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May, 2010... Fantasy became reality. Worlds overlay for the briefest moment. Outworlders became stranded on earth as more than half the human populace vanished. Our World, our universe, was transformed.

Fiction is now reality. Humans and those now bound to this world will either learn to coexist, or battle for supremecy.

Derrick Mason Gray

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910 Godly Level of Awesome

About Derrick Mason Gray

  • Rank
    Around Since Moses


    Bridget Moynahan
  • RACE
    Altered Human
  • JOB
    Bakkhos Club Headliner / Bakkhos Boss Bodyguard
    New York
    At six foot two with a lean, muscled build she can be intimidating or elegant depending on her mood. Her dark brown hair is naturally straight and hangs in easy to care for long layers to the middle of her back. Eyes are rarely seen as she hides them behind round Lennon-styled sunglasses that are so dark they seem opaque, this is to keep secret the eerie sightless light gray pupils and nearly white irises she was born with. There is a nasty foot long, six inch wide scar up the outside of her right thigh, a concrete burn from a motorcycle accident in her teens. Her left shoulder is marred by four ragged scars that wrap nearly from the back down towards her chest, a "gift" from an encounter with a werewolf that had betrayed Bakkhos.

    There are six piercings in her left ear all along the outer edge from her lobe to her helix, two more in the right ear lobe; these days they are often void of adornment but when she wears anything it will typically be silver studs or hoops. Centered on her back is a tattoo that a mere three alive have gotten to see. It started as something she did as a teenager to piss off her mother, but it was added to and evolved into a unique piece that seems contrary to the often aloof tomboy. The guitar's sound chamber peeking through "carved" flesh decidedly…feminine. When not "on duty" she is typically in loose fitting jeans or black cargos that have a tendency to ride low on her hips with a dark tank or cropped vest on top, always enough skin covered to hide the ink. Derrick isn’t much into jewelry so other than occasionally wearing her piercings it is usually restricted to leather bracelet cords on her wrists and a chunky ring or two on her fingers. All this is laid aside however when Angelo needs her dressed and on point. Then the leanly muscled form is slid into a dark pinstriped pant suit whose blazer plunges deep enough to distract, hair sleekly pulled from her features with a hint of elegant jewelry that makes her look like anything but a bodyguard and personal listening device.
    Derrick has always had a rebellious nature, apt to do the opposite of what is expected of her just to spite the “rules”. She tends to be cool and aloof to people she doesn’t know and only mildly lukewarm to those she does but what most don't know is this is more a symptom of her lack of social skills than any real slight on her part. It has been a long time since she has really let anyone “in”.

    She is fiercely driven when it comes to music, both in practice and on stage. There is a reason she is known as a genius both before and after the Nevus. She is always pushing herself for perfection. But there is a bit of an impish side too if people look hard enough to find it. She takes a great deal of pleasure in manipulating idiots (especially ones that think they are cool) so they expose themselves in public as being the imbeciles she already knows them to be.

    Paranoid fear also shapes her tendencies. Often preferring the quiet of her tiny apartment, a good shot of liquor and Caesar curled in her lap to going to dinner or for a drink with some stranger that thought she was interesting. After all, there is no telling what they really want from her.

    High end whiskey or rum / Good music / Martial arts / Freaking people out when she responds to things they whispered thinking she wouldn’t hear / Thunderstorms / Her solitude / Push her sparring partner / A cop that doesn’t seem to notice / Being part of a "family" though she will never admit it

    Nosy/clingy people / Surrendering control / Kids / Doctors – because they always tell her what she shouldn’t be able to do / Cheap liquor / People who abuse instruments by playing them badly / The Vanguard because it has gone after her "family"

    Strengths::Beyond her unmatched musical abilities…

    ■Derrick is fiercely loyal to the few that get past the aloof exterior. Since the Nevus this is also a potential liability as she has developed loyalties to two very different sides. Her Bakkhos "family", at least the few she respects, have her absolute loyalty, but she also has a cop that has garnered her respect and possibly… affection. This might be her undoing eventually.
    ■She has an uncanny ability to sense peoples intentions (not a power just a sixth sense); often able to determine if someone is watching her or setting her up. Because of this, she is pretty good at judging friend from foe or telling when someone is nervous or angry. Her hyper sensitive senses adds to this.
    ■She can do some pretty wicked things with a frying pan, some spices and a handful of vegetables. She has been cooking for herself since she left home.
    ■High alcohol tolerance (after all, she spends most every night playing in a club)…. though this might be seen as a weakness as well since she tends to get free drinks and forgets the food.

    ■Being blind, though she sees it as an advantage and not a weakness. However it still does make her vulnerable in ways she refuses to admit.
    ■Headaches: The onset of her strange combat echo location has left her with violent headaches that are triggered with its overuse. The severity depends on how long the ability was utilized and how much she had to rely on it. The first time the ability surfaced, she lost consciousness for three hours and woke to vomiting and a headache that lasted for two more days. Seven years later, she has learned to control it so that it doesn’t engage unless she calls it.
    ■A bottled temper: She has a tendency to be very cool… aloof… even distant with people. She stays calm even when pushed, but then she gets pushed just one time too many and she snaps. Words rarely are used to express her anger, typically it’s her martial arts skills that do the “talking” for her. This has gotten her thrown out of more than one club in the past, even banned from certain concert venues in the years leading up to 2010.
    ■Her instruments: touch them and die… enough said
    The only things she would be devastated in losing would be her well-used (slightly scuffed) Marshall amps and her guitars, particularly two custom made for her and a vintage Fender Strat; her pet ferret Ceasar and a weathered leather jacket that a cop likely had no idea she had kept after their encounter when he used it to cover her.

    Beyond these, Derrick has a small loft near Bakkhos having refused to live in the hotel itself.


    Echo Location (not an altered ability): As a child she learned that she has abnormally strong hearing and that sound could bounce around objects and give her a map in her head of where things were. In an unfamiliar environment she will often click her tongue on the top of her mouth or step more loudly so she can “see” where and how big things are around her. While not always precision accurate it helped her develop skills that allowed her to function without the use of a cane. Utilized at this level since she was a child, it only developed even more sensitive hearing as well as a hypersensitive sense of touch as even the direction of the wind on her skin tells her things about the world around her.

    Combat Echo Location: Ability that emerged after the 2010 Nevus event. The keenly trained mind that already could echolocate and the body trained for fighting seemed to create the perfect receptacle for this new ability. When fight instincts start pumping her adrenalin, all sounds around her will flush a 3d echo location map in her mind… black shapes outlined with white “echos” of ants that highlight surface edges almost like night vision goggles. In the beginning, “seeing” shapes was still very confusing, often disorienting as much as aiding her in a fight since she didn’t recognize shapes as the objects they were. Seven years of adapting however has led to her being able to call the ability at will and distinguish clearly between living and inanimate objects, recognize metal versus soft surfaces, vehicles versus buildings. She can push this map out in all directions like sonar, able to recognize shapes as far as several miles away, unhindered by barriers that she can push through. This also gives her a slight advantage in that she seems to be able to anticipate moves when in truth the sound of an initiated move shows in her map faster than it registers for the normal eye. The ability also comes at a price, while not debilitating while active, the longer and more focused its use, the longer and more violent her headaches are once it shuts down. Another side effect of this ability is the adrenalin masks pain. While this may be useful during a battle, it also means she will fight even when injuries dictate she should retreat. More than once she has put her own life in danger by fighting on when injuries were potentially life threatening.

    After second Nevus exposure in 2016 which further enhanced her already advanced sensory compensation, manifesting a higher level of telekinetic abilities.

    Telekinetic Projection: Ability to move and "throw" objects without touching them with a force twice the strength of a powerful human. Once fully developed, this ability will be able to manifest even in hand to hand combat situations, if only used for a one time hurl, it is uncertain what the limit might be, but used with precision and repeatedly she will only be able to manipulate 80-90lb objects for 100ft. When consciously used the effect will be similar to use of her combat location, mild headaches with light use, efforts to move at her max and for max distances are likely to cause nosebleeds and migraines. Used continuously in combat and she will likely lose consciousness.
    Current State of this Ability: this ability has been barely tapped. She only seems to access it when she is completely exhausted and angry. Anything small within a forty foot radius (less than 15 lbs) tend to bounce around on surfaces, fall off dressers or fling violently across a room. It has once shivered so furious a small car flipped down a street leaving her unconscious after. She has no real directional control yet as this ability only manifested in the last year and she is still trying to understand how to tap into it, let alone control it, however it has manifested twice with catastrophic outcomes; once in an autoshop, metal tools hurled with enough force to impale two men and blow through thin metal walls and the second time in warehouse where weapons were laying open, blood drawn again.

