The Poison Maiden


s_delilah_icon.gif f_helena_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title The Poison Maiden
Synopsis The Nightmare Man pays a visit to Delilah.
Date December 15, 2009

Village Renaissance: Delilah's Apartment

Just entering the apartment, it gives of a feeling of comfortable homeliness; light colors, pastel shades, floral designs, clean and sweet smells, and only accents of dark where it most fits. The front room leads to a den further on, with a large sofa in a coffee cream color sitting opposite a similar chair, and a wooden table in between. There is only an almost retro-looking television off on the other side, but the things hooked up to it show that it is not as old as it seems. Nothing is, really.

To the far end is the kitchen, which always seems to smell like something recently cooked there; the appliances and counters are squeaky clean, but obviously used on a regular basis, and the leftover anything in the fridge can attest to that, as can a perpetual dish of cookies on the table. The bathroom is also squeaky clean, and it seems as if anyone coming out smells significantly nicer than when they had gone in; there is a closet within where the washer and dryer stay. There are two bedrooms, but one is emptied and instead made into a big rainbow-colored sewing and storage room, complete with fabric bolts and racks on wheels centered around a masterfully ordered sewing machine and table.

The actual bedroom is based in those mainly soft colors, yet the lower walls have at least two long, cluttered tackboards home to pictures, clippings, seemingly random crafts, and generally quirky things. A desk in a similar state sits in the far corner by the closet, opposite a low, wide, fluffy-looking bed swamped in pillows and comforters. At least half a dozen stuffed animals peek out from various points.

Evening comes early in New York City; it was dark when Helena called. She might be a bit crazy, wanting to come to the Verb after it's been compromised, but perhaps missing most everyone, she's willing to take the risk for some company. A sleep-over has been proposed; with the promise of nostalgic innocence involving rom-coms, junk food, hair-braiding, and possibly some drunk dialing later on with liberal application of booze.

Blonde hair subject to Dee's tender mercies has been braided into pigtails, and in her flimsy jams of pink and with yellow baby chickens (the matching camisole top declares that chiks rule), she is sprawled on Dee's couch with one leg over the arm as she tosses popcorn into her mouth and notes while eyeing the television screen, "I don't know. Shag Teo, marry Leonard, and throw Peter off a cliff?" She's had a little booze, or she wouldn't be speaking like this. "Your turn."

Right in front of the couch, blanket like a nest, Delilah sits with her fingers up behind her to pick about in the popcorn bowl. Her own pajamas are not so much pajamas- she actually wears nightgowns, apparently. It's just pale yellow, but it does sort of match Helena's baby chickens. They're watching one of the lesser appreciated movies of its genre- but it's really good! That's what she said when Helena read the back of the DVD and looked over at her funny.

"Throw Peter off of a rocket, and shag Teo 'til he falls apart at the seams. I'm not sure about Leonard." When Delilah describes something she goes into further detail than is necessary. Sometimes. "If I thought I could bag Teo into the ring-thing I probably would." Is there something that you want to share. Really?

"Teo? Really?" The thought of Teo and the idea of matrimony sends Helena into a cascade of giggles, and then she flutters a hand in the air with the abandon of belle epoque opera divas and Hollywood high school musical heroines. "I don't know. Maybe I should take a page from Cat's book and go for another women." She pops another piece of popcorn in her mouth, and resettles onto her side, supporting her head in her hand and letting her elbow press against the couch arm. "Except I've never kissed a girl. West used to try to get me and Claire to kiss all the time, and it always ended up with us pummelling him." She sighs. Those were the good ol' days!

"Yeah, Really! I think he'd be good at it if he wasn't such a guilt trip on legs. Might be good as a lifetime booty call though." Delilah falls into giggles with Helena, for the thousandth time. The next part does give her pause- just long enough to probably be noticed, with her suddenly forced laughing. "West? Really? He seemed so boring when I met him. I wouldn't peg him for that type." A quick grab for words leaves her with that, which is not really a very good response at all. Maybe if Delilah doesn't look Helena in the eyes for a few minutes that might work! Okay, ready, doing that right now!

