M is for Myg

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Holding you is like keeping water in my hands: Met a Stranger 2.11

mygslaptop.jpg

I went through Myg’s browser history. Recent searches: “occult bookstores,” “hair,” “demonology,” “waxing” . . . Was she working on some new goth look? Doesn’t she know emo is the new goth? Still, I needed to find her, and in right good time, because trouble always seems to find her first.

I checked the results for the cult bookstores and saw she had clicked several, including “Jupiter’s Used and Rare Books,” “Gray Matter,” “Nampa,” and “Fort St. Elmo.”

Then JB IM’d me.

“I think I have a lead. Looks like Myg was Downtown.”

I was staring at the list. Gray Matter had a Downtown address. I told JB.

“Yeah, it’s right off the main intersection here. I’m sending you a tp.”

burgandnekos_005.jpg

When I rezzed, I saw Tober was there too, dressed for battle. I wondered if I should have strapped on my Glocks before the jump. It would be just like JB to not warn me ahead of time.

“Aka says she and a couple of friends found Myg being soul-sucked by some ghosts in the subway station,” said Tober. “They drove off the ghosts, but Myg ran off.”

Aka was a smart-looking neko, a variety of blades giving her leather-clad frame an edge that was less than cozy.

burgandnekos_002.jpg

“Yes. She bolted as soon as she got some of her strength back,” said Aka. “We looked for her, but she must have tp’d out when the transport system rebooted.” She looked at the ground.

“You don’t think she’s still here? What if she just collapsed?”

“If she was here, we’d know,” Aka said.

8-7_003.png

“How come your girl didn’t IM you in the first place?” JB sneered. “What’d you do to piss her off so badly? No wait, I know — you were just being you.”

8-7_001.png

I was gonna come up with a snappy comeback, I really was. But then Sable and Myg IM’d me simultaneously. They were at the hospital. I tp’d out.

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Housecall: Met a Stranger 2.10

“Oh my god!”

They say when you’re dying, hearing is the last of the senses to go. I figured Sable’s horrified cry would be my final memory of this life.

Sable's discovery

“Myg!” She gasped and I heard her stilettos trotting across my flat. But she was too late. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even utter a fond farewell. She leaned over me and I let out a ragged breath.

bad scene

Sable’s anxious fingers fumbled through my desk. “Doctor, doctor…” she muttered. “Myg, what’s the doctor’s name who you went to see for the fainting?” I couldn’t answer but I still call up the memory of his face.

“Altamura!” she must have found the unpaid bill from the Baji emergency room visit. No sooner had she found the doc’s name than she sent for him, because in under a minute I heard another voice. His.

piercing

“How long has she been like this?” The doctor’s tone was edgy, not real confidence inspiring.

“I don’t know,” Sable asked. “I just found her a couple of minutes ago.”

Dr. Altamura knelt over me and checked my pulse. Then he laid his head over my chest and I let out a long uneven breath. I heard a quick shuffle of feet and latches. They were silent as he worked.

“This isn’t going to be pretty,” he cautioned.

I never felt the sting of the needle, but the jolt of the medication sent bottlerockets to my skull. I went from numb to having intense pain everywhere I had damn nerve endings.

“Oooooooowwwwwwwwwarrrrrrrrrhggggghhhh!” All of Section 8 must have shuttered themselves in, fearing a rabid lost camper on the loose. The intense pain subsided after several minutes, but afterwards I still felt woozy and cold.

First aid

“Doctor Altamura,” I stammered, “I think I’m sick.”

“You’ve been contaminated. I need to get you to the hospital seclusion unit, now.”

“But…”

“And you need to be followed closely for at least a week to be sure you don’t relapse.”

“But…”

“It’s a public health issue. Sorry.” The hospital landmark appeared. “Hit teleport please.”

Flutter

A public health issue? I was in no shape to argue. But then, I never did have an easy time disobeying Altamura’s orders.

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You’re not alone: Met a Stranger 2.9

After I gave the nekos the slip I skulked around Downtown, looking for a place to lay low until the grid would allow teleport again. With how shaky things had been, who knew how long that could take?

On every rooftop I sensed a shadowy figure, spying out over the city.

ever hunting

Nekos. They weren’t going to give up the search too quick it seemed.

from the roof tops

Afraid to run, afraid to fly, sure that they’d spot me hovering above the dark skyline, I waited. There were few others in town and with teleport down, few would be coming in unless they logged here. The nekos would have little trouble finding me if I moved around too much. And if I stayed put, it was just a matter of time.

