Description: With the typhoon in full scream, there is no reason for Lightning Spangles to return back to her hotel room. There was no shelter there, no safety. And yet, Lightning Spangles is nowhere to be seen, after her fight with the Trans. Jezebel was still here, though. And with Johnny telling his true feelings for Jezebel, or lack thereof... Jezebel didn't care what left her alive, or what left her dead. But a chance encounter by a mysterious pastor might be all the keeps her from falling into the darkness again...
It was incredible.
Lightning Spangles was walking through the bungalos of the Seabreeze Cottages. Well, limping, was more like it. And leaning in, as the storm continues to surge. Several of the cottages were already consumed into the ocean, and the violent waves were tearing across the waterfront. This was a dangerous time to be going home; Lightning Spangles really shouldn't be anywhere close to this place.
But she had to get back to her home.
She reaches her cottage, leaning hard against the door as she fumbles for her key. The window was already blown in; rain was pouring into the exposed opening. But she didn't mind. No. She had won. She had secured her fantasy with Johnny Cage. She had met a friend. Everything was perfect for Lightning Spangles. Everything would be perfect for Lightning Spangles. She slowly, slowly begins to open the door to her dark, dark cottage. And immediately, she looks around.
For something to drink.
One of those unlucky victims was one Walter Bardsley. The preacher has little more than a soaked frock and his weapon case on him right now as he flees from the ruins of his little abode on the island. Several prayers for whatever slight he made against God to have its wrath come upon his head are muttered as he beats a hasty path /away/ from water. Several times the holy man falls, wings flexing as he's forced to ride the wind as it were.
But in the darkness those inhuman eyes spy a woman going into her home. Hope flares anew. Then, with a rush towards relative safety, Walter yells aloud.
"MISSSSS!!!" He screams out, barely heard over the storm. A hand is waved desperately as he runs up towards her in obvious distress.
"E...erm...apologies! But I am distinctly put out from the storm! Might this preacher bunk with you, good Lady!? By God, please, I am bloody shivering to the bone!" No, Walter is not having a good time. Hopefully the drunken Lightning Spangles will help out the man.
And ignore the wings and tail upon him that are glaringly obvious up close.
A word breaks the silence.
Lightning Spangles glances up. Through the haze of the storm, she sees a figure. A hand waved. The smile slowly fades. Jezebel panicks, stumbling backwards. The creature, and it was a creature, was coming at her. She was not drunk, no. Not yet. But she might be soon now. Or she might not have the chance. Going further and further into the cottage, she stumbles over a broken table, falling on her bottom upon the soaked carpet. And the figure was now above her. She goes to her knees, hands clutched in prayer, as tears comes to her eyes. And she whispers.
"Are you an angel to take me away?"
"Or a devil?"
Oh, right, he lost his cloak about five minutes back while fleeing from watery doom. As adrenaline slowly fades, standing in the front door of the cottage and looking generally a drippy mess, Walter Bardsley frowns. "Are you alright!?" He comes as she trips. There's naked concern in his voice. But he doesn't move, and does his best to tuck in his wings and hide his tail. Those reptilian eyes of his can't be hidden, nor the pointy teeth.
A hand goes to his chest, he holds out his cross. In the other? He pulls out a pocket bible that's as drenched as the rest of him. His gaze is warm, tired, and a little scared after dealing with nature's wrath.
"My dear...I am neither so much a Sinner as to be a devil, nor a saint to be an angel. Before the Lord, I will not hurt you." Then, he too kneels.
"Oh merciful God, guide we sinful Children into your arms, and may we show love as you love us. Amen."
He gives it a minute, slowly shutting the door, and starts /shivering/. His entire form droops a bit.
"...I'm sorry. I would not show you this if I had any other choice. Can...you just pretend it's all some mock-up for the Island? It will be better for both of us. Father Walter Bardsley. I have an id. Err...had." He points out the window to one of the sunken cottages.
"Please, I could really use some warm clothes if it is all the same to you, Miss."
The wind howls behind the wet creature. And it was a creature. It was the shape of a man, and while it was concerned for Jezebel, the woman was... the woman was surprised. And was being brought into the real now. The reality of the storm, the life-threatening storm. The reality of women like Tia and Sada, wretched women who was jealous of Lightning Spangles, and wanted to ruin her. The reality of Johnny Cage rejecting her, because she is too old, too desperate, too ugly, too pathetic, too wicked, too awful. The heavy weight of reality, not Lightning Spangle's reality, but the world's reality coming down upon her head.
