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First up is Recoil's origin story:

“It’s gone.” Gregory Hayden whispered at the space past his shoes, “I lost everything to those bastards. Laid me off after seven years without so much as a ‘thanks for all your good work’.”

He looked out on the city, let himself soak in its distinctive white noise. Every city has a unique sound, one that a lifetime citizen gets to know. It was for Gregory a constant, seemingly eternal reminder of everything his life had once been. As the tears tumbled hesitantly from his eyes, he realized how much he hated the sound now. It stung like his wife’s laughter had when he told her he could turn it around. It grew in intensity every second he hesitated at the ledge, looking out over the vast expanse of his uncaring world like an open wound blooming outward with every moment its victim still drew breath.

The city’s sunset was beautiful. The wind brushed his face and forced him to shield his eyes with a hand. The other held the note. It seemed utterly unsatisfactory. Just some mewling about how he had been cheated of his life and he hoped all who were responsible would one day rot with him in hell. Childish, yes, but Gregory had never been particularly good at writing. Besides selling things, Gregory had never been particularly good at anything.

He turned his eye to the street, feeling somehow superior to the little people he could see scuttling about the street below him, “At least it’s over now. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

Holding his breath, Gregory did the only thing he saw left to do. He rocked forward.

“Greg?”

As he fell, Greg turned to see Susan, his best friend, coming up onto the roof. They had been friends since college and if it hadn’t been for Jenny, he thought perhaps they might have been more. She had mousy features and wore glasses that never quite sat right on her face. When she laughed, everyone around her laughed too. Even in the years after, Gregory would never be able to quite articulate all the things he saw in her face. There was fear there, obliviously, but also pity, disappointment and a certain amount of anger. How could he have forgotten the people in his life that would never give up on him? What was this?

Greg’s arms spread wide against his will, the force of his fall pushing them back into position. His mind raced as the floors of his office building bled past.

I can’t die, his mind all but recoiling from the reality before him, I can’t do this to her, to myself. I can’t. I CAN’T!!!

“NOOOO!” the sound tore from his throat just before he struck the ground. A floodgate broke somewhere in the back of his mind and his whole body tingled. For time immeasurable he thought for sure that he had died, but when his senses returned to him, the comforting rush of the city’s white noise crashed down around him. He laughed then, laughed and laughed and laughed as the people encircled him to gawk. Still unconvinced that he had lived, Gregory clambered to his feet, putting a hand on a nearby taxicab for stability.

The tingling in his body flooded outward through his hand and before his widened eyes, the taxi crumpled inward like a crushed soda can. Stumbling back a step, Gregory stared numbly at his hand and then up at the ledge from which he fell where now Susan stood, a tiny reminder-silhouette of what had brought him back.

Even knowing she couldn’t hear him, Gregory whispered words meant for the woman he was sure had somehow saved him,

“I’m alive.”
* * *
* * *
There was a stuble shift in the pressure of the room as the doors opened. It was exactly 5:53PM, and by the time it would get into the back and clock in, it would be exactly one minute late. Thus was the fifth sacrifice of the day, this one to the great worlds of the Ne-cot, the breathers of the Evertime, compleate, and it could be sure its evening would continue on with the perfect clockwork that is the Ne-cot's soul. With this sacrifice, there would be no issues that would plauge Chester tonight, no distractions from the true purpose in life.

"Excuse me." A voice spoke from behind, and in that strangely human way, Chester realized that it spoke towards itself. The thing continued walking, so that it may make its sacrifice of time.

"Excuse me. You work here, don't you? I need assistance."

Chester continued to move, the twisted remains of his right leg trying to keep up with the broken perfection of the rest of his body. It started to remind him again that he was truly human. His bones creaked again, singing the praises of the six witches of Dyxlposi, but Chester could not listen to the song and join in with the ritualistic poppings of his joints just yet, and hoped the witches would still bless him even with this small slight.