I edged my way around the corridors, trying to think invisible thoughts.

found someplace

My heart was racing but still I felt cold all the way through. Not chilly, like a cool breeze on a hot summer neck. But cold-cold, like my very vitality was in short supply. Then I couldn’t feel my feet. I stamped them but freaked out about the noise calling attention to me. My toes started to ache. I shifted my weight from one to the other.

I thought about those ghosts and the paralysis I’d suffered a few hours earlier and worried. What if this feeling wasn’t going to go away?

I shuddered and pushed the thought from my mind. I had to move on.

Around the outskirts of town I found a condemned old bar and climbed inside through the boards. It wasn’t much but until teleport was back up it’d have to do.

long night's hide

The cold feeling came back and crept from my feet up to my knees. I sat down and rubbed my legs, trying to bring the heat back.

I tried to distract myself from the painful sensation and considered what I now knew about my damned predicament.

So it seemed the ghosts had been sent by demons. Where the demons connected to Dr. Moody, my ex-demon-shrink?

MAST2-MillHead.png

Moody’s words from that night came back to me, “You’ve put me back into alignment,” she’d said after I tried to wring her neck. “I’m ruined.”

What the hell did that mean? I had to get my hands on that demon chiropractic book–Explicatio Vertebratus Daemonicon–but where was I going to find an archivist to trace a copy for me? This isn’t the kind of thing that just turns up in “search.”

Then there was the issue of JellyBean Madison–why was she having the nekos look for me?

I was deep in thought but the ache in my legs was so damned distracting it was hard to concentrate.

lurker

Forcing myself to stay awake I rocked back and forth. Checked my inventory and it all seemed okay, but my friends list showed everybody offline. It couldn’t be. I tried to IM Alex again, to tell him where I was and what had happened, but nada. No dice.

My concentration was broken again when I heard something and jumped to my aching feet. My knees began to buckle but I steadied myself against the door frame.

It was. . .Pauly?

chance meeting

“What the hell are you doing here?” I asked. I almost hugged him. “Where’s Alex?”

He must have been shocked to see me like that, as it seemed like he was looking for a quiet spot to scratch off a lottery ticket. With the new gambling ban I understood the need for secrecy, but still, this place sure as hell was out of the way from Topgol.

“You need to get your ass home quick,” was all he said.

“But TP isn’t working and I can’t walk off–it’s isolated here.”

“I just TP’d in and found you with my mystitool. It won’t be long before others do too. Now get out!”

So I hit it. I didn’t even ask him how he knew I was in that kind of trouble.

Made it home

Come to think of it, that wouldn’t have been a bad question. But I didn’t think of it then, as the coldness leeched up into my torso, then my neck and spread out to my arms. It started to hurt. Then I felt nothing.

zzz...snort...zzzz

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Coffee: Met a Stranger 2.8

New Wawa Manager

I went to see the manager at the Wawa. I’ve been steering clear of the place, too many temptations. And it’s a piss-poor excuse for a bodega, like most of the crap in this new land–all about convenience and speed. But business is business.

Pauly shakes down the WaWa

“You know a young woman named Mygdala? Came in here looking for a job?”

“That one?” she said. “I wouldn’t put her on a register if she was my sister. I told her she should try at the motel–maybe they’ll let her clean the pool.”

An image of the cashier’s face bouncing off the register flashed through my mind. Her spouting off about family and Myg like she knew anything at all was an offense to the Holy Mother herself.

Paolino and Philly Filcher

I could see she didn’t cop to the skinny. “You wanna keep selling scratch-offs?” I told her. “Honor thy mother.” She blanched.

The manager grumbled. “Okay. She can start Monday,” she said.

That was more like it. I almost smiled.

Then I got the call. “She wants to see you,” he said. It was my turn to start shaking.

A Marvelosa

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The Break: Met a Stranger 2.7

Continued from What would wolves do? Met a Stranger 2.6
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Should I make a break for it?

contemplation

I went with the Nekos back to some alley hangout where they felt safer, all the while wondering what my next move should be. I still felt weak in my legs, I guess from whatever spell those digital ghosts had put me under. But I wasn’t sure the Nekos had my best interest at heart either. They bickered in hushed tones, glancing–agitated–in my direction.