And this stranger was its herald.
"But... you are...." Jezebel was sputtering. The dream was breaking. Lightning Spangles was being banished away. And in its place was a lonely woman. "No, you are... you are a monster, I... I... I..." She was babbling, pushing away from the strange creature.
She couldn't take it.
She brushes against the remains of her bed, the mattress that she forced to the floor last night. The crude body pillow with a teasing Athena on it, bearing the falling-apart cardboard in the shape of Johnny, the rubber Hoedown Dillo mask across her face. An artifice of Jezebel's desperation. Her shame. All brought forward to this godly creature, who just wanted shelter. It was too much.
She begins to sob.
"What is happening to me?!"
Walter has gotten many reactions in his time. But outright sobbing? This is new. The priest looks a little bewildered as the woman pushes away and begins to cry. Then, he just slumps down the door to sit. He pulls his knees to try to get some warmth, looking at Jezebel with a mixture of confusion and sympathy. His teeth are chattering by now, but he ignores it in favor of a scared, wounded soul.
"My Child..." Begins the preacher, voice warm and loving yet filled with God-given authority.
"You may be right. Perhaps I am a monster. However, I have no intent of harming you. I promise." He comes, lower this time. Then, he's up again. Searching the kitchen to make something warm to drink for the sobbing woman.
"And even monsters can believe in God. But it sounds as though you have far more troubles than a mere monster as myself, Miss. Trust me. We are both creations of the Lord, though I may look strange. I love God, and his Children. That includes you. And it wounds me to see you suffer. If you wish it, I would hear what ails you."
Eventually he'll come back with a warm drink. Tentatively, the man's hand shivering, it's offered forward along with a handkerchief.
"Shhhh. Shhh. You are not going insane. It is a trial from God. This will strengthen you. He would not put it before you if He did not believe you would pass. /Strength/ in faith and love." Tries the man. He's not used to ones this delicate.
It wasn't because he was a monster, after all.
As the Typhoon blows outside, Jezebel justs sits there, shivering in the dark. She was in a full meltdown state. The kitchen is... the whole hotel rom is filled with half-filled bottle of rum. The fridge door is open, and bottles litter the floor. There is, however, a tea kettle sitting on the stove, and a damp box of various teas. While the power was out, the gas on the stove top was still good. The whole place was a mess though, it was almost like it was broken into.
But it wasn't.
No, this was the squalor that Jezebel brought herself into. Rocking back and forth, rain blows in as she continues to sob. As the man comes back with tea and a hanky, she takes both gingerly, as she begins to babble. "I'm failing God though. I'm failing God, and Jesus, and I... I lost control. I'm losing control again. When you are born again, you can't fall into sin again. Otherwise you are destroyed, and I failed, and I ruined everything. I... I am going to die forever. I am going to die forever for good, and it is all my fault, it is all my-"
Jezebel blows her nose in the handkerchief.
Walter has to step very carefully to avoid tripping over bottles. Even for /him/, this is just worrisome. And Jez doesn't have monster-liver to fall back on. No, Jezebel is truly a woman sinking.
By the time he's back over, tea and handkerchief given, the wyrmkin slides down beside her.
"You only fail God, my Child, when you turn away from your faith. Even those of us who find Jesus are sinful. Lord knows I have my own sins. But you are drowning, Miss."
He'll oh-so-gently reach over to tap a knuckle atop Jez's head.
"You're alive. You're not sitting in a jail cell, Miss. If this is any indication..."
He gently flicks a bottle with his tail.
"You have a problem and no one is bothering to reach out to get you some help. Tell me. Do you /want/ to be this way?" Comes the Father solemnly, looking Jezebel straight into the eys.
"I can listen to you, offer you my hand. Will you let me help you up? I know people who can help you with addiction. As long as you are still alive, my Child, then you can find penance and forgiveness. But to do /that/, you first have to forgive yourself. What I see before me is a woman who's hating herself. You need to pray, my Child. You need to start on a path to where you can forgive yourself for whatever has pushed you this far." No, the Father isn't prying, but his eyes have that lingering offer. It's a pure honest look in those eyes: I'll help you. I /care/, completely without guile.
