Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 9, 2019 15:01:45 GMT -5
Both Marcus and Percival stood straighter as soon as Ruth got about midway through the explanation. Both for two very different reasons, though said difference was imperceptible. A man? It had been a man? They hadn't known. They didn't look at each other, but Marcus at once excitedly chattered down their link: A man ... that will help. That narrows are search so much, if she's got her facts straight. Percival wasn't so quick to think that. He had a bit more practice with talking two ways at once, so to Ruth he verbally said, "Do you know any more details about this man?" and to Marcus he said, Don't be so quick to think that. It could have been anyone. He waited, feeling a twine of guilt like an iron ring slowly encircling his heart. He knew who the man was. And he worried so much that Ruth would know more details. If she knew ... if she knew, what would he do? If she didn't, what would they do? But he waited instead, watching Elijah, because he knew that the boy didn't want them here or trust them. "We'll leave directly," he repeated, knowing that they needed to try something else. They'd seen that the children were alright, but that was all they could do. Elijah would have to check on his own friends from the place he had worked.
Elijah narrowed his eyes at the two, but remained silent. If they were going to help stop the fires that had started cropping up more often… well, that was good enough for him. He wasn’t going to stop these two men from doing their jobs, especially if their jobs helped the community as a whole. He frowned, then, trying to understand why he still didn’t trust them. It was a gut reaction, almost, though they had now become familiar faces. They hadn’t done anything to hurt his family. To the contrary, they had treated them with the sort of respect that most families in the area didn’t get from people who worked high level jobs. Not that he even really knew for sure what Percival and Marcus did for a living beyond what little they had mentioned. Yet there was something about their reactions to Ruth’s words that shook Elijah a little bit. He didn’t know if this was news to them or not… it seemed like it might be. For some reason the announcement that they were leaving shocked Elijah. He knew the polite response would be to ask them to stay and to offer them water or tea, or something, but it seemed now that they were in as much of a hurry to get out as Elijah was for them to leave. So he waited for Ruth to answer their question, knowing they had probably heard as much as was useful. Just as Elijah had expected, Ruth shook her head. “I just know it was a man and that nobody knew who he was.” She shrugged, looking towards Elijah as if for permission. He nodded, and she hesitantly spoke up again. “He was wearing a mask, I think, because he turned back to look at us and his eyes seemed… weird,” she managed, struggling to find the words. Slowly, Elijah lifted his hand from his shoulder and approached the two men. “If you find out who this is,” he murmured softly, quiet enough that Ruth couldn’t hear, “Please… please take care of him, and don’t implicate my family. I…” he turned to look at Ruth, who was nervously standing at the edge of the doorway. “Please,” he repeated, “I’ll help you if you need it, anything, just… don’t let the man come after my sister or her friends.” He knew they would if they found out it was Ruth who had given away information.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 11, 2019 15:19:28 GMT -5
"Of course," Marcus promised. He finished writing down what had been said, though these particular details would never reach the public ear. Instead, he flipped to a new page of his notebook, wrote some things down, and then ripped out the page. "This is the address I live at. If you think of or run into any more information, you can reach me there." The address was for somewhere at a bit better local than this, but it wasn't enough to imply that Marcus was rich. "I don't know if anyone in your family can read," he said, more as a statement than a criticism. "But if you can't, you can ask for me at The Journal. They're used to people asking for me." He sounded mildly amused. He didn't know if Elijah would be confident enough for that, but he didn't think there were much more answers he could give. Percival was writing in his own notebook. Dramatic exit afterward or we're going to be asked one of two very awkward questions, Marcus thought at him with a smile on his face that he directed at Ruth as well. "Thank you both," Percival said politely. He held out his own paper. "My address." Marcus turned, heading for the door. He waved over his shoulder before he exited. Percival finished with, "And if the address doesn't work for you, if you need to talk to me, you can drop by the World. I can't promise they wont kick you out onto the hard street. They aren't used to any visitors. If you mention fire, they'll probably let you in though." He tipped his head, in something in a long ago era might have been the beginning of a bow. Then he spun and left the same way as Marcus, not leaving time for a question about why two rival newspaper reporters were traveling together or why, if Elijah looked at the two addresses, they seemed to be living in the same building. Percival, as soon as he reached the exit, picked up speed to catch up with Marcus. Seems like a dead end, he said. We need to check out that school again. Marcus hummed under his breath. It'll be another week before there's another fire. The trail is going to grow cold. We might just have to hope that this one burns up in his own flames. Percival cast a look around, lips pressed together. I don't want to risk there will be any collateral damage. They continued to walk for a block, then both split up, heading in opposite directions as one another.