Afterall, Ne-cot is served by the Dyxlposi, and should therefore understand.

The voice kept trying to interupt his day. Damnit, it sounded like the day maid, needing to talk to him about some inane problem she most certiantly had. He respected the Simps, respected anyone who was trying to kill themselves to purity in fact, but they always seemed to stumble into a problem that was often times too big for them.

He had only seen her once, and at a distance, but he had heard her voice as she was clocking out for the night. To his knowledge, she had never seen him before, otherwise she would not be talking to him so boldly.

She placed her smooth hand on his shoulder, which sent beautiful pain through the slowly healing wound there, and was forced to a stop for a fraction of a moment as he put his card into the clock. When he checked it, he saw in disgust that it read 6:02PM. In his rush, he had given too much, shown inperfection to his gods, and would surely be punished.

Irritated, he turned towards the maid and stared into her perfect eyes, now showing liquid fear inside of them. Its focus returned.

It wondered what frightened her the most. The small bit of glass woven into the flesh above its eye, which was earned after its sister had perfected herself? The swath of white hair comming from its otherwise raven black hair, which the Simps often associated, correctly, diivine insanity? Or quite possibly its greatest sacrifiice.

Several years ago, Chester had sewn its mouth shut, to better understand the hardships of the Ka'KA-shunk. And, seeing no other choice when it came to ingesting food, for Rromanta would never allow simple liquids to be consumed in his followers as a meal, Chester was forced to slit its cheeks open. While it was a bit of an inconvience at first, the thing was happy to be that much closer to Rromanta, for did not the beast itself have three mouths as well, with one malformed and sealed as punishment for speaking out of turn in the halls of the Mesa?

Of course, this left Chester unable to speak, but he had learned that that was not a problem at this job.

"Blood and bones, I did not..." sputterd the Simp, head bowing in the traditional ways of the damned, before running away in what must have been both fear and shame.

With that mess out of the way, Chester sat down at the desk, staring out into the lobby and becoming as like the furniture, lost in his own thoughts of purity.
* * *
An old victrola in one corner of the hotel room crackled and crooned an old bluesy big band tune, begrudgingly spinning a record that was severely warped and overplayed. Though it wasn't much to listen to, it was enough for Deirdre. It drowned out the voices.

The bedraggled young widow sat perched on the edge of the swaybacked hotel bed and stared anxiously out the open second story window into the thick fog, as she had for countless days before. Deirdre would only abandon her vigilant watch to sleep and bathe -- neither of which she did for very long -- and every minute she was away from the window was a minute her thoughts raced, fixated on the image in her mind's eye of the expanse of marsh and gnarled trees behind the hotel. She had even arranged to have supper brought to her bedside, which most nights would remain untouched for the maid to dispose of in the morning.

The gentle shaking of branches roused by a passing breeze caught Deirdre's attention, and her eyes darted to the source of the motion in her peripheral vision. She peered long and hard, narrowing her eyes and leaning forward a bit, as if daring the tree to make another move. Small nervous tremors began to wrack her body, and her left hand shakily and instinctively reached up to her shoulder to run her fingers in the trenches of three deep scars that ran parallel to each other and across her collarbone. "They'll get you too," she breathed.

When her son Peter burst through the hotel room door, Deirdre shrieked and slipped off the side of the bed, landing on the hardwood floor with a thud. "Mum, mum!" he cried, "I went on a treasure hunt today!" Deirdre fumbled weakly back onto the mattress, visibly shaken, but turned her head to face back out the window and raised a finger to her lips to shush the boy.

"Mum, mum," quieter and slower this time, "I went on a treasure hunt today. Me and Tyrus and Rebecca were talking to Willie, and he drew us a map and everything." The young boy climbed up on the bed beside his mother, methodically folded his hands in his lap, and started to swing his legs back and forth over the edge. "It was an adventure just like in the books. We went up and down the halls, and through the kitchen, into the dusty old cellar, out in the courtyard, and into the garden, through--"

At the mention of the courtyard, Deirdre's attention was immediately and entirely on her son. She turned to look at him. "The courtyard?" Peter's small mouth hung agape as he stopped midsentence. He stammered, trying to respond, but couldn't. She growled, "You went outside?"