    Telekinetic Shield: Ability to throw up a "shield" to block moving objects. Once fully developed the shield will be no larger than 9ft diameter, so at best can protect herself and maybe two others. This is not a solid shield but rather true telekinetic barrier that slows objects but is not fully impenetrable. She can use it a max of 8 times in a row if kept up for less than 5 seconds (such as a block in combat) and only once if kept up for the maximum 2 minutes. Using this to its max will leave her unable to call on her other abilities as all are draining from the same mental resource. Attempts to push beyond the limit will likely render her unconscious.

    Current state of this Ability: This has become a more accessible ability. She first used it to while under great duress needing to save herself or another from certain death, but now she can pull it up with more control but still fights to protect more than herself and a single person.
    Musician/Vocals: Having picked up her first guitar at seven, she has been playing ever since with a range that stretches from Jimi Hendrix to Kirk Hammett. She also has a deep rich voice that can match nearly every note in every range thanks to her highly tuned hearing, ideal for covering any female or male artists of the last century, enriching the sound with her rum-rich tones.

    Electronics (restricted to upkeep of amps and guitars): As most of her life has been devoted to her instruments, she has become an expert in maintaining and repairing them.

    Martial Arts: Pushed into classes by age three to “build her confidence”, she was actually nationally ranked in Aikido and Jujitsu by thirteen but later refused to participate anymore, mainly to piss off her mother but secretly because she felt she was given “easy” competitors to “cater” to her blindness and pity was something she couldn’t stand even back then. Now as an adult, the focused listening and feeling of vibrations has grown to a lethal art as she pushes her training to extreme levels to be sure she can protect her "family".
    She was supposed to be a boy… her name carefully chosen to represent some obscure male in her father's lineage that had meant something to someone. Missing a dick was the first insult to her parents. Born blind… was the second. They were the perfect little Stepford neighborhood couple. She was PTA material and he was an architect and they were supposed to have their 2.3 kids.. golden retriever… and white picket fence. At least, that was what they were on the surface.

    Carlita Graziano was sister to Anthony Graziano, a New York mob crime boss underling making a name for himself. In the early 80's she was being courted by several high ranking Capos. Carlita could have been powerful in New York but she found herself gravitating to the white picket fences of the suburbs and the very "white" ladies that had perfect families and ran the school bake offs and with her Italian heritage not as obvious as her brothers, she knew she could have what she wanted.

    In a rare event, Carlita fled New York and managed to fall off the radar of not only her brother but the mob itself who was going through some upheaval as bosses fought for territories and the feds were ever hotter breathing down their necks.

    Edmond, Oklahoma became her "stepford" suburb. The beautiful streets and charming homes and the façade of life in perfection drew her like a moth to a flame. Renaming herself Joanna Wellington. She met Jacob Gray there and settled into a life of her plastic "perfection".

    But then, Derrick’s birth had pretty much ruined all that, by being female, by being blind, and by taking on a decidedly dark complexion and appearance in comparison to her light mother and strawberry blond father.

    To her mother’s credit the woman was so deep in denial of having created something imperfect that she refused to treat the girl as anything but sighted. It was probably the best thing she ever did for her daughter. From the time she could walk, Derrick was pushed into every after school activity that all her mother’s friends children were in, only she didn’t seem to discern girl and boy activities so Derrick was tossed into ballet and aikido… choir and soccer. When other parents gasped at the little blind girl getting knocked down, her mother would yell at her about how COULD she miss that coming?!... to which many of those fellow Stepford wives would cringe in horror of how heartless the woman was. She was crumbling her own façade long before Derrick rebelled and completed the task for her.

    Her mother taught her two very important lessons… she had no handicap…. and to never accept pity.

    Derrick was just two years old when she developed echo location abilities… lips popping as she wandered around the house, the sound bouncing and fading as ears began to learn to listen harder and detect walls and furniture. As she got older the skill refined, highly sensitive ears didn’t need the loud continuous pops anymore, her footsteps more often than not conducting enough sound to determine her surroundings. She also had the uncanny ability to look people directly in the eye with her hazed over orbs based on instant judgments about their height and position from the sounds they made, a fact that unnerved everyone except her mother who had insisted it was proper etiquette. Her mother had also taught her the proper way to blink and keep her eyelids open so she didn’t develop that “lazy” expression that other blind kids had. It was all about perfection for her mother.

    But twelve years of perfection with a healthy dose of religion shoved down her throat had Derrick primed to start rebelling. She quit her martial arts tournaments abruptly at fourteen. Partially because she was rarely allowed to have matches anymore without heavy supervision, she had injured several boys older than she with her "kill or be killed" approach, and partially to piss her mother off. Her mother and her locked in a screaming match for pretty much the next six months over it. After all her mother had something to brag about when Derrick had been nationally ranked. It declined from there. Derrick had been secretly learning guitar since she was seven at their neighbor’s house from a boy three years older than her. She had originally taken it up because she hated the piano lessons her mother made her take and because she had a crush on the ten year old who talked to her like she wasn’t blind.. but it grew into a passion that by fourteen had the boy not so fond of her anymore mainly because she could play circles around him. When he quit letting her come over to play his instrument, she wanted one of her own. Her mother refused but her normally distant shrugging father for once gave in.

    Soon she was garage banding with kids in all black clothes with pierced noses and black makeup leaving her mother appalled and Derrick feeling free for the first time, though soon the kids couldn’t keep up with her talent either. That was about the same time she squashed the last vestige of her mother’s hope, she quit going to church… of course her batty mother trying to have her exorcized…. TWICE! might have played a role in that.

    It was also about this time that Derrick started snooping through her mother's things when left alone in the house. She was looking for things that might be of value that she could pawn for the escape she was planning. Going through the very organized, perfectly stepford jewelry box she had plucked several rings and gold chains but it was one in particular that had caught her attention. A heavy bracelet with a thick plaque between that had been tucked under the false bottom of the box. Sensitive fingers had traced the engraving on the plate a thousand times pondering what it meant…. Carlita Graziano.

    It was amazing what one could find out at the library when the librarian pitied the "poor little blind girl" that couldn’t read. Nevermind the fact that she could speed read Braille faster than a sighted person could read a picture book. It had not taken much investigating to find out that Carlita was the missing sister of one Anthony Graziano, a mob consigliere in New York.

    Derrick put two and two together. Her original plan had been to head for California, live on the street while she tried to be "discovered" for her talent. Instead, she planned for New York.

    She was fourteen when she got on the back of a boys motorcycle and headed for the east coast with her guitar on her back and about $200 bucks in her pocket. She intended to track down her Uncle, perhaps he would understand her desire to play and help her achieve what she wanted The fact that he was mob affiliated didn’t really phase her, after all, he couldn’t be worse than her nutty mother.

    But an accident on the open roads of Ohio near Columbus that nearly put an end to any future she might have. The boy had been killed instantly, her guitar shattered and her right thigh was missing most of the upper layers of skin where she had slid along the concrete at over forty miles an hour. She spent nearly a month in the hospital as social workers tried to find out who the “poor little blind girl” was… needless to say she wasn’t talking.

    Hearing the soft clucking behind her back was what really chilled the girl’s disposition. She became cool and aloof, never reacting to good or bad news anymore. When they finally released her it was to a youth home since they had no idea where she belonged. She ran away within the first week and finished the journey she had started, hitching to New York without a cent in her pocket nor a guitar to play on.

    She asked enough questions in New York to attract the attention of the mob quickly, a fact she nearly paid for as she had a gun pushed in her mouth before she had managed to free the bracelet from her pocket to dangle as evidence she wasn’t crazy. While Anthony took her in, the manhunt for her mother had begun. She had betrayed the "family" and that just wasn’t done. Anthony was in the middle of several indictments that had him sure his niece should be distanced from him and New York.

    With a bank account of her own, she was put on a plane with some very expensive guitar equipment, a new bracelet of her own that had her name emblazoned on its inner shield and flown to Los Angelos to "make something" of herself just months before Anthony was sent to prison for eleven years. The account was enough for her to find an apartment and start playing the club scenes which led to a contract when she was fifteen, one that quickly taught her how evil the world could be. She went into hiding waiting for the record label contract to expire.

    When it finally expired, it took her only a short while to get herself on her own feet. Becoming the most sought after guitarist on the west coast club scene.

    She quickly made it to the big time, asked to guest-play with real bands… famous groups that went on tour with her and often asked her to join but she liked the freedom to play with any and all of them. But then came the breakdown at Lollapalooza. She had been pushed for weeks by the “big boys”… taunted about her big guitar being too much for her to handle.. even by guitarists that damn well knew she could play and play circles around them. But when one decided to take it farther and stick his hand down her cargoes in front of some guitarist she respected… she lost it. Two broken fingers, a broken nose and three smashed guitars later (none of which were her injuries or instruments) she was “asked” in no uncertain terms to leave. She had been twenty-one at the time.

    It took two years before she wanted to play with “real” bands again. An encouraging letter from her Uncle coming just as she was deciding she enjoyed the refuge of small clubs with local bands who were happy to have her. She had never had encouragement that didn’t seem to want anything from her. There was a symphonic concert coming in New York with several big metal bands. She could go and play the big leagues, and then visit her Uncle in prison. She didn’t care what he had done, he understood her…… it was 2010, and she never made the concert.

