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Symphony's Requiem: Chapter 5
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 471
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:45 pm    Post subject: Symphony's Requiem: Chapter 5  

Chapter 5

Warning. This story contains strong language, scenes of violence and other matter that may be offensive. For mature readers only.
”Who are you and where are you from?”

She cracked a small wry smile and clasped her arms together at her waist. “I’ve told you who I am Lee, but where I’m from… I’m from somewhere so far away that I’m not from here .”

She lifted her small dancer’s foot and almost took a step, Leif wanted to let her leave but his questions wouldn’t let him and they came spilling out in a mad rush.

“What does that mean? How did you find me? What are you doing in my life? What do you see in me?”

Her shoulders slumped with an imaginary weight on her lithe frame. The wind picked up and for the first time he saw her shiver. Something inside of him felt fear and urgency just by watching her.

“There isn’t much time Lee, I have to leave, I can feel it. You should probably leave too. “

She paused to take a breath.

“I didn’t find you Lee, you found me that night in the cemetery. I’m in your life for the same reason anyone else is, I’m hoping to make a connection with you if you let me – but if you won’t I’m just trying to be there when I can. I see in you a wonderful man who is just a little lost right now, but I’ve said that before.”

She was able to get three more steps away before he let the last question slip.
“Who is Detective Tetra, why is he looking for you?”

She hung her head for a second then straightened again resuming her walk, when she spoke the wind that was pushing at her back somehow amplified her words.

“What happened to ‘Innocent until proven guilty?’”

With nothing else to say she left him alone with the night and the ocean. Leif sat back down in front of the fire watching it consume the wood. As the flames licked and danced in the pit Leif was reminded of a funeral pyre. He lost himself to the emptiness of the beach and though it was a small and quiet thing – Leif was able to find a small sliver of peace. An hour or two passed like this, with Leif just staring into the dying fire and his own memories and imaginations passing before him. He got up with a grunt and his hips throbbed slightly from sitting for so long. He made his way away from the ocean and past the soft sand of the beach, as he crossed over to the asphalt parking lot he remotely wondered how he would get home. A pair of headlights turned on from the car directly in front of him, the driver engaged its high beams effectively blinding him. A figure got out of the passenger side, one hand in the jacket pocket of a trench coat.

“Mr. Tollart.”

The voice was dark and familiar, the bright beams were put back into a normal state of illumination and Detective Tetra walked a few steps forward. Leif hesitated for a moment unsure of himself; something about the detective was oddly familiar to him. It wasn’t because he had met him before; it was more like Leif was remembering something about him that Leif couldn’t quite place.

“Mr. Tollart, I would like to ask you a few more questions if you don’t mind.”

Leif shook the puzzle out of his head for the moment and tried to nonchalantly make his way past the detective and his car.

“I was just on my way home.”

The detective, not so slyly, moved to block his path.

“Get in the car Mr. Tollart. We can give you a ride home and I can ask you what I need to ask you on the way. A sort of killing of two necessities you might say.”

“Don’t you mean, ‘Killing two birds with one stone?’”

“If you say so.” His voice sounded annoyed and bored.

“I don’t need a ride home, I can walk.”

Tetra looked down at his shoes and Leif couldn’t help but thinking at how ridiculous he looked with a beanie on top of his head while trying to pull off the “Dectective-in-a-trenchcoat” look.

“Get in the car Mr. Tollart… I insist.”

“Look, officer, I mean detective. I really don’t need a ride home and I’m not in the mood to answer any questions.”

Leif tried to keep walking past him, but the detective intercepted him and cut off his path. The man with the grey eyes placed one hand on his shoulder and shoved something hard into his gut. Leif looked down and he could see that in the pocket where the detective’s hand was hidden, there was something much more ominous. Tetra shoved more than guided Leif into the back seat of the four door sedan and got in next to him. Leif noticed that here was no handle on the inside for his door and there was no window mechanism to allow him to roll it down.


The man in the driver’s seat turned over the engine and as they made their way out of the parking lot Leif was surprised at how quite it was. Leif looked into the rear view mirror trying to make out any details of the driver. But other than the fact that he had on black sunglasses, was Caucasian, and had a short cropped haircut, the driver could have been anyone and everyone.

