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Curse Of Soterios


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#1 Frodo

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    Your neck looks very... tasty!

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:00 AM

Deep in the English countryside, lies the beautiful town of Soterios.
 
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A thriving town, filled with brigthly coloured houses, bars, cafes, taverns, and other buildings. Plenty of gardens, ponds, parks and open fields also decorate the landscape, giving it a picturesque appeal.
 

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Soterios also has plenty of forests, which the townspeople enjoy walking through. The forest paths are ideal for a romantic walk with your sweetheart. But it's also nice going for a walk by yourself, looking up at the sky through the tall branches, looking at the wild flowers and plants, or even if you just want to sit and think.


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On the outskirts of town, lies Heartland Manor. It used to be home to the Lockhart family - the governer, his wife, and his daughter. Unfortunately, the governer and his wife were killed 2 years ago, while the family were abroad on holiday. His daughter, Emma, is the sole survivor, and she now lives alone in the manor.

Although there is plenty of shops throughout the town for the townspeople to buy things, there is also a market in the town centre. Stalls in the market can sell anything from fresh food, to flowers, to various other odds and ends. The market is a popular meeting place, and you can't get very far without a friendly 'Hello' from someone or other.

A police station has been built nearby. Since the Governor died 2 years ago, the police have taken over the running of the town. Perhaps one day, a new Governor will rise. But for now... it's the police that people go to for help.
 
But as beautfiul, and as idealistic, and as quaint and picturesque as it sounds... there is something wrong in this town. Something VERY wrong! Soterios hides a brutal killer! Every so often, this killer makes it's presence known by going on another rampage. People, and sometimes livestock as well, are found brutally murdered, with multiple wounds on their bodies. The local police still have no clue as to who this killer is.

This is where our story begins...
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#2 Frodo

Frodo

    Your neck looks very... tasty!

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:01 AM

RULES

These rules may be amended, if and when the need arises.
 
  • Flaming and spamming are not allowed. Your character(s) will face severe consequences if this is found.
  • Killing an active character created by another player is NOT allowed. Your own character'(s) will face severe consequences if this is found. You can hurt or injure another player's character - but not kill them.
  • You can do what you like to your own character.
  • You can create more characters as the story progresses, if you wish.
  • NPCs that are clearly not meant to be part of the main story (for example, an unspecified group of people in a bar, the weirdo that no-one pays any attention to, a visitor from a neighbouring town, animals, etc) are fair game, and can be killed.
  • Cursing is allowed, but try to keep it to a reasonable level.
  • Off-topic discussion is allowed.
  • Most importantly... HAVE FUN!
:smile:





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Wonderful trailer by Nick.

 
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#3 Frodo

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    Your neck looks very... tasty!

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:03 AM

CHARACTER CREATION

Please use this format to create your character.
 
  • PICTURE (optional):
  • CHARACTER NAME:
  • AGE:
  • STATUS: Are you a long-time citizen, or have you recently moved to Soterious from somewhere else?
  • APPEARANCE: Be as descriptive as you like.
  • HOME: What is your accomodation like? Do you live in a grand mansion somewhere. Maybe you have your own comfortable house? Or a little shack in the one of the forests? Maybe one of the taverns in town is home to you? Or something else entirely? Be as descriptive as you like.
  • BACKGROUND: What is your character's background? What kind of personality does he\she have? Let your imagination run wild.
 





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CHARACTER NAME: Emma Lockhart

AGE: 23

STATUS: Lived in Soterios all her life, as did her parents before they died.

APPEARANCE: Medium height. Pale complection, with long black hair. Her dark brown eyes hold a look of deep sadness and torment. If you look closely, you can still see the scars she bears from her attack in Greece 2 years ago.

HOME: Heartland Manor. A large manor on the edge of town. It's very grand and luxiourious, with 10 bedrooms plus the Master bedroom (her parent's room). Chandeliers hang from the ceilings in most rooms. Large windows let in plenty of sunlight. Large gardens with beautiful plants and flowers can be found in the Manor grounds, and there's even a garden maze. The rear of the Manor faces out onto some beautiful woods. This has been her family home for many generations. She inherited the Manor after her parents were killed, and she now lives there alone.

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BACKGROUND: She is the only child of wealthy parents, and as such, they doted on her. Her father, Governor Lockhart, had been a kind and gentle man, always ready to help those in need. As an early 21st birthday present, her parents decided to take Emma on holiday to Greece. However, what was supposed to be a happy, fun occasion, turned out to be a horrific tragedy. It was in Greece where Emma was attacked, and it was in Greece where her parents were murdered, leaving Emma a wealthy heiress. A devastated Emma returned home with her parents bodies, and buried them in the local cemetary. The whole town mourned the loss of Governor Lockhart and his wife. Emma's tragic ordeal has affected her greatly. Since returning home to Sotarios, Emma has become shy and withdrawn.
 
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#4 Nick

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:34 AM

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CHARACTER NAME: Nick Zarano

AGE: 21

STATUS: New to Soterios.

APPEARANCE: Tall, 6'3". Not thin, often wears a leather jacket. Sometimes wears a fedora. Nick always carries a spinning top in his pocket, and a gun he purchased illegally.

HOME: In the beginning, stayed at Luke's vacation home in the woods of Soterios. Now staying at a hotel in Soterios.

BACKGROUND: Nick Zarano is a man of many ideas, and careers. He's a creative individual, who found himself following in his family's footsteps by training to be a police officer for the New York Police Department. However, due to Nick's lack of physical skills, he was dropped from his class. Nick had planned to become a police officer his whole life... but in one moment, in one letter.. Nick's dreams of becoming a police officer failed. Nick became lost in life, and turned to the only things he knew well.. computers, and writing. Nick continued learning the inside and outsides of a computer, while becoming more elite at hacking. Nick also took his liking to the crime side of life, and wrote about it. Nick eventually took off to London, where he published a few novels. Most of the crime genre.

Nick has a tendency to become obsessed about a particular subject, often trying to learn every fact and bit of trivia about it. This lead him to discover a new genre.. writing about real crimes. Nick studied the art of guns, murder, and every aspect of crime. But while his books have been popular in small groups, Nick has not made alot of money.

He eventually enrolled at University College London, and took classes on psychology. Nick befriended Luke, an older professor and doctor teaching special dream-orientated psychology. Luke has become a dear friend to Nick, and a mentor. Luke's dark past, and criminal attitude has sometimes conflicted with Nick's attitude.

Nick has arrived in Soterios, planning to meet with Luke. Luke has a vacation home out in the woods of Soterios. It's unknown why Luke wants to meet with Nick. It is known however, that Luke grew up in Soterios.

Much of Nick's past while in London is unknown. He seemed to disappear off the records for awhile. It's unclear why he carries a spinning top, and an illegal gun.

Romantically, Nick Zarano has never had a girlfriend. His family connections are unknown.

Personality wise, Nick is shy and quite. He'd rather go on his computer, than go to a party. His educational background is unknown.
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#5 Frodo

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    Your neck looks very... tasty!

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:52 PM

Emma walks through the city streets, feeling restless. She's been cooped up in her house for the last few days. Now she wants some fresh air. She decides to go to the park. It's a beautiful day - it will be nice sitting by the pond, with the sun reflecting on the water. Emma looks up at the sun, and smiles.
 
She continues her journey to the park. It's a long walk from her house to the park, but on a day like this, it's an enjoyable walk. Soon, the park entrance comes into view.
 
The scent of wild flowers welcomes her as she enters the park. It makes her smile. She leans against a nearby tree, and looks round.
 

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EMMA: *to herself* The beauty of this park never ceases to amaze me. The wild flowers always seem to thrive here, more than the other parks. And watching the ducks on the duck pond always makes me feel calmer somehow. Speaking of which... I must go and pay them a visit.
 
 
Emma walks along the path to the duck pond. As she walks, she breathes in every sight, every sound, everything going on around her. It isn't long before she reaches the pond, and sees the ducks swimming around happily. Emma sits on a nearby bench to watch them. She loves this park!


VOICE: EM! EM!


Emma looks round, to see her friend Lauren Jackson.

 
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Emma and Lauren have known each other since they were children. They grew up together. And until Emma's tragic ordeal in Greece, they were practically inseperable. But since returning to Soterios, Emma has become quite a loner, usually preferring her own company to the company of others.


LAUREN: *running up* EM! I thought it was you!

EMMA: Hey Laur. How are you? *smiles*

LAUREN: How am I??? How are *you*, more like! I haven't seen you around for *days*. I was about to call out a search party for you. *teases*

EMMA: Oh, I'm sorry Laur. I'm okay. Just been feeling a bit run-down recently, so I stayed at home to rest.
 
LAUREN: *pulls a face* You spend far too much time alone in that creepy old manor! You need to get out and about more - get some fresh air.
 
EMMA: *stretches her arms out, looks up at the sky, and takes a deep breath*  Aahhhhhhhh, fresh air.  *looks at Lauren* Is that enough? Can I go home now? *grins*
 
LAUREN: *laughs* No! I miss seeing my best friend every day. *thinks* A new cafe has opened up over in Sabag Street. It's called Rainbow Dreams.
 
EMMA:  *slowly* Rainbow Dreams? I like that. It has a nice sound to it.
 
LAUREN: I thought you'd like it. *chuckles* Why don't we go there, and have a good old natter? Just you and me? I'll even buy you a coffee.
 
 
Emma looks round nervously. Cafes usually means crowds. And crowds make Emma nervous.
 
 
EMMA: Um...
 
 
But it's as though Lauren read her mind.
 
 
LAUREN: Oh, don't worry. Even you would like this cafe! It's nice and quiet. And the decor is wonderful. You ought to see it, Em. Oh, come on... please? The outside world isn't really such a bad place, you know.
 
 
Emma thinks for a moment. She still feels nervous about going to a public cafe. But Lauren is her friend.
 
 
EMMA: Oh, okay. You've convinced me, Laur. Take me to this new cafe, Rainbow Dreams.
 
 
The two friends make their way to the new cafe. Sabag Street isn't far from the park, and it's an enjoyable walk. When they arrive, Emma chooses a quiet table at the back, while Lauren gets coffees for them both.
 
 
LAUREN: I'm glad you came, Em. You should come out more often.
 
EMMA: *looking round* There's not many people here. That's good. And we can see the entrance from here, so we can see who's coming in and out.
 
LAUREN: Hey! We came here for a good old chat, not to spy on other customers. So did you hear about those murders last week?
 
EMMA: *looks down at the ground* ... Yeah, I heard.
 
LAUREN: Three men this time. Covered in wounds, they were. They say that one of the men even had his ear ripped of. Eurgh! *shudders* Who on earth could do such a thing?
 
EMMA: Who can say?
 
LAUREN: The police still have no leads. Scary, isn't it?
 
EMMA: ...
 
LAUREN: Oh Emma, I'm sorry. You're thinking about your parents, aren't you? These attacks remind you of when you and your parents were attacked in Greece, don't they?
 
EMMA: ... I guess so.
 
LAUREN: The police are going to catch this maniac, Em. Whoever he is, they'll find him.
 
EMMA: ...
 
LAUREN: Now I've upset you. I'm sorry Em - I didn't mean to. Hurting you is the last thing in the world I want. You know that, right?
 
EMMA: ... Yeah, I know. Let's talk about something else though. *pause* How are your parents?
 
LAUREN: They're doing great. I'm glad to live so close to them. Mum keeps threatning to go up to your manor, and cook you a proper meal sometime. She says you need taking care of.
 
EMMA: Hehe. Her concern is appreciated. The manor is a lonely place these days.
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#6 Nick

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:49 AM

Bang.

The cold metal of a gun is placed onto a wood table. The kind of table in-between two seats aboard a train. The table glistens in the hint of sunlight coming in from the window. The table has one of those shiny finishes, reflecting mostly anything that is placed on-top of it. A hand hovers of the table, a hand holding the cold metal of a spinning top.

The spinning top is dropped onto the table. It spins around and around, the hand resting nearby. Finally, before the top may or may not fall, the hand grabs the top.. closing it in a fist.

A man with dark hair, wearing a leather jacket on his body, a wrist-watch, and a fedora on his head.. puts the spinning top into his pocket. He takes off his fedora, and sets it on the table.

This is Nick Zarano.

The train is crowded, but not too crowded. Nick sits alone on the seat, the seat across from him empty, and leans his head back. The train continues to move, trees passing by outside.