I gripped the paper–the one from the specialty dark knowledge shop with the odd book title on it–and thought, “sanator, sanator . . . what did that mean?”

Timothy noticed and ripped the scrap from my hands.

the paper scrap

His cat eyes widened. Then he spat at Akakage and Axiom. “I told you she was going to be a problem.” He handed the paper to Akakage. She looked at it and shook her head.

“Yeah, but, JellyBean said . . .”

“JellyBean?” It was a name I hadn’t heard in years. “JellyBean Madison?”

“You know JellyBean Madison, Myg?” Axiom asked.

“Well, I know of her–”

“I told you, Tim,” Axiom said.

“Told who what?” I said. “What the hell is going on?”

Akakage shook the paper in my face. “This is a title on demon pathology–what’s your interest?”

I gulped. I wasn’t prepared to answer any questions on the subject and sure as hell didn’t want to go into my bizarre run-in with my ex-demon-psychotherapist with these cats. My silence didn’t help the tension.

“We should do her,” said Timothy. “She’ll have the damn demons crawling all over us. Why else do you think the ghosts were life sucking her?”

“No, Timothy,” Axiom said. “If JellyBean said to bring her that’s what we do.”

“JB doesn’t have to know we ever found her.”

“Come on you two,” Akakage intervened. “Let’s not get crazy.”

That was all I needed to hear. I quietly opened up my inventory to search for my Topgol landmark and hastily hit teleport. Nothing! Damn the weekends–how are you supposed to get out of a bad spot when your basic tech functions don’t swing?

“I’ve got a way to get rid of her–nobody will ever know,” Timothy said. “Not if we don’t tell them.”

“Now come on–” I started to argue.

“If we help her, she’ll lead the demons straight to us and we don’t want that happening. JellyBean said the Marvelosas were planning an offensive and we have to be ready for that. If they find us running recon in this sector we could lose the element of surprise.” His whiskers twitched.

“We’ve already lost surprise,” said Akakage.

I wasn’t going to be listened to, so I tried to slink out of sight while they were distracted.

defended

“We’re taking her to JellyBean,” Axiom said.

“The hell we are.” Then Timothy noticed me crawling away. He pounced like he was gonna rip my intestines out. I was stunned.

pounced!

“Get up, Timothy,” Axiom said in a deadly calm tone. It’s easy to be calm, I suppose, when you’re so fashionably armed.

axiom nakamura

“Axiom, don’t toy with me,” Timothy said. “You know I’m right.”

“I know that if JellyBean wants us to bring her back, that’s what we’re gonna do,” Axiom said.

Akakage drew her guns, too. This wasn’t going to be a good scene.

akakage yoshiro

Timothy rose and shook his head. “You’re both so wrong about this.”

Thinking it might be my last chance, I ran. He swatted me hard on the side of the head. “You’re not going anywhere!” he growled, grabbing me by the throat. “I’m telling you we’ve got to get rid of her–you’re both out of your heads if you think we won’t pay for this with multiple lives!”

“Let her go, Timothy!” Axiom shouted. But he just started to squeeze, the hollow empty look of instinct in his eyes as I tried to pull his claws off my throat.

I was fading fast but heard the first shots as he threw me down and jumped. Axiom fired and Akakage lunged.

cat fight!

“Don’t kill him!” Akakage yelled.

“Move, Aka!” Axiom said.

The three of them battled and I ran again. But it wasn’t long before I heard shouting and footsteps. I ducked into another alley and tried to think fast.

With teleport not working, I had to find someplace close where I could hide.

frets

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Hey Met a Stranger strangers!
Don’t forget to join us at Clockwork tonight for another set with DJ keTchUp!
6pm SLT freestyle, 7pm (n)eXt with all new music.
then at 8pm catch an hour of totally partyable grooves by Esteban aka Roach of the Scripts!

SLURL

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What would wolves do?: Met a Stranger 2.6

All of a sudden I heard the nekos yowling as they came at us, menacing those pasty fuckers who had me pinned to the station floor.

confrontation

“Off the platform or we’ll gut you!” the blonde one hissed. I turned and saw my grey-scale attackers come into full hueless view. The one on top of me flew off as they repositioned for a cross-species rumble. Still too weak to stand, I dragged myself up to my elbows and prepared for a tussle.

rumble at grey avenue

The grey-scaled’s voices had a terrible, awful screechy quality to them. The female made sounds like a dying hard-drive as she backed quickly away while the male whirred and burbled low tones as he made another grab for me.

