2007-09-30: A Cage Of Darkness


Cass_icon.gif Jeremiah_icon.gif Mandy_icon.gif

Summary: Cass encounters the very same Villains that her father warned her of.

Date It Happened: September 30th, 2007

A Cage of Darkness

Poor Enlightenment Books has kind of been getting less attention from Cass than it has in the past. The past couple of months have seen the bookstore owner more out of the store than in it - the first arrangement as such since she took the job there years ago. Feeling a little guilty, and knowing that the next time there is an 'impromptu' drinking session at the store she should really provide the booze, the brunette has gone out in search of one of the few liquor stores that would be open late on a Tuesday night. It takes a bit of walking, but finally she finds a smallish corner liquor store boasting late hours. Like most New York liquor stores, the front entrance has been enclosed with thick plastic, bottles lining the inside walls. A thick buzzer door made of the same plastic is at the end of a short sort of hallway.

By the time Cass is buzzed through that second door, the clock on the wall reads 10:04. Though it's late, she's not the only one in the store. Besides the clerk, there's an older alcoholic staring longingly at the hard liquor, and a couple, dressed up for business and getting a large order for what must be a dinner party. Cass doesn't really give the others in the store much of a second look. Instead, she moves straight for the wine.

Who needs to be buzzed in? In fact, who needs doors? Outside the liquor store, out in the back next to a dumpster filled with at least a half-month of rotting garbage, a woman trails her hand along the brick. Wherever she touches, a hissing sound slowly erodes the stone, picking up momentum as it moves further into the building. The hole is small, enough so that it won't bring the structure crashing down, but large enough so that a grown man can easily fit through it.

She's wearing a tank top and shorts, despite the chill. Her clothing isn't resistant to the acid, so the less she's wearing, the better. Lean from several years locked up in the Company basement, it looks like she might have been muscular once, but isn't so much anymore.

Eventually, the hissing sound turns to the shattering sound of stone, crackling to the ground outside and to the stock room inside. The woman slips through the hole, turns quietly, and waits for her partner. Can't start the fun without everyone here.

Even being a grown man, Jeremiah has an easy time of making his way in after Mandy, being equally lean in his stature. In a stark contrast to her, he is dressed much like a gentleman; a pair of slacks and a vest, underneath of a long, thin, grey overcoat. There is even a fedora drawn over his recently cut hair, and autumn gloves on his almost spidery hands.

"Ah…" Jeremiah makes a sound of remark as he follows Mandy into the stock room. He lifts one hand in a gesture of antsy indecision and continues in his raspy drawl. "My old friend, Captain Morgan."

None of the patrons notice anything wrong in the store room. The two villains manage to escape unnoticed. Of course, who is expecting for two people to corrode their way into a liquor store. As Cass pulls down a bottle of Merlot to compare to another, the couple start counting through their order. "Oh, honey, didn't Marla request we get that special coffee liquor? It makes the better White Russians." Pleadingly, the woman turns to the clerk. "You don't happen to have this…" she pulls out a list and points at an unpronounceable name. "…thing? Any size." All this clerk wants is to get to the end of his shift and go home. What other liquor store is open till midnight on a Tuesday? Sighing, he leans over just enough to check where the painted fingernail is pointing to.

"Yeah. Yeah. I think I've got it in the back somewhere." With a suffering sigh, he slides off his stool and plods his way to the storage room. Where he finds the two villains in their stealing glory. "What the…"

"Just don't drink too much your first week out, Jer-Bear," Mandy states, looking toward a shelf loaded up with cheap-tasting, over-priced beer. Not even cold! What the hell!? "God damn. People put this shit here to annoy me. You'd think after what happened last time, they'd think ahead a littl— Oh. Hi."

With the element of surprise on her side, Mandy casually presses her hand against the clerk's chest, which goes through his shirt and leaves a nice continuously corroding print on his chest. It's not fire, but it sure feels like it. Leaving the poor man behind her for Jeremiah to deal with, she heads into the store proper.

Jeremiah has long since found a home for Mister Morgan on the inside of his overcoat. "It's purely celebratory." Slim eyebrows knit under the brim of his hat as the clerk enters. He says nothing as Mandy moves onward from where the man had come.

