Summary for the Faint of Heart:
Click for a Content Warning!
Following events in the S.C.R.E:A.M. Chamber
, Avi Enns and @Juno Guerrera
seek (a) comfort, & (b) revenge.
Misty October nights almost felt cheesy, but in the hazy lamplight of 4 AM, the park sidewalk looked downright cozy. Or maybe that was just the weed. Or maybe that was just an illusion of the artificial environment. Maybe it was just the way the expanse of space curled transparently above the well-placed trees and rehearsed crickets in an obvious
fucking dome. Shit, maybe it wasn't even misty--maybe that was just the big guys fucking with her again. Did it matter?
She'd brought chalk, and spray paint, and some finger paints too (because you could only find so much spray paint, dude). She'd brought cheesesticks, and what was left of her weekly budget for low-grade general store toilet paper (ahh, she'd just shit at Juno's if she had to). She'd brought a little October revenge, and a lot of weed, and she didn't really intend
to share, but, well...
Between puffs, she ate one of her cheesesticks--probably in the grossest way possible.
The park was eerie at this time of night. Morning. Whatever. It was quiet and peaceful, not even an automated bird noise or artificial breeze to disturb the great ‘outdoors’. Juno was wandering. She couldn't sleep. Well, it wasn't that she physically couldn't sleep, more like she didn't want to. Except she did want to, at least her body did. Almost every fibre of it was currently screaming at her that what it wanted most in the world was for her to get back in bed, close her eyes and go. The. Fuck. To. Sleep.
It was her brain that was the problem, her brain that couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened earlier that day. Her brain that kept revisiting the SCREAM chamber and what it had shown her, like a tongue constantly poking the bloody gap where a recently pulled tooth had once been.
But anyway. She wandered on, one foot in front of the other, breathing deeply and regularly. Then from the silence came a crunch somewhere to her left. Several crunches. Someone was... eating? Juno’s feet followed the noises, dragging the rest of her body along with them. “Avi? Is that you?” Juno asked as the mystery eater came into view. Juno’s shoulders sagged with relief and she plopped herself down on the grass next to her. “Oh my god, I’m so glad to see you.” she sagged against Avi, head leaning against Avi’s shoulder. “What are you doing here?”
She'd been wrapping a single peel of cheese (flayed from the larger stick) experimentally around her tongue when interrupted. Juno burst from nowhere--from everywhere at once! From somewhere in the thick, muggy, totally fake night! And holy shitfucks
was she so high that she hadn't noticed? Or was this THEM
again (capitalized, italicized, bold, stressed
--like a title, like a new religious cult: THEM, they did it
, always)? It seemed just as likely as anything else. How much difference was there really
between a rat cage and a rat maze?
She doubled like a punch to the gut. What was Juno doing here? Who ratted her out? Was it the same thing? Being caught
by Juno? Was that the same thing as being caught by anyone else? Avi checked her 6 and 9, her 10, 11, and 12--the horizon of the bubble was totally, mercifully empty. Still secluded--undiscovered--she pawed a sticky hand on the top of Juno's head, and pried for her face--fingers pulling on ears and pushing on foreheads: what's up, what's up, what's up?
A furrow of the brows. A scrunching of the face. All the careful, ugly expressions that now had to be involved for a single question mark. She pointed. What are you doing here?
She still held the cheesestick and the joint with either of her pinkies.
Juno shut her eyes and let out a small laugh despite herself as Avi probed her face. It was refreshingly tactile, real
in a way that her own hands were not. Juno stuck her tongue out and tried to catch one of Avi’s fingers as they poked and prodded. Mmm, cheesy.
She glanced over when Avi’s hands left her, and took in Avi’s questioning expression and the two offerings in her hands. “Oh, you life saver,” Juno breathed as she reached for the joint and inhaled deeply. Exhaled. Weed wasn’t always her thing, she sometimes hated the way it fogged her brain but anything was better than being stone cold sober right now. “I can’t sleep,” Juno said, as if it wasn’t obvious. She swallowed, “I keep thinking... well, I-” she sighed and took another puff, knocked the ash from the tip and handed the joint back to Avi. “You know that, VR chamber they set up in front of the guild? Well. I did that today and.” Another sigh. “And I can’t sleep.”