Nick picks up the gun, and hides it back underneath his jacket.

Speaker: Train #CO77X to Soterios is now arriving in Soterios. Please grab your belongings, and prepare for a slow stop. Thank you for traveling with us.

Nick grabs his one suitcase, and puts his fedora back on his head. Nick also puts on his sunglasses. Once the train stops, Nick passes by others in the main path, and exits the train.

The smoke from the engine passes by, revealing a cloudy day in Soterios.

Nick walks into town.



TWO YEARS EARLIER..

2010..


.

After a previous train ride to Soterios, a taxi pulls up to a large house. It's a beautiful vacation home, on a lake.




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Nick pays the driver, and the car speeds off.

Nick takes a deep breath.. fresh air. Clear Soterios air.

The front door of the house opens, and Luke stands in the doorway.

Luke: Welcome to Soterios. The land of possibilities and impossibilities.

Luke is an older man, likely in his 60's. He has short hair, and a short beard. Luke also has some scars on his arms and legs, from past unknown encounters. To most, it'd seem odd that an ordinary professor would have these kind of scars.

Nick: It would have been nice of you to give me more information. I left London having no idea where the hell Soterios is. This is.. too much of a small town for my taste. Why are we here?

Luke: Come in.

Nick walks into the house.

It's a rather cozy house, with all sorts of collectables, papers, and bottles of liquor littered around.

Nick picks up a bottle of whiskey.

Luke: I brought you here, because I need your help. I also think it's time I came clean with you.

Nick: You need MY help? *puts down bottle, and glances at a large bear statue in the corner of the room*

Luke: There are things in my life I haven't told you about. Things I've told very.. VERY.. few people. Like me, you aren't married. You have no ties. That is key. I can't be tied down in my field of work.

Nick: Teaching?

Luke: *sits down* *drinks from bottle of scotch* I was in the prime of my career in the 90's. Just when you were born. I had just one an award for my research on lucid dreaming. I had published articles on how induced lucid dreaming could give paraplegic people life. How it could give world leaders the ability to plan while asleep. How it could train soldiers, in real-world scenarios. One day two federal agents came into my office. The next day, a Russian spy approached me outside my home. The next.. I was getting calls from over the pond, in the US. The CIA wanted my help. I was being pulled in every direction.

Nick sits down.

Luke: I was also getting calls from other people.. less legit people.. with more money. I made some bad choices, but that's for another time. The main thing.. I took work for the British government. I work part-time, aiding them in research. But along the way.. I got more offers. This time from a company called the Infinitum Corporation. They are a new company who specialize in security, financial banking, and other corporate fields. Basically a modern company with multiple fields, all powered by shareholders. I was told if I brought my ideas to Infinitum, they would give me a large chunk of the shares. I became rich overnight. Bought this house using some of that income. But then.. things started to change.

Nick: What happened?

Luke: I discovered that Infinitum was a front. They are a massive firm yes. But they're main source of income is corporate espionage. I was thrown into corporate warfare. Something I lacked knowledge and experience in. They planned to use my ideas to build new technology. Technology to change the world. Unlike the government, who wanted to build a device for only army training.. Infinitum wanted to develop it for commercial use. Whoever could afford it, could own one. But those kind of devices.. in the wrong hands.. could spell chaos.

Nick: Exactly what kind of device are we talking about?

Luke: A device to change, alter, induce, or even enter the dreams of others. A device that could change the world.

Nick: And your problem?

Luke: Infinitum is putting together a test team. We're going to attempt entering the dream at best, or possibly at least inducing a dream.. on a test target. I'll need your help. You are by far.. my most talented student. You know your way around the human mind. Not medically, but psychologically. You also know computers, and crime. As a writer, you are the perfect creative mind we need.

Nick stands up.

Nick: This can't be real.

Luke: The company is willingly to give each team member a starting pay of 500 shares in the company. Valued at over one hundred united states dollars. For a struggling writer, that's alot of money. If it's a success, we can work out a deal. Besides.. Infinitum has other job opportunities. Even if the dream test doesn't work.

Nick: I thought this company was a front.

Luke: A front for something growing larger than the government. They control, and back.. many corporations. Don't let this opportunity pass you by Nick. Let me.. help you. You need something else in your life.. don't wind up like me. *looks at empty scotch bottle*

Nick: ... I'll need to sleep on it. Where am I sleeping tonight?

Luke: .. Choose one of the guest rooms.

Nick coldly leaves the room.



TWOAM..



Luke is in the kitchen, sitting at the table in the dark. He is drinking a glass of whiskey.

Nick walks in.

Nick: Gah! Fuck. What are you doing sitting here in the dark?

Luke: Can't sleep.

Nick sits down.

Nick: Me neither. I've been giving alot of thought into what you said. I'm sorry for just barging out of the room.. it was alot to think about.

Luke: I understand.

Nick: I'll do it.

Luke: Terrific! *puts out hand*

Nick shakes Luke's hand.



TWO DAYS LATER..



London..

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Nick is welcomed into a large corporate building. The headquarters for the Infinitum Corporation. As Nick walks in to meet the CEO, it's seen that around the desk.. besides the CEO, four men stand around.. and one woman. The doors are closed by guards. It remains a secret what happened in that meeting.

BLACK



TWO YEARS LATER..

2012..








Bang.

The cold metal of a gun is placed onto a wood table. The kind of table in-between two seats aboard a train. The table glistens in the hint of sunlight coming in from the window. The table has one of those shiny finishes, reflecting mostly anything that is placed on-top of it. Nick Zarano's hand hovers of the table, holding the cold metal of a spinning top.

The spinning top is dropped onto the table. It spins around and around, Nick's hand resting nearby. Finally, before the top may or may not fall, Nick grabs the top.. closing it in a fist.

Nick has dark hair, and is wearing a leather jacket on his body, a wrist-watch, and a fedora on his head. Nick puts the spinning top into his pocket. He takes off his fedora, and sets it on the table.

The train is crowded, but not too crowded. Nick sits alone on the seat, the seat across from him empty, and leans his head back. The train continues to move, trees passing by outside.

Nick picks up the gun, and hides it back underneath his jacket.

Speaker: Train #CO77X to Soterios is now arriving in Soterios. Please grab your belongings, and prepare for a slow stop. Thank you for traveling with us.

Nick grabs his one suitcase, and puts his fedora back on his head. Nick also puts on his sunglasses. Once the train stops, Nick passes by others in the main path, and exits the train.

The smoke from the engine passes by, revealing a cloudy day in Soterios.

Nick walks into town.

He hails a taxi, and heads off to a Soterios hotel.



Hotel in Soterios..

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Nick walks up to the counter.

Clerk: Checking in?

Nick: Yes. One room, for Tom Riddle. Suite, with computer access, broadband access, extra-strong wall safe, and 24-hour food service.

Clerk: *checks computer* We have your reservation right here. Here's your room key.

Nick: Thank you.

Clerk: Have a nice stay.

Nick takes the elevator up to his room.



Hotel Hallway..

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Nick walks down the hall to his room.

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He goes inside, locks the door, and throws his suitcase on the bed. He zips it open, and takes out all his clothes and goods. Underneath it all, a small metal case. Nick takes it out, uses the console to enter a password, and unlock it. Inside.. a computer. Nick turns on the device, and watches the screen.

Meanwhile Nick hooks up wires to the wall sockets. He takes out his gun, and loads it.. being sure to attach the silencer attachment.

Nick leaves the device on, as line after line of code flies down the screen.

Nick makes sure his fedora is straight, and leaves the hotel room.




ONE HOUR LATER..



Cafe..

Nick walks down Sabag street, and into a cafe. He finds a table near the back, by a window.. while glancing at people in the cafe. Nick takes out his cellphone and dials a number.

Nick: It's me. Done. The rest is running now.

A waitress walks over.

Waitress: What can I get you?

Nick: A basket of fish and chips, and a pint of Guinness.

Waitress: It'll be right up.

The waitress walks away.

Nick: Yes.. it does feel good to be back. I do kinda like the small town feel. But the hotel is stunning. You will love it. When are you and the crew coming? ... Okay, good. Talk to you later.

Nick hangs up.

Nick leaves his sunglasses on, and waits for his food. His Guinness arrives, and Nick takes a sip.

Soterios is indeed the land of possibilities and impossibilities.
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#7 Frodo

Frodo

    Your neck looks very... tasty!

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:24 AM

Emma and Lauren continue talking. Emma keeps one eye on the cafe entrance, watching customers come and go. Despite her anxiety, Emma finds herself actually enjoying herself.
 
 
LAUREN: So what do you think of Rainbow Dreams, Em? Quiet enough for you? *smiles*
 
EMMA: *looking round* Yeah... it's nice and peaceful. I like it. *smiles*
 
LAUREN: Do you like it... enough to come back here again? It's better than staying cooped up in your manor... all by yourself.
 
EMMA: Maybe. It's lonely in Heartland (her manor), but at the same time... I feel safe there. I just get nervous around people. Ever since...
 
LAUREN: Ever since Greece? What happened to you there was terrible! It was tragic! I can't imagine what that was like for you. You're my best friend, and I hate knowing you're in pain like this. But please Em, don't let that maniac ruin your life. Don't shut yourself away. Most people are decent and friendly.
 
EMMA: ... I know. You're right, Laur, and I am trying. And... I'm glad to have you for a best friend. I'll try to get out more often.
 
 
Lauren smiles. She worries about Emma. Emma has changed so much since the attack in Greece.
 
 
LAUREN: I'm glad to hear that, Em. Now that's my lecture for today over. *grins, and looks at her coffee* You know what would go well with these coffees? Donuts! What do you say, Em?
 
EMMA: Oooh, lovely! *smiles* You've really put me in the mood for a cinimun donut now.
 
LAUREN: Hehe. I'll go and get some.
 
EMMA: Let me pay for these, Laur? You got the coffees... so I'll get the donuts. *gives Lauren some money*
 
LAUREN: Okay, thanks Em. Won't be long.
 
 
Lauren goes to the cake counter to get some donuts for her and Emma. As Emma waits at the table, she starts paying more attention to customers coming in and out the cafe. A man wearing a fedora hat and sunglassses walks in... tall... mysterious... and kinda cute. Emma is surprised at herself for thinking that, but rationalises it by telling herself there's no harm in looking from a distance. She watches, as the waitress brings him some beer, and he starts sipping it.
 
Lauren reappears, interupting her thoughts.
 
 
LAUREN: Here you go Em. Cinimun donut for you... chocolate donut for me. *puts 2 plates down* You should see all the different donuts they have at the counter. Mint, fudge, strawberry, sprinkles, you name it.
 
 
EMMA: Thanks Laur. *takes a bite* Mmmmm, yummy! *takes another bite* Laur... do you know who that man is? *looks towards Nick*
 
 
Lauren squints round, to see who Emma is looking at.
 
 
LAUREN: The man with the hat? No idea. Why?
 
EMMA: I just... I haven't seen him around before, that's all.
 
 
The man (Nick), enjoying his beer, takes another sip. He happens to glance up, and notice Emma and Lauren looking at him. He flashes a shy smile at them.
 
 
MAN (NICK):   *calls across*   Hi.
 
 
Emma turns bright red, and stares down into her coffee cup.
 
 
LAUREN: Hey there. *kicks Emma under the table*
 
EMMA: Ow! Um... hi. *looks at Nick, then looks away again*
 
MAN (NICK): Nice day, isn't it?
 
LAUREN: *looks out the window* Yes, it's a *beautiful* day.
 
EMMA: *still red* Sunny.
 
 
The waitress brings Nick some fish & chips, thus ending his conversation with Emma and Lauren. He hungrily tucks into his meal.
 
 
LAUREN: *quietly, to Emma* He seemed nice.
 
EMMA: *nods in agreement* He has a lovely accent. I wonder where he's from.
 
LAUREN: Somewhere far, far away. *laughs*
 
EMMA: *looks over at Nick* Did you see the way he smiled?
 
LAUREN: *stares at Emma* Emma Lockhart! You like him, don't you?
 
EMMA: Yes... NO... Oh, I don't know... maybe. I don't even know the man! *turns even redder*
 
LAUREN: Talk to him. Ask him his name.
 
EMMA: Oh, I couldn't do that.
 
LAUREN: Why not? I'm sure he won't bite.
 
EMMA: He looks like he's enjoying his fish & chips. He probably doesn't want to be bothered by us.
 