— A few days had passed, and Elijah had all but pushed Marcus and Percival away from his mind. He kept the papers they had handed him in the front pocket of his pants just in case of an emergency or in case Ruth saw anything else suspicious, but he was beginning to suspect that he wasn’t going to be calling on them unless there really was some emergency. If there was another fire near anyone in his family, he would be willing to find them again and ask for assistance, but other than that, there was nothing he could give them, and he had no reason to ask anything of them in return. After all, Benjamin had been safely found and nothing bad had happened in the area. Yet. What was taking up most of Elijah’s energy was attempting to find a new job. There were more people than there were jobs to work, and more people making their homes in New York every day. In every job there was no way to fight for shorter hours or better pay, because you were lucky to have a job in the first place. And since there had been no union in the factory, there was no way to demand any sort of fair treatment after the fire. Elijah cursed under his breath. He was on his third factory of the day, and he was running out of steam. A lot of places were worried about a possible crackdown on child labor laws and were therefore unwilling to hire him despite the fact that he was very nearly no longer a child. If three years counted as “very nearly.” He approached the next place on his list, sending a silent prayer up to whatever god existed that he’d be accepted here. Entering in, he found more of the usual. People bent over machines, doing their best to avoid having their hands caught in the heavy machinery. There were small, dirt streaked faces peering up at him from benches, and he knew that most of those children had never seen a day of school. This was what he was trying to protect Ruth and Benjamin from. It seemed he wasn’t doing a great job - they were running out of food, and if he didn’t find a way to earn money quick, chances were that his mother would run out of medication sooner rather than late.r There was no time to think about mysterious figures starting fires when his primary focus was feeding his family and getting a job that was easy enough to do without worrying about dying. Not that there were too many of those around. This time, at least, went smoother than the last. Only a few words were exchanged before Elijah found himself plopped down on a bench, working on an assembly line. Creating what, exactly, he didn’t know, but he supposed he didn’t need to as long as he got the work done. He turned and glanced at the woman next to him, offering a grim smile. He didn’t want to know what happened to whoever had sat in his seat before… either they had been fired for something likely small, or they had died outside of the factory. It was a phenomenon they were all familiar with. Who knew how long anyone near him would be there before meeting the same fate? Yet it didn’t hurt to at least try to be friendly with the people nearby.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Oct 1, 2019 20:49:50 GMT -5
It took a moment for the woman to respond. Maybe she hadn't realized he was talking to her. Her eyelids closed, then opened, and she glanced over at Elijah. It was only after giving him a once over that she seemed to relax and give him her response. "Hello," she said. Her voice was soft, matching the edge of her eyes. This place was full of ash and shoot and dirt and this did not exclude her. Her hands were dirty from the items passing through them and there was a smudge of dirt on her chin. This made her pale skin stand out even more, but it wasn't a bad thing. She was almost pretty - if you ignored where a machine had caught her hair. Her hair was jagged around the edges, where a deep gash had had to be cut from it. She had probably not been employed long enough to cut the rest of her hair for safety. But her smile was nice. She looked back in the direction of nothing in particular, but if Elijah was paying attention then he would notice that she kept glancing at the people beside her. Maybe lonely. That seemed part of her expression. There wasn't a lot of interaction for a second, no real words exchanged, but then the woman passed something down the assembly line again. "Here," she said quietly. Then added, "What's your name?"
Elijah offered a tense smile. There were worse things he could do than make polite conversation, though he knew they had to be careful. If the foreman thought that either of them were distracted from their work because they were talking… well, he knew he had just gotten the job and he couldn’t afford to lose it. He had a feeling that the woman was likely in a similar position. Jobs were too hard to come by to risk losing them just to make friends. He cast his gaze back down, looking up only when she passed the object. He took it, catching her gaze for just a moment. “Elijah.” There was no risk in giving out his real name here, was there? He didn’t give his last name, but it wasn’t like he was going to know this woman for more than a day or two, or a few months if they both got lucky. “What’s yours?” he murmured, passing the object to the person on the other side of him. They were lucky to be here, he figured. The conditions were better than in a lot of other places, and while it was obvious that they were both expendable, it wasn’t like the work was as hard as it could have been. He swallowed and looked back towards the machinery in front of them. Keep an eye on it and start it going again when it needed to be, work the crank that made it go when it stopped… well, it would be physically draining but not mentally stimulating in the least. Thank goodness he had found a job so Ruth wouldn’t be forced to do anything like this. “Been on the job long?” he asked, turning his head towards the woman for half a moment.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Oct 9, 2019 22:48:10 GMT -5
There was several moments of work, almost enough that Elijah might have started to believe that the woman just hadn't heard or didn't want to answer. But then she glanced in his direction again and replied with the still friendly enough voice, "Cara." Like Elijah, she had only given her first name. Maybe she thought they weren't going to be in the same place that long either. She hesitated a bit on his question of how long she'd been working there. Her head tilted as she thought about it, quizzical enough that her uneven hair drifted away from her neck. She had the faintest outline of freckles, though even those were pale. "About eleven days," she decided on. Then she looked back down at the menial task they were doing, her hands moving for more in rhythm than Elijah's were. She probably had experience or maybe just good hand-eye coordination to multitask while looking away. More time elapsed. Or maybe it just felt like it. Then Cara looked at Elijah again and asked, "You're new. Do you have family to support?" It wasn't an invasive question. In fact, it could easily be seen as an empathetic one. Most of the people here were in the same condition or at the very least wanted to support themselves. She doubted anyone would be here willingly. The streets were better in some respects - at least from her limited view of it. But if you were trying to keep family members out of these jobs and off the streets it made all the difference.
“Nice to meet you,” Elijah replied quietly. He didn’t know the rules around here about talking, that was for certain. He could guess, though. Foremen tended to think that talking meant you weren’t being productive, and therefore put a stop to it as soon as possible. He was getting the hang of the work - not there was much to get the hang of. It was tedious and monotonous, and all he had to to do was get through it. That was what he told himself, at least. Just get through it little by little until the seconds sped into minutes into hours, and then you got to go home. He frowned. Eleven days was more than enough time to get acquainted with the work, but it also suggested a high turnover rate. Normally if he found someone who had been on the job for a few months, he counted himself as lucky. He could emulate their behavior and know that maybe, just maybe, he’d be secure for more than a few days. But eleven days… well, it wasn’t long enough to learn all of the ins and outs. It wasn’t long enough to know how to stay employed. It seemed Elijah would need to work that out for himself this time around. “Yes,” he murmured after a while. “I’ve got three relying on me.” He knew telling more details than that probably wasn’t a good idea, because any information could be used against him if Cara were looking to bolster her credibility to the foreman… if she found a way to exploit her knowledge of him to put herself in better standing, Elijah had no doubt that she would do so. That was what everyone did. “You? Working for your family?”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Oct 17, 2019 15:38:16 GMT -5
Cara blinked. She appeared to be listening, but about as much as she could get away with. There wasn't a lot to pay attention to, but she seemed to be finding a way. Sometimes she sped up just a little when it came to grabbing an item and then she would turn it around in her hand a bit before passing it on. She seemed to be looking at all the parts of her work, but found the amount of time that she could actually keep a hold of it too quick to learn anything. Her pass to Elijah remained smooth and well-timed and she never seemed to miss the beat when she should give it over to him. Her gaze drifted back to the boy a second later. Apparently she'd deemed it long enough between saying something to get away with an answer. "Just myself," she said. Her voice might have held a bit of disappointment. There was no loss in her voice, so it didn't make it sound like she had had anyone to look after in the past. But she sounded like she was unable to, even if she might want to. There was another lapse of silence. She hadn't asked for more details and didn't look like she wanted to. She seemed interested in polite conversation with Elijah, but not enough to invade his space. Another couple minutes and then Cara glanced to her left. Then she looked back at Elijah. "Where did you work before?" Her voice was neutral. She was looking down at what she was doing, running a finger over her sleeve after a second, then passed the part along.
