Dinner and a Zombie Bash

January 08, 2019:

At a smallish hotel a person stumbles into the place late at night. Getting into the elevator full of people, suddenly there's a lot of zombies and then a lot of violence killing them a second time.

Hotel nearby Bronx Art Center

At the Bronx River Art Center a convention of sorts has been going on. A few blocks away there is a decent hotel, maybe 8 stories tall, and part of the old New York buildings. Nothing so fancy as to be a skyscraper or the like, just a decent sized hotel. And this is where lots of people from the convention have been staying.

Earlier there were reports about an Ambulance being called in to this very Hotel. Some guy had wandered in, sick, and then started attacking people. Nothing people did seemed to be working to go against him. And then, all went quiet. Scanners, radios, whatnot, stopped reporting on the situation after one of the ambulance folks suggested things looked good and they had knocked the mutant unconscious. That was 15 minutes ago.

If anyone were to arrive on scene to the Hotel right now, there's an ambulance and it's lights on still outside. And there are no people coming in and out, and the ambulance itself looks empty. They must still be inside detaining the mutant… if anyone were to climb the steps and go through the tinted double doors, they might be surprised to find an empty lobby… eerily empty. And the security desk, from the entrance, looks unmanned.

Characters

NPCs: A woman, lotta zombies

Mentions: Cassie Hack, Drake Riley

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

At the Bronx River Art Center a convention of sorts has been going on. A few blocks away there is a decent hotel, maybe 8 stories tall, and part of the old New York buildings. Nothing so fancy as to be a skyscraper or the like, just a decent sized hotel. And this is where lots of people from the convention have been staying.

Earlier there were reports about an Ambulance being called in to this very Hotel. Some guy had wandered in, sick, and then started attacking people. Nothing people did seemed to be working to go against him. And then, all went quiet. Scanners, radios, whatnot, stopped reporting on the situation after one of the ambulance folks suggested things looked good and they had knocked the mutant unconscious. That was 15 minutes ago.

If anyone were to arrive on scene to the Hotel right now, there's an ambulance and it's lights on still outside. And there are no people coming in and out, and the ambulance itself looks empty. They must still be inside detaining the mutant… if anyone were to climb the steps and go through the tinted double doors, they might be surprised to find an empty lobby… eerily empty. And the security desk, from the entrance, looks unmanned.

*

Someone sick? Going berserk? Couldn't be stopped?

To Drake Riley, alternatively known as the superhero/X-Man Volt, that just screams mutant. The thing is, these situations tend to be very delicate. Push too hard, it makes them defensive. Go too soft, they don't take you seriously. He's been on this side of things a few times, and if he could talk down the Juggernaut, he's hopeful that he can reach this dude and whatever he's going through.

Opting to go in as a civilian, Drake's wearing his typical laissez-faire chic style, flavored with green to match the vibrant emerald of his eyes. He trots up the steps at a casual, confident trot, and breezes on inside as though he'd been there many times before.

Upon entering, the silence and stillness /immediately/ have those thief instincts screaming. Something's wrong here. There should be more people. There should be sound. Defense mode, engaged.

He takes a few steps forward, feet angling to lead with the heel and roll to the tip to render them silent. His head tilts and neck cranes this way and that, trying to focus his senses in either direction in hopes of picking up stray sounds.

*

As Drake moves further into the hotel's lobby he can notice that at the security station, for the door man and his ilk, there's no one. Though there is … is that blood on the ground? It looks like it. Not massive puddles but enough that shoed footsteps are visible, and there's a drag mark next to it. Like someone got their leg hurt was bleeding on the ground and stepping about in their own blood. It heads off to the elevator, which is currently on the 5th floor according to the little light at the top.

As far as sounds go, there's nothing that can be heard in the lobby so much. It's very very very quiet. And hopefully whoever was bleeding this much got some help from the paramedics who were showing up. Then it happens, a loud scream echoes down the stairwell, a blood curtling scream.

*

Drake Riley freezes abruptly at the sight of gore, eyes widening. He's seen a few things - nothing extreme. He hasn't been in the heroing business long enough to see truly horrific sights. The worst was the somewhat recent demon invasion, but those had the good decency to vanish into dust when they were beaten. So while he got to cut loose, he didn't see anything particularly nasty.

This, however, has him bracing for the worst.

Eyes follow the trail, land on the elevator, and note the floor it's halted on. Lips purse, and he takes a cautious step forward- a scream! His whole self deviates to face the stairwell, and he promptly takes off at a measured jog. The stairwell isn't rammed, but rather opened cautiously. Stealth is his advantage right now. As much information he can get before things go hairy is his best bet. Thankfully, he's been doing this a long time.

Head tipped back, one hand on the banister, Drake quickly and quietly ascends to try to get a look at what's happening!

*

It's not till the third floor when Drake begins to see what may be causing the commotion. At the third floor the stairwell door is unable to shut. At first it looks like there's a person who may have their foot stuck in the doorway, but upon closer inspection the leg had come apart at the knee and was left behind. Up the stairs from here is blood along the stairwell, splattered hand marks along the walls, puddles here and there.

Violent things have happened, and then again down the hallway there's a loud scream, a woman shouting, "Get away get away, helllllp!"

