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    Zoí kai Thánatos

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    Codex
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    Zoí kai Thánatos

    Post by Codex on Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:27 am

    Viviana's gaze dropped to the ground as she heard those familiar hushed tones around her as she wandered aimlessly past other students on their break. Her head tilted down enough to let her red-brown hair hang in front of her face, an embarrassed frown on her face. She was no older than twelve, normally bright-eyed and hopeful. But that day, discouragement hit her again after another failed visitation.

    “Hey! Isn't that the girl no one wants?”

    “I heard every time someone tries to adopt her, she scares them off.”

    “I heard she's crazy. Like, 'hears voices' crazy.”

    “I heard she killed her parents.”

    Each piece of murmured gossip reached the small girl's ears despite their attempts to be quiet. It only served to further break her down. Worse, it continued, causing the sting of hot tears to rush her mismatched eyes.

    “Hey Viv, what's wrong with you? Why doesn't anyone want you?”

    She looked toward  the source of the voice with her best straight face, but her sadness was blaringly obvious. As she opened her mouth to speak, she was surprised to find herself silenced by the voice of a boy standing behind her.

    “Doesn't want her? They don't deserve her,” he declared as he came to stand next to her. Viviana's surprise was painted all over her expression  He stood at her height, with sharp green eyes and a soft face that still held much of its youth, despite the old wisdom in his eyes. His hair was a wild blonde mop upon his head, and his influence among the other kids their age managed to silence their ridicule, even if it would eventually begin to ostracize him as well. As they walked away, he looked at Viviana with a smile.

    “Don't listen to them. Someone will come for you. If they don't, then you can just stay with me.” Slowly, she managed to form a smile. His own widened.

    She would later learn that this boy was named Kieran, and that his words weren't mere comfort, but also a promise.

    I have become the moral of the story
    They say, “Don't end up like that one”
    And then plot my future for me...



    Kieran sat on the couch in the apartment he shared with Viv, dragging his hands over his face. Only 18 years old and they'd already been pushed far too close to the limit by life. His growing stubble was barely visible against his skin until he turned his head and allowed the light to catch those brief glints as he stared at his other.

    “Stealing?”

    “Yeah...” She trailed off, plopping down next to him in defeat. “What're we gonna do, Kieran? The guy you were working for closed shop, I apparently am now considered a thief. What did we ever do to deserve this?”

    The distress on her face was plain for him to see, and despite his own mounting fear, he drew her into his arms with a quiet sigh, stroking her peppered auburn hair and leaning his cheek against the crown of her head. And as she wept against his chest, he quietly sang to her, the sound barely above a whisper  to her ears.

    Take all of your needs and all of your sins
    All of the losses you threw to the wind
    And we'll carry the weight if it breaks every limb
    That's what we're gonna do now...


    Last edited by Ana on Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Codex
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    Thin Line

    Post by Codex on Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:29 am

    Kieran and Viviana found themselves homeless by the time they were 19. Life tore at them, but they continued to stick loyally to each other to pull each other through, finding moments of fleeting joy in setting down Kieran's hat and collecting meager tips while he played his beloved, beat-up old guitar and Viviana sang with the passion of someone whose whole world was right next to her, barely held together beneath his torn-up flannel shirt.

    They never truly paid attention to those who stopped to listen to them, having grown tired of the abundance of judgmental glares at the sight of their ratty clothes and tangled, frizzy hair. Kieran's mop had grown out to his shoulders by then, a shaggy mess that endeared itself to his girlfriend and eventually caused her to smile.

    A brief reprieve came after four or five months when they became a small-time novelty on some blocks, though they always were careful to avoid what they believed to be the worst parts of town. A cleanly dressed man in his 40s approached them one day with a warm smile, offering them an impressive deal: allow him to manage them, and he would allow them to use his equipment to record an album. In this man's eyes and in his smile, Kieran and Viviana saw hope and promise.

    They came to call themselves Zoí kai Thánatos.

    Come high water or Hell
    I'm gonna love you well
    If you were the ground
    I'd lay in the dirt
    Roll on the rocks and let it hurt
    'Cause I've been homeless
    Been a slave to loneliness
    You and I
    I would die for you and I...



