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Author Topic: Heaven's Mirror  (Read 5201 times)
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Snakes in the Tiki Lounge
Burton Delvers
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« on: 27 November 2014, 05:32:19 »


"Every time you exhale, a little bit of your soul escapes. Luckily, you almost always inhale it back before anyone else gets to it. Almost.
Ever fogged up a mirror with your breath?

Don't do that. - Unattributed"


A small town in the rocky mountains of British Columbia. An idyllic family holiday destination and site of an annual moto-cross event. A wholesome little place with friendly locals and quiet streets.

Welcome to Mirror Lake.
« Last Edit: 11 February 2015, 16:03:35 by Snakes in the Tiki Lounge » Logged

Snakes in the Tiki Lounge
Burton Delvers
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« Reply #1 on: 11 February 2015, 15:08:50 »

Episode 1
Locomotion

The little town of Mirror Lake lies just over the border in the Canadian Rockies, despite it's largely American population. Nestled between the mountains and clinging to the idyllic lake from which it derives its name, the town has understandably few transport links. Most folks trust their luck to the mountain roads, a route with fantastic and dizzying views. In the wake of a period of heavy rain however, the roads have become risky and official advice is to avoid using them until survey teams can check and repair them.

So we find ourself focusing on the alternate route and the small group of travellers who have instead chosen to use the historic, scenic railway. Run by a family company for generations. In recent years, the new owners have run the old single track railway into the ground, and our travellers found themselves paying next to nothing for their tickets, if they hadn't won them in a series of radio giveaways. The journey took them through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, hundreds of miles of near pristine wilderness. Though the train had once been the height of opulence complete with the kind of dining cars that wouldn't be out of place in an Agatha Christie novel, the fact that it apparently barely had enough staff to safely run the train was perhaps telling. This left the travellers with plenty of time to get to know each other.

Ivan was once a major star of the Motocross community, going by the nickname "The Purple Pigeon" due to his high flying exploits on the track. He'd since parleyed his fame and notoriety into running a reasonably successful youtube channel focusing on fostering a love of science in the youth of today by tackling the subject from an approachable and fun direction.
Alex was a young video-store clerk. He had been convinced to take a friend of his along with him when he agreed to get the final papers signed on his mother's sale of their old holiday home in Mirror Lake.
Willow was that young friend, an aspiring photo-journalist who had fallen in love with the idyllic little town despite never having been there, through years of hearing Alex recount old memories of family vacations. With Alex due to visit one last time, she convinced him to take her along with him. Expensive camera and complicated relationship status duly in tow.
Marin is a bit younger than the two "friends", but comes from the same school and has some overlapping social ties. Her parents have consented on her going to Mirror Lake on a therapeutic holiday of sorts, given that a friend of the family had already planned to take her daughter and that a couple of her peers were already due to visit at the same time. Perhaps they hoped that the quiet calm of the mountain-town would do her good, after all she's been through such an awful time over recent years. Or at least distract her inquisitive mind from her obsessions for a while.
Miranda is the family friend who has consented to looking after Marin, and who may or may not have been asked to keep a friendly eye on the two young adults journeying together without any other adult supervision. This is convenient enough, as Miranda had plans to take her daughter (a friend of Marin's) to visit her father who lives in Mirror Lake. Amongst other things.
Joe is a simple sort, used to working outside in all weather, earning a living with his hands and his back and his instinctive understanding of horses. An acquaintance of Ivan perhaps, the stablehand has long held ties to the widow Elena Parker and her late husband, who own and stable horses outside of Mirror Lake.

Their journey was interrupted as it neared the town. The train came to a halt inside one of the rough-hewn tunnels that punctuated the latter third of the route. Plunged into darkness except for the few working electric lights in the dining cabin, it was predictably easy for aspiring teen detective Marin to slip away from her guardian and the other travellers. She made her way to the front of the cabin, finding little in the way of staff, even in the cab itself. What she did find was a rapidly expanding cloud of vapour and an engine terminally damaged by the addition of a pickaxe lodged pretty permanently into a part of the workings that really could have done without a pickaxe. She was interrupted by a rough hand clasping her mouth from behind, and our story loses sight of her for a little while.

