Systems running at optimal level. Starting procedure in 5. . . 4. . . 3. . . 2. . . 1. . .
“Good morning Doctor.”
An automated system triggered the moment the good doctor entered the room. His hand danced over keys as he looked over a monitor containing several files for the newest induction to a program he had just created. One hundred students would be arriving today closer to noon. A step towards the future of humanity would begin.
The world, as they have come to know it, was failing. Everything they once believed or understood has been flipped upside down and turned inside out. Monsters have been dragging children from under their beds and out of their closets for years now. It was time someone had put a stop to that; a group of people he’d create to be the perfect soldiers to lead the new era. Heroes, as people would call them; people he groomed to turn fantasy into reality. Today marks a glorious day, the beginning of a new time.
Los Angeles, California -- 7:00 AM
Under that bright California sun, the weather was warm and the skies were clear. A perfect spring day to start a new term. A gentle breeze rolled through the air just enough to shake the trees and provide a bit of reprieve from the heat. The city was as bustling as it always was with LA denizens shuffling through their daily routines. Even the airport was packed to the brim as if the other half of California wasn’t riddled with creatures. Armed guards stood throughout the city and airport stations as if there were waiting for something to happen, but that was just the norm these days.
At the LA terminal, students would arrive with their tickets ready for a private flight to an unknown location and the acceptance letter to prove they were of the chosen few. Their gate, Terminal D Gate 16, would be a completely cleared section with no one around save for the man behind the desk. He was tall, stocky, and dark-skinned donning a fitted suit with an unfamiliar logo and a stoic gaze. Plenty of other students who sat curiously waiting for their flight have tried to ask him questions about their destination or this program to which he wouldn’t answer. He’d simply instruct them to wait until their flight was called and be patient. There was enough seating for fifty people, half of the students who were accepted into this program on this side of the world.
Berlin, Germany -- 4:00 PM
In the capital city of a well-fortified country, it was raining today like most other spring days. Heavy but not nearly enough to delay a flight. People were either in their homes or in camps with heavy guarding, barely allowed to roam freely. The government was quick to shut most things down but, for the sake of this program, the airport was reopened for the students only. Terror birds were known to take the skies so it was easier to avoid flying here. The government did what it could to provide safe passage here, even allowing other air force pilots to safely transport students in their country. All the students coming from a European territory would be coming here.
In the Berlin terminal, students would be met with what is essentially a ghost town. There were no other passengers boarding flights save for the fifty students, the other half, taking this flight. Only a few soldiers posted here and there to cover bases and ensure the safety of the students but no others were allowed inside. To even gain entry, one had to already have shown identification and the acceptance letter to a guard to proceed through. Their gate, Gate 3, was just as desolate save for the woman behind the counter. A blonde with a straight face and defined features instructed everyone to sit until the flight was prepared. She would simply ignore any questions asked without providing any input as she expected students to sit or not be let on board the plane. It would be easy to notice she did not have the typical flight attendant apparel but a well-pressed pantsuit with an unfamiliar logo on it.
One thing that came with finding it hard to breathe 24/7 was that you would eventually have learned how to deal with bouts of insomnia, and from that dealing with a sleep schedule that fluctuated so much that there were some days where you had the world's greatest beauty sleep and others that look like you woke up with shit smeared all over your side of the bed. But Darius had been used to it, he grew up with a serious case of RBF and the fact that he had to wear a gas mask 80% of the time did not help with people's perception of him or his personality. It was hard to exactly "dress to impress" when there was a respirator attached to your face that made you look like a ICU patient in transit, but he did his best to make it work. The biggest issue of this so called "big day" was going to be the travel, and as was made apparent prior: insomnia isn't exactly a kind mistress. From the details that his mom had lovingly written up on the little whiteboard that hung from his door, his flight from JFK was to be at midnight sharp, meaning he'd have to be at the airport at 11:30 PM or his ass was grass. She of course made a quick mention that she had already packed his medicine for him, with enough oxygen refills to last him at least a year. She probably would've only given him a months worth but considering that she wasn't allowed to know the location of New Dawn Academy, it was probably for her piece of mind that he had more than enough to survive while he was away.
