Solo Tempered II

Calla finds that some highs can actually be real lows.

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

Tempered II

Postby Calla Davin on August 4th, 2019, 11:33 pm

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84th of Summer, 519 AV (Night)


Calla thought back on her life, and on all the times she'd gotten high. Before they became mundane, poppers used to knock her off her feet. That's probably why she always wound up on the floor after hitting them. Temper, apparently, was no different. Calla laid on the floor, items scattered around her. Under her head, a tarp crinkled whenever her eyes darted to look at something new. Between her feet, her bag laid with all its contents spilling out. Her right hand had the flask in it, and her left hand rested on top of a hairbrush.

As Calla laid on her back, she slowly became aware of the bristles next to her. They gently tickled the palm of her hand as she pet the brush. Sometimes, the bristles would get fiesty and stab her. Whenever this happened, Calla flinched and recoiled while giggling.

Up until today, she would ignore her appendages. They were just tools that would do her bidding. In this moment, though, she felt everything her hands and feet touched. The hairbrush, her stockings, the floor, other fingers and toes...they all demanded Calla's attention.

"Weird." Calla glanced at the brush. As her tongue moved inside her mouth, Calla could feel every detail of her mouth. She ran her tongue along the top row of her teeth, delighting in every bump and crevice. A dry sensation enveloped her tongue as she did so.

"Don't like that." She whispered before picking up the flask and sucking on the opening. The metal was cool as she ran her tongue along it. After a good gulp or two, Calla began to explore more of the flask. She slid her tongue off the mouth of the flask and onto the body. A small rust patch appeared beneath her mouth, offering a strange, rough texture to her senses. Calla didn't mind that the rust tasted foul; it felt amazing.

"No good." Calla abruptly stopped and sat up. She had water all over her chest and face, but she didn't notice. She was more concerned with how unfamiliar her body felt. It felt like the world was pressing up against her body. The air felt malicious, like it wanted to squeeze her to death. She wasn't touching the things around her. They were touching her. She needed space. More air, better air.

"I'm high." She stumbled to her feet, scrambling as fast as she could (which was fairly slow) to stuff the bag beneath her. She jammed her map, flask, and knife into the bag before bolting out the door. It wasn't until she removed her key from the lock that she realized the candle sat inside her apartment plotting her doom. She quickly unlocked the door and sprinted across her room to the candle.

"You thought, buddy. Not today!" Calla chuckled. She was proud that she had caught this looming disaster and prevented it. But a voice called from inside her as she lowered her face to the candle. More. She could feel the pipe's cool surface on her lips before they were even there. She inhaled, lifted the candle to the bowl, and fully committed herself to a night of debauchery.

Last edited by Calla Davin on August 21st, 2019, 8:18 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Tempered II

Postby Calla Davin on August 10th, 2019, 4:04 am

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Once the woman renewed her high, she stepped outside again. Calla only had one key--the one to her apartment--so it wasn't finding the right key that was the problem. The challenge she was facing right now was fitting the key into the door. She pushed the key forward only to hear it repeatedly clink against the the outside of the lock. As she grew more and more aggravated, Calla jammed at the lock harder and harder. The clinks got increasingly louder until culminating in a jumble of clangs as the key landed on the floorboards. As Calla bent over to pick up her key, her neighbor angrily stepped into the hallway. Calla cut him off before he could verbally flay her simply for being alive.

"I know you're upset about everything. You want to come fix my problems for me?" Calla gave a wide gesture to the door. "No? No. So stop asking me to solve yours. I mean, really, how am I supposed to not make any noise ever?" The courier turned to the door again and continued to try to lock it. Silently, she thought of ways she could stay silent forever. The first thought that came to mind was muffling the sound somehow--probably by covering her whole room with something.

"Pillows." Calla nodded as she finally engaged the lock. She repeated the word, nodding more emphatically before letting a little chuckle escape. "I always knew it'd be pillows. You want 'em?" Calla turned to her neighbor. "Too bad. You can't silence me. I only have one." Then, after approaching the man: "Pillow, I mean. Only one pillow." The voice exiting her body was not her own. It sounded distant and dumb. Did Calla agree with the the voice's sentiments? Of course. Would she normally be babbling on about pillows because of those sentiments? She hoped not.