The other travellers realise something is probably amiss when the train doesn't start moving again and the roiling clouds of vapour from the damaged engine reach the windows outside their car. It's at this point that the lack of a certain troubled young investigator becomes clear, much to Miranda's annoyance. The party split up briefly, finding no staff in the car's behind their own and only the distance hint of light at the far end of the tunnel behind them. Infront of them, they find the same ruined engine that Marin had and a distinct lack of train-workers or teenage nuisances. Weapons are improvised and they make a thorough search of the train, moving back down it's length in the darkness of the tunnel. Eventually a figure is discovered beneath one of the cars. Marin, duck-taped at hands, feet and mouth and stuffed inside a burlap sack, clearly shaken from the ordeal but otherwise unharmed, beyond now lacking a phone.

The phone turns up shortly afterwards, in the small onboard kitchen that they had previously found empty and undisturbed. Impaled on the worktop by a huge kitchen-knife, dead beyond recovery.

Cautiously, they gather their improvised weapons and what supplies they can find (largely limited to some slightly stale sandwiches) and head further into the dark tunnel, sure in the knowledge that the only civilisation for hundreds of miles is their intended destination somewhere ahead. As they come blinking into the light, they see it. Sunlight reflecting from it's still waters on a spectacularly beautiful day, the little town they originally set off for.

Mirror Lake.
« Last Edit: 11 February 2015, 16:00:37 by Snakes in the Tiki Lounge » Logged

Snakes in the Tiki Lounge
Burton Delvers
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Snakes


« Reply #2 on: 19 February 2015, 17:42:48 »

The valley spread out below them, the crystal waters and the town clinging to it's shore waiting invitingly. This gave the passengers of the recently departed train a choice. They could strike out across the countryside directly from where they were, or follow the tracks down to the railway station overlooking the town. They went for the latter option in the end because although this meant a longer walk, it also meant a more level one and there was little chance of a train using the tracks any time soon. The called the incident with the train in to the local police and the station's receptionist informed them that the sheriff would be out to take a look as soon as he could then set off for town. The more athletic amongst them were slowed down by the less in shape as well as by their fear that someone might be following them. Or perhaps lying in wait.

Their fears were apparently unfounded however, and soon enough they were crossing the bridge that took the tracks across one of the lake's contributing streams, bringing themselves belatedly into the station the train had been expected at. They found little sign of anyone awaiting them, so they set aside their improvised weapons and began to search. They found a single railroad employee in the ticket office making himself a pot of coffee. He didn't seem entirely surprised at the fate of the locomotive, sharing his opinion with Ivan that the owners of the railroad had always believed in and done right by the railway but that the current owners lacked that attachment and had been running it into the ground for some time now. Clearly he suggested, they had finally resorted to insurance fraud of some sort.

Tensions ebbing away, the travellers began to make their way from the station to the town. The group began to fragment as the idyllic weather and quiet streets soothed their fears. Marin made to set off alone, but her chaperone would not allow it. Not wanting to be told otherwise, Marin made to slip away and Miranda reached out to grab her and pull her back, but with the sun in her eyes and limbs tired from the exertion of the day, her aim was completely off and as far as the watching Ticketman could tell, she leaned forward and punched Marin hard in the back of the head.

As Miranda cradled her injured fingers, Marin fled her assailant, passing the rest of the group and leaving them in the dust, a cursing Miranda eventually trailing her with her actual daughter in tow. Young and spurred on by fear, Marin had a significant lead on the rest and so was alone when she found a small grey dog in the road. It was hunched over an indistinct shape, rooting around at it excitedly. When she approached, it looked up from the motionless object with a muzzle wet and red with blood. It barked twice happily, then ran off. Marin looked down at the disembowled remains of a cat, a pink collar with a bell on it still in tact.

