About two weeks or so ago I left Dragonmount for personal reasons. For those of you who are worried about DM8 don't be. I'm still working on it, just not in view of anyone other than Jason, Kevin and Jenn. Don't contact me about it cause I'm not likely to answer :P.

Anyway, by leaving I lost my place to write in the interactive fashion that I really enjoy so I've been searching for a game that fits my needs. I think I've found one in Escapting Reality. It's a small site based around the World of Darkness (vampires and werewolves in the modern world). I had to create a character concept and then go through an audition. I made it through then I really wasn't worried, just concerned I'd not fit into their view of what an RP post should look like but I didn't have any problems.

Claire Valentine's Concept

Below the cut is the audition plus the final comment I got from the person giving the audition.

Claire Valentine's Audition

The train lurched and his body lurched with it, thumping the window. He didn't care. Damned trains were always rocking back and forth and bumping along like they were hanging onto the rails by a thread.

There was nothing restful about the trains at all - the lights flickered in the tunnels, whipping by so fast they couldn't be followed, the cars were dirty and worn, people looked grim and dangerous. Sometimes he wondered if they were, or if they all just wanted to look that way.

The train started slowing, and he felt that pull, the strong gravitational tug yanking his body back, back more… With a long, painful screech, the train came to a halt, and the gravity let him go so that he flopped forward, then bumped back.

Damned trains.

Shhhhk! The doors slid open and people shuffled out, more pushed on and soon there was a bang as the doors trapped its contents again. The sing-song bells sounded, signaling departure, but of course they were already moving, gravity sucking them again so that everyone braced.

Five more stops. That's all that was left. Five more lengths of being bumped and being yanked and thrown and five more lengths of noise and people before the end. He could step out at the terminal, walk out into the sun, and from there it was just a short walk to the cliff.

The city had always been so proud to keep that cliff naturally preserved in its heart of cement. It looked silly, though, a slash of nature in the midst of modernization. He wondered absently how it would look once it was full of people, reporters and cameramen staring down where he'd throw himself off.

Maybe it'd look real, for once. Not out of place in this dirty damned city full of nameless people and crime. Maybe that ravine would look like it fit right in.

The thought made him smile.

****

The train was something everyone took at least once, but Claire took the train to work everyday. It gave her time to think about her story and read through it one last time or even write it sometimes. The mind numbing journey could get a little sickening to the stomach but it was better than worrying about it when driving.

Claire walked on the the train with a bunch of people, it was nearly standing room, one seat left and Claire hurried to it, it was hard to read and stand up. Thankfully no elderly people or pregnant women were vying for the seat, so Claire felt no remorse when she snuck in before another man.

The man was smiling and Claire returned it with a nod, but he looked as if he were off in his own world. Claire's life was her writing now, and she put a lot of work into it. She reached in to her bag and pulled out the copy of the piece she was working on and started mumbling to herself. She always did that when proofing her work. She hoped the guy next to her wouldn't mind.

****

The air shifted and someone sat down beside him. It startled him, and he glanced up quickly, blinking in surprise. A girl, just a girl, but he nearly shrank inside himself at her proximity, drawing his body away from her as if he was afraid to touch her.

He wasn't, of course. But she was just too close.

There was nowhere to go. The cold wall of the train and its unforgiving, useless window held him in place. The glass reflected her face at him, like some dual complicity designed to make him feel uncomfortable. She was on both sides. Wild eyes looked around for another seat he could shift to, but they were all taken.

Four stops. Just four stops left.

Besides, she wasn’t paying any attention to him. The girl's head was bent over whatever she was doing, and he could hear her talking to herself. Maybe she was crazy. There were a lot of crazies on the train. That was part of why he hated it so much - you never know who you might be sitting next to.

Then the worst happened. The train lurched, and he swayed. Too late - he'd bumped her shoulder. Panic rose up in him and from far away, he heard his own voice mutter. "Sorry… sorry." He closed his eyes and bit down on the fear.

Just four more stops.