Going off of his mother's insistence, he did his best to get a solid 10 hours of sleep before they had to leave to drop him off at the airport, which meant that he was in bed with the lights off from 11 AM to 7 PM. Did he get the sleep that his mother asked him to get? In like a standard out of 10 rating, it was around like 5 and a half-ish hours of straight sleep? With the rest of it spent productively just listening to music in the dark: alone with his thoughts, questions, and concerns. A lot of things went through his mind, how long he'd be there, if the place had a uniform or not, and the kind of people that he'd meet. His mind lingered on that thought for a while, more hoping than wondering if he'd meet anyone that was different than the people he dealt with at home, but only time would tell if that was the case. And the longer his mind lingered on that thought the slower time seemed to pass, the only snap back to reality for Darius being the occasional annoying and un-skippable ad that interrupted his playlist. Before long he could barely make out the words of the songs that he was listening to, a wavering ambience that laid in the background until his alarm went off letting him know it was time for the pre-flight feast. From what he could hear before he knocked out, it seemed like his parents had been hoping to enforce the itis on him while he was on en route to LAX, so when he had finally hobbled his way down the hall of the apartment and cut the corner into the dining room, it seems what he heard had been true. Now his dad had been a chef for as long as he could remember, and the mix of smell and sight in that dining room was enough to make his legs wobble in anticipation. It was a full spread of the most itis-inducing goodies you could have this side of the borough: a platter filled to the brim with stuffed turkey, mash potatoes, corn on the cob, mac n' cheese, and that beautiful poison known as homemade gravy. A plate was already prepped just for him, with a tall glass of water that seemed measured to perfection, making it abundantly clear how hard his parents worked to have this meal for him.
Darius' eyes were starting to water as he ate, feeling the love basted into every bite. After that it was a chill car ride, with his bags being thrown in the trunk and his parents only exchanging glances while they were on their way. The family got as far as they could together before the young man had to strike out on his own to his designated flight, his two parents holding him so tight he felt his stomach being wringed out. A kiss on the cheek from his mother as she stood on her tip toes to reach him and a loving pound from his father before he put his earbuds back in. It wasn't long before he made it to the gate, riding the high from his bountiful meal until he sat down and realized he was alone again. And his breaths began to speed up, he could feel his lungs clinging to air as the sudden anxiety reached him, all the things that he had contemplated and reassured himself of coming back at full power. Then the respirator kicked in, his breathing slowed and thoughts began to subside. Darius remembered that it was his own decision to enroll, not his parents, that he made the choice to do this, so he had to see it through. From there, the flight felt instant, the 6 and a half hour flight to LAX seemed to pass in a breeze when the itis kicked in, and he woke up much better for it. Sleeping had left him hungry, and there weren't too many spots for him to pick up some grub that would satisfy his taste buds after that culinary monster his dad served him, so coffee and a bacon egg n' cheese was good enough to keep him satiated until he found the gate. Wandering around a bit, the reality of the world sunk in, as the dozens of armed guards had made apparent. They were present at JFK, but his mind didn't focus on it as much as it did now. The young man was armed as well, but with a ticket and acceptance letter rather than a gun. He'd seen enough of those things back home, and prayed that he'd never have to hold one himself. When he had finally made it to Gate 16, the first thing he took sight off was the huge man behind the desk, with his most notable feature being the unfamiliar logo on his suit. It was probably something related to New Dawn Academy, but that didn't matter much.
Darius was here, just as he had wanted, safely, just as his parents wanted, and a bit bored, as he hated. His breathing was consistent, but the mask and respirator made it echo in the area nearby, a white noise he would focus on to keep himself from thinking too much as his eyes rolled back. This was the final stretch of the beginning of his journey.
Beige cardigan covering a white t-shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers
Who would have thought an outbreak of vampires in Europe would have lead to this? Maeven stood in the airport, looking at the terminal and gate that she was headed towards. It was funny, how one event can change an entire person's life, ambitions, and trajectory. When everyone in her hometown had heard of the outbreak of "vampires" no one had really taken it seriously at first. Honestly who would? There were crazy people in this world, and it was easier to believe the disquiet was just the cause of some weird group of people trying to get their few moments of fame before the populace moved on. People even attributed their lack of response to a similar time in America, when there was a "killer clown" phase amongst some random people. They would dress as clowns and walk around in wooded areas or at night, to creep out neighborhoods and get their moment of stardom online.