“Mr. Tollart, it is imperative that you start telling me the truth, to do otherwise not only jeopardizes my investigation, it allows the threat that Miss. Symphony poses to go unchecked in the city.”

The driver lit a cigarette with a friction match, much like the one Symphony pulled out of her pocket. Leif couldn’t help but to think of what she called them earlier, what was it, Devil Sticks?

“Do you still want to maintain your stance that you no longer remember if the woman I showed you in the Polaroid was the same woman you met in the cemetery?”

The driver let out plumes of grayish blue smoke as he took drag after drag off his cigarette. Leif noticed a peculiar smell in the car what wasn’t there when he first got in it; it reminded him of mothballs and black licorice. No, it wasn’t Devil Sticks; she had called it something else.

“No, it was her.” Leif wondered why his own voice sounded so muddy.

The detective smiled widely, for awhile he said nothing more. The driver continued to make short work of the cigarette, all the while the interior of the car was enveloped in a grey haze. Leif put one hand up to his head, his tongue felt thick and clumsy in his mouth.

“Now Mr. Tollart, did you or did you not see her again today?”

Leif looked out of the window and the light coming off of the streetlamps became long, streaming trails.

“Yeah, I think she was dancing on the jetty, I thought she might be Kelly but I knew that she wasn’t.”

Everything sounded somewhat distant and echoed in his head.

“It is absolutely essential Mr. Tollart that you limit how much you interact with Miss. Symphony. The more you come in contact with her the more of a danger you pose to not only her but yourself. Do you understand, Mr. Tollart?”

Leif nodded, “Yeah, but…” It was strange; though Tetra told him not to see her, his need to find her began to grow.

“There are no exclusions to that statement Mr. Tollart. You should not seek her out. You should not try to call her. As a matter of fact Mr. Tollart, should you happen across her path again, instead of engaging in polite conversation, you should instead call me. Is that understood?”

Leif nodded again, his head felt so heavy and it took a lot of concentration to get it to move up and down. All he could think about were her mismatched eyes, her warm smile; he wanted to just feel her presence again. “Yeah, but…”

“If you seek her out Mr. Tollart, I am going to have to hurt you. I have been a very patient man with you, but that patience is wearing out. I will hurt you and I will do it in a way that will destroy you from the inside out. Am I making myself clear? Do not seek out Miss. Symphony again.”

The urge to see her grew irresistible, he knew Tetra was dangerous, he knew Tetra would and could hurt him. But the smoke was so thick in the car it made it hard for him to think of anything but the need to find Symphony. “Yeah, but…”

“Sir! It’s working. Contact sighted.”

The car came to a stop and his door opened, Leif was pushed out of his seat and the concrete asphalt came up to greet him. He heard the door shut and the throttle of the car engine growled like a mechanical tiger as the sedan sped off. Darkness swirled around the edges of his vision and the coolness of the concrete felt strangely pleasant.

“… but she’s nice.” Leif said, finally able to finish his sentence.

Somewhere in the distance he heard a familiar voice, “Thank god! You’re only drunk, Lee. Well, let’s get you home.”

Symphony stood on the edge, looking out over everything, it had been long since she had seen it like this, and from here everything glittered and twinkled. The pinpoints of light pulsed and flashed like they were having intimate conversations between each other. The wind that came out from beyond the edge was cold and bitter, it drove past flesh and sinew and bone and made its home straight to the marrow. Her skin prickled in gooseflesh, her teeth chattered, her breath came in short and sharp. She didn’t mind though, she bore past the agony, she let the tears of physical pain run out her eyes to only freeze on her cheeks like salty snowflakes. The pain was a reminder, the constant payment for the chance to see everything like this.

“I feel you there.”

The view shifted again, backwards, so that he was looking at the back of her head, below him was dry, dark brown earth, marred with deep cracks the way the bottom of a watering hole in the height of an African summer might look. He no longer felt the wind so violently but the whisper of the cold was still with him.

“Not many people get the chance to see it like this.”

He looked out past her and he could see everything and it was beautiful. He wanted to tell her that but his voice wouldn’t come she was getting smaller as he felt an irresistible pull to somewhere else. He tried to reach out to her but he had no arms to reach out to her with.

