The Key and the Gate


"Zani getting out of this house is the least of our worries we need to get out of town!" Becca exclaimed in a low voice as her friend pointed out the obvious difficulties in them getting around now that at least one of them was a wanted fugitive "...we can't stay in some random guys house forever, no matter how nice he is...its only a matter of time until either the police or...they...track us down" Becca finished with a haunted look on her face as she recalled the cold, emotionless eyes staring at her as they beat her. They wouldn’t take her again, she wouldn’t let them. She’d sooner die than fall into their clutches again!
However before either of them were able to continue their whispered discussion any further Jonathan gave them the all clear with Becca gratefully to leaving the confines of the utility room. Becca liked Zani but she didn't like her enough to share such a tiny space with her for any length of time, with the confines of the room forcing them to get far closer than she wanted to.

After writing down a detailed list, they would bid Jonathan goodbye as he departed to retrieve his car from wherever he'd left it, before then hopefully returning with some clean clothes for the pair of them. Wanted posters or not they couldn't go out in public in their current state especially seeing as Zani had lost her blood stained blouse at some point during the night and was wearing only her vest; though Jonathan had been gentlemanly enough not to stare...or at least not overtly.

With the blinds drawn so as to hide them from any passers by, the pair of them were able to peruse the internet along with Jonathan’s library of books and films at their leisure. With Rebecca, despite her lack of glasses settling down with a sci-fi novel she’d found; hoping to lose herself in a fantasy world and forget that she was not only homeless but being hunted down for something that she hadn’t even done.
Zani may be relieved that she was on the road to recovery but it felt very shaky to Becca; with the blonde fearing that she was nowhere near as strong as Zani believed she was and that she was in very real danger of losing her mind entirely.

It had been during the cab ride to the bar that Jonathan had learnt exactly how wanted his new house guests were with the news not only mentioning a miss Zani Koshi Nosha and the grisly murder she had carried out in a nearby hotel, but also a Rebecca Miller, whom the police wished to speak to regarding their enquiries.

Finding his truck parked exactly where he had left it Jonathan would have no problems in driving into town and parking up so as to perform his errands. Although he did receive a few funny looks as he brought his selection of women’s clothing to the counter, though nothing that he couldn’t explain away with a quick story and a charming smile.

It had been as he was walking out of one store with his recently purchased women’s underwear; a middle aged shop assistant having taken pity on him as he’d stood within the lingerie aisle and helped him out. That he got the feeling that he was being watched. Unable to find the source of this feeling Jonathan did his best to ignore it as he worked his way down the list he’d been given, Not that it didn’t stop him from peering into the reflection of every shop window he passed in the hope of catching a glimpse of his mystery pursuer.

It wasn’t long after Story times conclusion that things took a turn for the worse for the pair of them as they were plagued with a series of minor accidents such as Boris managing to break one of the plates he’d used for breakfast, with the mercenary being clueless as to how he’d managed to perform such a feat and Cynthia burning herself with the hot tap as she washed her hands. There was also an oppressive air to the place, as if something was very wrong with the world, and it weighed heavily upon the two occupants adding to their current discontent.

The whole situation came to a head when Boris inadvertently slipped whilst demonstrating a manoeuvre and had wrenched Cynthia’s arm in the wrong direction causing the girl to give a cry of pain before delivering a stinging slap to the mercenaries face; Grabbing her shoes from where they lay, she then stormed out of the apartment without even pausing to put them on.

Boris didn’t know what had gone wrong; he’d performed that same throw countless times without messing it up so why had it happened this time?
It was as this thought was running through his mind that he noticed that the package he’d been given by Jimmy was no longer within the safe where he’d left it but back on the coffee table once again.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
It wasn't that Zani didn't want to admit Rebecca was right, that they needed to skip town, not just lay low, it was that there had to be a tactical reason to stay...or at least, that's what she was telling herself. She didn't want to leave, she had a good life here that she refused to let one bad night ruin. Although...she didn't know if she had much of a choice, all things considered. Her friend's argument that it was only a matter of time before someone found them was fairly convincing, much to her consternation. She'd either need to come up with a reason not to skip town or accept it before too long, and she didn't know if she'd have a good enough reason. Jonathan left fairly quick after his friend departed, promising to get some clothes for them. It was only then that Zani realized she'd lost her in the world had she not realized that before? Of course, she'd had bigger things to worry about at the time, but still...that wasn't something she could afford to just not pay attention to. The two of them were left to their own devices, with Zani's original idea to look up the weird organization that had attacked them being shot down by her paranoid side, which told her if they were watching Google somehow, it'd just give them an in. Instead, she found herself reading the rituals the artist had passed along to her, marveling specifically at the one that supposedly would take the user to the dream realm that she seemed to be able to visit at times without help. After a time, she couldn't take it anymore, and got Rebecca's attention. "Hey, I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but...take a look at this...the artist died giving me these, figured they might have a clue, but...all that're inside are these rituals about the dream world he and I both seemed to be able to access." Zani snorted. "Not like I believe it, necessarily, but it's at least worth a shot, right? I'm thinking I'll try the one that would take me there...I'm feeling like a nap anyway, so if it works I get to explore the place, and if it doesn't, I still get to nap. Would you mind watching just to make sure nothing weird happens? Again, I don't think it'll do anything necessarily, but with my background, and all the crap that's happened the last couple days, I'm not willing to pass up a potential opportunity to learn more." She smiled over at her friend. "What do you say, willing to help?"


"Um...ok...sure, I guess" Rebecca responded, sounding thoroughly unconvinced by her friends suggestion that they use Magic. However with no better plan of her own and lacking the energy to resist she agreed to help.
Following Zani upstairs to the bedroom, Becca would patiently wait as her friend got ready for bed before then performing the ritual within the notebook. Which like most of the rituals mainly consisted of chanting the Sioux language and burning a kind of homemade incense consisting of fairly basic household herbs and spices. A tiny voice in her mind telling her that neither the words nor the incense were strictly necessary for the ritual to work but merely helped to focus the mind in the right direction "I'll wake you up in twenty minutes...or if something weird happens" Becca said as she settled herself down in a chair with her book.
Despite the strangeness of the situation and what she was truing to achieve Zani would eventually find herself drifting off to sleep.