But it wasn't just a group of people. Maeven shivered, remembering all of the bodies seen on the news. The bodies had been found mutilated and completely drained of blood, leaving a sight of nightmares for whomever found them. After that everyone panicked, trying to flee the area. Fortunately her parents had decided then and there to just go to America. They'd managed to find a home in Colorado for a while, her mom having a friend who owned the home that they rented now. America was an interesting adjustment, and she felt as if Americans were a bit more ruthless and stupid at the same time. She'd never heard so many conflicting standpoints and arguments on what was now thought to be the potential ruin and extinction of the human race. Monsters of legend and stories seemed to be appearing out of nowhere, causing chaos and death wherever found.
Straightening the back on her bag, and gripping the suitcase in her left hand, Maeven entered Terminal D, Gate 16. She noticed a few what she assumed to be students sitting in the waiting area, and a guy behind a desk with a symbol on his coat. With a small sigh of relief, she sat in a chair two down from someone wearing a mask. New Dawn Academy was hopefully worth it, it had to be. She needed an opportunity to progress in this society, and with the current problem that the world faced this school seemed like the only option. Her parent's hadn't been thrilled when she received her acceptance letter. They thought she was avoiding the problem at hand, that she needed more time to adjust to life in America before she ran off by herself to begin her adulthood. Maven disagreed. What better way to adjust and learn things in a new place than to surround herself with people her age? She thought the whole idea sounded logical.
Sodapop was excited when she was presented with the ‘Congratulations’ letter enclosed with a ticket for a private plane. It was like a dream, she was leaving- Actually going outside the trailer she grew up in. Her little sister July cried endlessly, and Sodapop squeezed her tightly as she whispered comforting words. Her Mother on the other hand; “Cheuurr up, yuhs awful big sistuurr is gonna take us ta ayy lap av luxury- y'all just watch, cause she won’t fail.” Which was more or less saying to Sodapop, if she failed- Don’t come back.
While the private plane was too much to comprehend getting free; The flight going from LAX in California was dragging her down. How was she going to get there from Pigeon Forge Tennese? Flying was now deemed the safest mode of transportation and airlines didn’t take long to take advantage of the new found ‘feature’ of flying. So Sodapop had to look into otherways, since a flight from BNA to LAX was out of the budget. With airlines claiming safety at higher rates, things like Greyhounds and Amtrak had to lower rates to entice people to take a chance.
Sodapop got lucky that Amtrak, while being a three day train ride, at their Los Angeles Station had a Flyaway shuttle to LAX as a bundled deal. Her Dads, Daddy and Dada, chipped in the most. Even Papito threw in an unexpected ten dollars her way. Enough to buy the ticket and a few extra bucks left over.
Before hitch hiking her ride into Nashville, she hugged her three Dads, her Mother, and two younger siblings. Her brother Cooper-Penny’s last words; “Remebuurr ta shake yuhs ass ayn' tits!” Sodapop internally gowned before saying; “Yeah, thanks faw that there. But please don't talk like that ovuurr there once y'all are out ov here. Ain’t polite.”
The first day on the train was uneventful, but the second day had a three hour delay due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. Didn’t bother Sodapop any as just seeing the scenery beyond what her little trash home could offer was new and exhilarating. She even took the few left over dollars she had and bought a bunch of Rolos. Chocolate candy being expensive and all, she’d only ever had gum and hard candies.
On her last day on the train, an old woman was talking her ear off about the vacations to Hawaii she used to go on with her family, and how her late Husband hated waking up to the lizards all over their room. She found the way the Older Lady spoke about the memories endearing, but also surprised that even till her age she still has those vivid memories.
