It is early Sunday morning when Sera McLaren begins to awaken, sprawled out upon the couch of her boyfriend, and his lap. It isn't the light that wakes her, or an alarm (had one been set) but rather just a strange and unusual feeling in her stomach - as if she had been traveling up in an elevator that had suddenly halted and fallen down several feet in free fall.
A pressure dwells inside her just she's about to wake up, hand clamping on her stomach as Sera sits up abruptly. A long shuddering breath is sucked in as eyes do their best to open after only a limited bit of sleep and a hand stretches out and back for the back of the couch to steady herself.
Sera thinks; "Is this the morning? It's the morning. Why am I sick? What did I eat? I didn't eat anything yesterday. If it's the morning could this be morning sickness? No, that's ridiculous, you're being ridiculous. Please don't be sick on the couch..."
It's cool in the modest dormroom, cooler than one may expect from summer. Deep shadows still linger within the corners, despite the time, despite the rise of the sun - it is as if there is a cloud blocking the light from falling upon the room. While the young woman steadies herself that feeling peaks within her once again, rising up through her stomach to take place in the space behind her ribs - it doesn't linger long before disappearing, it's absence filled with a quiet, lingering dread.
As Sera may be seeking to determine the cause of this strange feeling an unusual stillness settles upon the room, upon the Institute, upon the town. That feeling of static when one is within the eye of a storm, as it were.
Her hand struggles to get her phone out of her pocket before she stares at the time for a second, eyes darting back and forth as Sera seems to make a connection. Her brow furrows as she slides off the couch and a hesitation grips her for a long moment before a hand reaches behind her for the sheathe hidden beneath her babydoll t-shirt. "Come out," she demands in a quiet, but firm tone.
Sera thinks; "Time's off...and that dread. Usually if it's a ghost there's a coldness. But, really, you've only met three or so ghosts, maybe it's something else. Fae? They play tricks. Azrael? Except even he hasn't reached out for the institute yet. And I doubt he'd wish to play with the neutrality here just yet. The plague will get most who misbehave if it's as bad as scripture predicts."
The student may have noticed a lack of service when checking her mobile device, it appears that whatever strange event is befalling her is affecting the cell reception. There is no answer at first to her request, cast out into the void as it were. But slowly, slowly, there is a rising rasp that appears to come from the corners of the room, the cracks at the window, beneath the door - as it raises to a crescendo there is a sudden scraping sound - A branch butting hard against the window, whipped up by a storm that had appeared with such little warning. Outside the room there is a crash, and a bang - and another bang. It repeats, over and over, a terrible sound of strained hinges follow by that crashing sound.
The wind outside raises slowly into a high-pitched wailing howl, as if it were screaming at something, or someone.
Sera scrambles past the couch and moves for the center of the room, "Dalton?" she queries after a moment as she does her best to find the source of the wails. Her voice is suddenly quite small and her arms find themselves clutching about her waist as her shoulders droop. "Cheryl, if this is you, I am going to be very displeased!" she calls out with false bravado.
Sera thinks; "Need to find the safest place in the room. Why hasn't Dalton woken up? He'd know what to do. He's way better at this shit than me. Why is this fucking town so God damn terrible. Unless it's a spell? Cheryl knows magic and she's the only one who's shown any interest in fucking with students...Dalton, please wake up..."
The sleeping form of Dalton remains exactly that, sleeping. If anything? His breathing is slow, far longer than typical - and should he be touched he would feel cool to the touch. As Sera calls out to the room, she may be aware that the light from outside has taken on a darker blue hue, as if the colour is being drained. That sounds yet continue, the wail of the wind, the constant rhythmic creaking of hinges. A new sound makes itself known, a different wail, a cry - the sound of a child, young, in distress. It's cry echoing upwards from outside of the room, calling, beckoning.
Sera stands on her tip toes in an effort to check on Dalton only to find him blissfully unaware, a look of minor frustration given before she hears crying coming from...upstairs? Hesitant steps move her towards the door to the room and as she's nearly about to open the door she takes a small moment, eyes closing as she steadies herself before grabbing for the handle and jerking it open, "I'm coming," she offers in as soothing a tone as she can manage.