As her neighbor began to respond, Calla's focus was pulled to the nearby railing. A snail was perched on the banister, slowly and aimlessly chugging along. All of her neighbor's words dissipated into the air without Calla ever knowing they existed.

"You're going to die here." She placed a hand in front of the snail. He was a small snail--or maybe medium? Calla leaned closer. Upon further inspection, she decided that the little yellow snail in front of her was, in fact, medium-sized. She nudged the little man onto her open hand and gave her neighbor one final look. "We're leaving."

Calla wobbled down the stairs with her new friend and out onto the streets. The summer air brushed against her face, raising the hairs on her arms. She'd forgotten how stifling the heat could be in her apartment. Out here it was just as hot, but the ambiance made it worth it. The sea was only chimes away and it filled the world with an exhilarating buzz. Sailors singing, citizens chatting, waves crashing . . . free from the oppressive daytime heat, the city suddenly erupted into the lively creature Calla adored.

"I bet you wish you could swim, huh?" Calla looked down at the snail scooting around in her palm. His shell subtly spiraled out to one side, producing alternating rings of red and white. The woman smiled then gave the snail a small pat on the shell with one of her fingers. "Water's pretty cool. You'd like it. I'll show you."

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Tempered II

Postby Calla Davin on August 21st, 2019, 7:02 pm

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Calla never had a pet before, but the way she understood it the gist went like this: feed it, water it, love it. Even though Calla had just met this snail, it felt like she had known him for bells. Whether that was the Temper speaking or not, Calla didn’t care. She had a bond with this snail. She loved it.

“Whatsya name?” Calla raised her hands to her face. Both palms were facing up, giving the snail as much space as he needed to...snail? He was inches from her face. From this distance, she could see the slime he left behind as it slightly shimmered in the moonlight. His skin looked like an old man’s, all crinkly and bumpy with no elasticity left. His little eyestalks slowly roved around.

“Whatcha lookin at?” Her eyes looked up from the snail and around their surroundings. There weren’t many people out, and it was dark. It suddenly occurred to Calla that she was an easy target. And, considering she was talking to a snail, probably a target someone would feel no regret hitting. “Be right back.” She whispered to the snail before enclosing him in one gentle fist. She dropped her hands to her sides and looked straight ahead. Calla tried to look as intimidating--and sober--as she could: chest puffed, arms swinging, face twisted into a scowl. She wondered how many people went out like this: intoxicated and while holding their pet snail.

I need a better pet. She decided before looking down to snail to make sure he hadn’t heard her thoughts. As she reached the docks, Calla raised snail back to her face. She unfurled her hands, giving him a larger platform to scoot around on once again.

“I never gotcha name.” She sat on the edge of the dock. The change in direction and momentum spun her head, causing her eyes to go wide as the world around her turned into a fog. The woman slammed one of her hands into the ground for balance. After a few chimes, she finally got it. When she was fairly balanced, she dropped one leg over the edge and bent her other leg in front of her. She rested her hand on her propped up knee, which gave the snail a more stable platform to rest upon.

The snail remained silent. Calla thought back on her day and smirked. She understood where he was coming from. After all, it was only bells earlier where she herself was being followed around by a stranger who demanded to know her name. A flash of insecurity struck her. Is that me? Am I the new Mord? The pudgy man had lingered for far too long. Although she understood his reasons for following her, Calla remembered still finding it altogether unpleasant.

“I understand.” She didn’t want to be like her stalker, so she placed the little man on the ground. “I’ll just call ya Gramps, okay?” The snail continued to say nothing, causing Calla to feel even more insecure. “It’s okay, you can go. I won’t keep you hostage. I just had a whole day and then some, so I just want to talk and look at the water--oh, water! You see it?” She pointed emphatically out at the sea in front of them; if Gramps had never seen water before, Calla wanted to be sure that he understood the concept and what she was talking about. Gramps was facing the water, which convinced Calla that he was participating. She was thrilled.

“Can you swim?” Calla looked down at Gramps. He didn’t have any appendages besides his eyestalks (if those even counted). The way Calla understood it, you needed appendages to swim. She had arms, fish had fins, manatees had flippers. Gramps had nothing. “Probably not, hm? Well, if you ever get a chance then I highly recommend. I mean, I can’t really swim but I’ve been in water.” Calla pointed again to solidify the word into Gramps’ vocabulary.