“I’m glad you did.”

She pulled up her knees against her bare skin; the pose itself was endearingly familiar to him now. As she became smaller and smaller, she turned her head to rest the side of her face on her knees. She was saying something to him but it was getting too dark to hear her, he could only see her outline against the void and he could feel her smiling. And as everything became darkness again he thought he heard the sound of wings.

The incessant sound of a vacuum was what woke him; Leif sat up with a start as waking reality tore away the dream. He rubbed at his eyes trying to remember but the harder he tried the more it fell away from him. The vacuum continued on with its unrelenting whirring. Leif looked around and saw that once again he had woken up in his bedroom and on his bed. Something was odd about his bedroom this time, he looked around and then it hit him, someone had given it a cursory once over. Most of his clothes were in new hampers that he didn’t previously own, the closet door was shut and his normally overflowing dresser drawers were now shut. Leif got up out of bed and immediately put his palm to his face, to his great relief he felt the beginning of a day’s worth of stubble there. He looked down at his clothes and he was still wearing the sweatpants and the pull over sweater that he wore yesterday. He got up to go see who in the hell was vacuuming in his apartment but when his feet hit the ground pain lanced up his legs. He looked down and saw that he had on green socks that were not his, and beneath the socks he could feel gauze and bandages around his feet.

He sat back down, the memory of the beach and Symphony coming back to him. The meeting with her left him feeling odd but it had at least been a pleasant one, but that feeling was quickly washed away as he remembered the detective. Leif didn’t know what was in the smoke of that cigarette and why it had no affect on Tetra but he couldn’t help but tell them anything they had wanted to know. He carefully and gingerly got up and made his way to the bedroom door. It was strange how Tetra was wearing a trench coat this time, as if he had realized that he didn’t look as much like a detective as much as he thought he did. The more Leif thought about it the more he was convinced that he wasn’t a detective with the police force at all, for even that matter a detective in any sense of the word. What kind of detective used the tactics they had used against him at the beach and in the car, what kind of officer used drugs to glean information and serve threats?

He opened the bedroom door and almost stumbled in shock at seeing his living room. Armed with a vacuum, one of his old shirts, jeans, and a bandanna, was Wendy and she had made his apartment look like it was almost clean again. She caught the sight of him standing in the door frame of his bedroom out of the corner of her eye. She turned off the vacuum and smiled, “Vellcumm, back to the land of the livvving, maaaster.”

Wendy’s over the top impression of Igor stricken with vampirism cracked a smile on his face. She hunched over and shambled and swayed her way toward him.

“And vhat is this that I see, a smile on the master’s othervise dour demeanor.”

“What in the hell are you doing here Wendy?”

She stood up straight, which for her five foot four frame wasn’t much. Wendy threw her arms around him while fighting for that extra inch by standing on the tips of her toes. She smiled up at him which and Leif couldn’t help but appreciate how her smile made her dark green eyes light up. She broke her embrace, moving a random lock of hennaed brown hair out of her face, “Why rescuing you of course.”

She moved back to the vacuum and began coiling its power cord. Leif tried to remember the last time he had seen Wendy smile and honestly couldn’t remember, her smiles were rare and timid things. Leif hobbled to his newly mechanically siphoned and tidied couch and plopped down.

“Rescuing me?”

She smiled over at him, his tee shirt tight on her curvy frame. “And who else do you know would haul you up off of the sidewalk after a night of drunken revelry. I’m telling you Lee you should have been alive in the times of the Greeks, you would have made a great follower of Bacchus.”

She looked down at his jeans that she was wearing and unbuttoned the top button to give her a little more room. Wendy made her way over to the couch, “But then again, they would have probably kicked you out of all the temples and gatherings. You, Lee my dear, are all about the drinking and nothing about the revelry.”

“Did you see a sedan driving away when you found me?”

She sat down next to him so that her shoulder was touching his, she put one foot up on the coffee table and she draped her other leg over his knee.

“Ummm, nope. Just you, passed out.”

Leif rubbed at his stubble again, “I wasn’t passed out from the drink, I think I was drugged.”

Wendy perked up, “Some ne’er do well slipped you a ruffie, took advantage of your body and discarded you like a Styrofoam cup?”