    Stuck in a city she didn’t know well in a world that was up heaving she took to the shadows of forgotten districts in the hope of surviving the chaos. Comforted by three guitars that had survived the missed concert even though their original owners had not. When the noise died down she hunted for her Uncle, the prison destroyed in the Nevus was littered with bodies but also with avenues of escape, she couldn’t tell if he was among the dead or had escaped.

    Slowly she learned her way around and kept out of everyone else’s way. She was mugged three months later which brought on her first combat echo location episode. She managed to break the guys windpipe and was fortunate she had killed him, because the moment it was over and the disorienting shapes went away, she was unconscious. The next two days spent hurling and in pain, hoping it would never happen again.

    With the creation of the EAA things seemed to stabilize and she started to work her way into the club scene again, but that was when a Vanguard nutjob wannabe started following her. Her ability to navigate her world despite her blindness was “clearly” a sign of “magical abilities”. Accused first of being Altered and then of being infected the guy had tried to kill her… she instead returned the favor.

    It was after this that Derrick gave up the limelight of the trendiest hotspots for the dank dark stages of back-alley hole in the wall dives which was what probably insulated her from the zombie invasion, and gang wars. There was just not a large enough or healthy enough crowd in the places she frequented to draw attention. But she still relentlessly searched for the family that had supported her when no one else had, given her the chance to play when no one else thought she should. And all that searching caught the attention of Angelo Gaspari. A Capo crew member had been sent to the hovel of a hotel room she was holed up in but unfortunately had acted the tough guy and not really explained who he was nor why he was there. While the Capo had been furious, Angelo had been amused that Graziano's niece had dropped the crew like a cheap suit. He had come himself to fetch her out of the slums.

    It was Angelo that had told her of her Uncle's death, it was also Angelo that gave her a safe place to play again while grooming her for a position in the new world he was creating. It didn’t take long for her to become the man's bodyguard, lie detector, "bug", even arms buyer. Derrick had an uncanny knack for telling if a batch of bullets was second rate or not. The sound of the casing was distinct when it was cheap and likely to blow up on them, a hazard of the new world. While he has trained her, he hasn’t tried to change her and it is this "respect" that has garnered her loyalty. She is his personal bodyguard and often that of the other Boss' as well.

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  1. Derrick Mason Gray

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    He was forlorn. It resonated in his very breathing as she brought up the home of his angels. He missed it, or the idea of it anyway. “I am the radar... Would cost a fortune I no longer have to git all the other down there, and even them. It’s… part of the gulf now. Some areas, not so much. The good parts, take scuba gear a lick and a prayer that the gators won’t snipe your ass because the water so muddy dark you couldn’t see them coming. I can, most couldn’t.” I could…. Giant shag of a messy bun made by the half pulled through ponytail was unfolded, the small elastic tugged out of the mahogany mane and wrapped around her wrist as long fingers combed out the frazzled fluff. Was it an offer to help? Maybe. He wasn’t the only one with radar. Though why she would want to go crawling around some rancid everglade with him was a bit elusive. The fun of it? The excitement? Being out in the middle of nowhere with him to herself? The last drew the brows downward almost imperceptibly. She clearly needed more to drink, a fact he seemed to graciously work to fill for her as her glass was once again full, the charms like fairy laughter on her ears as they struck the glass. The refill was half gone by the time he started tinkering again. She would need a fresh glass in a minute. As hers quickly evaporated down her throat, he was up getting a glass of… water?!?... from the sink. Brow quirked up at him questioningly, that was a good way to kill the savor off a good liquor. “World we knew ain’t coming back. Maybe time to stop pretending I can save mine.” World is what we make it…..now more than ever. Quiet words murmured as she started on the last half of her glass, listening to his sigh and melodic curse. Ya… he was all sorts of despondent, his trip had him downright depressed. She wasn’t really sure what to do with that. She wasn’t one of those "sunshine and roses" girls herself. She listened as he rummaged through drawers of parts. She wasn’t sure he was really looking for sunshine and roses either. “Been hearing rumors about magus killins’. Know anything about what’s happening?” Brow quirked, her lips leaving the rim of a now two time empty glass. Well that was a change of topic. Lingering drops were lifted from her upper lip as her tongue moved to capture the dark liquid. "Friends missin' in some of my normal travel stops." Side of her right index thoughtfully rubbed the front of her chin, the rest of the fingers lightly holding the rim of the empty glass. I've heard things…. not sure if tied to your missin' friends… Hand lowered the glass to the table once more, middle finger tapping its rim in askance for another refill before her arm folded over the other on the back of the chair. She seemed to be settling in for the night.. no where else to go with fangirls running the streets. ARMA gone to shit so Order showin' their dick more… goin' after deserters is what I hear….. She probably shouldn’t be sharing what she knew to outsiders but he wasn’t an outsider anymore… he was a member of the Family… at least he was to her. … and with Outworlder registration passed other side of the world… I have heard people been takin' matters into their own hands over here… killin' those they mark as Outworlder whether they are or not… Chin rested on her folded arms.. Too much of a meltin' pot here… so hear the activity is more in west federation and south coalition area…
  2. Derrick Mason Gray

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    "Wouldn't be an honest businessman iffin I didn't be forthright, That's how people get themselves perished." Ya well… not really here on business at the moment anyway….. A faint smirk was welcomed with a deep warm chuckle. That damn sound just washed over her ears, haunted by that melodic accent of his. Fuck she could listen to that forever. The corner of her lips pulled further upward at the thought only to fall a bit as he lingered on the "girl", that bristle up her spine again annoying her for a reason that eluded her. "She's havin' some troubles, thought I'd at least try to make her smile before I decide whether or not to finally drop anchor. Not much left home anymore, so maybe build this up a bit. Get a permanent place." The conversation turned to business and her shoulders relaxed into the chair, leaning forward on the back as she drank from her now half empty glass. The sound of his hands polishing the metal soothed with their rhythmic patterns while she spoke of the stadium security and their issues. "Sounds like a party." She didn’t miss the flat tone. The games were not everyone's cup of tea but it was hard to dismiss the revenue they brought to the east coast. To some… Liquor drained too quickly from her glass as she asked if the metal came from his home territory. The answer was not unexpected, the melancholy that tainted the answer was. "Place been underwater for ten years. Hard to get to, slowly disappearing every time I go back like a hurricane battered pier. Knew when the freeze came I'd have a chance to git places I hadn't before. Hard to orient myself, trees gone, stone foundation underwater. Was able to find these close enough to the surface to dig out." A faint nod affirmed her understanding. As far as she knew, any home she had ever had no longer stood. The difference was for her, she had no desire to walk down that nostalgia lane. Most homes she had been in had been unhappy ones. She had only finally felt comfortable in the homes she had made for herself since the fall. "These were mine. Well, my family's anyway." She held her tongue, a deep wistfulness in his voice that said the moment didn’t need a response from her. Head tilted slightly at the sound of charms hitting the glass he reached for….sounds that relaxed her shoulders and left her toe lifting and lowering silently to the floor in time with a melody only she heard. "Spent so long not wanting any of it, now can't seem to stop looking." She understood… playing music for her was a different but similar truth. For years after the fall she loathed music, her instruments lying dormant, her idols all gone, actively avoiding exposure to music of any kind. Now…… she couldn’t help herself. As she listened to him pour himself another glass, hers tapped lightly on the table in askance of one of her own. "It's all gone now. No more trips gonna bring anything back." Shrug was a bit thoughtful as her fingers circled the rim of her glass. Earth digger and some sonic radar would help ya still bring up more… Chin rested on her left forearm as it lay across the back of the chair. Ya know… if ya really wanted to find more that is. There was something oddly intriguing at the thought of exploring with him the home of the original angels, to breathe the air and earth that saturated him. Fingers pinched the bridge of her nose, dark shades lifting to expose the thick unpainted lashes that fluttered low against her cheeks. The dull headache of a night spent running from fans was lingering despite the good liquor. Finger tapped her rim again in askance for a second pour.
  3. Derrick Mason Gray