"West was kind of a clown, except when it came to the work." Helena says in protest. "Most people just didn't really get to know him, which was a shame, because up until he went all Judas on me, he was a cool guy. Now I just kinda hope birds poop on him." There's a pause. "I'm sorry. Did I freak you out with the girl kissing thing? It's not exactly something I can mention to Cat. She might get the wrong idea and I kind of have a whole Westermark effect going on with her." Helena grins Delilah. "I guess if I'm ever going to find out, I'm going to have to be a lot more buzzed with a lot more people, huh?"

Vaguely, Delilah hopes they poop on him too; Helena probably wouldn't have mentioned him asking- eh? The redhead is caught, in a manner of speaking, so she has to turn to look at Helena again. Find something else! "Westermark effect? What's that?" Oh, it's a bit late now. Delilah's cheeks are pink already, and she is smiling a somewhat awkward smile back when Helena mentions having to get completely trashed.

"Maybe not 'freak out', just- um- it's new, coming from you. …I suppose."
"Oh, it's this study where kids who were raised together in a communal family environment even though they weren't related still seemed to subconsciously register to each other as siblings and thus unattractive." Helena explains idly. She shifts again on the couch, this time her head dangling backward over the cushion, her braids falling to the floor in a jumble like something Rapunzel's prince might climb. She shrugs. "I don't know. I apparently screw up every guy I touch, or just make them run. Maybe I'm a crap kisser. Maybe I'm like the relationship equivalent of Typhoid Mary. I don't know." She's less amused the more she talks, and abruptly shuts up except to murmur "Sorry." and gaze at the tv in dry-eyed silence.

"Oh, sort of like Brian." Delilah chirps, their moods now polarizing to the opposite ends. Hey, wait! I'm the awkward one. Bzz, bzz. Delilah shifts around in her blanket to find her phone lying beneath her somewhere; she pulls it out only to shut it off, a glance going to the screen as she puts it on the table. "I'd say it was the guys but then you might think I'm trying to say you pick shitty guys. I'd just call it bad luck. I doubt you're a crappy kisser though. It's always the straight guys that are horrible at it. And umpteenth generation people that live in trailer parks. God, you should have seen some of that. I thought the one guy was going to lick my neighbor's face off."

"Ewww." Helena wrinkles her nose and sits up. "So you've done it then, right? Kissed another girl?" She doesn't wait for an answer. "Grab a drink and show me how it's done."

Too fast! Wait, since when was anything too fast? Hmm. Delilah is able to half-nod at the first, mouth opening a bit when Helena just plows right over the waiting for an answer. "Ah-" She turns hear head to the half bottle of coke on the table, empty pair of cups- it isn't actually just coke. Delilah peers at it for a few more seconds, thoughtful. In the end, thinking of Helena wins out; hasn't she thought about this all before? It's crossed her mind, but never this scenario. The redhead smiles now, brightening and reaching to pour the drink into both cups, at least half full.

Helena shifts down onto the floor next to Dee, accepting one of the cups and holding it up in toast. "Here's to Katy Perry." she says. "Or the Indigo Girls. Or maybe Tegan and Sara." She drinks, draining the cup and laughing at her own absurdity.

"Hear hear." Delilah lifts the rim of her cup to touch it against Helena's, sitting up out of her blanket cove to do so. As she drinks down her half, there is another quick thought. Should she move first since she's the one with experience here, or is Helena's curiosity more? Lilah drains her drink, giving her mouth one last swallow to taste the sweetness of rum and soda. The hand holding her own cup goes to pluck Helena's up to put them both back onto the coffee table. Working in food service lets her even do it without taking her eyes off of the other girl; that moment being taken to absorb the color of Helena's hair, her eyes, the curves of her face and neck.

Helena smiles back in a nervously endearing, expectant sort of way. She's sitting up on her knees, hands resting against her thighs. She licks her lips, watches Delilah, and is quite visibly A Stranger In A Strange Land when it comes to this.

It may mean she's the take-charge one of the two, suddenly, but Delilah is fine with that. It seems to have sunk in now too. Helena really does expect it. Dee leans forward, hands lifting to grasp onto the other girl's upper neck, her touch just as soft as it was when she was braiding that blonde hair back. Maybe out of wanting to give Helena some second thoughts does she pause here, fingers pulling Helena closer. Like most girls, her eyelids flutter close before her lips search quietly forward for Helena's.