"I-- I mean... we just-- I-- we..." Tears began to well up in Peter's eyes as his lips quivered in fear. Deirdre tightly clenched one of the boy's shoulders and one of his wrists in each of her thin, bony hands and shook him, yelling.

"What have I told you?! It's not safe outside!"

"We were just having fun, mum," he choked raggedly, wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his free arm. "We were just playing!"

"You are not to step foot outside these walls! These walls protect you!"

He pushed and shrugged out of his mother's grasp, and reached both hands into his coat pocket to pull out the map the janitor had copied onto a piece of hotel stationery. "We had to solve the riddle!" Peter held up the piece of parchment to plead his case.

Deirdre had raised her hand to slap the boy when her eyes fell on the riddle scrawled onto the page in uneven handwriting.

"...four wings, and flies." His voice resounded in her head.

The widow screamed and began to thrash about the room, knocking fixtures and furniture over as she flailed and covered her ears, her son watching in utter horror. The victrola crashed to the floor with a scratch and a whine, and the record snapped into several pieces, never to be played again.
* * *
She clung to a chair in the lobby of the hotel, just as she had every day for two weeks now. Her hair was mousy, brown, and ragged. It fell out in patches when she shuddered. Other guests complained of the scene she made and the whispers and the smell. If Joseph gave a flying fuck about anything beyond bedding the waitress in the small restaurant attached to the lobby, something might have even been done about it too. As it stood, Elaina remained soundly ignored. Which, of course, was precisely what she was hoping for.

Any witness observing her had no doubt that not a thought had escaped her since she had arrived more than two weeks ago, she seemed so still and frail. Surely her mind matched her body. And yet she listened. She heard the maid, Rosaria, arguing with Joseph over the Riddle. She heard him scoffing as he repeated it aloud. As his words struck the air, Elaina convulsed in her chair, her rumpled sun dress hissing as she moved. She had not been sure this was the crux until then. Perhaps her dreams had been wrong. Sometimes a cigar...but, no. This was it: The final question. She had found it at long last. After thirty years, her agony might at last be ended.

Who would it be? She cast a jittering glance around the lobby. Would it be professor Creevey with his long, tailored coat and his keen observant eyes, hidden behind lenses of cold glass? He sat immersed in a heated conversation with Madame Du Noi, though they spoke at this time of nothing of consequence. They would be writhing together and soon, but perhaps that was the answer to the question? No, no surely it couldn't be that simple.

Perhaps Charlie Dotson who had cleared out of the nearest town when the plague hit. She could smell the stink of regret and boiling potential madness in him, so fierce it might be antiseptic.

Lester Cross had the potential to See. He had already learned how to blind others to the truth, his olive skin and charming smile helped people to forget that he had Simp herritage. Herritage squandered by a common grifter, though his lies and his cowardice revealed more of his truth than he cared to admit. He could be made to See.

There were others of course, others beyond the room, above it. They stirred in their private chambers and the dwellings of their fellows like insects in a hive. They danced and hummed and came closer to forming the shape of that which Elaina loathed and longed to embrace most: the Mystery.

She retreated then to ponder what she had learned. On old collapsing limbs, she stumbled back to the room that was eternally her's. She meticulously removed the key from her dress pocket and slid it into the keyhole with a satisfying click. The door swung open and Elaina shivered with ecstasy. The walls were transformed into a canvas by a continuously replenishing supply of hotel pens. There, every message that had been carved into her family of thirteen had been carefully recreated. They were not ramblings, but a map. It had led her here. This is where the curtain fell.

