head, then back and forth between her flapping wings.

"Uh-" she interjects, hoping this isn't somehow a dumb question, "can't we go that-a-way?"

Her forefinger points towards the sky.

The rabbit seems to be having its own set of difficulties. Snared by the neck by a wire in the grass it lies limp as one of the faceless soldiers grips it up by the loose skin between its shoulders. Its weight is as dead as the woman hanging from the tree. At this moment, the two have more in common than it does with the pegasus pony and the girl on its back.

A shift in the scenery allows the rabbit to drop, though the snare still dangles around its neck. "I can't help you," it says. Turns out that rabbits here do talk. Oops. "I can't talk to you or see you. Except here."

It springs up and out, the blob of liquid that takes its place ripples into the form of Delia. "The Ferry are going to help us, just lay low… Be careful and be smart… Stay out of Heller's sight." She gives a pointed look at the pony. "Keep the baby safe, I don't think they care how old their tree ornaments are."

"Oh." The pony didn't seem to realize she had wings there, for a moment. She felt pretty human, come to think of it. Still, she skips when Sable points to the open sky. "Yes." The sound of the snare catches her attention, and she looks after the noise, ears pinning when she sees the soldier pick up the rust-topped rabbit, and he slips out of sight, leaving the rabbit to fall, the tangle of wire still taut before the creature too shifts. Something about all of this, Delilah knows- it is familiar, and so is the woman that melts forth from the shapeshifting.

"Delia." The name comes as a buzz, first, and before she knows it, Dee is reciting, and things are coming back in flashes and impressions of what is real, and what is not. The pegasus paws at the road, browline knitted at the woman nearby.

"Thank you- and- and have faith." The buffeting of wings fills Sable's ears, as Honeybee prepares and springs with her hind legs, launching them into the air, a spiraling mote of near-glowing yellow that winds a circle into the sky, and far, far-away.

The wind roars like freedom around Sable's ears as she plummets towards the dome of the sky, and she clings on tight as her hair ruffles in a frantic wave, bleeding black behind her as she streaks skyward, growing rapidly indistinct, ill defined, blurring against the soft pastel interplay of sky and pony-

Or of coverlet and girlfriend, as it appears upon her abrupt waking. She's clinging just as tightly to Delilah in waking as in the dream, and the lasting images of the strangled woman, the throttled rabbit and the eery Delia delivering her dire warning make her reluctant to loosen her hold. She's had weird dreams aplenty lately- everyone has. But this-

This is something else.

Sable gives a huffing sigh, into the soft waves of Dee's red mane, a release of fearful tension that makes way for a more creeping dread.

"This mean we gotta move?" she mumbles, gruffly.

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