    Album production was in full swing. The well-dressed man – Mathias – provided solid guidance and direction that gave them a fuller sound, calling in favors from other musicians to play with them and offer varying percussion and strings. Everything was looking up, and he even allowed them to shack up in his guest room. In return, they performed wherever their manager booked them, no matter how run-down the bar was.

    Unfortunately, Viv and Kieran were often separated by necessity and work after Kieran landed a new job that he took on to do his best to help them more quickly be able to live on their own again. Whenever her blonde guitarist was away, her manager demanded another, heftier price. With a lecherous smirk, he waited expectantly for her in his room. He knew she too heavily feared what would happen if she didn't comply for her to resist. She and Kieran needed this deal if they wanted to get their heads above water again; she couldn't ruin it for them.

    Each night when Kieran came home, she made sure to smile warmly at him while she lie next to him in bed, waiting to hear the deep, steady breaths of sleep.

    When she was sure his consciousness drifted, she took time each night to quietly weep into her pillow. Sometimes, she swore she felt a comforting hand stroke her hair, but it left an unearthly chill in her wake whenever it did.

    Thin line
    Walking a thin line
    Staying out late at night
    I'm not happy
    Feeling low
    It's so hard these days to play my cards right...



    The album was a slow process. They were nearly 20 by the time it was complete, and Zoí kai Thánatos rarely made sales at the music store on the corner. If they made money from the album, it came from sales at their live performances, and their success could in a way be determined by how rarely anyone recognized them. But by then, Viviana had made enough good friends to land an apprenticeship at a small, obscure tattoo parlor on the rough end of town. She heard all the tales of the large, imposing, dark-haired male who had staked his claim on that block. The couple did its best to avoid trouble with Blake, and for the most part, succeeded. The owner of the tattoo parlor did her part to not back down in the face of intimidation. No one understood why the parlor was the target of such harassment, nor were they bold enough to ask.

    They lived like this for a year. Kieran had managed to make a living helping out at the Workshop while Viv, given a new chance, flourished as a tattoo artist. Their gigs held the same bite that came from the hand they'd been dealt, their songs telling stories of tough choices and even tougher times. They no longer lived with Mathias, much to Viv's relief. While her guilt still ate at her conscience, she pushed on and suffered in silence, not wanting Kieran to worry while they focused on living and making rent each month.

    They didn't have the life they wished they had, but they had each other. That was what mattered to them. She cared for him with kindness and love on both his good and bad days, preparing dinner if she made it home first and handling whatever business she could. He patiently soothed her after her nightmares shook them both from their sleep at night, each time reassuring her that the people and things she saw were never truly there. Sometimes, he sang gently to her. It was always the same song.

    So, come out from the weeds and into my arms
    Babe, I know the dark and how it can harm you
    Yeah, and I've had my conscience rip me apart too
    So here's what we're gonna do now...
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    Codex
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    When I'm Not Around

    Post by Codex on Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:31 am

    It was a slow night for the tattoo parlor. Behind the desk, Viviana flipped through a magazine while her old mentor Diana cleaned their stations. Viv hummed to herself while flipping through the pages, blinking in surprise as their phone rang.

    “What the hell? Did the phone just ring?” Diana looked toward the front of the parlor with surprise. “It never rings...”

    She was met with silence as Viv answered the phone. The voice on the other end was unsettlingly somber as it spoke.

    “Hello, may I please speak with Viviana Starling?”

    “Speaking. How can I help you?”

    “My name is Dr. Abramsson. I'm afraid there's been an accident involving Kieran Lachlan and you're the only contact in his phone that we've been able to reach...”

    Viv's stomach turned. Rather than say anything, she hurriedly hung the phone up and rushed out the door, nearly breaking it as she slammed it open. Her panicked footsteps took  her racing down the sidewalk as she wildly waved her arms to flag down a taxi, any taxi. But before she could, a feeling of overwhelming sickness took her, and a familiar whisper pressed itself against her ear with an unearthly chill.

    “Vivi, I'm so sorry...”

    She knew. And with a dead-eyed stare, she waited in silence, flagged down a taxi, and rode it to the hospital,where  she was met by the coroner.

    Viv gave up on her fight to stay at the tattoo parlor. That day, she let herself be run out of that part of town, unable to work there again. She never bothered trying to get back in touch with Diana. In many ways, she gave up.