If Drake pursues, and goes inside the third floor's hallway, there's bad news. Blood, doors smashed in, lights somehow hanging from the ceiling and flickering, swinging. The entire floor is having an electrical issue what with none of the lgihts managing to stay on. And down a hallway and after a turn, there's a woman stuck trying to unlock her door with one of those stupid electronic keys, while shoving back a group of 5 men who keep stumbling forward after her. They are not very strategic but they are coming close to dogpiling the poor woman. Also, of note, once on the floor, there will be even more sounds of shuffling, thudding against the walls, and blood about the walls and floor here as well.

*

Oh. Look. There's a leg.

Drake freezes at the third floor, staring at it.

A leg. It's just hanging out there, demanding he give an account for it. He can't. Why is there a leg? Who did it belong to? Drake's lips move, but nothing comes out.

Another sound from the hall pulls him away from his stunned contemplations. Moving forward, he pushes the door open and immediately realizes there are things worse than a disembodied leg he had to hop over. The condition here is just awful. It's like a chainsaw riot broke out. Why? Is this the work of one mutant? How badly did this person snap? He's starting to question his choice to go in civvies.

Rounding the corner, the source of the screams is spotted - along with the five guys.

Here's where that stealth comes handy. Hopefully he's made it this far without being noticed. He springs forward into a whirlwind of motion, first to grab a couple by the collars of their clothes and yank the stumblebums backwards, intent on throwing them down to the floor. The next two - a pair side by side - will find their heads grabbed and slammed together at the temples before being shoved away, expecting them to follow suit with the first two. The final assailant gets the most direct input, giving them as little time as possible to react; a sharp hammerblow of the side of the fist against their skull.

*

And it's gorey. As Drake is bashing these things together, when he yanks two of them backwards, they stumble and fall onto the ground. These things reek, and then the next two have their heads banged together. Unlike a normal, healthy person, these heads squish a bit and cave in on one another, but habit and martial prowess move Drake through probably before he realizes much of the difference until the last person. His hammberblow of a fist, goes right into the skull and smooshes it in near half.

The woman screams again as a lot of that zombie's goop gets on her and then she is quickly turning to her room, fidgetting with the door, and then opens it to scream again! Inside was some kind of wild party, as in this room there's stumbling about 10 more people, just right at the door, trying to have gotten out for a while now, and finally… the door is open. Other rooms have what now are clearly zombies starting to stumble out, feet sliding against the ground, shuffling. Coming to the woman and Drake… closing in. All exits are blocked.

When nails stick into one of the heads of a zombie, and then get pulled out. It's then you might realize they are hooked to a bat, which is in the hands of some… goth chick? In a short leather skirt, combat boots, and a tight bodice she's moving forward, smash, club, splatter. It's a horrible mess. She's making a path to the woman and Drake though, "Come on, this way! Love bites from these folks are a grave injustice to vampires everywhere." A small smile and a shake of her head as she clubs off the head of another person/zombie/thing.

*

Squish? Did he get stronger without noticing? Why do these guys reek so bad?

Splat.

Drake stands, frozen. Were it not for the alarmed look on his face, it might've been a cool Bruce Lee moment. But that's the furthest from his brain - or the other guy's, which seems to now partially be on the chick he was trying to save. "Ah-.. ah-.. wha-.."

Suddenly, Drake can't shake his hand hard enough to clear thhe bits of gore from it. "Ohgodohgodohgod.." He made a personal vow once long ago that he's very, very concerned he just broke. It's only the commotion at the door that brings him out of his stupefication, immediately hopping to the woman's side to pull her away from the grabby shamblers. He's not sure what's happening; he's seen a lot of things, but this is insane. And they're closing in.

Seeing another person who seems cognizant of their situation is /such/ a relief. He doesn't care about the gore. He doesn't care how chill she is about this. He doesn't care that she's absolutely not dressed for the situation. He's just happy she seems to have a handle on this. Wait, did she just kill those people?!

"G-go!," he barks to the bystander woman, giving her a gently 'encouraging' push towards the new arrival. He'll follow after in something of a confused daze, still trying to mentally catch up. "What /are/ these folks!? They're insane! And ohmygod, I punched through one of'em!" This isn't excitement. He really thinks he just killed a person.

*

There's another crushing blow with her bat, knocking downward and caving in the head of some zombie nearby that almost grabbed the other woman. "Go back down the stairs, I've clear the ones that managed to get up. Stupid, fuckers rode an elevator to the fifth floor with them." And yes, she's got blood and gorey bits all over her awesome chic goth clothes - straight from a thrift store near you.

And as Drake is moving and the woman is moving, she pulls back her bat and a zombie grabs onto her shoulder. She kicks backwards, hitting it in the knee, making it collapse before she can get bitten, and then she makes a stabbing motion with her bat, that only works because of the large decomposition of the zombies. "What are they? Have you NEVER seen a horror film?" That seems to get her, not the zombies, not the blood, but the fact that someone might not recognize zombies when they are real. "Zombies, they are zombies." Rolling her eyes she takes up the rear, "Down the stairs, go go go go."

