Logs:2020 Blaze of Gory

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2020 Blaze of Gory


Characters: ST: Lysander, Players: Buster, Phoebe and Tris
Date: 2020-01-01
Summary: Chubby's Cabaret gets a New Year's makeover in blood and burning.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Soundtrack: Tom Morello's Every Step That I Take
From the time I was born
Through all of my days
Try to catch my breath
Out of the womb and into the flames
Searching for the neon path
I've been waiting my whole life
In the crossfire, yeah
I've been hiding my whole life
In the crossfire, yeah the crossfire
RiverOfBlood.gif

It's late. The New Year has begun. Lysander, for whatever reason, had places to be besides his brand new business (such as it is) - which is closed on one of the busiest nights of the year. The windows are blacked out, so it might look like a good place to hide from the terrifying sparkling lights that get set off above the Quarter every New Year's Eve.

--

Buster, on the other hand, is there. He has nowhere else to hang out. But he's... shed his shoes and socks and his shirt, and his eyes have gone all... beady and black, and his fingers have elongated into sharp claws as he climbs the ceiling to stash an emergency supply of money and blow up inside the ceiling tiles, where it's highly unlikely to be discovered, even after renovations. He's whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith Show while he works.

--

"Monsieur, I'm not sure, when I was asking for employment, that--I am not sure, oh. Oh my." Phoebe appears, being not quite brusquely dragged along by a gentleman. "This is--perhaps a secretary, or an--mon Dieu." This is when she realizes where, exactly, she is.

--

Every Lost has bad days. Sometimes they're less than a day. This is just a bad night for Tris. It's why he's out running. Normally, the dogs would be with him, but the dogs are away at doggie school, so it's just Tris in his sneakers, gym shorts (still designer) and tee-shirt. The speed of a regular run just isn't doing it for him, so with the appropriate stories told to the air and the requisite jumps, the Beast leaps and runs as though he were trying to impress the wind (and really, he is), only to stop short when the blacked out windows of the place he's only just been reminded of the existence of come into view and it's not at all long before he's inviting himself within with a call of, "Buster? You in here? It's Tris."

--

"Shit." Buster breathes, under his breath. He goes stock-still on the office ceiling, hoping like hell nobody walks in and looks up. Though eventually he winces when he hears Tris... he told Tris he was half-owner of the place, didn't he. He finally calls out, "...I'm in the office, Tris!" He stays still though... and he's still spider-manning on the ceiling.

--

The man who dragged Phoebe in will be familiar to Buster, if not to anyone else: Chubby. As in, the guy who was high off his ass when Lysander, Axle, and Buster stuffed him full of Narcan and woke his ass up and essentially forced him to sign away Chubby's Cabaret. He was loitering outside getting his courage up when Phoebe approached him - and asked for a job. Chubby is the seediest, filthiest, greasiest fellow in existence, and the fireworks are just a nice cover for what he has in mind tonight - and thus he grabbed Phoebe and manhandled her into the Cabaret with, "Sure, sugartits, I'll give ya a job!" And now he's got Phoebe by the arm, and the other hand is in his jacket - despite the chill it's too warm for jackets - and he's looking around the place with a slightly predatory expression.

Chubby jumps a mile when Tris sticks his head in, "Gah!" And that'll be when he lets go of Phoebe and whips around to point a shaking gun at Tris. "Back off, buddy! This is my place! HEY BUSTER! Come out nice and slow or I'll shoot your friend's pretty fucking face off!" Poor Tris does not need more damage to his face.

--

Phoebe staggers back, wide eyed, rubbing her arm with a pained wince. When she sees the gun in Chubby's hand, she moves forward cautiously. "Monsieur, let us sit down. We can sit down and speak."