LAUREN: There's only one way to find out. *turns towards Nick*
 
 
Emma feels a sense of panic rise up inside of her. She grabs Lauren's arm.
 
 
EMMA: NO... please... don't.
 
LAUREN: *sees the fear in Emma's eyes* Okay, okay. I won't say anything Em. Not if you don't want me to. I'm just happy that something outside your manor caught your interest.
 
EMMA: Well... I can't deny, he's cute.
 
 
Emma and Lauren both look over at the man again. Nick, still enjoying his fish & chips, glances up, and notices the two woman staring at him.
 
 
MAN (NICK): *swallows his bite of fish* Hey again. *smiles shyly*
 
LAUREN: Hey there.
 
EMMA: ... Hi.
 
MAN (NICK): *uses his fork to point at his fish* They make a decent meal here. This fish is very tasty.
 
LAUREN: Yeah, it's a new place. Just opened up a few days ago. Great atmosphere.
 
EMMA: *holds up her donut* Nice donuts.
 
MAN (NICK): Really? Maybe I'll try one sometime. *smiles*
 
 
Awkward silence.
 
 
MAN (NICK): I'm new in town. Just arrived this morning.
 
LAUREN: Oh? Business or pleasure?
 
MAN (NICK): Hmmm, it's hard to say at the moment. But the hotel I'm staying at is stunning.
 
LAUREN: Which hotel are you staying at?
 
MAN (NICK): The one next to the lake - Hotel Royale.
 
EMMA: I know that hotel.  It's the best in town.

MAN (NICK):  Glad I chose it then.  *takes a sip of beer*  Well, I guess this must be my lucky day.  First day in a new town, and a meet two beautiful women.  *grins*  I'm Nick Zarano, by the way.  *moves to the table next to Lauren and Emma*

LAUREN:  Lauren Jackson.  *smiles*

NICK:  Nice to meet you Lauren.  *tips his hat*   And your friend?   *looks at Emma*

EMMA:  *shy*  Emma.

NICK:  Does Emma have a last name?

EMMA:  Lockhart.  Emma Lockhart.  *smiles*

NICK:  It's a pleasure to meet you both.


Emma looks at the handsome stranger.  There's something comforting about him, that makes her want to trust him.


EMMA:  *thinks to herself*  Laur's right.  I can't let my fear dictate everything I do.   *looks at Nick*   So how long are you staying in Soterios?

NICK:  *shrugs*   Haven't decided yet.  I want to explore the place, and get my bearings.  What are the local attractions?

EMMA:  The park nearby is lovely.  Especially at this time of year.  And some of the woods are nice to walkthrough.

LAUREN:  Or if you need to buy anything, there's plenty of shops in town - everything from basic food, to... *looks at his mobile phone, which is sitting on the table*... to technical gadgets.  There's also a market in the town centre.

NICK:  That's good to know.   *smiles shyly*


The three of them continue talking for a while.  Inside, Emma is shaking like a leaf.  But she is trying so hard to be brave, and overcome her fear.
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#8 Nick

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:13 AM

Nick and the two women continue to talk.

Eventually, the door to the cafe opens. A man walks in, and heads over to Nick's table.

Posted Image

Nick looks up.

Nick: Oh, ladies.. I must be going. It was nice meeting you though.

Lauren: Likewise.

Emma: ... Bye.

Nick leaves the cafe with the man, after throwing some money onto the table.

Both men put on their sunglasses.

Man: Who where they?

Nick: Just two women I met. No one important.

Man: Good. We need to remember the plan. We are here on business, nothing more.

Nick: John, I know. I remember it well.

The man is known as John Blake.

Nick: Where are we going?

John: To the hotel. We're meeting up with Anna.



Both men go to the hotel, and up to Nick's room. They find a well-dressed woman, with high-heels, sitting near the window. She is smoking a cigarette, despite hotel rules. The woman appears to be in her 50's. This is Anna Moneypenny.

Posted Image

Anna: You're late. Both of you.

John: Sorry. We didn't know we were being timed.

Anna: I would have expected better of you John. But you.. *eyes up Nick* We have only met briefly.

John: As have we. *motions to Nick and himself* But.. we all know how this works. And what we are here to do.

Anna: Don't forget I am running this operation. Don't lose track..

The door opens, and Luke walks in.

Luke: So now it's a party.

Anna: Who invited him?

Luke: I brought you Nick Zarano remember? I mentioned his expertise?

Anna: ... Does the mute speak?

Nick: The mute does speak. I know we're all laughing our asses off. But I'm just hear to make some money. That's all.

Anna: ... Everyone says that. Until they become.. addicted. *bits lip*

John: Nick, what has your computer turned up?

Nick takes out some flash drives, and throws them at everyone.

Nick: Everything you need. I hacked into the central servers of Soterios's library, banks, police station, and all other linked networks. You have all the data at your fingertips.

Anna: Brilliant.

Luke: I told you he was talented.

Nick: ... Well everyone has a flash drive. What's my next move?

Anna: You stand still.

Everyone goes to leave the room.

John: I'll call you.

Luke nods, and walks out with John.

Anna kisses Nick on the cheek, and whispers in his ear.

Anna: Watch your back. I'm always looking for someone with your skills.. and I will always protect someone with your skills

Nick: ... Protect me from what?

Anna: You went through training. But.. you are a writer. A hacker. You are new to this world. And.. it's a dangerous one. No one can be trusted. Let me watch your back.. you may just enjoy it. *smiles, and walks out*

Nick takes a breath nervously. He thinks.. "What the hell did I get into?".




Soterios Police Station..

The door opens to a meeting room. The sheriff of Soterios walks in. He's overweight, wears tight-clothes, and has a small beard. Sitting at the table.. a woman with high-heels. She is waiting for the sheriff to sit down.

Sheriff: *sits down* So.. who are you?

Woman: Anna. Anna Moneypenny. *puts out hand* Security manager of Infinitum Corporation.

The sheriff shakes her hand.

Sheriff: Ah yes. We talked on the phone.

Anna: You hired us as a private security firm to investigate the murders here in Soterios.

Sheriff: Mostly because we are receiving no help from Interpol. They don't consider the murders important since only a small number of humans have actually been killed. Plus out of the amount of humans, none had an important role in the community. We're on our own.

Anna: Animals have been killed as well?

Sheriff: Yes.

Anna writes down in her book.

Anna: Do you realize how unsecure your systems are?

Sheriff: Excuse me?

Anna: You hired us to do our job. We have done our job. We specialize in private security, by using methods to expose faults. Your entire system is a fault. Did you know 15 of your men are emailing each other pornographic pictures? *throws file on table* Did you know multiple investigation files have been lost? *throws file on table*

Sheriff: What the hell is this?

Anna: We've been looking to recruit a new member to our team. A hacker. It seems his training has paid off. We uncovered all of this in your computer systems.

Sheriff: This is outragous! I didn't hire you to break into our computers! To be the guinea pig!

Anna: Take a lesson Sheriff. From someone who worked for Interpol, and now works for the private security firm Infinitum. You find your faults by wearing the hat of a person who would expose them. We break into banks so banks can learn how to stop robbers. Simply.. by getting inside the mind of the robber.

Sheriff: ... Why did I hire you again?

Anna: To help find the person responsible for killing your civilians, and your animals. Interpol won't help you. But we will.

Sheriff: Just do me a favor. DO NOT hack into our computers. DO NOT break our rules, and our laws. If we stay off each others backs, we should be fine.

Anna: *grabs her bag* Don't worry. I wouldn't get on your back if you paid me.

Anna walks out.



2 DAYS LATER..


Nick sits in the Soterios Train Station. He glances down at his ticket.. a ticket to London. He is leaving Soterios.

Nick waits for the train.

Voice: Going somewhere?

Nick looks up, and sees Anna.

Nick: What are you doing here?

Anna: I could ask you the same thing. *sits down next to him*

Nick: I'm going back to London. My job is done. John told me so.

Anna: ?Not necessarily. Don't listen to everything John says. He's low on the totem pole. This job isn't finished. Not on my end. And.. not on yours either. I have an offer for you..

Nick: What kind?

Anna: ?I'm going to meet with Emma Lockhart.

Nick looks up.

Anna: So you did meet her.

Nick: How did you know?

Anna: John told me.

Nick: Why would you meet with her? What's so special about her?

Anna: I've discovered from multiple townspeople that Emma's family.. the Lockhart family, is one of the only families in town with a bloody past. Her father was the governor. He was killed, along with his wife, her mother. Call me crazy, but a powerful politician and his wife aren't just killed for no reason. And now the surviving victim lives here. Where murders are taking place. Possibly the Lockheart family has enemies. I need to find out.

Nick: And you need me for..

Anna: A person is more open when their guard is down. Their guard can be lowered when an unsuspecting crush enters the room. You are the unsuspecting crush.

Nick: First off, she's not crushing on me. Second, is everything about a person's mind with you? People aren't objects you can manipulate.

Anna: If you saw what I saw, and did what I did.. you'd be this way. Everyone can be manipulated, and.. everyone is capable of murder.

Nick: What the hell is that supposed to mean? I don't seem Emma as the murdering type.

Anna: Really? Because I didn't see my ex-husband as the killer type either. But things happen.

Silence for a few seconds.

Anna: You are a writer Nick. Unless you strike it big, you won't make much. I know you appear to be the "run around the world" type. But you can't run without money.

Nick: ...

Anna: Plus you'll get the added bonus of..

Nick: ... Enough. I'll do it.

Anna: I knew you'd see it my way.



Heartland Manor..

Nick opens the gate, as Anna walks into the courtyard of the massive home.

Posted Image

Anna: Well, I see we may have a case of a rich bitch living here.

Nick: She didn't seem like a snob. Despite my thoughts now.. I have never seen a place in person like this.

Anna walks up to the front door, and knocks.
Posted Image

#9 Frodo

Frodo

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:45 AM

Heartland Manor...
 
Emma is curled up in a chair, in the library (the manor library, not the public library), reading a book.Posted Image
 

She must have read this book 100 times, but she never gets tired of it.
 
 
BZZZ BZZZ BZZZ... BZZZ BZZZ BZZZ

 
An alarm sounds, indicating there is someone at the front door.
 
 
EMMA: *looks up* Oh, that must be Laur. She's the only one that comes here. *smiles*
 
 
Emma jumps up, and makes her way to the front door. The library is at the back of the manor... far away from the front door. But Lauren knows there is an alarm in every room, so Emma will know there is someone at the door, no matter where in the manor she is.
 
Meanwhile, outside the manor, Anna knocks on the door again.
 
 
ANNA: Come on, come on... what's taking so long? *knock knock*
 
 
Nick just stares at the big house in astonishment. Could the shy, timid little creature he met in the Rainbow Dreams cafe really be the rich Governer's daughter who lives in this huge manor?
 
 
ANNA: *glances at Nick* What's the matter? Cat got your toungue?
 
NICK: No. But like I said, I've never seen a place like this before. Not in person, anyway. *looks around* It's an amazing place.
 
ANNA: Hmmphh. Spoiled little rich girl!
 
NICK: Don't judge her, until you've met her.
 
 
Anna gives Nick a funny look, then bangs on the door.
 

BANG! BANG! BANG!
 
 
ANNA: *impatient*   Oh, for goodness! Doesn't *anyone* answer the door here?
 
 
Inside the manor, Emma has reached the front door. She throws open the door, with a smile on her face.
 
 
EMMA: Hey Laur, I... OH!
 

Emma is startled to find it wasn't Lauren at the door at all. It's a stranger - a woman with high-heels and glamourous clothes. Emma can feel herself turning red.
 
 
ANNA: *looks straight at Emma* Emma Lockhart?
 
EMMA: *shy* Erm, yes.
 
ANNA: *puts out her hand* I'm Anna Moneypenny. Security Manager of Infinitum Corporation. May we come in, for a moment?
 
 
Anna pushes past Emma, and walks into the manor.
 
 
NICK: *still at the door* Sorry to barge in like this.
 
EMMA: Nick!
 
 
Emma hadn't noticed Nick was there, until now. She had felt intimitated by the glamourous Anna. But she's glad to see Nick again. She indicates for Nick to come in.
 
 
EMMA: *smiles shyly* It's nice to see you again Nick.
 
 
Anna looks around the grand entrance hall.
 
Posted Image 
 
ANNA: Welll, I was beginning to think no-one would answer the door. Let me guess - butler's day off?
 