It was most self-loathing than mere self-destruction.
"I should be in a jail cell." She whispers, shivering not from cold, but from the sheer despair. "I should be rotting in a jail cell. I don't deserve to be here, I don't deserve Johnny, I don't deserve to be reached out to, I don't deserve to be Lightning Spangles anymore. I don't deserve to be believed in. I only deserve hate and bile and mockery- and- and- to be a drunk. I deserve to be addicted."
And Jezebel begins to hit herself in the head.
"I don't deserve to stand up." She keeps repeating, hitting herself again and again. "I don't deserve him. I don't deserve to be in heaven. I'm a monster. I'm really a monster; you are at least a decent person. You want to help me, but I don't deserve your help. I'm..." She halts, pupils dilating. And she looks Walter in his eyes, with her own eyes bloodshot and puffy.
"I'm a child-killer."
At least the man has a clue as to her identity now! He thought he recognized her. Sipping his own cup of tea, the good Father slowly frowns. By the time she's hitting herself, he looks at her in the eyes severaly.
Whatever words he has, however, die in a choke as she calls herself a child killer. He's silent for a moment, shock clear in his features.
Then, he crosses his chest and lets out a low sigh.
"If you really feel that way then you should contact the authorities and turn yourself in." He starts, tail curling at his ankles.
"And frankly, Miss, it is not up to you to decide whether you get into Heaven or not. /That/ is up to God."
Eyes narrow, and the stubborn knight-priest doesn't waver from her gaze, those reptilian pupils boring into her soul.
Then he'll try to grab her hand firmly, to make her stop hitting yourself.
"Miss, the way I see it, you have two choices if you want to stop wallowing in your own self hate. If you're really guilty of a crime like that, then you can turn yourself in to the police. But if there are reasons why you are /not/ in a jail cell..."
"Then I suggest you take my help. Drinking like this, you will be dead in five years at best. Miss, sometimes, I think the people who need the most help are the ones who hate themselves and think they do not deserve it. Like you. Walter Bardsley might be a monster, but he is a stubborn monster. I am not going away until you are sitting in an AA meeting getting help and prayer, or in a jail cell taking responsibility for what you did. Which will it be, Miss?"
It's just the slightest hint, but Walter lets himself go. That predatory nature, that fear-inducing aura of a dragon slips through. But rather than looking upon her like prey, this is the look of a creature protecting territory. A strange way to keep it in check, but the aura and intimidation might just help get Jezebel into a better frame of mind.
"No, no, no..."
Jezebel sputters as she tries to drink the tea, still beating herself. But the firm grip of the dragon stops her cold. She looks up at the stranger with her puffy eyes, her bottom lip trembling. "They... wouldn't convict me. They let me go. I... I don't want my AA friends to find me like this." She tries to babble. But as the true presence of the dragon boils out, she is terrifying straight into clarity.
Her body locks up.
"I..." She sputters, breathing fast and quaking. "... I... am in AA." She states, sniffling a bit. "I... killed a boy while driving drunk, a long... a long time ago. And they... they arrested me... and they tried me... and gave me... 1 year probation, because.... because..." Jezebel's face contorts, as another wave of tears surges force. "... Because... I was a celebrity... I was a TV star... And I've done so many awful things, but- but I got better, and I was clean for 2 years, and I was doing so well..." A flash of anger overtakes her visage of misery, and suddenly she spits out, strange life overtaking her.
"And she =poisoned me="
There's a deep sigh. Slowly, Walter is getting the picture. In all, Jezebel got lucky. But she was improving. Doing her best. Being clean. And then...
The terror fades, and his features soften.
"'Poisoned', you?" A glance around, and he picks up a bottle.
"Mmm. Let me guess. Someone gave you alcohol...you mentioned 'Johnny'. Mister Cage?"
The dragon-priest ponders.
"If a few drinks is what it took, then I imagine you were already under a lot of stress. Add in an old addiction, and all of your old guilt and hatred comes back until here you are drowning in booze."
The priestly one sighs a bit.
"Normally the first thing I would do is drag your arse to a river, a jacuzzi, or a Church. Somewhere relaxing away from all of this. You need to get yourself away from easy access, my dear. No one's looking out for you, I take it?"