"But it cannot fall for them," she wheezed, "Without me,"

The sun dress fell away, revealing her shriveled old puss white form. In the long mirror of her room she could see the questions she would carry for life. They were her's. A secret only the ones who See may be permitted to know. Then they could join her and Elaina's burden might be passed on to others. At last, they might permit her to die.
* * *
* * *
Thank you. No, really. Thank YOU for helping me with this. I know this isn't your typical interview, but I appreciate that you've even let me in the door. I know how hard it is to believe someone when they claim to be me. Trust me, I've been doing it before this country was discovered.

By the way, I'm sorry about your fish. I'll bring it back to life after this, but it was the only water you had here, and the wine bit is always the thing that gets me in the door.

Now, now. I know you have a lot of questions, but I can't answer them. Actually, that's a lie. I can answer them, but I won't today. It doesn't violate any code, there's no written text that doesn't allow me to tell you. I just don't want your cedibility to be even more tarnished by talking to me.

Hm? Oh yes, it happens often. I've been trying to send my message out, but it seems like people only listen to the people I don't talk to. I saw that statue in New York as I came down. I'm sure you know the one. It's got the torch and the crown? Right, Statue of Liberty. Very well made, but I had to stop and read the inscription. Actually, I had someone else read it for me. I've never gotten around to learning how to read English.

The inscription talked about the huddled masses, the tired and sick. There was so much conviction in the way the woman read it. I said aloud "Yes. These are the people I must give my message to, for surely they are the ones this country cares about. They will be listened to." OF course, the woman who read the inscription, I think her name was Janet, asked me what message that was, and just who I was.

I spent my first night in America in the Sunny Meadows Mental Clinic, being put under rigorous tests to confirm my sanity. I could have shown them the water to wine trick, because everyone loves that one, but Sunny Meadows has strict rules about no alcohol in the building.

I probably would have still been there if the budget hadn't been cut a year ago and they had to turn out everyone who claimed to be Jesus. I was Jesus #37.

Where are the other 36? Well, I couldn't tell you where they all are, because I don't know. But I can tell you that numbers 25 and 14 had a very nice tent city established downtown, until number 10 burned it to the ground.

Number 1 and 2, who are actually the same person admitted twice, has gone off to do some really impressive things. But that's for another time.

I know that 18 and 19 met in Sunny Meadows, and have since left the state to see about getting married. Oh, please don't ask me my opinions on gay marriage. I prefer to stay out of politics whenever possible. It's not that I don't have an opinion, it's just that I don't like trying to explain it in a way that won't make your ears bleed.

No, your ears would really bleed. It's something I can't help. I think my Father did that on purpose. We've been having...issues for the last few hundred years.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Father. He just doesn't love me very much. Have you ever read the Bible?

No you haven't? Oh. Alright then. Do you at least have one handy? No? Alright, alright. Here, you can have mine. I made it this morning. If you have a pen handy, I'll even autograph it for you. Americans just love those autographs.

Now, flip to the bookmark. The yellow one. Not that one, the yellow one with the ketchup stain on it. Now fine the green highlighted verse. Hm? You can't read it? Damn, I forgot.

English, #37, English! You've got to learn how to read that! No, you don't have to write that down. I'm just trying to make a mental note.

Anyway, the part I wanted you to read states: "For got so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son. blah blah blah" There's more, but that's the important bit. Sounds nice. He let me walk the world, helping everyone and spreading his good name. Just like a good son should, he would tell me. But that's not what it means. Oh no. He sacrificed his own son to prove a point!

He loves the world, not his son. He'll do anything to get the affection of the world, including letting them nail his son to a couple of boards after beating him to within an inch of his life. He'll even let the world make a graphic movie about it, just as a reminder that he'll do anything to get you to come back home with him. He'll stop at nothing. He's good like that.

Sorry. I didn't mean to get so angry right there. The bleeding should stop in about an hour or so. You should really lie down. I tell you what, I'm going to go, I think I'm doubled parked anyway. I'll stop by later and we can finish this up if you'd like.