Sodapop wondered if her childhood would be a vivid memory till she died, or would she, like this Lady, have stronger and happier memories to replace them. The Old Lady interjected her thoughts; “Why’s a little thing like you traveling these parts alone?” Sodapop smiles, unsure how the Lady would react to the life she’d had so far. "Goin' ta college, ma'am. Can't exactly pack up my kinfolk to New Dawn Academy." Surprisingly the Old Lady’s eyes lit up; “What a bright young girl, getting into that New Dawn Academy is hard, I hear.” Sodapop chuckled nervously; “Yeah, well ay hope that there college don't decide ta kick me out ferst minute ay'm there.” The Old Lady gave her a tickled expression. “You’re a sweet little thang. You’re going to do just fine; In fact, why don’t you go on and shower back in my room and show them a fresh face.”
Sodapop did just that after accepting the Old Lady’s offer. The train even had hot water which amazed her. And all her worries and doubts began to slough off and spiral down the drain, as the heat caressed her body and the steam entered her lungs. For the first time, the pressure of her ‘inevitable’ life, released.
At the Los Angeles Amtrak Station, she said her goodbyes to the Old Lady. And an hour later she was at the LAX airport and immediately overwhelmed. There were two different ‘drop zones’ and she wasn’t sure which was the one she should go to. Then she got stuck in a loop of the escalators. Finally, when she figured out where to go to the terminal, Security took her pocket knife; which she was pissed about. Then they had her take off her crop-top jacket, which she was only wearing a white braided fringe tanktop underneath and revealed to everyone her raised and jagged scar on her upper arm. Of course no one was looking at her cowboy boots or her daisy-dukes whenever that was on display.
Now with her Jacket returned and through Security, her mood immensely soured by the events. Chugs her way through the endless Terminals and Gates, even passing the same one twice before realising she needed to go to another area for private planes. Sodapop was dead beat tired when she finally made it to the right Terminal and dreaded the Gate; “Gate seven...nahn... therteen... fifteen... sixteen!” She kicked the ground and snapped her finger in enthusiasm.
She walked straight to the tanned Man behind the counter, looking up to meet his sight; “S'cuse me sir. Do ya have any idea how awful long the flight is gonna be? Or what the weathuur is gonna be like there?”
Sodapop asked him a few more questions, but realised he wasn’t going to actually tell her anything, but to wait. So she turned around, scouting for a place to sit. ‘Oh, looky there. Someone who looks odder than ayy Bobcat nursing ayy fawn on mayn street.’ She was staring at the man in the gas mask and dreadlocks.
Sodapop plopped in the seat beside him, opening the wrapper of a new Rolo. She extends the hand with the candy towards him; “Hey there Scout, want ayy Rolo?”
Messing around with these fucks
Los Angeles, California
It was the latest of night, it was the earliest of day. Three o'clock, dry and dreary, allowed vampires to thrive and roam freely. Lucius didn't give a fuck, though. He was deep in his book enclave, stealing books to bring away. Most of them he already scanned with his phone, but like hell he is leaving classics like Art of War or Book of Swindles behind. A faint sound, like the wisp of a scream, gave Lucius a pause. So it started, he thought. He stacked more books into his suitcase and his mouth curled into a sneer.
He heard it from the postman and the bartender from Moxy's. Some idiots decided hosting a rave in this economy was a fantastic idea. He concurred; a rave made for a fantastic buffet invitation for those bloodsuckers. Lucius put his palms together. The callus on his middle finger pressed firm with an alien feeling. His dark eyes closed, praying with complete devotion. He prayed those idiots are reincarnated into something simpler in their next life. Maybe a frog or an unicellular organism. Something they couldn't fuck up with their brain power. That way, they could be do less harm and less of a waste of oxygen.
Clap! Lucien leapt up and zipped his suitcase close. One thing about having pigs like them around, he didn't even have to plan anything for his heist tonight, He just had to take the opportunity to pilfer a goat. At the thought of people staring blankly if he used metaphor aloud, Lucius snickered. He threw his suitcase to several others already waiting at the back of a pick-up truck and drove off. The truck wasn't his; he borrowed it from Jean and had no plan to return it. A bit deeper to the city border and he had to drive by the aftermath of a fight between the military and vampires. Yeah, those pigs were all or mostly dead. He took a detour to avoid the barricade and headed to the airport.