"Burns like a bitch, does it not?" Jeremiah does his best to look looming, those dark circles under his eyes twitching as his lips move into a fleeting, amused smile. Before he moves after Mandy, one gloved hand raises lazily. It moves sharp and swift once it gets to chest height. A quick horizontal movement- a long cut aimed across the clerk's throat.


The poor liquor store clerk doesn't so much as scream as gurgle as he starts to bleed out on the floor. The burning on his chest and then his throat cut leaks out blood all over the floor, slowly starting to drift it's way back into the small store. The couple wait not so patiently up at the front and the old alcoholic starts pulling down bottles, cradling them, and then putting them back. He can't afford them. Cass, for her part, has picked out her bottles and have them cradled in her arms. Unfortunately, this store doesn't have those convenient baskets for their customers. They don't know that odd shapes in large quantities in Cass' arms spells spilled liquid and lots of broken glass. Whups. So far so good for the woman, though. Unfortunately, her problems are just beginning. When Mandy comes out of the back rook, Cass nearly runs right into her. Juggling and then backing up and then she moves to keep walking. Smiling, she says over her shoulder, "Oh man! I'm sorry, miss!"

Her first stop is the cash register. She can't do a lot with money, and doesn't intend on purchasing anything legally now that she's out of lockup, but the thing to remember here is, if Mandy can't have it, no one should be able to. Looking at the couple, winking, she places both hands on the register and melts the metal from the outside in. It hisses, cracks, pops, and collects in a vile sludge that drips onto the floor.

This done, and hopefully before the couple's figured out that something is Wrong, Mandy hits that button that's supposed to lock a would be escaping thief between the two sets of doors. Except in this case, it's locking everyone in. After all, the idea isn't to hold up the place, it's to do as much damage as they possibly can — That's what Mandy's here for anyway. If Jeremiah's after the cash, he's a bit too late.

It's as she's coming out from behind the counter that Cass nearly barrels into her. Momentarily, Mandy is stunned, though she recovers quickly. "I'll help you get your stuff to the counter," she says with a smile, reaching not for the bottles, but for Cass' wrist. She wraps her hand around it if she's able; at that point, Cass will start to feel something burning. Painfully.

Jeremiah takes his merry time, sauntering his way through the aisles of the store. He passes by the old man without a word, swiveling on his heels and clicking in a few steps back around the front of the store. He pauses behind the couple at the checkout, only to shift around them to peer at the register behind the glass. "Oh, bugger." Jeremiah sounds a bite sour about that loss, but it is an acceptable one.

When the man in the coat and hat turns again, it is to see Mandy and Cass coming to subtle blows. Not that he does much about it, simply sways on his feet for those few seconds.
As Cass turns her head forward again, she realizes that something is wrong. There's a weird acrid smell to the air and…is that the register melted to the counter? What the—-

The couple also are starting to get the fact that something is wrong. Not the most patient of men, the man has started to move toward the back calling out, "Sir. Sir." He wants his weirdly named bottle of liquor and he wants to get out of here. His partner following behind him, she says worriedly, "Now, Howard, you're being too pushy. Remember what your yogi sai—" That's when they notice the blood starting to seep out into the main floor from the clerk. He's stopped wriggling now and is mostly just twitching as his last synapses fire. There's a high pitched shriek and the two dash for the door. Only to find it locked.

This all takes place much too fast for Cass to understand what is going on. Suddenly someone has her wrist before she can turn quick enough to get away and it hurts. Those bottles of wine drop from her arms with a loud crash onto the floor and red Merlot splashes outward at Mandy and the brunette's feet. Crying out, she quickly moves to grab Mandy's hand and to try and pry it off.

Oh, grabbing Mandy is never a good idea. This point is made gleefully, as she simply allows Cass to learn the hard way that her skin is literally covered with a layer of corrosive acid. With her other hand, she reaches up to trail a finger down Cass' cheek…

"Pretty," she says, as her fingers close around the other woman's jaw. Giving it a shake, almost playful - and still holding onto Cass' wrist, which has probably started bleeding by now - Mandy drops the sweet, innocent expression and violently rakes her fingers across her victim's face, diagonally, leaving acid-imprinted tracks, before pushing her aside. "Jer, you want this one? She's boring. And ugly."

So much for that.