EMMA: Um, no. I... erm... don't have a butler.
 
ANNA: No butler? You live in a place like this, and... no butler? Interesting!
 
EMMA: ... Please, come through to the living room.
 
 
Despite Emma's shyness, she's not rude. She leads Anna and Nick into the living room.

Posted Image 
 
Nick can't believe he's actually standing in a room like this... in a huge manor.
 
 
NICK: *to Emma* Nice place you have here.
 
EMMA: ... Thanks. Um... can I get either of you a drink? I can make some tea or coffee?
 
ANNA: No thankyou, we're fine. *pause* I suppose you're wondering why we're here?
 
EMMA: Um...
 
ANNA: As I said, I'm the Security Manager from Infinitum Corporation. We were hired to investigate the murders here in Soterios.
 
EMMA: The police haven't been able to solve it yet.
 
ANNA: Yes, that much is evident!
 
 
Anna notices a picture on the mantlepiece above the fireplace, and picks it up.
 
Posted Image 

 
ANNA: Lovely couple.
 
EMMA: That's my parents.
 
ANNA: Ah yes. Governor Nathan Lockhart, and Alanna Lockhart. *looks at Emma* I do my research, Miss Lockhart. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.
 
EMMA: *sad* Thanks. And please... it's 'Emma'. *takes the photo, and puts it back on the mantlepiece.
 
ANNA: ... Emma! Now I'm sorry if this is upsetting for you, but I need to establish some facts. As I understand it, you and your parents were in Greece, when they were murdered?
 
 
This catches Emma offguard. It's no secret that her and her parents were attacked in Greece... but Emma's never really talked to anyone about her ordeal. She's never talked about her recovery, or her pain at losing her parents in such a brutal way.
 
 
NICK: *puts a sympathetic hand on Emma's shoulder* Are you okay with this Emma? We don't have to talk about it now, you know. I realise this is the last thing you expected, when you saw us at the door.
 
EMMA: *still sad* No, it's okay. It's been 2 years now. I still miss them terribly, but I've had to get used to them not being here. But thanks Nick. *tries to smile at Nick* *looks at Anna* ... Yes, we were on holiday in Greece.
 
ANNA: Now, details are somewhat sketchy here. If I understand correctly, you were also attacked. Is that correct?
 
EMMA: *nods*
 
 
Nick looks at Emma, and notices some faint scars on her arms and neck.
 
 
ANNA: Was your attacker ever caught?
 
EMMA: ... No.
 
ANNA: As the Governor, your father was a powerful man. Did he have any enemies that you are aware of?
 
EMMA: No *begins to get teary-eyed* Everyone loved my father. He was a wonderful man. *sniffs* I... I'm sorry... this is hard for me.
 
ANNA: So you're not aware of anyone who would want your father dead?
 
EMMA: *becomes flustered* No, I... I...
 
NICK: *tries to console Emma* Anna... couldn't we continue with this another day?
 
ANNA: I'm merely trying to establish some facts.
 
NICK: It's upsetting Emma. We're not here to interrigate her, are we?
 
ANNA: *pauses* You're right. *looks at Emma* Forgive me. We can finish this another time. *stands up* Thankyou for your time Emma, we'll be in touch. *heads for the door*
 
 
Emma sees Nick and Anna to the door, still clearly upset by the questioning.
 
 
NICK: Take care of yourself Emma, okay.
 
EMMA: *nods, and closes the front door behind them*
 
 
 
Outside the manor, Nick and Anna discuss things.
 
 
NICK: There... now do you see what I mean? She's not the murdering type?
 
ANNA: *looks around* She's hiding something!
 
NICK: ... What?
 
ANNA: Look how she clammed up, when I started asking her questions.
 
NICK: She's shy. That's all. Not everyone is oozing with confidence, like you, Anna.
 
ANNA: What about her little act at the end, there?
 
NICK: When she got upset? Oh come on! How would *you* react, if someone you didn't know, turned up, and starting asking a lot of personal questions about something you'd rather forget?
 
ANNA: ... She's hiding something, Nick. I just know it! And I'm determined to find out what! *looks at Nick* This job is far from over, Nick, and I expect you to stick around.
 
NICK: As long as I get paid, I'll stick around.
 
 
 
 
Rainbow Dreams Cafe, Next Day...
 
Emma and Lauren meet up in the cafe. Emma had promised she would try and get out more, and the cafe seems like a fairly safe place for Emma. They sit at a table at back of the cafe, where it's nice and quiet. Emma keeps one eye on the cafe door, to see who is coming and goind, while she tells Lauren all about the day before.
 
 
LAUREN: So Nick, and this woman...
 
EMMA: ... Anna.
 
LAUREN: Yes, so Nick and this Anna person... they both work for a security company?
 
EMMA: Apparantly so. Infinity... Infinitum... something like that.
 
LAUREN: What did they want?
 
EMMA: ... They were... asking questions about my parents. About how they... died... and if they had any enemies. *sad*
 
LAUREN: Oh, Em! No! That must have been hard for you.
 
EMMA: It really shook me. It just came out of the blue. I was so nervous, and upset, I could hardly talk.
 
LAUREN: I'm so sorry Em.
 
EMMA: I don't think I'll every get used to my parents not being here. *sniff*
 
LAUREN: Wait till I give that Nick a piece of my mind! He has no business upsetting my best friend like this.
 
EMMA: Actually, *sniff* to be fair, Nick was okay. He was being nice. It was the woman, Anna, that was asking me all the questions.
 
LAUREN: What was she like? This woman... this... Anna?
 
EMMA: You should have seen her, Laur. So glamourous and sophisticated. She didn't have a hair out of place. And so beautiful and confident. Everything I'm not!
 
LAUREN: Hey, don't put yourself down, Em. There's nothing wrong with being shy. And I don't care how glamourous she is - she has no right making you upset.
 
EMMA: Thanks Laur. It was probably just me though. You know how nervous I get around people.
 
 
Emma and Lauren continue talking for a while.
 
 
 
 
4 Days Later...
 
Emma decides to venture out early morning. She has to get some messages in town, and wants to avoid the crowds. As she walks along the quiet streets, she starts thinking about Nick again. She's been thinking about him a lot recently.
 
 
EMMA: There's been no sign of Nick for a few days. I know I don't get out much, but still... I thought he would have come to the manor again. *pause* Maybe he's left town. He did say he wasn't sure how long he would stay in Soterios.
 
 
Emma can't help feeling a little sad, at the thought that Nick has left town.
 
 
EMMA: If he's left town, maybe it's for the best. I... I don't like being around people. But there was something about him... the way he smiled in the cafe. And it was kind of him to try and comfort me the other day, in Hearland. He didn't have to do that. *sighs* If only I could be all confident, like that Anna. He seemed to get on really well with her.
 
 
She sighs again, and continues on her way.
 
 
 
 
The Bookshop...
 
Soon, she reaches the town centre. She turns down a quiet alleyway, and stops outside a bookshop. This bookshop is never very busy, so Emma feels safe here. She opens the door, and enters.
 
 
EMMA: *looks at the bookshop owner* Hello, Mr Harrison.
 
MR HARRISON: Why, hello there, young Emma. What brings you to my bookshop today?
 
EMMA: I just fancy a new book. Something... different. Do you mind if I look around?
 
MR HARRISON: By all means. Be my guest. *smiles*
 
 
Emma starts looking at all the books on the shelves. Suddenly, her eyes are drawn to something. A book she hasn't seen before. She picks it up, and reads the title.
 
 
EMMA: 'Crimelife by Nick Zarano'. That's funny - Nick from the cafe said his surname was Zarano. What an odd coincidence.
 
 
Emma turns the book over, and looks at the back. It has a photo of the auther - a photo that Emma recognises instantly.
 
Posted Image 
 
EMMA: NICK! It's Nick from the cafe! I didn't know he was a writer.
 
 
Emma decides to buy the book. She glances down at the checkout, and sees Mr Harrison serving another customer. So she waits for a while, until Mr Harrison is alone. Then she goes to pay for it.
 
 
EMMA: Mr Harrison, do you have any more books by this author?
 
MR HARRISON: Let me just check that for you. Nick Zarano, eh? *checks on his computer* No, I'm sorry Emma. This is the only book I have. Maybe I could try to get find more?
 
 
Emma smiles a 'Thankyou', and pays for the book.
 
 
 
 
The Park...
 
After leaving the bookshop, she makes her way to the park, and sits by the duckpond, watching the ducks. As she sits on the bench, she pulls out her new book, and starts flicking through it.
 
 
EMMA: *to herself* Hmm, Nick has a good style of writing. I'm no expert, but I like how he makes things so clear, and easy to understand.
 
 
Elsewhere in the park, a man is taking a walk. A tall man, with sunglasses, and a fedora.
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#10 Nick

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:22 PM

The Park..

Nick walks along the path, on his cellphone.


Quote

Conversation
Nick: ... Wait.. what do you mean? No, I don't think that's a smart move.. where? Alright. I'll be there.

Nick runs out of the park, and into a pub across the street.

Nick looks around, and finds Anna sitting at a table in the back.

Nick sits down at the table.

Nick: What the hell is going on?

Anna: The job has been cancelled.

Nick: But.. the murders.

Anna: There hasn't been a murder in awhile. And today I met with the Sheriff. Needless to say the overweight baboon isn't pleased with our methods. He is accusing us of going too far, in terms of our investigation.

Nick: Well the hacking bit was kind of rough.

Anna: No.. apparently we shouldn't be interviewing his civilians. Yet we are supposed to solve the murders how? Well after giving him a piece of my mind.. he cancelled the job. And without payment, Infinitum wants us to just head home, and put this behind us.

Nick: So we're supposed to just walk away?

Anna: I honestly don't know what your problem is. You hated this job from the beginning, and besides.. you came late to the party. The rest of us spent months on this.

Nick: What about Luke and John?

Anna: John left for London. Luke is staying here at his vacation home for a short period, before going back. I'm scheduled to leave for Africa in a few hours.

Nick: Africa.. well you waste no time.

Anna: The company wants me to supervise an extraction taking place in southern Africa. The team there is young and clueless, so I'm going in to supervise. It's a political job.

Nick: So what about me?

Anna: No job. No pay.

Nick: You said I'd get paid! I came all this way for nothing?! I helped you out for nothing?!

Anna: You trained for this job at Infinitum. IT'S A JOB! Get over yourself. When the company needs a young hacker, they will call you.

Nick: So until then I'm left with no cash on me even for a train ticket?

Anna opens her wallet, and takes out a single Euro. She puts it on the table.

Anna: There. Convert it, don't convert it. But don't complain you have no cash on you. Now if you will excuse me, I'm heading to the airport. I have a flight to catch.

Nick: What.. what about the flirting?

Anna turns around.

Nick: Didn't you flirt with me?

Anna: Don't flatter yourself. I only date men with more than one Euro in their pocket.

Anna walks out.

A server comes over.

Server: She didn't pay for her drink..

Nick sighs, and takes out his one Euro.

Nick: That will have to do. Convert it, don't convert it. But don't complain you didn't get money for her drink.

Nick places the Euro on the table, and walks out.




Nick walks into the park. He walks by the pond.

Nick takes out his phone, and leaves a message for Luke.

Quote

Conversation
Nick: Luke, it's me. Anna told me about the job. Call me back.

After hanging up, Nick glances over at a bench. He sees a woman reading a book, her face covered by the book. But one thing sticks out.. the picture of himself on the back. Nick knows that book well.

Nick: Enjoying the book?

Emma: Uhm.. Oh yes I.. *lowers book* Oh! Nick! ... Hey.

Nick: ​Emma. Didn't recognize you with the book. Hehe. Enjoying it?

Emma: Um, yeah. I love it. *smiles*

Nick: ​So I shouldn't say I'm being stalked? With you buying my book?

Emma smiles.

Nick: ​May I sit?

Emma: Oh, sure.

Nick sits down, and there's some awkward silence for a few seconds.

Emma: So, are you staying here in Soterios?

Nick: Possibly. You could say I'm stuck here. *smiles* By the way.. sorry about Anna the other day. She's a little.. tough.

Emma: I could tell.

Nick: But you don't have to worry about her torturing you anymore. She's leaving for Africa. Job's been cancelled.

Emma: Really? Why?

Nick: ​It seems the Sheriff did not like Anna either.

Emma: Ah.

Nick: ​So the job is finished with.