Cara was very methodical, Elijah had to admit. More than he had ever seen anyone else. Perhaps the job was that important to her, or perhaps that was just the way she approached all aspects of life. Elijah knew he wouldn’t know her long enough to find out the answer, which didn’t particularly bother him. He was used to people coming in and out of his life like mayflies. He never got attached enough to them to care. Those that mattered were all in one place, and they… well, they were fine, because he made sure of it. He wasn’t going to lose them if he could help it. Yet polite conversation with the strangers that would fade away eventually… it was a welcome distraction, at least when they were in the same position as he was. “Did you hear of the factory a few days ago that burnt up?” His voice held some sort of emotion, but it was entirely unreadable. It was hard and soft at the same time, like he was angry, but not at anyone in particular, or more like he was disappointed… he didn’t even know for sure. “I had been working there for a few months. Didn’t even get my last week’s pay.” It was a selfish concern, he knew. There were more pressing things to worry about when a building burnt up, but as far as he was aware, nobody had died. People would, though. If they didn’t get their paycheck. It was a cruel world they lived in, where so much could be disrupted by a simple fire. Deep in his heart, he knew it could have been much, much worse. At least the factory hadn’t been that many floors tall… and all the exits had been flung open in time. Dread settled in his stomach as his mind delved unbidden into that train of thought.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Nov 2, 2019 18:16:36 GMT -5
"I heard about it," said Cara, suddenly glancing up. Factory fires weren't that unusual, but when they happened people got concerned. Usually, in situations like this, when they were talking to those who had gotten out. "I heard no one died," she said, mostly repeating Elijah's own thoughts. Not that there was any reason that she should express much interest in it. She did, however, pay a bit more attention when Elijah mentioned that he hadn't gotten his pay for that week. "I'm sorry," she said. There wasn't much more she could say, other than expressing her sympathy. Times were tough and it wasn't as if she could give him some of her own money. Or she could have, but that might have looked odd. There was a bit of talking, but nothing was actually said. For the most part, it was just the occasional words from Cara or Elijah that was about as close to small talk as the space allowed. There was a lot that Cara could have said, but she didn't. She didn't say any of it. And soon enough, the day had passed enough that it didn't matter. They parted ways and Cara had no idea if Elijah would be back tomorrow or not. She didn't follow him home. It would have been too risky at such an early stage. But she did note what direction he was going by his scent in the air. If she needed, she would recognize it for later. Then she went in the opposite direction, chewing on a nail. She followed a stranger instead, her breath slowing. It was easier to track a nobody. And she was hungry. /// A week or so passed between when Cara felt comfortable walking in the same direction as Elijah. Well, not the same direction. Rather, she timed the interaction like she was crossing horizontally to the street he was following, cutting across his path. They had talked a couple more times during work since then. Cara would have liked to say that they were friends, but she wasn't foolish enough to believe that cursory kindness could be the same thing as friendship to someone used to functioning on their own. She did blink when she saw him, looking slightly surprised. After all, New York wasn't small. There wasn't a lot of chance that he would have crossed her path now if he hadn't done it before. "Oh," said Cara. "Hello!" she raised a hand and brightly smiled. She didn't smile that often in the factory. At least not the bright one she had on now. This one was larger and clearly meant for the outside air. It was probably one of the rare things that the smoke and ash couldn't change. She brushed her messily cut fringe of hair aside, absent minded about it. The odd cut didn't seem to be something she was used to. It still looked like the long hair had partly gotten stuck in something and then had needed to be cut hurriedly. "I was just going to get something warm to eat," she said, posture shifting enough that she seemed to be a bit more opening than her original surprise. "Wouldn't like to come, would you?" She wasn't sure if that sounded like she had come into more money than a factory job might afford. After all, it wasn't like she should appear well off. But she figured the happy smile might have been telling enough that she recently had gotten enough money to support such a thing. (Or rather, she figured that the small amount of money that she had collected to go to a bit more than just some dusty pile.) She didn't know whether Elijah would say yes, but she suspected he wouldn't. He had a family to get back to. Then again, never knew ... She was willing to offer such a trivial thing for a chance to understand her ... friend ... a bit more. To know whether he had seen her or not or what his connect to those ... others were. Or she could just follow him. That could work too. It would be up to whether this had ended up time enough for Elijah to know her.