And again, sorry about the fish. I could bring it back now, but it'd still need some water, and I haven't quite got the wine to water bit down as well as I'd like.
* * *
Told you I'd have more stuff here. This was actually suggested by Wolfie, so he deserves all the credit. Post to the latest entry of the pass-back story if you want to be included in it. We're going to have a turn list to avoid any real confusion as to what's "canon" in the story. Current order: Me, spookyalex, lonebluewolf. Anyone else want in, let one of us know.

Personal Note: I've left things a bit vauge on purpose. After all, everyone who gets into this will want to add their own bits. I just threw in a bunch of characters to play with, and a fun riddle that can have numerous answers to it. Enjoy the ride.


It started as a riddle. A damned riddle that one of the guest passed to old Willie, the hotels janitor. The paper was soiled, spotted with flecks of unidentifiable matter. Willie had kept the paper with him for barely and hour before handing it to the maid, who in turn passed it to Joseph, the day manager. By the time the well-worn paper had passed into Joseph's hands, it had been creased and battered to the point of almost falling to pieces.

The maid, Joeseph had forgotten her name for the seventh time this month, whispered in her usual fashion that the riddle was cursed, and would bring about the ruin of us all. Something about auras and spirits or some other kind of rediculious shit the Simps south of the town sputter on about. Horseshit was what it all amounted to, and anyone who thought differently could get out while the getting was good.

After the maid had gone off to shurk her duties yet again (By Gods and Dogs, those Simps were going to be the ruin of the nation), Joseph read the riddle, and promptly laughed his ass off.

"What has four wings, and flies?"

Joseph re-read it at least a half dozen times, chuckling as he searched for the "Evil Auras" The damned Simp was sputtering about. Of course, he found none. He was going to have to talk to Chester, the night manager, about trying to get that worthless maid fired.

But the riddle seemed to stick with him throughout the rest of his shift, and his day off. He kept coming back to it, even as he clocked back into work. Dragonfly. Had to be. It was a damned Dragonfly, the end. The answer was simple.

But why was everyone so jittery about the paper, and why did he keep it in his jacket instead of throwing it away?

Joseph didn't realize it just yet, but the filthy paper, the Simp maid, and the true answers to the riddle were going to make his life very difficult indeed.
* * *
-Dearest Bernard,

I extend my warmest reguards to you, for you have been a most worthy adversary. I have only recently discovered your identity, but once I did it was only a brief period of time to discover why you persued me so diligantly.  You have been most careful, and I must admit that I have yet to discover all of your tricks of deception at your disposal. I'm very grateful for all of your assistnce that you've provided me. Your being on the outside of my enterprise has allowed you to find the various "rats", as it were, in my organization, and your efforts have been critical in making my business more secure, and given me a better, grasp (If I may be so bold), on who I can and can not trust.

Now, if I may, I believe that we have some business that must be attended to. I have taken the liberity of removing any unpleasant rumors you may have discovered about me from your home, including the loose stone under your fireplace. Really Bernard, I had expected more from you. I have left you the amber, as a bit of a souviner of our times together. How you got that so close to me I may never know, but I do hope you would enlighten me upon our next meeting.

If you ever wish to use this tactic in the future,  it has been my experience that a  single sheet of paper makes more of an impression than multiple sheets when wrapped around a piece of wood. Therefore I will end this note short, but we will be speaking soon.

-J


P.S. Rebecca Kemperson.

P.P.S. Turn around.



Bernard felt his bowels turn to ice water as he read the last two lines. He found Rebecca? Or was he bluffing? And turn around? The stress was almost too much for the detective. He felt as if his heart was trying to turn in on itself. With a monumental strength of will (something that only Rebecca would know about him), Bernard forced himself to be calm, taking control of his breath and bracing himself for what was quite possibly the end.

Wearing a calm counterance of a dead man, the detective turned...

And stared into the face of Jason Cartel himself.

