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EF: Chapter Five
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scissorkitty



Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Posts: 789
Location: Escaping the Hair Lair

Posted: Wed May 07, 2008 11:37 am    Post subject: EF: Chapter Five  

Chapter Five:

Davis, Bernice and I shook our fists at each other, and chanted.
“One, two, three.... ROCK PAPER SCISSORS ”

Bernice cackled in glee. It seemed that my brother and I were out of practice, or in synch, or both. Her paper easily conquered our rocks. I’ve honestly never understood how paper can win over rock. I always thought rock should win regardless of hand-shape, because you could always punch your way to victory, while a karate chop is the best paper could offer, and scissors could maybe poke you in the eye.

Regardless of my personal thoughts on the matter, however, Bernice won the toss. We were off to check out the Bed and Breakfast.

* * * * *

We pulled up to perhaps the most un-sinister looking B&B ever to serve toast. Built along a curving cliff side road, two days drive from Dolmen Groves, the Damsel Taverne Bed and Breakfast was a tribute to little hotels everywhere. Totally embracing its meager beginnings as a roadside tavern, and turning them into a marketing scheme, the building was made of aged castle rock, with diamond pane windows and dear little blue shutters. The parking area and front stoop were cobblestoned with cinnamon coloured pavers, and edged with assorted colourful flowers. A hand-crafted wooden sign bearing the name of the business, as well as a charming wooden maiden bearing a simpering smile on her oaken features completed the look. The door was iron-banded oak, with a sweetheart window, also diamond pane, recessed into the middle. A brass door knocker in the shape of a heart dangled at chest-height, enticingly shiny. I grabbed it and swung with all my might.

The door swung open silently, revealing the knocker to be more of a doorknob than an actual sounding device. The entranceway was carpeted with a handwoven green, pink and white rug, and to our left was a cheery little check-in desk. A young woman was standing there, and we headed her way.

“Meghan” was a petite blonde, with sparkling blue eyes and a dimpled smile. She was wearing a crisp white blouse tucked into a pastel pink pencil skirt, and her brass name tag announced itself on her chest with proud perfection. She was the very epitome of Check-In Greeter Barbie. As we approached she eyed us up with a curl of her lip, and seemed to set her Hotel-O-Tron button to "irritate". “Hello, welcome to the Damsel Taverne Bed and Breakfast! Would you like a room for yourself and your children?”

I glared. “Meghan” was most definitely younger than me, making her "Hun" all the more obnoxious, and I most definitely did not look old enough to be Bernice’s mother, then again Davis’. I may have been a little haggard from the road, but that certainly didn’t make it look like I’d had my first child before hitting puberty.

“I would like a room, thanks.. For my brother, my sister and myself.” I tried to stand up a little straighter.

“Oh, sorry, hun. M’kay.. We have a suite available. Will that do?” She pulled out a stack of forms as her gaze drifted down to Bernice. “Well hello there, little munchkin face. Would you like something to colour while your mother checks in?”

My palms smarted from digging my nails into them, but I managed to contain myself. I turned at a tug on my sleeve, and was surprised to see Davis and Bernice holding up a series of pamphlets with thinly disguised glee. The outermost pamphlet extolled the historical virtues of our present location, whilst giving a step-by-step guide to the totally “historically accurate” renovation and rejuvenation process. Pictures of muscle toting construction men deconstructing a stone dump of a building, utterly unlike the Damsel of today, ended the story with the following paragraph;,

“After demolishing and bulldozing the area to enhance the natural smoothness of the land, the Damsel was totally rebuilt to Historic standards, using antiqued castle rock stones imported from Mexico. The hand-made diamond pane windows are a product of the Olde Time Window factory of Ambigua, Korea. Licensing for the Damsel Taverne Bed and Breakfast is provided by our parent company, Day’s Inn.”

“Huh. Historic.” I glanced around at the perfectly straight walls, the crenulated crown molding and spotlessly clean hard-wood flooring. I smiled at the little heating and cooling vents hidden in the flower-patch wallpaper, their polished brass facings extruded into little posies of metal. “I don’t think we’re likely to find any secrets hidden in something demolished and rebuilt by a chain of mid-priced hotels.. Not any secrets we’re looking for anyway. We might as well finish checking in, and regroup.”

* * * * *

Davis closed his eyes, and fished a winner out of the ice-bucket. The rest of the scraps of hotel-room-issue notepaper went into the nearby recycling bin. “The Funeral Parlour!” he crowed.

