2020-11-03: A Noise in the Cemetery

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A Noise in the Cemetery
Horror mixes with satire at Mount Hope Cemetery
IC Date November 3rd, 2020
IC Time Just after sunset
Players Bobbi Hannah Thorn
Location Mount Hope Cemetery

        The days after Dia de los Muertos, normally, is quiet for most people. Turkeys start getting picked out, plans made for Thanksgiving, and plotting for shopping at god-awful hours. Thorn, however, is not the sort to do that sort of thing. She's not materialistic in the least, but thanks to her time with the spirits, she had other things to do. Her day was full of performing tasks for spirits - the promised chimnage from the day prior and the last one, the crust of bread on the grave, was the one she saved for last. A call was placed to Bobbi, to see if she'd be up for a field trip and, to her delight, the BRAT pulled up soon afterwards. 

        The weather sometimes turns cooler, but tonight, however, with the temperature bouncing just below 70, no jackets are required. Thorn is dressed comfortably in a loose shirt and long pants with sandals, a basket on her lap with a bundle wrapped in a tea towel wrapped in foil inside and hangs on as Bobbi skillfully navigates city streets, leading to the oldest cemetery in town which, according to Oliver, was where he was buried, and where he wanted his bread. 

        "I know it's late, but this is really the only time I could do this." She explains to Bobbi, hefting a flashlight that could double as a police baton. "Thanks for coming with me."
       A trip that requires a costume change? Sign Bobbi up. She's not materialistic either. Well, not usually, but .... clooooothes.
       Before heading over, Bobbi changes into a simple high-waisted black dress, white ankle socks, and a pair of chunky fluevogs. Hopping in the BRAT, she heads over and picks Thorn up. No blaring beats this time, the radio is off. The quiet of the journey is more solemn than ominous. Not much is said along the way.
       Arriving at the cemetery, Bobbi hops out of the car, gently closes the door -- don't wake the dead! -- and walks around to meet Thorn. A small nod of acknowledgment is given to Thorn. "your welcome," Bobbi says, but she might as well have mouthed it. A whisper and the slight sound of saliva.

        "Thank you again." Thorn primly gets up out of her seat - knees together - with her basket held in front of her waist like a good girl should, giving Bobbi a bright smile. The marigolds from yesterday are still tucked in Thorn's hair, as is the ghost of the paint that was on her face. She could scrub for hours and it would still be there - she just chalks it up as something being spirity does to her. 

        Hefting the flashlight in her left hand, she clicks it on with the stab of her thumb, the light illuminating the carved headstones, sweeping the beam from left to right. "So...how many horror movies start this way?" she asks with a giggle, looking to the west where the sun is still high in the sky but starting to threaten twilight. "So...we need to find Mister Oliver's grave. These ones up front look too new so...deepr into the cemetery, I think."
       Bobbi just gives another solemn nod to Thorn, happy to help, but almost seeing it as more of a duty. The light goes on and Bobbi flinches lightly, not expecting that, but is quickly relieved that it's just light. Walking side-by-side with Thorn, Bobbi steps cautiously, carefully, looking around as she goes. "knowing our luck," Bobbi whispers, the wind almost carrying her voice off before it lands at Thorn's ear, "it'll be all the way at the back." There's another cautious step, a look around, and then Bobbi looks to Thorn and whispers, "what's a horror movie?"
"A horror movie is basically a movie that's designed to build fear in the audience for entertainment. Some people like to be scared because...well...because they don't know how real some stuff is, I guess. But...two lovely ladies scampering off in a cemetery just before dark..." Thorn giggles. "Could be one of the tropes that start a scary movie. That said...if you see any little girls in the distance, mysterious puzzle boxes, or voices telling you to do things, don't." She hefts her basket and sweeps the light again. "Let's start at the back and work our way forward." Despite the gloom and spirity-ness of the place, Thorn doesn't seem perturbed.
       "Is that why people don't like spoilers?" Bobbi wonders, "like they want a legitimate emotional reaction from plot twists?" While this might seem like sarcasm from anyone else, this is actually a revelation to Bobbi. The squirrels are cornered and giving up their secrets. "Why didn't anyone ever explain it to me like that before?" Bobbi asks, her voice still quiet quiet, "with Opera, the spoilers -- we call it Playbill -- makes sense, as often it's based on stories -- historical or mythological or subconscious -- that we all know. The emotional component comes from the music and art production, so by making sure we know the plot ahead of time, we can concentrate on that. But if the point is the plot ... " Bobbi looks around the graveyard they're now creeping through and whispers, "it's pretty dark here."

