Time/Date : 13:11 Pacific Time on Mon Jan 3 2005.

Place :Wharf Street, Industrial Sector.

Weather : Currently in Saint Claire, it is foggy. The temperature is 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius). The wind is calm today. The barometric pressure reading is 30.18 and steady, and the relative humidity is 100 percent. The dewpoint is 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius.)

Moon : Waning Half Moon phase (47% full).

Wharf Street, Industrial Sector

An untidy sprawl of warehouses and the occasional factory, particularly the power plant, spreads westwards, through several blocks around and west of the wharves. The wharves themselves are decrepit, rotting from the river inwards, though the landward ends are still maintained sporadically. Ash and dirt and smoke cover everything in a dark film that dulls color and darkens whiteness. Rainbows of small oil spills are nothing unusual in the warren of streets and alleyways; nor is the presence of rust along metal eaves. In the alleyways, huge trash bins are accompanied by oil drums, tires, and the waste of decades of industrial carelessness. The smell of smoke from the power plant overlays all; between smell and residue, all combines to lend an air of desperation to the empty collapsing warehouses and one of depression to those warehouses yet standing and in use.

Julie has just had something land in her hair from above. Reaching up, she pulls it out.

It's something with four definable pointy edges, what feels like a hook and is roughly the size of a quarter. When Julie finally gets the damn thing loose and gets a good look at it. The object is an earring, set with about twenty small white stones and one large emerald in the middle. Its very pretty and glitters in the light. Fake or real, one can only guess.

"What the...??" Julie eyes the trinket, then peers upward, while rubbing at the top of her head. Fighting the thing free'd pulled a bit hard on a few of the braids.

And there is nothing there, just sky and the normal assortment of buildings.

Julie frowns, and glances along the window casements, what she can see of them. "Stupid rats with wings. Dunno why pidjins came t' be, but ev'ry one o' them shou'd be shot an' roasted." Another quick look at the earring, then it is stuffed into a coat pocket, and she leans against the building again, settling back into time-consuming idleness.

As the earring is stuffed into a pocket, a large raven perched on a street lamp across the street croaks hoarsely and loudly in protest.

>From one end of the street, a strange noise slowly draws nearer. It starts with a sudden thump, then there's a longer sequence of clatters. KL is walking down the street, kicking a can in front of her. Her face is twisted into a bad tempered scowl and her eyes are fixed onto the can as she makes slow and somewhat meandering progress down the road. She seems oblivious to the fact that what few pedestrians there are are actively crossing to avoid walking past her.

A blink, and snap of gaze in the direction of the croaking, then Julie's eyes narrow, eyeing the bird. "What?!" As if it could talk.

Finds-Stories half spread her wings and hisses at the Gnawer, as the feathers around her neck stand on end.

Julie

Julie is a thin, young woman. She wanders the streets of St. Claire, living off of what others cast off. Her eyes are crystal blue, and her long, blond hair, haphazardly strung in numerous braids, hangs limp and dirty down her back and shoulders, and in her face.
Most times, she walks, head down, arms crossed over her chest, as habit has her looking for little things on the ground. When she does stand completely straight, she manages to reach a full 5'2" in height. Three scars mar her complexion, starting at her nose, and lightly crossing a cheek. Not deep, but they do show more when she smiles. Scuffed, old boots now (orange hightops bit the dust long time ago), faded jeans, and non-descript tee-shirts are her attire, covered by an old, oversized leather jacket in the colder weather.

"Oh, <hisss!> back atcha, blackbird. Finder's keepers, " Julie grins, glancing briefly in the direction of a can being kicked.

After a particularly heavy (and probably misjudged) boot, the can rolls towards the Bone-Gnawer's feet. KL stops some five yards from the woman leaning against the building and hisses in annoyance, glaring at her balefully. "Give me my can back," she demands aggressively, folding her arms across her chest as she speaks.

