Hidden Doors


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Scene Title Hidden Doors
Synopsis After Hokuto banishes Delia to safety, Delia finds herself not quite so safe after all.
Date December 17, 2010


This place is strange.

And not because it's strange, either. Delia has seen unicorns and castles made of diamond mountains. Witches, water nymphs and beggar kings. It would stand to reason that there is not much more out here that could potentially phase her, but there is a shift of balance that makes this place a little strange — it has a raw quality to it, a realistic texture. The grain of the kitchen table and the slightly stinging warmth of porcelain in the pads of her fingers where she finds herself gripping a cup of rooibos tea, a couple of those tiny, spiky leaves having escaped and floating on the watery, amber surface.

It's strange because she might as well be in the real world, for all that this place is so convincing. Familiar, too, in a way that something can be despite having no memory of it. A modest, slightly old-world kitchen, dishes put away and a kettle taken off the gas stove. A stairwell veins up into a second floor, and late afternoon sunlight filters through a window. Outside, a stretch of flat river and greenery, almost rural save for a highway she can just make out across the body of water.

On the table lies a disassembled shotgun, but that doesn't so much as feel familiar as it does tolerated. She's clad in a summer dress, bare footed, and through a large open entryway, she can see a more social area, with an unneeded hearth in the wall and what looks to be a music stand with sheets pinned to it with delicate brassy fastenings.

It calls to her, as does the shape of the violin case rested on a leather-lined chair just beside it.

She doesn't like guns, so the shotgun is glanced over without a second thought, not even a pause to reassemble it. Not that she could if she wanted to, there would likely be important pieces left over, making the weapon useless to whoever decided to pick it up. Placing the cup down beside the barrel, she pads over to the hearth and turns some of the pages of music.

It's all greek to her… well it would be if it was Greek. As it is, it's all music to her and she's about as good with music as she is with guns. It doesn't stop her in this venture though. Picking up the case, she flips the little silver clasps and slowly opens it to peer inside. She's hoping it's not a gun, she's seen movies like that. Delia beams as she spies the rich brown instrument and gently picks it out of the case. Her eyes slide from side to side, making sure she's alone before hoisting it up under her chin and holding the bow delicately between her fingertips.

One deep breath and she strikes the strings, creating a sound somewhat akin to two cats fighting… two sickly cats fighting… to the death.

Which is very likely how things were not meant to go.

There's a shift in the Force, or at least, that's one way to describe it. The realistic setting betrays itself in the same motion of Delia swiping the bow across tortured strings, a kind of pixilation effect, like she can see the light and energy behind each particle of colour that makes up this dreamscape, saturated as it is in memory. The world settles itself once more by the time that first skreeeee comes to an end, but now— now she's not along.

That noise could wake the dead, so.

Nothing immediately happens, not within the room. There's the creak of stairs, of someone trying to sneak on down from above, currently obscured by a wall that is all bare red brick.

Now that is interesting. The redhead edges closer to the table with the gun, the violin still tucked under her chin and the bow held at the ready. Leaning closer to the tea cup, she slowly draws the bow across the strings again in a long yyyyyeeeeeeeeooooooowwwww, just to see what happens. She's half expecting to see the tea to spill out all over when the cup pixelates but the other half of her figures the tea will pixelate as well.

In the back of her mind, she's wondering who the music is bothering so much.

The creak from above captures her attention in so far as she scurries for a place to conceal herself. Of course she's still holding the (not so) musical instrument, it seems to be her type of weapon. Not finding too many suitable places, she crouches behind the table and peeks her head so that her eyes are visible. It's not the most ingenius of hiding spots, but given that she didn't find a lampshade, it'll have to do.

Silence, next, but there is certainly a presence not so far from her. She can feel that much like she can hear the wind through the trees outside, her own breathing. A shadow spills as far as the bottom step, indistinct save for the fact that it's certainly human, a warped profile of someone trying to peer in turn without being seen, projected by a window likely coming from the top of the stairs. Together, these two beings almost wait for each other to make the first move.

The one on the staircase opts to do so.