Helena's lips are pressed to Delilah's, and OH HAI, it's actually quite nice. There's…a little bit of nuzzling, and mouths fitting this way and that, and then did Helena just slip her the tongue? No way. Likely while Dee's brain goes TILT, Helena pulls away, grinning, and says, "That was ni - hrk."

Her breath catches, and for a moment she looks at Delilah like she said something Helena doesn't understand.

And that's when Helena's mouth starts turning blue, and out of nowhere at all, her body start to seize, making gasping, choking sounds as she falls to her side and foamed spittle surges up from her mouth. She looks like she's in agony.

TILT- Delilah's brain buzzes happily when she thinks she can feel Helena's tongue slip past the edge of her lips, hands staying hovering on the skin of her neck as Helena shifts away. A tiny smile that had blossomed turns upside down first when Helena stops mid-sentence, brown eyes staring back with a silent and loud 'what?".

"Helena!" Dee screams out her name when she falls onto the floor. The redhead's face has gone as white as a sheet, the blood plummeting towards the earth and leaving a heavy weight to jostle around in her stomach. "What-" Her tongue passes over her own lips, now tasting something almost like warm gloss. No, no, no. Delilah moves to turn Helena onto her side, using the corner of the blanket on the floor to clear the froth from her mouth as it spits out. Water wells in her eyes now, panic setting in and even further making the problem worse on Dee's end. She does keep the peace of mind to not touch Helena's skin again. "No, no, no- Helena- oh god- I didn't- oh god…"

Helena shakes uncontrollably, making a horrible rattling sound, her eyes bulging and lips swelling in an unnatural fashion. She lets out one last, dwindling rattle, and then she just lays there, silent. Not moving.

Not breathing.

"No! Helena!" Delilah has her by the shoulder, stooped down beside her on the floor and essentially praying for something that does not come. "No-" The redhead starts trying to wipe off her face with the next piece of blanket, scrubbing wildly to get it off- Dee knows CPR, if she can just get this all to stop, she can help Helena. It doesn't stop. The hysteria that poisoning Helena comes with is one thing- it is another when she has stopped breathing entirely and Lilah can't do a thing about it. Fighting a losing battle takes only until she can feel that glossy waxen texture again; Delilah lets out a strangled yell, scrambling over to grab at her phone and turn it back on.

"Oh, don't bother."

The voice is Helena's, withering in scorn, and if Dee looks over her shoulder, Helena's head is at an angle that almost looks like she broke it her own self from. And when Helena talks, there's just something…instinctively wrong about it; this is something that Should Not Be.

"I mean, what's going to happen? You call the ambulance, they get here, I'm already dead. They're going to think you did it. You did do it. But look on the bright side, folks will probably think you're a hero."

Sluggish tears are making their way down Delilah's freckles, a stream of something like hot wax dribbling in a fuss from the corner of her mouth to dry into pale iridescence over the curve of her gown. The words elicit a sharp gasp of air, red hair whirling around and wide doe eyes finding Helena's. Helena's. Wait, no- that isn't right. This isn't right. There is only shock on Dee's face now, mixed with some kind of horror.

"No- I didn't mean to do it- I don't even know why it- Helena-" Delilah's eyes fill with water and the stream of something from the side of her blubbering words comes like she had a bad meeting with local anesthetics. It looks both pitiful and weird, but not as weird as the blonde's neck. "What's going on?"

Helena sits up. It doesn't appear of her own volition, it's like a puppeteer jerked her strings upright. Her lips are still blue, her head is still at that unnatural angle, and foam is drooling down the side of her mouth. "Of course you didn't mean to do it, Dee. You never mean to do it. Except when you do. Why are you crying? You've killed before. Except for when you dance through life like some naive little thing, completely ignoring the fact that you might just casually kill anyone you care about with the most casual of touches, nevermind a kiss. God, it's like you live in a fairy tale. It's a miracle your dog's alive." Blink blink. "Gee, Dee." That makes her giggle; it comes out as a rasp. "Where is your dog?"

