Aaron pulls out his phone and gives Jesse a call from under the willow tree in the park after he is done meditating. “Hey, it’s Aaron, from the coffee shop. I thought you might like to meet up and talk before we try to tackle the problem at hand?”
Jesse picks up the phone while lounging in her bubble bath in her apartment, sighing a bit as her relaxation is interupted. “Oh? Sure. Just tell me where to meet you and I’ll head out in a few minutes.”
Aaron chuckles somewhat to himself as he puts his shirt back on, shifting the phone from one hand to the other in the process. “I am at the western edge of Sandlewood park. I’ll see you in a little while then.”
Jesse hangs up the phone and sets it on the side table by the tub. She climbs out and rubs scented lotions in her skin before putting her clothes on and looking up the park to get directions.
Aaron paces about underneath the tree for a while, just listening to the local sounds of life coming from the plantlife nearby. He reaches up and runs his hand along the bark of the tree and sighs.
Jesse heads out of the apartment and gets on her bicycle, headed for Sandlewood Park. She stops when she reaches the edge of the park, scanning for Aaron.
Aaron spies Jesse reaching the park and waves her over to where he is. “Hey, there you are. I was beginning to wonder what happened to you.” His nose flares slightly and he chuckles as he walks back toward the trees. “Honeysuckle?”
Jesse smirks a bit as she locks up her bike in one of the racks and then heads over. “I like not smelling like ass, thanks.”
“Understandable.” Aaron runs his hands through the dangling greenery of the willow tree and steps through it like a curtain. “So, you ever attempted anything like this before?”
Jesse shakes her head a bit before following him, reaching up and running her fingers along the green leaves herself. “Not really. I do a lot of reading and some therapeutic massage… Never tried to tackle a nasty spirit before.”
Kara check’s her phone’s gps with a frequency that borders on obsession as she makes her way to the park, stopping only for her preferred triple-shot espresso on the way. She arrives at the park looking a great deal less unkempt than she was a few days ago, but not too much less.
Kara looks surprised as she glances up from her phone a last time to see Aaron and Jesse in the park.
Aaron ducks back through the leaves and nods his head in agreement. “A little less uncommon for myself, but nothing of this magnitude I think.” He pauses as he spies someone else closeby, going quiet before realizing it’s Kara and he waves in a friendly manner. “Fancy seeing you here.”
Jesse comes out from the wispy willow leaves as well, smiling as she sees Kara. “Hey. You know, I don’t mean to sound weird but a massage and meditation session would probably do you wonders.”
Kara waves back as Aaron waves to her, but she seems somewhat taken aback by Jesse’s statement. “Er…I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?” She looks confusedly between both Aaron and Jesse.
Aaron laughs heartily, shaking his head though he casts a wink in Jesse’s direction. “No. I usually save sex in public places until at least the third or fourth date.” He smiles again and reaches up, playing with the leaves draped down over them. “No, we were just talking about this thing with the spirits. What about you, any experience in doing something like this before?”
Kara’s face flushes pure crimson at Aaron’s response, and clears her throat heavily. “I, er…what?” She mentally shakes herself before continuing. “I…I do have some experience in spirits. But that’s, well, that’s not exactly my department, shall we say?”
Jesse smirks and walks around a little bit, occasionally glancing up at the sky. “That’s alright. It shall be a learning experience for all of us I imagine. Has anyone heard from the other guy, the kinda strange kid?”
Aaron tilts his head and then shakes it to Jesse. “I haven’t heard from Arthur since the coffee shop. Hope that other guy didn’t scare him off.” He looks at Kara and then back toward the tree again. “You work with that other guy? Is he always like that?”
“Eh, kinda.” Kara mutters vaguely, rubbing the back of her neck with one hand. “I’d say he takes some getting used to, but he’s pretty much what I expected going into this job. Plus, I spend a lot of time in the lab.”
Jesse nods, listening. She ducks into the leaves again, feeling it drift over her face. “He seems alright, save for the corncob lodged firmly in there. But I guess that is to be expected.”
“He’s pretty alright.” Kara says with a slight shrug. “Besides, I’d take pretty much anyone as a boss for this dream job. Take that, everyone who wanted me to stay and get my doctorate!” She does give Jesse a curious glance as the woman keeps ducking herself into leaves. “Is, er… is everything alright?”
Aaron eyes both Jesse and Kara and chuckles a bit to himself. “It’s always good to enjoy what you do. Though you do seem like you overdo it. But that might be the caffiene that makes you seem all frazzled perhaps.” He looks back at Jesse and smiles a bit, nodding to Kara. “She is just enjoying nature. As I assume you must enjoy the smell of plastic and sight of microscopes.”
Jesse laughs at that a little, nodding her head. “Well, your call did cut my bath short. But this is nice. It’s peaceful here, alive.”