Birds sang within the lush, verdant forest that seemed alive with tiny birds and animals as tiny insects flew in amongst the wildflowers; many of which she didn't even recognise. Like every other time she'd visited the forest Zani would find herself in exactly the same state of dress as she'd fallen to sleep; not that there was anyone to see her anyway.
Meanwhile high above treeline she could see the top of the tower that had sent her down the path that had resulted in a man's death and her run from the law and forces unknown. It looked to be only a short distance away and with trails criss crossing the forest it shouldn't prove too difficult to find her way there and within the time limit Becca had set her.
Looking up at the tower she'd once again get the feeling that someone or something was looking down at her from the single high, square window. Not that she could actually see anything up there, but the feeling was there all the same.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Rebecca had been skeptical to a fault, though that was hardly surprising. It wasn't as though Zani would have been any less unwilling to believe it was possible if they'd reversed events. Still, she wanted to try...if it worked she might be able to figure out a little more about why all this was happening to her, why the artist had been killed...because if it turned out there was nothing to this ritual she'd be well and truly out of ideas as far as why all this had happened to her. After all, they'd gone to such lengths to cause these events to her, there had to be a one was that sadistic, right? Though it was a little weird that her subconscious had reacted a little to the ritual, instinctive knowledge popping into her head about some of this not actually mattering...which was really odd, seeing as she'd never done this before. Despite her swirling thoughts, she was able to drift off after a time, meaning if nothing else she'd have a little bit of a nice nap.

Holy...holy hell, it had worked. Zani was looking at the forest she'd visited so often in her dreams. Only this time she felt in full control, able to move around as she chose to. Even the tower was in place as it should have been, complete with the feeling of being watched. Well, she was on a time limit. Rebecca was going to wake her up in 20 minutes at the very latest, though that was assuming time moved normally here. After all, there were the stories of people who were asleep for a night but had lived a lifetime in a dream world. Still, no sense in wasting time regardless...the forest was beautiful, and she wanted to spend some time just looking, but if she wanted any explanation as to the insanity her life had become, she needed to move on to the tower. With that in mind, she started walking towards the way or another, she was going to get some answers.


Jonathan's house

Deciding that his paranoia was simply a combination of fatigue and the stress of having not only fought a winged monster in the park, but also housing a pair of wanted fugitives, Jonathan returned to his home. Though not before picking up a few bits and pieces for himself to make up for an entire morning of shopping in the various women's clothing stores in town, not to mention all of the strange looks he’d gotten whilst doing so; there were only so many excuses he could use!

No sooner had he set foot within his home that he’d be greeted by the aroma of charred herbs, causing him to wonder whether or not one of his guests was not up to something illicit. If they were going to stay then he was going to have set some ground rules and that would definitely be one of them.

Calling out into the hallway that he was home, in a way that was so like those old cheesy sitcoms to hear Rebecca sleepily replying from the bedroom upstairs, and so laden down with plastic carrier bags Jonathan would make his way up to meet her.

Entering the neat and tidy bedroom with its boarded up window he would find Rebecca dozing in a chair with a book in her lap, and Zani sound asleep in the bed with the strange aroma he’d smelt coming from the small bundle of smoking herbs lying within a saucer “It was her idea, something about travelling to Narnia… or something” the battered blonde spoke, her voice slurred with sleep or more precisely the lack of as she caught sight of Jonathan’s pointed gaze “Narnia?” what as in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?” Jonathan replied with a confused look on his face as he wondered whether they really were on drugs “No not Narnia, she wanted to go to the…um…oh what was it called?” she spoke; trading the sci-fi paperback for the jumble of notes lying on the bedside table. By holding them out at arms length she was just about able to read the scrawl of handwriting that covered the stack of lined notepaper “The Dreamlands, that’s it! I knew it was something like that, either way I promised to wake her in twenty minutes or so” No sooner had she said the word Dreamlands that everything seemed to stop as Jonathan’s mind started to reel no…it can’t be…they’re just the ramblings of a crazy woman, it surely can’t actually exist! Though the young, dark haired woman certainly believed it did else why go to the trouble?

Handing Rebecca the bundle of plastic bags with a slightly dazed look on his face, Jonathan would head downstairs with a sudden and burning desire to read Jacqueline Fine’s second book.

The Dreamlands

With the sun beating down upon her through beautiful green canopy overhead it was hard not feel her spirits being lifted with all the horrors of the real world drifting away making her feel as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders as the birds sung all around her.

The walk to the tower was short, no more than five minutes or so with her finding herself within an almost perfectly circular clearing at the centre of which stood the tower.

Made from brightly polished stone and with a pointed roof it looked as if it had been ripped straight from a fairy tale and placed right there in front of her. A quick circuit of the circular tower would reveal only a single, arched wooden door which was unsurprisingly locked and the window up at the towers eaves; with it being so high up that unless there was a golden haired beauty waiting up there to throw down her long, luscious locks there was no way that Zani would be able to scale that perfectly smooth stonework.

With the door being her only way in Zani would have to figure a way of getting through it, with a part of her mind hinting that there was a painfully obvious way of doing so if she could only just remember.


If things weren't strange before, they certainly were now, though to call any of last night's events strange was asking for an understatement of the year award nomination. If he had heard the librarian right, there was some independent confirmation that the Dreamlands of Jacqueline Fine were more than the ravings of a mad woman with a soft spot for H.P. Lovecraft. And if that were true, then how much of Howard's stuff was made up? It was obvious that Arkham, Massachusetts didn't actually exist; it would be impossible to hide a river valley town north of Boston for a hundred years, especially given its prominent history. The real concern was whether those monsters, Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Yog Sothoth, and the whole host of old ones. Of course, there was that slender like monster that Johnathan had killed the night before. Who knew what that thing really was, and whether it was a vanguard of the whole host of Lovecraftian horrors, or whether it was an isolated incident. But the way Eric Kessler acted about the whole affair led Johnathan to believe that his monster was neither the first nor the last the German would encounter. Johnathan had hoped that there weren't any more monster encounters for himself in the cards, but the concern that the dreamlands were actually real brought back the fear that he would have to fight more horrows in the near future. Johnathan had reached his truck, and after rummaging around the back a bit, found the manuscript he had been given. The late Jacqueline Fine had written this thing in fits and bursts, Johnathan reasoned, given to the eclectic writing mediums and fairly bad state of much of the handwriting. He reentered his house and walked back up to his bedroom, where Zani was still in her dream trance or sleep or whatever strange state she had entered. Rebecca was still there with the bags. "Sorry about that," Johnathan said, demeaner returned to near normal. "That mention of the dreamlands reminded me of something I got yesterday. I visited the granddaughter of the author of that journal your library loaned me. I'm pretty sure there's a mention or two of her dreamlands in there. Want to have a look through it while we wait for Zani to get up?"