Her boots crunch against the glass littering the floor as she heas toward the couple who's tryng to escape. By now, the acid has started to eat through her clothing in small patches, leaving tiny holes here and there that - as of yet - aren't revealing anything. Mandy goes through a lot of clothing, yes.

Well, of course she's uglier now. Jeremiah was eyeing the couple that dart to the front doors, an almost fox-like glow to the look on his thinly bearded face. "Going somewhere? You'll miss the show."

At this, mister Richards lifts one hand to remove his hat and tuck the brim against his slim chest. "And here it comes- have fun, but leave me their wallets, would you? I'll see to the miss." He smiles thinly at Mandy as he passes her by to move towards Cass. Even if his partner doesn't leave him any material goods from the rich couple, Cass will suffice. Hopefully.

Mandy isn't like Jeremiah. She doesn't want the wallets, she wants to just… forget about her time in captivity and pay everyone back for it. Everyone who didn't do a damn thing for her while she was behind that special glass - that's the whole world. Anyone who didn't lift a finger or even offer her a kind word. And so she reaches for the man's wallet - but like she did with Cass, her hand wraps around his wrist. Tightly. Her face contorts in concentration, it almost looks like she's sweating… When she removes her hand, his arm is burned all the way through to the bone.

When she shakes her hand, blood droplets go everywhere.

Though Mandy spares a glance for the thrown purse, her interest is more in the people standing at the door. Does she want to kill them? No. It's so much more fun to leave them trapped in bodies they no longer want. Ruined, unusable, imprisoned. After all, how can you suffer when you're dead? Assuming the man is busy freaking out about the hole in his arm, Mandy moves on to his woman. "Shh, it's okay. It'll be all right," she says, then presses both her hands into the woman's eyes.

Jeremiah pauses in his walk when the purse banks onto one of his feet. Oh! Alright, then. He stops to pick it up and sling it over his elbow, stepping back and swiping the wallet from the man as Mandy is burning through the man's arm. "Pardon me, Mandy— I'll just…" Yoink. As soon as his slim, gloved hand is moving, it's gone with the wallet again, and it gets stuffed into the black purse now slung over the same arm holding his hat to his chest.

Cass' form gets observed as Jeremiah approaches it, his feet carefully toeing around the glass, at the very least. The fedora keeps against his clothes as the man bends over to investigate pockets and the like for what Cass may have on her. Hum-hum.

They've complied. Done everything Jeremiah has asked of them. However, when Mandy takes a hold of Howard's wrists and starts to burn all the way through to the bone, he lets out a shriek that doesn't even sound human. It rings throughout the store and he's already sinking to his knees before she even lets go. Falling over, he clutches onto the arm, intermittently yelling in pain and shock. blubbering on the floor. "HOWARD!" Laura, as she is so named, cries out and moves to go to his side, however, there's a psychopathic woman in the way. Terrified, she tries to swerve out of the way, but she's grabbed and there is a what amounts to corrosive acid pushed through her eyes. Screams and pain fill the store again, so soon after it abated. And then, strangely, Laura and Mandy vanish. There's still her scream in the air, but the two just can't be seen any more.

Terrified, Cass needs to get out of here. That's all there is to it. And there's one person she can call who she trusts to get everyone out of here without getting himself killed. Because, well, he can't die. Not that she can find out yet. That and he can walked through locked doors. And won't be tempted by the spilt liquor on the floor. Painfully and slowly, she starts to slide her way toward a shelf so she can hide and try and make a phone call. Or send a text message or something. As she winces and drags her body along, she goes searching for her cellphone while Jeremiah is busy with the purse. However, all she gets is to pull it out before Jeremiah is over to rummage through her pockets. Being a woman, there's not much there. Some change and receipts. Most of what is valuable is in her purse, which she dropped along with the wine bottles a bit further back.

There's just no pleasing some people, that's the thing. The sound that Howard makes is beautiful - all that time behind glass, she never heard that sound, she was never allowed to. It's been years. The worst thing is, Mandy wasn't near this violent before she was locked up. …Okay, that's a lie. In her mind, though, this is all because of what was done to her - those incidents before? She can't even recall. They're locked from her mind.

There's no need for Mandy to damage the woman's eyes any further; Laura will never see again. What remains are hollow, dark, bleeding sockets that will probably never stop hurting. A lifetime in a cage of darkness - take that.