        Bobbi's squirrels do offer an interesting counterpoint to the walk through the cemetery, the gravestones changing from austere obelisks and slabs to well-worn marble and gothic ones from the late 1800's. "Pretty much. By giving a spoiler to a movie or a book, they see you as cheating them out of the emotional experience when, say, the daring rescue goes wrong and suddenly the hero has to escape from some almost impossible situation. If you go in knowing the person will escape, it takes you out of it a little." She pauses to scan her notebook, getting Mr. Oliver's first name and the description of his grave - simple cross with his name on it. Sure, that won't be hard to find at all.

        AS far as why no-one explained it to her? Thorn shrugs. "Maybe they thought you knew. Maybe they thought you were being silly. Whatever the reason...you know now."
       Bobbi nods slightly at this explanation as she continues to creep through the cemetery with Thorn. It's small shifts, but Bobbi is definitely getting a tiny bit closer to Thorn, looking about a little bit more. "They knew I didn't know," Bobbi notes quietly, "that I hadn't seen these things and such. They just didn't bother to explain it. Just kept repeating that people don't like spoilers." There's a pause and Bobbi looks to Thorn and asks, "but doesn't the daring rescue always go right? Doesn't the hero always escape?"
       Bobbi stops in her track and whispers, "what was that?"

        "Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't." Thorn's voice gets a little quieter as they move deeper into the cemetery. "Some shows are starting to get 'edgy,' and make it where anyone can go at any time, so...it all depends, really." She shifts her basket to the arm with the flashlight and takes hold of Bobbi's hand lightly, giving it a squeeze, reassuring herself, more than anything, as they move deeper. 

        Bobbi's stop and whisper halts Thorn almist instantly, the flashlight on the path in front of them, Thorn's ears open, eyes open...she's being careful to not look at the spirit world here...who knows what she'd see? 

        "What was what?"
       "Anyone?" Bobbi echoes back in an almost hoarse whisper.
       As they crept through the cemetery, Bobbi had gotten closer and closer to Thorn. Now as one of her hands grips Thorn's upper arm as her eyes search all around the cemetery, it seems clear that it's because the journey is making Bobbi a little scared.

        And, of course, the sun is going down, the light from the flashlight starting to illuminate more since the sun is doing less. Thankfully Thorn is very good about making sure fresh batteries are in the thing, so unless she drops it, breaks it, or loses one, they should be okay as far as light goes. "In the movies, yeah. We're not anyone, though." she says softly, trying to sound soothing but, with Bobbi starting to freak out, Thorn is starting to, too. Doesn't help watching the Vampire video in the basement and knowing this place, stereotypically, is where Vampires might hang out. "We're the heroines, on a mission." She sweeps the flashlight one more time, letting it come to rest on a rusted cross set at an angle in the dirt, the inscription OLI R riveted on, two letters missing. "I think that's it."
       With the grave found, Bobbi breathes a little sigh of relief, as she let's go of Thorn's arm. Luckily Bobbi does manual labor, so there were no fingernail to dig int. Stepping toward the grave Bobbi bends down slightly to look at the name and date.
       Bobbi looks up from the grave, eyes slightly wide.
       "there it was again"

        Thorn doesn't know if Bobbi's hearing things, is tapped into another reality, or her third eye is giving her some information that she might not be expecting to recieve and, therefore, isn't sure how to deal with it. Whatever the reason, Thorn stops and leans close to Bobbi, resting her forehead against the other woman's for just a second, her attempt at a hippie chakra align heartbeat hug. "Almost done and we can go back to the brat." she whispers, close enough to the other woman for Bobbi to tell that Thorn brushed her teeth before heading out on this little escapade to the darkness. 

        With that, Thorn steps back and crouches by the grave, opening her basket where, inside, a loaf of sourdough, wrapped in a towel to keep warm, is there. A morsel, a large bite, is broken off and laid on the grave, Thorn's palm pushing it down on the grassy soil where it seemingly vanishes into nothingness. Chimnage accepted, it seems.
       As usual, Bobbi smells freshly of Almonds and Tea Tree, Dr. Bronner's Soap to the connesieur. The hug is happily accepted, and in this quiet, if Thorn pays very close attention, she'll notice that it is Bobbi very subtley shifting her heart rate to match the other. It's not the only thing Bobbi shifts in her body to match, but those are more subtle.
       As the hug ends and Thorn goes to give the chiminage, Bobbi stands a step back, watching with a smile. Whatever it was Bobbi was hearing, it's not there anymore. Neither is she.