It was after a couple of minutes stood in front of the tower’s door that Zani would hear an audible click as somebody inside disengaged the lock; the door slowly swinging inwards with a horror movie style creaking of hinges despite the tower itself looking like it belonged in a Disney cartoon.

Upon stepping inside it would quickly become apparent that this was no ordinary tower; polished mahogany shelves lined the curved walls of the tower packed full of books, scroll’s and other trinkets and curios with the internal dimensions seeming to be far larger than the outside would have you believe. Consisting of a single circular room that stretched up so far above her head that Zani was only just able to glimpse its ceiling past all of the intervening balconies and staircases that seemed to run the entire length of the tower with even more bookcases stretching as far as the eye could see "you took your sweet time coming to see me didn't you?" an eerily familiar voice asked as an attractive Native American girl descended one of the ornate spiral staircases to stand and smile at Zani as if she was seeing an old friend.

Dressed in a shimmering dress that had a neckline and length that bordered on indecent the girl could have been Zani's twin with the girl in question quickly skipping over to meet her with her dress seeming to change colour with the girl's every movement as she spoke in a voice that sounded so like her own that it was just a little unnerving despite it being a touch too giggly and silly to be a perfect imitation "you didn't lose your key again did you? Oh well your here now" she asked with a teasing smile before grabbing hold of Zani and kissing her full on the lips "hmm a little incestuous I know but its been so long since I've seen anybody" the girl murmured upon breaking off the kiss and taking a step back with an expectant look on her face that quickly faltered when Zani failed to react in the manner she expected her to with girl’s excitement quickly changing to concern "Are you ok? You do remember who I am right? I mean I know it’s been a while but...wait a you remember who you are?" now that was a troubling question, wasn’t it?

"Nia? Are you home?" Abbie called from the doorway of her girlfriend's apartment wondering where the girl in question could be and feeling just a little scared for her well being assuming of course that she wasn’t simply overreacting, although that would mean that she’d been stood up which was bad too, if a little less life threatening “Nia I hope you don't mind me letting myself in? One of your neighbours lent me a key when you didn’t answer the intercom" she continued to call as she entered the pristine apartment being sure not to touch anything as she passed as it hadn't taken her long to realise from her last visit here that Nia had a serious case of OCD and so didn't want to risk upsetting her, though considering why she was here that was perhaps the least of her worries.

At first Abbie had thought Nia was simply running late for their date at her place and then, feeling a little hurt decided that Nia must have forgotten about it and so had sent her a message, she'd then sent her a few messages followed by several unanswered phone calls and began to get really scared and really hurt when none of them had gotten a reply and so it was at this point that she decided to come and see her, after all it was harder to ignore somebody standing on your front doorstep…well…the apartments corridor if you wanted to be strictly accurate but that wasn’t important right now! What was important right now was that Nia wasn’t here and OH MY GOD! Why is there a naked picture of me and her together! Abbie’s mind screamed in shock as she dropped the old style Polaroid onto the floor.

It wasn’t so much that Nia had taken a picture of them together without asking her as she’d have quite gladly posed for her if that was the sort of thing she was into, but rather the fact that it had just been left there in full view where just anybody could see it!

Is…is that all I mean to her? Just another notch on her bedpost? She asked herself now feeling very hurt indeed as she continued walking into the apartment calling Nia’s name as she went, in a voice that sounded on the verge of tears why is she doing this to me? Either way it was becoming pretty damn clear that she wasn’t here with only the tiny bathroom left to check.

Not really knowing what she expected to find in there, Nia dead on the floor? Please God don’t let it be that! Abbie pushed open the bathroom door and found…nothing, well there’s a surprise.

Finding nothing but a very clean bathroom with the towels neatly stacked according to size and colour and most importantly square to the wall, a rather dejected Abbie was set to leave that she heard the sound of a branch tapping upon the bathroom window…only…there wasn’t a window in Nia’s bathroom and there were most certainly no trees outside either.

Turning around Abbie would stare aghast at the sight of Nia standing within the bathroom mirror with a look of horror on her girlfriends face as she frantically scrabbled and pounded upon the glass from the inside. The mirror began to vibrate with every blow the girl delivered with her screaming at the top of her lungs though no sound ever reached Abbie who simply stared as her girlfriend tried to escape from out of the mirror she’d somehow become trapped within.

Suddenly the mountings would give way causing the mirror to launch itself across the tiny room and shatter upon the floor causing Abbie to fall down onto the hard tiled floor in her attempt to escape the flying glass.

With her mind as shattered as the mirror it was all she could do to grab the chain on which Nia’s key and flash drive were hanging from where they lay amongst the broken glass wait did that just fly out of the mirror!? And then run and not stop running until she was a very long way away from this place.

Staring at the parcel before him the feeling of unease he’d been feeling ever since waking this morning continued to grow almost as if the brown paper wrapped package was giving off some kind of weird radiation. It wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility that Jimmy had stitched him up by giving him it to look after though he did have to wonder why?

It was then that Boris realised that the entire apartment had started to shake with the glass rattling within the windows and small objects vibrating across whatever surface they were towards the floor.

He’d be forgiven in thinking that he was in the middle of an earthquake but a single glance out the window would tell him that that wasn’t the case as two young children continued to play with their ball and an old man walked his dog with none of them even batting an eye.

A keening cry suddenly filled the apartment followed by…something…god how to describe the…the creature!? That shot from out of the top corner of the room with a crackle of energy and then went straight for him only to narrowly miss him and disappear in the bottom corner of the room to vanish as if it had never been there in the first place.

But it had been there! The scratch on Boris’ shoulder was proof enough that the thing was real and what was even worse was that another of those things or perhaps even the same one had now appeared from out of one of the other corners within the room and was heading straight for him.