Oh. Shit. Piss. Fuck. That.
Yeah, Avi'd... heard a thing or two about that little black box. I guess, if you were gonna be a real technical stickler about it, you could say they'd met. I mean, if you were gonna be really
painful, you might even say she'd gone through the VR ringer too. If you were gonna be that type of dick: yeah, she had put on the headset and, no, she hadn't liked what she'd seen. What was the big idea: cameras under toilets, birdsong on hidden radios, hallucinations in a haunted house... She'd not been too pleased either--hence the chalk, hence the various threats of paints, hence out at 4 AM--but... Juno was an engineer, or something as goobledygooky as that. Avi barely checked the boxes of high school, and only nodded along to her associates, and never left her ugly hometown until she was taken from it... but Juno'd been around the world. And Juno was smart. Avi always thought there were some more charmed lives that nothing touched. A world without anxieties, Chef Boyardee, and mercy-minivans: "Hi, Avi, are you walking home again
?" in that babytalk as if she was bleeding from her head...
exactly offered but, well, she was gonna
. Pinkie freed, she tweaked at her ear and made some ugly, angry face. What did they do?
How could they have managed to touch Juno? Of all the people? Avi cupped Juno's ears--it was meant to be comforting but lately she had all the grace of a bearsuit: big paws, clumsy, and dumb like mittens. Hardly tender. She made a very deliberate eye contact. You OK?
She nudged for her bag and wiggled her eyebrows. Wanna get even?
She showed her the paints.
Avi cupped her ears and Juno blinked up into her big, brown eyes, tilting her head to one side, chasing the warmth of Avi’s hands. “It was. Fuck. I...” Juno swallowed and blinked again, trying to chase away the prickle of tears that threatened to overwhelm her. Jesus Christ, she was not going to cry. She was a grown woman and an engineer and she was breaking down over one stupid VR experience. One stupid, traumatic, horrifying VR experience.
“I’m sorry, it’s stupid. I just... I forgot everything. How to do everything. How to read, even. I couldn’t even count my own fingers.” Juno took another shuddering breath, and tried to let the pleasant buzz of the weed take the edge off her constantly boiling thoughts. She looked down to the bag Avi nudged, grateful for the distraction. Huh, paints? Juno frowned, then she looked back up at Avi at the mischievous look on her face. “You've got something planned, huh? What are they for?”
Ever seen someone drop a hot pan? Avigail might as well have. It's not like she'd never seen tears before. She had! Lots of times! Hers! But she'd never played the shoulder before. In junior year of high school she flat bailed
on her friend Tova when she got weepy at her locker--she'd just pretended not to notice, and everybody was OK with that, because after all she was that girl that every mother gave a ride home to, a family remainder that no neighbor forgot to get a gift-basket for. And her dad and her never talked about anything beyond house logistics: locking doors, borrowing cars and cards. And her mom and her were barely a subject at all. Avi all but pushed the joint back to Juno's lips like it was a bottle.
They were offerings. Toys. Look at this! Look at that! She shook the paint cans like a rattle. She gave Juno the box of chalk as if it could do anything. Look, Juno! She had red! And blue! And she didn't have black but she had acrylic that was black! And look at all the weed she had in her bag! They'd never run out of weed again! It would be all right, and goddamnit, it had to be because Juno was the smart one, who made the plans, and had the well-stocked cupboard and the warm room Avi could always rely on.
Oh yeah. She was planning something all right. Watch her make this all better! She shook the spray can again mimed writing with it. Hah! Well, she still knew how to write in pantomime... But she didn't know how to say the right thing, or anything
really, so, I don't know, maybe you wanted to vandalize the outside wall of the S.C.R.E:A.M. facility with her? She pointed in the direction of the haunted house, and then mimed her intentions again.
