Voices in My Head (AQ)

GM: Aedan
Players: Simone/Gretchen
Summary: Simone drifts off into a dream… A dream that transports her to the astral planes, in which she is forced to confront a ghost from her past.


The Denver nights were getting colder every day, the heart of Winter approaching quick and slowly the scenery carried a blanket of white snow, the snowflakes lazily falling in the calm night with no wind to drift them away. Simone had just gotten home to shake off the cold, a little trip to the Warrens to stash up on some fresh zen. It wasn't long that one was rolled up, plucked between the lips and lit up to fill the lungs with some psychedelic smokable. Slowly the room was becoming hazy with the intentional hotbox, the tendrils of smoke seen snaking through the air wherever a beam of light was present, and the buzz was good.

But all things come to an end, a head feeling a little heavier than normal, and a vision affected by a myriad of colors that was accompanied with some dizzyness. Whoa whoa whoa.. was this laced? The body felt heavier, and darkness began to close in on the colorful sight as those eyelids began closing. A bit of force to try to pry them open and stay conscious, but it was a futile battle against the need to simply lay back and melt into the couch. And melt she did as her eyes finally closed, her spirit breaking through the shell and dragged downwards towards the abyss of the metaplanes, a Magpie clutching her collar and flapping its wings rapidly as it dragged an astral Simone through the labyrinth of endless possibilities.

Simone's evening drifted slowly into this current state, from chaotic, steadily rising psychedelia into a dream — it must be. As she slumps into a pile of uselessness, she kicks a pile of dirty laundry from the other end of the couch before she tugs a blanket to her chin and turns onto her side in case she gets sick while blacked out. It's happened before, and her last moment of lucidity is spent on this meager act of potential self-preservation.

A nightmare it certainly looked like, dragged against her will through an intricate network of veins each leading to their own nexus of planes. The colors swirling and interchanging, glimmers of worlds on fire, endless plains of green, feudal warfare, but these were not her destination it seems. After navigating through the network, the magpie releases the astral figure and lets it plummet downwards into a hole snaking down an unknown height straight into the eye of a dark blue abyss.

Bracing for the inevitable, the moment the astral body crosses the energy sensation returns. First the cold air, whisking through her hair and fluttering her clothes, next the sound of the screaming wind as she picks up speed in this gravitational pull and then the approaching ground getting closer and closer by the second. The landscape once distant now becoming clear, and the cement roof of a fenced three story building seems to be her chosen place to die.

But like all nightmares, you wake up /right/ before you hit the ground, springing upwards with a gasp of fear and coming to realize that it was all a dream. Sweat, a beating heart, and a touching of self to make sure all seems right.. But … Why am I in this padded room? A squeeky bed with rusted springs, a stained mattress and pillow, and a poor excuse for a blanket, as well as not a single source of light.

Panicked, but maintaining a semblance of reason, Simone immediately begins sprawling her hands out to get some sense of her surroundings. Her palms find the padded walls, the shoddy bed frame… Her heartbeat rises until that and her heavy breathing are all she can hear. She doesn't cry out, instinct demanding that she remain hidden. Her chest shudders in fear as she makes small, frantic motions but she slowly begins to map out the cell by touch.

A cramped cell is what her touch and limited eyesight revealed, the floor and the walls were somewhat cushioned the touch while the ceiling remained out of reach. Shuffling around near the bed however reveals a piece of clothing on the floor, and manipulating it came with the soft clinks of buckles rattling with each other. Giving it a better feel, the imprisoned Simone will get the sensation that this is most likely a straight jacket.

"See how easy it is?" It speaks out of nowhere, a bit of a twitch felt in the face as the words are spoken. The voice was feminine, if not a little twisted, and it sounded like it was spoken right behind her. Or was it right next to her?

Sim wraps a fist around one of the buckles of the restraint, its single prong jutting out between two of her tattooed knuckles. She flails in the darkness, straitjacket held in a loose bundle in a cradling left arm as her right fist with the makeshift spike lashes out toward the voice. Without responding to the voice, she strikes, but her head is spinning and her disorientation results in her thrashing against the walls.

A padded wall, or harmless air are the only thing that greets her ghetto knuckles. No flesh, no body, not even the sound of hitting something other than striking a hard pillow and a flapping straight jacket.

That twitch in the cheek returns, accompanied by a laugh. It's hard to pinpoint the location, it's right /there/. "Nice moves. But, mine are better. They got us out of that jacket."

Sim then backs herself up against a wall, panting and sliding along with shuffling steps in a vain attempt to keep some distance from the source of the disembodied words. Shaky hands alternate between searching the padded walls or presenting the spiked fist toward the unseen. Her bangs are becoming heavy with panic sweat, sticking to her forehead and cheeks, whipping around at each lash of her improvised weapon or turn of her head as though she might eventually find her captor in the inky blackness that surrounds her.