Kathryn-Laura(#3278PXc)

At a little over five foot tall and with a slim build, KL is hardly awe-inspiring on first sight. She appears to be around seventeen years old and still carries a teenager's air of disenchantment and irritation. 
Her mid-length mousy-brown hair is brushed back out of her eyes and behind her ears. It's not exactly styled, as it appears to have been hacked at without any hint of hairdressing expertise, but it's at least had contact with a brush at some point recently. She would be quite attractive - in particular she has a very cute, upturned, nose - were it not for the sullen and aggressive set of her mouth and the hostility of her gaze. Her hazelnut eyes look out with disappointment and poorly hidden anger, as if the world were a holiday villa that didn't match the travel agent's description. Her skin is oddly pale, and on her right shoulder-blade a two-inch-square tattoo of a winged horse visible. Physically, she's well proportioned, and her bare arms show a tight musculature that speaks of regular exercise.
She's got a habit of slouching and of leaning up against any available support. When she forgets to slouch, however, she moves with a surprising degree of grace and compact poise. 
She is wearing a faded and beaten up pair of blue jeans that are just a little too large for her, and have holes in the knees, a pair of worn combat boots and a faded red tank top with "And your little doggy too!" emblazoned across the front. The tank top has a badly-repaired tear across the chest, causing the word "little" to be have its second "t" deformed. 

Finds-Stories continues to hurtle down insults on the Gnawer's head, even as her attention is drawn elsewhere.

My, my, must be her day. A foot lifts to rest lightly on the can as Julie glances at the other. "Finder's keepers," she quips, with a toothy grin. Not so mirth-filled, that smile, though. And getting lambasted by a bird. Is the moon full today, or something?

KL's eyes widen in astonishment. Her hands drop to her sides, and she transfers her weight onto the balls of her feet. She clicks the fingers of her right hand repeatedly, before speaking through gritted teeth. "I'll ask nicely. Give me my fucking can back." Obviously, this is a fairly unique definition of "nicely". She appears not to have noticed the black bird at all.

Julie's eyes narrow, and a low growl curls around her words. "If'n you want it that bad, then fetch." A swift shove of foot sends the can skittering for the street, and traffic.

Crunch goes the can, as a car runs over it.

Mouth open in sheer affronted surprise, KL shakes her head slowly at this insult. As the can is flattened, her lips curl around her teeth. "What the fuck do you think you're doing you trailer-park whore? Fucking standing there and kicking my fucking can into the fucking street!" She machine-guns the words out, spitting on the hard consonants. "I ought to fucking well put you in fucking hospital." Her face is flushed, unsurprisingly, and she takes a step towards Julie, fingers curling into fists.

Julie rolls her eyes, though the anger inside is flaring a bit, too. "You kiss yer momma with that filthy mouth o' yers?" Her gaze slides across to the street, following a police cruiser passing by. It turns the corner, and disappears, and her attention returns to KL. "Notta good idear, t' fight inna streets 'round here."

Finds-Stories hops from one foot to the other, feathers having smoothed out as she watches the unfolding drama. Clearly, the raven is pleased with the turn of events.

KL glances at the police cruiser and takes a very deep breath. Her fingernails bite into her palms, reopening a recently-scabbed graze on her left hand. A droplet of blood seeps onto her nail. "Yeah. Right." She says flatly. "And what I say to my 'momma' is none of you business. You get back to your loitering." She swivels on her heel as if to walk away, and about half-way around finally notices the raven. Completing a full 360 degree circle, she gestures at the bird, "Is this yours?"

Julie shrugs, cooling down inside rather quickly. A glance at the bird, then at the girl. "Nope." And she does do just that, getting back to her loitering. Shoulders against wall, and hunkered up, though keeping an eye on both girl and bird through the hang of braids in her face.

Finds-Stories tilts her head to one side and croaks softly, before making a soft whirring sound. The beak is clicked once at Julie's denial, then the large raven speaks a single human word fairly clearly. "Shithead!" Its the rough kind of voice one would expect to hear from a mimicking parrot.

Julie's gaze snaps to the bird, rather bewildered. Then she bursts out laughing.

KL is mid-turn away from the Bone-Gnawer when the word comes down from on high. She too looks up, face creasing in incredulity. "Am I mad, or did it just speak?" She turns to face the bird and stares at it.

Julie is still laughing, "I think it called me a shithead." A hand pulls out of a pocket, with a bit of jerky in it, and this is tossed up into the air in the bird's direction.

Finds-Stories turns its head to one side and watches the pair through one beady eye. As the jerky bit is tossed into the air, the large bird leaves her perch and scoops it out of the air.

"Well, it's got some judgment at least." KL says, watching the bird intently. She puts a hand into her jeans pocket and rummages around for a second. "Do you think it likes chewing gum?" She says, pulling a twisted and crumpled stick of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit out.

Julie says "I wouldn't." She shakes her head. "You'd kill it. Now, if'n it were a pidjin, be a diff'rent story, an' I'd say 'go fer it'."