“Microscopes?” Kara’s lip twists into a slight smirk. “What is it, the fifties? Now a full-spectrum analysis apparatus with a centrifuge and data auto-compiler, well that’s another matter.”
Aaron smiles back, nodding his head approvingly. “There we go. I knew there was a spark in there somewhere. So shall we try to at least call Arthur before we go through with this?”
“Arthur?” Kara pulls her purse up and begins to rummage through it. “Hold on. I’ve got his number in my phone.” After a few moments, she pulls her cell phone out of the unkempt tide within her purse and hits one of her speed dial numbers.
Kara brings the phone up to her ear and taps her foot for a few moments before muttering something in German and shaking her head.
Aaron tilts his head and tries not to seem like he’s listening too intently, but that he is paying attention. Occasionally his eyes scan the park and turn off toward where the little drug shacks were att with a frown while he thinks.
Kara sends him a quick text before putting her phone back into her purse and looking back up at the others. “I couldn’t get him. Hopefully, he’ll turn up later.”
Jesse chuckles. “I get the feeling he is the kind to turn up whether we want him to or not.” She looks off the way that Aaron is looking and shares his frown. “I have a couple things in my bag but not sure how effective it will be.”
Aaron nods and pulls out a small mirror on a string, which he spins a few times as he looks around. “Well, I don’t imagine it could hurt to try it out.” He glances to Kara. “Ideas?”
“Hey, don’t look at me,” Kara says, trying to keep a hint of bitterness out of her voice, “you guys are the magicians here.”
Jesse glances toward Kara and then pulls a couple incense from her bag. “I roll these myself. Herbal mixture designed to take the negativity right out of you… Or in this case, the nasties.”
Kara eyes the offering dubiously. “Er…thank you. I’m sorry but I think I’ll have to pass.”
Aaron nods and sighs, holding up the little spinning piece of glass as he slowly starts to walk forward toward that area.
“Hey,” Kara exclaims, somewhat indignantly after a moment, “what do you mean ‘negativity’?”
Jesse laughs. “Well I originally didn’t mean it for you but if you’re going to be that way you might could use a whiff. Or two.” She chuckles and follows Aaron, so far, incense unlit.
Kara follows behind, trying not to look to sulky, though she does mutter something about showing a certain someone negativity.
Aaron blinks and gives his glass another spin, sighing again and still moving forward. “Alright, lets remain calm. These sorts of things feed on emotions, and can try to invade your thoughts.”
Jesse makes an ‘ew’ face at that. “That sounds unpleasent.” She keeps her eyes peeled for very physical threats as well, despite knowing that those guys they spoke of should be cleared out.
“Wonderful.” Kara mutters. “If I die, I am definitely haunting Cory for this.”
<ST> There is something definately wrong with this section of the park. It seems warped somehow, though it is hard to say exactly how… it just feels wrong. It looks darker than it should, like twilight at noon and it’s lacking in the sounds of animals or even insects.
Aaron smirks a bit at Kara and then continues on, pausing at a section of the park that seems to extend into the forest. He narrows his gaze as he looks at the trees here, not going any further. “Suddenly feeling like this was bigger than I expected.”
Jesse stops dead in her tracks behind Aaron. She looks past him and shakes her head. “Holy crap. That is uhm… Wow.”
Aaron pulls up the mirror on a string and spins it, glancing sidelong into the glass as he sweeps it over the area in front of him. As he does so, his expression pales and he shakes his head. “That, what the hell is that?”, he says as he observes something on the other side.
Jesse peeks past him for a minute and shrugs, lighting an incense. She waves it about her, perfuming the air with a sweet smelling smoke.
“What?” Kara shoots a look of mixed confusion and apprehension towards Aaron. “Is something awry?” She glances around at the surroundings, then amends; “more awry?”
<ST> The sweet smelling smoke is soothing to everyone, and while it does not remove emotions it does have a rather calming effect.
Aaron backs up, grabbing both girls by the shoulders. “It’s looking straight at us. It can see across too. Go. Go now to my car. It’s never locked.” He takes a half a step back and pulls a weird stone knife from his pocket and holds it in one hand.
<ST> There is a ripping, tearing sound and then something seems to start to form just ahead of where they were, in the dark part of the park. The air there seems foggy, wispy, and then a figure starts to emerge. It smells of burnt flesh, even from where they are standing.
“What! Did! You! Do?” Kara lets out a yell, finding time to shoot an accusatory glare at Aaron while backing up and fishing in her purse for something.
Jesse holds her smoking stick and trembles, staring at what seems to be coming out of thin air. “Uhm… Uhm…”
Aaron growls and long claws grow from his fingers as he narrows his gaze at the thing as it takes shape slowly stepping into the physical realm. “This looks very bad.”
