Campaign of the Month: October 2017

Blood and Bourbon

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Story Nine, Amelie V

“Maybe I’m just a machine, created for people’s amusement and torture. When you wind me up I scream.”
—Amelie Savard


Date?

GM: Morning eventually comes. Amelie awakens to the foul smell of half-dried stool caking her buttocks. The call button is out of reach, her hands mittened, and her voice silenced. She lies helplessly in her own filth and stares at the ceiling.

Time crawls.

A nurse eventually unlocks her door. The woman does not speak to Amelie, and Amelie cannot speak to her. She wordlessly removes the prisoner’s soiled diaper, cleans her pelvis, and fastens on a new diaper. The door’s lock clicks behind her as she leaves.

Amelie stares at the ceiling.

Time crawls.

The door to her room re-opens. Another nurse re-enters.

“Talk to me or bite anyone else and you’ll wear a used diaper on your head too,” she says without looking at Amelie. The woman then proceeds to remove her foam helmet, gag, and feeding tube.

Amelie: Amelie can barely feel the passage of time anymore. It’s a horrible feeling, but after five months she has to wonder if it’s still the same pace it always was.

Still, the nurses’ sporadic visits are milestones on the highway, until finally… the helmet comes off, and the feeding tube as well. It doesn’t even elicit a gag this time.

Amelie just stares at the ceiling past the nurse, giving her her wish.

GM: She soon feels the dark net being pulled back over her face, then the helmet, and then the dental dam-like covering for her lower face. She can move her (sore) jaw, and even talk, but biting is impossible. The nurse turns and leaves.

A few minutes later, a man enters her hospital room.

Up close, ‘boy’ almost seems a more accurate descriptor. He looks half a head shorter than Amelie, and no thicker of build than she currently is. He wears a cheap-looking suit and carries a bulging briefcase. His face bears the pockmarks from a bad case of teen acne, but the bags under his eyes are as thick as ones Amelie would expect from a man twice his age. He himself might be around Emmett’s.

“My name’s Robert. I’m your lawyer,” the man says as he pulls up a chair next to Amelie’s bed.

Amelie: Amelie regards all that happens as it does, and slowly regards the man as he comes up to the bed. “They wouldn’t let me call my lawyer.”

GM: “That happens sometimes,” the man replies half-attentively as he opens his briefcase. He fishes through the papers and then pulls out one he holds in front of Amelie. “This is a copy of your indictment, you’re required to get one before your arraignment.”

She can’t read it past the hood.

Amelie: “Can’t read, the hood’s in the way. You’re not allowed to call my lawyer, are you? I have the number memorized. It’d take a high-profile case off your hands.”

GM: The man gives her a blank look. “I am your lawyer, and you’re getting a plea bargain like anyone else. Anyways, okay, here’s all the items you’ll being charged with.” He pulls back the paper and starts to read off from it.

“Criminal damage to property, criminal damage to a historic site, possession of schedule I controlled substance, minor in possession of alcohol, two counts battery. With your plea, you’re facing conviction for criminal damage to property, minor in possession of alcohol, and two counts battery.”

Amelie: “What are the two counts of battery?”

GM: “Biting a girl and police detective who visited you.” He pauses. “No, never mind, it was spitting on the girl.”

Amelie: Amelie just nods. “And do I get a phone call at any point? Christina Roberts, it’d only take two minutes.”

GM: “You’ve had your visitation privileges suspended,” the lawyer states without looking at her as he rummages through his briefcase some more. “So no, jail inmates don’t get to make personal phone calls when that happens.”

Amelie: Amelie rests her head back for a moment and closes her eyes. What’s done is done. “If this was your doing for the plea deal, you did very well. Thank you for your service, Mr. Robert.”

GM: “Mr. Beckwith,” the lawyer corrects. He scans the sheet. “The sentences for those offenses are six months imprisonment for the property damage, six for minor in possession, six for each of the battery counts, and the historic property damage… never mind. You’re serving sentences for the property damage and minor in possession concurrently, your time in the hospital counts as prison time served, you’re getting the controlled substance charge dropped and the battery charge shaved by two months, which leaves you at twelve months imprisonment, excluding any extra time you spend in the hospital.”

Amelie: “There a possibility for release in less time with good behavior, in your opinion?”

GM: The man snorts. “Not in Orleans Parish Prison.”