    Oh no, I don't know if I'll go with you now
    I got buckets of words just to hush out the sound
    Of my heart falling down into bits on the ground
    Don't know how to love you when I'm not around...



    Viv poured everything she had into having a respectful send-off for Kieran. Any hopes of avoiding another bout of homelessness died with her childhood friend and her longtime lover. Stuffing as many clothes as she could into her backpack and tucking all of their pictures with his old guitar in its case, she abandoned their apartment with a defeated expression.

    In the end, what she was able to get for him was little more than a plain pine box after covering the cost of the plot and the vault. Sometimes while making arrangements, she swore she saw flickers of red hair passing by, but even if the source of it had said anything to her, she didn't notice. Neither the Mortician nor Viv seemed to pay much attention to each other either; both seemed equally eager to get the process over with.

    It was a lonely service, save for very few who came in to pay their respects. For the most part, Vivianna was alone during his wake, and she was just as alone when his casket was rested at its plot,  ready to be lowered into the ground. And as she was left to mourn in silence, she placed her palm to Kieran's casket and sang to him, staring at what was left of him through tear-flooded eyes.

    Perhaps because of this, she failed this time to hear that same voice sadly whisper her name once more as he watched her.

    Oh no, I lost track of the time that you gave
    Squandered the hours that I should've saved
    There's no turning back from my grave in the ground
    Don't know how to love you when I'm not around
    But I'll learn how to love you when I'm not around...


    Last edited by Ana on Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:32 pm; edited 3 times in total
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    Codex
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    The Medium and the Mortician

    Post by Codex on Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:32 am

    Viviana continued her steady trek toward self-destruction. More often than not, she found herself sitting helplessly in the cemetery until she was gently shooed out at nightfall. It'd never occurred to her how many people wandered the cemetery until she'd begun to spend time there, and her confusion took hold as the realization hit her.

    One day, the sun dipped behind the Frittland City skyline long after Vida had pretended to leave. The chill of the air was increasingly noticeable, the holes and worn down  fabric eventually growing and weakening respectively. Her hair was a long, frizzy mess, likely having not been brushed, let alone cut in months. She was surprised when she locked eyes with a mysterious, young-looking man who walked toward her and sat on the fountain's ledge as she stood before it.

    “You're here so often. Why?”

    “Why?” she echoed. “Because I lost someone...”

    “But you've laid them to rest, haven't you?” He looked up at her with confusion.

    “Whether I have or not doesn't seem to matter. I seem to keep coming back here...”

    “Hasn't it been at least a year or two now for you?”

    The man opened his mouth as if to say something else, but suddenly, the gates of the cemetery seemed to cry out for mercy. Someone was pushing them closed. Viv turned around to find her staring at the Mortician. She barely recognized him, nor did she realize the man at the fountain was no longer there.

    “I'm sorry. I was just-...”

    She was met with an odd amount of kindness from someone who seemed so standoffish and cold. Initially following him toward the funeral home, she blinked in surprise at the woman who ran toward them and frantically whispered something to the man evidently named Jasper, her hands planting themselves to his shoulders. This seemed to be what sent them down the street to the Amethyst Court, her belly filled with food she normally didn't eat.

    Something in this act of kindness, even if it was out of pity, re-energized her. She found a small shred of purpose again, and while she couldn't find steady work, she tried to sing again. Fearfully pulling free Kieran's guitar for the first time in years, she sang at one of their old familiar places, but when it came to trying to sing their songs in one of their places without him, it brought her heart too much pain to continue. It was the first and last time she pulled his guitar back out, instead only carrying it with her like a weight. In some ways, Mr. Bellamy's act of charity was a help, though in others, not so much.

    Viviana turned to less honest ways of making money than a steady job or singing for scraps. She was finished putting in so much, only for the world to take more from her. She would become exactly what Life seemed to want her to be: a street-dwelling urchin who stole to live. If she turned into a delusional lunatic like Vinnie, then so be it.

    Perhaps this was why she watched – from a distance – the slow transformation of the building on the corner as closely as everyone else seemed to be...

    It's time to get up now
    And I've been long left for dead
    Some days are better than most
    When nobody comes and nobody goes
    There's songbirds up in a row
    I'll put in my dime and sing to your ghost...

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