Every time she looked up, Liselle saw her body.  It was like a reflection in a puddle above her head, like a mirror that only spoke the gruesome truth.  The untamed wildlife in the place she died continued to mutate even after her friends – if she even wanted to call them that, the word tasted like copper in her mouth – and a wild rose bush pushed its way from beneath the concrete floor and lifted her body high into the air, thorns and vulture tearing her clothes off little by little, day by day, until her body was entirely bare, carrion food.  Thorns gripped her ankles, piercing them, and the skin rotted away green where the incisions were.  Over the ground, in this strange place in a corner of the Underworld, her soul hovered.  Spectral rags of the clothes Jylouna lent her hung from her phantasmal frame.  Although the weapon that killed her had been removed, the hole bore through her chest and sometimes she thought she could feel the faintest breeze blowing through her body.  But it was all ridiculousness, surely- the dead could not feel.

She crossed her legs and stared at the cards in her hand.  She sat in the strangest of company – a man with the head of a boar, a woman and her disembodied head, another woman whose eyes were gone, a small boy whose pale blue tone implied freezing to death, and a man who could not speak, due to being trampled by a team of runaway horses.  This last man grunted and nudged her, and across the way, the boar-man slurped in a drop of spittle.

“Delaying game play,” he snorted and pushed a card across the floating table towards Liselle with a cloven hoof.  She sneered and took the card.  It was an eight of spades, so she placed it atop the ten of spades already in the discard pile.  After a beat, the boar-man grinned and pushed another card towards her.  “Failure to call a spade, a spade.”

“Eight of spades!” Liselle blurted desperately and took the card before slamming her whole hand down.  “Point of order!”

The other five players set their cards down on the table and stared at her intently.

“I hate this game,” she announced.  “I’ll never get the rules.”

The head to her right chuckled, the blood-stained grey hair that escaped her meticulous bun bouncing. “Oh dearie,” the lips said, “you have an eternity to learn.”

“I’m distracted,” she hissed, “It’s like I’m living in two places at once. Ow!”

She slapped her wrist, to swat something away, but there was nothing there.  She looked up and her refection and saw a crow digging its beak into her wrist.  After a moment, it flew away with skin dangling in its mouth, no doubt dinner for its young.  The pain faded away, and a part of Liselle was nauseated.

“Not living,” the pale boy said.  He stared at her, his eyes frozen open so he could not blink, eyelashes frosted.  “You exist on two plane for now.”

The circle nodded, understanding, even empathetic.  Liselle swung her head, looking at the group of misfits.  The curly-haired woman with no eyes sniffled.  “Poor ditty, never at peace ‘til she’s laid down.”  A couple others murmured in agreement.

Liselle turned her head up, looking at her tortured body.  The limb that held her by her ankles had turned black, as dead as her body, the forgotten shell.  A snake was crawling up the brambles, choking the thorny growths with its golden scales.  The head turned down, and Liselle thought for a moment that the great orange eyes were looking straight at her.

“Liselle, darling,” the grey-haired woman’s head cooed.  She blinked and lowered her gaze, away from the scene and to the disembodied head at her side.  The woman smiled sadly.  “Don’t think about it.  It’ll make your spirit bare and vulnerable.”

The boar-man nodded.  “Good advice,” he said, and snorted, “End point of order.”

.

Word: Carrion.  ||  Time: 15 minutes.  ||  Character: Liselle Azor.

Every time she looked up, Liselle saw her body.  It was like a reflection in a puddle above her head, like a mirror that only spoke the gruesome truth.  The untamed wildlife in the place she died continued to mutate even after her friends – if she even wanted to call them that, the word tasted like copper in her mouth – and a wild rose bush pushed its way from beneath the concrete floor and lifted her body high into the air, thorns and vulture tearing her clothes off little by little, day by day, until her body was entirely bare, carrion food.  Thorns gripped her ankles, piercing them, and the skin rotted away green where the incisions were.  Over the ground, in this strange place in a corner of the Underworld, her soul hovered.  Spectral rags of the clothes Jylouna lent her hung from her phantasmal frame.  Although the weapon that killed her had been removed, the hole bore through her chest and sometimes she thought she could feel the faintest breeze blowing through her body.  But it was all ridiculousness, surely- the dead could not feel.

She crossed her legs and stared at the cards in her hand.  She sat in the strangest of company – a man with the head of a boar, a woman and her disembodied head, another woman whose eyes were gone, a small boy whose pale blue tone implied freezing to death, and a man who could not speak, due to being trampled by a team of runaway horses.  This last man grunted and nudged her, and across the way, the boar-man slurped in a drop of spittle.

“Delaying game play,” he snorted and pushed a card across the floating table towards Liselle with a cloven hoof.  She sneered and took the card.  It was an eight of spades, so she placed it atop the ten of spades already in the discard pile.  After a beat, the boar-man grinned and pushed another card towards her.  “Failure to call a spade, a spade.”

“Eight of spades!” Liselle blurted desperately and took the card before slamming her whole hand down.  “Point of order!”

The other five players set their cards down on the table and stared at her intently.

“I hate this game,” she announced.  “I’ll never get the rules.”

The head to her right chuckled, the blood-stained grey hair that escaped her meticulous bun bouncing. “Oh dearie,” the lips said, “you have an eternity to learn.”

“I’m distracted,” she hissed, “It’s like I’m living in two places at once. Ow!”

She slapped her wrist, to swat something away, but there was nothing there.  She looked up and her refection and saw a crow digging its beak into her wrist.  After a moment, it flew away with skin dangling in its mouth, no doubt dinner for its young.  The pain faded away, and a part of Liselle was nauseated.

“Not living,” the pale boy said.  He stared at her, his eyes frozen open so he could not blink, eyelashes frosted.  “You exist on two plane for now.”

The circle nodded, understanding, even empathetic.  Liselle swung her head, looking at the group of misfits.  The curly-haired woman with no eyes sniffled.  “Poor ditty, never at peace ‘til she’s laid down.”  A couple others murmured in agreement.

Liselle turned her head up, looking at her tortured body.  The limb that held her by her ankles had turned black, as dead as her body, the forgotten shell.  A snake was crawling up the brambles, choking the thorny growths with its golden scales.  The head turned down, and Liselle thought for a moment that the great orange eyes were looking straight at her.

“Liselle, darling,” the grey-haired woman’s head cooed.  She blinked and lowered her gaze, away from the scene and to the disembodied head at her side.  The woman smiled sadly.  “Don’t think about it.  It’ll make your spirit bare and vulnerable.”

The boar-man nodded.  “Good advice,” he said, and snorted, “End point of order.”

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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

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