Cassie will most definitely accompany them down the stairs, but once everyone's back in the actual stairwell she'll kick the leg out from holding the door open and shut the door. "They are dumb fuckers, like hamsters trying to get somewher fast in one of those little wheels." She makes a visual with a circling motion, to indicate the wheel. "Dumb. Doors, stairs, elevators, all hard things for them. Glad you both aren't dead, now before we go any further. Please show me your arms, and necks and such, can't have anyone who's bitten along for the ride."

*

Drake Riley is moving, but there's a sort of detached confusion still. Fortunately, the training he's endured and lifestyle prior has lent to some solid instincts when it comes to mobility and avoidance. The dark-haired girl is the recipient of a lingering stare, however. Time slows for a moment as he processes.

Did she just say zombies? There were 'zombie' demons in the hordes he fought, but they were demons. Not actual zombies.

He manages a stammer, but that's all before he focuses on getting into the stairwell. The door shuts behind him, and he finds his words again. "/Actual/ zombies?," he vocalizes at last. "That crap's /real/?"

Were this about four or five months ago, he wouldn't have bought it. Now, it's just surprising. Haltingly so, but believable.

*

The woman is screaming and screaming, and attempts to run back into the hallway. Cassie grabs her, relatively easily. Sure, there's a struggle but she is able to push the other woman who's about her same height and build back with decent ease. "Yes… actual zombies. Not marshmallow zombies, or peanut brittle zombies, though they'd be delicious. Mostly these guys taste like assholes that've dried in the desert sun." And she spins out some blood and bits that were in her mouth, "Literally."

With that though she forceable starts moving the womans clothing about, rolling up her sleeves some, checking her for bite marks. When she's got the good go ahead, she turns toward Drake. "Now you, any bites?" And she's starting to look him over when *bang!* *thud* *grooooooan* hits the door behind them, "Well, that's all."

The woman screams about having to go back for her Johnny, and Samantha. And Cassie gets this sidelong look, down toward the ground and just grabs her by the arm and starts walking her down the stairs. "Lady, Johnny and Samantha… aren't… there anymore." Looking to Drake, "Take her, get her safe, and I'll… I'll, make sure these fuckers don't get any one else. Just… make sure she makes it out. And you -better- not be fucking bit, I don't want to smash your head in too."

*

"O-.. okay," says Drake, his brain starting to process again. "I guess science now knows; biting a zombie doesn't turn them human." It's a dazed joke, but that's Drake - humor at inappropriate times is his calling card.

He observes as she checks the other female over, and he nearly startles as her demands catch up to his brain. He begins pawing himself over and chides, "I've heard worse lines to try to get me shirtless," wryly. Finding no bites, he offers the goth chick a shrug when she looks back at him.

Stepping forward, he reaches for the other woman to hold he by the shoulder in support and turns - only to pause. "Wait!" He pivots on heel to Cassie again. "What exactly are you gonna do by yourself? Don't get me wrong, I'm digging the whole thing you've got going, but you're /by yourself/. You need help!"

*

The joke gets a little wry smirk, "I don't think it works that way. The last zombies I met were a bio engineered zombie created by some crazy psycho scientist. But, I'll try it I guess. At this point, I am at least half cannibal." Then she takes in a deep breathe, and turns around. Starting to walk up the stairs.

When you tell her to wait, she blinks and looks back, "What? Did you find a bite?" And her hand grips her bat a little harder, then you ask her the question. "Well, someone's got to. If you, you know, see one of those caped weirdos or super furries running about. Send them my way, and… otherwise. Just… live a long and happy life? I dunno. I'm pretty bad at bullshit speeches." Up the stairs she goes back to the door she just closed, and she waits, watching Drake and the woman, to give them some lead time incase she opens the door and just gets horded.

*

Drake Riley isn't thrilled about leaving a girl on her own. Don't get him wrong, she looks capable. She's demonstrated a bizarre comfortability in this scenario. But leaving her to it, by herself? That's runs rather opposite to both instincts /and/ training. However, priorities must be met. Priorities are always seeing to the safety of civilians, and the woman in his care is the one he can safely identify as an at-risk non-combatant.

He has no choice at the moment!

"You're a chick with a nailbat smacking zombies. You'n Lucille there," he nods towards her bat, "don't need no speeches."

With that, he turns to hustle the non-combatant down the stairs at an efficient clip. But once they reach the steps, he takes her halfway there before stepping back from her. "Go on. I'll go back and check for your people, but /you/ get on to safety. If I find'em, I'll get'em to the police station."

Without missing another beat, he about-faces to dash right back into the building and to the stairwell, intent on catch up! He can only go in the direction he'd seen her moving as they left, but hopefully he'll be able to sort it out by all the audio cues.

*

Cassie has zero time to watch TV so she doesn't get the oh-so-appropriate nod to The Walking Dead and it's appropriateness at this point in time. She just kind of smiles, awkwardly as she turns to face the door. Mouthing to herself, "Who names a bat?"

By the time Drake gets back to the door… it's open, and there are bodies. Squashed bodies, broken bodies, bodies split in two where the top half is still dragging itself across the floor. And oh boy are there sounds. There are grunts, squishes, squashing, smacks, hits, hard thuds, and a "Get your fucking hands off me!" Off and around a corner. The entire third floor seems to have woken up, and Cassie's pushing zombies into other zombies, and then hammering them as quick as she can with her bat.