Then he comes back around to the point. "But why would someone do that to you? Do you have enemies, Miss?"
"Johnny needs to love me."
The words come out pure. Words from the heart. Not kind words, not good words. But pure words. "I need to be loved. I... I am so happy. I am so happy about how successful I was." The woman begins to laugh, unleashing nervous, wild laughter. "I won a belt! I am a champion now, and Johnny Cage was my Hoedown Dillo. I was the best person, I think I am winning now too! I am... I am the best. And then she poisoned me. Sada. That witch!" She screams, smashing her fists on the ground, grabbing the floor with her fingers.
"I hope she dies."
She suddenly frowns, and then sobs. "No I don't. I don't want her to die. I want her to be sorry. I don't want to hurt her, I just... I just don't want her to hurt me. I don't want anybody to hurt me anymore. I don't..." She looks up at Walter, now smiling, a new mood swing in her.
"I don't want to hurt anymore."
Walter, not for the first time, feels out of his depth. This woman is very, very sick. He'll be adding a psychologist to the list.
Anger, sadness, and and then happiness.
Oh where to start?
"...Eh, as long as he agrees." Mutters the priest. /He/ could use a drink right about now. The priest thinks.
"Sada. Dark skinned, pretty young lady? Mmm."
Walter /glares/ at Jez briefly, then she breaks out into sobs. His gaze softens.
"That's...I wish I could give you a promise like that. We hurt each other all the time, people. But..." A sigh.
A hand is being offered. "What I think, bluntly, is that you need a friend and a psychologist. I cannot help you with all of your problems, Miss. You have a deep-seated self loathing that is going to be a long time in ending."
"But I think I can offer you an ear, Confession, whenever you need it. And your words won't pass my ears. Here." He'll hand out two cards. One's for a psychologist, the other is his own card.
"Call me if you need a friend, or a preacher, alright? You have power, you know? Being a celebrity. I'd advise you use that. Use your stardom for a cause. To help people like you who have become...sick, addicted, help them get out of it. I think something like that might help you be happier, to not hurt so much."
Jezebel doesn't take the hand.
No, Jezebel was desperate. She was desperate now. When she felt so weak, so small, so happy, so sad, so all over. She was poisoned not just in body, but in mind and spirit. No, no, she doesn't take the dragon's hand.
She stands up, to hug him.
"I.. I need help. I want to be better again." She murmurs, holding the dragon so tight. "I.. I need Johnny. I need people. I need to be better." She buries her face into the scaly chest of Walter. "I..."
"I need you."
Walter's surprised at first, as arms wrap around him and Jezebel buries her chest in his. The soaked, shivering dragon finds a smile. Arms wrap around the hurting woman, a hand going to her head. He gently rubs the back of Jezebel's head, whispering into her ears.
"I will find you help. Get you clean again. I can't promise I can close up all of those holes in your spirit, but I can try. Shhh. Things will get better, alright?"
"I'm right here, my Child. My friend. You are not alone. Not. Alone."
Despite the cold, the dragon is warm with that pure look of someone trying to help a battered woman on the brink. He'll stand there as long as Jezebel likes, simply holding her tight and letting her vent her emotions freely, before helping her into a warm bed.
He'd then slump down below the bed, falling asleep as he shivers underneath a few towels, smiling despite the chill.
Jezebel never wanted to be alone again. She was afraid of being alone. ANd Lightning Spangles was far away right now. And yet, Walter releases her. And he does not leave, putting himself on the bed. And Jezebel... and Jezebel lets him. She won't join him. She believes in the right thing. And he was just taking care of her. She wasn't alone. But she felt like it now. Jezebel holds herself in the darkness.
And she pulls up the dakimakura.
The dakimakura of Athena no longer had the cardboard cutout of Johnny Cage on it. But the Hoedown Dillo mask was still nearby. The actress holds up the mask, staring at it with a smile on her face. "Johnny..." She begins, talking to the mask as the storm rages outside. "I know you said we won't be together... but I believe we will be together forever. I'm the only person you deserve." Snuggling against the body pillow, she begins to drift into sleep, away from the dragon priest.
But not before giving the dillo mask a kiss goodnight.
Log created on 13:19:31 02/19/2015 by Jezebel, and last modified on 14:32:29 03/02/2015.