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    "It’s a part of what you get cher.." Chest rose and fell with the barest sigh. He wasn’t saying anything she didn’t know. She loved the electricity of a crowd that orgasmically thrummed with the heat of excitement at the vibration of a finger-fucked guitar. It resonated off her skin with an intensity that drove her to her own frantic exhaustion. But everything else that came with that exhilaration, the oppressive fans, the lost anonymity.. these things she loathed. It was why she had let the persona die after the fall. Damn Gaspari for pulling it once more from the shadows. Silence lingered with an odd comfort, how easily it came again between them. The fib on how often she had checked his place rolled from her tongue as she "watched" the fight, it was progressing as expected, both were too aggressive and it would come down to luck as both began to tire. “Ya wanna fill orders, gotta keep the heat off. Suppose I could make slush stock in case I gotta jet. That cost ya though.” Shades slid to glance over her shoulder at him, brow lifting slightly over the dark rim. When has cost ever been a deterrent for a request I have made. On business she spent Bakkhos money not her own, and those pockets ran far deeper than her own. He was well aware of that. Stickin' for a while? “For now., Like I said, got a gal. Might stick for a bit n’see where that goes.” That hostile shudder ran up her spine once more. It was a unique sensation that left a confused pit in her gut. What the hell should she care if he had a "gal"…. right? Ears itched at the clicks behind her, the barely audible noises unmistakably betraying the sealing of several locks as she glanced towards the door before moving to him with a quirked brow once more. Liquor tantalized her nostrils as he came from behind the counter, liquor and wet earth. Not the delectable scent of him but more of molding swamp. Something on the table had been dug up from somewhere rancidly wet. Two glasses were poured. Shades moved to the door a last time. Share a drink… or brave the schizoids that might still be lingering nearby. It wasn’t really much of a decision. Strap slid from her shoulder as she pulled it over her head and gently set the case propped against the counter. There were only a few things she treated as "prized", her guitars made up most those things. As his weight shifted downward she took a step that struck the ground with the barest increase of force, vibrations reverberating back to her confirming the table and chairs were where she suspected. Long fingers brushed forward a hair earlier than most would to grab the back of the chair, ensuring she didn’t miss its location. The skill with which she navigated the world kept her secret safe in nearly all company… nearly. Chair slid around to face away from the table as a long leg straddled the back, weight sinking silently into its seat. Nostrils flared to pinpoint the glass, hand sweeping from the right to cup the side as she lifted it. “Tell me about this place, need anything special for the security?” Shoulders almost imperceptibly shrugged as the rim came to her lips, pausing… …Fort Knox for all the VIP viewing areas… rest built to survive a bomb blast.. biggest issue for security is the high number of high level altered that gather at the events. Lips parted.. the Absolut Black Russians she had been pounding at the Fat Cat heavily tainting her warm breath before it became blended with the liquid that thickly moved in her offered glass. Left arm bent to rest across the back of the chair as the right gently dangled the glass from her fingertips. … crowd drinks… gets riled up watchin' the fight… gets rowdy.. leavin' security on a knifes edge to keep them in line without startin' something unnecessary themselves. Glass lifted again, nursing anything stronger than coffee just wasn’t her style as she took another full drain on the glass, listening to his hands work. Metal… there was metal with the scent of rank mud. Chin lifted slightly in the direction of what he was working on. Something from around your angels?... Below the offensive rank was the same earthen scent that seemed to define him and where he was from.
  4. Derrick Mason Gray

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    "Big B can't have all the bangs," Nostrils huffed softly as left side of her lips quirked faintly upward, she could hear the smirk in his words. Bastard was enjoying himself. Besides…wasn’t exactly my first choice to barge in…. you happened to be the only one open…. "Well fuck you too then," Snort was a bit louder now, hint of mirth in the sound. He was in a good mood. Where the hell had he been and what the hell had he been doing? His scold was met with a faint scowl behind the dark shades. She knew what he meant but still…. "….If you didn't like it, you wouldn't do it. If it bothers you, don't do it. I have a hard time believing you do things you don't want to." I do what I do because I want to…. being some kids wet dream wasn’t part of that want. It was a raw statement. It had always been that way. The orgasmic rush of pumping through cords faded like a puppy struck by a mac truck when she got off the stage and the audience she never "saw" came crushing in around her. Final snort seemed to flick the last taint of the fangirls from her aura as she listened to him polish. Welcome back…? "Yah... got a couple friends here. Girl I'm sweet on, figured I couldn't be out in the wild hunting for stuff forever." Brow drifted imperceptibly upward then down once more. Why should she be surprised he had a "girl"… probably more than one. It itched at something faintly aggressive that she couldn’t put her finger on. "Big B been busy while I was gone... what the hell is this? This merde why ya haven't stopped by? Busy now?" Chin tilted slightly at the television, listening a moment to the heated battle he was referring to. Words murmured over her lips still tainted with Black Russian. You're the one that vanished without so much as a word. Came by twice tryin' to fill an order. Haven't come by cuz didn’t know you were back. It sounded like she had come by only the twice… truth was.. she had checked far more often than she could count, her feet leading her down the street forcing her mind to frequently come up with some excuse why she was coming that way. She wasn’t likely to ever admit it, but for all their business banter…. she had missed that melodic lilt, missed the smell of earth…… missed…him. She "watched" the screen a moment, listening to the audio with an ear that dissected truths with an unnerving ease. They were both exerting themselves far too hard. It would be dumb luck who won as they were both burning out, every grunt and breath told her as much. Ya….. quite the crowd attractor it seems. Keeps the "my balls are bigger than your balls" off the streets I guess. The faint shrug betrayed it wasn’t her thing, even if a few joked she should be one of the fighters. She had a reputation in the family for being brutal, even when sparring she didn’t hold back. Dark shades glanced back at him. Bringin' in a ton of revenue for the city….. lotta jobs… To date it was the single biggest boost to the east coast economy since the scar tore everyone's world apart. Didn’t necessarily make it a "wholesome" event, but it was hard to argue with the shot in the arm it had given the city. Bakkhos paid well. Left thumb hitched the strap of the case gently to adjust its angle off the bruise its bouncing had left behind on her back hip. Stickin' for a while?
  5. Derrick Mason Gray

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    At least he hadn't shot her as she entered. Case barely lifted on her chest as air didn’t strain to fill her lungs. She was constantly in combat training, a couple mile run wasn’t going to wind her. "Can I help you wiv somethin' ladies?" It rang in her ears… that damn accent that struck melodic chords that sent shivers down under her eardrum. He was playing coy. Fuck this could go either way. "You mean the rock star? Ya I seen her." And there it was…. dick like all the rest. Brow furled, abs tightening to sit up. She would end up decking the little shits if they dared to touch her. Gaspari'd give her a lecture about how to treat her public and she would go back into hiding indefinitely…. music only played for her ferret anymore. She had told Angelo that damn concert was a bad idea….. even if it had felt good to let go again at that extreme a level. "On television right?" Abs froze half pulling her shoulders off the ground. Nostrils huffed ever so softly. He was enjoying this too much. "I think she hangs out at that cafe about a block further down. Doesn't get there as much as she should though." Nose crinkled… what café? Ears twitched as the ding betrayed the fangirls fleeing down the street to see where they had lost her. Lips pursed as air pushed between them in relief. He was dismissing the other guy too it seemed. Didn’t need to do that. She was not staying. Sitting up as the door announced they were alone, she glanced up at him as he leaned against the counter. "They dun gone rock star. You want a pillow, gonna have to charge you rent. Your monstrosity just cost me a sale. Get up ya git." Please…. a two bit handgun sale? bring ya more than ten times that on any given weekend. Pushing off the ground the guitar found its nestling spot once more on her back as her own arms folded over her chest, "looking" at him through the dark shades. Besides…wasn’t exactly my first choice to barge in…. you happened to be the only one open…. Silence lingered a moment as the breath exhaled the dark Russian liquor stain down her throat…. …… and don’t call me that. Soft words vibrated with a hint of snarl. She wasn't referring to "git" either, the other was far worse to her. Hand brushed off her left shoulder as though there might have been debris on his floor while she made her way back around the counter. The pause was pregnant before the chin moved slightly towards her shoulder so the man behind could hear the words. Welcome back…?
  6. Derrick Mason Gray

