Author Topic: Winds of memories (Cata RP Character background stories)  (Read 2364 times)

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Catnip worked her way through the dark streets towards the section of town she'd only cursorily scouted a few nights before. Every now and again, the street would light up for a few seconds. A flashlight held by a pale freckled young woman with Auburn hair, and long wirey whiskers starting under and to the sides of her nose giving her a distinct rodent appearance. Catnip as she had been. The flashlight went out again. Someday, she wouldn't need the handy little plastic thing that made the light, but for now she used it mainly to get her bearings in what seemed to be a shadowscape for her. Dark unidentifiable hulk's in the midnight darkness, looming over head and blocking her progress. A block up, the light came on again and then flicked off again just as quickly. A groan rose from a corner not far from where the light had been, soon joined by others. The call of alert for the biters. Catnip wouldn't know the terms "undead" or "zombie" for another two months but she knew well that she should avoid them. Nathan told her so.

She slipped inside a building with a big fun sign, which she couldn't read, on it's front. Here had been where her explorations had come to a halt and where further trips into the small town always inevitably ended up. Her current goal was in here, her current obsession. It was an arcade, not that she would know what an arcade was, and a fairly popular one before the Cataclysm at that. It was a month before that she'd found this place, quietly making her way in by jimmying the lock to evade the searching horde. With the door securely shut behind her and the blinds drawn, Catnip had begun her explorations in earnest. There wasn't much that she could see at first, but the various arcade cabinets and pinball machines were certainly fascinating. A look at a world she never knew. They didn't seem to do much of anything but sit there and look strange. Perhaps, she thought, this is what Nathan called a museum?

Not a museum. Not of the conventional sort anyway, but fun to look at and explore. What she really wanted was at the front standing in a row of broken glass, blunted spiraled metal, and large empty boxy machines. There were five of the boxes, but only one still had anything in it. It was to this one that Catnip went, being careful not to make too much noise by stepping on the shattered display windows of the boxes. It the one that had not been broken, there was food. The only kinds of food that really mattered and made stomaching to poorly roasted hunks of howler meat and bitter vegetables worth it. There were crispy salt flakes, salty meat sticks, colored sweet balls, rainbow gummy things, red fish, chewy candy rolls, and especially chocolate. The holy grail, the finest of food stuffs, the very best that Catnip craved. There were so many kinds and Catnip loved them all. All except white chocolate. Catnip knew it had to be some kind of chocolate because of the way it looked. The pattern and design adorning it was the same as that of real chocolate. White chocolate offended Catnip's sensibilities and taste buds. A dirty trick calling something so nasty "chocolate" when it wasn't really chocolate.

Three days she'd returned to this machine, three days and several close calls. It was worth it though, would be worth it, if she could just get the box open. She'd tried picking it's lock and surprisingly, it had been just a bit too complex and the ome she could manage was just the cash box. Later, she tried prying it open, but the box held firm against that sort of applied force. Then she tried disassembly. That got her somewhere, sort of. In that attempt, Catnip had managed to take apart the frame, the various little doors and hatches, and even dislodge the whole box from it's anchoring on the floor. What she was left with was a "naked" brushed steep vault with a glass front. On that occasion though, she'd looked around at the other machines, and just about slapped herself. Of course, the answer was right there.

This time Catnip came prepared. This time, she had a hammer and a little doodad with a tiny wheel on it. Her experience with tempered glass was that blunt force wouldn't break it. Not the kind she could apply by hand anyway. No, the little wheel thingy was what she needed. The little pictures on the package had shown her what to do with it and through experimentation, she'd figured out the rest. She set the doodad in place, and pressed down firmly on the surface of the glass. Then, she began to drag it down. It didn't quite cut the glass, as she knew, but instead it left a little line of chipped material. If she was lucky, the front of the machine would break on it's own as most of the windshields had in her tests. It didn't. She got into drawing a second line, then a third, and finally a fourth and fifth before taking out the hammer. She was prepared for the sound of breaking glass. She knew it could be very loud. She did not expect the alarm though. As soon as the window was broken, the box began to shriek. "WEEEE OOOO WEEEE OOOO."