Amelie: “We’ll see if I even survive that long. I’m expecting I’ll barely be able to walk when they drop me in there. Good to know, though.”

GM: The public defender looks at her for a moment, then heaves a tired sigh. He leaves the sheet Amelie can’t read on her bedside table, then closes his briefcase.

“That’s pretty much everything. You’ll have your arraignment soon. When it’s your turn to speak, tell the DA you plead guilty.”

Amelie: “Okay. Calling a mistrial probably wouldn’t get me a personal lawyer, so we’ll just play nice I guess. Thank you for your work, Mr. Beckwith.”

GM: “You need to have a trial for there to be a mistrial,” the man says with a faint eye roll as he collects his briefcase. “But you’re welcome.” He leaves the room and closes the door behind him.

Several pairs of footsteps sound down the hallway before a nurse enters Amelie’s room to re-fasten her gag and feeding tube.

“We should have put a muzzle on you sooner. You’re much better behaved now,” the woman remarks.


Date ?

GM: Time crawls.

A nurse comes in to remove Amelie’s foam helmet, and then her gag and feeding tube before she secures the thick helmet and its layers of wrapping back on. More medical staff enter her room with stout chairs and thick wooden desks.

Amelie’s public defender and four strangers dressed in full legal regalia file into her room. There’s an older white man with a gray mustache in a dark suit. A Latina woman with a tape recorder. A square-jawed, balding white man in a tan police officer’s uniform.

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Last to enter is a stern-looking, white-haired man with craggy features and hard eyes dressed in a judge’s voluminous black gown. The others rise in his presence, though Amelie cannot. He assumes his seat without glancing at her.

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The Latina woman hits the recorder and announces, “The Honorable Carson Malveaux presiding. The case of Louisiana vs. Savard; Criminal Action 08-03031 will now be heard before this court. Counsel please identify themselves for the record.”

“Please be seated,” Judge Malveaux pronounces.

All of the present individuals do so except for the older suited man.

“Anthony Wisner, assistant district attorney. Good morning, Your Honor.”

“Good morning,” Carson replies.

The man seats himself. Amelie’s defender rises and states, “Robert Beckwith, counsel for the defendant Amelie Savard. Good morning, Your Honor.”

“Mrs. St. George, let’s have a date please,” says Judge Malveaux.

The woman makes note of one as Carson turns his attention towards Amelie’s lawyer. “Mr. Beckwith, do you waive the indictment’s reading in its entirety?”

“Yes, Your Honor.”

The judge turns his hard stare upon the handcuffed, mittened, hood- and diaper-wearing Amelie. She is conscious of how unpleasant she smells, and cannot help but wonder if her cleaners missed any of the stool over her thighs.

“Ms. Savard, you have been charged in indictment with violations of the law for the United States. The violations are possession of a schedule I controlled substance, two counts of battery, criminal damage to property, criminal damage to a historic site, possession of schedule I controlled substance, and being a minor in possession of alcohol.”

Judge Malveaux stares at her lawyer. “Mr. Beckwith, have you reviewed the indictment with your client such that she is ready to be arraigned?”

Beckwith nods. “I have, Your Honor.”

“Has she received a copy of the indictment?”

“She has, Your Honor.”

“Mr. Wisner, state the maximum punishments.”

“Count one, possession of a schedule I controlled substance…” the large man begins in his low voice.
He lists them all. Amelie’s defender reviewed a few of them. There are a lot of “up to six months,” a few up to multiple years, even more monetary fines, and a mention of hard labor.

“…as to Counts 1 charging you with criminal damage to property in violation of RS 14:56; Counts 2 charging you with being a minor in possession of alcohol in violation of RS 14:93; Counts 3 and 4 charging you with simple battery in violation of RS 14:34; how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?” the district attorney finishes, finally looking directly at Amelie. She can only half-see him past the dark hood covering her eyes.

Amelie: Amelie feels nothing but the numb malaise that the rest of her day, week, however long she’s been laying in this bed has brought over her. Moreover, going against the judge here would do little to nothing. They’re a fucking Malveaux. She can tell that they’re not going to be wasting time here, but the length of time between the district attorney’s words and Carson’s pressing slips measurement for the young invalid. Her bag shifts as she looks the best she can at the judge.

“My plead is guilty, Your Honor.”

GM: Judge Malveaux’s stare doesn’t narrow so much as harden.

“I sentence you to three months community service and a fine of $500 for contempt of court. Answer the prosecution properly.”