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    Continued from Fat Cat Her plans to spend the entire late day and entire evening playing jazz at Fat Cat had been cut short by squeals that had ripped through her eardrums with enough abrasion to nearly lose her seat on the stool. How the hell could girls make that fucking noise? It was like steel nails on a chalkboard. Their excited babbling, bouncing up and down far too close to her and high pitched voices had told the cringing guard dog that they couldn’t possibly have been old enough to know who she was, they would have been practically in diapers when she last played before the scar in the sky. Yet it seemed after opening night had exposed her, kids had been kids, curious to find out why part of the crowd had made such a fuss about the electric performer that had brought an entire stadium to their feet. Apparently she filled some wet dream of a celebrity in their eyes. She was not amused. Lawrence had sicced the bouncers on them but not before the entire crowd was murmuring trying to figure out what was going on. Dee… Her head had shook as she heard the apologetic tone in his voice. This had been her hole in the wall haven from the outside world. Seemed the outside world had barged in. It wasn’t his fault. Guitar had been slid back in its case only three Absolut Black Russians into the night. Enough to bathe her warm breath in its aroma but barely enough to take the edge off for someone who could put away what she could. Fuck. Not the night she had planned. Coming out the back door into the alley, she flipped the mahogany tail through the elastic halfway one more time to tighten the mussed halo behind her shoulders as she pulled the guitar strap over her head just in time for senses to erupt in warning. Spin was predatory to face the pound of feet approaching a split second before her long forgotten name was blurted out in passionate fangirl fashion. Ah shit…. Long legs outpaced the three but not by much. What did put distance between them was her ability to "see" far beyond the next corner and fighting prowess that let her pivot on a dime. Seven blocks of locked up businesses later and they were still pursuing. Fuck they were persistent. The next left took her somewhere familiar, scowl puckering her brow as senses pushed down the street to find that door was unlocked… two forms inside. Of course he was back NOW…. wasn’t that just fucking peachy. She could keep running past. It would be about four more blocks before anything would be open or she could snatch a ladder on a fire escape of a residential. If her case was not bruising her shoulder and lower back with a vengeance, instrument inside in danger of becoming damaged, she would keep going. Growl of annoyance reverberated in her chest as she snatched the door and flung it open and closed so fast the soft ring to notify it had breached nearly missed. She hoped he recognized her before taking a shot at her. Two strides took her to the counter, left hand planting on its corner as long limbs cleared it easily, right hand in poetic in-flight motion pulling the strap of the guitar off her head a fraction of a moment before dropping behind to the floor in near silence. Lying on her back she could hear a forgotten name being called down the street. MASON!! Expression behind the dark shades cringed at the chant as his door was pulled open again, the teens rushing in and looking around like hatchlings seeking their first sip of water. He was behind the counter….. close enough to smell, ghost of the fragrance that was so much more potent the night there had been heat and water and conversation about…… Nostrils huffed sharply to clear the memory. He had left….the theme of her life simply repeated. No one could be trusted….cared for. She had been alone forever… she could continue to be alone forever. In her "family" it was too dangerous to care anyway. He was a business associate… nothing more. Still….cold stone… snow brushing her cheek… liquor at the feet of angels…a voice that lit her "sight"… Growl lit softly in her chest under the clutched case as the memory came back in chaotic strobe lights. She remained flat on her back despite the crawl over her skin that encouraged her to get the hell out of there. The out of breath fangirls were pleading with Josef if he had seen Mason, the man in the shop had turned around in time to see the girls but not her Dukes of Hazzards leap over the counter and could only shrug at the question. Her breath held as she awaited Josef's answer. She knew it was a 50/50 shot he would keep her hidden… which meant it was also even odds he would just point down and give her away.
  7. Derrick Mason Gray