Elijah’s eyes widened in surprise upon recognizing Cara. Logically, he knew that anyone working where they worked likely lived nearby, but he had made a conscious effort to avoid noticing any of them enough to recognize them if he were to run into one of them. The exception was Cara, who he had never run into before, which gave this encounter a bit of an edge Elijah wasn’t sure he was prepared for. It was odd, seeing her outside of working hours. It was easy to forget that the people you met in factories were actually human beings. The way the factories were set up they may as well have not been, but now, out in the open, seeing her smile like that… well, it was almost like meeting her for the first time. In a good way, he supposed. He managed his own smile. It didn’t seem to come quite as easily, especially since he was still somewhat wary of anyone he shared the factory space with, but it came. “Fancy seeing you here,” Elijah greeted, raising a hand in acknowledgement. He wondered if, in another life, the two of them would have been actual friends instead of just people who made a long work day survivable. Indeed, Cara did make coming in for work and making it through the end easier. She could be funny, sometimes, and she was willing to talk when everyone else was too paralyzed by the need to keep their job. Of course, they were both careful not to be caught chatting, or it would be over for both of them. It was in both of their interests to remain under the radar, which meant getting to know Cara at all had been nigh on impossible. “Something warm?” he repeated, eyebrow raising. However she had managed enough money to offer it freely like that… well, Elijah couldn’t assume she was offering it. Perhaps she was just asking for company and requesting Elijah pay for his share. That would be only fair, he considered. “I’d love to come along,” he added, with much less hesitation than anyone other than Cara would have received. Any other people from work would have received a flat-out refusal. Marcus and Percival would have received much more hesitation and then depending on what they wished to talk about, a hesitant yes. But for Cara… it didn’t feel like there was any risk in going with her. Perhaps he was wrong, but he could feel nothing unnerving about her. “I was planning on grabbing something to eat now anyway before I had to go back and make sure my sister’s doing her work.” He rubbed at the back of his neck, shaking his head in exasperation. “I’d rather have her working a skilled job than having to find work in a factory, but I swear she hates embroidery more than she can even begin to express.” He laughed lightly, shaking his head. “We’re trying to find something that will earn her some money or get her some jobs that she actually enjoys doing. It’s harder than you’d think. But she’ll be fine at least until we return.” It was more information than he had ever voluntarily given inside the factory. Perhaps because there was no foreman to overhear them now.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Nov 10, 2019 3:09:16 GMT -5
There was a lot to be said for a warm meal. It could tempt the hardest of hearts. Not like Elijah was a very hard heart, but he could be a bit stiff and Cara felt like there was always a tension around him which was difficult to get through. As she might have suspected, it was a bit easier to get through to him when they weren't in the factory. "Glad to have your company!" she said cheerfully. She started walking in a direction, which could be assumed to be the direction she had been planning to go in if Elijah had accepted her offer. It wasn't in the same direction that Elijah had been heading in, but then again Cara didn't actually know where he lived. The information from Elijah had her looking over at him and bobbing her head a bit. "Yes! That's a good plan." She sounded very fervent about it. Like she had just a bit too much experience with the idea. Or maybe it was more like she actually cared that one of Elijah's family members. She was well aware of the harsh life that factory life was. She didn't think any child should have to deal with that. Then again, Elijah was dealing with it. She wondered how he managed. It seemed far too much like there was enough on his plate. "This way," she said, turning down one more street before proudly standing in front of a place that, surprisingly, didn't look too shabby considering the area. As far as she knew, Elijah even knew the place. They weren't exactly that far flung from where they had been before. "Acceptable?" she asked Elijah, as if she was introducing him to something new and possibly special. And from the way she made it sound, maybe it was. It was a simple deli, with the basic storefront and a slightly faded sign. Cara moved toward the entrance, then glanced back at Elijah. There was nothing much to say about her expression other than it was bright. She was clearly having fun with this and possibly having an upgrade from whatever food she had been having before. She added, brightly, "Perhaps we can get something for your sister as well." Not 'you'. She clearly expected this to at least partly be her money funding whatever food which they would get. Truthfully, she didn't actually intend to get much to eat other than whatever it took to keep up her persona, but that was acceptable. It was a monetary sacrifice she was willing to make.
Elijah had to admit that he liked Cara. He wasn’t entirely sure why, but it was hard to find people that were this cheerful in a world that seemed determined to push down anyone but the ridiculously wealthy. It was as though every system in place was trying to discourage people from talking to each other and sharing stories and lives… from finding companionship and friendship anywhere but within their own small families. Yet Cara didn’t seem as broken down as many other workers did, and Elijah knew he didn’t feel broken down either. He offered Cara a small smile, pulling himself out of his thoughts. He could very easily get lost in them if he wasn’t careful. They rounded a corner that Elijah was indeed familiar with, stopping in front of a deli Elijah only went into when he had a few extra cents and wanted to bring Benjamin and Ruth back a surprise of some sort. It was a rare treat, but he supposed he could swing it now if he didn’t get too much for himself. “Works for me,” he replied, moving to hold open the door for Cara. He knew it was only respectful to hold the door open for ladies, and he didn’t want to make a bad impression on their first time running into each other outside of work. If things went well, he mused, Cara could prove a good friend and a way to pass time while at work and after it. Friends were always an asset, he figured, even if ones that worked with him were few and far between. He had friends, of course, but there was something about Cara that felt different. Maybe because she had been actually willing to talk to him at work. “How’d you know about this place?” Elijah questioned. It wasn’t exactly famous, but it was rather nice, and well-known to those who lived in the area. He didn’t actually know what part of town Cara was from, but he hadn’t really imagined her living too close to him. After all, the factory was quite a trek from here – he’d only taken the job because he hoped if anything happened it would be far enough away that it wouldn’t impact his family. Truth be told, Elijah was still nervous about the fires – if whoever had started it was going for retribution, he hoped it would be against him and not against his family. “Oh!” He added, shocked when he realized what Cara was implying. “Please, you don’t have to help pay for my sister’s food. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of better uses for your money, and I can fund it… it’s an incredibly kind offer, though.” Who, in this world, was so willing to offer up their hard earned money to others? Especially when they didn’t know each other that well yet. He cast another look at Cara, puzzled. If anything, it was the expectation that the man would pay for the woman, even if they were just friends. Customs like that still applied to them, did they not?
Post by mintedstar/fur on Nov 27, 2019 1:28:39 GMT -5
"You say that as if humanity truly has lost all connection with sharing its gains," said Cara with a sigh. But she seemed to have relented her offer of purchasing anything for Elijah and his family. Instead she shrugged, nodding towards the various windows. "I know it because I know a lot of New York. I've lived in and abouts here for a while before moving off in that direction." She vaguely waved her hand in the location of where she actually was staying. Not that Elijah could do much with a direction. The rest of what she said was all true. She had lived in New York for a while. That wasn't how she had found this place, but Elijah wouldn't know that. She had figured he would know this place, however. Familiarity tended to lull someone into a false sense of security. While at work, she had never really shown any suggestion of the fact that she wasn't a believer in the everyone for themselves regardless of their situation principle which Elijah seemed to uphold so much. Then again, she'd never really expressed an opinion on the matter. As it was, she clearly had seen Elijah's principles on the matter and wasn't going to offer anymore. Instead, she asked him, "What do you usually like to get here?" she wondered. "I haven't been here often to know." She knew that the obvious answer was bread, but she figured some sort of change of conversation would keep Elijah's attention from wondering too close to what she had been talking about. If she noticed that she was talking too much or acting out of place for someone who usually wouldn't have taken such a position she didn't seem to hint at it. There were enough things - other things - which she found far more important than that. As it was, she figured that trying to not act as she actually wanted to would be far more suspicious.
