Secret Messages


brynn_icon.gif lance_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Secret Messages
Synopsis A book that talks in code and asks for help… Lance and Brynn thinks it's not good, Squeaks might disagree a little bit.
Date September 15, 2018

Phoenix Heights Lance's Apartment

Lance’s Apartment
Evening, September 15

For a bit, after the weird mark appeared on her wrist, Squeaks just wandered. She thought about going to Gillian’s, but with no answers for how she got those lines that won’t wash off — she tried a lot and with soap even — eventually she decided to go to Lance’s first. The older teens would probably have better ideas for what happened than she could figure out. And maybe they would have guesses that she hasn’t thought of for helping… whoever is hiding in her journal.

It’s evening by the time she’s reached the apartment building. She stopped through the market to get some dumplings, and that took some extra time. They’re worth the wait and the cost, though. Wandering down the hall to Lance’s door, she drags one hand over the spaces between other doors until she’s at the one she wants. That one she taps her knuckles against three times before trying to let herself in.

Brynn, for a change, is napping on the couch when Squeaks lets herself in. The older girl looks perhaps a little more tired than usual though nothing serious. Given their upbringing, the fact that the older girl sleeps in this room regularly, so close to the door with nothing between her and it, probably indicates she feels perfectly safe in Lance's apartment — or at least, she does when he's in it. She doesn't immediately wake when their Mouse lets herself in with her key. She wouldn't have heard the taps anyway.

There’s no sound from the bedroom at first, but as Squeaks opens the bedroom door it’s clearly because he has his power up— he’s already swung his legs over the side of the bed and started to get up, just in boxers and a t-shirt, one hand rubbing at his face. The sight of her there has him offer her a wry smile, “Hey Squeakers. What’s up?”

“I found something,” she explains when Lance gets up and starts asking questions. Squeaks goes to lightly nudge Brynn awake too, even signing that she found something. Obviously it’s something important enough to need everyone up. At least everyone who’s in the apartment, but she doesn’t start explaining until the older girl is awake and sitting up.

Once her older siblings are moving again and gathering their senses, the youngest of the teens sits herself criss-cross on the floor in the center of the living room. She’s facing the couch, and pulls that mysterious journal she found from one of her overalls pockets it place it on the floor in front of her knees.

The light touch is all it takes to bring Brynn's gray eyes open immediately. The initial coming awake has her sharp and on edge, but she relaxes as soon as she spots Squeaks and the sign that she's found something brings the older girl upright on the couch with a yawn. Stretching out fully, she gets up and pads to the kitchen to grab a glass of water and then she comes back to join them on the floor. What is it? she asks curiously, and then her eyes light up at the sight of the book. Oooh! You figured something out?

Oh. Lance should put pants on then. A minute later he’s meandering out with bare-foot footfalls on the floorboards, wearing a pair of loose sweatpants. He drops down to sit with his back to the couch, looking curiously at the book as he rubs one side of his face and stifles a yawn, “Whatcha got for us?”

It’s not a scary video. That statement is made as soon as Lance has joined her and Brynn in the living room. Squeaks scoots forward an inch, leaning over the book while looking at the older teens. “I was at the bookstore trying to figure out the letters,” she goes on, hands mostly matching words. There’s some now and again that are still made up as she goes. “And it changed. It was dots and dashes instead of just letters and things.”

She turns the book so that the writing would be right side up for Lance and Brynn then opens the cover. Inside is just the typical jumble of letters that’s always been there, with no rhyme or reason to any page. And no dots or dashes, which has Squeaks frowning a little bit. “I saw it change. It answered questions and everything.”

Thank whatever deities might exist. Brynn's expression is absolutely relieved when that's what Squeaks says, although there's suspicion too. If it's not THAT bad, it's still something bad or Squeaks wouldn't have said that. She watches the explanation thoughtfully. She's becoming adept at figuring out the made-up signs in between that fill gaps in Squeaks' signing, so she's mostly following. She looks curiously at the book when it's offered and she tilts her head. Dots and dashes? Like… Morse code? They all had to learn at least some of it — it was a good way to relay messages in low-tech fashion. But the letters aren't dots and dashes now. Which pages had dots and dashes? she asks, reaching out to run her fingertip down the page that's showing. The letters still make no sense at all.

And then she catches It answered questions and yanks her hand back in a huge hurry as if the book will bite her, looking alarmed. What?? What do you mean it answered questions??

“That’s a relief…” Lance leans forward, resting a hand against the floor as he peers at the book. There’s no mysterious golden eyes or shaking rooms, so that’s something at least. “It… was talking to you?” He looks up to Brynn with a furrowed brow, then back down, “What was it saying?”

Hands come up, flickering out his questions belatedly to Brynn.

“Yes.” Squeaks’ tone is distracted, and she turns a couple of pages in search for the dots and dashes. It was there just a little while ago. She's sure she wasn't imagining it happening. Several pages in she pauses to shake her head and look at the older teens in complete confusion.