Happy Endings Funeral Parlour and Mortuary was an hour further down the road. On our map of possible locations, the Bed and Breakfast was roughly in the middle, with the other locations fanning out from it at various lengths of road and time.. and lifetime, although mine was the only one worth counting at this point. We headed back to the rental car.

* * * * *

“This looks more like it!”

We leaned back in our seats, and examined Happy Endings with a lot more trepidation than the name initially inspired. Craggy, unkempt brick walls, housing foggy, cracked windows loomed towards us, the name of the parlour hardly visible in the mange of untended clematis and English ivy. A scent of desiccated meat drifted in the mid-afternoon breeze, and Bernice barely held back her retching, until I pointed out that the McRestaurant, which we had quickly crossed off our list of possible locations, was right across the street. This only made my sister turn a little greener, and it was easy to see why. The whole situation was a little too “Sweeney Todd goes Corporate” for my liking.

I tried to convince my siblings that another round of Rock, Paper, Scissors was in order, but I was voted the only one unlucky enough to show my age, and won the dubious right to check out the premise. The door sunk almost as much as my stomach when I neared it, the manky thing nearly diving off its hinges at my light touch. I began to suspect that business wasn’t well at Happy Endings. A cheerless mortician in a stained black suit stood in the entryway, and scowled at my approach.

“Good day, miss. I assume you have an appointment?”

I grimaced back at Lurch, and looked around in amazement. This joint needed appointments as much as I needed a plantar wart, and by the state of the dingy carpeting, the wart was much more likely. I sniffed the air gingerly, wincing at the overtones of burnt Someone, and hurried through my rehearsed speech.

“I’m just looking for information on the tavern that used to be here.” breath.
“I don’t have an appointment, but my time in the area is limited.” breath.
“I think you may be burning someone.” I wavered slightly on my feet and made every effort to breathe through my shirt-collar.

Lurch glared again, his eyeballs dull in the underlit hallway, and gestured across the street to the McRestaurant. “I believe you are mistaken. This location was merely the storage building for the tavern. The Tavern itself was once where that fast food restaurant now stands.”

I couldn’t help but noticed that he hadn’t corrected my comment about a burning body. He picked his nails as I backed out the door, trying to breath through my ears to save my senses of taste and smell. I dove into the car.

“Why do you smell like pot roast?”

* * * * *

We sat on the curbside finishing our icecream, while my sweater - liberally soaked in Febreeze- dangled in the afternoon breeze. I closed my eyes, and threw a piece of cone at the map.

“Looks like we’re headed to the bar and grill, guys.”

“Europa, that’s hardly a scientific way to approach this.” Bernice attempted to chastise me, but the chocolate smears on her face, and the fact that Rock, Scissors, Paper had been her method of choice took the sting from her comments.

“Good. I’m hungry! And I kinda have a hankering for roast, now.” Davis rubbed his belly, apparently as bottomless in his Immortalitly as any normal 14 year old boy, and just as unconcerned about my possible inhalation of someone’s cremating relative.

* * * * *

“INCARNA” proclaimed the sign, in shiny copper letters, thinly edged with neon lighting. The restaurant bore slim resemblance to its past incarnation. A framed menue set against a leather background proclaimed the choices available to be both under-explained and over-priced. I knew I’d have to look to Bernice to fund our little soiree here. It was a little embarassing to be funded by a 9 year old.

We entered the stone building, and found ourselves in a huge open area, the roof overhead supported by actual tree beams, albeit well varnished and properly restored. New hardwood/bamboo engineered flooring tickled our tootsies, but the feeling of solidity beneath the thin veneer of new-aged fashion lead me to believe that older hardwoods probably lurked below the surface. The walls were stone, portions of which were currently upholstered in black leather and silver chrome. A long bar, much scarred and used, ran the length of the far wall, its many nooks and brass shoe-rail giving a clue to its age. I snagged the sleeve of a passing waiter. “Is that the original bar?”

The waiter disentangled himself from me, gingerly pinching his silk sleeves back into place, and adjusting his white leather apron. He gestured to a brass plaque set next to the built-in-fireplace with one overly-manicured hand. “Yes, everything in the building is original. As you can see, INCARNA is the perfect blend of modern and antique.”

I wiped the smarm off my face, and read the plaque.

“This building is recognized as a historical building. Bought from the city in 1998, INCARNA is the crowning jewel in a long history of taverns to use this premises. Previously Earl’s XXX Hotspot ( c.1996), this location has also been home to the Imperial Tavern ( c. 1901), the Gentry Tavern ( c.1804) and a simple roadside tavern and nightside Inn before that, its exact date of extinction and name lost in time.”