Slowly sifting her way through the bags of clothing she had been given so as to sort out which clothes were hers and which were Zani’s, Rebecca had to wonder how her life had suddenly become so weird, only yesterday she had been helping a little girl find a Harry Potter book and now here she was beaten and bloody watching as her best friend who was on the run for murder performed some kind of ritual and with another, she guessed she could consider Jonathan a friend, he had taken them in after all, asking her to help him study the ramblings of a mad woman obsessed with works of twentieth century horror writers “um…sure…ok I guess, though I’m not liable to be much help with reading without my glasses” she confessed; setting the bags of clothing down by the bed and collecting several of the loose pages from Jonathan in order to study them.

The manuscript was hard going and of seemingly no single topic as it ranged from what could be described as stories and legends to essay like writings on seemingly bizarre topics such as travelling between different worlds and the significance of certain constellations and then…then there were the horrifyingly accurate descriptions and sketches of creatures that simply should not exist including the winged creature that Jonathan had dispatched last night and the “men” that had attacked Becca within her own home not to mention multiple references to doomsday events and awakenings that simply made her skin crawl “This can’t be real, None of this can be real! This is all rubbish it just cannot be true…oh god I hope it’s not true” the blonde babbled, seemingly set to go off the deep end if she carried on the way she was and perhaps with good cause because if what they had both read was true then an ancient and very powerful evil was set to come a knocking very soon and they were currently the only thing standing between it and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile to make matters worse, there was a car parked opposite Jonathan’s house. It was possible that they were simply lost or making a phone call but then again maybe they were up to something far more sinister.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
The locked door had proved vexing for Zani, as this was a dream...shouldn't things just work? The damn thing refused to cooperate though, up until someone unlocked it and then...ran away or something, as when she opened the door she was alone. The place was fascinating, and she wanted nothing more than to look around, but a voice that was way too familiar spoke up behind her as she walked in, and upon turning to find the source saw a woman that looked and sounded just like her coming down the stairs. Oh come on, that just wasn't fair, having the confidence to pull off a dress like that...if she had it on it wouldn't work nearly as well, even though they looked to have nigh on identical bodies. It was an amazing piece of clothing too, shimmering as she moved, which she did...a lot. Ok, maybe wearing a dress like that in public wasn't the best choice. She was about to ask the woman what was going on when she...kissed her, a somewhat lingering affair that more or less blocked out Zani's thought process. Flushing a little for how forward and...weird that had been, she missed the incestuous remark, but came to her senses as things took a turn for the...less enjoyably weird. She'd...forgotten this woman who looked like her indecently-dressing twin...and had forgotten something about herself too? With a frown, she responded, "I've never met you before, I'm sorry...I think you have the wrong person...I'm a librarian, not...I don't even know what you think I'm supposed to be, but...I'm a librarian..." No longer flushed, Zani looked over at the other woman, worried. This wasn't going to be another 'Jain Farstrider' moment, was it? Did she have two women looking exactly like her running around? She didn't think she could take that...


Johnathan handed Rebecca about half of the looseleaf stack of ramblings, and turned to the task of reading. “I'm sure you'll be fine,” he reassured the librarian. “Not like much of this is legible anyway. I've seen some bad handwriting, but some of these scribbles makes chicken scratch look like an illumination.” Wading through the manuscript was difficult to say the least. Much of it was nothing more than squiggles on paper, and a fair amount of what were letters were put together in such a way that together they made about as much sense as running a pump dry. But as he kept reading, Johnathan began to pick out ideas here and there, began to string those ideas together, and finally get a coherent whole from the jumbled mess. Johnathan delved into a world where Orion the Hunter and Ursa Major were more than pictures in the sky, where traveling from the plains of Kansas to the Emerald City was no more difficult than a stroll in the park, where the detailed lists of monsters was much, much more than a DnD fluff addon. Jonathan's half of the documents even contained a fairly accurate description of the creature he and Kessler killed. Apparently it was called a Nightgaunt, a very smooth skinned, winged, horned, tailed, faceless entity that served an entity called Nodens and tickled people to death. "Strange creature, that," remarked Johnathan to Becca, pointing to the crude sketch that accompanied the nightgaunt’s description. “Killed one a night or two ago with a German soldier of fortune. Says this thing tickles people to death. Not sure how that would work with a face like that.” Johnathan returned to reading, interrupted a moment later by Becca's growing panic. “I wouldn't worry about it, Becca.” Johnathan tried to console. “Hasn't happened yet. Probably never will. Or maybe it's like the Witnesses with their 1914 end of the world thing. I'll get a drink.” Johnathan set down his half of the manuscript and walked downstairs where he grabbed a six pack of Rising Sun Pale Ale, part of a gift from a 7th Fleet friend. “Here, straight from the Land of the Rising Sun. Should help a bit. German athletes drink beer after competitions to restore electrolytes. It's like Gatorade to them.” As Johnathan began to drink, a casual glance out the window revealed to him a car parked across the street. It was probably looking for new directions, but if it was still there after a while, then maybe it would be prudent to stay on guard. “Perhaps you should try waking Zani up. Might be important to take a little road trip soon.”


"Oh you poor thing...and I slipped you the tongue and everything! That was very naughty of me!" the girl replied looking truly anguished over having kissed someone who had absolutely no idea who she was "When you kept coming here I simply assumed...never mind... my name is Sora and I too am a librarian" she said with a sunny smile; spreading her arms wide to indicate the vast collection of books that filled the fantastical tower in which they were both stood "please excuse the kiss I was created with more than my fair share of vanity and narcissism which makes me very forward and uninhibited though when you've got a body as gorgeous as ours..." Sora let the words linger seductively within the air as she gently ran a finger along Zani's arm, with the girl gently biting her bottom lip as she did so; her mind seemingly wandering down rather more enjoyable avenues that no doubt involved Zani in some shape or form.