--

Summer is the season of wrath. It may be the breath of Winter breathing on New Orleans on the whole now, but around Tris the heat blazes as soon as his dark eyes fall on Phoebe and the man holding her. Though Chubby probably can't appreciate the way gold and silver glimmer along Tris' scars, they gleam dimly in the light. Maybe Chubby can't even appreciate that the heat intensifies as the Crimson courtier rocks forward a step, appearing to grow in stature and wrath, and, oh yeah, is engulfed by flame. Perhaps what Chubby might be able to appreciate is the fact that Tris doesn't look the least galled by the wave of the gun and the feral growl that thrums in his throat is a warning, though not really an attempt to intimidate; he doesn't really want the man to run or piss himself. "Let her go."

--

Hearing the ruckus outside, Buster drops to the floor, neatly, and then starts to walk through the door -- "What the f--" Then Tris bursts into flame and Buster opens his mouth, fangs out, and makes this noise while backing off half a step because Tris just burst into fucking FLAMES -- but then he snaps his mouth shut, turns and stares at Chubby, and he suddenly LUNGES -- there's a flash of the razor-sharp claws at the ends of his fingers, as the Gangrel pounces at Chubby, gun be damned. The scream coming out of his throat is not. Human.

--

This would be when Phoebe screams. And when, improbably, the brambles of the Hedge itself come to her call. Thorned brambles erupt from the floor around her, sprawling out for yards as she cowers in terror.

--

Even as those supernatural thorns and brambles sprout up around Buster, tearing at him and leeching the vitae out of his body, the Gangrel has one thought on his mind. There is an INTRUDER, and the Gangrel is currently restraining his Beast -- and he just digs his hand into Chubby's side and rips a chunk out of the guy like it was goddamn play-doh, murder in his eyes.

--

Chubby screams like he's dying - which he is - when Buster whips out of nowhere to attack him even as supernatural thorns and brambles tear out of the ground around him. He whirls and points the gun right at the vampire, and the trigger gets pulled practically by accident. "GAAH!" he's screaming, eyes wild with the horror of what's happening here - none of it makes sense, and something just tried to rip out his guts. He just shot the monster - and the bullets aren't doing a damn thing.

--

For the newly Returned Lost, there are many hazards. Tris is not new but he's not that long Returned either. This means there are a number of things that he simply doesn't even know how to react to and the Beast in him is already unleashed in want of the kill. Fuck the way the weeds all around steal his power, fuck the fact that he's bringing the flames that wreath him in righteous wrath closer to a vampire (he really doesn't know any better, sorry, Buster), he's coming for Chubby.

Throat shots are cheap and dirty moves, but that's how Tris rolls, and this time it's with a flaming hand that might normally seem much too soft to be lethal but does a fine job here of slamming the man's Adam's Apple with force enough to draw blood on the flesh, however that even works.

--

Phoebe is doing what she wants to do best. Hiding. Unfortunately for Phoebe, what she actually does best is glow. So she does that, while cowering in the middle of brambles.

--

As Chubby is making disturbing, horrifying sounds through his crushed, slightly crisped throat, swaying in place and preparing to fall, the two people who didn't just punch someone in the throat will notice... things. The Cabaret is red. Very, very red. The wall behind the stage? Also red. And running. With blood. Which the vampire of the pair would no doubt recognize by the mere scent of it, never mind the sight and thickness of it, as vitae. Something red is literally flowing over the red wallpaper, down onto the stage, and washing towards the scuffle in a flood of oddly cloying and compelling blood.

--

Buster is just about to rip Chubby's throat out. "He came in with a gun, you two defended yourselves, and then I came in and killed him, you stick with that story if anybody comes and asks either of you, this is on me--" Then he looks up, and breathes, "Fuck." A tense, fevered glance to Tris. "Would you put that shit out--"

Then he turns, and flexes his claws, making that same hideous, keening screech at the oncoming mass of blood that he made when this whole shitshow began.