Leif’s voice grew more serious despite Wendy’s attempt at joviality. “No nothing like that, some guy and his buddy posing as detectives drugged me with some kind of smoke.”

Wendy’s expression changed from the perky interest of someone about to hear a bit of juicy gossip to worry and shock. “My god Lee, did they hurt you? Did they rob you? No wonder your wearing these clothes, what all did they take?”

Leif shook his head, “No a friend gave me these and I don’t think they took anything from me. They just wanted information from me and to scare me a little.”

Wendy wrinkled her brow making a small, old scar across her nose deepen. Leif could see there was something else behind her worried eyes. “Now I’m really confused.”

Leif couldn’t help but laugh at the strangeness of it all, “It’s a long story really.”

Wendy reached over and took one of his hands in one of hers, when she locked their fingers he couldn’t help miss the human contact. “Well tell me all about it, if you want to that is.”

She tried to hide the hesitation in her voice and Leif couldn’t really blame her for feeling cautious. The way he had shut her and everyone else out these last few weeks would make even the most stalwart of friends feel on edge. Though it wasn’t only that, it seemed to him that there was something she wanted to tell him also. Her nervous smile and quick jokes had always been a kind of social defense for her. Something was on her mind and if Leif was right, she wasn’t sure how she was going to say it.

₰ ₰ ₴ ₴ ₰ ₰

They were getting closer, she still couldn’t see them but they were near now and it would be only a matter of time till she could not avoid them anymore. Symphony began running down the empty street, the dull yellow light of the sodium lamps intermittently illuminated her form as she passed between the spaces of darkness and light. When she ran it was with a grace and speed that belied her skin and bones frame and as she moved the only sounds that could be heard were of the city night. She picked up her pace, the backdrop of store fronts, street signs and intersections becoming nothing but a blur of movement around her. Her bare feet glided with each pump of her legs but her feet made no sound at all. Her senses made her aware that the shadows were deepening behind her, and as her panic rose another notch it fueled her speed and intensity. She made a quick turn down another unknown street, she was going too fast to read its name and she was too intent on finding some avenue of escape. Something cold and hungry was in that darkness behind her, Symphony knew she was being watched, being tracked, her panic turned to fear knowing that there was no way to escape them on foot anymore. She stopped for a second trying to get her bearings and find a place to hide. Her breath came out in thin rapid plumes and her lungs felt like they were on fire. She heard a sound behind her, it sounded like lupine nails scrabbling across the slick surface of linoleum. It would be only a matter of time now; she had to make a decision.

Symphony spotted a retracted fire escape ladder that led up to a steel balcony of what could be abandoned apartments. She squatted down and leapt up with all her might. At the apex of her jump she reached up and stretched out her lithe form like a cat stretching in the sun. For a heart stopping second she didn’t think that she was going to make. She felt gravity pulling her back to the hard concrete, her fingertips wrapped around the bottom most rung of the dirty and rusty ladder. It screeched like a banshee as it released and extended. Symphony began to climb feverishly up the ladder sparing a second to look down the block as she did so. Two male figures turned the corner at the opposite end of the block, one in a trench coat and one in a business suit. For a moment her spirits lifted as she saw the pair of them shoot past the intersection taking them out of view. She finished the climb and turned her attention to the warped wood of the window that led inside of the apartment. She tried pushing it open but was thwarted by the deformed wood and an unseen lock behind it. Symphony hesitated, unsure whether to risk breaking the window or try to climb up the fire escape.

Her decision was quickly made for her when she saw the figure in the trench coat return into view; even from here she could feel those cold gray eyes mark her crouching form on the metal balcony. Symphony hurriedly made her way up the ladders rung after rung, and her arms flared in protest at her pace. The escape route led all the way up to the roof and her brown eyes scanned it quickly for any options that might be obvious. Seeing none, she rapidly made her way to the opposite side of the roof putting as much distance between her and the fire escape. A dark bit of humor crept into her head at the irony of the escape route leading to a roof with no way off. For the first time since being here she wondered if she had made a mistake. All such thoughts were stripped away from her as the man in the trench coat finished his climb and crouched on the roof while watching her cautiously. Symphony kept her gaze on him as she backed away, her retreat was stopped as she reached the edge. The man came up from his crouch and slowly made his way toward her, his whole body was coiled and tense, ready to spring into action at any moment. Symphony’s mind whirled, trying to think of a way past him or to get away.