"What? We don't speak anymore? Cat got your tongue? Where do you think you'd be without me hmm?" No matter where she goes, that voice is right there, right with her, and everytime it speaks, she feels those twitches in her cheek. "Oh maybe it's charades! Let's see.. Oh I think I know! We wait for the guy to come serve us breakfast, we look all troubled, lure him in, and then beat 'em! Is that it?"

Simone is running on pure survival instinct right now, sweat stinging her already blind eyes. She shudders in fear again at the voice but charges forward to collapse as her shin smashes into the only obstacle in the cell, the bedframe. Whether in her native German, or English, Simone demands, "Let me the fuck out of here," in a shaky growl, fear and anger consuming the whole of her being in equal measure.

With the introduction of sharp pain interrupting her mental state, she begins to openly weep, but scrambles to keep hold of the jacket for its buckle prong, clinging to the instrument of captivity in the hope that it might also allow her to defend herself.

"Well I was working on it but then you woke up! Don't think I want to be in here any more than you do." Simone can feel her head being forced down to look at the jacket. "Look, I got us out of that, didn't I? Boom. I'm awesome. Now we just need them to open that door.." The head looks forward into the darkness, an eyesight a little more accustomed to the dark can make out the faintest outline of what could be a door in the padded wall.

Sim darts toward the door, trailing the jacket along behind her, straps and buckles rasping on the floor. Her fingers begin to dig at the perceived seams in the wall while she heaves with quiet sobs. "I can't be here, I can't be here…" She may not know where 'here' is exactly, but the need to free herself is the only driving force she can comprehend. "…need them to open the *sob* door…" Tears stream down her face, matting her long, ragged bangs, the ends of which cling to her throat and the edges of her lips where they've flown in her frantic flailing.

"Well if you let meeeeeee I can get us out of heeereeee~… Just like how I did with the straight jacket."

The door seems to only open from one side, the seams too thin to introduce any object, and no presence of a handle, knob or keyhole are present.

"A little flick of the wrist, open sesame, and we're on our way out!" A little giggle, something out of horror flick, and still accompanied by that twitch in the face.

As the impossible voice speaks, Simone cowers against the door, but the compulsion driving her shifts toward a defense mechanism that developed within her some time ago — she uses the metal pin of one of the jacket's buckles to begin blindly gouging a symbol on the floor, a pair of concentric rings that encircle her where she kneels, spinning in place to etch upon the concrete, and to the best of her memory she begins to trace out geometric shapes, running the metal pin in frenzied lines and swirls.

Things seem to quiet down as the 'protective' ward is etched into the torn padding. Only the tearing of the fabric sounds out into the dark room. Just long enough to catch a breath, it finally returns.

"I respect your passion for art, but this isn't the time. Listen, you either let me call the shots, or if you're gonna do it, then get the guard to come here so we can get the hellllll outta heeeerreee."

Simone twitches her head every time 'the voice' speaks, sending her bangs flicking in heavy arcs before it resettles against the clammy skin of her face again. She gouges at the padded surfaces like a drowning woman struggling to reach the surface… Eyes wide in fear, eagerly searching the darkness, she pleads, "Help or don't, but…" She swallows back a sob and plants both palms flat on the floor, still sprawled on her knees, like she's just run a marathon. "…I can't be here…"

"Ooohh so /now/ you want my help huh? …Pssh. Fine. Go up to that door, and let me teach you how real circles are drawn."

There's a strange sensation that seems to compel the German prison towards said door, a shaky hand lifting up the buckle towards it. "Now.. Draw it a little like this…." What's next is unclear, it's as if the instructions are being whispered into her mind, or perhaps she's seeing it exactly like how it should be.

Sim gives in, against her better judgement, swallowing back another sob as her hands seem to move of their own volition…

She clenches her stinging eyes shut, but the symbolism her hands trace in the darkness brands itself into her mind's eye.

"Yes just like that.. That's perfect.."

The voice finally speaks again as the manipulation formula begins to take form in the abstract artwork Simone manages with nothing but a buckle's prong and a padded wall. There's a certain familiarity to it, a part of her subconscious intuitively knows that isn't as crazy as it looks, even though a disembodied voice is telling her that drawing on a wall will get her out of here.

"Now.. you know what to do…"

Simone allows herself to be led in the composition of the symbol upon the door, though every fiber of her being screams in protest. She whimpers silently at the proposition of trying to utilize it in some way, but she slowly rises to her feet, letting the buckle of the jacket plummet from her hand in order to dig the chipped fingernails of both hands into the gouged geometry in the padding.