Sera thinks; "Seriously, sleeping? Guy is like a fucking bear half the time. Wait, wait, wait that's a kid. I really should just leave whatever this is to get her and not me. Stop, stop walking. Stop it. Why do I only poor life choices? Ok, slow breath, freaking the child out isn't going to do me any good. Even if it's fucking weird as shit, God fucking damn it, cocksucking supernaturals with their bullshit bullshit. ARGH! Ok, that's good, that's better, let's get the girl? Boy? "
The source of the creaking and crashing becomes readily apparent to Sera. The door to the dormhouse, locked open into place for so long that it's hinges had rusted had been knocked loose by the storm outside - causing it to swing and crash as it is pushed and pulled by the wind. An eddy from outside of the building scatters a whirlwind of leaves inside and carries the child's cry with it. The cry echoes within the small space, making it harder to determine the location - but enough time narrows it down, the child is close to the building. Quite close, and it is in a fearful distress.
Sera a slowly pulls the door open and her eyes take a moment to scan the place before a breath of relief forces itself out of her. "Thank God," she mumbles before she looks at the stairs going up and down. After a moment of indecision she eventually moves upstairs, her voice calling out, "Hey, hey, I'm coming. It's ok. It'll be ok," she promises as she heads up and up and up.
Up and up and up, the brave little sparrow climbs, ascending the staircase - chasing after that child's cry. It leads her to the very roof of the dorm house - in the midst of the storm that whips at her hair, and bites at her skin. The tempest casts sticks and leaves about her person, a few small items becoming lodged in her hair. The crying grows in volume, and that small feeling of dread returns - it is as a weight in Sera's stomach, slowing her movements. The branches of the trees around the building scrape and scratch against the building, some hanging over it. Finally, she spots the source. A small bundle of navy blue, dipped in the shadow cast by the trees and branches - one long, warped branch in particular hanging over it, as if it were reaching for the bundle.
Scratches and small twigs manage to cut across her face to get entangled in her hair, a hand rises to try and block the wind as it tugs and pulls at her shirt. It takes her a moment before she notices the bundle near the edge of the roof and shudder runs down her spine. The hand not blocking the wind reaches behind her for the knife sequestered behind the small of her back as she forces her self towards the branches seeking the child out. Hushing noises are given as she does her best to approach the baby, though, they may merely be sucked into the ether by the force of the howling that roils about her. When she finally manages to get close enough to the branch she slices at it at an angle, "It's ok, it's ok, I'm here," Sera's voice struggling to remain calm the closer she comes to the swaddling blue bundled.
There is something wrong. That much is apparent. As when Sera uncovers the face of the child she recognises it. At least, you would imagine so. It is a face she may have seen in photo albums, or at very least in mirrors. It is a face she would see in every reflective surface about her. Her face, as a child. Almost as soon as that thought takes plant within her mind the faux-Sera dissipates into a wisp of dark smoke. A low hiss fills her ears. Not from the wind this time, but something else, something unearthly. This sound is perverse, unnatural, it does not belong within this reality. The branch that she had sliced, fallen upon the ground raises to grasp at her wrist - where once was wood and bark, is now scale and claw. Where once was tree, is now a dark hood of shadow and burning within it are two eyes, glowing like red embers, "Nino querido." A voice rasps, inhuman, "Debes liberarme."
Sera thinks; "No, no, no, no, no. This was a bad idea. Really bad idea. And now it's touching me. I do not like to be touched. Dalton's not here, right? And no one can see me. I can indulge...just a little. Just a small taste."
Sera stumbles back a step as she recognizes the child only for the branch to warp and writhe as it grasps her wrist. Her eyes grow wide as it stares at her, scales giving her little room to budge she stares at the loathesome eyes and Dalton's name soaring out of her as she shrieks, likely to not avail. The hand that was holding the blade tosses it up and she grabs it with her freed hand as she tugs at the monster closer, "I don't speak spanish," she manages, her lips curling back into something akin to a snarl as she slams the blade at one of the creature's eyes. The hand that's currently being held twists just enough that she's now holding on it as well as a well of fury seems to fill her. "And I don't like being touched."