Just then the guy neko lept forward, clearing me no sweat as he lunged for the grey ghostly dude. I thought I’d see the two of them collide, but the greyed out man simply fitzled into a billion little bytes, scattering and fading like cheap fireworks as the neko pierced through the space he’d been in. The two other nekos went for the female, but she crashed so hard she just disappeared for good.

“Axiom, when was the last time we swept this station for ghosts?” the redheaded neko asked.

“I’m not sure Aka. Timothy was doing rounds last night and didn’t see any, did you Tim?”

“No, it’s odd. We haven’t seen ghosts here for months–what could have brought them back?” he asked.

Then they all stared at me, and I really didn’t feel comfortable with the way in which they did. I tried to stand up but the three of them surrounded me, towering over me like a saucer of milk.

“So then, who are you?” Axiom asked.

“…Myg…” I said.

Axiom looked confused when I said that. “Myg? Myg who?”

“March. Mygdala March actually…”

“Really?” Aka seemed even more interested. This couldn’t be good. They paused and gave each other intense looks, seemed to talk without talking–communicating secretly for several anxiety provoking minutes.

“Let’s bring her then.” Timothy said.

I didn’t have much choice in it.

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Mistaken for Strangers: Met a Stranger 2.5

Felt like the damn subway car was sitting on my chest the pressure was so intense. Like my lungs were caving in…and then that creepy whispering sound in my head.

“Vvvertebratus…daemonicon…sssanator” the wind? Uh uh. Didn’t sound like the wind that time.

over me

Though I couldn’t see my attackers any better than I could see shadows in a dark room, they sure as hell had a presence. That presence seemed to say, “You’re dead Myg.” Or something. All I know was that I couldn’t move, and it was really rather uncomfortable being pinned to the floor like that, smelling piss and last night’s spilled booze, thinking I was going to bite it. Again. Read more

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Far from fields | Met a Stranger 2.4

burgessnekos_002.png

I was worried. Why would a demon be so interested in Myg? That was the big unknown. The n or the x in the equation of Myg’s life. And knowing Myg, it was likely a complicated differential equation. Neither of us come from idyllic circumstances.

I IM’d Myg to see what she was up to. “Later,” she replied. I could tell she was still ticked off at me for moving the club down the street without consulting her. She’d jetted, irritated, right after brunch.

When later rolled around and I tried again she just sent: “. . .” She didn’t show or respond by evening–when we were supposed to meet to go over architectural drafts for new construction. She didn’t come home at all that night. I went looking.

She wasn’t in any of her usual haunts. Not in the watertower hiding out close to home, not at The Block, not in Tableau, not Reforma, Relix, or the Wastelands, and not even with Lisa and Vanny. Normally, I don’t worry. She’s good at taking care of herself. But this wasn’t normal.

Mygdala March in Topgol 3

If there was something nefarious going on, there was one way I knew I could find out.

I was reluctant to call them. It had been years and we hadn’t parted on good terms, and nekos aren’t the sort of beings inclined to be real understanding of human foibles. I called Tober because I figured she’d be the least pissed. She didn’t believe it when I called, but showed up.

Tober and Burgess

After my embarrassed attempted apologies, Tober told me to shut up and explain why I had called. It took me a solid hour to relate the events of the spring to her, and as I did, I got more and more upset. Someone or something was out to get Myg–it wasn’t just some jilted guy with supernatural connections or bad karma from adolescent Ouija board misuse.

Tober listens

“I’ll help,” Tober said. “But you know who you really need if you want to get the word out.”

“She’ll never do it. She’s never forgiven me for leaving the clowder.”

“Just talk fast when I get her here.”

“No, wait, let’s think for a minute, there’s got to be . . .” but Tober was already IM’ing.

Tober tp’d JB in without telling her why. I was all set to start explaining and pleading right away, but my throat got tight and my mouth went dry the second her pink hair rezzed.

JB, Tober, & Burgess confer

Her eyes narrowed when she saw me. “What’s he doing here?” she said to Tober. “Better yet, what are you doing with him?”

“Just listen to him, JB, for me?”

nekos listen

JB was not happy, but was quiet as I went through the whole tale again.

“And why should I help you?”

I was at a loss. “I . . .” started to say.

“No. Don’t you even think about that. You left right when we needed you and you never came back. Now you want our help?”

JB is ticked off

“Please, JB.”

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