“As soon as trickle down economics actually starts working I’ll believe that humanity has an inherent compulsion to share its gains. For now, though, I’ll only accept kind offers like that from people who are significantly wealthier than I.” Not an insult, just a pointed statement. We both work in a factory. We both know that what we’re making isn’t nearly enough to survive on, and we’re both making do. That was the reality of the situation, and it would continue to be the reality for as long as the system ran as it was, entirely unchecked. The system where the so called “American Dream” was just that – a dream, completely unattainable until you managed to fall into a significant amount of luck and money. He let the subject drop, glancing in the direction Cara had indicated. If he had been truly invested in figuring out where she lived he may have inquired more, but he was content to just be spending the afternoon with here. If she lived nearby, it made perfect sense for her to have run into him. He wasn’t going to question it. For his part, he had interacted with enough people in New York to not find anything odd about Cara’s behavior. If she was being too generous, so were hundreds of other people who were willing to go hungry if it meant that other people didn’t starve. The world was full of so many different types of people, and so many wonderful, decent people who were trodden on and forgotten. Because it wasn’t the good people who made it to the top. It was the ones who were willing to take advantage of other people’s effort and loyalty and kindness. As far as Elijah was concerned, Cara was one of those good people. “They have some really good sandwiches here. I don’t usually have enough money to get the ones with pickles, but when I do they’re fantastic. It’s the little things in life,” he laughed softly. “You take what you can get.” He turned slightly to glance at Cara. “They get their meat from the butcher a few streets down. It’s some of the best in this neighborhood, I think. The Club sandwich is especially good. Heard they got the recipe from a gambling club a few years back, but could just be rumors.” He shrugged.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Dec 12, 2019 4:36:08 GMT -5
Cara understood all of that - understood where Elijah was coming from. She'd been there, in his shoes and thinking the exact same thing. He wasn't even necessarily wrong. Maybe slightly pessimistic, but not wrong. That didn't mean that Cara had to like it. It was just the times. Percival said it hadn't always been like this, Cara thought, breaking her internal character for just a second. Just long enough to be a bit bitter and just a bit less like 'Cara the person who believes'. But the external mask, the one that Elijah had gotten to know, remained fixed. It didn't show the internal turmoil or the wanderers heart - it showed Cara the person who believes and sometimes that was just as much Cara as any other emotion was. The difference was, she'd promised her self she wasn't going to remember Mr. What's-His-Name and she hurriedly pushed any thought of him away with annoyance. The whole situation was fine without thoughts of anything other than what was in front of her. She considered what Elijah was saying, mostly just to think about what she might be able to stand. Something with a pickle was out. Not because she couldn't afford it (she did not think about the fact that she almost had enough money to buy the building itself), but because she wanted to have something as bland as possible. Why was food more expensive but also tasted better? It was the reverse of what she needed. "Club sandwich," she said, musing to herself. "Sounds like a good option." It sounded like the best she was going to get. She resisted the temptation of offering to buy something for Elijah again. She had a feeling if she got something simple that he would get something to match. Which was probably what he should be doing anyway. His pay was the same as hers, but he had more reason to save it. A family at home, his own needs, and less about spending time with a coworker. "You pick up a lot of interesting rumors," she said. But it was an off-hand comment. She was too busy getting that sandwich she'd been muttering about a second ago. It would do nothing to her - at least she could actually eat it - but the taste would be overwhelming and all for nothing. Everything down to the money she put forward would be a waste to feed her. But it might do for some other aspects.
“Interesting is a bit of an overstatement, I think,” Elijah laughed slightly, finally lightening up for the first time since Cara had offered to pay. It was as though all of the tension had just eased away now that he was aware of what she was ordering. It felt now, at least, that he could order one of the cheaper items on the menu for himself and Ruth without calling attention to how little he was paying in comparison to Cara. They were once again on even footing, which was really the only position in which Elijah felt comfortable. He had a feeling Cara understood that – it was entirely likely she had enough money and enough appetite to order something larger or more expensive, but she had held back. Why? For Elijah’s sake? Was it flattering himself to think so? He shook his head, hard. He was going to overthink it too much if he allowed himself the chance, and he really didn’t need that in the middle of a nice lunch that was supposed to be… well, relaxing wasn’t quite the right word, but it certainly was not supposed to be stressful. “I think I’ll be getting the club for myself as well,” Elijah murmured. “I’ll be getting pastrami for Ruth and Benjamin to split… I believe they both like it, and it’s probably more filling than anything they’ve had in a while.” He let the truth sit for a moment before flashing Cara another smile. “Thanks for suggesting we go somewhere. It’s nice to get out and not have to worry about asking Mother to cook or… y’know, seeing how far along she’s come with dinner when we get home, or even cooking dinner myself. This is far more pleasant, and the company is quite nice as well.” Was he rambling? He really did need to stop overthinking this before he drove himself made. He let a few moments pass again, giving his order to the waiter and turning back to look at Cara. It was so easy to be comfortable with her, despite having met her at work. He couldn’t quite place his finger on why, but he knew he wanted to keep talking. “What about you?” he asked, glancing up at her with gently probing curiosity. “Have you heard any interesting rumors lately? They come in all shapes and sizes, as I’m sure you’ve noticed in a city as large as this one. I usually try not to listen to the rumors, but sometimes they’re important. Sometimes they’re just so ridiculous you can’t avoid paying attention to them. They’re quite amusing, I find.” It had been an offhand comment, Elijah knew, but she had still said it. And rumors were as good a thing as any to discuss now. They… hadn’t really talked much before other than work related or family things. Elijah found himself wishing to get to know Cara a little bit better as a person. He could really do with some friends who had ties to him that were more than just the job he had that wasn’t likely to last as long as he needed it to.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jan 30, 2020 3:27:15 GMT -5
(Sorry for the fake out post, but apparently I can't mark this thread as 'new' if it's older than 28 days. I'll never be able to find it if I can't mark it new. @[email protected] You've seen my bookmarks.)
