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Oct 26, 2020 9:07 AM
Turquoises in All Night Laundry.
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Amaris isn’t technically mute, in the formal sense of the word. Speaking is horrible and difficult and it sounds like a frog being strangled by an eel but if she concentrates, very carefully, she can sometimes - just barely -

“Greeeeeeeen bad,” she - croaks, uncharitably. “Behind us. What you were staring at. We block it, now. Close eyes, else coma ‘gain when we don’t block. Is a - thing, think wants attention.”

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- he supposes she was trying to indicate ‘I can’t speak without substantial difficulty’, not ‘I cannot speak’ per se, earlier, and that the nod was a ‘close enough’ - 

- also that’s impossibly terrifying -

“I can’t see it at all, but I died ordinarily, not by - why is Zeke murdering people in our basement by exposing them to alien light, I don’t understand, I don’t know why this is - everything was fine, a week ago, and now we’re in some sort of eldritch purgatory, I don’t understand -“

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... Sandy closes his eyes.

“I don’t know, babe. And I - can move my upper body, looks like, but I can’t move my legs, and I want to hug you, could you -

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Wendy keeps her eyes open.

”This is - move out of the way, then, I need to see it, I want my pretty, I want my pretty, give it back.”

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Amaris, feeling moderately recovered, ceases to lean on Caden, and stumbles a bit to the side. 

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And Wendy -

Resumes looking like an unusually realistic mannequin, completely lifeless, and completely still.

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- and then Caden is going to rush up to Sandy and hug him, because that seems like the thing to do.

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Hugs! So many fucking hugs! 

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Amaris drifts on over, back still carefully towards the - green thing.

(Flicker, flicker, ficker, flicker -)

She notes the wires, coming out of the back of Wendy’s head, out of the back of Sandy’s head, leading in the direction of... it.

Her instincts say that these people... aren’t their own. She doesn’t know if they’ve been - claimed by a god, kidnapped by an alien, ensnared by the fae - but they’re... not.

Like little boys in storybooks, having lost their shadows. Or shadows, having lost their little boys.

 

She’s just going to watch, for now.

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They continue hugging, for a while.

 

”Caden, babe? Could you do something for me?”

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“- yes, um, of course? -“

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“My legs don’t work, and I can’t open my eyes; I want you to go with the weird chick and check this place out. We can hug more afterwards, try to figure out what the fuck is up with this place.”

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“... okay.”

He looks at Amaris.

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And Amaris - still dizzy, but not debilitatingly so - looks everywhere the flickering thing isn’t.

A plain, dull little courtyard. smokestack, with Latin letters written on it. A garage-style gate, and an iron gate, with piles and piles of beets on it.

They should’ve been swarming with flies, ants, little birds.

They weren’t swarming with anything.

She couldn’t hear any birdsong, she realized. Just stillness, and silence, and the sound of her own breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out...

Look at something other than the beets -

A door, with a delicate window, made from frosted glass.

 

She points at it.

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“- um, I suppose that’s the place to start,” says Caden, setting off toward it. “I hadn’t wanted to go off on my own, before, I was - worried about Sandy...”

He sets out for the door, reaches it, opens it, and - with a little glance towards Sandy, looking pained and confused and lost and angry - steps inside.

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Amaris follows.

There’s an inscription, written on the inside of the door’s window.

What kind of maggot grows in the corpse of day?

 

... she thinks that she knows what maggot grows in the corpse of day. She remembers an impossibly beautiful - creature, in the courtyard outside. She remembers an impossibly beautiful woman, talking about how ‘she’ was going to awaken, about how everything was going to be fine and lovely, about how Amaris had been difficult ‘so many times’.

She remembers the color green.

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Caden has properly encountered precisely none of those things, and can’t draw the same conclusions, but he vaguely suspects that it’s somehow related to the green thing that Amaris mentioned. And is deeply unnerved. He closes the door.

The rest of the room is a sort of dimly lit office - lots of wood, not a lot of metal, no plastic.

There’s a calendar, on the wall, indicating that it’s July 17th, 1911, a Monday. The date is circled in green, and ‘factory closed for experiment’ is written on it, in French.

”Um, ‘factory closed for experiment’,” Caden says, with audible quotation marks. “That... doesn’t sound good?”

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He’s not going to hear her dispute that assertion, for several reasons.

The lights - flicker - and something subtle about the air feels different. More real. Less... green. There’s no longer dust, everywhere, and a old-timey phone has appeared on the desk. 

(Flicker, flicker, flicker, flicker - she thinks she’s seeing it from her arm, now, which is disturbing on several levels -)

 

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“Wait, that doesn’t - we - we’re not in the same -“

He opens up the door that they came through - 

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- and in storms a fifty-something caucasian woman. She seems surprised to see them, for a moment - but only for a moment. She speaks rapidly, in crisp, brisk, old-fashioned French.

What, precisely do you think that you are - good heavens, look at all of that blood, girl, what have you done to yourself? And why is there an Oriental, I was very strict about - bah, nevermind. Jean Francois, dear that he is, will be in positive rage - one hundred and thirty-two days without a single workplace accident, and for what! Has no one ever bothered learning the meaning of the word ‘caution’? I knew that those cargo hooks would be the death of someone, I told them to get them out of the way before they shoved everyone into that wretchedly cramped little place, but does anyone ever listen to little old Melanie Duboise? - boy, sit. Girl, get out of my way, sit over there.”

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... Caden obliges. 

(He didn’t see a couch, when he opened that door.)

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Amaris is just going to sit as instructed and pretend that she has any idea at all what’s going on.

(This woman’s French is old, and her style of dress is similarly archaic, alongside the phone - and the calendar would have them believe that it’s currently 1911 -

She’s suspicious that the ‘experiment’ mentioned on the calendar may have had some unintended consequences. ‘Rip apart the fabric of time and summon something old and terrible’ type consequences.)

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The woman - ‘Melanie Duboise’, as she said - fetches some sort of medical kit, instructs Amaris to take off her bandages, and continues griping.

”Dear, you got blood all over my desk - I would most appreciate it if you would bleed on the floor, in the future. Some other floor, ideally - just like those old fools, to send me a wound to mend when I have a scientific paradigm to overturn and a crowd of fifty people waiting! But of course little Madame Duboise never has anything better to do, even on days like today. how could I have imagined otherwise - and look at that inflammation!  What, did they rub dirt all over you and hope that it would stop the bleeding - bah... You have lost so many liquids, dear, and your flesh is so angry - I will get you a washbasin, and a glass of water, but you must not touch anything. Especially that box!”

She storms out a different door.

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Caden eventually regains his composure. He should not be this sad to be separated from the serial killer that he’d died in the process of running away from - even if that serial killer - is, was -

“So,” he says, eventually, “um - am I alone in thinking that we’ve somehow travelled back in time?”

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Amaris shakes her head.

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