"I've killed because I had to!" Defense of herself and the well being of others. Those are the only reasons- she has meant those- but because she had to. As Helena's face speaks, it becomes increasingly clear that there is something wrong here. Helena wouldn't really say those things, would she? There's no way this one can be alive, or her friend- her neck- Dee's thoughts on it are completely derailed when Helena's puppet lets out that creepy little laugh and asks where Samson is. Her face goes white again, and she drops the phone to push herself up, knocking into the coffee table and sending the coke bottle sloshing into the floor. A croaky screech comes out of her next, panicked. "SAMSON!?"

There's a whimper from the kitchen. While Delilah might be going to inspect, Helena thoughtfully supplies, "Maybe it was a build-up, you know? The way that lady killed her kids in the attic in that one novel. Little bits of poison secreting into his skin, every time you pet him, every time he licked your face, every time you rewarded his trusting gaze with a gentle touch, you were killing him. And you didn't even think twice about it. Way to go to kill Toto, Dorothy."

Samson is laying in the kitchen. He is on his side, white foam coming from his tiny jaws, eyes eyes flared wide and showing whites. His breathing is difficult.

"It must be nice, living with that kind of lack of awareness of one's own capacity for destruction."
Dee finds herself in the kitchen in no time at all, the tears rolling over her face and taking their old time in doing so. Her nose and eyes are red, skin a pallor that contrasts against her freckles. Her hair is now slickening with a layer of something that collects at the tips when they brush around her neck.

"Oh, Samson." Her voice is heartbroken, sinking with her as she comes to her knees beside him on the floor. A sniff of air into her nose brings the wet noise of sobbing with it. "It's the only way that I can live!" Delilah screams at the ceiling, back to Helena in the living room. "I'd rather pretend to be ignorant than live in fear of- of-" Of this. There's no doubt that Samson is dying now too, the huge dog's side rising and falling with effort to stay that way. But even then Dee can't bring herself to not sink the rest of the way to the floor to embrace him around his big neck, burying her face in the sinew of his front shoulder.

"Maybe you oughta think about whether you're right for this world, Delilah. Because the only thing you can offer it is death." Next to her, Samson's sides have stopped moving, and now Delilah is left alone in silence with the corpse of the dog.

Or is she?

That's when the growl starts.

"Better grab something to defend yourself with." counsels Helena, shuffling in a zombie like fashion to the doorway of the kitchen. "Because if you don't, Samson's gonna show you just how much he appreciates everything your love has done for him. Hurry up, Dee. It won't be long now."

You never prepare yourself for scenarios like these ones- largely because they are not supposed to happen. Dee backs away from Samson, the warmth off him still on her arms. For a moment she does just want to curl up in the corner of the kitchen and let Samson do what he was actually bred for, most likely. Sensibility wins out, though, and Delilah scrambles to her feet and makes for the door where Helena stands in the way. For this, she just closes her eyes and shoves at UnHelena as hard as possible to manhandle her out of the way.

And out of the way Helena goes, and behind her, the growling gets louder, there's a scrabble of claws, the barking coming nearer as she reaches for the door handle and pulls it open…

To reveal Helena, healthy and perfectly fine, as suddenly the world re-asserts itself to what is normal and Samson is skipping about anxiously wanting to go for a walk, and Helena, in street clothes catches Dee from smacking into her and says worriedly, "Dee? Are you okay? You look terrified, did something happen?"

This would probably be a good time to realize the world is fine- but Delilah doesn't. She opens the door to face Helena, nearly bowling this one over. She jumps back as if there were a fleet of fire ants passing between them, letting out an ear-splitting shriek that makes Samson go bug-eyed and cringe away from his master. The scream peters off, and Delilah falls onto her knees(again?) letting out familiar blubbering noises. Thankfully Helena touched her clothing when she did- because there is obviously something wrong about Dee. There's a layer of waxy substance on her skin, her tears furrowing lines through it down her face. The insides of her lips have managed to darken, and the next noise she whimpers out trails an inky color down her chin and neck to mix with the other opaque iridescent sludge on her. The inky color follows out of a couple tears right after the one from her mouth.

Even Helena, who has seen it so few times, should realize what it is. Thankfully, Samson is too disconcerted by Delilah to do much more than stand there looking like it.

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