Juno accepted the joint and took another grateful drag. She could feel the pleasant buzz working its way around the edge of her brain and she tried to relax into it. She was fine, it wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. She released the breath she’d been holding and looked down at the various items Avi was pulling out of her bag and waving in front of Juno’s nose. Paints, chalk, spray paint and a truly impressive amount of weed, Avi certainly was full of surprises.
“Oooh,” Juno sighed in realisation as Avi mimed spray painted and pointed towards the SCREAM chamber, “you want to vandalise it? Did it get you good as well?” Juno took another drag on the joint and passed it back. “Well...” Juno began, considering. She didn't usually see the point of random rule breaking, but in this case... “I guess it wouldn’t make me feel worse?” Suddenly decided, she grabbed a can from Avi’s bag and jumped to her feet, offering Avi a hand to help her up. “Let’s do it.”
There we go! That's the ticket! Avi felt better immediately.
With movement in hand, or movement imminent--with the literal God
of kinetics and blissful, stupid, unchecked, unthought action on her side, how could they lose?
She zipped up her pack and swung herself up onto Juno's arm, Juno's shoulder, Juno's right side; she tugged on Juno's left sleeve, she quirked Juno's ear, and kissed her on the nose, and shook a paint can in her face, and grabbed her hand, and plowed to the right, down the path, towards the S.C.R.E:A.M. facility. Had it gotten her too?
Well... yeah... you could say that... She shrugged almost imperceptibly, as if trying to answer but hiding it too.
The new, mute equivalent of mumbling.
She didn't want to say "yes, and it was terrible." She didn't want to say "I saw *me.*" She didn't want to talk about the claustrophobia, or the violence, or the body horror, or the brains. She didn't want to say "me too," and moreover, she couldn't anyway.
Losing all sorts of volume and articulation had done something to Avi. The New Avigail couldn't
talk, but she was less willing to also. All she wanted to do was paint her revenge on the side of the goddamn fucking shit wall. And, speak of the devil, there it was too.
The wall loomed large and black. Smooth. Looming. Mean.
Avi kicked it once as if checking to see if it was some sort of trick. And then, grinning at Juno, shaking a can, she made a daring and experimental line. It felt good! She liked it! She made another one, and checked for Juno's company.
Juno leaned into the warmth of Avi’s body as she attached herself to Juno’s side and tweaked and kissed various parts of her body. Juno loved Avi’s physicality, the way she expressed so much without words. She smiled fondly, wrapping her own hand around Avi’s waist in a sideways hug and then reaching down to slap her ass playfully. Juno didn’t know if it was the weed, being around Avi, tiredness induced delirium, or a winning combination of the three, but she was starting to feel like she was getting her mojo back. Starting
She watched Avi draw one bold line, her own can poised and ready but immobile in a moment of sudden indecision. What the fuck was she going to draw? Avi looked at her, and Juno took a breath and pressed down on the can lid, spraying a large neon yellow circle on the black surface of the SCREAM chamber. She looked back at Avi, questioning, “Is that right? Can you tell I’ve never done this before?” She sprayed again - two eyes and a sloping, sad mouth. Juno stepped back to admire her work. “Hmm. I feel like it needs something stronger, no?”
A sad face? That's it?
Regardless, Avi gave Juno her most enthusiastic thumbs-up: beautiful, bravo, how did we ever live without this Madonna of Gloom? All right. OK. So Juno was new at this. Avi must have sort of known that. She'd been breaking maintenance panels, unplugging terminals, and smashing lightbulbs for a month and had never slipped any of those details to Juno--so she must have known or at least thought or feared, somewhere deep down, that Juno--light of the space cage, veritable goddess of smarts--might
possibly disapprove. And she didn't want Juno to make a frowny face at her.
So she'd just... said nothing about it. That was really easy for Avi to do.