The other, possibly disturbing thing, is now the level of slip and slide blood and guts all over the floor. Also, covering the goth chick. Her hair, her body, that cute little goth outfit, everywhere, it's EVERYWHERE. And she's starting to lose footing for her swings, making it harder and harder to take out the more than a dozen remaining zombies still on this floor.

*

Oh good lord. This is nasty. This is /beyond/ nasty. Drake skids to a halt at the sight of gore and has to turn from it instantly, gagging. His hand plants against the wall for balance, eyes squeezing shut briefly. Holy crap, this is not okay. How did this happen? Who did this? There /has/ to be a culprit. This doesn't /just/ happen!

A shudder runs through his frame, and he shoots his gaze down the hall. His jaw firms as he sees her footing slip on the goupy floor. He takes a breath - instantly regretting it for the scent - and moves forward with swift, but carefully balanced strides.

A particularly hard swing sees Cassie finally losing her balance and toppling back! Butt before she can hit the floor prone, she'll find herself cradled securely in a pair of arms. Drake's head tilts into view with a determined smile.

"Mind if I cut in?"

Withhout really waiting for a response, he'll tip her back up to find her feet. Moving forward to cut off the flanking zombies, Drake's offensive is cautiously low and angled high; stiff uppercuts with a weaving defense to slip gripping fingers. It's a tight, cautious style that defers the widest berth to Cassie and her nailbat, while ideally providing some support in keeping the line.

*

Yes, it's very nasty. It's just after a while you get desensitized to it. Really, you do. As Cassie is a case for that for sure. And this isn't even that bad. Though as she goes to double grip swing her bat against the head of a zombie to crush it in, she's falling backwards instead of securing the hit. Her fighting style is anything but cautious, and it's a lot of effort, grunting and excessive amounts of utilizing all of her weight to make the most powerful swing she can.

In this case she's slipping though, and once on the ground, if you've ever seen a zombie movie. You get got. Then there's Drake, catching her, and she uhhhhs, looking back and forth as she's caught. The same woman who ran into to fight a horde of zombies like it ain't nothing, is the same person who now is feeling squeemish because some guy just caught her and saved her from falling? Oh, and she reaches up and just kind of wipes her hair out of her eyes, since it's sticking to her blood-soaked skin, "Th-thanks, for, uh, that." And then she's back up on her feet.

It won't take long between Drake's superior training and Cassie's all out frontal attack to get rid of the rest of the zombies. There's no giant big bad at the end of this, there's just… lots of dead people. Huffing, and breathing hard, as she gets into that last room, "Alright. Alright, um. I think we got them all. I had gotten to the fifth floor, first, before… cause of the elevator, and… worked my way down." Looking at herself in the mirror she says, "This was a blood bath." Cause she's covered in blood?

*

Make no mistake, Drake is not cool about being covered in gore, or holding a girl who's gore-ified, herself. But thanks to what he'd already been exposed to, the greater evil would've been letting it get to him. In for a penny, in for a pound. But now, he's just… well, let's just say a lengthy shower and laundry is in his near future. But it'll be with the satisfaction of knowing he helped someone. Maybe even kept her alive. He can't know that for sure.

Once it's all said and done, Drake's set to searching any obvious hiding spots for survivors; another facet of his training. But he's certainly not ignoring his impromptu partner. "What's your name?," he asks, trying not to focus on (and thereafter likely get sick) the messiness of everything. Much less the clinging filth on his knuckles. "And what happened here?" He pulls open a closer, scanning the interior. "And most importantly…"

He shuts the closet and turns to her with a small smile. "Ya okay?"

*

As Drake goes about looking for 'survivors', Cassie doesn't bother. She's seen this play multiple times before. If someone were in a closet or under a bed, they'd be found by the second act and dragged out, or the closet smashed in. Anyone who didn't get out by running away in fear, didn't get out.

"Cassie. You?" And she's just letting him search for now, but she does stand up straight, "We should go. Cops, they won't believe us, and they'll be here soon. We need to leave. And I'll feel better after a gas station hose-down, and some deep cleaning in the sink. Then, if you want, I mean, I can answer any questions you have." Shaking her bat, till pieces of zombie come unsticking from the nails, Cassie offers, "After you? And, thanks for the assist, but that was really stupid coming back. That's how you get yourself killed."

*

"Good thing I never claimed to be smart," quips Drake, smile persistent. But it does dim when he glances around the area again. No survivors that he's seen. And she's right, the cops will /certainly/ be here soon. He doesn't want to be caught here. Whether or not they'd believe the story, he can't say. There's one witness who might be heading to the police station, and that'll lend some credence. But it's better to simply not be present. Moreover, this fella has a questionable rap sheet. When out of costume, cops just complicate things.

Taking the lead, he offers, "Drake," over his shoulder. He pauses to quarter-turn towards her, a hand offered in case she slips on the ick he's trying desperately to ignore. Whether needed or not, he'll proceed to the stairwell and onwards.

Hobo showers aren't new to him. They were his life for a couple months, even here in New York. The trick will be to not attract attention in the interim. So he'll be advising a path that makes liberal use of alleyways. Fortunately, the X-Men operate largely out of New York, so learning the city is important. It's far from perfect, but if needed, he can make for a fair guide.