The jerky is gone by the time it regains its perch. It pecks at something up there, then dangles what looks like a white cotton square. The bird violently shakes its head, then the cotton pad falls away. Leaving a rather sparkly earring in the bird's beak. It waves this in Julie's direction, wrrring softly. Its the same as the one that dropped onto Julie's head earlier.

"Fair enough." KL says, unwrapping the chewing gum anyway. "What is it, anyway? Some kind of crow? Jackdaw?" She puts the stick into her mouth and starts chewing.

Finds-Stories quickly looks over at Kathryn-Laura and hisses at her, feathers fluffing out and making her look twice as big.

"I ain't no bird watcher. Looks like a crow. 'R one o' them ravens, but I dunno fer sure." Julie does push off the lean, and slowly approaches the bird dangling the shiny like a taunt. "You gotsa perty there, hmm?"

KL grins and watches the bird-baiting, folding her arms back across her chest. "I think I've eaten one of those once. In a stew." she says between chews.

Finds-Stories tucks the pretty under one clawed foot, then looks directly at the Fury. "Shitheadshitheadshithead!"

Julie can't help but giggle, even while talking, "Looks like it's yer turn t' be shithead. Though..." and she eyes the bird oddly, "I don't r'call crows bein' able t' talk. Just caw a lot."

There's a moment's lag before the insult registers in KL's brain. Then the red mist descends again, and the intelligence in her eyes fades. "Fucking winged vermin," she spits, and she grabs for the nearest throwable object, which in this case is a small corner of a concrete block, lying in the gutter of the road.

Julie mutters, "Fly, robin, fly," while taking a step to stop the girl. "Yanno, it's just a bird, prolly picked it up inna fight somewhere. Dunno if'n it even knows what it's sayin'."

Finds-Stories freezes, watching the Fury intently.

"I'll make sure it never fucking well says it again," KL spits, moving to try and get a clear angle for the shot. "No fucking flying rat is going to insult me."

Julie grabs at her arm holding the rock. "Just words, jeeze, not like it clawed yer eyes out. Leave it be. Go throw rocks a' the pidjins."

Finds-Stories remains perfectly still, was she watches the Fury with an unnerving intensity.

KL relaxes her stance again, and takes a few breaths. She tosses the stone down on to the sidewalk next to her. "Yeah, you're probably right. But one more word out of it and I'll thrash it senseless."

Finds-Stories lifts her wings a bit from her body and 'tbbbbbts' at KL.

Julie backs off, tugging the other earring from her pocket, and, holding it by the hook, lets it dangle up to catch the bird's attention. "Finder's, keepers?"

Now that gets the bird's attention real quick, as it focuses on Julie. Head bobbing up and down as it does so.

Julie holding it up and out at arm's length, she slowly nears, though glancing briefly at the other woman with a flash of wink and grin. "You find the perty? You keep the perty?" while drawing closer and closer.

KL watches this exchange carefully, saying nothing, but a predatory look flits across her face for a second. She smiles, a not-entirely-pleasant expression.

Finds-Stories is still up on her lamp post, well out of reach. That earring really has her interest and she reallyreally wants it.

Julie gives the bauble a toss high up, close to the lamp post, and straight up. "Catch!" She turns away after throwing it up, pinning KL with a sharp look. "I don't do earrings."

KL looks a little confused at this, but shrugs her shoulders. "Yeah, sure. Your personal styling is your own concern." she says, turning to stalk away. "Seeya around." It's not a particularly friendly farewell, but it is at least devoid of F-words.

Finds-Stories doesn't need any further prompting and leaves her perch, catching the earring as it starts its downward journey.

Julie sees it also got that look out of KL's eyes, too. Looked like murder to her. Probably wrong, but her feelings on the matter. "Yeah, mebbe," the Gnawer replies as the other stalks off.

Finds-Stories regains her perch and recollects the other earring. Now that she has the pair, the raven takes off.

Julie scratches at the back of her head as she watches the other disappear into the distance, then a glance up at the sound of wings overhead. "Bye bye birdie." Bleh. That sucked, even for Julie, and she mutters that very thing while meandering down the road.


R's Comments : Isn't it nice. I can imagine what KL's diary would look like if she kept one. Tuesday : Met someone. Tried to pick a fight. Failed. Saw a bird. Tried to pick a fight. Got diverted by someone. Kicked a can around for half an hour. Would have tried to pick a fight with this man who was standing in my way, but he turned out to be a statue. Settled for defacement instead.


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