Tonight would probably be Lucius' last in Bellflower City and he planned for it to stay that way. What else could he say? The city didn't have many things going for it. If he didn't discover the enclave, he would have left years before.
...okay, maybe he would return to get more books.
Lucius spent long hours taking a nap in the truck before scouring the city for breakfast (no fucking way he would buy food from the airport). When he arrived at Terminal D, Gate 16, time had long passed from three in the morning. Unlike the others, The street-dressed youth hauled a baggage trolley with him. Two huge suitcases and a full carry-on were present, pulled to a rest against a pillar. Ignoring the stares he received, Lucius loosened his spiked collar, wiped sweats off his temple, and crashed next to a some girl. Rich, seeing she was wearing white sneakers. White, he glanced from the edge of his vision. Fuckers able to keep those clean couldn't be sleeping in a tent on the street or a share a house with thirteen others. Koi, peacock, pig... goldfish. A pretty fish swimming in a glass bowl, like he did. Lucius made himself comfortable without regards if it made the girl wasn't. He crossed one leg over another and spread his arms aside with an uncomfortable lack of attention at personal space. Then,
"Hey, goldfish." Lucius put one hand on the girl's shoulder with a smile. A tiger smile, how those fucks from the warehouse often described it. "You got cash on you? If the academy here asked for luggage fee, I'm strapped broke. Low chance they do with a private plane and all, but capitalism, right?"
Amira got up at around 3:30 pm, she was still a bit sore since she was discharged from the hospital, but it wasn't all that much of an issue. She was informed by the law enforcement in her area, though they were scarce, that she was going to be leaving for the BLAZE program today and that they'd escort her to the airport that would take her to the Berlin terminal. Feeling slightly nervous, it was inevitable, who wouldn't be slightly nervous to be going somewhere new. She had grew up in this town, she grew up here. But she was ready to leave it behind, it was a bad place for a child to grow up in, Amira knew that from experience. She really didn't need to pack a lot or rather she didn't want to take a lot with her. Looking around her small, run down room, she looked for her backpack that she always used, it was pretty worn out, it was the first thing she ever stole. She was honestly surprised that it hadn't broke through the years. She grabbed a few sets of clothes, she would've brought more if she had more, but this would have to do for now. Grabbing a few books off of her beside table, she shoved those in her backpack as well. She changed herself, and put on her necklace and grabbed a leather jacket since it could be pretty chilly later. Since she had a few minutes to spare, she went out her window and climbed up to the roof of the apartment building where she lived. Amira took in the sights of the town, it might be the last time she would ever see it. She was just staring, lost in thought, when she heard a pounding on her door, time to go. She got back inside her room and slipped the backpack on her shoulders, grabbed an apple and placed it in the front pocket of her backpack and opened the door. There stood two police officers that would take her to the plane.
Before Amira could even say a word, the one of the officers grabbed her wrists and she heard the tightening of handcuffs around them. "Wozu zum Teufel war das?" (What the hell was that for?). She yelled loudly. They didn't respond, just grunted in response and tugged her. She followed them into the streets of her town, people started to whisper. "The Amira Spade got arrested?!" She heard some people say. She wanted to punch them in the face, beat them and get them to apologise. But that would be near impossible with two police officers beside her, one holding her arm even. Luckily, the police car came into view, they opened the door for her and she got into the back seat. The ride to the plane was pretty short, it was either her town was just nearby or the ride was just really fast. Anyway, they escorted Amira to the plane, now they would unlocked the handcuffs on her wrist. She rubbed the spot where the handcuffs were, they were on fairly tight. She slept through the flight, she had gotten up earlier than usual. By the time they were landing, she woke up and looked out the window. Once it landed, she could take her backpack with her and exited the plane. The officers briefed her that way to the terminal, and Amira wasn't taking any chances to get in trouble today. She walked to the terminal, and was quite surprised that there were barely any people around, but she paid it no mind. She hurried, since it was raining quite heavily. She showed her I.D. and acceptance letter, that the police officers gave her, to the soldiers at the entrance. Once she entered the airport, it was just as deserted as the outside. She saw a few soldiers and memorised where they were located in cause she needed something from them. She didn't have any bags to check in, so she could skip that part. She already knew which gate to go to, Gate 3. Since 3 was a low number, the gate was pretty nearby where Amira had entered. She had heard the woman behind the counter announce that students should just sit down till the flight was ready. She found a seat and decided to just follow the lady's instructions. She took out a book and an apple from her backpack to pass the time.
