Jason Strode: Jason had haunted Nelly's Peaks streets regularly for a month now, always on the lookout for people in need of help - or punishment. Always, he kept his eyes open for one person in particular. Every time something moved in an alley or approached him on the streets, he hoped it would be her, alive and well - but thus far, no sign."I hope you're okay, kid..."
Most people would be watching themselves in this neighborhood at night, but the darkness held no terror and no secrets for a creature born of it such as him. He might not have found Courtney but at least, he thought, he could feed his horror.
Nightmares: In the midst of night, Nelly's Peak is alive like no other place in the city of New Haven. Not for the night clubs or the bars - Until Dawn excluded - but for the people. They came alive in the city, as crime became abundant. You knew from experience, that the shadows hid secrets no one ever noticed. They showed the fear of the people for what they might see. More than once, you'd had to protect yourself walking from someone trying to rob you for money.
It wasn't cruelty, or greed that drove them - but hunger.
And of course, there was the matter of the girl. Courtney. Seeking her out isn't entirely easy, but she was a kid of the streets now, wasn't she? A needle in a haystack, in a neighborhood that was -huge-. As you move through the area though, you cross an alleyway. It's dirty, it's messy - and it smells like the rotted flesh of the dead.
But you see courtney there, in that place. She's crying and running at the same time, following another girl with raven hair - face hidden by a coat. Courtney is clutching a head - an actual head - has she holds it to herself desperately. As though it were a stuffed animal. As though that head were the most valuable thing she had.
You see what look like people follow them. They don't walk like humans. They walk like zombies - their flesh infected with some kind of virus that makes the veins pop out black. Mother. Mother they cry. The girl with her holds out what appears to be two swords. As the creatures begin to lunge, the girl changes into something...
Entirely not monstrous. An angel - and not the biblical kind, but the winged, glorious, and awe inspiring kind - so beautiful that it hurts to look upon her...
Jason Strode: Jason was alarmed and terrified at the shocking vision. Not for himself, but for Courtney. Whatever she had gotten herself into it was undoubtedly bad. His feet started moving before his mind had a chance to even consider caution, and he followed the trail of terror as fast as he could, ignoring the strange looks of people he passed in his dead run, thinking to himself: 'please be alive, courtney..please be alive..i'm coming'
Nightmares: It's easy enough to follow the trail of the girl after words. As you do, you pass chamber after chamber - some older, and some younger. Courtney herself, however, seemed to stay within that 'half mile' limitation - having no where else to go, it seemed. Or not being comfortable moving to the other locations. Or maybe just... it was home? Who knew.
But that's when you pass the next, far more horrifying chamber that is 'hers'.
It's near one of those bars - you know the kind. The kind where you are warned not to go into, because the clientelle isn't the safe kind, and it's basically run down. It's not 'at' that bar, though - but near an alleyway nearby.
They are laughing.
They are all laughing. They'd promised her a job, you see. Hang out, do a run - sell some Candy. They called the man the Candyman, because he dealt with drugs and all sorts of things. A Beast, you recognized immediately - that's why the chamber was so easy to look into. The memory is faded, but god it burns.
They'd promised her a job. And then they laughed.
They tore off her clothes - the only bits and rags that she had to call her own. The same clothes that she wore when she held the head - but different from the time you met her. They tossed her around like a rag doll, and she screamed as they pressed her against the wall. Taking turns. Laughing - enjoying themselves with their 'plaything' while she bleeds down her legs, red and white trails covering her.
The man - the Candyman, they called him, lifted her from the ground as she sobbed - by this point, she'd given up fighting, and had laid there. And he whispered to her, "What are you doing? Didn't you want a job?" He smiles to her, and says, "Do your job."
She finds herself not in control of her body - her eyes wet with tears, her body exposed - no longer even able to claim she didn't want this to happen.
As they finish with her, leaving her lying naked and covered in their filth, the Candyman tosses a couple twenties at her. He smiles, and says, "Thanks, Sweetie. You deserve this."
That feeling lingers with the nightmare that delivers it.
Jason Strode: Jason's anger and pain burned redder than the blood as he forced himself to watch what he saw. Even the Laughing Doctor was horrified at the transgression against decency. And the horror howled in outrage - find them. PUNISH THEM. "You son of a bitch. I'm going to give you some candy." he said to himself through clenched teeth, hands balled into fists so tight his nails dug into the palms.
"Your suffering is going to be legendary."
Jason Strode: Jason's feet moved again. He could still feel courtney's terror, and he followed it like a man on a mission - which he most assuredly was. Both he and his associate were in agreement - somebody was going to pay for her suffering and if she was dead, she would be avenged in the most horrifying way he could imagine.