--

This is serious business. There's a gun. There's a damsel in distress. There's a vampire in close proximity to fire. No one could possibly argue that this is not some serious shit. The Summer was in his element though (literally), surrounded by flames, protecting a member of his freehold, laying the hurt on the one that manhandled her and threatened him and another new friend. It was all going according to plan until that throat shot which brought his hands into view. "Holy shit!" It's just possible that Tris didn't realize he was burning until that very moment and stands transfixed watching the flames dance around his glowing scars, magnifying them and turning them into mottled rainbows all across his forearms and down his legs. "Holy shit." Needless to say, Tris is unaware of the incoming blood, unaware possibly even of what Buster says to glowing woman in the weeds, oh and was that to him, too? Obviously, the flames don't go anywhere while he's staring wide-eyed at them. It's a good time to be delighted by magic in a way one generally is not as a Lost. It's the little things in life, isn't it?

--

Phoebe sees the blood on the floor. Phoebe does not like the blood on the floor. "No, no, no," she says, scrabbling backwards. The brambles, strangely enough, move with her. "Why is there blood?!" she shrieks.

--

The blood glides, flows, forms a shape that's almost coherent before it's flowing apart... and oozing smoothly through the vines. It's passing Buster and heading for Chubby. It's going slowly enough that the vines don't seem to be problematic for it - it hasslowed down considerably since it entered them.

--

Whatever that back and forth between Buster and that oncoming wash of blood is, that screech peters out in Buster's throat, and he begins to pant hard. He waves his hand at the two changelings. "Leave." He says, waving his arm at them, "FUCKING LEAVE" -- And then, finally, overwhelmed by it all, his eyes glaze and he crawls up the wall and away from Tris, trying to get the fuck away. And Buster can climb every bit as fast as he can run.

--

Something should penetrate Tris' fascination with his own hand his own light. He has to know he's still in danger, but there's just something about the play of the flames, the fact that they're not hurting him that means he continues to marvel at them, heedless of that danger, heedless (in this moment) of the words that he probably heard, but haven't penetrated yet.

--

Seeing the blood do its own thing is enough for Phoebe. She just screams, huddling in a ball and waiting for the nightmare to end.

That's how things work for the Lost, right? If you wait long enough, it will go away.

--

The blood has just one thing to do: flow over the side of Chubby's fallen body and into his mouth. It's going. It's going. It's fucking still going. There's an awful fucking lot of it - and it's going into Chubby, and he's beginning to bloat up from the inside. Which leaves the room... mostly bloodless, except for what was spilled in the process of potentially murdering Chubby.

--

"Oh shit," is Tris' realization of what's going on beyond the flames of his hands. His eyes dart, and then he shouts, "Phoebe, get the hell out!" Then there's a fast scan for Buster.

--

Buster is so gone. The thing infesting Chubby, however, appears to be killing him - no one can survive bloating to that level, surely. The body spasms violently. Blood leaks from the corner of his mouth - and then gets sucked back in. There's no sign of the blood-monster except the bloating of Chubby's belly.

--

The blood has gone somewhere else. No blood here. We're good here. So Phoebe drops the brambles, and as they decay into spirals of silk that disintegrate in the breeze, she sees... a very chubby Chubby. Her eyes widen. Doesn't take Tris' shout to get her to run. The changeling beats feet, and she is quickly gone.

--

There is no sign of Buster, but outside, about a block away, there's a yapping Dachshund and a crunch and a gurgle in the darkness on top of a building. Buster pounced on his prey from above and dragged her five stories straight up to drink her dry.

--

The shouting to Phoebe isn't the only shouting that Tris does. As soon as Phoebe is on the move and it's plain her aim is 'out,' the Crimson Courtier is swearing fiercely to the sky, flames dancing across those arms as scars gleam in their wild rainbow dance, acting in vengeance of a friend as he calls all the hatred and misery from this piece of shit world that just entered a new fucking year with the same damned problems.

In answer to his fierce call, his skin splits and wrath flows from within as well as glowing in the flames without. A blood-red aura engulfs the Changeling and no amount of force save unconsciousness or a complete lack of any target left to attack will stop him from unleashing that rage on Chubby or the source of the blood. Whichever happens to breathe or not breathe in his vicinity. He lunges for the bloating body, flames, lethal hands and all. Die, Chubby, die!