Marin bent down and removed the collar, inspecting the scene as best she could, despite the grizzly scene reminding her more than a little of that one time in the woods with her friends and the chicken. And the knife. The cat's stomach had been ripped open, it lay dead in the sun. Ivan and Joe found Marin like this, blabbering about a dog and trying to write meaningful notes in a pocket notebook. Joe, having spent his life on and around farms and stables recognised the wounds as being inflicted by a dog of some kind most likely and moved the remains over to the grassy verge with his hands, cleaning them off on the grass. By now, the young companions had passed by on their way to their hotel and Miranda was catching up, so Marin left the scene at speed before the furious nurse could reach her.

The hotel that Alex and Willow were due to stay at was situated in the old quarter of Mirror Lake, on one side of the grand fountain-square that was also the home of the Mayoral buildings and the town library. The fountain itself had the look of a memorial of some sort, being an early 20th century modern art piece of some kind amongst the old fashioned brick and stone buildings. The clock tower at the center of the mayoral building even looked to have a set of tracks and a couple of doors built into it, likely the type that included clockwork puppets acting out a little play at certain times of day. Alex and Willow claimed their key, a single room with two separate beds. This raised the eyebrow of the young girl working on the desk, but she refrained from commenting. Marin burst in and hid behind a chair, hoping to avoid her terrifying guardian. Ivan was the next to arrive, leaving Joe outside to eat his stale sandwich. He saw Marin easily enough once he'd gotten as far as the desk, but had no interest in getting involved and so retired to his own room to clean up.

Miranda stormed in next, walking right past Marin's hiding place. Brilliant as it was, Marin's hiding place failed her shortly afterwards though, when the helpful young girl on the desk pointed her out to the woman she presumed was her mother. Marin runs away again, storming upstairs to try and hide in the Purple Pigeon's room. She had no idea which one this was though and so ended up storming into Alex and Willows room, interrupting their unpacking and the slightly awkward silence that went along with that. There was no hiding from Miranda at this point however, and the peace and quiet of the hotel was brutally ended as the two of them confronted each other, shouting about bad behaviour, playing with dead cats and throwing around allegations of child abuse like they were going out of fashion.

Suitably changed and refreshed, Ivan made his way back outside, deliberately ignoring the domestic down the hallway. He met up with Joe and eventually Alex and took a walk out to the police station to report the thing with the dead cat and see if they couldn't contact it's owner to pass on the bad news. The police station was less than helpful, the one receptionist working their showing little interest or knowledge of the cat in question and having done what they could there, went back into town. On their way, they spotted the Green Door Cafe and decided to call in for much needed refreshments. There, the town's resident gossip (installed in the window seat as usual), told them about Ugly Joe having recently been released from hospital, the fat old local celebrity having recovered from a condition relating to his weight and his joints. Ivan shared news of the sabotage of the train, which old Mary showed dutiful glee in finding out about, pausing only to disparage the new owners. When pressed, she admitted that she was pretty sure that Madeline owned a cat of some sort, not that she paid any attention to other people's business.

With her young charge sullenly back under control, Miranda recovered her daughter from where she had been gossiping with the young girl at the hotel desk and set off. Her goal was to drop her daughter off with Victor Mathews. Her father. Probably her Father. Miranda had other things to see to, people to talk to in town and having Jessica along for the ride didn't feel like a good idea. When she got to Victor's Barbershop however, she found it uncharacteristically closed, despite it being the middle of the day. This meant a trudge in the opposite direction, to try and see if Victor was instead at home.

This led her past the Fountain Square again, just as the three others had finished at the coffee shop and headed back that way.

So both groups had a perfect view of the clock tower as it began striking twelve. The marionettes emerged from the sides of the clock tower, making their way round to the front where they waved their inflexible limbs around in dull pantomime before retreating. The clock struck twelve, the central door opened. A figure flopped out heavily, stopping with a sick jerk as the rope around it's neck pulled taught. Blood sprayed the steps below as the distinct shape came to rest.

Ugly Joe was dead. 
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