Almost like a child bored of another toy, she pulls away from her most recent victim, leaving the woman to her own devices, clawing at where her eyes used to be, or whatever. She turns to aim a kick for the woman's ribcage, but finds suddenly that she can no longer see the woman. How ironic! This would be humourous if not for the fact that Mandy thoroughly believes this invisibility was done just to spite her. Thus, Mandy aims a kick, anyway - light, but enough so that Laura knows that the attacker is still lurking - before she heads toward one of the fridges for a bottle of water. The acid has to come from something, after all - she's getting thirsty.

Opening one bottle now, putting another in her pocket for later, she heads back up to see how Jer's doing with Cass. "C'mon, rough her up a bit. She's getting off too easy. Seriously, what are you gonna do with money." That call she wants to make probably isn't gonna happen.

Jeremiah will get Cass' purse in a moment, when he realizes she's got nothing on her person; for now, however, the stranger tips his hat back onto his head, crouches, and grabs the woman's hand to try and pry the phone away. "Lovely. Now I don't need to get a contract." Wanting to take your phone, too. Imagine all the useful phone numbers on it! Not that he'd know of that.

He does not look up when Mandy addresses him, nor at the screaming. nor wailing. Selective hearing. "Money makes the ugly world go 'round." It is unfortunate, but it is a fact. "I am securing my future."

Only when Jeremiah stands again does he decide to give Cass a parting gift. He pulls tight the gloves on his hands, stretches his fingers, and begins to carve into Cass' skin through her clothes. They are not too deep of cuts, but they will sting, and they will hurt, and they will bleed profusely. His right hand looks as if it would be right at home on a piano; what he leaves on the younger woman is a familiar mark over her leg- the symbol of the helix, which he finds poignant enough.

Still invisible, Laura screams and screams until abruptly it cuts off. Whether she just faints or it's something more sinister, well, that's something for later inspection. As she falls to the ground, she turns visible again, crumpling right by the babbling and still in shock Howard. The poor couple didn't even know what hit them.

On the ground, Cass doesn't like the whole frisking thing, but if Mandy can melt things, she's wary of what it is that Jeremiah can do. When he grabs her phone, the woman attempts to keep a hold on it, even grasping at it as it is pulled out of her hands. But, that gesture's in vain. And, of course, he has to get his parting shot in. There's another sharp cry as it cuts through her jeans, blood mixing with the already red stained floor. Blood and wine. There's something religious about that.

"Hmmh," Mandy says, curling her nose up a little. She pulls the cap off her water and downs half of it, before reaching down to take Cass' burned face. Her touch is soft this time, somewhat cold, and unpainful. And… She smiles. "Just consider yourself lucky, hon," she says. "If you didn't have good taste in wine, you'd be dead about now, and no one would come for you. We're gonna be nice, though. Jer, I'm leaving." He can come if he wants, she guesses. Apparently, they're not going to kill Cass today - at least, Mandy's not - and that's being nice.

Pressing her hands against the glass locking them in, Mandy begins to push her way through it. The droplets fall to the ground and congeal into shimmering acidic marbles, which are kicked out of the way.

Looking over her shoulder, she says, "I'm pretty sure there's an ATM near here. You want a haul, we'll hit that before we find a place to stay." …Some poor family i going to find themselves very dead in a couple hours, and the worst part is, it'll be completely random.

Jeremiah follows Mandy at a brisk pace, though he pauses before slipping out the makeshift door. The man turns, arm extended and fingers swiping the air as if he were conducting. Bottles break, shelves fall, glass shatters- the store turns into a mess in less than a minute. There's even a startled yell as one shelf and its bottles crush the old man at the back.

Property damage is fun too, you see. As sudden as they appeared in the liquor store, the pair of escaped evolved are gone again. They will be heard of come morning, for certain; too late for some.

Cass flinches and tries to turn away when Mandy reaches out to touch her face again. Even though there's no added pain or burning, the burns that are already there are bad enough. She's not even about to say anything to these crazy folks, since anything may set them off and change their mind about leaving survivors. However, as soon as the sounds of their leaving has dissipated, the woman drags herself to the store phone. It's time to make a few emergency phone calls. And the first one is to a certain man who can fly. And phase. And heal. Maybe all at the same time. One day she'll have to thank Nathan for his taste in wine possibly saving her life, but for now there's more pressing issues at hand.

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