--

The corpse's bloating body literally explodes, and for a moment, there is blood everywhere. The blood collects itself, however, pooling back in around Chubby's absolutely destroyed body, and then begins to flow rapidly away from Tris and his flames, which haven't touched it yet - but the heat is palpable, without Chubby in the way. Full retreat, back towards the stage it goes, flowing along the ground like it knows exactly what's happening.

--

Phoebe is gone.

--

Up on the rooftop, Buster's head begins to clear. He looks down at the corpse of the woman he's holding, her throat ripped out. He hears the barking dog. The woman's phone rings, and impulsively, Buster reaches down to answer it. "Mom, where are you? Did you find Sprinkles?" He hangs up. "Fuck." He heads back to the one place he CAN head right now, which is back toward Chubby's. His eyes are wide, alert, overstimulated, and he's alternately about to flinch and pounce at any shadow. He's dragging the body with him.

--

Theoretically, a Changeling in the throes of Red Revenge with everything it entails could act in an intelligent way, but Tris embraces his bestial nature, the unthinking, unyielding, goal-focused hunter his Keeper transformed him into (among so many other things), and gives chase to the retreating puddle. If he can reach it, with his crazy speed, there will be fire stomping, oh yes.

--

The murder-monster that is the blazing fury of summer is going after a literal sentient puddle of blood - which, well, the moment Tris stomps down on it with the full force of his fire, the blood gives up trying to get to its favorite bolt hole and simply melts through the nauseatingly red carpet and out of sight into the floor. It's gone, and the room has gone still, leaving no one left for the Summer warrior to fight.

--

Phoebe is still gone. Farther and farther away with every moment.

--

There's panting moments after the blood is gone, they're ugly moments of more mundane rage as yet unspent but pacing hither, yon, and, well, going back to stomp on the gushy bits of the exploded body do a bit for bleeding what remains as slowly the cracks in his skin close, the fire gutters and goes out. He's left, bloodied (not his own), standing in a pile of gore. It's only as he looks at what is left of Chubby, around at the place that is co-owned by his friend and the scorch marks he left in the ugly red carpet that he staggers and drops to his knees. That's going to make the trip home better, of course. At least he can be fast getting there, and so he runs.

--

After everything that's gone down, even with the spooky blood monster under the stage -- that apparently is drawn either to ghouls or open wounds -- Buster has come back to the office. Given that the place is going to be renovated, standing there, bare-chested, wild-eyed and covered in gore. "Okay. Okay. You can think this out, you're a thinking fucking creature. I need a hacksaw, and a bunch of hefty bags, and some garden bricks for weight."

--

It can't be more than 15 minutes before Buster's phone rings. If Tris is in his contact list already, then that's who pops up whether he's labeled Tris or Comfort Abs. "Buster?" The voice is immediate if the call is answered. "You okay, man?"

--

Is he okay. Is he okay? Buster's voice is rough, on the frantic edge of something. "YOU LIT YOURSELF ON FIRE. NEVER FUCKING DO THAT!" He paces back and forth. "This happens. Oh, this is a fucking mess, I'm gonna owe some Boons over this one, if I was in Baton Rouge he would've been on this like stink on shit but I threw his ass in the swamp and he's fucking GONE-- okay, okay, I'm in control here. Happens all the time. I'm fine, why?"

--

Tris' voice manages calm, it manages soothing even. Perhaps it's really just that he seems in control of himself and that might help the vampire in some small way. "The fire was unexpected." The rest... "It is a mess. We've got this." See? We. He's not dumping it all on his new friend even if Chubby's is his business. "Do you need me to come back?" Does Buster want the burning man back in the building?

--

"Where the fuck else am I gonna go." Buster says, laughing, on edge. "I can't exactly bundle this bitch in the passenger seat of the car and take her someplace else," He says, "It's fine, there's no sign of it right now." He looks around, and then says, "And I'd know."