Post by mintedstar/fur on Feb 7, 2020 18:58:52 GMT -5
Gossip and rumors ... Cara honestly didn't think about those too often. But she would for Elijah, just to keep his attention. She slowly shifted her weight from one leg to the other and thought about what she had known and what she had picked up. "Nothing of particular interest. A couple things here and there; maybe a couple people pocketing a few items here and there ..." It was the way she said it, with a spark in her eyes, which greatly suggested this was going to lead up to something. Maybe even that she was trying to impress Elijah. She leaned forward just a little, saying softly, "There is one rumor though. Have you heard it?" She blinked a couple times, leaned back, and finally said, "A couple people that I talk to -" which she hadn't, but that was besides the point, "-have noticed a man around the fires that have been happening around town. And then later they see him near their neighborhood." This didn't seem to carry the same sort of gravity that might have been expected until she added, "And someone said they saw him jump two stories." It was supposedly a rumor. It didn't always sound exactly true or something more than a story from a board housewife. But the way that Cara said it made it seem much more exciting. She seemed amused by it, but not exactly like she believed it. "What about you? See any strange flying men lately?" Not 'flying', but the sentence still stood. It was entertaining. She took a bit of the food she had gotten, struggling to keep her expression straight even though she had prepared for the taste. Even still, she had to swallow a bit quickly. She coughed a bit, covering up for it. Inwardly, she was still thinking about what she had said. She didn't know what Elijah would think.
Elijah listened carefully to what Cara had to say. It wasn’t often he indulged his interest in gossip and the like, but he found it was a good exercise in getting to know Cara to recognize what rumors she listened to, or remembered. The sort of things that stuck in her mind. So he was interested to hear what rumors Cara paid the most attention to. When he heard, he wasn’t disappointed. They were the sort of spellbinding, shocking rumors that would enrapture almost anyone – the kind of things he had heard the newsboys turn into headlines sometimes when there was nothing actually interesting in the morning paper. However, it struck just a little too close to home, reminding him almost painfully of his encounter with Percival and Marcus. He had no interest in running into either of them again, but he had kept Percival’s address tucked into his pocket. In case he found anything else out. Did this count as something, or was this just a rumor? “Do you really think anyone’s actually responsible for the fires?” Elijah inquired, testing out the waters. It would be a lot simpler to believe that his family was safe and that all of the fires had been accidents, but he knew that wasn’t the case. Percival and Marcus knew that wasn’t the case, and it seemed that Cara even knew that someone had to have been starting them. Elijah winced at the idea. He found he didn’t like the idea of Cara getting tangled up in the fires like his own family had been. It had cost them too much to lose both Ruth’s school and his own way of earning money. “Two stories, huh?” He asked after a moment, trying to imagine it. “Not sure I quite believe in flying men, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was someone able to pull a stunt like that to convince people to look for something that can’t be tracked by humans.” The paranormal was a thing he didn’t give much thought to, but in this situation it made a lot of sense. If you didn’t want the police or reporters to come after you, make them believe you aren’t human. Then they’d spend so much time looking for the impossible that you could get away easily. People tended to believe almost anything they heard, after all. “It makes for one hell of a story, though,” Elijah conceded, taking another bite of the food he’d ordered. His eyes widened as Cara coughed, though there wasn’t much he could do. “You alright?” he asked, voice soft.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Mar 24, 2020 4:22:26 GMT -5
Cara recovered from the cough, not like it had been very serious to begin with, and nodded her head along to what Elijah had asked. "I'm fine," she confirmed. Which she was. She took a few seconds before taking another bite. It was easier now, since she was prepared for the strong flavor. She had to keep her expression neutral now, but the conversation helped. Now that she was on a bit firmer footing with the meals, she could answer. "I don't know," Cara admitted. "I don't have evidence on way or the other. But they all seem a bit more than random. It just seems ... too structured for something like faulty wiring. But then again, that's just me assuming from what I know the rumors. I don't make it a habit of hanging around fires." Sometimes a lie with a touch of truth mixed in made all the difference. Anyway, she didn't tend to like lying very much. "They might be accidents," she admitted. "But if that's the case, then there's a very interesting ghost running about." It was framed as a joke or a light brush off. But it was always nice to plant a little bit of ideas here and there where she could. Cara nodded along with what Elijah said. "Oh, probably. It's one really good stunt though. Never know what sort are about." She chewed on the last of the food, swallowing it mechanically, and asked, "That seemed a lot shorter than I thought it would. I hope I haven't taken up your time. I wouldn't want to if you had places to be." She didn't think that Elijah did, but it was the beginning of the line of conversation which signaled an ending to their visit.