“Finally we meet Symphony.”

The man reached into his trench coat, her eyes could pick out his hand wrapping around an object concealed there.

“You must be ‘The Detective’.”

He continued slowly and purposefully toward her, now only half of the distance was left.

“You know what I am and why I am here, it’s time to put an end to our little game.”

Symphony backed away another few inches so that her heels were over the edge.

“I don’t remember inviting you along and this is no game.”

He was less than a quarter of the distance now.

“Every action a reaction, every decision a consequence. Nothing but the ultimate outcome concerns me.”

She inched back again, now balancing on the balls of her feet.

“Nothing I do is any of your concern or the concern of any of your ilk.”

Closer now, there wasn’t but a few moments left to decide.

“Everything you do is my concern Symphony; otherwise I would not be here. It is over now, come with me willingly and I promise not to hurt you … much.”

Symphony stared into those cold gray eyes; she could see the hunger there, the malice. It wasn’t that she thought he was telling the truth, his kind never told the truth, but she began to honestly wonder how long she could run, how long she could hide.

“Maybe next time.”

She spun like a dancer and jumped off the edge; she spread out her arms like a cliff diver letting the cool air rush across her face and fill her lungs. The thrill of falling drowned out the fear of the ground rushing up at her.

Lux rushed to the edge of the roof and looked out toward the street. He hoped to see her broken form splattered all across the concrete, as its porous surface soaked up her blood like a sponge. He looked out over the sleeping city and spit, he couldn’t stand it here anymore and his patience was wearing thin. He had almost had her this time, just a few more steps and it would have all been over. Disappointment settled in him as his thoughts of the hours of torture that he would put her though before taking Symphony back. His orders were to capture her; alive preferably, but if he couldn’t bring her back alive they still had plenty of plans for her corpse. Nowhere in those orders said that he could not beat her in the meantime, that he could not put hot brands to her skin and lick the blood off of her face. Lux heard the roof access door open and his aid walked out onto the roof. Lux motioned him over dismissively as he turned his gaze back out over the city filled with its sleeping sheep. He heard his aid approach, stopping just a pace behind him and to the left, his voice grated against Tetra’s ears.

“She got away?”

Lux tightened his fist reflexively.

“Your powers of observation are understated.”

“We should report this failure immediately.”

Lux did not bother to answer this; he had no intention of reporting yet another failure. He would capture her, eventually she would be his.

“He will not be pleased with this.” His aid said.

Lux gritted his teeth as he spoke in a whisper. “He will never know.”

“What did…”

The question was left unasked in his mouth as Lux’s concealed hand flashed out of his pocket while he spun. Lux drove the pristine silver dagger into his aide’s stomach. Lux gripped the short, ornate ivory handle tighter and lifted the man off of his feet. The man reached down and placed his hands over Lux’s with shock filling his eyes. The aid’s blood seeped out and filled the small trenches that made up the greater design of the ornate carving. Lux turned his body so that he was holding the pawn’s impaled form out over the ledge. The man’s eyes rolled back into his head and his body began to spasm. Lux pushed the aide’s body off of the blade and watched it fall end over end to the ground, landing with a satisfying sound of raw meat.

“At least the day wasn’t a total loss.”

Lux smiled and licked the blood off of the blade before putting it away. As it touched his tongue it sizzled. What blood that was left, fell off as tiny red grains of sand.

So what will Leif divulge to Wendy? And after discovering the disturbing coincidence of Leif’s first and last name coded into the reports, how much will Wendy tell him of her own strange experiences. Any other decision points are welcome, should you have any.
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Joined: 25 Dec 2009
Posts: 6

Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:26 pm    Post subject:  

Hiya! I love this chapter! We get to see a little behind the scenes, if you will, of what Symphony is all about. Can't wait for the next chapter.
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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject:  

Will get to this as soon as I can Emperor... :)
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 471
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject:  

Thank you for your support and readership Spaceponi, feel free to suggest a Decision Point if you think of one.