Amelie: Amelie looks confused, but she doubts they can see her expression. She turns again to the DA and announces another, “Guilty.”

GM: “Six months community service and $1,000,” rings out Judge Malveaux’s voice.

Silence stretches.

“Nine months community service and $1,500,” the judge’s voice rings out again.

Robert Beckwith sighs. “Tell Mr. Wisner you plead guilty, and for the love of god, call him ‘sir’ this time.”

Amelie: Amelie just feels numb. The time and the money means nothing to her at this point. She looks towards Mr. Wisner, or at least as much as she can with the hood and helmet on.

“Apologies. My plea is guilty, sir.”

GM: And with those words, justice’s wheels grind on.

Like her lawyer said she’d be, Amelie is convicted of criminal damage to property, being a minor in possession of alcohol, two counts of battery, and three counts of contempt of court. She is sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment in the county jail, Orleans Parish Prison (with any further time in the hospital counting towards jail time served), followed by nine months community service and a $1,500 fine.

“…as part of your plea in mitigation, you have forfeited the right to appeal any and all aspects of this judgment and conviction,” Judge Malveaux pronounces with a final stern look for the hooded inmate.

“We are adjourned.”

The small court begins to pack itself up. The various suited figures talk among themselves. Amelie makes out a female voice say, “She’s probably very agitated right now. She bites when she gets that way.”

“Not gonna be doing much biting with that on,” chuckles a male voice. “But okay, go ahead and stick her.”

Amelie feels strong arms holding down her emaciated limb, and then she knows only darkness as the needle depresses into skin.


Date ?

GM: Darkness eventually recedes. A familiar sensation fills Amelie’s mouth and throat. The cold steel around her wrists and ankles has been replaced by something softer and thicker. The same sensation is present across her belly. When she tries to sit up, the sensation tightens, and she cannot. The foam helmet’s thick hood still mostly obscures her sight. She stares at the ceiling.

Time crawls.

Several efforts of strained inspection eventually indicate that the cuffs around her hands have been replaced by snug leather restraints. She cannot see her feet, but the cuffs around her ankles feel the same.

Time crawls.

She stares at the featureless ceiling, half-obscured by her hood.

Time crawls.

And crawls.

And crawls.

And crawls.

The sun dips and fades. Amelie cannot sit up to look out the window, only take note as the room’s darkness grows thicker. Eventually, it claims her sight.


Date ?

GM: Amelie awakens to the familiar stench of half-dried fecal matter coating her buttocks. Otherwise, her surroundings retain the same oppressive sameness as yesterday.

Time crawls.

A nurse eventually comes in, wordlessly changes her diaper, and leaves.

Time crawls.

After what could be ten minutes or ten hours, brief enough that she does not defecate herself, her room’s door opens again. An indistinct figure sticks another bag over Amelie’s head, this one obscuring her sight completely. They undo her mittened hands from their railing cuffs, then chains them together behind her back with a more familiar-feeling pair of steel handcuffs. The figure then undoes her ankle cuffs and orders her to start doing leg stretches.

Amelie: Amelie lets the time move. Its meaning grinds through sand and chips move and chip away more and more. She thinks about escaping to… wherever it was she saw Emmett, more and more, keeping her attention half on the door and half on processing her own life against the monolith of what she’s come up against. There’s a few things that come into her mind, important things. How many others are dead because of these three families that have fallen on her? How many ruined lives? How many allies would she have if she rose from the ashes to spit in their faces. Or will they even let her live? Is this just the pageantry before ‘The Maid of Orleans’ is put to the torch?

Whoever comes in and orders her to move her legs is a welcome distraction, but her thoughts aren’t fully there, she simply obeys, glad to start pumping her legs the best her muscles will allow, powering through the pain as best she can.

GM: It feels all-too soon when the voice orders her to stop and re-shackles her legs to the bed. The figure then removes Amelie’s handcuffs, re-secures one of her mittened hands to the bed cuffs, and then orders her to do stretches with her free arm. After she does so for a while, the figure restrains her arm, releases her other one, and orders her to do stretches with it. That repeats for a while. It hurts. The figure eventually restrains both her arms, removes the second hood over Amelie’s helmet (leaving her merely half-blind instead of completely blind), and wordlessly leaves.

The lock to her door clicks shut.


Date ?

GM: Time crawls.