*

Great. A dumb guy. But he's smiling. And Cassie laughs a bit at the grinning guy who's looking her way and quipping jokes. She then uhs, and nods, getting up and starts to move before the hand is offered. She reaches out a little hesitantly but then takes Draek's hand. "I um, sorry, I just have… not the best balance… all the time… uh, missing… uh toes." She grimaces a little bit, "Just two, not like all of them."

She's rambling and then she gets led to the stairwell, and down, she tries not to talk, before they escape the hotel and find themselves at some nearby gas station. Getting to one of those hoses in the back, hopefully Drake's got some quarters because Cassie is all out of cash. "So, uh, first time, uh… meating a zombie then?" Perfect conversation to get back into.

*

Drake Riley's hand is notably gentle compared to the proficient brawling he'd put on display moments before. He's careful as he leads her along, pausing only when she mentions she's missing toes. His eyes flick down to her feet, then back to her face. "Wow. Hardcore. But don't worry about it." His smile returns, in spite of their Hellish surrroundings. "I've gotcha."

Rambling never bothered him. In fact, it's nice for someone else to be doing it for a change.

At the gas station, Cassie may be pleased to discover Drake comes equipped with quarters. He feeds it into the machine and offers to hold the hose for her.

"Was it that obvious?," he asks dryly. "Yeah. I've, uh.. /seen/ some things, especially like a month ago. But real, /actual/ zombies? Necromancy? Some crap like that? Not a chance. You, on the other hand…," he trails, regarding her a little more closely.

*

The Hardcore comment, kind of gets Cassie blinking and she smiles, "Yeah, they were, uh… cut off from some, Slasher. Doctor Gross… was torturing me." She just kind of rambles about the scenario, and says, "He was ugly as sin though, cut off all his own skin… hence the name." A bit of a chuckle as she keeps on going, and her hand has some roughness to it, I mean, she spends most days swinging a baseball bat into monsters that don't die very easily.

"Uh, well, I mean, actual necromancy? Could be. I've seen that too… was, uh, brought… back to life… from a uh, necromancer guy." She flicks her hair back a bit, again, like some blonde model on a commercial if she had shorter hair, that was soaked with blood and guts. "Just your, regular ol' monster hunter me."

When the hose is offered to be held, she lets it be held and sort of uses it as a shower. Rubbing with her hands and draining blood off of her pale skin. It's cold out, and it's just going to get colder for them, but it's better to be wet and cold than warm and covered in the scene of a what will likely be deemed a crime. "There's a company, Ceutotech, they had a Doctor West who was investigating bringing the dead back from life. He used a sampling of slasher DNA to create zombies. I like, just, last month, save an -entire- camp of kids from being eaten by zombies." Now she's just boasting. When she gets done though, rinsing she quickly changes up to hold the hose for Drake, so limited water is wasted. Quarters are fucking valuable.

*

That they are! But the explanation to how she lost her toes for sure got a sympathetic, "Oh my god," from Drake, along with a concerned look. But it's not pity. Just sympathy. There's a difference.

"Sounds like a company that should probably be checked out," Drake says whilst casually hosing the girl down and trying not to think too much about it. She's attractive. A couple fewer toes or not, she's /very/ attractive to him - moreso now that she's not covered in gross bits. Finally, she takes the hose and he twists about, pawing over himself to whisk off the grossness that's clinging to him. "Hoooly crap, this is /freezing/..," he mutters. "A-anyway! This is just, like, something you /do/? You're like a reverse Jason! And that's b-b-badass." He's shivering at this point.

The water cuts off, and Drake balks. Reluctantly, he fishes out another quarter and shakily pokes it at the coin slot. It takes a couple attempts due to the shivers, but he gets it in there. Let the freezing resume!

*

The Oh my god, is sort of a startle from Cassie. She was trying to be all big and awesome, and then she said something. She said something, what did she say? Her eyes are searching, getting a little big, and then confused, and she's trying to hunt down what she said. "Oh, shit, I'm sorry. I mean, I shouldn't of told you about how he didn't have skin." Cassie grimaces. Yeah, the whole being tortured bit doesn't even cross her mind as the part that would freak someone out.

Then there's a big nod of her head, "Yeah, Ceutotech has been like a thorn in my eyelid for years. Just scraping everytime time I blink, and showing me a world full of blood. Fuckers. I took out one of their labs a few years back, big building burn in Montana. It was covered up as some kind of uhhh, like controlled burn or some shit. Like my bet, for this hotel, is some outbreak of rabies, or random mass murderer. Depends on how much they can convince that woman that she shouldn't talk."

Shaking her head a bit at that, she just shivers, but probably not as bad as Drake. She's definitely a lot more used to being cold. She wore a miniskirt to a zombie killing party, and regularly wears limited clothes to bait slashers in the dead of night. "Oh, uh, you've… maybe uh, heard of me then? I uh… heh. I've been sort of known as the, Serial Killers Killer. Just, uh, yeah, something… I uh, do. Doesn't really pay the bills, so I twitch stream in my underwear… but…" She stops and then adds, "You uh, can, forget I said that."