Nightmares: It takes a little while - following a path is sort of a winding thing but so long as you didn't leave that half mile radius you -- wait. There she was.
She'd changed dumpsters to hide in - probably after he'd found her the first time. You aren't, of course, sure it is her, but you can see a little crack in the dumpster and little hints of 'flesh' behind there and - well, you found her in one before and had, by this point, passed multiple such things.
... There had to be better places to sleep than that. Even on the streets.
If you use the ability to see shadows you of course -know- its her, and she's, like usually, armed with her little knife, ready to use it in a heartbeat. She's also sleeping. Waking her up will likely trigger a fight option if you aren't careful.
Jason Strode: Jason was not the least bit afraid. The darkness concealed nothing to his eyes, but he didn't want to scare hher. He approached carefully, but not stealthily "Courtney. Hey, wake up kid. It's Jason."
Nightmares: There is a moment where she jolts - but she doesn't move. He might need to repeat himself though, as most people don't make sense of their circumstances immediately on waking up. She clutches the knife, looking to the crack to try to see beyond it, preparing.
Jason Strode: He was relieved that she was alive and more or less unarmed, but there was a look of determination on his face. His jaw was set and he pushed down the rage he'd felt from the horrible vision earlier "Hey, relax. it's me, Jason."
Nightmares: "...Oh." She said, cautiously lifting the trashcan to see if he was alone. She sort of peeks out of that trash can, watching him suspiciously still - before saying, "...Hi. What do you want?"
Jason Strode: "I want to talk sense into you, for starters. You can't stay out here like this, kiddo. Not anymore. You don't HAVE to."
Jason Strode: "I don't want to find your dead body out here one night. I've got enough nightmares in my head."
Nightmares: "...Again with this?" She sighed and said, "Look, I'm not going to go live with some guy who offers me food. Sorry. Thanks for the food, and thanks for the money - but you don't know me."
She dipped her head, and the lid fell, and she sighed from under the trashcan. "Though I was going to call you. Just... shit happened, and I needed the money for more meals, not a new phone."
Jason Strode: "Again with this. I don't want anything from you. I just want you to not be on the streets and as it appens I just bought a big-ass house downtown with a lot of empty rooms. And as I was looking over this big place i said to myself 'this is such a waste of space'. I want to help you. That's all, i swear on my life."
Jason Strode: "Nobody there but me and my ten-year-old daughter, who by the way would love to have another girl around to talk to. And my sense of style is awful, i need someone to decorate the place. Say no and you'll be responsible for the biggest interior decorating disaster in human history."
Nightmares: "Uh huh." She breathed and looked to him, and sighed, and said, "...Fine. Name your price, and I'll give you my terms and condition."
Yeah. She was setting those up, despite being the one given charity.
Jason Strode: "Fine. You have to endure the greatest hardship in this life or the next - dealing with my god-awful cooking." he forced a smile "Without complaining. And babysit molly for me in the evenings."
Jason Strode: "You can complain about the babysitting, though. I'm not completely unreasonable."
Nightmares: "...Fair enough." She breathed, and peeked her head out of the trashcan. "... Rule number one, if this is going to be a thing. This is the most important rule. You -" She pointed at him, and said, "Never touch me. Ever. Not even if you are one of those huggy feely types, not even to catch me of I fall off the roof. Your ass steps to the side and lets me break my back. Got it?"
Jason Strode: "Deal." he said "Unconditionally."
Jason Strode: "But uh...don't fall off the roof. That'd be really hard to explain."
Nightmares: "No promises." She relaxes a bit, and said, "The second thing. We need to go to Walmart or something. Buy a new door knob, with a new lock, to which I only have the key. No one else. I need to be there when it's bought, and I need to be the one to set the door up myself."
Jason Strode: "Done. You can ever pick your choice of doors. Total privacy."
Jason Strode: "All i want is to know that I won't stumble over your dead body in an alley one night. That's it."
Nightmares: She breathed in, and said, "...Last thing. I need a Doctor." She paused and said, "Not you. A real doctor, not a shrink. Only need it once I think... hope. But if you got any favors with anybody... I'd 'preciate that. I can't actually afford to go."
Jason Strode: "My ego demands that i inform you psychiatrists do get a great deal of medical training." he grinned
"and it just so happens I know an MD. I know a bunch, actually. Would you prefer a woman?"
Jason Strode: "So in the event tat you do in fact fall off the roof, i'll be staring at you helplessly unable to render medical assistance because i'm as good as my word."
Nightmares: She eyeballs him as he asks that. Almost like she suspects he knows something. Before she breaths, exhaling, and said, "... Yeah. I'd like a woman, if possible. If you got one."
She watched him and said, "Uh huh. Well, life lessons - I'll try not to fall off roofs."