The day next day passes identically to the previous one. Amelie wakes up to the now-familiar stench of half-dried stool. She stares at the ceiling. A nurse wordlessly changes her diaper. She stares at the ceiling. Someone blinds her by sticking another hood over her helmet, partly un-shackles her, and makes her do painful stretches. Then they re-shackle her, remove the second hood, and leave.

Amelie stares at the ceiling. She stares and stares and stares until the room gets dark. The darkness overtakes her. Then she wakes up, and the next day passes identically to the previous one.

Time crawls.

The day after that is the same as the last one.

And the one after that.

And the one after that.

And the one after that.

Time crawls.

No one talks to Amelie. No one feeds her anything beyond the tasteless mush pumped directly into her stomach. She feels no sun or wind on her face. She hears no sounds except her machine’s predictable beeping. She smells nothing except antiseptic and human waste. Nothing happens to interrupt the repetitive monotony of her existence. She remains chained to the same bed and spends almost 24 hours a day staring at the ceiling, measuring time by the intervals during which her diaper is coated with runny shit.

There is a distant hope that something, anything, will change over time. That someone will bathe her, brush her teeth, shave her legs, cut her hair, let her walk during physical therapy. Anything.

Nothing happens. The sole interruptions in her monotonous existence are the several occasions when she wakes up and doesn’t find her diaper caked in shit. She might have been dozing off. That would be a blessing. Sometimes she feels stinging sensations in her arms, and then the pain is gone, but she is still awake. There might have been times when they stung and she blacked out. Maybe the nurses were sticking her with needles. Needles with medicine to make her black out. The word ‘unconscious’ drifts through her head, but the specific name eludes her. Maybe they’ve injected her with other medications. Who knows what chemicals are inside her body. Who knows what they are doing to her mind. Who knows what she is not remembering, or remembering wrong, or completely imagining. This entire experience is starting to feel unreal, like it is happening to someone else. It seems as if there are two distinct entities whose existence she is experiencing. Amelie Savard, the human being with hopes and dreams—and the gimp. The gagged, mittened, hooded body chained to a bed in Tulane Medical Center that has no use, purpose, or importance to Amelie Savard, or anyone else in the world, except to mutely suffer and waste away.

Then the screams start.

Raw, horrible, bone-splitting screams.

Amelie has no idea where they’re coming from. She tries to look and see, but the foam helmet and its attached spit hood make it so hard to see anything. It’s hard to move her head, too. It’s hard to breathe. Her mouth is filled with the helmet’s thick plastic bit and covered on the outside by the foam shell. And that dental dam-like covering that seems to mockingly sneer, ‘dyke.’ The thing clings like some monstrously overgrown crab that has its legs wrapped around her face. It feels almost alive. Like it hates her.

Then her sight disappears. One moment her eyes work, the next there is only the blackness of total sensory deprivation. Perhaps the crab nesting on her face ate her eyes.

Amelie: Time becomes almost funny. Not strange, but like a joke. Like a cruel lie of a joke you have to tell yourself to ease a deep unknowable pain that others either can’t fathom or cannot accept.

Reality blending together doesn’t serve to make Amelie doubt the events of the past, but to doubt the fabrics that separate them from where she stands in the threads, and the fabrics that separate the great screaming tower of crushing suffering and twisted souls from her weak body being crushed under the weight of others’ wrath.

Amelie lays there and listens limply as the screaming rips into her skull, the numbness of time sanding her being down to the core only goading a reaction from her when the screaming comes with something surprisingly welcome—a new kind of pain. Her body jumps, a gasp escaping her dry cracking lips as she feels the burning jolt of a new sensation, like Frankenstein’s monster being shocked back into life. There is a tiny spark of hope hitting tinder, something new she can jump on and keep close to her chest to prove to herself she is still alive, and isn’t just being left to wither into dust. Injected with Tantsy’s liquid shit to rot her from the inside out until she ruptures, and spills putrefied guts over complaining nurses.

GM: The screams rage on. This time they hurt. They make her body erupt with blistering hot pinpricks of pain. That seems to kill the screams, for a while.

Time doesn’t crawl. It becomes meaningless.

There are no more stretches for physical therapy. Maybe her diaper still gets changed. Maybe it doesn’t. Sometimes the stench of fecal matter is there, but sometimes she smells other things that can’t be. The scents of coal smoke and warm brass from her forge. Amelie breathes in the aroma through her foam-covered nose, and it wafts into dried urine. Then the screams and burns start again.