And hey, if there was ever gonna be a teacher for this kind of thing, Avi might be the girl. Even before [REDACTED], Avigail had participated in Devil's Night with the rest of the cheerleading squad. She was an old pro. She looped around to Juno's right (+1 pinch, +1 squeeze) and added another sad face right beside Juno's--except Avi's was purple! And bigger! She mimed her own dramatic, swooping lines again as if to emphasis: use your space, be artistic.
"Artistic." Right. She added a shaft, and another frowny face at the head, and angry eyebrows, and the end result was a very crude, very upset penis with one smaller, jaundiced (but still just as unhappy) left testicle. Ah, activism.
Juno laughed out loud, tilting her head to admire the very sad, slightly lopsided penis. “Okay, wow. Is this your artistic vision?” She asked Avi, still smiling. “I love it. But I’m not sure if I can keep up. The last time I did anything artistic was probably like, 20 years ago...” She stepped forward again and added under the penis: ‘FUCK YOU’ in big, block letters. A classic.
Then in a strike of inspiration she stepped to the side and started drawing again, this time trying to emulate Avi’s artistic swoopings. “Riffing on the theme of unhappy genitalia...” Juno stepped back again, and pursed her lips. On the wall next to the penis was a giant, neon-yellow vagina with a sad face where the clit should be. “Like that?”
Eyebrows up. Jaw down. Arms out. Body bending like a curtsy. Mouth open like a happy, black hole. How many ways could you say "I love it" without using any words?
And she did. She loved it.
She'd never seen anything greater in her entire (& if you took the clone thing into proper account, relatively short
) life. Granted, Avigail had never been much for art. Paintings didn't move her and concerts made her yawn. But something spoke to her in that disgruntled anatomy.
She waggled her eyebrows and skipped over to another wide, open space. She drew her own grumpy vagina, but--since it was Halloween--this time gave it fangs. And bat wings. Or, er, well. Those were supposed
to be bat wings.
Then she revealed it: TA-DA. Huh? Well? Pretty good, right? "Spooky!" Well anyway, she'd like to see Juno even try and do better.
Well, shit. How was Juno going to one-up a sad vagina with bat wings and fangs? “I think that’s the single most impressive piece of art I’ve ever seen in my life,” Juno said utterly seriously. She clapped slowly, staring open-mouthed at Avi’s masterpiece for a moment while she contemplated. After moment she shrugged and approached another piece of blank wall, quickly spraying a few lines and trying and failing to hide what she was drawing from Avi.
Then the big reveal: a giant pair of boobs, one eye where each nipple should be and an angry mouth with dripping fangs. Juno knew it wasn’t her best work. “I’ve run out of ideas! I think I peaked at sad penis... but not bad for a first time, right? D’you think I’ve got potential?”
Perfect. Just perfect. Just so stunning: asymmetrical vampire tits. Avi was a girl of skipped showers and cereal-for-dinner--someone else's cereal.
She was a girl of simple pleasures. She liked kung fu movies. She liked weed, and she like her room, and she liked dumb comedies, and dancing. She liked tagging the sides of mean buildings with an assortment of SAD SEX PARTS (with a thirst for blood). And she liked Juno. She really liked Juno. She held her hands out very wide. To here and here. As big as the whole damn world--or, at least, the whole damn space bubble. So
much potential. Just so much.
Avi held her hands out wide, and Juno couldn't help but smile in disbelief. "Really? Well, I'm glad you like it. I guess we'll see what everyone else thinks in... oh, three hours or so." She dropped the can and stepped in between Avi's wide arms, into her personal space. Juno wrapped her arms round Avi's tiny waist, tucking her chin over her shoulder and staying there for a second, breathing in her familiar, comfortable smell. "Thanks for this, Av. Really." Juno took another deep breath and lifted her head so they were staring eye to eye. One hand moved up to the back of her neck as Juno leaned in and brushed her lips lightly, gently over Avi's. "It really means a lot."
This was both mine & @.Ro's first Discord RP experience and we had a lot of fun!
❤ ❤ ❤ TY, Discord! TY, S.C.R.E:A.M! TY, Ro! ❤ ❤ ❤