        Chimnage completed, Thorn smiles and pats the bare ground. "There you go, Mister Oliver." she says. "I hope you enjoyed it." And, with that, she stands and turns, ready to head back to the BRAT. Plans of dinner, of sharing the toffee nut bars she had in the bottom of the basket, kept warm by the bread, along with a bottle of Pinot Noir because...sharing is caring. "Okay so...bobbi?" Thorn blinks, the flashlight not catching the dreadlocked woman in its beam. "Bobbi?" she calls out again, taking a half-step forward, the flashlight held over one shoulder like one might a bat, with the beam about shoulder height. "Bobbi?" she calls again, taking a step towards where the other woman was...
       No answer.
       A dark cemetery lit only by a single flashlight and the gibbous moon. Up on Mount Hope the air is still, quiet. No noises, no people other than those buried in the earth. No, there must be one other person, she was just here a moment ago. People don't just vanish. Do they?
       No answer.
       Then, there's a small noise. With the stillness of the cemetery it seems to carry, reflect off graves, be everywhere and yet nowhere. An animal, probably, but what animal?
       The noise again.
       It doesn't quite sound like an animal should.

        Logical brain Thorn says that Bobbi's being silly. Hiding behind a gravestone or crouching behind a tree. Animal brain Thorn is saying to run back to the BRAT, lock yourself in, and pray that whatever took Bobbi wasn't going to take her, too! She swallows nervously, shifting the basket to her left arm, flashlight in her right, as she lets her sight see beyond, just for a second. The membrane between worlds is slightly thinner in a place like this, so the sensitive MAges might be hearing something that's trying to get their attention. She focuses on the small noise, trying to pinpoint it. Perhaps that's where Bobbi is...? She hopes!
       No answer.
       The beam of light moves across the cemetery illuminating gravestones and fallen branches forming twisted pareidolias. A cold marble bench, a mauseoleum encroached by vines, a gnarled and twisted tree ...
       The beam stop.
       Tracks back slowly
       There in front of the tree is Bobbi, standing, still. Her hands are cupped together in front of her close to her chest. The backs of her tattooed hands facing Thorn. Her head is tilted down, her eyes cannot be scene. Just frozen staring into her hands. Did she have that many tattoos. Is some of that blood?
       The noise again, coming right from where Bobbi is.
       Then, her mouth opens slightly, and this time the noise comes from her throat.

        Of course there's not an answer. Why would there be? 

        And as Thorn moves, she moves slowly and carefully, illuminating all that she can with that baton of a flashlight until she catches sight of Bobbi in her high waisted black dress and ankle socks peering down into her hands that, somehow, seem to be darker than before. "Bobbi?" Thorn says softly, stepping closer, the light moving to illuminate the other woman's hands. "What'cha got there?"

        Note, this is done with quite a great deal of trepidation from Thorn, slow, easy movments...
       No answer.
       Then as the beam of light hits Bobbi's hands, her head whips around, her eyes open wide and she stares straight at Thorn.
       "You scared the crap out of me!" Bobbi exclaims.

        There's no sugar coating it. Thorn squeals. Like, loudly. "EEEEK!" It echoes through the cemetery, almost certainly rousing a few sleeping birds as she takes a few steps back when Bobbi whips her head around like that. The shriek is followed by laughter. "Oh stars, Bobbi, you scared the crap out of /me/ wandering off like that!
       "Look!" Bobbi says with a smile as she steps forward towards Thorn.
       Closer to Thorn, Bobbi holds out her hands and in them is a small injured bird.
       It makes the noise.
       Bobbi makes it back
       And then she begins to sing a limnal hymn in a strange alien language. The words almost having a physicality as they move from her mouth through the air to the bird.
       A moment later the bird starts to flap in Bobbi's hands, looks up to the moon and takes off into the night sky.
       Bobbi smiles and takes Thorn's hand as she watches the formerly injured bird fly away.
       October's Halloween gave way to November's Day of the Dead. Like those in the cemetery, that too has now passed. Still, there's something about this time of the year. Maybe it's just superstition, history, the changing of the seasons, but if there was a time when the separation between living and dead was at it's thinnest, this is that time. The perfect time to find yourself in a cemetery.
       On Mount Hope the sun has set, the wind is still, and a gibbous moon hangs in the sky.
       People tend to pay their respects at the cemetery during the day time, yet it's clear this cemetery is not empty. Parked near the gate is a white 1983 Subaru BRAT that someone seems to have lovingly restored and cared deeply for. Whoever these people are, they're likely in the cemetery now. Alone.
       Getting past the gate, far in the distance a beam of a flashlight can be seen. Searching. Frantically.
       The light comes to a stop, seems to find whatever it is it was looking for.
       The beam starts to slow shrink, whatever it's been cast upon is approaching whoever is holding the light.
       A woman screams out and it echoes across the graves seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere.
       Then quiet. Too quite.
       No, somwthing approaching. Fast. A bird, maybe a bat shoots past the gate and into the night sky.