--

There's a distinct pause and then a soft, "Hey," like this is the lifeline. "You can come back to my place. You need somewhere without sunlight, right?" That might be another picked it up in the media idea. "There's a finished basement. Or you can have the keys to my apartment. It's empty, but the master bath and the adjoining master closet which is as big as a bedroom have no windows." The added advantage is that the apartment, unlike the house, is empty. Only then does Tris ask, casually, "What bitch?"

--

"...When things go really wrong, the Beast won't stop until it's killed, or destroyed, or done SOMETHING," Buster replies. "I don't know who she was." There's barking from another room. "She was out looking for her dog. By the time I could think again--" He'd drained her dry.

--

There's a pause, but it doesn't stretch. Tris' response is simple, "Sometimes what we are made into gets the better of us and people die." Nevermind that they are two different things; there's more than a little overlap. "You don't have a lot of time before sunrise." It was after midnight when all this started after all. "What do you have to do before you can come to my place?" In other words, what can't wait?

--

"I have to get rid of the bodies." Buster says, "I have to. I have to warn Lysander about what happened here. Fuck, I'm glad I buried the Dragonslayer in that swamp--" He seems like an animal that's wild and on edge, liable to snap again at any moment.

--

"Is anyone coming in there tomorrow? It's New Years Day. Can't you lock it up, deal with it when there's a whole stretch of night laid out?" Who likes day old gore? No one. This, however, is not on the forefront of Tris' mind just now.

--

Buster isn't really thinking ahead like that right now. "Someone might come looking--" He says, before he shakes his head. "I have to --" He says, "If you don't put a lid on this shit--" Not that it hasn't gone all sorts of fucking crazy right now. He shakes his head, and then says, "Fuck, fuck..." He doesn't seem distraught, just tense like a wire.

--

"Do we need a car?" Tris' simple question has a wide variety of implications.

--

"A burner." Buster says.

--

Tris is probably checking the clock. "Buster, there's not enough time to get this all done before sunrise unless you're a hell of a lot faster than I give you credit for." But what to do. "I'm on my way back. I can't get us a burner." It's not in his skill set.

--

"All I need is some dirt and I'll be fine for the day." Buster says, before he says, "I--I know I don't have time." He exhales. "This is fine, this is fine... I can call the court's cleaners and owe a Boon, that's what they're for." But he doesn't want to pay off the Triumvirate if he doesn't have to.

--

"Is that bad? Owing a Boon?" Tris asks, his voice uncertain. "I still think you should come crash at my place. One of my places. If that other thing comes around..." The frown is audible in his voice.

--

Buster shakes his head. "I--fine. Okay." He closes his eyes. "Okay. Just--come and get me." He's a mess, exhausted and most definately on edge, like a wild animal backed into a corner.

--

"I'm just about outside. I'm on foot." Tris hesitates before asking, "Can you get us wheels? I'm fast enough to get home, but..." The two of them? Covered in gore? Even on a night as full of drunkards as New Year's Eve is bound to be, they might get noticed. "A motorcycle would probably be best." Maybe they'll luck out and some drunk idiot will have left his keys in the ignition.

--

Buster closes his eyes. "Yeah, I can get us a car." It's as easy as mugging someone and taking their wheels. Not hard at all. "...Tris--" He says, "Thank you. The come-down from things like this? It's a little wild. But please, for the love of God, don't do that again. Okay?"

--

"Motorcycle," Tris tries again, "Easier to wreck." It might be readily lost among the DUI wrecks from tonight after all. "I'm not... I'm not great either. The fire... that's never happened before. Let's just get the hell out of here. Remember to lock the door behind you."

--

"Just--just let me leave Lysander a message." Buster says. And he does. 'Bad shit at the place. Stay away from it for RN.' Motorcycle. OK. He can just push someone off and steal that.

--

And just like that, they're heading home. Tris' home. Won't this be a fun story to tell?