Jason Strode: "That's a good lesson to learn." he grinned "Come on, it's threatening to rain on us and i wanna get out of here before someone tries to rob me again. I'm not in the mood to kick the shit out of a mugger this evening. We'll inform the authorities in the morning so they don't arrest my ass and you can pick a doctor you like."
Nightmares: ".... I don't want to deal with police." She said looking at him. "They are gonna want to put me in the system. The system is more dangerous than the streets."
Jason Strode: He shook his head vigorously "You aren't going in the system, believe that. I don't care who i have to bribe, threaten or sue. That is NOT happening."
Nightmares: She nodded and said, "I'd not worry about the authorities. They don't care, and honestly - what are they going to do? Really?" She breaths and says, "Easier to just keep it on the DL."
Jason Strode: "Fine by me. As long as you're safe, i'll deal."
Jason Strode: He pulled out his cellphone "It's kind of a long walk downtown and i'm extraordinarily lazy, so i'm gonna call us an uber."
Nightmares: "Alright. Step back, I'm coming out of this thing." She said, moving to try to get herself out of the dumpster. "Oh! And I sleep with my knife."
She lifts the little thing up to show him.
Jason Strode: "Don't care. Hell, i'll buy you a dozen new knives if you'd like."
Jason Strode: He stepped back as requested
Nightmares: "...Ok. I'll hold you to that." She crawled out, and looked to him. "Lead the way, Doc."
Jason Strode: "I've recently learned that making promises like that to women is a good way to find yourself bankrupt, but it's a risk i'm willing to take. Molly nearly broke the bank shopping for school supplies and clothes." he smiled "You'll get to meet her tomorrow. Me and her mom take turns keeping her weekdays and hey, having a babysitter that will definitely cut a creep is big savings."
Jason Strode: And then he started toward a more-populated area to await their ride
Nightmares: "It is. Just be glad you didn't make that same promise with guns instead of knives," She said, following. "Molly huh? What's she like?"
Jason Strode: "Sweetest kid in the world with the attitude of a mafia leg breaker. Best thing tat ever happened to me."
Nightmares: "Sounds like." She said, maintaining a reasonable distance as they walked. "So what are your rules?"
Jason Strode: "You two have one thing in common - you both drive a hard bargain."
Nightmares: "I meant with Molly, Doc. You want me to babysit her, I need to know the rules that are involved with her so I can support them. I mean, your cool with me having knives, but you got a daughter. Are you teaching her to use them, or do I keep them as far away from her as possible? Does she have a bed time? Meals she's not allowed to eat?"
Jason Strode: "Hmm...rules....how about this: if you need anything, ask. Maybe consider school, but i won't push that until you're ready to do it. Because honestly? I'm a total pushover as a parent. I'm kinda new at it - i've known you longer than her. Her mom decided she was a strong, independent woman who don't need no man until Molly started developing an attitude and single-parenthood looked a lot less appealing. So... just try to get the tea parties over by nine p.m. and i'll call it fair. And don't, like, poison each other or burn the house down without a really good reason."
Nightmares: "Oh." She said, looking to him. After a moment, she said, "Do you want some tips? I mean, I don't know much about kids, but I know some of the basics."
Jason Strode: "Believe me, i'll need all the help I can get. Very little scares me, but the idea of having a teenaged daughter is absolutely frightening."
Jason Strode: Jason's phone beeped that their ride would arrive momentarily
Nightmares: "Alright. Um... Self Defense classes if you can afford it? Buy her a gun, teach her how to use it properly. And responsibly. If not that, mace. Both if you can. Warn her about how you were as a teenager, so she knows what to look out for? Be..." She swallowed a moment, thinking, and said, "Trust her. The less restrictive you are and more open about dangers she can face, the less likely folks are to rebel and do the exact opposite? But don't spoil her too? I don't know."
Jason Strode: "Wait til you meet her. I think I might actually need to protect the world from her." he chuckled "A boy at school pushed her on the playground and she broke his....everything."
Nightmares: She let out a little ghost of a smile, and said, "Kids are cruel."
Jason Strode: "And on the subject of younger me, I was and still remain a perfect gentleman, thank you very much."
Nightmares:c"Uh huh. Well then, tell her about all the boys who were not you, if you must." She breathed, kicking her feet in the dirt as they waited.
Jason Strode: "Oh god. That's a good point. Boys are awful at that age." A car pulled up, and after confirming it was their ride and the address - 1428 Elm Street - Jason opened one of the back doors for courtney and hheld it open for her "Your chariot awaits, madam."
Named after the first unfortunate suicide in New Haven, she was a sister in the church who got to close to the abyss. This part of the city is the poorest of the neighborhoods and has a high crime rate. It is North East of the city, a few miles from Murkwood cemetery and the Suicide Cliffs themselves.
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