However upon realising that she misbehaving herself yet again Sora quickly shook herself out of her reverie and turned her mind back to more appropriate topics of conversation "so what’s your name? And...How did you get here? Jain doesn't normally let her doubles wander into the Dreamland's unaccompanied...oh hell she isn't here is she? I'll tidy the mess up I swear!" she said in a panicked voice, clearly afraid of whatever punishment Jain would give her for her untidiness; the girl craning her neck to see past Zani lest the woman in question was stood in the doorway. Her fear of Jain's imminent arrival however turned to concern as she turned her attention back to Zani "Are you alright? You look like you've just seen a ghost"

"B-but h-how do you know?" Becca wailed in a voice that belonged to a mind on the verge of breaking "...I...I mean you say you've killed that thing and...and Zani is convinced she's going to some Dreamland and most definitely real, so why not the rest? Why not underground cities and...and monsters that can only be seen by moonlight and...and..." grabbing the beer from Jonathan's hand Rebecca down most of it in a few mouthfuls with her wishing that it was something far stronger so as to blot out the horrifying images in her head. How could he take this all so calmly!? Why was he not a gibbering wreck like she was? It wasn't fair; she didn't want any of this! All she wanted was to work in the local library, find a boyfriend that would treat her right and have the occasional night out with Zani. Was that too much to ask for!?

It was at this point that Jonathan suggested that she go and wake Zani up; stating that they may have to take a little road trip prompting the blonde to glance out of the window at the car parked outside "o-ok I'll go and get her" she said; taking another mouthful of the beer before getting up and heading over to where Zani was still sound asleep. It wasn't quite twenty minutes yet but she wasn't about to argue over it especially if they needed to make a quick getaway, Zani would understand, she just hoped that whoever was in that car was simply making a phone call and preferably not to the police.


That reassurance had backfired in a most unfortunate manner, as Becca had begun to fly into higher and higher panic, her upward spiral slowed only by the chugging of the beer he offered to her. “I wouldn't chug that down if I were you,” cautioned Johnathan, as he slowly sipped from his own bottle. “My uncle warned us that chugging would cause you to belch like a Belgian. Didn't know Belgians to belch more often than anyone else, but he seemed to believe it. Maybe he was bunked with a boisterous example.” Johnathan watched as the beer calmed down the frightened girl, at least a little bit. But it'd still do good to get her completely calm. In a situation that kept getting stranger and stranger by the day, it was important to keep a level head. “Think of it this way, Becca. 2001, a Space Odyssey got several things right about today; the prevalence of digital clocks, video telephone. But they got quite a bit wrong too; no business space travel, no commercial space stations, no manned missions to other planets, no moon base, no AI. Jain might have gotten lucky on several of the creatures, or she may have actually encountered them. Then, in a drug fugue, she put two and two together, got fire truck, and drove off into the sunset, going wee ooh, wee ooh all the way home. So no, I don't think it's all true and I don't think it'd be a good thing to worry about whether it is or not.”

Johnathan thought that he had done a better job this time in trying to alleviate the librarian's worries. But perhaps he needed to get Becca to redirect that nervous energy to more constructive uses. “Worry about what you can do something about, and then do something about it. Make it so you won't have to worry about it anymore. Like getting ready to get out of Dodge if things go deep south. I don't think they will, but then again, until a few days ago, I didn't think I'd be monster hunting. I’d pack a few day's worth of clothes, some toiletries, maybe a book or magazine for entertainment. There's a couple backpacks in the closet. I’ll grab my bag and some spare MREs. Be right back. Keep a watch on that car. See what it does.” Johnathan walked to the kitchen and opened up the pantry. Stored in the back was a large ALICE backpack, filled with various items, including a flint and steek, matches, homemade MREs, first aid kit, small handcrank radio, flashlight and batteries, iodine tablets, and spare clothes. After grabbing several more of his homemade MREs, Johnathan headed back upstairs to his room where hopefully Zani and Rebecca would be ready to leave if that car across the street proved to be trouble.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Things were just getting weirder and weirder. The woman was named Sora, which, ok, that was acceptable. She was a librarian, which was actually kinda refreshing. However, she had said 'our body' and her tone and body language were...sultry at best. What the actual hell was going on here? After all, she didn't have a twin, and while she thought she looked attractive she'd never considered that kind of attitude so it wasn't a dream doppleganger...what was happening? Of course, Sora dropped a bombshell afterwards, mentioning Jain not letting her doubles wander around...which...wait. She wasn't a 'double'...she had a past, had pictures from her birth. This was all wrong...and on top of all that, that damn name being mentioned again. It was enough to start her shaking, which her...twin...noticed, asking what was wrong. In a voice that was tight to start, though she became less inhibited and more eager to spill it all, gave a short rundown of what all had happened to her since she'd noticed the painting. "So here I am, with no clue who the hell this Jain is, why they're so determined to ruin her life, and why they aren't being more careful about it so they don't ruin an innocent woman's life in the process!" She looked over at Sora, feeling a more than a little vulnerable. "Please..." she murmured after a moment, quiet and almost pleading. "...I just want some answers...want something in my damn life to make sense again...please..." This would be her last chance to try to understand. No one outside this world seemed to have a clue at all, and if she didn't find some answers soon something would have to give. She could only pray it wouldn't be her sanity.


Trying her best to remain calm, Rebecca slowly nodded her head in understanding as Jonathan suggested that she should get her things ready to leave at a moments notice with the tone of his voice and the car outside leading her to suspect that that moment could be any second now. With Jonathan disappearing downstairs to collect some things she would go over to the closet and retrieve the pair of rucksacks he’d mentioned and start sorting through the clothes and pushing them inside, separating out a clean set for the both of them to wear as she did so, as neither of them were exactly presentable in their current states with Zani being barely dressed at all.

Alternating worried glances at both Zani; who was still sound asleep despite all the noise they were making and the car outside she would quickly change out of her rather grungy tracksuit bottoms and hoodie in favour of a pair of jeans and a pale blue blouse with her throwing her dirty clothes into one of the plastic bags to either wash or throw away on a later date.

Meanwhile during all this time Zani was still sound asleep, and with the sound of Jonathan heading back up the stairs Rebecca set about waking up her friend so that they could leave "Hey Zani, its time to wake up now...Zani?"