*

Drake Riley spins, twists, and finishes rubbing himself clean. And once done, he sidesteps the remaining hosewater, shaking with cold. "S-s-seriously?," he asks, arms wrapping around himself. "I m-may have a new f-f-favorite s-stream," he chirps with a playful wink. But alas, he's too cold to maintain the levity! "Okay, that's wild, and I wanna g-gape at it, but I can't do that when I'm f-freezing! I'm gonna get s-some new clothes to wear! You k-kind'a saved the d-day - lemme get ya s-something to wear that's dry! And food after!"

*

"Uh, sadly, yeah. It pays the bills, barely, sometimes, not generally. But I can do it way out in the middle of no where." Cassie mentions, as she looks off toward the gas station, and then back to Drake, "So, um, if you… do, you have to subscribe, else it doesn't…" She's rubbing up and down her arms, and adds, "Or it doesn't, count as well." Got to get the subscribers where you can, though now she can't look at Drake as she's looking almost anywhere else. "FOod, and warm, sounds, uh fine, but um, you really don't have to. I just gotta find Dario after all this shit, he'll have found something."

*

"Name-d-dropping to a dude ya just met," Drake teases. "I don't /have/ to, but I want to. If you didn't go all K-Kate Beckinsale on'em when you d-did, I might have a chunk missing! And I l-like my chunks where they are."

He moves closer to her and reaches out to nudge her shoulder with a shakey, wet fist. "C-c'mon!" Lacking the need to use alleys anymore, their next stop is a simple, nearby clothing outlet. It's not a specialty shop, but it does offer a wide variety of options, and most of it is on the relative cheap.

*

And then they head off. A simple clothing outlet, and Cassie is moving through the aisles, her bat and current clothes will eventually go into a gym styled bag that she often carries for just such a purpose. Bats are expensive, and nails. Damn. Though as far as clothing goes, it's not anything amazing, and she doesn't want to cost this person a lot of money so she gets this sleeveless minidress styled shirt that has a big white skull on it. Maybe it's Punisher fandom, or some other brand, but that mixed with some thigh high stockings under boots helps with the cold and being dry. She also turns the hand dryer nozzle upside down and hair dries her hair in the bathroom before eventually coming out.

Where to? A Waffle House. And sitting down now at a booth, Cassie is there and she quirks her mouth to the side, "Holy shit! They do fucking waffles, with whip cream on them!? And in a happy face, or with hashbrowns… and what?! The hashbrowns have so many fucking options." It's like she's never been to a Waffle House before… or anything similar. "This place is … so… fucking expensive. I mean…" She drops the menu some, eyes wide-open from looking at all the pictures of food, "I. We could totally just go get burritos at 7 eleven, I don't mind."

*

Drake Riley is wearing something notably muted in comparison to her attire. A black t-shirt is worn over his torso, with a deep midnight blue sweatsuit jacket worn open. A pair of matching sweats are worn on his legs, with a pair of simple black sneakers included. His clothing is in the shopping bag the check-out lady gave him. He didn't come equipped with a gym bag! He is, however, nice and dry. And warm. And comfy! These are lazy clothes, by his standards.

The teen slides into the cushy seat across from her and is immediately smiling at her reaction. It doesn't feel like so much these days, but it seems to matter a lot to her - and that makes him genuinely happy. It's not so long ago that he was in her position, really.

"Cassie," Drake begins as his hands fold over the tabletop, leaning forward. Vibrant emerald eyes attempt to catch her blues. "You're a hero tonight. You should be treated like it. Whatever ya want."

*

A lot of times, Cassie ends up in blood soaked clothing, and she gets new clothes. Then she goes an eats. How is this any different? As the guy she's with starts to catch her eye contact, and says she's a hero. There's a bit of a stutter, and little laugh, and then a bit of a looking around. Waffle Houses, 24 hours, and she is stammering a bit now, more than she was when she was getting soaked with cold water. "Oh, uh uh, th-thanks, you know, uh, nothing. Uh. Just, um, doing, my uh, j-job. Is all, Hehe." Did she just giggle? Oh gods, she did!

"W-well, um, so, uh, yeah, You were, in, that… Inferno, th-thing, a bit, ago, and uh, just sort… of, that sounded, really uh, bad." And she holds up the menu, "Uh, wow, they can get you a side of orange juice for just 1 dollar and 50 cents, and it's unlimited refills. How the fuck do they stay in business, that's what I'm asking. Right?"

*

Drake Riley watches her work out what she's trying to say with infinite patience. It's cute; she doesn't seem used to this kind of attention, and he can gather why. With the lifestyle she's described, she likely doesn't get a lot of time to relax. Much less with others. Hell, /he/ barely gets to anymore. But here she is, giggling. His smile warms a bit.

"But it's not," he says, head a-cant. "Life could be easier on you, but you chose to do this. To help people. That's really respectable. You're awesome." He shoots her a wink. "Deal with it."

The subject of the recent extra-dimensional invasion sees Drake leaning back a little. "Well, /I/ on the other hand, am just a dude. It was freaky, and I tried to avoid it. Gotta keep your head down, y'know? It's New York, it's a good lesson to learn anyway, but.. like.. moreso. 'Cuz monsters."