HOO HOOOO! HOO HOOOO! An owl calls out in the distance.

       Meandering along through the darkened graveyard, a dark shape announces itself with a trilling whistle. The sound is perky and upbeat, the tune 'Good as Hell' by Lizzo for those who might recognize the hit. She is not a stealthy predator -- her sneakered feet clomp their way with absent-minded awareness, her bionic arm glowing in rainbow hues. She's wearing a backpack made of black canvas tonight -- none of the usual fuzzy or translucent numbers -- and her knees have been stained with dirt.
       She sees the flashlight in the distance, and those carefree steps slow into a cautious posturing. Her whistling stops, and her eyes narrow toward that distant illumination with no little curiosity. She hovers like that, a lioness in the grass, and the sudden scream causes her to drop down to one knee in a crouch. Unseen, she mouths, 'what the fuuuuuck?' to herself, but makes no motion to encroach further on this strange happenstance.

HOO HOOOO! HOO HOOOO! An owl calls out in the distance.

        The flashlight and whatever it is bobs closer, focusing on something and then sweeps away into the distance, following whatever it is that's decided to fly off into the distance from whence they came. The light flickers, though, the powerful halogen bulb not liking something and, whoever's holding the light seems to be hitting it against the palm of their hand in order to try and get the gremlins that live inside, or the electrons, or whatever, to line up properly and work. "I don't want to walk back to the car in the dark!" one of the voices exclaims in dismay as the light fizzles out. Fresh batteries are almost always a good thing, but not when the bulb goes bad! 

        "Oh you shut up!" the voice yells at the hooting owl. "Who asked you?"
       "It'll be ok," comes the other voice. Two females walking back towards the gate. If it was a third female that screamed? She's still back there and she's not making any sound.
       "What we did tonight? We had to do."
       "Oliver? Monique?"
       "We didn't have any other choice."
       The footsteps stop and there's once again eerie stillness in the graveyard.
       "Someone," come a whisper that seems to carry like a scream.
       Still crouched on the ground, Hannah hovers in a runner's lean, the tips of her fingers -- both real and polymer -- digging into the earth in an attempt to steady herself. Even with her Kindred nature, the neonate is not a fighter or a scrapper -- and even with buzzing curiosity, she does not seem willing to intrude. In the night air, unknown names are said, and mentions of choices are made.
       And then, the whisper that carries like a scream.
       That is enough for her. Hannah turns her back on that frightening sound and sprints in a half-crouch, an unnecessary breath sucked in deep out of some fearful instinct. She does look back, however, with wide-eyes that burn for an answer or explanation even as she flees the source.

        "I know. I wouldn't have made the deal if I wasn't willing." One of the voices says as they walk towards the front of the cemetery, the older graves yielding to newer ones near the front. 

        Their footsteps are quiet on the gravel path, their trail heralded by the crunching of dead leaves beneath their feet and the occasional shifting of stones. "Someone else?" A beat. "Are you hearing another bird?"
       "There's a bird," the voice responds, as the footsteps slowly move forward to the gate, gravel crunching underneath, "but that's not all." The footsteps now begin to pick up speed, still walking forward, but now without any hesitance.

        Bobbi's surefootedness doesn't exactly apply to Thorn as she moves through the cemetery but, thankfully, the paths here are relatively clear. She'll have to shake some dirt out of her sandals and probaly should wash her feet before bed, but nothing that will kill her if she keeps up with Bobbi. And she does, force-marching herself along with, her basket of goodies rocking back and forth, the flashlight tucked inside. "Whatever it was...or whoever it was...." Thorn looks around. "They're gone now."
       Bobbi looks around through the darkness, gently singing again in that alien language. Looking back to Thorn, her rods and cones adjusted just enough to see the other woman's face, Bobbi gives a small nod of confirmation. "Let's get out of here," Bobbi tells Thorn, "while we still know how the story ends."