After leading her over to sit on a worn but comfortable couch; Sora quietly listened as Zani told her story of how she came to be here with her sounding like she was on the end of her tether and would soon snap and drift away into the chaotic realms of madness if something wasn't done about it soon. With her legs folded beneath her Sora sat beside Zani on the snug two seater couch with a comforting arm about the other woman's shoulders as she mulled over Zani’s story "So...what you're saying have no recollection of this place before seeing the painting and that as far as you are aware this is your first time actually inside the tower, but...that shouldn't be possible, we're not supposed to be able to come here without Jain…we’re not supposed to even find this place without her, it's how she makes sure her tower remains hidden...and those men..." an uncomfortable look momentarily appeared on Sora's face as she ran the artist's grisly murder through her head once again wondering why they would go to the trouble of cornering the pair of them only to leave Zani for the police, why not kill her too? After all they were clearly capable of the act "something’s not right here...its like Jain is setting you up to take the fall but...she wouldn't do that, she's almost inconsolable when one of us dies, why...why would she do that to herself?" she quietly mused; desperately trying to find some kind of an answer to all of her questions that made some kind of sense " need to find Jain, you need to find her and warn her that people are looking for her and once she knows that you're in trouble she'll help you, I know she to find her?" The girl spoke, directing the question at herself more than she was Zani with her biting her bottom lip in concentration until she finally found a solution "Dr Stone! Find Dr Jacob Stone he'll know where Jain is and then Jain will answer all of your questions! But first...lets see if I can't get you to calm down and relax a little" Sora said with her voice once again taking on that sultry tone, with the arm about her shoulders shifting to take on a more romantic position.

Suddenly Zani would become aware of how close her double was and the fact that she was effectively held in place by the other woman as Sora lent in to kiss her. It was just as her lips were about to make contact with her own...

Zani awoke with a sudden start to find herself lying upon Jonathan's bed with a concerned Rebecca kneeling beside her "Oh Zani I'm sorry, I'm so sorry but I couldn't get you to wake up, you wouldn't wake up!" the blonde babbled with her clearly apologising for something. It was at this point that Zani would notice the safety pin deeply embedded into the back of her hand.

Collecting his emergency supplies would prove to be no issue, not that he actually thought there would be, however it was as he was entering his kitchen that Jonathan would notice something strange on the street outside his window.

To the casual observer the man was simply leaning up against a fence reading the paper until you started asking questions such as why is he just standing there reading a newspaper on a residential street? And why is he staring at my house? So blatant was the man's observation that it was almost like he wanted Jonathan to know he was being watched, but why?

Returning to where he’d left Rebecca only moments before he'd find the two women sat on the bed and a pair of recently packed rucksacks on the floor along with the now neatly stacked pile of paperwork that made up Jacqueline Fine's final book. Upon realising that he was back in the room with them an extremely nervous looking Rebecca would offer Jonathan a worried look before speaking in a low voice "Jonathan...that car is still out there…what should we do?"


Large, green pack with frame on his back, bundles of MREs under his left arm, CD in his right hand, Johnathan headed back upstairs to discover that Zani was now returned from her dreamland. They were both sitting on his bed, Zani recovering from her sleep, apparently having been forcibly withdrawn through the use of a safety pin. There might have been something in this scene that he could have used to write a letter to some old magazine or other, especially given Zani's current state of dress, but right now there were much more serious things he had to deal with. Like the man reading the newspaper while leaning against the fence. Why would he be reading a newspaper leaning against "Welcome back. Hope you had a pleasant dream," he spoke with a light chuckle. Johnathan placed the MREs on the nightstand. "Here, put a few of those in your packs. We shouldn't have to go into the forest yet, but you never know what's going to happen." Johnathan placed the CD into his bedroom stereo system, and kept speaking as Tony's heavy chords began to echo through the room.

"Hope they like heavy metal," Johnathan spoke, struggling to be heard as Ozzy began singing about manipulative generals and evil politicians. "I doubt they're bugging my house, but just in case, you know? Don't even know who they would be. That's the worst part, isn't it? Anyway, this is a landmark album. If they are listening, they may learn to appreciate the finer music in life and stop peeping in on our conversations. Well, hope you learned some important secrets in your dream that will help us in the near future. There's uhh... well there's a potential situation. We've got a car that's been sitting there across the road, and now we've got a strange guy leaning against a fence reading a newspaper. So here's the plan. We're going to throw those bags into the bed of the truck, and then we're going to drive and see whether we get followed or not. If there's nothing wrong, we'll grab some food or something. If we do get followed, then we'll turn off the road. And if things get worse, I've got a place that'll hopefully be able to help. Recommended to me by a uhh... hunting buddy. So get dressed, and we'll get out of here in about five minutes." There wasn't much else left to do, and as soon as Zani and Becca were ready to go, Johnathan would lead them to the truck and just start driving.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
So apparently there were multiple Jain/Zani/Sora people wandering about. This...made very little sense to Zani...after all, if she was a copy, why did she have memories of her life all the way back to being a toddler? If she was really a clone of this Jain woman, she should have a massive blank zone in her memory...right? That's how that worked, the clone didn't remember jack squat before they existed. And Sora made it sound like there were a lot of them out there. How were they created? Cloning humans was illegal, and for them to be the same age...that was flat out impossible. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts she almost didn't hear the suggestion to find a Dr. Jacob Stone for answers...whoever the hell that was. "Uh...sure...but how would about..." Sora was being distracting again, and despite the several levels of wrong that persisted from her leaning in for a kiss, Zani found herself responding without any conscious input...

And suddenly she was awake, Rebecca going on apologizing for having to wake her up a certain way...what the hell was she talking about? Zani moved a hand to clear her bleary eyes when she noticed the safety pin embedded in it. With a startled oath she pulled it out of her, wincing and sucking in her breath as she did so. Moving her mouth over the wound to try to stop the small stream of blood, she halfheartedly glared at her friend. " time just slap me or something..." she muttered as she pulled away, flexing her hand. "Or at least stab me where there's NOT a lot of tendons that could get severed..." Jonathan walked in, rambling something about metal and joking that he hoped her nap had been enlightening. "It was, actually...we need to find a Dr. Jacob Stone." Her tone was a little harsh...yeah it sounded crazy but damn it she wasn't going to let skepticism lose the only lead they had. Though there was a situation now, something about someone watching the house. A mix of fear and irritation rose within her, and with a growl she moved to start packing up the scant things she'd brought with her. "Of course...because we can't catch a damn break..." It was only after a moment and a couple deep breaths that she looked back at Rebecca with a small smile. "Sorry to worry you, was worth it though...I have...more questions than answers right now, but at least there's something we can do now instead of just keep running. If we can find this Dr. Stone, we might be able to start getting our lives put back just hold on, ok?" No matter what she had to do, Zani was resolute that she wouldn't let these events hurt her friend. She'd gotten involved purely for having been associated with her, she at the very least needed her life back. Anything less was unacceptable


"Please Zani, you don't understand, I did slap you and it didn't work I...I was desperate...I'm sorry Zani" Rebecca quietly apologised with her now feeling rather subdued after receiving the harsh scolding from her friend. She'd only been trying to help but it would seem that she couldn't do anything right at the moment and it was a miracle that Zani wanted anything to do with such a useless individual such as herself.