“You think?” Kara snaps back, pulling a small sidearm from her purse, though he eyes it dubiously. “We need this thing gone and that portal closed. Sooner is preferable to later!”
Jesse nods and starts to circle around, trying not to be noticed. “Keep it busy?” She digs in her bag and pulls out some white cloth strips and starts tying them together.
Aaron glances sidelong at Jesse and shakes his head. “Would you like me to make you a sandwich too?” He eyes this strange thing as it moves closer, and steps up as well though careful not to get in Kara’s line of fire.
The creature comes out with it’s skin crackling and peeling. It’s head resembles a deer but it has a single wide tooth top and bottom, giving it a skeletal appearence. There are black vine-like masses for feet that shift forward along the ground rather than walking, and it causes it to have quite a shambling gait.
Kara steels her arms so that her trembling doesn’t affect her shots so much. She takes a few steps back and around the creature, taking careful aim. “Just say when…” she hisses, ignoring the sweat beginning to leak from her brow.
“Any freaking time is good for me.” Aaron says.
With a final German profanity uttered under her breath, Kara squeezes the trigger, failing to reassure herself that this is just like her practice time on the firing range. Even so, the shot lands true, and Kara stares almost dumbfounded at her handiwork for a moment before regretting actually drawing this spirit’s attention.
Jesse sneaks around toward the door, still tying cloth together and just praying the whole time to any gods that will listen for that thing not to see her.
Aaron moves between Kara and the creature, brandishing claws on one hand and an engraved stone knife in the other. As the creature gets close enough to swing at, he swings with the knife. He hits it, but the blade bounces off it’s crackling skin. He winces inwardly at the outcome.
<ST> The creature makes a loud screeching sound, blowing spittle all over both Aaron and Kara before slamming a black-veined fist into Aaron’s midsection, knocking the wind out of him.
Aaron stands back up straight and just starts swinging claws, one could swear he might have even growled at it while tearing into it as deeply as possible, pretending to be unphased by the black fluid that is now dripping from his clothes and arm.
Jesse yells after reaching the gate, almost getting pulled inside she instead grabs a tree and uses the loop of white cloth to hold herself there. “Holy fuck! Not good!”
“We are very much aware!” Kara shouts back at Jesse’s explanation. She ducks to the side as Aaron slashes at the creature, and brings her gun back up, putting another few bullets into the monstrosity. It stops moving before she stops shooting. As she realizes this, she takes a deep gulp of air and lets her pistol drop slightly before she turns to Jesse.
<ST> With a massive sucking sound, the gate pulls everything around it into it, including Jesse before it pops in a burst of light. The area around them seems to feel less dark, and the creature seems to dissolve as if it never existed, along with the black goo on Aaron. Everything seems… normal. Except the white cord still on the branch, and Jesse is gone.
“What just happened?!” Kara yells in incredulity as the world seems to revert to normal, sans Jesse.
Aaron blinks and then runs over, looking around the spot and then pulling out his little mirror. He snatches the cord off the tree and holds the mirror up, looking around. “Jesse!”, he calls into the mirror, letting it echo on the other side. “There will be a coyote approaching you, it’s a friend. Let it take you to Unicorn until we can get you out.”
Aaron looks over at kara, his expression worried. “We have to find a way to get her out. Too long in that world and you become a Spirit and can never get back.”
(Umbra) Jesse looks around a little bit, both terrified and yet curious. “Coyote… Yay. Unicorn, got it.” As she hears the last part, “What?!?”
“Oh, yeah, great!” Kara retorts, only slightly hysterical. “It’s such a good thing I took those classes in practical trans-dimensional movement I took during grad school then! Oh, wait. Those don’t exist!”
<ST> Sirens can be heard in the distance as the police approach due to calls of gunshots. Coyote does arrive as Aaron had mentioned, inclining his head off toward the direction they had been playing in the willows earlier and then starting to walk that way so that Jesse can follow.
Aaron thinks quickly, still holding his middle. “Your friend. When asked about if there was a way to go across himself he said he couldn’t show us yet. Not that he didn’t know how or anything. Maybe they have a way across we can use.” He looks at his clawed hands, then at Kara. “I can’t get caught like this. I have to go and change back. She will be okay for a while… it can take months for the change to occur, and if she stays close she won’t get lost. No need to panic.”
“Now seems like a very appropriate time to panic.” Kara responds crossly, then takes a calming breath and speaking again. “Fine. You should go then. I’ll stay and make sure the police get a report filed.”
(Umbra) Jesse sighs and follows the Coyote to where he leads her. “Well… I like to think we really learned something today.”
Aaron nods and moves off toward his car quickly. “Thank you, Kara. We’ll get her out.”
<ST> Kara handles the police fairly easily, since she has worked with them before. And considering how bad the place is known to be… all she gets is a firm “you shouldn’t be walking around there alone, even armed”.