But it’s all right. She deserves them.

“You killed me,” says Hannah. “You barely even gave a shit when Yvette broke the news.”

It’s true. She is a bad person. What has she actually done for anyone?

She made her mother run away. She cut open her father’s face. She beat the shit out a girl for playing a prank, who was probably just as scared and troubled as her. She flushed the $20,000 her aunt spent on tuition down the drain. Maybe McGehee gives refunds. She led Hannah into the LaLaurie House. Is it really a coincidence she killed herself after being dragged inside that cursed house, that brought misfortune on all the past residents? Sarah and Yvonne got shot because of her, too. Did they deserve to die? And that police detective, and the attorney, and the other people the detectives mentioned.

All because of her bright fucking idea to spend the night in a haunted house that killed god knows how many other people.

Amelie: The voices grab her back away from her small high, trying to drag her down. Hannah. Poor Hannah. At the time, her reaction to the news was so cold. While she wants nothing but to howl at the deep burning coal of pain in her heart for another person’s life, she had to swallow it and stay strong in the face of her enemy. She still needs to be strong, as much as she feels herself failing. Amelie claws to her mental position, hoping for more signs that she’s still alive, feeling the strain of her eyes as she looks forward almost manically into the dark. Her name is Amelie Savard, she has to remind herself of this. She has to believe she has a soul of solid steel, battered and hammered over and over by the hands of others who care little about her shape.

Clinging to sanity, she recalls the feeling in her chest when she had her ‘last day,’ a joking little trip that truly became the last day she was truly free. The walking around, the smiling, the food, the smells, the LIFE she’s missing out on now. Amelie remembers that statue, staring up at the Maid of Orleans and telling herself she isn’t like that masculine figure. But here she is, isn’t she? Wrapped up, sewn into a suit, men and their servants with more power than she looming over her head. Trapped in a tower and waiting for freedom or for death. Is that her statue? Is she trapped in a tower, waiting for the cardinal to come beat her, or a lord to come tear away her paper thin dress? Does God not send an angel to carry her from the tower to safety? Is she the saint of prisoners?

She’s always been a prisoner, it’s always been other people’s choices that have pulled her life along. Her mother’s choice to leave, her father’s choice to lunge at her, that cunt’s choice to ignore her pleas to stop tormenting her, Hannah’s choice to join the dyke roasting. All these actions have had consequences, all of them now burdens borne on Amelie’s soul for how she reacted. How she’s had to, to endure and have a life. They all use her as their doormat, leaving her only dirt and shit as they walk over her. She feels her soul snarl at that image, reminding her of all the swallowed pain and burning hate. She wishes somewhere deep down that the cut had been four inches lower, salivating at the thought of slicing that pathetic shell of a father’s throat. That she could have had something heavier to bring into that girl’s skull. That she lived in a time like the great Pepe where she could have just bellowed a challenge and ripped them in two like the human pieces of garbage they were towards her.

Rage cools slowly as she forces back into her mind how sweet that freedom would be right now, the excitement of food, the blessing of rain, the feeling of wind as she sprints down an empty street. How amazing it’d be to just run. She wants to run, dance, and skate on the ice and asphalt again. She wants to sit and read over a long passionate history of a man brave enough to sweep a girl like her off her feet. She wants to dig, deep and dark, into the dangerous hells she has seen and somehow master them. She wants to run away like her mother and fight monsters with a blazing silver sword blessed by God on high. She feels for it. The sword is there somewhere, she’s sure of it. Visions of her mother rush through her mind. A face she barely remembers being slammed by great hammer blunts, screaming so warbled it’s no longer a human sound.

Anguish and vengeance pulses up slowly again with the pumping of her ever beating heart. She’ll use it to cut these very walls, her restraints, to use this new purgatory only her and the dead can go. How many souls have these families destroyed? How many of the dead will whisper the secrets they were killed for in her ears? How many vampires will she feel brush their lips against her neck in the coming nights? How many werewolves will she find in the bayou snarling and carving feral runes into the dirt? How many monsters can she find to learn histories none other have dared bare witness to. Slowly, steadily, Amelie tenses, easing up out of the hospital bed to search for her sword, to follow those painful screams and heavenly smells of the forge. She needs to… ah.