Catnip nearly bolted then and there except that for a moment, she couldn't move. Joints wouldn't flex, muscles wouldn't work, and her brain simply drew a blank out of fear. Then, she swing the duffel bag she carried around and hectically stuffed it with everything from inside the machine. There was no time to get picky, no time to separate out the white chocolate and throw it away. Smash and grab was all she had time for now. At the front of the arcade there came a hellish shriek followed by the moans of numerous biters. If the urgency of her situation wasn't enough, the threat of being attacked would certainly get her moving. They were as blind as she was in the midnight streets, she could escape if she was quick, quiet, and careful.

Just then though, she felt a prickle run through the flesh on the back of her neck as the air suddenly shifted nearby and her whiskers caught the movement. Catnip wasn't alone in the arcade. It had been there the whole time but until the alarm had been triggered, it had stayed inactive. The shadowy form loomed out of the dark at her, treading the glass but not making a sound, and took a swipe. Catnip felt the blow coming and ducked under the clumsy attack and brought her hammer around. To her surprise, the head snapped off and flew into the dark. Fortunately, her own attack was enough to stun the undead monster long enough for her to pocket the last bag of chips and make for the back door. There were more of them though, Catnip had to dive under one of the colorful glass top tables and crawl down the row of them to evade a particularly tenacious biter to escape. She hurdled the counter, bowling over a third as she did so, bolted through the small kitchen at the back of the building,  and out the employee exit into the alley beyond.

Behind her, the alarm blared on and on while she waited in a green metal box at the end of the alley, exhausted from her fright and flight. An hour passed, then two. She fell asleep shortly after the alarm blipped off. Undead shambled past but neither noticed the other. When Catnip finally woke at the crack of noon, she didn't know where she was at first. She was hot though, the bags around her stank faintly of months fermented trash, and it was oddly noisey in the town. There was a motor running and she could hear people. They we're obviously people, judging by their voices and gunfire. Gunfire was a relatively new thing, sort of, for Catnip. She'd not handled a gun before and the sounds she'd heard in the distance on occasion we're strange and alarming for reasons she didn't understand. Also the voices, Catnip hadn't heard another persons voice since... Well, since she'd done what she did to Nathan, her handler...

The lid of the green box lifted tentatively at first, a pair of small blue eyes looking out at the noonday street, or trying to. From the dumpsters location in the alley it was a bit tricky to see anything but the opposite building and the tiniest bit of main road at either end. She slipped out and crept to the end where she thought all the commotion was coming from.

"Pop this one again slick, I'mma go have a look see over at that bling shop. Fowdee, go see if you can snag some hooch at Crowley's 'cross the way." Ordered a man who walked by, mere feet from where Catnip hid behind a pair of wheeled trashcans. He had darkish skin and walked briskly but oddly. His shoulders seemed to slouch casually and somewhat behind the rest of him. The other people the man seemed to be with were white skinned like her, but one of them had hair the color of a sour apple.

"Whatever you say Carmelo, so long I get paid." Said one of the others before leveling his gun and firing it into a biters head.

"That's yo problem slick, ain't got no vision beyond the next paycheck. Shit don't work like that no mo'. Stick with me Slick and Carmelo will show you what's what."

Carmelo? Catnip rolled it around a bit, judging how the word rolled around her head. Who was this Carmelo the strange brown man was talking about? Catnip could do with someone showing her "what was what" and maybe they would be friendly? They didn't seem to be interested in biting one another, so they weren't biters. They'd also cleared out a large number of said biters. All the same, Catnip wasn't ready for meeting people just yet. Nathan had told her to stay away from people and of course she planned to do exactly that until she'd seen for herself. While she watched, the people lined up and stacked the bodies, making sure to check their pockets before arranging them. Catnip hadn't thought of that before. She used her own pockets extensively. What, she thought, would be in the pockets of biters? It turned out to be quite a lot actually. The men collected little plastic cards, shiny things, and the little leather and plastic sandwiches most of the biters kept in their back pockets. Catnip wondered what all that stuff was for, especially the sandwich things. Her mind began to wander and as it did so, the man called Slick struck a match, and set the pile of biters on fire. She hadn't noticed the smell of gas until then, she was just to used to it to notice it anymore.

Catnip was about to slink away back the way she'd come the previous night, when strong hands grabbed her under the arms and lifted her up high enough that she could probably get a foot onto the trashcan if she wanted to. Instead of trying to get her feet under her, she flailed wildly and hissed like an animal. The hands didn't relent, they only clamped down on the tender nerves under her arms and forbade further struggle.