Elijah finished his own food as he listened, his gaze not leaving Cara. He didn’t know if he believed in ghosts, let alone ghosts that could start fires, but perhaps Cara was on to something. Or perhaps it was just one more rumor going around about things that people had no idea how to handle. There was no reliable way to find out the truth other than by talking to those that were most involved. Distantly, Elijah wondered if he should contact Percival or Marcus. But he didn’t have information, he just wanted information, and given his reluctance to share when they had stopped by… he doubted they would give him any without some sort of price on it. “I suppose it’s unlikely that they all be accidents,” he admitted. “But I’ve known my fair share of pyromaniacs. It’s not altogether too difficult to believe there’s someone out there starting them because they think it’s fun.” The thought made Elijah sick, but it seemed likely. “Or maybe if there is someone, they’re trying to prove a point.” Guessing at the motives of an arsonist likely wasn’t going to get them anywhere, but it was still interesting to think about. Well… interesting to think about when he let himself forget for a moment how deeply this had impacted his life the past several months. “Nowhere to be,” he confirmed, even as he stood up and tidied up his place so it would be easier for the deli owner to clean. “It was great to run into you,” he added, offering Cara a smile. “It’s not often I get a chance to get anything to eat with… well, anyone.” He met her gaze, and his smile was genuine. “I owe you one for just getting me out of the apartment. If you’re free at some point in the near future I guess.. I wouldn’t mind saving up to do this again. My treat then.” Elijah wasn’t really used to the whole ‘having friends from work’ thing. The few friends he did have were people he ran into on a regular basis – people he had been friends with since childhood. They certainly weren’t ever anything like Cara. “Oh,” he said suddenly, turning back to look at her. “If you hear anything else about the fires… well, I think any solution would bring my family a little peace. I’d love to hear anything you hear, even if it makes no sense at all.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Apr 30, 2020 20:49:13 GMT -5
"Deal," said Cara, sounding almost amused enough to laugh. She and Elijah parted ways. Or at least they seemed to. Elijah went his way and Cara went hers, wandering back in a direction which seemed to lead the way where she might make her home. It really wasn't an issue to circle back however. He knew Percival and Marcus. That worried her, a lot. She pushed the thoughts away though. It shouldn't have been an issue if he hadn't seemed so interested when she'd started talking to him about something other than work. He didn't know ... he didn't know enough, but he knew just enough that she didn't have qualms following him home. She arrived almost a half hour after he did, hanging blocks and blocks back - sometimes when she knew she could get away with it she didn't even stick with human form. By this time, it was night. There wasn't a way to stretch or fold it into something else. The sun had gone down. Cara ended up finding it easier to move around, and quicker, when she was human. Sometimes it was riskier being something else. Mist-form was too slow, bat too small. This was really the only way to get around both unnoticed and with some semblance of safety. Elijah's dwelling - she wasn't sure he and his family actually took up the whole building, not with the money Elijah made - was shabby. But it was also easy to jump up the neighboring one quietly and without being seen. She needed to find a window. And she needed to wait. Better to see what was going on then to rush in. Hunger rumbled in her chest, but also fear. Always fear. And cold. The cold was growing just a bit stronger.
Elijah was, from experience, very cautious. He knew that there were too many people who didn’t much care if a kid and his family survived in this city, and so he made sure he was paying attention to his surroundings, doing his job well, making sure not to get caught up in anything he couldn’t control. However, he’d already failed two out of three steps. If he had been a little more aware of his surroundings, he may have noticed Cara following. Maybe. And he’d already gotten involved in the dirty business of the fires, whether he liked it or not. He just hoped he had been discreet enough to keep his family out of danger. After his meeting with Cara, he hurried home, trying to make sure he had time to make Ruth and Benjamin food. Who knew what sort of shape his mother would be in, but he needed to worry about his siblings first. Perhaps he shouldn’t have stayed with Cara for as long as he had, but it had been so long since he’d allowed himself friendly conversation with anyone outside of his family. Benjamin and Ruth were everything to him. He couldn’t risk their safety by spending too much time making friends at work that could easily just use what they learned about him to sell him out or get him fired with the hopes that they themselves would get a raise. There were no unions allowed, not in any capacity that would do Elijah any good. By the time Cara arrived at his building, he had already served dinner to his siblings, and was tucking Benjamin into bed. After a few minutes, he retreated back to his own room – scarcely a room, really. They couldn’t afford anything with four distinct bedrooms, but Elijah had claimed a little alcove with some semblance of privacy, where he could keep a light on to work late into the night if he needed to. Recently, he had. He made a point of reading the paper every day, getting to know as much as he could know about what was going on around him. Of course, there were sensationalized stories, but… some news was better than no news. And now he was looking for any reports of fires. Anything he could tell Percival or Marcus, because… well, because it seemed important now. If even Cara had mentioned it… perhaps it would protect his family better if Elijah actively tried to help. So far, though, he had found nothing.
Post by mintedstar/fur on May 22, 2020 0:02:47 GMT -5
He was staying up late. Cara had managed to get into a position where she could smell and hear a bit better what was going on in the building. There wasn't many ways to see what was going on, but this was suitable enough that she could stand to stay where she was. Hum. There were options here, she knew. She wasn't sure. Should she target him specifically, or his younger brother. If it was the brother, maybe he would be distracted taking care of him. It might be kinder to Elijah himself. But it seemed unlikely that it would really help matters much. There was more direct matters that had to be taken care of and all those matters revolved around Elijah. So it was him who needed to be targeted. What, after all, he knew more than he thought he knew? The wrong word to the wrong person and he might just end up ruining everything. No. She had to make sure that he was thrown off. She had to make sure that he didn't end up with enough energy to snoop around. But that meant waiting until he actually went to sleep, or at least wasn't as aware of his surroundings. She couldn't hypnotize anyone who was completely awake, nor did she think she wanted to take that risk. After all, she needed to make sure that he assumed any interactions she had were a dream or that he never noticed her at all. It took a while. He seemed intent to read every single scrap of a newspaper. It took a while to shift into a position where she could wait, and then it was a job to stay awake. After all, she was pretending to be human and that meant that she should have been going to bed like one. Finally, though, Elijah seemed to finish. Cara slowly stood and crept along the top of the rooftop, her shoes making no noise. It was only when she could hop forward, onto an uneven ledge below a window, that she started to put herself at risk of being seen. She pressed herself against the brick and one of her hands to the glass. Her eyes were reflective as she looked through the glass. If he was asleep, she'd go in. If not, she'd wait until he saw the eyes. There would be little chance he'd actually be able to make out her face, outside of the eyes themself.