In a blantent disreguard of orders to the contrary, Bernard's body let a gasp escape. In contrast to the stark whiteness around the two men, Cartel was wearing a solid black business suit that probably cost more than Bernard's entire precient made in a year.  His brown bangs came down loose to flank his piercing eyes. Dispite the snow picking up again, every flake seemed to somehow avoid him and his suit. A quick glance past the man's unsmiling face disturbed him almost as much as the man himself. Where Bernard had walked, his footprints were being slowly covered, but still distinct. Jason had apparently left no prints in his wake.

"Meeting one." Cartel's speech was warm and confident, almost what Bernard would expect a snake's voice to sound like, moments before ingesting its prey. "I expect this to take a minimal of two more meetings before our business concludes. In return for your services..."

"Bullshit!" Bernards voice sounded deafening in the surrounding silence. "My services? You think I'm going to help you with anything, you've got that stick a little too far shoved up your ass!"

The outburst seemed to have no affect on Cartel. "In return for your services, I will not offer you money, because I don't believe you would take it from me. Instead, I'll put you back on the trail of your darling Rebecca. If you do not want to assit me in my efforts, then I will do everything possible to hinder your attempts to find her, and subsaquently make your life far more difficult than it has ever been." He spoke as if talking about the weather.

For the second time that night, Bernard reached for his gun, and cursed allowed when his hands grasped only air.

"Also, I will do my best to give you the answers that you seem to be so intent on finding out. I'll start by answering the one that's been burning in your mind. Yes, Bernard. Yes I am a Magi, a Mage, a Godsbane, or whatever it is you call my kind in the recesses of your subconsis. I tell you this now, because that information holds no power over me. I..."

"Do you ever stop talking?" The detective's face was shifting through the various shades of red. "I can't believe anyone listens to more than a quarter of what you're saying?"

For a horrifying instant, Bernard saw the hate that filled Jason. The detective had a sudden flash of his throat being sliced open, magenta spilling against white.

Instead, Cartel regained his former counterance. "Bernard, I don't have time for this, and I certianly don't  have time to tell you what happened to the last person who spoke to me like that. It's alright though, you're still new under my employ, and don't understand the rules.

"Allow me to elaborate for you. I want you to leave. Just, go away from here. Return home, go to a bar, find a whore. I have no care to where you find yourself, and no care as to what you do once you find yourself there. I just want you to leave here, and do whatever it is you think is right. Go on, shoo." Jason lifted his hands in a shooing motion.

Unsure of what to do, Bernard walked past him, careful to watch Cartel. 

"Oh Bernard. One more thing."

This was it, Bernard thought again, almost able to read the obituary tomorrow. "Detective Bernard Jenson: Forgettable."

"This concludes the first meeting. There will be two more. I called you to this one, and give you the option of calling the next. My door will be open to you when you're ready."
* * *
Note: This started out with just a single line, and became this. Any feedback would be wonderful. More to come as interst is generated.

Silence cascaded from the sky in various shades of white to fall and mesh with the ground at Bernard's feet. By Gods and Dogs, he hated this weather, leaving the surreal and unique image of a white landscape to fall flat and dull on the detectives eyes. From his vantage point on top of a low hill, the man cast his gaze over the snow-covered playset, the drop point for his latest contact from the Cartel Corp. They were late, which usually ment he would be searching for a new contact sooner than he'd expected.

He had been the only honest cop on the force for the last ten years, at least in his own opinion. With all the contributions to the force that had been made, many personally delivered by Jason Cartel himself, there wasn't an officer alive who would even dream that the young CEO would be capable of jaywalking, much less murder. They should have suspected something when the bastard started backing supporters of Mage rights in elections, usually a sure sign of something illegal, but the Police Commishener barely raised her eyebrow when Bernard brought it to her attention. That had been five years ago, and it had taken Bernard that long to get this close to finding out.