Smee - I appreciate you checking in on my SG and always look forward to anything you have to say. Thank you for letting me know!
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Joined: 27 Oct 2004
Posts: 917
Location: Western North America

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:28 pm    Post subject:  

Ok, finally found some time to read and reply. So my thoughts: I really like how much of a noir shift the tollart parts are with the blinding headlights obnoxious smoke and back seat conversations. You somehow dropped this into what has otherwise been a less urban than fantasy urban fantasy, and did so very smoothly without compromising the suddenness of action the event demanded. This is something you couldn't do so well just a year ago and I can tell you worked very hard on this chapter.

My gripes: I am pissed off at his acceptance of symphony's mostly non-answers. She evaded a lot of his questions, and excepting one initial response of 'what does that mean?' he was pretty ok with it. He didn't seem to press her any harder for actual answers. I understand she is supposed to be vague and whispy and ethereal and all that, which is fine, her answers are what they are. But lee is established early on as beligerent and antagonistic, and accepting those answers doesn't jibe with that for me. I suppose I should just chalk it up to some stupifaction effect she has on him.

The DP: my opinion is that lee plays things close to the vest for the most part, but right now he needs someone to listen (who makes sense). I think he would tell Wendy mostly everything, but I think he would leave out or play down anything that seems crazy. Maybe if she were to open up about her weird stuff he might say more to make sure he himself is not going crazy, but otherwise, the for-the-rational-world version.

Great stuff bro, keep it up.
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 471
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:59 pm    Post subject:  

Thanks for the post Reiso, as always your thoughts and input is valued and needed. I can definitely see your point with Lee established demeanor and I can give you some background information on the scene. I'm just not sure if I should do it in open post or not, even though what I have to reveal doesn't spoil anything in my opinion. One thing I did want to point out is that I'm trying to move Lee into a less abrasive, caustic and negative person. So it's a little hedging on my part at making him somewhat nonreactive to her answers.

Thanks for the DP suggestion, at the very least I have something else that isn't of my own devising to put up for the poll.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3998

Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:05 am    Post subject:  

Hey there - back from a serious bout of RL, and at last had a chance to start reading, and I thought this was a great improvement on the last chapter.

I agree with Reiso in that it was annoying to see Lee just let Symphony get away with the answers she gives. I think that Lee would become more and more aggravated with her responses, to the point where he loses his temper and says something which he might later regret. It might also have the effect of her 'leaving him alone' causing a new tension - has he pissed her off? Will he see her again? etc. etc.

I thought the scene with Tetra in the car was done well. There's some nice foreshadowing regarding Tetra's character and background, which I missed when I read this first time around (shortly after you posted it) and it was only on this second reading that a few things clicked into place, but not too much - just enough to keep me wanting to read on.

As far as presentation is concerned I thought the first half of this chapter was much improved. Paragraphs and sentences were a more manageable length and flowed better as a result, at least IMO. However, the big chunks of text began to creep back in once Lee got thrown out of the car - you still need to keep them in check!

I had mixed feelings about the scene with Lux and Symphony. I felt that some of the mystery surrounding Symphony was lost when we started to see her from a POV other than Lee's. But this is an important scene - it introduces a new character that is significant to who or what Symphony is, and also gives us a tenuous link with the red sand Wendy saw at the road accident.

As part of a storygame, however, this scene didn't really belong here. Putting it here at the end of the Lee/Wendy scene detracted from its own importance in the plot, because you were asking us to read through it and then go back to a previous scene and apply some brain-work to the storygame aspect.

I also felt that this had a detrimental effect to the importance of the DP and our active connection to Lee as roleplayers.

If it were me I would remove the Lux/Symphony scene from this chapter, and find a better place for it, where it will deliver more impact. This would help your readers focus better on the DP, where the chapter should end.

Overall I think you are building this mystery nicely, adding more layers and pieces that we can use to try and fit the puzzle together. I'm still intrigued enough to want to know how this plot will develop.

For the DP - With Lee and Wendy - I think at this stage he might gamble. It's the first time they've met face to face in this story, so it'll be the first time we see their relationship for real. They were part of a very close group of friends, and they are the only two left. I think Lee will tell her everything, because most of it is so unbelievable, that he'll think she is likely to dismiss it as a symptom of his alcohol-soaked existance of late.
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