Desmond awoke to a city, a city which he had known his whole life, that had suddenly turned on him. That was the TLDR anyway, long story? His city really turned on him two weeks ago. It pried everything it could from his grasp, put him in a stranger's clothes, laid him down in a firm hospital chair buffeted by thin pillows, then proceeded to squat over his face in the form of medical bills, and medical bills, and medical bills. Betrayal begot betrayal, so, fine, if LA wanted to drown him in a debt of half a million and rising, then to greener pastures it was.
He held his ticket in his hands with a collection of information packets and forms, and with all the sweat lining his fingers, those papers held onto him right back. He stared dumbly at the words in front of him. On his thighs were donated, folded clothes wrapped neatly in a plastic bag, on that bag, his elbows perched. Desmond had been ready thirty minutes ago, he had been numbly waiting—dangled over a precipice, ready to be tipped into the brink of the unknown. To greener pastures, wherever that was.
His dad swung his arms like a pitcher. His fist, a ball. Open hand, a mitt. His smile was tight and wrong with a row of upper teeth exposed. Even halfway into a daze, he saw how his dad’s eyes averted themselves from the hospital bed beside them, but Desmond stared directly, tenderly even, at the bandaged body sucked in a medically induced sleep. She was so small, the last pillar holding up Desmond, and his father, a boulder laying in a catapult rife with anticipation.
His dad, Sam Reid, was a man pulling the whole ideal picket-fence American whiteness schtick for the corporates, for his patch of suburbia, for his wife, and maybe even for himself. It was a brand, it was design 101; he was palatable, you’d swallow what he was selling and what he sold were drugs. He worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, which meant he got all dressed up in blue suits and told you why giving medicinal marijuana to cancer patients was bad and how prescribing them an absurdly marked up pain medication was the moral alternative. Research was inconsequential—unless it could be cherry picked—the real focus here was money. Money and image. All this to paint a picture of manipulation personified, gaslight king, Desmond could still feel the aftereffects of his father years later like an echo from a scream, like ripples from a stone plunged into water. He watched him squirm passively, rejecting the ball in his court, letting his dad continue.
“Des,” he repeated, strained but trying desperately not to make it seem so. “Buddy, Libby’ll be fine.” And it was all Desmond could do not to laugh.
L.A. traffic provided father and son the ample time neither of them wanted to bond, so they fell back on the shared Irish stoicism in their blood. The silence congealed in the air like a layer of fat on refrigerated soup; Desmond rolled down the window, the next best thing to awkwardly flicking through radio stations and static.
“Can you leave it up? I don’t like smokers.”
“But you smoke?” Desmond asked, half question and half statement, finger still pressed to the button. His dad always smoked, his mom too, the smell of tar and tobacco was a staple of his childhood.
“Aha!” Pride was strummed into his voice. “No, not anymore. Used to. I quit for the twins,” he said. “Oh, come on, what’s with the face?”
Desmond closed his mouth and shifted his eyes to the cars next to them stuck in a perpetual loop of scooting forward a couple inches then stopping again. His skin was hot. This was stupid, it was stupid that he felt stupid. That he could still read between the lines, see the same message he had been receiving since he was a kid, and still be caught off guard. But now there was tennis match attendance for the twins, private piano lessons for the twins, private school and PTO meetings for the twins, daily participation for the twins, weight loss and veganism and abstaining from alcohol so he could be around for the twins. Everything for the twins. His contempt wasn't toward his step-siblings, but for the things his father deemed him not worthy of, and made up in spades for them. All those years he wasted disappointed and yet simultaneously craving his father's approval, all that energy spent tip-toeing around his feelings. “Nothing,” he said, shutting his eyes, and inadvertently loading too much venom into his words too soon. “I’m loving the new you.”
Summon your witnesses lest you be made the villain.