A surge pulses through her, like opening a floodgate that holds back a churning ocean of poison. Somehow, through some means outside of her conscious reckoning, she intuitively guides small flows of mana drawn from the tidal wave into the chicken scratch…

That intense rush coursing through her body as she becomes a conduit for the mana usually leaves a toll on most casters, but holding back on more power than she thinks she has makes it pure child's play. The etchings lighting up with a vibrant energy before the door begins to crack from the center, forming a rectangular pie and each piece suddenly jutting outwards like a blown tin can.

Where one expects light and answers only gets greeted by even more darkness. The halls are black and murky, the drip-drip of water leaking through a broken roof as the outside rain smacks against the building. Centipedes crawling through cadavers, rats squeaking along and nibbling on a toe. To her left, the hall extends a short distance and turns to the right, whereas on the right, the hall extends and then turns to the left, which each side of her current hallway containing cells that are either opened and occupied with a corpse, or closed with scratching sounds heard behind them.

Simone begins retching, doubling over as her body is wracked with spasms. She empties the contents of her stomach while simultaneously cutting herself off from the source of power, bringing the foul taste of bile to her mouth. She spits, then wipes the back of a hand across her lips as she gingerly steps out of her prison, eyes desperately seeking light, hands spider-crawling across the wall to maintain some sense of the space around her.

The sound of her last meal coming out of her seems to silence the halls completely. The skittering of rats and bugs gone, the scratching behind the doors cease, and not even a cricket's chirp can be heard to break the eerie silence in the creepy darkness. But something else soon does, a step, a drag, and a bit of a shuffle are heard to the left down the hall.

"Simone…."

The voice is male, and familiar for some strange reason. The step leading it out of one of the opened cells, and walking closer to her still.

"There you are.."

A shadowy hand extends in the darkness, fingers outstretched towards her, and his figure crosses a beam of moonlight that shines down through the cracked roof, she sees the glimmer of the Ghost Rider emblem on a Crimson Sky line leather jacket. But familiarity in this case meant fear, the moment she sees the face, the only thing that comes through her mind this time is 'Run.'

Sim's first instinct is to cover herself at the glimmer of recognition, and in the darkness, her mind imposes the faintest recollection of this figure's abuses, represented by a subconscious loss of control over her perception of herself — though she may have had impressions of a hospital gown or a simple clinic outfit before, she now feels exposed before this ghost from her past, and this is presented on the plane by an impression of her clothing being torn, removed by force. She flees as far and fast as she is capable of, one hand held before her to help guide her through the terrifying darkness as her bare feet slap down the corridors. She barely stifles cries of fear at every obstacle she stumbles across, and she trips over the rotting corpses, scrambling to her feet to continue running at breakneck speed from the figure who represents something incomprehensibly horrifying.

Her face twitches as the voice from the cell speaks to her again, "Nothing can ever be truly forgotten…"

The air is heavy as well as damp, a mix of humidity and mildew thanks to the leaks present here and there. One's breath is hard to catch, especially in frantic fear. The hall fleeting quickly as she does her best to follow the outlines with what little lighting the outside moon manages to creep in through the cracks. The only hope is the distance she can put inbetween herself and the repressed memory, but hope comes to a stop as she reaches the end of the hall. A look this way, a look that way, a cracked door seems to be the only option, and inside she runs to seek refuge or perhaps in hope of finding an exit.

What she finds is a bathroom left in a pitiful state, most of the stalls missing their doors, have them off hinges, or locked from the inside with nobody behind them and the frosted windows offer a bit of light to see within. Everything is tagged with some form of spray paint, occult symbols that are vaguely familiar to her, usually she has used them scattered unintentionally in her spell designs, but here they were all gathered together to make a sensible formula. The mirror over the rusted and tagged sinks is cracked, where she sees a broken reflection of herself.

"Yeah sure.. Run away and hide from everything.." That twitch in her felt again, only this time she sees her reflection talking to her, eyes staring none too pleased..which she feels in her forehead somehow.

"This is what happens when you do that.. It comes back and bites you in the ass."

Sim pushes her back against the door, panting, hoping she can keep the room secure from her pursuer.

She can't help but agree with… herself. She looks on in astonishment as she berates herself in the mirror, hair plastered across her tear- and sweat-dampened features. Her eyes are worn and deeply reddened, visible through wild crimson strands.

"…Fuck you!" She suddenly croaks, charging the mirror and striking out with her fists.

The impact causes the splintering star in the mirror to crack even further, a few pieces clattering into the sink and some shattering into even smaller bits.

"Oooh boohoo. That hurt my feelings." She sees and even feels herself reaching up with a finger to pull down on an eyelid and stick out her tongue. "Not." Even a 'nyaaaa' follows along to mock her even further. "Gonna curl in a little ball and wait here for some miracle to happen? Gonna cry on the toilet and hope the bad man vanishes? Pfft. Go on, explain to me your grand plan!"