"Yo, Carmelo, we got a live one ova' here! Spying on the brickhouse boys?" The strong man said. He stank of garlic and sweat, and the moment his grip loosened, she swing the heel of her right foot back hard in an arc that missed his balls by a good two inches. Still, the move startled him enough that he dropped her. The trash cans toppled over and spilled their contents out onto the street in a rolling avalange of empty soda cans and bottles. One of the men was laughing raucously like the whole conflict was some kind of joke. It sounded like Carmelo but Catnip didn't have time to look and see. The big man was plowing through the debris after her. He was making good headway in the short distance until a missed grab put his foot on a bottle. The bottle put him on his face and when he tried to get up, Catnip put him back down via liberally applied wine bottle to the back of his head. The laughing stopped abruptly.

"Heyo, what the fuck sweet thang? Why you gotta get all aggro n' shit?" The dark skinned man said indignantly. Sweet thang? Heyo? Aggro? Words Catnip didn't know. She'd heard the expletives before, lab guards who came to take things away from the children or take the children to other parts of the lab, but she'd never heard some of the words the strangers used.

"I... I don't know what that means..." She mumbled, taking several steps back. It was clear that she didn't want anything but the maximum amount of space between herself and them. She hefted an old mason jar with it's insides coated in a thick layer of mold, cocking her arm like she meant to brain one of the men with it. "What's an aggro?"

"Leave her be guys, I don't think she's playing with a full deck." Slick suggested, "What's your name lady? You got a name?" He knealt low, down on his haunches almost and putting the top of his head at Catnip's mercy.

"Catnip... What's a lady?" She husked anxiously. The man reached into his jacket pocket, slowly when Catnip tensed up.

"You are. Want some chocolate? My name's Been, but everybody calls me Slick. What do you mean 'whats a lady'?"

Catnip snatched the tiny chocolate bar away from Slicks offering hand and gobbled it. She still suspected that this was some kind of trick. Just a ruse to get her to lower her defenses. A little movement off to the side, and the jar left her hand with a deft move that left Slick flinching away and Carmelo wondering if there'd ever been a jar in her hand to begin with. It flew and exploded noisily against the top of the big man's head, he'd been just coming around, and he slumped back to the ground.

"Clutch is gonna feel this day in the morning..." Slick commented. Carmelo scoffed.

"Clutch gonna remember none a' this shit tomorrow. You wanna consider not concussin' my boys anytime soon suger tits?"

"Don't worry about it Catnip. You live around here? Kind of dangerous around here for lady like yourself to be kicking around."

"Kicking? I don't know... I live that way," Catnip explained hesitantly, pointing north, "at my house..."

"Okay. Why don't you let us take you home. It's really not safe out-"

"No, it's fine! Really! I'm just gonna... Go..." She said. Midway, she turned and walked briskly away from the men and the growing pyre.

That was her first meeting with Carmelo's crew. Later that night, they would stumble on her workshop and after earning a bit of trust, be asked to get things for her. More and more though, it would be Carmelo who came to talk to her and Slick would one day just not be there. His absence was explained away as a disagreement, but that was only half the truth. Catnip would sometimes think about those early days when she was looking back over her memories, judging her early experiences through the lens of time. Time spent with other people (Hector, Roxanne, Dee, her sister, Kathrine) convinced her that Slick had probably been a bit sweet on her. Time spent in Pricetown on the inverse though, told her that Carmelo may not have had such Noble intentions. In fact, she knew he didn't. He'd said so himself so many times. Constant propositions for sex, obscene requests, and a healthy trade for pornography Catnip had collected. No, he probably wasn't quite as nice as Catnip remembered him. She didn't know much about the "disagreement." How it had entailed a small ember of casual jealousy, and a screwdriver in the back. She didn't know how Slick had been left paralyzed at Carmelo's hand and dumped at the side of the Maine state highway, a mile from the Bangor offramp. Of course, Floyd could have guessed it. Had she ever told him. Even now though he wouldn't tell her. "Let her first memories of the outside world be as they are." He would say, and he'd be right.
I'm really just a sexy skeleton in a suit.
Fingering techniques are very important
Quote from: Six
Using guns while sober? Sounds like you're a coward.
Yes, little hats for every noodle.
Everyone is forks it seems.
"Everything is fucked forever, and ever, and ever." -Forrest 2016