His father met him with cold silence, then, “Why can’t you just be happy for me? Both of you.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I am, I just—”
“No, no, it’s like you’re always primed to attack me—I mean, Christ, who made you so bitter? You used to be nice, Des. Now it's like I have to walk on eggshells when we talk. It's exhausting.”
“I just wanted to roll the window down,” he said.
His father scoffed, overrode the window motor with the driver’s side button. “Yeah,” he said, before sinking back into that silence. The drive's mood proceeded unchanged as they waited for the other to break, both unwilling to blink first.
Ten minutes passed, twenty minutes, thirty, an hour. "I'm sorry," Desmond said as they pulled up to sidewalk, airport buses and bodies moving past them, their noise muffled by the walls and windows of the car. He searched his father's face and found it unrelentingly flat with a little furrow between his brow and his lips pulled taut. His shoulders sagged with a second dose of defeat, and he left embarrassed and guilt-ridden. His dad volunteered to take him, and here he was, clinging to the past like a child. Maybe his dad had been right.
He was dogged when he approached airport staff for guidance, less so when he shuffled through security, then, more so when he reached for a black coffee from a barista that stretched out his name sweetly. Each step led him and his mind further away from the events of the car ride, until he came out of his shame haze, let the anger set in again, and thought, well, fuck that guy. It was amazing how willingly he repeated the pattern, like Lüscher’s mouse, smacking the lever and praying for a quick hit of paternal love from a man that had only given him a set of genes and a slice of self-loathing. But he didn’t have to, and he was riding on an autowalk past great big ads for constipation that took up entire sections of wall and, God, he was missing this. This, this right here, too preoccupied with negativity that he was missing the people around him, the buzz of an airport, the first couple sentences of a new chapter. So, okay, fuck that guy; he was going to stare at planes landing and taking off for half an hour.
Terminal D, Gate 16, was surprisingly bare by the time he arrived. Lukewarm coffee in one hand, gas station bag turned travel bag in another, and looking like something straight out of the 90’s grunge scene despite knowing far more Britney than Nirvana, Desmond sat on the row of seats opposite the slow forming group of students. Social normalcy dictated a seat or two between strangers, and while he abided by the unspoken law, there was a margin between too close and too far away where the soft promise of interaction hid. His acceptance into New Dawn already felt like a joke, no need to further his chances as the outlier. He lifted his hand as a one note wave, nodded to the buckle bunny and masked man, then to harasser and harassed. Yes, yes, this was socializing, this was good, he was not painfully aware of himself in the slightest.
mood = Nervous, Irritated
location = Los Angeles Airport, Terminal D Gate 16
outfit = Raiken Hunter Outfit
The outcast of a cultist organization, not exactly something you'd put on a resume, but with the world's current situation, his skillset was idolized. But even with such a promising future, his reputation was not so cherished. Even so, Declan couldn't care less about who accepted him and who didn't, he was going somewhere important, and that's what mattered.
The dark fabric of his uniform soaked up the sun's heat, something he wasn't to excited about. The day was tranquil in comparison to the constant chaos of the city he came from. He nodded to the driver as he closed the passenger door behind him, heading to the back of the car to fetch his luggage. The driver opened the trunk from inside the taxi, the notable click and slight raise of the top letting the hunter know he could grab his stuff. He didn't have much, just a few sets of clothes that he probably wouldn't wear, his equipment that would most likely get confiscated, and personal items. Closing the trunk and waving the driver off, Declan shifted his gaze to the airport.
The lobby was exactly how he expected it to be; there were people scattered everywhere, but his gate was almost barren save for the few students that were already there. Declan ignored any weird looks he got, far too used to the judgment. He didn't dare try to interact with anyone; he didn't want to make friends or get close to anybody, he'd learned that lesson the hard way. Luckily for him though, he got to keep his equipment, at least there was a positive to focus on.
He took a seat far away from anybody else, which was a little difficult consider how spread out the other soon-to-be-students were. Eventually, the man settled for a seat that gave him a view of the runway and the plane he would be on shortly. His barely intact backpack was his carry-on, the other two bags having been taken to be put in the plane. Declan kept his head down, digging through his bag for his sharpening stone unless he was looking out the window. Shortly after having gotten comfortable, the quiet sound of scraping began.