Suddenly, Drake lets out an airy laugh. "Get whatever you want! Seriously! 'Cept beer. Can't do that. They'd card me. If they even do beer in these." His brow knits, glancing aside towards the wait-staff currently occupied with others.

*

Cassie Hack reaches up again and pushes hair back behind her ear and holds her face then with the palm of her hand. Elbow on the table, she's letting the menu go flat against the table and she sort of nods her head. "Well, you -should- stay out of all this shit. You don't want to die. Or get beat up, or eaten by zombies. Shit, zombies are the least of the problems out there. Aliens, tentacle monsters, demons, all sorts of fucked up shit. Vampires, those are kind of fifty fifty okay versus not."

"Um, I should at least, get a little something extra for Dario. He'd be fucking jealous if he knew I was eating without him." States Cassie, and there's a bit of silence as she's looking over the menu, and then she looks up, "Oh, uh, Dario, is just, just, my cat. Well, sort of, he hangs with me… lived in my trailer for a few years, and he helps me dumpster dive…" A pause, and Cassie grimaces, "I uh, you probably don't want to hear about my eating habits." Again though, no comment about the tentacle aliens and demons, or vampires. "Do, uh, you, um, have, a job?" She tries to sound interested but even her facial expression is kind of wincing.

*

"Vampires, huh?," asks Drake with a tilt of his head. His voice is somewhere between intrigued and disbelief. "Anyway, I'm scrappy. I can handle stuff. You saw." Very quickly, he straightens his back and lifts his hands in halting motion. "Not to say I go looking for that kind of thing! That'd just be crazy. Or.. goth, apparently," he muses as his hands lower, tipping his head towards her.

At last, Drake's bright green eyes turn down to his own menu. "I do. I'm a pool boy." There's a beat as he lets that hang in the air before stealing a peek back to her. "Seriously. That's my job. Off-season, but y'still gotta do maintenance. Oh, and college, if you're one of those people who sees that as a job."

*

There's a momentary pause, her food is coming and she watches as it arrives. They having ordered in between some of their conversation. She's got hashbrowns with cheese, and waffles with bacon, and other things stuffed inside of them. Though all crap food for you it's better than eating trash food. "College, yeah…" Cassie states with a fork in her hand as she's already eating some of the hashbrowns, "God, damn, I could fuck these hashbrowns they are so good." She eats another bite.

"A pool boy, though? Yeah, uh, you may not want to ever meet a vampire. The last one though convinced me into…" She whispers, leaning forward, "Weed." And then she sits back a bit more, leaning heavily on her elbows as she forks food into her mouth, chewing and eating. "I wasn't ever going to be good at anything but killing things. Might call it my destiny. It isn't a good card to have been dealt, but you know, better me than you. You should finish up that college thing, and clean those pools hard. Avoid the vamps, and zombies, and demons and tentacle monsters and whatever. Leave that to me. K?"

*

Drake Riley blinks at her colorful evaluation of the food. His own isn't much better, consisting of a double burger with hashbrowns. In fact, it might be worse. Regardless, it's Waffle House. /Nothing/ is really good for you here.

She mentions her last vampire meeting, and he snickers. "I won't tell anyone," he muses. Though he's never partaken, himself, it sounds like she wasn't particularly into it. He lets her speak uninterrupted, occupying himself with the burger.

That is, right up until the end. "What do you /want/, though?"

*

"Want?" Cassie shrugs her shoulders, "You know, a white picket fence. My first love. Stuff like that." And she eats a few more forkfuls of food before adding, "That's all bullshit though. It's not like I get to wake up tomorrow and stop doing this shit. I tried that. Left the job, went and had a house, a kid - adopted, did the whole sexy lesbian thing for a while."

Then she chews a little more slowly, thoughtfully, "Then I kind of went back in time, seduced an old man, into letting me get a page of the necronomicon. For what? Just to fucking get revenge." There's a slight huff exhale from her before she takes in a breath. Smiling lightly she looks more clearly over at Drake, "People around me die, people I love, people I hate, some of them come back. We all have our loops, you know? Ain't got shit'all to do with want."

*

Drake Riley watches her curiously, again not interrupting her. He just nibbles thee burger, watching her. There's a small smirk at the mention of 'sexy lesbian' shenanigans. He probably could've guessed that. But he nods along, waiting for her conclusion.

Swallow.

"Sounds t'me like you chose to get back into it. Whichh is fine, I'm not, like, judging you. It's just surprising that you'd do all this stuff you've been talking about."

*

"Chose…" Cassie frowns a bit, "Chose. Yeah… I probably did. Want, what do I want? If I'm completely honest, sincere. I really wish that I wanted to go to college, or have a real job, or not eat out of a dumpster most of the time." There's a pause, "Okay, I -do- want to not eat out of a dumpster most of the time, or find places tossing food. It is really economicaly though, and you'd be fucking surprised by what people think isn't good enough to shove in their food holes anymore… but…"

She looks down, and off to the side, "I really, deep down, just want to kill these things. I like it. You know? Fighting the zombies, the blood, the brains even, shit the fucking moment right before I die. It's not even… adrenaline, or that rush to know I'm alive. It's this calling, deep, to go after… them. I'm not even terribly good at it… just stubborn like constipation after you downed your 30th hotdog in two days. You know? Shit won't leave me no matter how -hard- I strain. You ever feel like that about something?"