She has to get up now, her mother will be angry if she sleeps past her alarm. They have practice, and then work. It’s the summer again, she’s almost 18 and the wind smells like dead leaves, just how she likes it. Just a slight chill. She hears her father’s wide-faced hammer and her mother’s heeled boots against the old wood of their second home in the village. But she still feels angry. And trapped. Phantom hands smooth down her stomach and up past her chest, gripping her neck tight as she sits up and strangles herself. Her fingers are skeletally thin, not the strong ones she remembers. Maybe they are not hers. She opens her eyes and sees nothing but dark. The fingers smooth from her neck to her hair, pinned down. Freshly-cut grass fills her nose, mud and humid air, charcoal and wood burning. More of her mother’s voice, whispering congratulations.

“He’s such a handsome young man,” she says. “Such a beautiful child you have. It’s a shame you’re the ugly one. Hit me again, ugly. Use that cold anger. You’ve been insulted.”

The sword speaks to her, spitting teeth as the fuller opens and mutters those horrible things all-too familiar to its daughter. But they aren’t statements Amelie fights back against. She just goes to stand, angered and laser-focused. Angry bile rises up in her throat, the past and future all flashing at the same time, her father spitting on her grave, her mother holding her grandchild, Aunt Christina cornered alone in a room with armed men. No! She has to rescue her. She reaches out to grab at that thin thread teased at her as her body flies upwards out of bed.

GM: She flies out her bed, and lands in a dungeon. The chains holding her wrist to the ceiling snap taut. Her feet dangle over the stone floor’s fouled wet straw.

“I’m sorry, Amelie, but that’s a historical anachronism,” says Ms. Perry, grimy-faced and dressed in a homeless woman’s thick clothes. She pushes the junk-filled shopping cart to a halt and starts rummaging through it. “Women in Pepe Lulla’s time didn’t have honor. They had virtue, and they couldn’t challenge people to duels. A man might do that, if he felt the target of his challenge had impugned a woman’s virtue.”

“But,” the ex-history teacher continues, still rummaging through the junk, “each sex had their place.”

Amelie: Amelie doesn’t register the change as strange, simply staring down at the floor and looking up at her teacher, nodding to her words.

“No one in my life has ever treated me like a woman. With the physique I normally possess, I could follow the example of St. Marina,” she poses, looking over her ex-teacher. “But maybe I am neither. Maybe I’m just a machine, created for people’s amusement and torture. When you wind me up I scream.”

“But I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve to be targeted by the cruelty of the people who wanted to wind that key.”

GM: “St. Marina was also punished for a crime she didn’t commit, for years. She didn’t have too easy a life either,” Ms. Perry points out. One of the lenses in her half-rimmed glasses is broken. “People treat you how you act. She never denied being a man.”

She rummages through her shopping card some more, then pulls out something wrapped in a baby’s cheerfully printed blanket. An infant’s cries some from within its folds.

“Oh, here we go.”

“Such a beautiful child you have,” she coos before passing the bundle to Yvette Devillers. The other teenager gives Amelie a sardonic look and turns the blanket inside out. There’s nothing there.

“Tah-dah,” Yvette says dryly.

“That’s so funny. You thought you’d ’ave a baby with somebody? Let me share that on Twitter,” she says, digging out her phone and snapping pictures.

“Ah mean, just wow. A mannish freak like you? Who could ever love someone as ugly as you, Amelie?”

Amelie: Amelie just slowly grins as Yvette shows up. The past and future are melting together again, but she gets a chance to spit in her face. Funny how time works.

“I could. I loved my body, Yvette. With how obsessed you are over me, I think you did too.”

“But enough about me. How is therapy going, sweet pea? And your sister, how is her new scar?”

GM: Yvette laughs. “It’s all going great, actually… Maman’s ’ired surgeons to get rid of that ugly scar.”

“You do know doctors can do that, right? That we don’t all ’ave to be scabbed-up freaks like you?” she sneers. “They did a great job, it’s all gone. Therapy’s over too… we’re both ready to move on with our lives.”

She offers Amelie a dazzling smile. “It was so ‘ard deciding what college we wanted to go to… so many options. So many futures. Maybe they’ll ‘ave a GED program in prison, if you’re lucky.”

“But you know, Ah do feel a bit sorry for you, Amelie. You don’t mean to be such a gross dyke. Probably just bad parents… when you get out of ‘ere, Ah’ll put in a good word for you with mah family, get you a job for us as a janitor. Would you like that? You won’t even need those bulging muscles to mop floors.”