Night time slams upon the serene setting like a lid coming down on a pot, and the barking of dogs outside crashing through the gentle summer sounds. It's a balmy night and Delia is still where she is, clutching the violin, but it's much darker with blue moonlight slicing through the windows as opposed to sunlight. That is, until a flashlight casts an emotionless eye across the window, fleeting, before moving on. Memory-echoes of sound, breathing and footsteps, ghost around Delia, although the people they belong to don't go seen.

The shotgun on the table is gone. If it's reassembled, that's for speculation only.

For a second time, a flashlight beams through the window, with promptly shatters with the sound of thunder coming from the stairwell. Okay. Maybe it's reassembled after all. The glass explodes outwards, and there's the sound of a masculine growl of pain, the shredded curtains blowing outward on the tail of a backdraft.

Breathy panic can be heard from the direction of the fired gun, almost keening and the same kind of mournful strain on vocal chords that Delia gave the violin still clutched in her hand.

At the same time as the gun goes off, the violin drops to the floor as Delia hugs her arms over her head. Crouched into a trembling ball, she doesn't move for a little while, torn between the groan of pain and the sound coming from the stairwell. Outside, someone is hurt and she should go out to help whoever it is but it could be a murderer. Inside, someone has a gun and seems afraid, she should make her presence known and try to help whoever that is too. But there's the matter of the gun, and the willingness to use it.

Slowly, the redhead crawls from her hiding place and makes her way to a window to peer outside. It's like a ghost story. The gun is gone and obviously working but she didn't see who put it together and took it. Pressing her lips together in a thin line, she quickly glances over her shoulder and makes her way to a door leading outside. Hopefully… it'll be away from the gun toting ghost.

Without interruption, save for the shifting lights that come slicing through the windows (unbroken and not) to briefly get in Delia's eyes or cast misleading, threatening shadows across her path, she manages to get to the door. Slatted wood and brass sliding lock, chipped paint, and nothing to be heard beyond it save for what she's already hearing, the distant ruckus of vehicles and roaming dogs. The portal gives easily to her, undoing locks and twisting handles in a sort of muscle-memory de ja vu, and a backdraft of wind teasing at her wrangle of red curls as the door is pulled open.

But only by a few inches, because immediately, white hands on either side of her coming slamming down on its wooden surface, forcing the door shut. Less of an impact than the feeling of a body, all bones and wiry strength, bodychecking her into it. A hand clasps warmly over her mouth, surprisingly strong, the other gripping her elbow. The same panicky breathing she heard from the stairwell after the gun blast is now up close and wisping by her ear.

Somewhere nearby, within the building, another door is kicked in.

"We need to hide," flutters a voiceless rasp, although even in this whispered tone, Delia can probably summon up the memory of Jasmine's voice behind it.

There's a squeak of surprise that's muffled by the hand over her mouth and Delia's eyes fly wide open in panic before Jasmine's voice drifts to her ears. The panic subsides but only a little. Turning her head to glance at the form behind her she furrows her eyebrows and quickly looks back toward the door. "Death? Why is… I don't understand…"

How can death be in a dream? And why does Jasmine have a gun?

"Where am I?" The question of why Hokuto would place her in a dangerous position is the question left unasked. Looking around, she grabs the other woman by the wrist and nods toward the staircase. "What about up there? Is there a place to hide there?" The familiar feel of the environment is confusing, Delia can't remember ever being in a place like this before.

Drawing away once Delia seems to be onboard with her own sense of urgency, Jasmine casts a look for the staircase, the white shape of a mask smothering the top half of her face, black lace to decorate and kohl used to darken the skin visible through almond shaped eyeholes. The rest of her is some mash up of what seems to fit this place versus what Delia has seen of her before — her own head of red is in too artful curls, improbably dotted with open flowers of jasmine that sit like stars in auburn waves. Mouth painted black. A dream catcher earring hangs from one pierced lobe.