By the end of the first year, he had learned the rules of engagment when it came to dealing with a man like Cartel. Never use the same vehicle twice, never meet a contact in person, and never use a woman for a contact. He learned those lessons the same night he had earned his limp. He had been lucky to get away that time, and hoped that he was at least smart enough to get away without being identified. Bernard new knew enough now to believe that, had Cartel known who he was, the detective would have died peacefully in his sleep, or so the death certificate would say. It would be clean, it would be professional, and it would not send an obvious message that the detective was onto something.

Lights flashed over the tree that Bernard was leaning against, breaking his train of thought. He waited to see the lights flash in a predetermined manner, signaling that it was really his contact. The flashes came:

Two brights. Pause. Three brights. Then the car rattled its way into the fourth parking space in the lot, nearest the swings. A squat man wearing a rain slicker waddled out towards the slide, a small package in hand.

Bernard would wait until the snow had covered the large mans tracks before walking out there. There was no need to rush down there, dispite his overwhelming excitement to do so. He had reason to believe that this would be the final piece of evidence to confirm what Bernard had kept to himself. Cartel was a Mage, he had discovered that only a short time ago, when he was able to get close enough to shake Jason's hand at his latest contribution to the force, bulletproof vest that were designed to withstand anything short of cutting edge military rounds. Bernard had blown a good half his paycheck for a small chunk of amber, and got it close enough to brush Cartel's hip as he walked past.

After work, the detective took the amber from his pocket and discovered several hairline cracks spread out from its core, forming the unmistakable lines of Titus and Goheem, the narrow spiral looped line of the Witness, and the line of the Mortal, which went into the oppisite direction as all the other cracks. It signaled that he was a weak Mage, possibly a Jade, but still a Mage nonetheless. And while it wasn't a crime for Mages to run corporations yet, it WAS a crime to not wear your pendants in public, and the punishment for that was still steep enough.

He had no proof, until tonight at least. Well, hopefully tonight would bear fruit, and this guy wasn't jerking him around. The detective crumpled the cigarette pack in his hands and threw it on the pure snow, to lie with the discarded remains of the cigarettes. With a final look around the area from his vantage point, he walked towards the playset. The snow had stopped, and at this late hour of the night the only sounds came from the crunching of his boots in the new snow. The silver strands of moonlight  pierced the thick clouds, giving just enough light to see by. It was a short walk, but Bernard found himself winded by the time he had gotten to the slide and found the package.

It was small, no bigger than a box of chocolates, and wrapped in a wax paper, solid white and piled with a bit of snow to give it more camoflauge. Holding the box in his hand, he tested the weight. It felt right, not heavier than it should be, and the weight seemed even throughout. So, hopefully not a bomb. Hopefully.

Taking another breath to calm his nerves, Bernard pulled on the twine that held the paper on and opened the package.

Inside, was a piece of paper wrapped around a block of wood.

Bernard stared, dumbstruck, for at least five minutes before fully realizing what he was holding, and what that ment. He surpressed an urdge to run, but only just. There was probably someone waiting to shadow him to the car he brought this time, and followed home, if they didn't already know who he was.

Pulling the paper away from the wood, he flipped it over to reviel handwri...did that shadow just move? Bernard reached for his gun, only to remember that he didn't bring it tonight, in case he had to pass himself off as a civillian.

He watched the shadow until he was sure it hadn't moved, and then went back to the letter.

Handwritten. The bastard was cocky alright, but within the first few lines he knew Cartel was in control. Fingers shaking, Bernard struggled to read in the fading moonlight.
* * *
Good afternoon fellow writers, I hope you're all doing well! After a several months long break, I've decided that putting up little exercises to keep us all writing would be something that makes me too damned happy to just drop. So I'm back to annoy you for at least the time being.

Today, I've got a simple challenge for you. It's simple: One word subject, one word entry.  Do this at some point within the next week, and see if you can tell a story with just those two words.

That's really it for now. I'm planning to write in here alot more often, seeing as how writing often keeps my sanity in check.

Take care, and happy writing!

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