Emma: But.. wouldn't that mean you'd be leaving? It says here on your book.. you live in London.

Nick: ​Lived. I've lived in a few places. Sold my flat when I came here. Long story. But nevertheless, it looks like I'll be stuck here in Soterios for a few days.

Emma: What do you mean by "stuck"? Don't you like it here?

Nick: Well yes it's nice here, but I mean by "stuck".. well, Anna left me high and dry at this point. And the hotel room reservation is expired as of today.

Emma: Well.. if you need a place to stay..

Nick: Well I'd probably stay with my old friend Luke. But he has yet to respond, despite my urgent message.

Emma: Okay..

Silence.

The wind blows, blowing Emma's hair towards Nick. He gently touches her hair, and moves it back towards her ear, as Emma blushes. Their faces remain close for a few seconds.

Nick: But.. *pulls himself away and takes a breath* As you were saying?

Emma: Well, if you need a place to stay.. the Manor is big enough.

Nick: Manor? Oh yes.. your Manor. Well that's very nice of you.

Emma: And it'd be nice to have company in those old walls again.

Nick: *smiles, and turns his phone off* Then the Manor it is. Shall we.. walk together when you are ready to go back?

Emma: Of course. *smiles*

Nick gives Emma his jacket, and puts it around her. They walk along the path, exiting the park.
Posted Image

#11 Frodo

Frodo

    Your neck looks very... tasty!

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:03 AM

The Park...
 
Nick and Emma walk along the path, towards the park exit. Emma looks at him out of the corner of her eye, wondering if she did the right thing in inviting him to stay at the Manor. But if his hotel reservation was up today... and his friend Luke hadn't replied... what was Nick supposed to do? Emma didn't want to see him, or anyone for that matter, out on the streets.
 
 
EMMA: Thanks for lending me your jacket, Nick. I *am* feeling a bit cold, now the wind has picked up. *pulls the jacket around her white dress*
 
NICK: It's the least I could do, since you're letting me stay at your Manor.
 
 
They walk in silence for a few minutes.
 
 
EMMA: It was mean of Anna, not to pay you.
 
NICK: *shrugs* Her exact words were... 'No job. No pay.'
 
EMMA: You should still be paid for the work you've already done.
 
 
They reach the park exit, and continue walking.
 
 
NICK: Anna doesn't see it that way. The company cancelled the job, so that's it. They sent Anna to South Africa on a new case. *pause* Anyway, you're a bit of a dark horse, aren't you? *grins*
 
EMMA: WHAT??? *tenses up*
 
NICK: In the cafe that day... you never mentioned who you were. You just told me your name, that was all. I couldn't believe it when Anna told me we were going to interview Emma Lockhart, the Governer's daughter.
 
EMMA: Oh, yeah, um, sorry. *turns red* It just didn't seem important at the time. Anyway, it doesn't make any difference these days. I have no authority in Soterios.
 
 
Nick smiles. Emma may be a rich heiress, but she doesn't put on any airs and graces, or try to act like she's better than everybody else. She's just a normal person, who happens to be very shy.
 
 
EMMA: Um... but what about you, Nick? You're a famous writer. I would never have known, if I hadn't come across your book in the bookshop.
 
NICK: *grins* 'Struggling, Not-So-Famous Writer', to give you the full title. My books are not that well known.
 
EMMA: Well, for what it's worth, I like what I've read in CrimeLife so far. *holds up her book* You make it seem so interesting and exciting. *smiles*
 
 
With the park far behind them now, they make their way towards the Manor.
 
 
NICK: Emma, would you mind if I went to pick up my things from the hotel? If I have anything left, that is. As of... *checks watch* 30 minutes ago, the hotel room is no longer reserved for me.
 
EMMA: Oh, sure. Can't have you losing all your stuff. *smiles*
 
 
Emma and Nick make a detour to Hotel Royale. Emma waits by the nearby lake, since there are too many people in the hotel for her liking. Nick goes in to collect his things - luckily, they haven't had time to clear the room for the next person yet. He quickly packs his suitcase (hiding his computer at bottom of the suitcase), puts on his hat and sunglasses, then goes down to reception to check out. Then he goes to meet Emma down by the lake.
 

EMMA: *smiles* Those sunglasses make you look very mysterious, Nick. *smiles shyly*
 
 
Nick pulls his sunglasses down, so they are hanging on the end of his nose, and sticks out his tongue, making Emma laugh. Then he pushes them back up again.
 
 
 
 
Hearland Manor...
 
After an enjoyable walk, Emma and Nick arrive at the Manor. Emma opens the front door, and leads him inside. Nick stops, and looks around.
 
 
NICK: I can't believe I'm actually going to be staying here.
 
EMMA: *smiles* Welcome to Heartland. *gives a little curtsy* I hope you like it here.
 
NICK: I'm sure I will.
 
EMMA: I'll give you a key, so you can come and go as you please.  I want you to feel at home here.  Anyway, your arm must be tired, carrying that suitcase so much. Why don't we get you a room, for all your stuff?
 
 
Emma leads Nick through a door, up some stairs, through some more doorways, and to a corridor. There are 5 doors on each side, and 2 doors at the far end.
 
 
EMMA: This is where all the bedrooms are. *puts her hand on Nick's arm* Mine is the last door on the left. My parents room is at the far end, but I keep that door locked. *sad smile* But you can have any of the other rooms. The bathroom is at the end of the corridor, next to my parents room. I have an en-suite bathroom in my bedroom, so I don't use the one one out here.
 
 
NICK: *walks up to one of the doors* How about this one?
 
 
Nick opens the door, and enters the bedroom.
 
Posted Image 
 

NICK: *whistles in astonishment* I think this will do very nicely, thankyou! *smiles*
 
 
Nick places his suitcase, jacket, fedora, and sunglasses on the bed. Then Emma gives him a quick tour of the Manor - showing him where all the bathrooms are, and also showing him the music room, living rooms, and a few other rooms. By the time they reach the library, they have gone through so many doorwars and corridors, Nick is feeling a bit lost.
 
Posted Image 


NICK: Now I get how you took so long to answer the door that day, when Anna and me came.
 
EMMA: *points to a panel on the wall* That buzzes when someone rings the doorbell. So I always know when someone is at the door.
 
 
It's getting late by this time.
 
 
EMMA: Look at the time, Nick. Almost tea time. Feeling hungry?
 
NICK: Now you come to mention it, I am kinda hungry.
 
EMMA: How about I make us something to eat? It'll be kinda nice to have someone to cook for. *smiles* Pasta okay with you?
 
NICK: *smiles* Yeah, that's fine. Thanks.
 
 
Emma and Nick look into each other's eyes for a moment.  But then Emma blushes, and looks away.  She gets to work, and start cooking. An hour later, Emma has cooked up a delicious tea of pasta, salmon, and cream cheese. Nick sits down, ready to eat. Emma puts 2 plates of pasta down on the kitchen table, and goes to sit down herself. Then she stops.
 
 
EMMA: Oh, I sorry Nick, Would you like to go through to the dining room? I don't usually bother... I usually just eat in the kitchen. But we can go through if you want?
 
NICK: No, it's okay here.  *grins*
 
 
 
 
Several days later...
 
 
 
 
Town Centre...
 
Nick is settling in nicely at Heartland Manor. Him and Emma get on well together, although Emma still gets nervous. Nick is glad to have a roof over his head, and Emma is glad of the company. Sometimes she tinkers around on the piano in the evenings. But today, Nick has managed to persuade Emma to come out for a walk.
 
 
VOICE: Hey, Em!
 
 
Emma and Nick turn round to see Lauren running up to them.
 
 
EMMA: Laur! Hey, how are you?
 
LAUREN: I'm fine Em. *realises Emma knows the man standing next to her* Hey... do my eyes deceive me? My friend Em is out in public... and actually talking to someone? *looks closely at Emma, with a mischevous look* What have you done with the real Emma Lockhart? *laughs*
 
EMMA: *turns red* Hehe. I talk to people... sometimes. Anyway, remember Nick Zarano? From the cafe?
 
LAUREN: *looks at Nick* Oh yes, I remember. You had just arrived that morning. Staying at the... *thinks*  Hotel Royale, is that right?
 
NICK: Not anymore. My job fell through, and I couldn't stay at the hotel anymore.
 
LAUREN: Sorry to hear that.  So where are you staying now?
 
EMMA: Um... Nick is kinda staying with me, Laur. He's staying at Heartland.
 
 
Lauren's eyes nearly pop out her head. She's so surprised to hear that Emma has a lodger. But at the same time, she's happy for her friend. Emma hasn't shown much interest in life since her attack, so maybe this is just what she needs.
 
 
LAUREN: *squeals* Ooooh, I'm so pleased for you Em! *gives Emma a big hug, then smiles at Nick*  I hope she's treating you well?

NICK:  She's the perfect host.   *smiles*


Lauren knows that 'Three's A Crowd', so she makes her excuses, and leaves.
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#12 Nick

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:56 AM

Next Day..

Nick is staring out the window of Luke's vacation home, with a glass of whiskey in his hand. Luke is behind him, having a meltdown. Nick is hearing it loud and clear.

Luke: So let me get this straight.. you are living with a rich young woman, sponging off of her, while you don't have to work or pay a dime?

Nick: At this point.. yes.

Luke: Sign me up.

Nick: It's not that simple.

Luke: The hell it's not that simple.

Nick: Look.. I got a job. It's nothing much, but I'm working as a bartender in the local pub. I'm young, but they hired me because of my psychological background. If I can't use my skills to be a psychiatrist, I can use them as a bartender, hearing all of the townspeople's problems. Besides.. I won't get to use my computer skills in this small town. I have to thank you for your training.

Luke: Well it's good to know all my advanced training on how to manipulate and read people will be used in a setting where after 5 PM, drinks are half priced.

Nick: I'm laughing my ass off.

Luke: *grabs his bags* Listen to me.. I'll put a good word in with the boss. He'll find you work.

Nick: The boss? You don't even know his name.

Luke: Just have patience. Then once your working with us again, you can leave this small town behind. Just keep this in mind.. women are dangerous. They can change your entire view on life. And, if they can make you be happy in times of rain.. they can make you miserable in times of sunshine. So do NOT fall for it. Better yet.. her.

Nick: I have no idea what you are talking about.

Luke: Here. Take this.

Luke hands Nick an envelope.

Luke: Don't open it right away. Just.. keep it.

Nick: So this is goodbye?

Luke: Til our drunken asses meet again. I bid farewell! I'm off to London!

Luke walks out, and slams the door.

Nick takes out his spinning top, and spins it on the wooden table. He watches it spin.

Nick grabs it.. and puts it back in his pocket.

He walks towards the door, and leaves.




Hours later..

Nick sits with Emma in the kitchen.

Emma: So.. are you excited about your job in the pub?

Nick: Oh yes terribly. I just love listening to people's problems, having to prevent oldfolks from stripping down once they've had too many, and I also have to put up with my demanding manager. It's a blast.

Emma: Is there anything you like at all about it?

Nick: Yes. The pay. In fact, now I have some of my own money.

Eventually the conversation subsides, and Emma looks around for something to make for dinner.

Emma: Feel like eating anything special?

Nick: Yes.. in matter fact I do. I now have my own funds.. so how about I take you out to dinner tonight?

Emma: As in..

Nick: I think it's what normal people call a "date". Though both of us are far from normal, and have never or haven't been on one in ages. Though I'd hate to be normal, and I wouldn't have it any other way. *smiles* So Emma Lockhart... will you go out on a date with me?

Emma: *smiles* I'd love to.

Nick: Good.

Nick walks towards her. They look in each others eyes for a few seconds. Nick gives Emma a quick kiss on the lips, but pulls back.

Nick: I'm starving.. Can't wait. Ahem.

Nick walks towards the window, kicking himself for being so bold. Something unlike his personality.




Soterios Train Station..

Luke purchases a ticket, and walks towards the area to board the train. The terminal is empty. As Luke stops to get a drink from the vending machine, two men in suits come out from behind another area. Each man has a gun.

Man: Hello Luke, nice day isn't it?

Luke: *looks up* Shit.. *reaches for his gun*

One of the men shoots Luke in the shoulder with his silencer pistol, making sure not to alert anyone. Luke drops, but the other man grabs him. He places a cloth over Luke's wound, to prevent any blood from being left behind.

Man: Where is it? WHERE IS THE ENVELOPE?