Elijah was used to functioning on not enough sleep. He was used to getting by without a full night’s sleep, and there were things he considered more important. Working and getting to work on time so he could support his family. Making meals so they could eat, spending time with them. And then, when everyone else was asleep, taking a few hours for himself, gathering every bit of news he could. If there were better job offers in the paper, he would note them and perhaps apply. But those were becoming few and far between. The job he had was good enough, and the company, he noted, wasn’t bad either. But that wasn’t his primary focus that night. After finding nothing of use, Elijah blew out his candle, plunging the apartment into complete darkness. He was grateful that Benjamin had learned to sleep with the candle on, it made things much easier on Elijah. And Benjamin said he thought the candle kept the monsters away, so who was Elijah to argue? Smiling softly to himself, he settled into his bed, pulling the thin blanket over himself. It wouldn’t be enough to keep warm in the winter months, but fortunately those were a ways off. Elijah had enough time to earn enough for a new blanket. He didn’t look out the window, didn’t notice Cara sitting there. If he had, he likely wouldn’t have recognized that it was her. Friendly colleagues didn’t tend to have glowing eyes. Sleep came quickly to the boy, likely a result of too many late nights in a row. He wasn’t troubled, yet. No more than anyone else was, at least. He was doing the best for his family, and his mother was getting better, not worse. Despite the threat of the fires, Elijah didn’t actually believe his family would be targeted. And if anyone was, it would be him. He could deal with that. He couldn’t deal with anyone going after his siblings. That thought comfortably in his mind, he drifted off, remaining motionless in the bed. A perfect target. If he had known what was coming, if he had known how his family would get mixed up in it, he may have looked out the window. He may have tried to prevent it. But the future was unknowable, and Elijah was blessedly ignorant. That ignorance was going to last, though he didn’t know it yet. Though it would have been better to have the whole story. And life was going to get a lot more complex than a job in a factory for Elijah Liebel.
Post by mintedstar/fur on May 29, 2020 4:20:16 GMT -5
Cara could kill him. It would have been easy. But she couldn't. She wasn't sure if it was some slanted loyalty to life or if she just suspected that someone would know if a dead body appeared. That they would know it was her fault. But this was the best she could do when she was alone. It was the best she could do when she was trying to keep herself safe. She needed Elijah out of the picture, but not dead. If he was dead, then there would be too much attention. There was the softest of sighs as Cara slipped into the room, her form drifting in and out of mist like switching the consistency and atomic makeup of her being was as easy as thinking. That was what it had become. This wasn't easy. It took a bit of checking of Elijah's heartbeat to ensure he was asleep before Cara could confidently approach. She wasn't the best when it came to this sort of thing and not least to say she wasn't adept at something which could so easily take a life. But she was quiet, slipping into a place among the shadows of the room like she was made for them. There were monsters when the candles were out. And the only sign that she was there now that the world was dark was the reflective glow to her eyes and the glint of light of a set of fangs as she leaned over Elijah. The only evidence she would leave for him would be the faintest imprint of a bite and bad dreams. Tomorrow, he might not even make it to work. She would be impressed if he did. But he could have tomorrow; tonight was hers.
When Elijah woke up he felt… woozy, for starters. The dreams that had plagued his sleep – worse than the usual nightmares – thudded at the base of his skull, not quite dissipating into the morning light. The light seemed brighter than normal, piercing painfully through Elijah’s eyelids. He’d slept later than he usually slept, he realized as he heard voices out on the street. Normally, he tried to be up before the morning crowd. It meant he could check on Ben and Ruth before heading off to work. He was used to functioning on little to no sleep. It seemed that it had finally caught up with his body. And his head, which was still swimming. Standing up was a challenge, and he had to hold onto the wall to clear the spots that spread across his vision. That wasn’t good. That wasn’t good at all. He still had time to make it to work, if he hurried. He couldn’t lose this job, not when he had a family to support. There was no time for coffee, and they were already running low on the dirt-cheap brew he’d picked up the last time he’d had a little extra money. He’d just have to go in like this, although he was half convinced he wouldn’t even make it to the factory without keeling over. “’Morning, Ruthie,” he murmured, ruffling his sister’s hair on his way out the door. “You study hard today, okay?” --- Ben watched Elijah leave, the dazed look in his brother’s eyes leaving a bad taste in his mouth. As soon as Elijah was out the door, he raced to his brother’s room and scavenged around the desk, in the trash can, even in the pockets of Elijah’s dirty laundry before he found what he was looking for: the paper Percival and Marcus had left. He was going to see them… if something came up. Even if nothing came up. Something told him that was the best thing he could do, the best way he could protect his family. Elijah wouldn’t let him find work – not yet, anyway – and he wanted to help. Even if it meant helping out a couple of strangers.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jun 26, 2020 3:25:26 GMT -5
There had to be fire. It came later that day, kicking up maybe three blocks away from Elijah's house. The smoke could be seen from the street. There had to be fire, and once again a tall, slim figure wasn't standing too far away. A pen was perched in his hand, scribbling notes down onto a pad of paper as he looked up at the flames. His expression was grim as he looked up at the fire light. Not a lot of buildings around here were empty. This one had been, likely purposely, been picked out because all the residents were at work during this time. It was a risk that could still go very badly. Percival looked at the distance between the houses. They were too close. Trying to fit as much square foot amount of people into an area as possible. It wasn't good. "This is going to get someone killed," he muttered to himself. Marcus, at least, was too far away to hear and Percival didn't bother mentally projecting it. Stupid. All of this felt so ... stupid. He needed ... He didn't know what he needed other than to work out a way to help without getting anyone killed. He looked out of the corner of his eyes in the direction of where Elijah's house was. He wondered if the boy could see. He wondered if he knew more than he thought he did.
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Dark Sun: Great StarClan I hate hangnails...
Sept 18, 2021 22:57:46 GMT -5
Dark Sun: I had just gotten cozy in bed and it forced me to walk all the way upstairs just to trim it off, and then back down again.
Sept 18, 2021 22:58:35 GMT -5
✿𝔇𝙖𝙬𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧✿: i hate hangnails
Sept 18, 2021 23:02:33 GMT -5
✿𝔇𝙖𝙬𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧✿: One time I had one and it pealed off some skin
Sept 18, 2021 23:03:37 GMT -5
✿𝔇𝙖𝙬𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧✿: IT HURT SO BAD
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