A ship was docked down the way from them. It produced a familiar, uplifting soundscape to their conversation: the singing of sailors, the splash of water against the hull. Lanterns threw out a soft glow from the deck, causing the bay to shine with dots of orange. A smile seized the girl’s face.

“My dad could swim.” Calla nodded before quickly correcting herself. “Can swim. He’s a sailor.” The woman leaned back onto her elbows, releasing her bent leg so that it could also dangle off the dock. “Sailors control boats. Those things.” After confirming that Gramps was still nearby, Calla gestured to the docked ship. “They’re kinda like you. They move slow, and they’re pretty cute.” With a little chuckle, Calla poked at Gramps. Her mind returned to Mord hitting on her earlier. “I’m not hitting on you. You are a snail and I am not.” She explained to Gramps as she fished the letter out of her bag.

When she finally found the letter, she pulled it out and held it in both of her hands. She could feel Gramps’ inquisitive gaze, so Calla further explained. “From my dad. Got it today. Almost forgot about it.” The courier ran her hands over the soft parchment, feeling it swell and shrink due to different stains. It had writing on the outside that, from the look of it, wasn’t meant for her. There were numbers, lines, lists. It was probably a ledger of some sort. Her father wasn’t prepared to write her a letter, apparently. Nevertheless, she was glad he did. “Should probably read this. “‘Scuse me.” And with that, she unfolded the letter she’d been waiting years to get.

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Tempered II

Postby Calla Davin on August 21st, 2019, 8:09 pm

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The yellowed parchment between her hands was only folded in half. She was sure he hadn’t meant anything by that, but Calla couldn’t help but be slightly offended. In her line of work, she naturally came across a lot of letters. It seemed there were three types of people in the world: halvers, trifolders, and idiots. Thankfully, her father wasn’t an idiot; those were the type of people who simply crumpled letters or otherwise petched up the folding process before sending. Trifolders were thorough people. Determined go-getters that knew what they wanted, trifolders neatly sectioned a parchment into three roughly even sections before sending them along. Those people had important things to say and wanted everyone to know it. One couldn’t simply unfold these letters and read them, as they were often sealed somehow.

But halvers? They didn’t care who read their letters. That’s why they only folded it once in the middle. You can’t seal those. Sure, you could envelope them (which it is worth pointing out that Calla’s father also did not do). There was still only one layer of protection, which a skilled professional (read: Calla) could easily decode if they were reading the letter while holding it up to light. Calla sighed. Her father was a halver. Or, even worse, she was only worth a halved letter.

Calla pushed these thoughts out of her mind as she flattened out the letter. At first glance, there was a shockingly sparse amount of writing. Maybe the words that are here are twice as good, or something. Calla tried to cheer herself up as she hunkered down and began reading. Out of courtesy to Gramps, she read aloud.

“Hey Shrimp,” Calla smiled, turning to Gramps to explain quickly: “That’s what he’d call me. It’s a little fish thing. It’s ‘cause I’m small--well, to others I am. Not you. Sorry.” She went back to reading the letter. “Been a while, and I’m sorry ‘bout that. Wish I could see ya, but here’s somethin’ that’ll hopefully cheer ya up instead. Love ya, Kol.”

Calla’s mouth hung open as she stared at the letter. She reread it twice, and both times it left her emptier than before. All around her, the world screamed. Everything was exponentially louder than before. The waves thundered before slamming into the dock. The distant singing was suddenly right in her ear, taunting her with its joy. People walked by, but their footsteps felt like a stampede of horses rushing down the street. The words in front of her blurred as her vision went foggy.

She tried to call Gramps, but the air pressed against her chest with all its might. She couldn’t fight it. What little air did escape from her body was quickly replaced by an intensely cold sensation. With each breath, her lungs grew more and more frigid until they were paralyzed by ice.

She waited just like she was supposed to, just like everyone in this city did. Every night she sat here with faith in her heart and her sailor on her mind, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You wait, you pray, you rejoice at their return. What isn’t supposed to happen is this: you wait, you pray, you wait more. You work, and you pray, and you wait. And then one day, you get slapped in the face.