As she wrests control of her 'self' from the fragmented hall of mirrors reflection, she proves to be a literal equal for the tongue lashings. 'Real' Sim and looking glass Sim chastise and berate each other, giving as good as they get in rapid sequence, trying to 'burn' each other over harshly personal and critically painful memories. Sim grinds herself down, laying out her superstitious, phobic futility with glaring accusations until it all registers in an instant and she simply drops her chin into a hand to stare into a kaleidoscope of reflected selves, fingers ungraciously splayed across nose and mouth, silencing her.

Silencing herself was a good way to keep the other from talking, but she could still hear that voice in her head. "Yeah.. Just try to avoid things without dealing with them huh? Well.. Sometimes you don't have a choooiiiceee~…" Her eyes roll off to the left to look at the bathroom door.

"Simone……" That male voice from earlier heard right behind it. Yep, always wise to give yourself shit in a mirror while trying to hide from someone. They definitely won't hear that. In the very next moment, the door is booted open violently, the moonlight offering just enough to see that go-ganger jacket, and a wicked smile on a shadowed face. "No running this time, Simone…"

Sim turns to face the man in a savagely-torn manifestation of an old outfit of hers, leather jacket over a ragged tank top, jeans and low-heeled boots. These clothes had been discarded in an incinerator long ago, yet here they were once again. Here /they/ were once again as well, Simone and the Ghost Rider…

She charges forward with a shoulder, striking the man in the solar plexus to drive the breath from his lungs. She lifts upward with her momentum and the blow pulls the ganger off his feet to hurtle into a stall door that collapses inward. She follows through, boots planting on the grimy linoleum tiles to help propel the body. The man lands on the rim of the toilet spine-first with a visceral grinding sound of vertebrae snapping out of alignment, and the German girl's tattooed hands lift the heavy porcelain lid of the basin. With all of her strength, she drops this onto the Ghost Rider's skull in rapid succession before staggering back, the toilet lid falling to the ground heavily enough to crack tiles as it hits the floor, coated in redness.

She sweeps her hair from her eyes with one shaking hand, but leaves streaks of blood across her forehead and cheek as she does so. Shaky steps guide her from the stall, swaying, mind clouded.

Nothing like beating a suppressed memory into a pulp, putting it in its rightful place. A catch of breath reveals the scent of ichor in the air, perhaps a bit smudged on her face she can sense.

Coming to her senses slowly, a look to the body with a poor excuse for a head leads to a look towards the murder weapon. The cracked tiles pooling slowly with small rivers of red, forming a set of strange symbols and they somehow speak to her.. Though not in words, it's more like a certain sense they make. Whatever it is, she's dawning towards a newfound confidence in combat.

"Color me impressed, literally. This new look is killer." That inner voice speaking to her as she catches a glimpse of the mirror, the red streaks on her face forming a kind of tribal warpaint. "Now let's get out of here." A nudge of her head towards the door. Sometimes the crazy voice speaks sense. It's led her out of her cell right?

Following along the dark halls with a bit more peace of mind, atleast as far as crazy repressed memories chasing you goes, Simone eventually finds the doors leading down the stairs, the halls smudged with tags, debris and old paperwork scattered along the floors, and the mainhall leading to the doorway brings her right outside.

In the distance, the city line resembles a mix of Denver, a bit of Prague, and other European cities she has visited. The sight was comforting, like returning to something sensible that she knows… But she sees something in the corner of her eye, her doppelganger standing next to her and looking towards the distant city as well. "Finally free…" It turns to look at her, painted the same blood red in the face and smiling. "Don't worry, I'll be seeing you real soon… Because you'll need me… You just don't know it yet."

A finger lifts up, and boops Simone on the nose. It sends a jolt through her body, propelling her backwards and hitting the first wall which cracks like glass and shatters… Though with it, the entire reality shatters with the broken pieces scattering into the eternal darkness of the metaplanes… That weightless feeling returning to her for a short moment… And with the next blink, she's snoring herself awake on the couch, a bit of dribble on the side of the mouth and the scent of zen still hazing the place.

Sim manages to clear her mind of the final impressions of the nightmare by barefoot padding her way to the restroom, then to the kitchen for three crackers that she dips in a small container of hummus with the fridge door open. She can't shake the final image painted by the rivulets of blood that spread through the floor tiles before she awoke…

A sip of water sees one of her 'mood stabilizers' into her system, a small hexagon-shaped pill, and she shoulders the fridge closed finally before drifting back to the couch and curling under the blankets for a bit of rest that will hopefully be more… restful.

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