A cardigan is pulled over her shoulders, obscuring a blouse that hangs loose over a woolen skirt, legs clad in thick stockings, feet in sensible heels that are probably not very sensible when it comes to people attacking your home. "Up there," she agrees, twisting her hand enough so that Delia's grip on her wrist melts into a mutal hand clasp, and she half-tugs, half-follows the other woman for the stairs.

The shotgun she'd set down is collected as they go.

Speeding up the stairs, Delia will feel Jasmine tugging her in a less obvious direction than the immediate hallway dictates, and with a shove of a shoulder, they disappear into a closet that closes up behind them — and then deeper still, through a hidden opening in the wall of the tight space. When Jasmine shuts it up again with a press of a hand against thin wood, they're thrown into velvet darkness, one that's filled with distant echoes, and smells richly of dust.

There's a sigh that isn't quite relief, from the shotgun-wielding redhead, and a creak as she rests her weight against the wall. "I'd forgotten about this place," she whispers. "I never used it, except for hide and seek when I was littler. I'd always win." A sliding kind of sound, like she's sinking to sit, breathing shakily, voice airy. "When you're too good at games, they stop playing with you. They'd forget about me, go do something else. Here's to hoping."

Plunged into darkness, Delia sinks down to the floor as well. She chews on her lip nervously, listening for any indication of the intruder elsewhere in the house. "I know.." she whispers, in regards to games. Too many times she was left out of whatever her sister was doing in favor of better friends, or the other way around. "Where are we? Why are we hiding? Why can't you just open a door or go through a window?" She has too many questions for the other woman, the traveler. "Why are you hiding?"

She pauses momentarily, at least long enough for the other woman to answer. Clasping her hands together, the fledgling dreamwalker taps the pads of her fingernails together quietly. It's just one busy thing to keep her mind off of making any noises that might reveal them to Jasmine's intruders. Though Delia looks better now than she did the last time they saw each other, cleaner at least, she's still not dressed or presented half as finely as the other woman. Not that it makes any difference in the dark. Closing her eyes, the fledgling searches the dream as best she can, trying to navigate through the mind she's currently occupying.

"They have the place surrounded. They shoot the runners. You know the saying." There's a shuffle as Jasmine moves, a scrape of metal and a papery whisper of a box of matches, even as Delia begins her gentle searching. It invokes the sound of a violin played by hands that aren't her own, threatening to tear apart the darkness of the safe room like wet paper, but then, the golden light of an oil lamp floods in and seems to smack Delia's attention span back to this little room.

Although 'flood' is an overstatement. It's a tiny, dwindled flame that serves only to outline them both in faint yellow light, not allowing it to spill far enough to show through the bottom of the door. "Please don't do that," is whispered plea. A hand goes up, to play with single, dangling earring. "Did you— did you come here yourself?"

"That doesn't answer anything, who are we running from? Why can't you just leave? Or… get rid of them?" Delia's whisper is hurried, the frustrated expression on her face is indication enough of her general disposition at the moment. Hugging her knees to her chest, the redhead glowers a little as she rests her chin on top of them and shakes her head. "Hokuto sent me here… after I found the shadow monster. I suppose she 'rescued' me from him."

Glancing toward the door, the young nurse chews her lip thoughtfully and then turns to Jasmine with narrowed eyes. "What happens if they shoot us? We wouldn't die here, would we? I mean… they can't kill us, can they?"

There's a soft, voiceless sound at the news of Hokuto, as that seems to explain everything for Jasmine almost as much as her answers doesn't explain much for Delia. In the half-light, Delia can see hands go up, tug at elegant, if slightly frazzled curls in frustration. "I can't just— leave," she breathes. "I— well you're here now, I was— I was dreaming. About the violin. Of course they can kill us, they have guns— "

On cue, there's a ratatatat of automatic rifle outside, gaining a squeak of dismay from Jasmine, who curls up tighter in a ball, curled back against the hidden door. A strange mix of lucidity and dream rapture, more fitting for a dreamer than a dreamwalker. But there is an attempt to maybe be constructive, fingertips pressing to her paint mouth. Blue eyes swivel to look at Delia.