I grinned at my siblings and did a tiny jig of joy. “Seems like a likely spot, guys! So how do we go about getting information on the Tavern from Rolph’s day?”

DP: what's next? How do our Intrepid Threesome get the Dirt?

*edited- good catch Smee!*
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Smee



Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Wed May 07, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject:  

Quote: The whole situation was a little too “Sweeney Todd goes Corporate” for my liking.

:lol:

Hey Skitty,

Great chapter, with many chuckle worthy moments. You have pieced together a complicated seach, and made it seem an effort without dragging it out and boring your readers. And the level of detail continues. A pleasure to read.

How do we get information... Either Bernice or Davis could be researching for a school history project. Perhaps Bernice, as she can turn on the 9 year-old's charm.

Another, less appealing option (at least to Europa), would be to see if there's any job opportunities. There must be good chances of poking around if she worked there. Who knows, they might even have a "Bring-your-Immortals-to-work-Day" which would speed the process along. A pay cheque would also have the added advantage of it being a little longer before having to request funds from Bernice again.

One final option would be to get Davis to an internet cafe, or if he has his laptop, then just online. And see if he can't procure some kind of fake document that announces us as Health Inspectors (or something) that would perhaps give us the freedom to look around. We can pretend this first visit is the secret inspection and when we come back later it's the more formal test.

~

Quote: We were off the check out the Bed and Breakfast.

A little typo in this line.

~

Can't wait for this to continue, keep it coming.

Happy Writing :)
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8778
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:50 am    Post subject:  

Nice one Skitty!

I f5 most of Smee's suggestions. Though she could also perhaps pretend to be a potential buyer or something.

Meh, Smee stole all the good ideas.

~Waves fist~
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Smee



Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 1:20 am    Post subject:  

There was a good 12 hours between the chapter going up and my apparent theft.

You'll just have to be quicker next time, Chinny ;)
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scissorkitty



Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Posts: 789
Location: Escaping the Hair Lair

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject:  

yay! I'm glad this chapter seems to have me more back on my old writing track. I thought I was really slipping with chapter 4. Now, now.. no fighting. There's plenty of input room for everyone.


and just a reminder, Europa is in her early 20s, Davis looks 14, and Bernice looks 9... so health inspectorS, might be a stretch..
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8778
Location: http://www.NeilHarlteyBooks.com

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 5:47 am    Post subject:  

Mmmm. Kiddy porn film-maker? No, that's probably not much better.
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Traveller



Joined: 02 Apr 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:41 am    Post subject:  

Hey...another great installment...my only critique at this point was the description of "Megan". First off, I'm not really sure why her name was in quotations...is it because it was on her name tag? Just not clear to me. And I felt the description of her seemed to come out of character for the rest of the story. While everything else is clearly in Europa's voice, this paragraph seemed to be very sterile and in a different voice...a bland "just the facts, ma'am", sort of voice...don't know if that really makes sense, but that is what I felt. It just sort of stood out to me as odd. As not part of the rest of the story. Otherwise I am really enjoying this story (even if we didn't go to the empty lot like I wanted...lol)

As for the DP...I like the idea of being potential buyers...they have the money and it would get them a tour where they might get to see something the general public wouldn't get to see. Either that, or they wait till night time and break in...risky but exciting...

...looking forward to more...T.
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scissorkitty



Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Posts: 789
Location: Escaping the Hair Lair

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 8:00 am    Post subject:  

Okay, we seem to be cooking up all kinds of great ideas already! I'll put up a poll so we don't get overwhelmed with options.

Trav: thanks for the crit. I did indeed mean that "Meagan" is what the nametag was saying.. maybe I'll get back into that paragraph and add a little more sarcasm to make it sound more Europa-y. :)
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CunningFox



Joined: 27 Oct 2005
Posts: 210

Posted: Thu May 15, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject:  

Missed the discussion, but voted.
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D-Lotus



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 5:31 pm    Post subject:  

Hmm. As I was investigating IF author styles in my SoaP hunt, I came across this story. It's well written, so I'll finish reading it when I have time and then I'll become a regular player. Soon- as soon as I win the Judgment...
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scissorkitty



Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Posts: 789
Location: Escaping the Hair Lair

Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:33 am    Post subject:  

Alrighty.. so the snobbery it is! Lets hope our little group can pull it off.
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