****

"Sorry ... Sorry". Claire looked over at the man. He had hardly anything to apologize about, but the look on his face showed he was more afraid of what had happened than anything else. Claire smiled, but his eyes were shut and he was not seeing her, it was difficult to soothe a stranger when they wouldn't look at you.

Claire went to pat the man's leg, but she hesitated, if he freaked out over bumping into her she wasn't about to make him freak out more with that jester. She hovered over his leg a few moments before putting it back into her lap. "It's okay, really." Claire paused a moment to think, maybe he was crazy or maybe something else was wrong. "You okay?" Claire smiled in hopes he'd open his eyes. She tucked her work back in the folder to give him her attention if he wanted it. There wasn't much more she could do to try to reassure him she was harmless.

****
Oh shit…. Just be normal. Be normal, ask about the weather, you'll be fine…

He squeezed his eyes tightly and then opened them wide with a smile. "I'm fine!" [i]No, too enthusiastic…[/i] "I'm fine." He closed his eyes again and lifted a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. When he pulled his hand away and looked at the girl again, he felt more in control.

"I'm fine. Sorry. A headache, that's all… These trains give me a headache. The smell…" There wasn't any smell beyond people and dirt. No diesel fuel to blame, no smog… "The noise. It gets to me." He noticed her papers were gone and that meant more conversation. Damn it.

"Do you…" He glanced up as someone shuffled closer to the door, getting ready to leave, but it was alright. Safe. So he smiled at the girl again, shifting a foot to brace against the curve and the pull of gravity. "You were working. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. Please, go ahead," he added, waving at the folder.

****

Headache sucked at the best of time, among people they were worse, particularly people on the train. Those days Claire always drove, less contact was always good. The next stop came and the cars pulled to a stop. The jerking motion was always annoying, but it was still better than driving to work with work on the mind. Claire smiled at him. "I'm just rereading for the upteenth time the piece, it's not that big of a deal, really." But Claire figured out he didn't really want to talk, and pulled out her work.

Before settling back into her work she turned to him, and gave him another quick smile. "Maybe you should invest in a headset, some soothing music and a decent mp3 player. Maybe that's take the edge off your trip. I know it helps me sometimes." Claire knew the advice was probably unwanted but she gave it anyway. With out thinking she patted his leg. "And it helps to let people know you really don't want to talk."

****

He drew his leg away at the touch and closed his eyes again. Not far now, not far…

"You know, it's not like you can tell people that you don't want to talk to them," he mentioned to the girl, his voice sounding like it came from afar. "Or maybe it's that you would've wanted to talk," his eyes opened and he stared off at some mother and stroller in the far corner, "but that no one really listens. They don't care. They don't give a [i]shit.[/i]"

He balled his hand in a fist and squeezed his eyes shut. [i]Hang in there… hang on… don't say too much….[/i]

"I'm sorry. It's this… this headache." The train was slowing again, his body pulled and he braced for the lurching stop. "And the people. Do you ever feel like there's too many people in the world and then not enough at all? Maybe that's why no one listens." People were leaving the train, people were getting on… three more stops.

Then the man smiled brightly, suddenly interested in the girl and her work, his brown eyes looking almost feverishly intent. "Here. I'm listening. What are you working on? Why isn't it a big deal? If you're rereading it, it's a big deal to you. I'd like to know more. I'll listen to you." And maybe just manage to change the world. One time. One time before the last stop, before he'd make sure everyone paid attention and listenened.

****

Claire smiled, at least he was talking now, but his sudden change of attention caught her off guard, she tried not to show it. Claire nodded towards her piece. "Really it's nothing, just an entertainment column I have a deadline for today." Claire looked the page over. "I was just proofing it. Making sure there was no glaringly obvious mistakes."

Claire didn't mind talking about her work, but she didn't like giving people the article before it was published. She was always afraid of plagarism and copycats and various other people who tend to rip off others work meaning to or not. But she'd share the details of it. "It's just a piece on a local band that played their first really big gig this past weekend. I got an interview with one of the band members and got to hear them play." Claire smiled. "It's really not anything to write home about."