*

Oh. That's, that's two colorful similes in a row. Drake owlishly blinks at her and gingerly sets the burger down. "I.. get what you're saying?," is all he offers on that, not wanting to think about it in those terms. Or /anything/ in those terms. Cripes. "Anyway, look, I really do get what you're saying. Just- don't get killed. Okay? You're not the Highlander. And you're not as alone as you might think."

Suddenly, he smiles. "What do you think I'm like? Preppy? Nerdy? C'mon, be shallow. It's fine."

*

"Yeah… I uh, don't want to die." Cassie mentions as she looks over Drake. She grabs her waffle sandwich with stuffed bacon and cheese, and she takes a bite. "You know, I really love cheese. If it didn't give me those creepy dairy men dreams I'd totally never stop eating it." She takes another bite, and mmms a bit, smiling at the food. It's different when it's warm and yummy instead of old and cold. "I dunno."

There's a bit of a shrug from the goth chick as she sits back a bit more, hands still holding her bacon waffle thing over her plate, and she hrms, chewing a bit. "I really -don't- know. All of those words are pretty mean to call someone. You know? I, uh, wasn't raised that way." And she takes another bite, avoiding -that- conversation with a mouthful of food. Then she offers, "I was the person who almost killed my best friend, because I thought he was a slasher. And I attacked some mutant guy the other day, gruff, heals, claws, smelled like horrible beer. I get people wrong all the time. I… know you play uh, video games?"

*

Drake Riley exhales a sigh and shakes his head. "I wasn't gonna take offense or anything. Honest. But okay. You're nicer than ya look," he teasingly chides. The burger is raised and bitten again. He could posit a guess on who the mutant is, but he doesn't. After all, why would he know who a mutant is? He's a random schmoe, right?

"I used to be like you. It was like a month. Right after I graduated highschool, I bailed on my home to try to.. just.. find myself. What I found was a lott'a vacated mall leavings and alleyways to bunker in. From west coast to here, that was how I did things."

He chomps the burger, chews, swallows, and smiles guilelessly at her. "I'm not a different person. Just livin' in a different situation. I'm just sayin'." Beat. "And, anyway, c'mon. Games are a gimme."

*

"You ever shoot your own mom in the head to stop her from killing your schoolmates and feeding them to other people?" Cassie asks, tilting her head, "Twice? Though I guess the second time I really just bashed in her head after she killed my dad who I thought was long since gone. Knew him for a week?" There's a shrug, and Cassie's eyes look down at her food, "Or had to defend a bunch of kids from zombies while your chest had been split open by some crazy psychopathic doctor performing an autopsy on your sleeping body? And all you had around was some old bandage wraps to keep your organs from spilling out?"

Cassie shakes her head, "Look, I don't want to be -that- bitch, but… you are more than a different person. You are a better person, you've got a life. Where you think this shit is crazy weird, and you go to college, and you ran away from home. I… I burned my home to the ground, because some bullshit occult society from the past was going back in time and summoning the undead, with the literal fucking book of the dead… and it feels like that was just a bad Monday. Don't relate to this life, don't try and find something in it… it's different, we… are different. And that's a kiss your grandma on the cheek kind of good thing."

*

"That's.. really.. /really/ not what I was saying," says Drake, paused and blinking at her again. "But okay." If she doesn't want any empathy from him, he'll oblige. Sometimes it's easier to minimize the internal circle than to let anyone in. He's been there, too. He won't tell her that. "And you have the weirdest analogies," he adds.

Drake instead focuses on the burger, unsure what to say now to get anything back on track or in a pleasant direction. There were these brief moments tonight where things seemed more amiable, less tense. He doesn't even know what to say concerning her incredibly bizarre background or life story. That's safely utterly unrelatable to him; she can certainly have that.

*

There's not a lot of room in Cassie's life for people to have concern. And she definitely pushes back when it happens. Though Cassie quirks a grin at the person across the table from her when she is told her analogies are weird. "Really?" Her face stuffed of food. Though she focuses now more on eating as well, and just chews and enjoys her food. When she takes about half of the waffle sandwich and gets a to-go box. "I really should go find Dario. He's probably eating zombie eyeballs or some shit just to make his breath stink. I swear that's why he licks his own ass." She then is packing up the food into her gym bag, and pauses a moment, "Hey, thanks for the, food, and clothes and shit. You ever need a monster slaying just squeal like a blonde chick getting strangled. And I'll hopefully be in earshot."

*

In the interim, Drake has mostly finished his food. By the merit of being a dude who was, indeed, once homeless, food doesn't last long in his presence. But when she starts to get up, he nods. She has warm clothes. She has food. She'll be alright, more or less. Right? Probably not. He isn't keen on the idea of her being homeless, but there really isn't much he can do about that. Getting her food is one thing. Sheltering her, that's not something he's able to do.

Plus, a certain blonde chick already in his life would probably glower at him for it. Not squeal, mind you. Glower.

"I'll keep it in mind," he says with a small smile. "Cassie? Be safe. Safe as you can be." He doesn't know what else to offer her at that. She's determined. He gets it.

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