Calla wanted to scream, but she didn’t know why. Nothing had changed. Her father was still out there, and he could still return. But would he? Now, Calla seriously doubted it. Her muscles all were frozen in the most tense state they could be in. The letter between her hands shook as her petite hands trembled. She swore that the people passing by were throwing their voices at her, judging her for being so naive, so stupid. They had all read the letter--after all, it was only halved! They all knew that it took her father two years to send her two sentences.

A particularly large wave hit the docks, propelling more water than usual up onto the dock. It doused Calla’s lower half in cold water. It sent her body into an intense shiver, but it also drew her attention to the bay. Her eyes wouldn’t focus on anything and her body refused to move, but the sound of the waves still consumed her hearing. Another wave pushed forward, and then another. Each wave landed against the dock with a deep pounding sound before receding into silence. Intense thudding trickled into silence over and over again.

Slowly, Calla could feel her lungs expanding to accept more and more air. The breaths were still chilled, but they were there. Small bits of the tenseness in her muscles were washed away with each wave. It took what felt like bells, but soon she her body returned control back over to her. When her vision returned, she shoved the letter into her bag. She didn’t need to see it anymore; the scant amount of words it held would forever be burned into her memory, whether she liked it or not.

Without Calla noticing, Gramps had squirmed his way onto Calla’s lap. He now slowly trekked across her thigh. Calla chuckled, causing her aching muscles to twitch in response. “Careful, you’ll get wet.” Her voice was raspy, and the words came out in patchy, breathy bursts. But who cared? Surely, Gramps didn’t.

Her body was too tired to hold itself up, so Calla let herself fall onto her back. She looked up at the night sky as the waves lapped at her legs. “I probably should’ve taken my own advice. Shoes are wet now.” Which was true. In all honesty, she had forgotten she was wearing shoes. She had just assumed earlier that her shoes were a part of her body.

It occurred to her that Gramps wouldn’t know what shoes were either, but she didn’t have the energy to explain another concept to him. He was a smart snail. He could figure it out. She briefly laughed at the idea of a smart snail, but then she thought about it more. Gramps had managed to slither his way up to a second floor bannister. He wasn’t born there, surely. So he had to will his way up those stairs. He was a smart snail. As her brain crept to its normal activity level, Calla repeated this thought over in her head.

“You’re a smart snail.” She finally muttered as her internal wheels spun. “You shouldn’t be here.”

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Tempered II

Postby Calla Davin on August 21st, 2019, 11:47 pm

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As she laid flat on her back, Calla couldn’t help but feel defeated--and all it took were two incomplete sentences. In her lap, however, was a stone-cold snail. Despite all the odds, he slimed his way to a run-down apartment in one of the densest parts of the city. How’d he do it? Why’d he do it? The world would never know what was locked away inside Gramps’ brain.

“Gramps, we gotta get you out.” Calla spoke to the snail matter-of-factly. Deep inside, she knew he didn’t need her. He was his own hero. But she needed a win right now, and Gramps was going to give it to her.

Before she tried to sit up, Calla checked in with her body. Her arms and legs ached from staying too tense for too long, but they seemed capable enough. The strain on her throat was easing up, leaving it only slightly hoarse. Calla wasn’t sure if it was the high or the panic attack, but her body as a whole felt...unreliable. Wobbly. Tired. All in all, she didn’t want to move.

“Lemme get water, then we can go, okay?” Calla slid the flask out of her bag and brought it to her mouth. For a moment, she forgot that she was laying down. She was quickly reminded, though, after one failed attempt at drinking left her face drenched. She propped herself up on one elbow and gulped down her water.

Feeling slightly rejuvenated, Calla sluggishly sat up. Gramps had scoot his way over her completely and was now sitting on the dock. Calla could see that he was moving forward, which caused her to smile. “Atta boy, Gramps. Push on!”

If Gramps was ready, Calla knew she had to be. The woman put both of her hands on the ground and used them to prop herself up. She dragged her feet onto the dock and stood, just narrowly missing Gramps. Alarmed, she picked up Gramps and placed him back in her hand. “Oh shyke, little man. Better keep you up here. Don’t want anything to happen.” After slinging her bag over her shoulder, Calla tacked on: “Bad. Anything bad to happen. Which it won’t.”