****

"Nothing to write home about…" The man had gone back to pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut, but then he blurted the words out harshly.

"You see? That's the problem. Here I am. I'm ready to listen. You said you were rereading for the umpteenth time and if it wasn't anything to write home about, then you wouldn't be doing that. But you are. And lying to me about it." Everyone lied. Everyone. Should he expect this stranger to be any different?

"You were right," he said suddenly, decisively, nodding his head. "I should have told you I didn't want to talk. Shove on my earphones and pretend no one exists. That's the way the world works, right? Safer that way." Yes, yes it was.

But he would shake it up. Oh yes. He would.

****

Claire wasn't liking his attitude one bit. "Look it's my job to make sure this thing has no errors. I get paid X amount of money for a perfectly edited piece. I get paid less for every red mark that my editor puts on it. So yes, I care about it. So don't presume that the piece is special. You can read it in the next issue of the paper." Claire turned herself away from him and then sighed.

"You lied to me too you know, because everything is NOT fine with you. If you want to talk fine, if you want to be an ass fine, but I don't have to put up with it." Claire tucked her papers in her folders and put them back in her bag and stood up to move away from the awful man. She wasn't going to put up with him. She was only trying to be nice, and look how it paid off. She should take her own advice, she scoffed at her own thoughts and shook her head as she adjusted her bag and took hold of the nearest loop to stand the remainder of her trip.

****

"I have a headache," the man muttered, but it seemed the girl didn't care. She was mad at him, she'd even stood up to make the point, and he clenched his fists together in frustration. The train started to slow for the next station, metal wheels screeching horribly, and he braced for the coming pull and lurch.

When it had passed, when the doors hissed open, the man stood. "I'm not being an ass, you know. I'm listening to you. Or I was, until you got upset about being a perfectionist."

He braced his feet as the train moved on again, swaying with it. "Okay, fine. Now you're going to say I'm not being nice, but I'm not kidding - I was listening. It mattered to me, what you were doing. And you blew it off and blew me off and… I'm wasting my time."

He was. Wasting his time. No one listened anymore. Which was why he had to do what he was about to do. Some would say he was crazy. Maybe he was. But others would listen. Finally. And they'd look at each other with wide eyes and wonder why they never realized anything before now. They'd go home. They'd tell other people. It would make the news, and more people would read. And it would spread, and finally, finally…

"Do you think I'm crazy?" The question was blunt and the man stared at the girl with fevered eyes, craving the answer. "It's important. No, seriously. Even if the question sounds crazy. Do you think I'm crazy? Did you five minutes ago?"

****

What kind of question was that? Claire wasn't sure how to answer it, she just stood and stared at him. She took a deep breath. He was listening but he was being an ass as well, it wasn't perfect and it really didn't matter if he listened to her story anyway, it wasn't going to change between now and the editors office. She couldn't retype it here and now anyway, it would require a computer, which she did not have here with her. But was he crazy? how would she know, she didn't even know him. So that's what she answered. "I don't know you how would I know if you were crazy? I mean come one a train ride and you want me to be truthful? I don't know you. I don't think you are crazy, I didn't think you were crazy. I think you are a weird man, but crazy?" Claire smiled. "If you told me you were going to jump off this train, or go jump off the rift in the middle of town then yes you might be crazy, but suicide isn't a symptom of being crazy it's a call out for help." Claire looked around. "So crazy, no, weird yes. Make of it what you will."

****
Out of Character:

HA! WIN! Total win!!! HA! Now THAT was perfect. You didn't use player knowledge in the least (that you knew he was going to jump) but you DID find a way to work that in naturally, normally and very, very subtly to open up interaction and provoke a reaction. LOVE it.

Congrats. I'm happy to welcome you to the ER game :)

Dragon Hunting

Published on September 30, 2015

First Public Writing

Published on September 30, 2015