Luke: I don't have it.

Man: … Kill him.

The men drag Luke off into a nearby cargo train, loading at the station.

A small chess piece falls out of Luke's pocket, and onto the ground... unnoticed by the men.

The leader throws his cigarette on the ground, and stomps on it.

Luke is taken without a trace.
Posted Image

#13 Frodo

Frodo

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:53 AM

Heartland Manor...
 
Emma slowly touches her lips, and looks at Nick. He kissed her... and she liked it. A lot! Feeling his soft lips on hers... Emma never knew a kiss could be so sweet. She feels something tingle inside her.
 
 
EMMA: *smiles* Wow!
 
NICK: *looks at her* Shall we get going then?
 
EMMA: *nods and smiles*
 
 
 
 
The Restuarant...
 
An hour later, Emma & Nick are sitting in a nice restaurant. Nick had asked for a table near the back, where it's nice and quiet, which Emma is grateful for. They talk, as they eat their meal.
 
 
EMMA: This is nice. I can't believe I'm really here. Um, I've never been on a date before.
 
NICK: You want to know something? Neither have I. *grins* So are you having fun, Emma?
 
EMMA: *nods* Yes. It's nice here. Um, I'm glad you asked me out on a date, Nick. *smiles*
 
 
Emma rests her arm on the table, at the same time as Nick reaches for the salt. Their hands touch for a moment... neither of them pulling away. Their eyes meet... and they both smile.
 
 
EMMA: *looks away* So, um... how's your friend Luke? You saw him this afternoon, didn't you?
 
NICK: *pulls a face* Yeah, I saw him. He's gone off to London.
 
EMMA: London? What on earth for?
 
NICK: Dunno. He never said. I'm guessing the company sent him on a new case. He's going to put in a good for me at the company though.
 
EMMA: I'm... um... kinda glad the company sent you here, in the first place.
 
 
As the evening wears on, Emma begins to relax. She's enjoying being out with Nick immensely, and for the first time, her problems are not foremost in her mind. Before she knows it, the meal has finished, and Nick has asked for the bill.
 
 
NICK: *looks at Emma* Beats staying in and cooking, doesn't it? *smiles*
 
EMMA: *nods* It does.
 
NICK: It's good to hear you laugh, Emma.
 
EMMA: *blushes* I had fun this evening, Nick. Thankyou for asking me.
 
NICK: It was my pleasure.
 
 
 
 
Back At The Manor...
 
They leave the restaurant, and walk back to the Manor. It's a warm evening, and both of them enjoy the walk back. Back at the Manor, they walk around the garden for a while, and chat. Before long, it's time for bed. Emma stops, and looks at Nick with a sad look in her eye.
 
 
 
EMMA: Nick... tonight has been... so wonderful! Thanks to you, I was able to enjoy myself, and forget about things for a while. You don't know how much that means to me.
 
NICK: *smiles* Maybe we can do it again sometime?
 
 
They say their goodnights, then head up to their bedrooms. But alone in her room, Emma begins to think about things. She knows she's falling for Nick. And while she tells herself she can't get involved with him, she's finding it hard to stay away.
 
 
EMMA: *to herself* Oh, what am I doing? I was out tonight, having FUN??? With Nick??? I can't... can't do that. I can't let myself have fun! Nick made me happy tonight... but... I have no right being happy. *a tear runs down her cheek* I don't deserve to be happy... not even for a moment. Besides, if Nick knows the truth, he'd ending up hating me... and rightly so. *sighs* But he's so sweet and gentle, it's hard to stay detached from him.
 
 
Emma sits on her bed, and picks up a photo of her parents, she keeps on her bedside cabinet.
 
Posted Image 
 
EMMA: I'm so confused. What should I do? I don't know what to do! *sighs* I wish you were still here. I miss you both so much.
 
 
Emma sits there, looking at the photo for a while. Then she puts it down, and climbs in to her bed. She tosses and turns for a long time, before eventually drfiting off to a troubled sleep.
 
 
 
The next morning, Emma goes down to the kitchen for breakfast. Nick is already there, with a large plate of sandwiches.
 
 
NICK: *eating a sandwich* Morning Emma. Sleep well? *smiles*
 
EMMA: *smiles* Hey Nick. Um, I slept okay thanks. *lies* How about you? *sits down at the kitchen table*
 
NICK: Yeah, I was out like a light, as soon as my head touched the pillow. Here! *pushes the plate of sandwiches towards Emma* I made plenty for both of us. Hope you like tuna mayonaisse.
 
EMMA: *smiles* Thanks Nick. I love tuna mayonaisse. *picks up a sandwich, and starts eating*
 
NICK: *looks at his watch* Anyway, I should get going. The pub is waiting for me.
 
EMMA: You'll be the best bartender there.
 
 
Emma and Nick look at each other for a moment. Nick brushes some hair away from her eyes. But then Nick pulls back.
 
 
NICK: So... I'll see you later then.
 
 
Nick heads out the door. Emma goes to the music room, and starts tinkering on the piano. Then she goes through to the manor library to read a book. But she finds herself thinking about Nick. He's only been in her life a short time, so what is it about his soft voice, caring concern, and gentle touch that excites her so much?
 
 
EMMA: *to herself* Would it really be so terrible if I got involved with Nick? Would it really make any difference? I'm afraid to be around people... and I've kept my distance from them - Lauren and Mr Harrison from the bookshop are my only friends. But it hasn't changed anything. So would being with Nick do any harm? Until he finds out the truth, that is. But then again, maybe he's not even interested. Oh, I don't know what to do for the best.
 
 
Nick returns home late afternoon. Emma makes some bacon and eggs, and they sit down at the kitchen table.
 
 
EMMA: So you survived 'The Pub' then? *smiles*
 
NICK: Yeah, I surved another day. There was this man who kept telling me how he wanted to marry his pint of beer.
 
EMMA: Hehe. Poor Nick. *picks at her food*
 
NICK: *looks at her* Are you okay Emma? You're very pale.
 
EMMA: Um... I'm sorry Nick. I'm not feeling very well this evening.
 
NICK: Too much excitement last night?
 
EMMA: Um... yeah, that must be it. *smiles weakly*
 
NICK: *feels her forehead* Hmm, you *do* feel kinda hot. Maybe you're coming down with something?
 
EMMA: If you don't mind Nick... I think I'll go up to my room, and get an early night. I'm sorry.
 
NICK: It's okay. You go up and get some rest. I'll come to see how you are in a while, okay.
 
 
Emma smiles, then makes her way up to her bedroom.
 
An hour later, Nick raps on her door.
 
 
NICK: Emma? It's me, Nick. How are you feeling? Are you okay?
 
EMMA: *opens her door slightly* Yeah, I'll be okay. I just feel so weak. I'll just going to bed now, I think. It's getting late though - why don't you do the same?
 
NICK: Okay, if you're sure you're okay... I might as well go to bed too. Hope you feel better soon. Night Emma.
 
EMMA: Night Nick. And Nick... thanks for caring. *smiles*
 
 
Emma closes her bedroom door, and listens for Nick's footsteps.
 
 
EMMA: *whispers* Come on Nick. Go to your room. PLEASE go to your room.
 
 
She listens to his footsteps as they fade away, then she hears a door open and close. Nick must be in his room. Emma, still fully dressed, tiptoes out of her room, and down the stairs, wiping the sweat from her forehead. Her breathing becomes heavy. Her tiptoes speed up to a run, as she runs towards a door on the East side of the Manor. Emma unlocks the door, and steps through it, locking it behind her. She starts gasping. She races down the stairs, and along a long, dark corridor. At the end of the corridor is another door. Emma opens it, and enters the room. She leans against the door for a moment, and closes her eyes. Everything is becoming so hazy... her head is pounding. She gasps again, and takes a step forward.
 
 
Everything goes black.
 
 
 
 
The Woods...
 
Posted Image 


The next morning arrives, bright and sunny. A woman is out walking her dog in the woods. The dog barks.
 
 
WOMAN: Oh, Rover. You do like your morning walks, don't you. Hehehe. Come on then.
 
 
The dog starts barking loudly, and pulling at his lead.
 
 
WOMAN: Are you excited to get off your lead, so you can start exploring, Rover?
 
 
The woman takes off Rover's lead. He runs to some nearby bushes, and starts pawing and digging excitedly.
 
 
WOMAN: *walks ahead* Hehe. Come on boy. There's plenty more exploring to do.

 
Rover ignores her. He continues digging and barking at his spot.
 
 
WOMAN: *far ahead now* Here Rover. Come on boy. The clearing is just up ahead, and we can play 'Fetch' there.
 
 
Again, Rover ignores her. He's far more interested in THIS spot, than the clearing up ahead.
 
 
WOMAN: *walking back towards her dog* What have you found there, boy? It must be something exciting, if you don't want to play 'Fetch'.
 
 
The woman looks to where her dog is digging... and sees a bloody hand... and bloody arm... followed by a bloody face...
 

WOMAN: *screams*
 
 
She screams so loud, even Rover gets a fright, and looks up from his digging.
 
An hour later, the police have arrived on the scene. The woman... or rather, her dog... had unearthed the body of a young male. Nearby, was another body. This time, a female. The police identified the bodies as Nathan Young, aged 22, and Connie Bingham, aged only 19. Both of them are covered in blood, and both of them have multiple wounds and leisions on their bodies. The young man's neck looks like it has been broken.
 
The killer has struck again!
 
 
 
 
Heartland Manor...
 
Nick knocks on Emma's bedroom door.
 
 
NICK: Emma? It's me again. I was worried about you last night. How are you feeling Emma?
 
EMMA: *opens her bedroom door* I'm just really tired Nick. I'm sorry about yesterday.
 
NICK: Want me to call a doctor?
 
EMMA: *smiles weakly* Um, no, I'll be okay. Really. Maybe I should get something to eat.
 
NICK: Okay, let's go down and get some breakfast. Are you sure you're okay though? *looks concerned*
 
EMMA: *nods* Yeah.
 
 
Emma and Nick make their way down to the kitchen. Emma stumbles, but Nick catches her. His arms stays on her shoulder for a while, keeping her steady, and they look into each other's eyes. Then Nick looks away.
 
 
NICK: Woah there. You almost went flying there.
 
EMMA: Um, sorry. *smiles weakly*
 
 
They reach the kitchen.
 
 
NICK: Tell you what. You sit there and rest. I'll make breakfast this morning. Pancakes and orange juice?
 
EMMA: *nods* Um, that sounds great. Thanks Nick.
 
 
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#14 Nick

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:52 AM

Nick makes breakfast for Emma and himself. He sits down, and sips on some orange juice.

Emma is beginning to feel less nervous and shy around Nick. Though Nick is still kind of closed-off.

Emma: These pancakes are delicious Nick. Where did you learn to cook?

Nick: They are nothing special really. I just don't cutback and make healthy food like other people. I put milk into the mix, with vanilla, and also.. a secret.. butter.

Emma: No wonder they taste good!

Nick: I learned from my grandmother how to cook basic stuff. My mother was useless in the kitchen. She could open a can of food, or throw some tuna in noodles, but that was about it.

Emma: Where is your family? London?

Nick: No.. I'm from the United States. As you can tell from my lack of British accent. *sips orange juice* We had some hard-times in the US. So much so, I wanted to move on. Not just from one state to another.. but to an entire country. You see.. I look at.. most people say they would like to travel. Go to a foreign country, before they die. But life gets in the way. Money.. children.. I don't want to waste my life. If I'm poor, so be it. But at least I can have a life that I can look back on.. and say.. well, I was unique. I didn't color inside the lines.

Emma: But children aren't a waste.

Nick: Of course not. But you can sort of get sucked in. Once you have a child, your life is not your own. So traveling is something people usually wait for when they are older, and the kids are grown. But by then, life can sometimes get in the way.

Emma: True.

The conversation goes quite for a few minutes.

Nick: Why am I here?

Emma: ... What do you mean?

Nick: Why would you invite a total stranger into your home.. this lavish home.. nevertheless a poor stranger, and let him live with you? Meanwhile I'm not paying rent. Aren't you afraid of me attacking you or something? Stealing from you?

Emma: Well if you ever do attack me, I'll have to move you into the basement.

Nick: I'm being serious.

Emma: ... I don't know. You're a writer. You seem like a nice person.

Nick: Maybe I'm not trusting of people. But I guess that comes from what has happened to me. That and my profession.