It was around about this point that Jonathan entered the room toting a large and rather heavy looking pack that he set down by the bed before putting a CD of rather loud heavy metal on. Rebecca had never been into this kind of music and her face no doubt said as much when she offered him a rather dubious smile in response to his claim that it was a classic. It was during this musical interlude that Jonathan would tell them about another man watching the house, with him suggesting that they get dressed and then go for a drive and see if anyone followed them.

Despite Zani trying her best to cheer her up by saying that she’d gotten a lead of sorts whilst she’d been…wherever she’d been, Rebecca still felt like something that had been scraped from the underside of somebody’s shoe.

Silently collecting the sheath of papers that was Jacqueline Fine’s final novel, if you could really call it that, and carefully putting it into her pack Rebecca would quietly speak to her friend with her eyes firmly fixed on her shoes so as not to risk meeting her gaze “I picked some clothes out for you, You don’t have to wear them if you don’t want to there’s some more in your pack I just thought they’d look good on you” she said before hurriedly leaving the room before Zani had chance to say anything in response or notice that her friend was on the verge of tears.

She’d silently wait with Jonathan for Zani to get dressed and join them, finding herself barely capable of cracking a smile in response to anything the former Navy man may say to her let alone respond in any meaningful way. It wouldn’t be until she was sat in Jonathan’s truck that she would finally break her silence by quietly speaking to the man that had done so much to help them “Maybe it’d be better if you just dropped us off in the next town, you’ve already risked you neck for us far more than you had to and I’d hate to get you in trouble just for being nice to us” she said in a sincere voice. After all just because her life had gone down the toilet it didn’t mean that Jonathan’s should and she’d hate for anything bad to happen to him on her account. He seemed such a nice guy and she wasn’t worth getting in trouble over, that much was for sure.

As he pulled out of his driveway and started to drive down the quiet residential street he wouldn’t notice any reaction from either the parked car or the newspaper guy. But all the same he’d still get that unshakeable feeling of being watched; a feeling that wouldn’t go away until he was deep in traffic and en-route to his chosen destination.


"That's some good stuff, right there," Johnathan spoke, flashing Zani a smile. "Dr. Stone, eh? Jacob Stone... Hmm.... Jacob Stone. I can't recall myself if I know him. I'm sure we'll find him, though." As Johnathan picked his Alice bag back up, Zani let out an exasperation about the situation. "All things will end, Zani. This will too. Becca and I will help you in any way we can. Starting by letting you get changed." Becca and Johnathan exited the room, allowing Zani to get into some outdoor appropriate clothing. Zani seemed to be in a funk, and Johnathan thought he had a winning story to cheer her right up. "Had a friend who showed up to an advancement exam drunk.And with a full dip in. And a dirty uniform. And a full beard. And somebody else's pants. And no underwear. And with his fly open. Passed by the base CO twice. Got yelled at by the test proctor for fifteen minutes. But he still got to take the test. Ended up passing, and he eventually became our leading petty officer." That story was usually capable of cheering up even the saddest person. But Zani was still gloomy. "Your friend is lucky to have someone like you to help her out. Most people would have turned tail and run away before they even heard the second sentence of this peculiar situation. You've stuck with her through everything she's gone through. You get one, maybe two friends like that in your entire life. Someone who'd fly across the world for you at the drop of a hat, even if they couldn't afford it. You seem like that good a friend."

Shortly, Zani emerged from the bedroom, wearing some fairly nice clothes and carrying her pack. "That's not a bad look. Good pick, Becca. Alright, let's go." They piled into the truck, throwing the bug out bags into the covered bed, and drove off, heading towards the city that the Last Chance Saloon was located. The original plan would be to camp at a forest near the town border. Hopefully nothing would happen, and they would able to return to Johnathan's house in the morning. But Becca was trying to get in the way of that plan by suggesting that he drop them off in the next town, wash his hands of the whole affair. "Afraid I can't really do that, Becca, even if I wanted to. I'm in this thing now, and I'm in it until the end. I've accepted you two into my care, and I'll make sure you both get you out of this situation. I think you're both innocent of whatever you've been accused of. You're both stuck with me until you're in the clear." Despite not having any evidence of being followed, Johnathan still had the uncanny feeling that something was tailing him. "We're turning onto the next forestry road, finding a nice clearing, and camping for the night. I've got camping gear, but I've only got one four person tent. Can sleep in the truck if you two would feel uncomfortable about it. Hopefully nothing will happen in our ersatz campsite, but if anything does, we're high tailing it out of the place, and going to this safe haven I know. Hopefully it doesn't resort to that contingency and we can get back to my house in the morning. I've got many more resources back at my place, but if I have to resort to this place, then we'll head to this safehouse. Should only be less than an hour away, regardless of where this clearing is. And I've got the gray wire mod. This little truck can take anything and everything nature can throw at it." They shortly arrived at a free clearing, seemed to be devoid of all human experiences. It was a couple hours away from the Last Chance Saloon, but he was confident that they could bug out quickly if the situation called for it, even if they had to leave the tent behind.


What!? No! y-you can’t do this! Rebecca’s mind babbled in shocked response to Jonathan’s firm refusal to simply abandon them in the next town and go back to living his life. It wasn’t fair, he didn’t deserve this, none of them did but unlike him there was no way out for her and Zani, he could still go home and live a normal life and forget that he’d ever met them. But alas it would appear that Jonathan had took it into his head that he could exonerate the pair of damsels in distress he’d found like some kind of gumshoe detective from a rather bad crime novel, and to make things even better they were going camping.