The young woman's snarl invokes a similar response from the hooded, shadowed figure - but as it's lips part with an exhale of breath that smells of decaying flesh, it screeches out in a wild scream. Sera's aim prove's true, the knife burying into the ember-filled eye of the creature down to the very hilt. And in that moment, that exact second of assaulting the creature, it's almost as if reality shifts. Where there is now storm and strife, there was a pleasant, bright day. Where there was a creature of nightmare, there was a gentle summers breeze. It thrashes in Sera's grip as the storm whips around them once more, that revelation of sunshine as brief as it was bright - Screams, screeches and cries escape the scaled one as it attempts to tug itself free of her.
Sera thinks; "Oh, no, no, no. You don't get to get away that easily. Everyone gets to hurt me, but I don't get to hurt anyone? I don't think so. Show me your red. That sticky, slimy, red. Mother and Dalton would be so proud."
Sera exhales into that scream, it's scent of decay being mildly countered, by simply not breathing as it screams. Her hand pulls back on the hilt and she reaches for its crown before she slides the knife along it's cheek as it struggles. "I'm not letting you go play with another girl," she hisses as she kicks it firmly in the shin. Her eyes widen and something almost akin to a smile plays at her lips as she does her best to pull the struggling creature to the ground.
With each blow, each kick, each stab and even each verbal spur - the creature's form grows less and less opaque, as if its very tethering to existence is failing beneath Sera's assault. The knife rakes across the scaled flesh of it's cheek, drawing an oozing black goo from beneath the flesh - a pool that spreads across it's twisted maw to join with the ichor that bleeds from the ruined eye socket. It isn't just the creature affected by her effects, however, as slowly, slowly the storm that had raged around her begins to settle and her surroundings become less obscured. The nightmarish creature is cast to the ground by her, curling into a small, pathetic ball - it's form shrinking beneath her, and quivering. Should the young woman look about her person she would find the familiar twisted landscape of the nightmare, less and less obscured by the machinations of this miserable creature.
The oozing black from the wounds suffered by the creature are slowly toyed with with one hand, slowly sliding along the cut on its countenance before a small laugh is pulled from her frame. Giggles of pleasure cause her shoulders to rise and fall as her knife slices at the hands that do their best to ward off her blows, not particularly deep, but each deep enough to pull some blood from the creature beneath her. That is, until Sera finally reaches for one of the hands slams the knife deep into its palm, the blade jutting out through the other side and then into the ground beneath the pair. Its other hand is wrenched away as well as leans over the pathetic beast and stares at its truer form.
The storm has fled, and all that remains in its absence is a silence. A silence only broken by the sounds of scales being cut, and the whimpers and screeches from the creature being set upon, the predator made prey, and the giggles from the person assaulting it. It is almost difficult to the see the creature now, to look straight at one would almost see through it's form - weakened as it is, is it only within the peripheral of her vision that Sera see's it's true visage revealed. Dark green scales cover it's face, his mouth a violent gash of a maw with sharpened teeth and distinctly reptilian features. It's eye, the one remaining one is a burning pit of fiery hatred directed up to Sera. The creature takes a breath through the slits of its nose before it just.. crumbles. The strength to maintain a form having left it, and the last remnants of its storm leaving with it - leaving Sera now kneeling in the nightmare. Alone.
Sera stares at the creature as it crumples into nothing and like ash or smoke, it drifts into the aether. She remains crouched in the nightmare for several minutes as her haggard breath and weary arms are rested and for a moment she kneels forward enough that her forehead rests upon the ground. She remains still in the light for several seconds before she eventually pushes herself upright and wipes the black ichor of the creature on one of the leaves near by and then another one until the blade finally at least somewhat clean. Slow steps lead her back towards the stairs and eventually the shower, barring any more unforeseen lizardfolk.
Sera makes her way to showers, and further yet unmolested by any other sinister forces. Yet as the water washes away the grime and gunk of the creature, so too does it gently scrub at her memory - for once she has left the nightmare the details start to the fade. The narrative remains, yet the creatures features are as a blur in her mind's eye. Finally, there is a whisper, barely audible above the constant splash of water, "Pequeno gorrion."