Calla gave Gramps a reassuring nod before setting herself to motion. Her steps were wider than usual, which made her more nervous than usual. She stumbled a few more feet away from the edge of the dock just in case. Her eyes fixed on objects in front of her. In her mind, these objects acted like finish lines in a never-ending race. Once she’d reach a crate, she’d set her new goal to be a post, or a person, or a door. Whatever. It was simply a way to distract her mind from the ache in her muscles and the wobble in her step.

Four finish lines later, Calla was approaching her final goal: a large, docked ship. On the pier next to the ship stood a sailor smoking a pipe. Calla nodded as nonchalantly as possible as she neared him. He was receptive enough, offering his pipe to her when she stopped. Calla nodded and, because she was now a master of pipes, took the opportunity to smoke. She coughed as the tobacco scratched her lungs.

“If I’d a known you’d waste it, I wouldn’ta given you none.” His voice was gruff, but Calla knew he was just giving her grief.

“Sorry.” Calla smiled. “I won’t waste no more of your time or your tobacco.” The courier cut straight to the chase as she handed the pipe back to him. “I got a favor to ask, real quick.”

“Well I ain’t got no work for ya, and we’re filled up on cargo so you ain’t stowing away.” The man took his pipe back. He leaned forward, a grimy smile sliding onto his face as he spoke. “But I’m sure we can find a bed for ya to lay in.”

Every fiber of her being cringed, but she couldn’t fault the man for taking a crack at it. Besides, she couldn’t outright reject a man she needed something from. “Flattered, but it’s for my friend--”

“The more the merrier.” The sailor interjected. Calla brushed on without stopping.

“And it’s gonna sound dumb, so laugh before I say it.” After a notably silent pause, Calla continued. “It would mean a lot to me if you’d take him to wherever you’re going.” The woman raised her hand and presented Gramps to the sailor. The man chuckled.

“You gotta sense of humor, aintcha? Now, where’s this friend of yours…”

“I’m as serious as the dead.” Calla replied. The man stood there in disbelief, looking at her for confirmation. “Take my snail. Please.” By now, other sailors were leaning over the bannister of the ship. Some called down to her, whistling and whooping as she pleaded with the man.

“What the petch?” The man crossed his arms in front of him.

“No, I know. It’s just--I’ve had a long day. My dad is a sailor, too, you know and I got--one tick--” She placed Gramps on the ground so that she could use both hands to find the letter in her bag. “I got this letter from him today. He left two years ago. I haven’t heard from him since--until today! Yay, right?” She handed the letter to the man. “Wrong! He sends me this shyke! And something called Temper, and he hasn’t come back and I don’t think he will.” Without her consent, tears began to drop from her eyes. The sailor was clearly caught off guard, and Calla saw her opportunity. If she was going to Gramps on this ship, she needed to let loose--no holds barred.

Above them, the deck fell silent. “You’re a sailor, right? You have to help.” Calla allowed herself to sob, snot dripping from her nose as cried. Later on, she’d tell herself she was the best actress alive. Anyone who saw her melting on that dock, though, would know otherwise. “Just take the petchin’ snail, okay? He’s special, and he helped, and-and I just want him to live a good life.”

“Okay, okay, shyke!” The sailor was clearly bewildered. This wasn’t how his night was supposed to go, but, then again, this wasn’t how Calla saw her night ending either. “I’ll take your snail, lady. Just stop it with the tears.” Her tears transformed into lighter, happier tears a moment later. She shouted and jumped, throwing her arms around the man.

“Thank you, thank you!” She waved up to the sailors on the deck, shouting her thanks to them as well. Calla smiled as she stepped back. There was a small crunch, but Calla paid no mind. “You won’t regret this. And who knows, maybe we’ll meet up next time you’re in port.” Calla wiggled her shoulders, because, in her mind, that was seductive. And you know what? This was a time of celebration so why not be seductive? She gestured down to the ground. “His name is Gramps.”

Calla bent over to pick up Gramps before abruptly halting. The sailor stifled a laugh. “His name was Gramps.”

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