    Night at Fat Cat

    Greenwich Village - Jan 1, 2022; 6pm Fat Cat Club: A hole in the wall bar before the end of the world, the Fat Cat hadn't exactly come "up" in the world after either. Once a hot spot of exploration where kids from Julliard came to practice their chops at 2am jams, the Fat Cat was still a hole in the wall bar but live music was more elusive these days. People came for the liquor, the jazzy jukebox and the tables. Pool, pong and shuffleboard still lived in the dark place on 7th street. Along the walls one could catch the roll of dice as backgammon and scrabble were still pastimes people found time to indulge in, and in the back left corner near the old stage was a chess game that had been going on for nearly a year now. She had no desire to be at the "extravaganza" at Satyr tonight. It was bad enough she would have to be there the fourth night to play for the big match so she chose to excuse herself from the other three nights. Instead she was here, perched on a rickety stool with a motley crew of musicians that happened to be in the club tonight, accompanying her on some articulate Wes Montgomery. They were decent enough to keep up and knew how to let jazz melt together. Electric chords beneath her calloused fingertips sang as thumb plucked from the side of the strings making the same distinctive soulful sound he was known for. Left long leg was hitched up on the rod across the front of her stool, the sleek instrument nestled on her thigh as she languished in the notes. Jeans were well worn, the dark brown leather jacket showing signs of having lived a long and healthy life as the dim moody spots highlighted in pockmarks across the old stage and its players. Behind her neck a hair tie had been used to sweep back the long mahogany into a tail that was then half pulled through a second time to leave a mussed halo behind her shoulders. Stool to her left had an untouched glass of water on it and a nearly empty glass of Absolut Black Russian. She had been a recluse the last few months. After the absolutely atomic show she had put on for opening night at Satyr, it seemed her former identity was not as dead and buried as she might have liked. "Fans" suddenly realized who she was and had come out of the woodwork to try and get into Bakkhos on the nights she played. Eager clawing hands always on her shoulder and elbow, flinching her very flesh over her bones. Gaspari seemed to sense his guard dog was about to go rabid and she had been released from her Bakkhos gigs for the time being. Here they seemed oblivious or else respected her privacy. Lawrence, the old jazz aficionado that had taken over Fat Cat, knew. But he had no intention of exposing her or trying to profit off the information. She often came in and didn’t play, just sat at the bar and shot the shit with him. Discussing and often arguing over the old greats. This was her place to just…. be.
  8. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    "Don't gimme that look." Bridge of her nose wrinkled at him, the effect surprisingly cute on the normally stoic features as she huffed at him again. "I mean it" There was an incredible temptation to stick her tongue out at him but she resisted the urge as he got up and rummaged in his trap doors. The soft clink of liquid filled glass betraying he was victorious in his hunt. As the door dropped, the dust billowed upward, sensitive nostrils instantly fighting the urge to sneeze. She almost succeeded until he sat across from her once more. The explosion of air off to her left violent as she didn’t bother being "feminine" with the expulsion. Person could blow their eardrum doing that stupid "hold it in" shit. Back of her fingers rubbed vigorously under her nose before acquiescing. ....be a pain to walk home now anyway..... "...yah, your hair would freeze and that sucks." The "pft" escaped her lips as she leaned back in the chair, the seat precariously balancing on its back legs. What?...worried I catch my death? "Not being a mother hen." Yes you are….. "Just don't want to get my ass blown up because y'all don't know what you're doing." Frown dipped over her brows, arms folded across her chest as lips pursed slightly. Know what am doin' enough to tell you which way yer balls are currently tucked. It’s the damn sky that doesn’t know what the fuck it wants to do. Last part grumbled half under her breath. Until she had become a host to a fucking sky entity she had complete control over all her abilities. "...... I ain't your people." No…..you aint…… It was said very matter-of-fact, without any accusation or annoyance, in fact, it almost sounded relieved of the fact. Too much "family" perhaps........ "You got nothin' to prove to me. " Never was tryin' to ya mook…. She didn’t seem to take offense to his blunt frankness. As always there was a comfortable ease between them that made absolutely no sense because she was at ease with no one. "Sucks not knowing what's inside you until someone you hate forces it out without your permission." Ya……been there… done that…. The words were quiet. Like many she found out she was altered after the Nevus the hard way. Ears itched at the empty bottle hitting the table, silently wondering how long before he opened the fresh one. She was still "thirsty"… despite what her stomach kept growling about. "Doesn't last long though... body burns through it faster than I can drink it. Most zipped I've been in a long time, must be losing my touch." Told ya… light weight…. Hand ran up over the wet locks as the smile itched her lips. Head shook a bit as she rocked back on the chair legs. Got'a musician's tolerance….. cant recall being ……"zipped"….. A partial grin came to her lips at the word. It was so…. proper…. of him. Got enough in that little dropbox of yours to last us all night? Brow quirked at him over the haunting eyes. Promise when you get shot at at my place…. we can drink mine….
  9. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    "Other gunrunners aren't all I have to worry about. Coulda been anybody." Head shook as she rubbed her finger tip over the table, feeling the surface before the quiet words protested. ….nah…. this was family personal…. they knew what they were hittin'…. The faint scowl betrayed her thoughts had darkened back to the traitor. They needed to end him and his upstart gang. Nostrils huffed softly as she let it go and their conversation moved to his tshirt and she pulled it to her features, getting a strong whiff of his scent. She still couldn’t place that floral accent. ...figured you would prefer swiping your tee rather than neglecting to address the matter at all… "...yep, not that kind'a storefront." Brow quirked, clearly pondering the thought. It wasn’t that she didn’t get the insinuation of a brothel, she just really didn’t equate the two the same way others did. Drink……. she needed more drink. There was a distinct impression that the cajun was way ahead of her in that area. Don’t suppose you got any other decent stuff lying around…. "Of course I do... but I'm a lightweight, so gonna eat some more food, Oh? You mean for you? You get me shot, steal my shirts, compare me to a little green man and called me a lightweight. Why do I need to fetch that for you again?" Smirk tickled her lips. She could hear the humor in his voice. Lips pursed with an exaggeratedly serious expression as finger tapped her lips in deep "contemplation". Well… I could go home and drink my own good stuff…. leave Joey to babysit ya….I mean… he aint as cheerfully entertaining as I am but ya know…. I hear he is cute in a wet tee. Smirk lit up the corners of hauntingly "dead" eyes before scowling at a faint rumble in her gut. The heavy scent of his foods was starting to permeate into her senses. It could be ignored before but as his breath heated with liquor and spice it was growing more invasive. Silence lingered and again it seemed…comfortable. Bare foot perched on the front of the seat, long limb folded in half, knee pressing to the side and under her arm as she leaned on the table. "I'll get it if you agree to let me help you with the Force." Expression instantly darkened. The "glare" uncannily accurate as lips pressed tight together. What was he?...family? They liked that "I do it for you if you do… or allow…. or don’t…..do something." Huff escaped her nostrils as more sigh than huff. Folded in half, her elbow rested on the table, chin rested in her hand as she "watched" him eat. The grump in her voice acquiesced. …..be a pain to walk home now anyway………… It was her way of agreeing, free hand reaching out adjusting slightly left the minute the heat of what she was smelling tickled her sensitive skin. Fingers accurately dipped inside the box and came out with a spiced shrimp that popped between her lips, oddly enough, the first thing she had ever eaten in front of him. They drank together often…. but she never went out of her way to eat in the first place, let alone when they met up randomly.
  10. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    "….But… I don’t want more baggage. If I’m gonna be flashing mana on a regular basis to deal with yall, I gotta decide if it’s worth it. Order don’t like being told no. They think I’m dead. Wanna stay that way.” Faint nod came as she scratched the back of her wet neck. Well….not supposed to have'ta flash mana around…. If I am doin' my job should be quiet. Musta been sloppy somewhere along the way for them to target here. Frown etched across her brow as she started rewinding all her visits looking for the one that might have been careless. Subject changed to lighter things, like her sensitive skin. “Ya ain’t getting any more of my tshirts,” It was her turn to smirk as her face dipped, fingers lifting the collar to rub it up over her chin and lips, snuggling it. ….. well am keeping this one….. rare to find them this soft…. Fingers trailed the collar a moment before letting it fall back into place once more with a shrug. …besides…. people seem to have hangups about lack of clothin' so…ya…. figured you would prefer swiping your tee rather than neglecting to address the matter at all… Fingers stole his bottle once more the moment it hit the table and betrayed its location, swig a bit thick before letting it back down in front of him, breath sighing from her lips before the stray escaping moisture was captured from her lips. “Then we a pair then… I’m nuclear winter in a bottle… they wanted to experiment on me too, kept pushing me beyond where I wanted to go,….Blew up a lotta shit…” Smirk came with a nod of understanding. She had done her share of damage as well. The faint ghost of his chuckle drawing her lips further upward. It was a tainted sound that came with a breath of liquor that even tired her delicate senses picked up on. His gris-gris was brought to her nostrils for a deep languid smell, emblazoning the different notes to memory before handing it back to him and declaring his smell was still different from his charm. …….but ya sniff yourself again and am gonna bust a rib laughing. Smirk had a softness it usually lacked as the thick lashes that had been closed fluttered open, the haunting gray pupils refusing to dilate in the white irises even as they targeted him with an unnerving accuracy. Habit. They somehow came full circle back to "powers". Can make a shield with it too….. “Ya think that might have been handy? ...woulda have been nice to know that before we got all magicked-the-fuck up. ” Ya…..well…. also coulda suffocated you with it too…so… you know…careful what you ask for….. The chuckle was warm and rum rich as a bare foot propped up on the edge of the chair, knee folding up in front of her chest with an easy flexibility considering the ridiculous length of her limbs. "That hoodoo needs training. I might know somebody that has some kind of knowledge about that kinda stuff…” There was a brief frown before a faint huff escaped her nostrils and the expression relaxed. She trained non-stop. Something he wouldn’t know about but was the vexation of many a family member that was on the receiving end. Everything she knew how to do she had taught herself. Of course… this was also why progress of certain aspects, like her hand to hand combat, were extremely advanced and near unbeatable, and other aspects…….. like her abilities… had a decidedly …slower….progress. “Wouldn’t recommend it now though… I’m drunk as hell.” Lips parted only to clamp shut again as the head tilted at him, a bubble up chuckle starting soft in her chest before billowing into a melodic laughter. Uh huh….. ok Yoda………. Smirk lingered as the head shook. Lightweight……. The tease tripped easily off her tongue as she reached for his bottle once more, shaking it to hear the slosh of nearly no liquid in the base of the glass. They needed more…. Don’t suppose you got any other decent stuff lying around…. As much as she could drink she could feel the warmth billowing in her gut. Empty stomach was not exactly increasing her alcohol tolerance.
  11. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    Melancholy and angst itched at her as it seemed to roll off him. The trip had not been what he had expected….. not in the least. “Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not the first time my place has been targeted. Dealing guns is dangerous, always has been. There’s a reason the back room has steel reinforcement and the place is covered in cameras.” Wont be the last either am sure…… all am sayin' is we bringing a focused kind of nasty to your door. Words were quiet. It really was dangerous to associate with the family when they got targeted. Most of the time it was actually a boon… it helped keep people safe. But with a traitor specifically stupid enough to try and target a takedown of the largest syndicate in the world…. It put a new perspective on what it meant to be associated with them. Highly sensitive skin. It was an incredibly random statement yet it came because things still itched at her thoughts… things he had said. Nerves always on fire, sense temperature… able to read more subtle texture than braille. Don’t tolerate rough fabrics well…. There was a pause as she drew the breath… released softly. I knew that rail was scalding when I came down….you didn’t hurt me…. I hurt me…. knew what I was getting into…rare that I don’t know what am getting into…. And that was all she was going to say about her sensitive flesh. Instead she moved to the ink that wasn’t and could feel a faint shift in his oppressive mood. “I’ve heard of that. When I was training with the order there were some whispers of people fundamentally changed by the thing, caught in it somehow, pieces of them trapped, pieces of it trapped. Just thought they were stories…” Shrug came as she dismissed any importance of it even as the words said something different. Apparently only living example of an "actual" integration… apparently host croaks within days… least that’s what some big scientist thought. Thumb ran over her bottom lip thoughtfully before adding… 'course he wanted to experiment on me so…….. who knows what the truth is….. Conversation came more easily as she spoke of her echo location but as she shifted into his smell, she could hear the shift and flare of nostrils as he apparently sniffed himself to see what it was she smelled. She almost burst out laughing at the gesture, listening to the charms on his wrist spill over as he sniffed again. Air shifted and instantly so did his breath, it was closer. He was leaning over the table, likely to give her something so the hand simply turned over and opened to let him. At this point she didn’t think he was trying to stick a knife in her throat, though the brush of his warm fingers on her still cold hand shivered a bolt up her spine. Palm rocked the small weight before fingers elongated along the cord. It was the one from his neck, the scent stronger now that it was out of his shirt. “Might be it….It’s my gris-gris. I had, we all had, a caretaker… nanny I guess. Mine was more like an accomplice. Taught me to cook, covered for me to keep me out of trouble. She gave me that, said I always come out after a scrape as long as I had it.” Fingers rolled it, instantly mapping its surface as a skull… the material too light for wood… more likely bone. It also had things loose inside. It was a unique piece as far as she was concerned. She hadn't felt anything like it before. The scent while potentially missed by others was very potent for her. “Magnolias maybe…Others are just… charms. Gris-gris are charmed to you. Powerful stuff.” The unexpected chuckle licked of warm rum and familiarity as she listened to him sniff himself again before stealing the bottle back. Her head shook as long fingers turned the odd charm over once more. You wouldn’t smell it yourself. I know this scent too… you always have it on. But I am referring to you… no one else can smell it… least that is what it seems to be to me…. I guess its like why can a dog track something you cant?..... I smell the scent that bleeds from people's skin. It… I don’t know how to explain it….. seems to be a mix of where they were born…. the food they eat….. the water that makes up their body…if you drink… smoke…. everything that makes up you internally…. it gives a unique smell that I can read. Used to tell people what they smelled like…. got yelled at to stop making things up…. but its real…. I can recognize a person I haven't seen in years by that scent…. no matter how much perfume they use to cover it up or where they live and eat now….. Shrug was a bit indifferent. It was like breathing to her…something she had done from when she was little. His charm was brought up to breathe deep of it, head tilting slightly. Some of the things in here are entangled in your scent but it still is not your scent.... you are rain...spice... and a flower. Smile was a bit lopsided as hand extended to give it back to him.. the gesture clearly understanding its importance. “So this… thing you do. Any more to it? My particular brand of mojo… I can scan, sweep, thermal, infrared. Kind of like radar. Something kept jamming up my signal… was that you?” Shrug came again…. unsure if she affected anything. Never had before. Since the world went fuck-shit crazy… I have an…. Nose crinkled up looking for words. She had never explained it to anyone before and wasn’t entirely sure herself what it was or how it worked. ….an amplified mode?.... The questioning tone further betraying this wasn’t a normal topic of conversation for her as fingers scratched the back of her neck where moisture still was dripping down into the collar of his tee. I can echo locate a surrounding area in all directions at once…. guess my brain is used to um…." seeing"… in all directions….. simultaneously….. so when I push it engages and I can do it for miles all ways including up and down and through things…makes things more precise too, rather than just mass and distance I can truly understand size and things like if a person is armed or not… more noise around… more I can hear sound move around things…. the clearer I can map things. She was quiet a moment as a frown settled over the sightless eyes the murmur half to herself…. Doubt it was that interfering though….. Fingers picked once more at the edges of textured ink. It was quiet now, the threat of patterns moving and really freaking him out was subsided…. for now. Ever since been guinea pigged by sky debris….. seems has tapped into something….. else….things sometimes…. move….. fly…. Shrug came as she drew patters with her finger on the surface of the table. Happens when am pissed……… or protecting…….. The unnatural telekinesis had been on display in their battle, the flung bike its culmination before she finally calmed enough for the unconscious ability to shut down. Can make a shield with it too….. Now she was delving into secret territory. No one knew she could do that except Gaspari as he had been the recipient once of her shielded protection and even he wasn’t exactly sure what had happened so it had not been discussed.