Part of her wanted to ask why they simply didn’t go straight to this supposed safe house of his to begin with only to immediately discard the idea. What did she know about evading capture? In fact what she know about anything! She was just a dumb blonde who was seemingly incapable of doing anything save making her best friend’s life even worse. Resigned to her fate She would barely look up as she quietly replied “That’s ok, I’ve no problem with you being in the tent with us” Rebecca mumbled miserably in response to Jonathan’s suggestion that he sleep in the truck, after all it wasn’t like he was going to try anything with both of them there, and Zani was more than capable of looking after herself, even if she wasn’t.

It was as Jonathan drove through town with that unshakeable feeling that something was stalking them that Rebecca would fall into a gloomy silence with her seemingly doing her best to sink into the backseat and disappear entirely.

It was as they were nearing the outskirts of town that the rather sparse traffic would slow down to a crawl and by the time any of them realised that the cause of this sudden congestion was a police road block they were trapped within a queue of cars and were unable to turn around without being noticed meaning that they had no choice but to carry on driving towards the waiting cars.

With a policeman approaching Jonathan’s window Rebecca would suddenly seize hold of Zani and kiss her in a bid to hide their faces from the young man. Had the police officer in question been older and more experienced or even a woman then perhaps he would have thought to catch the attention of the young women in the back of the truck in order to verify that neither of them were the fugitive he was looking for. Instead he simply gave the pair an uncomfortable look before waving them through.

With the check point dodged through pure luck, Rebecca would break off the kiss with her cheeks glowing bright pink as she wiped her lips with the back of her hand “Sorry, it was the only thing I could think of that would stop him from seeing our faces” she mumbled clearly embarrassed about the whole thing “…I haven’t done that since college… Hey don’t look at me like that! I was drunk and it was a dare…and yes, I did like the taste of her cherry chap stick” she said with a chuckle that sounded far more like the girl Zani remembered; the one that could crack a joke and make the whole room smile during a bomb threat “Oh Jonathan do we really have to go to the woods? Can’t we go to a bar or something first? Anything to take my mind off of things for a little while, please” Rebecca asked, clearly not looking forward to spending an entire evening in the woods, with her mind quickly supplying more ammunition to help delay their little trip into the woods a little longer “Besides we really need to do something to make Zani look less like Zani” she finished wondering why she hadn’t thought to suggest hair dye or coloured contacts when Jonathan had gone shopping for them, making her feel stupid once again, though with her lips still tingling from her recent kiss it was hard for her to remain miserable for long.


That darn feeling of a stalker watching the group continued to haunt Johnathan during their drive through the small town with too many traffic circles, despite the fact that no car followed them for more than a few minutes. He hadn't seen any of those annoying quadcopters or news helicopters around. There was absolutely nothing to tip him off to being followed except for tha teerie feeling that some people were insistent dated to troglodyte days. Either their tail was invisible or trained by the masters of evasion. But that was not the most pressing situation at the moment. Becca was insistent on Johnathan dumping them off at the next town. "No can do, Becca roo... Sorry. I'm not a practitioner of Islam, but I do think there are some tenets that are very good to follow. Including protecting those who seek sanctuary in your house. I'll protect you two until I'm no longer required." Though it would seem that his commitment would be tried relatively quickly when they shortly came upon a police roadblock, searching, presumably, for the two fugitives currently riding in the jump seats in the back of his truck. This would be a very sticky situation to get out of, but Johnathan believed that he would come up with a plan. "Alright. I'm gonna need you all to... oh... That might work too." A glance back had revealed that Becca and Zani had come up with a fairly simple plan that involved the easy to follow solitary step of making out. "When the mood hits, the mood hits," was the only response that he could offer to the flustered, young officer of the law.

It somehow worked swimmingly, and they managed to get out of the checkpoint scot free, and were well on their way to the next town before the campsite. Becca was stammering something about college and cherry chap stick. It didn't make much sense, but it didn't matter. The plan worked. "Dear Penthouse. This is a follow up letter to my previous one. Same day, if you can believe it. The two women from earlier had decided to start macking... No. Slobbering?... Making out?... Nah. I don't know. What do you... Was I saying all that out loud? Sorry... I won't actually send a letter in to them. Don't be embarassed by it, guys. Heck, it worked wonderfully." Becca then raised the very valid point of trying to disguise Zani up a bit. Maybe get a wig and some colored eyelenses. That was a good idea. A really good idea. Why hadn't he thought of it before? "Yeah. We can swing by a place and pick up some disguises for you two. That's actually a really good idea. Darn good thinking, Becca. I didn't see your face on the news, Becca, but you never know. Then we can swing by a bar. Don't know what's good around here, but I'm sure we can find a quiet place to sip our suds. Here; look some place up." Johnathan fished his phone out of his pocket and tossed it back to the two librarians. "I guess just try to make sure the costume place isn't too expensive. Or owned by an old Russian with a kinky daughter."

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Zani nodded as Rebecca told her she'd tried to slap her to wake her up, but only stabbing her had worked, looking rather distraught about the whole thing. "It's ok, it's ok," she tried to console her friend, but to little effect. Jonathan then told them that he wanted to go driving and take them with him, see if they couldn't get the lay of the land, which made sense to her. Despite her smile and lack of any hostility towards her, Becca was nearly in tears as she informed her about the clothes laid out for her. She thanked her friend's retreating form with a sigh, realizing she had to be even more careful with her than she'd thought. In short order, Zani was ready to go and they piled in. The suggestion was made to abandon them, which the librarian had to admit wouldn't be unreasonable, but their self-assigned guardian seemed to think he was in it for the long haul. "Thanks, really don't have to, but if you insist, I appreciate it..." she murmured. Perhaps the guy wasn't such an idiot after all.

They'd been going for a while when they hit a police checkpoint, too late to do anything about it but accept it. Zani hadn't had much time to panic at all when Rebecca leaned over and kissed her. Shock froze her for a moment, then she reciprocated, mind whirling about reasons this was happening. When her friend finally broke contact, Zani's face was burning and she knew she must look like someone had just clubbed her over the head. "Um...oh...right, hiding who I am...right...of course..." was about all she was able to get out, shaking her head a little to clear it. She only really rejoined the conversation when disguising her came up. "I really rather wouldn't, but I suppose there's no sense in not doing everything we can...sure, let's do it." She didn't like the idea of a wig, and colored lenses sounded abysmal, but it was sensible, and going along with a plan Becca had come up with might just prove to cheer her up...or so Zani hoped, anyway...