Amelie: “I don’t need any of that. You and your petty sisters, forced accents, ugly boots, and incest-ridden matryoshka doll family are below the infinite new possibilities you accidentally unlocked for me.”

Amelie’s grin slowly subsides into a much more settled and content smile.

“You have a beautiful family of cats though, I’ll give you that.”

GM: “Glad you’re so happy how things turned out,” says Hannah, with blue-tinged corpse’s lips. “I’d have kept my damn mouth shut if I knew this was how they were going to. Probably won’t be too long before my mom joins me here.”

Amelie: Amelie’s smile falls as she hears Hannah’s voice. Poor girl, she deserved better.

“I’m not happy with how it turned out, Hannah. Why did you come along? You and Megan seemed to know what was being planned. But she bowed out.”

GM: Hannah looks like she’s trying to roll her eyes, but the upwards-staring things barely move in her sockets. “Didn’t warn you either though, did she? You’re welcome for doing that. Good to know this is all my fault.”

Amelie: “No, she didn’t. But it’s not your fault, either. I’m sure much of this was a fit for what happened with the police. But they will suffer greatly for it, I’m sure.”

GM: Hannah looks at Amelie like she’s stupid. “Uh, the police? Why would I care what happens to the police?”

She shakes her head. “Actually, never mind. I might’ve felt sorry for you, because of the gender expression thing, but I have no idea what goes through your head. You were always so weird. About everything.”

“You mean ’e’s stupid,” smiles Yvette. “Ah agree. Yvonne said ‘e started talking about ’er and Simmone in front of them, like they weren’t even there… Ah think ’e must ’ave autism or something.”

Amelie: Amelie doesn’t even bother to respond to or acknowledge Yvette’s presence. She isn’t worth the attention.

“You were there, weren’t you? Them being detained, the shooting?”

GM: The bluish-lipped girl shrugs. “Lived, didn’t they? I’m having a harder time caring about that now that I’m dead, funnily enough.”

Amelie: “…I was weird, because I was scared. When I met you in the hospital? It was ghost related. If we’re really talking in the underworld, and I’m not just talking to myself, Tantsy might be able to help you. Or if you want, I can…y’know, try and help you. Unless you just want me out of your afterlife.”

GM: “‘Try and help her’? She’s dead, Amelie. In large part because of you. What do you realistically think you can do to ‘help’?” asks her aunt Christina.

“You tell Yvette about ‘infinite possibilities.’ How do you expect to survive when you get out of jail? Your business is shot to hell, and you can’t simply disappear, because you’ve also been sentenced to nine months unpaid labor. You say you want a baby, but how do you expect to take care of someone else when you can’t even take care of yourself? How are you going to pay for things like food, rent, and community college, because forget Tulane—do you expect that I’m simply going to take care of you forever?”

Her aunt shakes her head. “This whole thing is just a game to you, something to wave in Yvette’s face. Maybe if you woke up and saw Dr. Brown raping your comatose body you’d take the situation more seriously.”

“Just like your mother. She ran off for just as stupid a reason, and left people like me to be responsible and pick up the pieces.”

Amelie: Another intrusion, but the new voice belongs to someone far too dug into the world for her to come under threat, isn’t she? Yvette would have taunted that her last vestige of family on God’s green earth was dead, and so Amelie can only conclude a further sinking into madness. How little does she think of her aunt if this is what she’s saying to her? How little does she think of herself if she’s making her say these things. Or is this just another conversation to come, a gift from the future to whisper to her how much suffering she’s to go through in times to come.

“Unlike my mother, you didn’t prepare me for what you wanted from me. To be thrust into the lion’s den of a school like that without a warning… you’re me. You know I don’t take debt lightly. I don’t think I’ll ever step foot in your home again, if I lose the rest of this ‘game’ I am chastising myself for thinking I am playing, when I know I’m not. And somehow that makes perfect sense,” she offers, looking her aunt over and frowning.

“Or you’re something else, torturing me to goad a reaction. Maybe I’ll grow sick of it and cut my way out. I will not join the tower, not today.”

GM: “What is done cannot be undone,” Rafael intones. The old man’s deeply lined face is grave as he produces an antique 17th century French scabbard, but the blade he draws from it is made from Amelie’s mother. His eyes glint over the fleshy sword’s warbling screams.

“Such fine materials…”

The blade falls, and two voices cry out.


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