Emma: I thought you did security work for that.. company?

Nick: Yes. Security. You know.. here's a good example. In internet security, there's this thing called penetration testing. Basically the computer specialist hacks into his own network. Acting like a hacker. To see what flaws exist. Then he can fix them.

Emma: So you.. wait..

Nick: I've been trained on many things. So much so, governments around the world are investigating the company I work for. I was trained to use some.. heist methods. Some methods even involving the mind.

Emma: Why are you telling me this?

Nick: Listen Emma, you seem like a wonderful person. But.. I'm too messed up to get attached. Why do you think I haven't dated anyone before? You.. you have a reason. Your parents. I don't have a reason. I don't want to appear as if I'm.. never mind. Point is.. if we continue this.. I don't want to hurt you.

Emma: Continue what..

Nick: Another reason why I'm not good around people. I jump on my emotions. I get too loving, or too pissed off. I think it's best if I move on.

The phone rings.

Emma appears heart-broken. She gets up to answer the phone. It's Lauren. It seems Lauren is having some man trouble in the park, and she needs a friend's help. Lauren has always been the more out-going type, and now she's backing herself into a corner.

Emma hangs up the phone.

Emma: ... That.. that was Lauren. She um.. needs my help. I should go.

Nick: Yeah.. you go. I have the day off from the pub. So I'll.. I'll just pack up. Maybe call the manager tomorrow, and book a train ticket to somewhere.

Emma: ...

Emma leaves the room sad. Nothing else is said, as Nick cleans up the table.



Within an hour, Nick hears the front door open and close. Emma has left. Nick walks to the hallway where the bedrooms are. Nick stops. Something is off. The other night he heard running outside his room. Nick thought maybe Emma was going to the bathroom. Though he found it odd she'd be running. Nick notices the bathroom is in a different direction. He uses his memory and his detective skills, and reenacts what he remembers.

There's a particular floor-board that creaks when stepped on. It's to the east of Nick's room. He searches for it..

CREAK

Nick: Bingo. Now where did you go Emma..

Nick walks straight in a line, down the east hall.. eventually finding one lone door. Nick puts his hand on the knob.. and tries to open it. It's locked.

Nick: Maybe Anna was right after all.. her instincts are never wrong.

Nick gets on the floor, and looks under the door. He can't see much of anything. Nick stands back up, and opens his wallet. He opens a secret compartment inside of it, revealing tools. Nick takes out a lockpick, and slowly picks the lock.

CLICK

Nick: Bingo. We're in.

Nick opens the door.


Nick walks down the stairs.. and sees another door. Just as he goes to open it..

BZZZ BZZZ BZZZ... BZZZ BZZZ BZZZ

Damn! The front door. Nick runs up the stairs.. forgetting to close the secret door.. or to lock it.

He runs through the mansion, and finally reaches the front door.

Nick opens the door, and finds a heavy man dressed in a police uniform.

Nick: Can I help you?

Man: Possibly.Are you Nick Zarano?

Nick: I am.

Man: I'm the sheriff of Soterios.

Nick: You have a warrant for my arrest?

Sheriff: Eh.. no.

Nick: You have a warrant to search the premises?

Sheriff: No.

Nick: Then have a nice day.

Sheriff: Wait.. I spoke to a woman.. who worked with you. Uh.. I think her name was Anna. Sexy broad.

Nick: Ah. You've met her. You must be the overweight baboon.

Sheriff: Excuse me?

Nick: Never mind. How did you find me?

Sheriff: My guys have this manor as part of their regular patrol, after what happened. They noticed a man of your description being here alot. Possibly living here.

Nick: That'd be me. So what I can do for the good people of Soterios?

Sheriff: You may not be in our field law enforcement wise, but our background check on you reveals a long history of your research on it. Besides the book, you also tried law enforcement training in New York.

Nick: Don't hold the "tried" against me.

Sheriff: So I take it you're up on the murders here in Soterios?

Nick: Besides Mr. Cobb's missing rabbit, and some other small stories, there isn't much else in the Soterios Times. So yes, I am.

Sheriff: There's been another murder.

Nick: ... What?

Sheriff: The bodies were found this morning. The bodies of Nathan Young, aged 22, and Connie Bingham, aged 19. We haven't released the information to the press yet, til the families are notified. But the whole town is buzzing. That happens in a..

Nick: ... small town.

Sheriff: Anyway, as I told Anna, Interpol will not work with us. Because of the animal killings, and other reasons. So we're on our own. But I'm here asking for your assistance.

Nick: ... Let me get this straight.. I didn't get my PAY.. because of you. Now you want my help? Small town running out of cops?

Sheriff: Listen to me city slicker. You think you can come to our small town and act like you are better than everybody else.. your not.

Nick: So then why are you asking for my help again?

Sheriff: Because Anna mentioned a young hacker. A new recruit. You likely don't have the ties to your security company. But you bring the experience, and the knowledge of crimes.

Nick: Do I get paid?

Sheriff: Yes. You will be our consultant. With the possibly of becoming a Detective, Crime Scene Investigator, or a other field. You will work odd hours, when we need you. Not all the time. But right now.. we need you. You'd start now.

Nick: ... Looks like you got yourself a consultant.

Sheriff: Good. My department is small, so you will report back to me. Down along the path, is a squad car. Detective Thompson is driving. You will ride with him to the crime scene.

Nick: A real crime scene. Sounds good.

Sheriff: .. Don't make me regret this.



Park..

Emma walks into the park, and sees Lauren sitting on the bench by herself.

Emma: Lauren, what's going on?

Lauren: Oh nothing.

Emma: Nothing? Then why did you call me? You said you had guy trouble!

Lauren: A white lie doesn't hurt you know.

Emma sighs, and sits down.

Emma: What is going on?

Lauren: Listen Em, I wanted you got get out and meet people. But not right away, and lock yourself away from me! *laughs* I wanted to get you away from fedora-man, so we could talk in private. What's he like? And what are you too doing in that big house?

Emma: Lauren.. *shakes head and smiles* You are something else.

Lauren: So come on. Give me the juicy details.

Emma: Well, I kind of thought something was growing. But this morning.. I don't know. Now he's leaving.

Lauren: Leaving as in leaving.. or as in leaving?

Emma: We weren't "together" Laur. So he's leaving.. going to London.. maybe. Who knows where..

Lauren: Well why don't you go with him? Instead of being locked up in that house.. with all the memories. I told you.. you should have sold that mausoleum a long time ago.

Emma: Lauren, I can't. Either way. My life is here.

Lauren: What life? Besides me, you have no one else here.

Emma: Gee thanks, I feel so much better.

Lauren: You're too afraid Em. Life is just passing you by.

Silence for a few minutes.

Emma: ... He kissed me.

Lauren: What?

Emma: ... The other day.. he kissed me.



Woods..

Posted Image

The squad car pulls up the scene. It's a busy scene, with crime scene tape.. police officers, and more cars. Detective Thompson gets out, and lights up a cigarette. Thompson is an older man, older than the sheriff, but younger than Luke. He's a tough man, with a "I don't give a rats ass what you think" attitude.

Nick gets out of the car.

Detective Thompson: Let's go kid. And don't throw up. I just bought new shoes.

Detective Thompson leads Nick to the crime scene, where the bodes are still laying. Nick looks away for a second, but then looks back.

Detective Thompson: Multiple wounds and lesions on the bodies. John Doe's neck was broken for kicks.

Nick: He's not a John Doe. And she's not a Jane. The sheriff..

Detective Thompson: Listen kid, you haven't worked in this field for 20 plus years. I've been working since before you were born. Don't piss me off.

Nick: ... *watches him walk off* Yes sir. *rolls eyes*

Nick bends down, and looks at the bodies.. as the coroner begins the transport process. Nick notices footsteps in the dirt, clearly marked as evidence. He looks up into the sky, at the trees. It's peaceful. Too peaceful. As if the killer is watching from afar. Nick spots a shadow in the distance, but it disappears.

Thompson startles Nick.

Detective Thompson: Bears. Always lurking around. Come on kid.. we've seen enough here. It's time to drop you off back at the manor.

Nick: ... But I just started.

Detective Thompson: The sheriff just wanted me to show you the crime scene. We'll need your expertise during the investigation. Which won't ramp up for another 48 hours, til we notify the families. So take that time to catch up on your reading of our handbook. *throws the book at Nick* If we need you, we'll call you.

Nick: ... What about my pay?

Detective Thompson: What about it? Get in the damn car.

Nick sighs, and gets in the squad car.

Detective Thompson: Off to the manor.

Nick: ... No. Can we make a stop at the train station on the way?

Detective Thompson: Why?

Nick: ... I need to pick something up.



Soterios Train Station..

Nick walks in, and picks up some destination books from the counter. Nick looks up.. and stops. Sitting behind the window, a Lost and Found bin. Inside.. a few random items. But one sticks out. It's a golden bishop chess piece. Nick knows the item well. And it's distinctive in design. That's Luke's. He must have dropped it.

Nick: Excuse me.. miss.. that chess piece.. my friend came here awhile ago. He left for London, but I don't know where he is. But.. I do know that is his.

Woman: Nice try young man. But I can only give items to the person who can verify it's theirs.

Nick: Listen.. old woman.. I know that chess piece. The top was broken during a mission, so it has a small crack where it was glued. The bottom has a series of numbers etched into it, with the words "Infinitum Corp" and a small symbol next to it. Good enough?

The woman looks at the piece.. and finally hands it to Nick. He pockets it.

Nick: Have a good day.

Nick leaves the station.





The squad car drops Nick off at the manor.

Nick walks into the manor, and heads to the bedrooms. He finds Emma, standing near the open door on the east end of the manor.

Nick: .. Oh.

Emma: I see you haven't packed yet.

Nick: Got distracted.

Emma: By breaking your way into one of my private rooms?

Nick: First off I didn't "break" anything. I'm good at heists remember? All apart of the training. And besides.. it was the sheriff who distracted me.

Emma: The sheriff?

Nick: Yes. It seems now they want my help. There was another murder..

Emma shivers.

Nick: And I had to see the bodies. A 22 year old.. and a 19 year old.. around our ages. Dead. In a violent way. Wasn't pleasant.

Emma: I would think not.

Nick: So seeing that makes life.. and some things in life.. seem so pointless. Like why you are guarding that doorway with your life.

Emma: It's my private business.

Nick walks closer to Emma, as she walks backwards.

Nick: So Anna was right.. maybe you are hiding something.

Emma: You and Anna.. maybe that's a secret you are hiding. *nervous*

Again, Nick walks closer to Emma, as she walks backwards. Now both of them are in that hallway, before the stairs.

Nick: There is nothing between me and Emma. Or any woman.

Emma: ... Ouch.

Nick: ...

Again, Nick walks closer to Emma, as she walks backwards. This time Emma backs into the wall.. Nick close to her face and body.

Nick: ... So is there something.. between us?
Emma: ...

Nick: ... What's behind the door at the end of these stairs?

Emma: ...

Nick looks into her eyes. Emma's breathing is heavy, as she breathes on Nick.. Nick breathing in her breath.

Nick: Well I guess I won't get an answer.

Nick turns to leave.

Emma: Nick.. wait.

Nick looks back.

Nick faces Emma, and presses her against the wall. He kisses her passionately. He puts his hand behind her head, and continues kissing her, eventually down her neck, and back up again. Emma looks down the stairs.. at the door.. at the end of the hall. She looks back at Nick, and kisses him. Something she wouldn't have done since the traumatic experience in her past.

Both of them kissing in the room.. the secret room.

Nick lifts up Emma, and holds her up against him, kissing her. He holds her against the wall, her shoes falling off.

Nick carries Emma out of the secret room, and looks at the bedrooms doors.

Emma: Mine. *kisses*

Nick carries Emma into the main bedroom, and lays her on the bed, Nick over her. They look into each others eyes. Nick kisses her neck, and down to her breasts, running his hands up from her feet, to her legs.

Emma: Nick.. wait..

Nick: *stops* ... I knew it.

Nick gets out of bed, and walks towards the bedroom door.

Nick: I've pushed enough. I'll leave in the morning, no questions asked.

Nick walks out into the hallway.
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#15 Frodo

Frodo

    Your neck looks very... tasty!

  • Forum Wizard
  • 9400 posts

Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:49 AM

Heartland Manor...
 
Emma doesn't know what's got into Nick. All she knows is... she doesn't want him to leave. She climbs out of bed, and runs out the door, after him.
 