"Hokuto… I guess. I guess because I wanted to protect you, she sent you here to me. There's an extra room, if you'd like it, once those— those men leave— "

"But… you're dreaming, aren't you? They can't kill you here, can they? Even if they have guns… you'd have to believe you were dead, wouldn't you?" There's a lot that Delia doesn't know about how this works, which is fairly obvious to anyone with any experience. Crawling over to Jasmine, the dreamwalker wraps her arms around the other's shoulders in an attempt to comfort the other woman. "I just don't understand… why can't we go somewhere where it's safer… We could find someone on the island. Like my dad or.. someone…"

She presses her lips into a thin line and glances backward at the door they're pressed against. The young woman hasn't felt this helpless in quite a while, helpless yes but not as though her very existence is hanging by a thread. "We need to get out of here and find somewhere safe, somewhere there isn't men with guns."

Comfort is melted into, Jasmine shifting her weight to lean against Delia with head rested on her shoulder, a hand lightly landing on forearm. "I think I did this," she says after a few moments of thinking. "When I sensed you were here, and it reminded me— the intruders— " There's a small startle at the sound of thudding footsteps just beyond in the hallway, Jasmine falling fearfully silent, huddled where she is against Delia's side. She swallows, the sound audible in the close space.

"I didn't hide. When this happened. I ran like you tried to run. Angry people. Maybe we're okay now. She— Hokuto— " There's a bodily twitch, before Jasmine inches back away from Delia, renewed clarity in blue eyes as she crawls her gaze over the other woman's face, her mask sitting slightly askew.

She moves with an awkward kind of grace, coming to plant herself in front of Delia, legs at a neglected angle. The hem of woolen skirt rides up to reveal a slice of pale thigh, garters that hold up woolen stockings on a little thin at the knees. "My head isn't the best place to be. I can— I can help you find somewhere else to be safe."

Reaching up, Delia's hands touch the mask and there's a slight tug as though she's about to peel it off the other woman's face. For an instant that seems like almost an eternity, the question hangs in the air of whether her hands will complete the task. In the end, she straightens it, as one would a painting that's gone off kilter and the fledgling's lips purse into something of an angry frown. This woman is her only way to a safe place.

It might not be a good idea to piss her off.

There's a long sigh that's not quite loud enough to reach the outskirts of the door they're leaning against. "Alright, if you can take me to someone on the island.. it doesn't matter who, I can find my way around from there." She could have asked to be taken to her own body but the shadow monster might be waiting for her. He seemed fairly adamant that he knew where she was. "This is something you did before, this is your memory… Why are you scared now?"

Delia touching the mask makes Jasmine go very still, mouth parted a fraction and gaze going unfocused as she waits. Maybe it's a show of trust that she doesn't slap the woman's hand away, or otherwise react, though she does swallow around a dry throat when Delia merely straightens the garment. Her own hands go up, fingertips splaying along where the mask curves to conform to cheekbones, bluntish fingernails painted a rosy hue.

"Sometimes I have trouble with control," she admits in a small, whispered voice, as if guilty. "Sometimes it's more real than what's real, you know? And I don't know what would happen to you— "

She cuts herself off, offering Delia a shaky, apologetic smile, before she reaches for the oil lamp, taking off its glass bell with a twist and furtherly diminishing the distribution of the flame inside. "Someone on the island," she muses, those last two syllables spoken with deliberation, as if trying to interpret them, before she lifts a shoulder. A small, wicked smile curves her blackly painted mouth. "I think I can do that much for you." She purses her lips, and then blows a steady stream of air against the flickering flame.

It goes out instantly, throwing them into darkness, but Delia can both feel and smell the scent of smoke suddenly billowing around her, moving like wind to tug at her clothing, her hair, fill her lungs with its acrid dryness. There is that iconic undertone of jasmine beneath the burning stench and then, with the same easy that Delia arrived here.

Reflective light registers, and she can see that the smoke is ash, but when it touches her skin, it begins to feel wet, begins to feel icy, before it tumbles and spirals its journey to the snowy ground.

By the time the transformed snow is thinning, the tundra of Nick York's mind stretches emptily around her.

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