“It did. It… the letters changed all around and then it was dots and dashes.” The younger girl sounds as confused as she looks, and even a little bit worried that she won't be believed. And that tone reflects in the hesitant signing. “It was asking for help because it's trapped and lost.”

Brynn believes her just fine… even though she really doesn't want to. They've already seen too much weird stuff. Uh… Mouse? That doesn't exactly sound good. She looks up at Lance and then back to the younger teen. That voice in the video, the one that even I could hear… that kinda sounds like the same thing. Her hesitance is obvious. They all did feel that the voice on that tape was dangerous. But now Squeaks wants to help a bunch of words in a book?

There’s no doubt of the girl’s sanity, it appears. The Lighthouse Kids have seen stranger things before. Lance’s brow furrows a little as he looks to the book again, then to Squeaks, “So… what sort of ‘help’ was it asking for?”

Hopefully nothing about the Chamber of Secrets.

“Being found.” Squeaks’ hands drop to the book so she can turn a few pages. Not that it changes anything, the letters remain jumbled and impossible to decipher. Eventually, a dozen pages in, she stops flipping pages and digs into a pocket for the papers she’d written her side of the conversation on. One at a time, the sheets are smoothed out and set so the older teens can read them, left to right in order that she remembers deciphering.

She pauses, after laying out the last one, to look at that mark on her wrist again. Absently she rubs it against her knee, not that it does any good, then nods at the papers. “First it started with S-O-S. I checked all the dots and dashes in a code book. I triple-checked.”

Brynn waves her hand in a kind of pipe down gesture, smiling. Of course you did. We believe you, Mouse. She gestures to see the papers that Squeaks brings out, curious about what was written down. Because if nothing else, Squeaks is always good about details and she figures there is a good representation.

“Being found…? So it was a message for help? Like some kind’ve book-manipulation power,” Lance’s brow furrows as he leans over to look at the book again, leaning back, “Weird. Did they give any clues? Anything that might help?”

Nodding, Squeaks points at one of the handwritten notes. THE BOOKS it says. Another one in sequence has mention of shipments and a third has Wolves of Valhalla written on it. “I'm going to start reading that for clues,” she explains.

Sitting back slightly, the younger teen pops her shoulders up in a quick little shrug. “This girl who was in line before me said something, but she disappeared before I could talk to her.” She reaches out with a hand to nudge the papers a little. “I tried to follow, there's just lots of people walking. Then invisible water fell on me and I got a mark.” She hesitates, then adds, “It won't rub off.”

Brynn frowns a moment. Wait, What? I missed something, she admits. What line were you in? What did the person say? And what the heck is invisible water? She is now hopelessly confused and it shows. What mark??

“What she said,” Lance tips his head towards Brynn, his brow furrowing, “The Wolves of Valhalla— that book about the Vanguard? That’s… weird. Can we see this mark?”

“At the bookstore. I was buying the book.” Squeaks sticks out her arm so that the mark is plainly visible. It means she can’t sign, but she speaks carefully so Brynn can read lips if she needs. “I don’t know what she said, she left too fast. When this — ” she jiggles her arm to indicate the strange mark — “showed up, it felt like water dripped from somewhere. But there wasn’t water, just this mark.”

Brynn reaches out and brushes her fingertips across the mark, tilting her head. She's been looking at a lot of art work and things for the tattoo parlor. That…. looks like Chinese or something, she signs slowly. I don't think we know anyone who reads Chinese, do we? I mean…. the LHK know a lot of people, that's for sure. But Brynn doesn't recall anyone that might know that symbol.

“I mean, there’s that Zhao guy,” Lance observes wryly, “Who knows where the hell he is, though, uh… I mean, we can hit the library?” A glance between the two, hands moving to sign, “I’m sure there’s books with Chinese and Japanese there, right?”

The mark is most certainly part of Squeaks’ skin, like a newly done tattoo. She’s staring at it with the same sort of baffled look she’s been giving the journal with all its jumbled letters. But after it’s been looked over by the older teens, she pulls her arm back and nods with what Lance says. “I bet he could find me again,” she thinks out loud. Not that she’s planning to go into the ruins alone, but she’s sure the old Asian man would have answers to these questions. Or more hints for where to look.

“The library probably has language books. And the bookstore.” The youngest teen taps her fingers against her chin after she’s signed along with her talking. After a second or two, she looks up at Lance and Brynn, clearly unsure of what to make of the talking journal and the mark.

Well… I think maybe sorting out what the heck the mark says might be a good start, Brynn says. After all… what else are they gonna do? But you should probably keep writing down whatever the book … does, Squeaks. And maybe… don't agree to anything it asks. She gives it a wary look. Did you read Harry Potter!!? Cuz she did! She doesn't want to find them the next main characters in The Unkillable Horcrux Diary of a Maniac Part 2. Sequels always go badly!

‘Library first,” Lance suggests firmly, “We gotta figure out what that mark means, it might be important, and then… uh, then we’ll figure out what else to do.” The book’s regarded warily, “With whatever’s going on here.”

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