  12. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    “I gotta rebuild myself. We always rebuild.” I gotta protect myself… I always protect myself…. The mirror between them was always there as her soft words answered his own. Silence once more lingered. It felt different than it had before. Silence was always comfortable between them… now it felt…. foreboding. “The cold water makes ‘em hurt,” Brow quirked at him, unaware she was itching at her arm. Covered the instinct to hide them was natural, but exposed she fell into her habits that were normally reserved for the privacy of her own home. “Do for mine anyway, become these… itchy, raised lines.” Fingers instantly stopped scratching as it sunk in what he was referring to. Hands crammed into her pockets as the head shook. Cold usually calms it….. it only gets angry when I'm….. It was an odd way to reference her tattoos. Words trailed off. Not able to confess the angst of the "ink" was due to her own unstable emotions, feeding off her and exaggerating the effect. She laid bare her fears and he got defensive….. took it personally. This was going downhill so fast it had her head spinning. This is why she never confessed anything about herself… why she didn’t share…. why she let no one in. Her words never came out right and they never understood the sentiment behind them. "…..didn’t insist on protecting you because I thought you were incompetent, I just didn’t want to fry your ass. Going off all half-cocked, you stepped right into my line of fire. It’s my responsibility to protect what’s mine, and you while you’re in it. You don’t gotta prove you got balls by steppin’ into someone’s line of fire.” She was silent… letting the aggressive roll continue. “Now is you gonna be different from everyone that’s come before that I’ve told what I can do? You not going to ask me to crack safes and scramble security protocols? Eavesdrop on phone conversations? Block and fry communications? Unlock car doors? How about level street blocks? I don’t tell people because I’m useful, and I’m dangerous, and what I do you can’t avoid. I HURT you Mason, and I almost killed you and your damn back-up because yall had to get in the way!” And it was her fault he was attacked in the first place. Too much to say…. no idea how to say it. Instead the bracelet was slid from the table and the silence that lingered was finally broken again. Sits on the river…. "no, it don't." Then your map is defective…..shows your french quarter is lined by the……. Soft words ended with brows etching ever slightly downward as sensitive fingertips traced the piece again. The carved letters were so minute and some filled with hardened clay…. but some of the river name could be made out… even if the naked eye couldn’t see them yet…. an "m"…. an "s"….two "p"s….. it was enough for her to fill in the blanks from her memory. …. by the Mississippi……... It's silver….. “I think so, probably. Nola ain’t on the river, it is the river. It was born from the river, it lived from it, and it died from the river. Thought the cuffs were something more... probably just pieces of junk for drunk tourists.” They are what they are to you. Nothing more……. and nothing less. Quiet words were almost reverent as she set it back in front of him. Why did she still have an extra light plastic guitar pick in her dresser at home. It was an absolute piece of crap pick that made dick for sound on any guitar… junk to anyone else. Yet she wouldn’t part with it. She had played her very first notes on a guitar with it, one of the few memories of her youth she clung to. She listened as he got a new bottle of liquor and came back to the table to finish emptying the basket. The last item set on the table with far more weight than the others. It was also set down with a deliberate caution. It too meant something to him. “Don’t give two shits about your sight Mason. I give a shit about you." Lips pursed slightly as the brows knitted over sightless eyes. Hands shoved in wet pockets as the head shook ever so slightly. The words rolling in her head for every time they had been said to her… by managers… promoters…. bar owners…. musicians…. fans….. boyfriends…. Words I have heard many times before…… for once………. I really hope they are meant. Why did he pull at her so much. The cop she had been smitten with yes…. but this pull… this deep seeded need to believe…. to trust…..that had not been there. Hand slid from her pocket and finally reached for the structure across the table that kept reverberating in her awareness each time something was set down on the surface. She had assumed it was a chair and was not disappointed as a leg was caught. Pulling it and flipping it over she set the back against the table as long limbs straddled the seat, arms folding over the back to "watch" him, soft rumble in her gut getting annoying as she reached for the bottle and took another deep swallow of courage before setting it down once more. Tongue snaked over her lips as the thick unpainted lashes half closed listening to him breath before finally breaking the silence. Don’t give a shit what you can do…..never did…..there is a small army of people out there right now watching this area that can do shit. Chin rested on the folded arms, rubbing a moment over the itch of her left as the breath in her chest slowed to match his, it was an odd habit that had started about the third time they met up in the cemetery by "accident" to share a bottle of booze. Just happened naturally now. My job to protect you…. and your place. Its my fault your place was targeted. I brought you into this deal. That group tonight…. built by a traitor looking to undo what we built. Means dealing with us is….dangerous…. now. She was opening a real big door for him to say he wanted out. She would figure out a way to explain it to Gaspari…. she just wanted him safe. The thought that he would take the offer ached her chest…. but she didn’t want him to be looking over his shoulder just because he was selling to them either. Dry lips were licked once more, teetering on the edge of a giant leap of faith. One last time. Then never again….. one last time. Finger picked absently at the edge of a bold ebony swipe on the back of her left hand before she opened secret doors she shared with no one…. not even the family. Its not ink…… I am playing parasitic host to a piece of the sky. It likes to amplify emotions when its ticked off….. I try not to have any. The quiet confession explained a lot…. but she wasn’t stopping there. Right middle and forefinger struck the table before "marching" several steps in front of herself, head tilting ever so slightly before pointing to nearly every object he had in front of him to indicate she knew exactly where they were. My brain works different apparently….can echo-locate… not an enhancement… something I could do by the time I was three… gives me distance and size, even if it is hard or soft material. How can tell your best product from average… I can hear it. It was a skill that rarely existed prior to the Resonance, even among the blind. She knew that because a teacher had flipped out when she figured out what the seven year old was doing to get around without the aid of a guidedog or cane and had wanted to make her some project for a thesis or something. Her mom had promptly pulled her out of that school. Can tell that one is metal… that is stone… and that in front of you is food. Sense of smell been amplified since I was a kid as well… why don’t like perfumes and scented soaps and shit… gives me headaches. All her little secrets spilling as doors were quietly unlocked and opened. Can recognize anyone I have met at great distance by the gait of their walk and their scent… even under perfumed crap people have their own smell. Head tilted slightly at him before adding. Rain…. spice and a floral I don’t recognize on anyone else…. that’s you…. It was oddly intimate knowledge. How she "worked" was being laid bare in a way no one else knew. Her breathing still matched his… but her heart rate was skittishly jumping around, trying to warn her to stop… yet she kept pushing forward.
  13. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    “Damn it Mason…Give that back. Yours is broken.” Ya well…. got shot for ya and lost my favorite shades….. so think entitled… There was almost humor in the tone. It was a brief moment where they were back in the cemetery splitting a bottle and exchanging quips and grins…… a brief moment. “I’ll be fine. I can do it. Just somethin’ I have to do on my own.” Too alike…. The murmur barely more than a breath. He wouldn’t take help from her…. she wouldn’t take help from him… fuck.. weren't they a pair. Fingers kneaded the side of her neck before the right hand rubbed roughly over the left arm. The textured "ink" was uncomfortable…. she was upset and it was pulling at her skin in response, edges having the most minute of undulations. “It ain’t,……………..It ain’t there anymore anyway. Nothing to go to even if you knew where to go.” It hurt him that it was gone. It was betrayed in his voice, in the way he breathed….in the way the nostalgic remorse crept into his words. She knew what that felt like once. She had gone back after the end of the world to the first club she had played in… three years of her life had been spent there, Jimmy had always looked out for her there. The very smells of backstage could melt her soul. It had been the first real home she had ever felt a part of. It wasn’t even standing anymore. She listened as he reminisced about wet silk heat….and cool marble nights…. descriptions so much more than visual. It had been one of the reasons she had tolerated him in the beginning… grown fond of him in the end… the way he spoke elicited understanding for her in a way the sighted rarely did. “It looks different now, not much left of it still above water, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love it any less. Doesn’t mean it still don’t have the power to get me to think fondly of it. Been looking into gray eyes and seeing magic all my life. Never once have they not looked back at me until now.” Silence lingered between them as she listened to him twirl the bottle of bourbon, charms softly tinkling against her eardrums. “The only person being treated different right now is me. You shutting me out.” Frown ghosted her brow. He seemed to believe that. “Got nothing to prove to me Mason. Trying ta prove you ain’t broke is gonna kill you. We all broke, anyone that says otherwise is a liar. It's the ones that make the broken into beautiful that are gonna survive.” Lips pursed tight as arms folded over her wet chest once more, unconsciously protecting herself. So you are going to be different? The words were incredibly soft…… a vulnerability in them she showed no one. Different than every other person that ever came before in my life? The side glance was eerily accurate. The colorless eyes meeting his within millimeters of a true gaze as his breathing gave away their location to her. I used to believe everyone would not ask for proof after…. not treat me different….every damn time…I thought "they" were "different"…. I was sure every time…… and I naively trusted….. and every damn time I was suddenly not complete……. not trusted. Not expected to perform as successfully…… not trusted to cross the damn street on my own…. not trusted to protect with any accuracy. Never mind that I had done it all flawlessly before and that nothing had changed……. that one insight into my life suddenly changed their perception of me….every…..damn……time. The words never came up more than a mere whisper and yet there was anguished power behind them, a vulnerability that didn’t match the guard dog… at least not for most that knew her. She had finally given up believing….. trusting. When no one ever was different… not even the Bakkhos family…. she had finally just given up. And so she protected her secrets so as never to be destroyed by their discovery again. Throat cleared faintly as she swallowed the vulnerability she had been showing. I gave up that naivety long ago……….. Eyes slid to the table when the soft clink came, he had moved it closer again. Hesitation was there before the left arm flicked out… fingertips lightly dragging on the table to smoothly pluck it from the surface. Fingers ran over the grimed surface and "saw" more than someone sighted would have seen. The hidden grooves couldn’t hide from her sensitive skin. “French Quarter. Got into a lot of trouble there.” Another pass gave her intimate details. It was a standard grid pattern city. Sits on the river….. Murmur was more to herself than him as the thick lashes half closed letting her fingers do the "seeing". Bubba had never mentioned that… not that she could recall. The old black man had pined for the city but she didn’t remember him mentioning it was practically surrounded by water. Fingers rolled over the band again, weight gauged as the delicate touch was able to tell far more than most before adding quietly. It's silver…..
  14. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    "Mhm…" There it was. The change. The silence. The awkward "now what" that came whenever someone found out what they perceived to be her handicap. After thirty years it really shouldn’t bother her anymore and yet….. She merely listened in the silence. The food somehow unappealing as her stomach folded on itself. Soft clink caught her attention as he plucked things from a wooden box based on the faint echo they made as he lifted them out. Thick lashes quit the faint open crack to close against the tops of high cheekbones. "You gonna eat or not? Didn't know what you liked so I ordered everything." Head shook, not caring if he was looking or not. She was usually more careful and always vocalized with her affirmations and denials to ensure that others knew her response in the event they were not looking at her and she didn’t know it. Now it just didn’t…. seem to matter. "Got ya a souvenir. Thought they were just scratched up fancy jewelry. Cleaned one up a bit and realized they're carved maps of the city. Touristy things... ya know. Not seen anything like em before. I'll buff 'em up after I get things cleaned up in the shop." Brows knitted downward over the closed orbs. Why was he picking her up souvenirs in the first place?….. and after everything why was he still looking for her to take them from him? Stomach turned at the rich scents as he began to open boxes and make himself a bowl of something. It wasn’t the food's fault, it was the knot in her stomach. The open bottle of bourbon was far more appealing to her nostrils than the food at the moment. Pushing from the wall she headed towards his camp out. Form always had an elegant almost poetic motion as she had an unusual perception of the movement of her form in space but without her gifts engaged it changed slightly to something almost haunting. Bare feet didn’t really lift from the floor, they floated, a hair off the surface so sensitive skin could feel the debris and slide it away rather than step on it. The affect was she didn’t "walk" so much as float like one of his ghost apparitions to get from point a to point b and it wasn’t done slowly like the sighted, but with a smooth and rapid pace of one who had lived this way always. With shoes, she just walked…without them… well.. a nail through her foot at age five had taught her that lesson. Timing was perfect as she reached the side of the table, the soft clink of his charms on the bottle instantly gave her its position. Hand took it from him, the movement ever so slightly different than when she engaged her gifts and "saw" the shape. Hand had started slightly further back and targeted the middle of the bottle rather than the top of the neck so she could sweep through and "guarantee" success. It was a difference no one really ever noticed. The graze on his fingers as she lifted it from him had almost caused her to release the capture but…. this close the scent beckoned of a decent bourbon and dammit…. she needed a drink. Weight was surprisingly light. Cajun was way ahead of her. Without a concern for where his lips had been, the top came to her own for a healthy deep draught of the liquor followed by a second full swallow. She was a drinker…. had been since she was sixteen and the bars started forking her endless free drinks to keep her on their stage playing. As the second full swallow hit her gut the bottle finally left her lips and the soft air oozed over them. Shoulders dropped ever so slightly in relaxation as the colorless orbs broke open out of habit to "look" at the broken window he had covered in a steel shutter. For the first time truly exposing the near white irises and faint gray pupils that didn’t contract and expand giving her an unnervingly accurate but ghostly stare when she locked her "gaze" on someone. Got a glass guy…. send him over tomorrow for y' window… probably have it fixed in a day…. She didn’t bother to mention the offer was a bit selfish. Kip did all the Bakkhos buildings, he specialized in bulletproof glass, a rarity these days. She didn’t care that things had changed between them….. she wanted him safe. Thought tickled brows downward as the bottle lifted again to her lips, heavy draught threatening to catch her up quickly to him before the bottle angled slightly and she moved to glide it on the table, ensuring the entire base was on the structure and not partially, dangerously balanced on the edge. …. early lessons of another life…. He was close.... it was a strange thought as she stood to the side of the table. Thumb lifted to wipe moisture from her cheek as thick soaked mahogany continued to drip from her temple and down her neck, hand unconsciously rubbing over the textured ebony markings that peeked out of his wet tee and crawled up the left side of her neck there. Should be careful giving me maps………. I never forget them. It was an odd quiet statement as she continued to "stare" at the destroyed window.
  15. Derrick Mason Gray