 
EMMA: Nick...
 
NICK: *spins round, and looks at her* What? *raises one eyebrow*
 
EMMA: ... I don't want you to go
 
NICK: Why not?
 
EMMA: ... I like having you here. I like your company.
 
 
Nick turns round, and walks back to her. He pushes her against the wall, and puts his face close to hers... their lips almost touching. She can feel his breath on her.
 
 
NICK: Why do you have shackles on the wall, in your secret room? And what was that stuff on the table? More shackles? Chains? What else?
 

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EMMA: ... I thought you said no questions?
 
NICK: It's my job to ask questions.
 
EMMA: ... You've been in that room. You know what's there. Isn't that enough?
 
NICK: I want answers!
 
EMMA: *clearly upset* YOU broke into MY private room. Don't act like I'm the one in the wrong.
 
NICK: I already told you. I didn't *break* anything.
 
EMMA: ...
 
NICK: *starts walking away* Fine! I'll start packing then, and I'll leave first thing in the morning.
 
EMMA: *looks sad* Why are you being like this? *rubs her head*
 
NICK: *looks at her* Cos I don't like being lied to.
 
EMMA: I haven't lied. I...
 
 
Emma slumps against the wall. She doesn't have the strength for this confrentation. She's feeling very weak, all her muscles ache, and her head feels like someone is sticking red-hot pokers in her brain. And her journey out to meet with Lauren has left her exhausted.
 
 
NICK: *looks concerned, but doesn't move* Anna said you were hiding something. She's never wrong about these things.
 
EMMA: ... Anna again?
 
NICK: You don't want to tell me what's goig on? Fine! *turns and walks away*
 
EMMA: *blurts out* It's a reminder.
 
NICK: *stops* What?
 
EMMA: The shackles... they're, um. a reminder. Of when I was attacked 2 years ago? Um, when things get too much, I come down here, and think about that night. How I felt that night... how scared and helpless I felt... as he pinned me to the ground. The things he did to me. I still have nightmares about him. *a tear escapes Emma's eye* I never want to feel like that again.
 
NICK: *softens* But why keep the door locked?
 
EMMA: Cos I never wanted anyone to see that room. *looks at the ground* I've... never talked about that night to anyone. Not even Laur. It may seem weird to you, but I guess... I guess that room is my way of trying to deal with... what happened. *pauses* So now you know.
 
NICK: ...
 
EMMA: You're a nice guy, Nick. And I love having you here. I don't want you to go... but I can't force you to stay. *turns, and heads back to her room*
 
NICK: Emma! *puts a hand on her shoulder* I'll stay, at least for a while. Let's play it by ear, and see how things go.
 
 
Emma looks at him, and gives a little smile. She's glad he didn't seem to notice the broken window at the top of the wall, leading outside. But she wonders if he noticed the small archway leading to another section of the room.
 
Awkward silence.
 
 
EMMA: So, um... you said the sheriff spoke to you. Is your company investigating the murders again? *shudders*
 
NICK: Not the company... just me. They need my expertise when they begin the investigation. I'll be Security Consultant, or something like that.
 
EMMA: Congratulations Nick. That's wonderful news.
 
NICK: Just as long as I get paid this time.
 
 
Emma stands there for a moment, looking at Nick. She wants to celebrate his good news of getting work in the police department. He can put his skills to good use now - not like at the pub.  She knew that frustrated him. She's happy for him. But... given the currant situation, she's not sure how to handle things. Does he want her around? Does he wish she would leave him alone? Has she been crowding him too much? Emma just doesn't know. She doesn't know how things stand between them now. But she hopes they are at least still friends. She decides to go with her first instinct, and see if he wants to celebrate his new job.
 
 
EMMA: Um, we should celebrate, Nick. It's not every day the old fuddy-duddy sherriff asks you to help out.
 
NICK: ...
 
EMMA: *senses his lack of enthusiasm* Okay, um... why not call your friend Luke then? Maybe you'd rather celebrate with him?
 
NICK: *thinks about the chess piece, but doesn't say anything* Maybe later. I have to go out for a while. I'll be back later though.
 
EMMA: *sad*
 
NICK: Relax, I'm not leaving. I said I wasn't gonna move out, didn't I? Anyway, see you later.
 
 
Emma sighs. Did Nick just use an excuse cos he didn't want to celebrate his good news with her? Emma's not sure. She walks back to her room, feeling more confused than ever.
 
Emma stays in her room for the rest of the day. Partly to rest since she is still feeling so ill and weak, and partly to give Nick some space. She emerges at supper time, and makes her way down to the kitchen. Nick is already there, drinking some orange juice. Neither of them brings up the subject of the secret room.
 
 
EMMA: Um, hey Nick.
 
NICK: Hi. *looks at her* You're still very pale. What's wrong?
 
EMMA: It's nothing. Just a bit under the weather. I'll be back to normal soon. Anyway, you want some supper? I was going to um, make some for myself?
 
NICK: What are we having?
 
EMMA: *thinks* Cheesy toast?
 
NICK: Sounds good.
 
 
It's a somewhat strained supper, with neither of them talking very much. Emma looks at Nick several times, but he doesn't look back. After supper, Emma tinkers on the piano for a while, then goes to bed early. Nick listens out for the creaking floorboard he heard the night before... but doesn't hear it this time. It seems Emma is staying in her room all night tonight.
 
The next morning at breakfast, Emma tries to make conversation. After yesterday's events, she feels very nervous. And remembering his talk of not wanting to get attached, she tries hard not to make it seem like she's crowding him.
 
 
EMMA: Um, hey Nick. Did you sleep well?
 
NICK: Yeah.
 
EMMA: I made some scrambled egg for breakfast. Would you like some?
 
NICK: Sounds good. *helps himself to the scrambled eggs*
 
EMMA: So, um... I phoned Laur this morning. I'm meeting her down in the cafe.
 
NICK: *nods*
 
 
Emma still feels ill, but she has the feeling Nick wants some space. And she doesn't want to scare him into leaving.
 
 
 
 
Rainbow Dreams Cafe...
 
LAUREN: *teases* You came out 2 days in a row, Em? Wow, that has to be a record.
 
EMMA: Yeah, I had to get out for a while.
 
 
Lauren notices Emma's hand shaking.
 
 
LAUREN: *worried* Why? Has something happened? Are you okay? Has Nick really left then?
 
EMMA: No, I'm okay. And Nick is staying for a while. We're playing things by ear.
 
LAUREN: Playing it by ear? That sounds interesting! Are you and him... you know... together now?
 
EMMA: No... I don't think so.
 
LAUREN: What do you mean, you don't think so?
 
EMMA: I'm so confused Laur. We... last night, we kissed again. Then he said he was going to leave again. Honestly, I don't know how things stand now.
 
LAUREN: Well if he kissed you twice, he MUST be interested in you.
 
EMMA: *shakes her head* No, I don't think he's interested in me. Why would he be? He can do so much better for himself.
 
LAUREN: Hey! I won't have my best friend putting herself down! I saw the way you both looked at each other, the first day he came into the cafe.
 
EMMA: Maybe that's the problem. Maybe he thinks I've been to clingy, or crowding him too much, or something. I thought something was growing... but yesterday he kept saying how he doesn't want to get attached to anyone. It was stupid of me to get my hopes up. He shouldn't waste his time with me anyway. *sighs* Anyway, enough about me. What about you, Laur?
 
LAUREN: *grins* Things are going good. I got a job in that florest in Eldritch Square. It's only a few hours a week, but I love it there.
 
EMMA: *smiles* Brilliant news Laur. You've always loved being around flowers.
 
 
They continue talking, and the next 2 hours fly by. They leave the cafe, and hug each other goodbye. Emma heads back towards the mansion, and Lauren walks towards the meadows.
 
 
 
 
Town Centre...
 
Emma is walking through the town centre, on her way back to the Manor. She overhears two women talking.
 
 
WOMAN 1: Such a tragedy, it was. Both of them were so young.
 
WOMAN 2: Mmmm, she had just turned 19, hadn't she?
 
WOMAN 1: Yes, I think so.
 
WOMAN 2: But what was she doing in the woods that night?
 
WOMAN 1: If you ask me, she snuck out to meet her boyfriend. Her parents thought he was too old for her, and didn't like her seeing a boy of 22.
 
WOMAN 2: To die so young... and so violently. The parents must be devestated.
 
WOMAN 1: From what I hear, the boy's parents and the girl's parents are beside themselves with grief.
 
 
Emma stops. They're obviously talking about the murders Nick mentioned yesterday... the murders that the sheriff wants Nick's help to solve. But... only 19 and 22? It breaks Emma's heart. She thinks for a while, and turns back the way she came.
 
 
 
 
The Meadows...
 
Lauren plans to go to the Meadows, to pick some wild flowers for her cottage. As she walks along the quiet road leading to the Meadows, she sees a man walking towards her, heading into the town centre.
 
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The man has a backpack in one hand, and a guitar case in the other hand. It's unusual for any kind of musician to come to Soterios, which is why Lauren noticed him. She stops, and looks at him for a while. He notices her looking at him, and puts his guitar down.
 
 
MAN: *Australian accent* G'day. *gives a small nod*
 
LAUREN: Hi. *smiles*
 
MAN: Don't suppose you could help a weary musician, could you? Looking for a place to stay, but I'm a bit lost. Don't suppose you could lead me in the direction of a hotel or bed & breakfast or something? Nothing fancy, mind. Just a place to dump me stuff. *indicates his guitar and backpack*
 
LAUREN: Sure. If you keep following this road for about 10 minutes, and then turn off to the left, there's a hotel there.
 
MAN: If I sing you a song, would you show me in person? *grins*
 
LAUREN: *not quite sure what to make of him* Um... what?
 
 
The man opens his guitar case, and takes out his guitar. And right there in the street, starts singing.
 
 
MAN: *strums guitar and sings* Ohhh... I... walked into town one day. *strum* But I was poor, didn't have any pay. *strums* And I was lost, didn't know my way. *strums* But I knew everything would be okay.
 
LAUREN: *burst out laughing* You're crazy!
 
MAN: *holds out his hand* Mark Donahue. Full time musician-wannabe-stroke-dreamer, part time crazy idiot fool. Or is that the other way around. *grins*
 
LAUREN: *still laughing* Lauren Jackson. Pleased to meet you Mark.
 
MARK: So have I earned a guide to a decent hotel? Or do I have to tortue you with another song? *strums guitar and sings* I thought I'd take a walk today. *strums* It's a mistake I sometimes make.  *strums*  My ki...
 
LAUREN: Okay, okay. I'll take you to the hotel.
 
 
Lauren grins. She's never met anyone quite like Mark before.
 
 
 
 
A Quiet Street Near The Town Centre...
 
Emma arrives at her destination - the local blacksmiths. She stands outside, looking at the door. She hasn't been here before, and the thought of going inside, and talking to a stranger, terrifies her. But she knows she must force herself to do this. She takes a deep breath, opens the door, and enters the blacksmith's workshop.
 

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The blacksmith is busy working away in the back of his workshop, heating a pipe, ready to hammer into shape. He looks up, as she enters.
 
 
BLACKSMITH: Good afternoon. Can I help you?
 
EMMA: *shaking inside* Um, yes. I... um... need some work done.
 
 
Emma tells the blacksmith what she wants. He gives her a funny look, but doesn't say anything.
 
 
EMMA: So, um... can you do it?
 
BLACKSMITH: Sure, I can do that for you. When do you want it done?
 
EMMA: Um, I'm not sure yet. I have to check a few things first. But I can pay you half now, and half when it's done. *gives him a huge payment*
 
BLACKSMITH: *looks at his payment, and his eyes grow wide* Whenever you want it done... it's not a problem. Day or night, just give me a call. *gives her his business card*
 
EMMA: But... erm... this has to be a secret. I don't want anyone to know about this.
 
BLACKSMITH: Ma'am, for what you're paying me, I won't tell a soul, you have my word. My lips are sealed!
 
EMMA: Thankyou. I appreciate it. So, um... I'll be in touch?
 
BLACKSMITH: I'll wait for your call. And if there's anything else you need, you just let me know, okay.
 
 
Emma nods, and turns towards the door. The blacksmith rushes to open the door for her. If she's paying him this much, he wants to stay on her good side.
 
With a heavy heart, Emma returns to the Manor.
 
 
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