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    Damn it Mason! Form had pivoted back to the stairwell, eyes not bothering to open as the growl came back at him. Wha?!.... Joey pop 'im between the eyes if can't confirm is your guy! She hadn't registered the real reason for the exclamation as she continued with Joey and then vanished back into the bathroom. Hand slid to turn the water on once more, hands pushing under to toss some more frigid waters over her features as the realization the Cajun had wormed his way under her skin flushed her skin. The second time the hands went down they scraped the glasses. She had forgotten about Toni's shades. Fingers plucked them from the sink, shaking them off she noticed one arm was bent, probably from when she had her jeans crammed under the sink to wash out the blood. Fuck…. What a peachy day this had turned out to be. Head tilted to the side as she listened to him head down into the basement. She should get herself outside. She could guard just as easily from outside. Frown snapped as a sound echoed in the bathroom with grotesque demand. Hand pressed to her tight abs to quell the growl. Damnitt… when HAD she last eaten?? Fingers played with the warped glasses as the cranking of metal shutters itched at her sensitive ears. Frown marred the features as she finally gave up straightening the oversized shades, tossing them onto her leather blazer the growl this time came from her chest. What did it matter anymore if he knew. He basically knew….. he did or he wouldn’t have even pulled the "take them off" card. It would all be different now…completely and utterly different….. whether she hid them or not. It was a little death…. It always was. Fuck….. she didn’t need food….. she needed a bottle and her gym. Body shivered and it had nothing to do with the fact that she was still sporting a frigid chill on her skin and was soaked. Fingers roughly pulled the strap of the harness a notch tighter around her ribcage, letting the bite of its edges remind her she was here to guard and protect… not pine for something that wasn’t hers to have in the first place. Head tilted as the exchange happened below. It was just the delivery guy. Good thing Joey had kept his bullets to himself. Fingers combed through the mahogany slicking it over the top of her head, length continuing to drip down her back and hips. Pussy… go down and face it. Still wet bare feet slapped the floor as she paused at the top step, long unpainted lashes broke open over the haunting colorless eyes. Hesitation lingered before the huff came from her nostrils and she trotted down the steps, fingers lightly skimming the wall. Her gifts were shut down and yet she still maneuvered the world like she "saw" it. Each slap of damp skin on the ground echoed sounds in all directions and the mind that learned to echo-locate at a very early age began to sense the floors, walls, even the larger debris as she turned the corner at the bottom of the steps. Get your food…..? She damn well knew he had but it was all she could think to say as she leaned against the wall near the stairwell, tattoo littered arm folding over the other across her chest as the barely open lashes cast thick shadows beneath, not yet betraying her in the dim light.


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