\ Haven:Mist and Shadow Logs/The Living Room
Logs

The Living Room

Area: IC - Note #4062
From: Vainglory

Regarding the kidnapping of six girls from the Boston area. Suspect is believed to be male, mid-40s, Caucasian; all victims are girls between ages of 5-10, brown hair and green eyes, from lower- to middle-class families where parents are together. All are only children, popular at school and well-liked by teachers. None of the victims have been located. A list of the victims is enclosed:

Penelope Mercer, age 5.
Chelsea Salisbury, age 6.
Laura Hewitt, age 7.
Julia McNulty, age 8.
Magdalena Lewis, age 9.
Margery Farrell, age 10.

Mace types a message out on their phone.
Mace types a message out on their phone.
Mace types a message out on their phone.

Boston - A Quasi-Pleasant Suburb
This area seems well populated.
The surrounding suburban landscape is rather nice, but certainly doesn't cater to the wealthy. Each house has a manicured lawn and some have toys near the porches, a car in the drive, the occasional owner coming home or leaving. All save one house, that is; this house in particular sticks out like a sore thumb, far less well-appointed. Its siding is dingy and the slate porch is faded. The lawn is overgrown. Some of the windows are cracked. It's an eyesore amongst its neighbors.

Places: the faded slate porch of an eyesore home

Though it's hard to ignore the fact that there are several Boston PD vehicles present on the property of the out-of-place home here, it's still dark. Their lights are off, and the police themselves are quiet as they speak amongst each other. One, a lean man with grease-slicked hair and wire-framed glasses, seems to be in charge; the others refer to him as Sergeant and he gives out quiet orders.

Natalie heels placidly at Flynn's right side, alert but composed as it stands there bearing a bright orange nylon vest. The words 'SEARCH DOG' stand out beneath the bright silver cross embroidered on each side.

OOC: While you speak to the members of Boston's finest, Vainglory will be taking note of some stats that are going to come up during the plot. In theory, you don't need to show them when I probe you, so don't feel obligated if you'd rather your stats remain secret. Feel free to ask the Sergeant questions before we move on. If at any time you need to leave early, STalk up (or send me a message) and I'll pause to return you to Haven before we continue.

Natalie feels excited and eager as is typical when she gets to work in this

 form. She's most comfortable like this, most at ease.

Flynn approaches the police-occupied property with Natalie at his side, hands in his pockets lazily--he doesn't seem concerned about the canine's lack of a leash. Carth is recognized from a distance and given a slight grin. "Ah, hey, good t'see y'here, Carth," he greets quietly as he approaches.

Mace walks slowly toward the police barricades, letting his eyes skim over the scene before him of the Boston police vehicles and the out of place home. His eyes glance to the officers, until they rested in the lean fellow with the slick hair. "mmm.." He mutters as he approaches. "Officer." he says, "What do we have here." He says flashing his security firm identification card.

Mace types a message out on their phone.

The Sergeant, a man wearing a nametag that reads Sgt. Underwood, looks to Mace and then his ID card. "Exactly what it says on the tin, kid. Kidnapper", he answers, not unkindly, but perhaps a bit grouchily. His glasses are adjusted and he scopes out the others as well. "Six missing girls, you'd think we'd have more."

Natalie feels more comfortable if Sadie -- her best friend -- were here,

 though. Flynn is her division leader, and she's come to tentatively trust him,
 but she still feels mildly uncomfortable around the former cop. But, work is
 work, and she needs someone to play 'handler' here.

Carth glances back towards Flynn as the man approaches, the officer he had been speaking to moving off to speak amongst the others. "They need help." Is all he says in response, holding his someone against his side as he moves towards where the sergeant stands.

Mace looking over the house while ignoring the Sergeant's snappy attitude, he lets out a nod. "Temple Security has come to help locate them. Lets hope nothing bad has happened. What did your forensic team find on the kidnapping?"

Carth's brisk reply doesn't seem to bother Flynn at all, since the Sergeant's voice carries well enough to be heard by him as well. His bronze eyes flick to Mace and back, and he moves a little closer. "Aye, mate," he near-whispers over to Carth.

"Temple fucking Security. That's nice. We didn't find anything, the girls just keep going missing." Sergeant Underwood pinches the bridge of his nose under the glasses, gesturing to the house he's standing in front of and beckoning Carth, Flynn, and probably the canine, forward with the other hand. "Dirt and whatever lead us here. Place has been abandoned ever since the Hart fellow kicked it three years ago."

Something the Sergeant says prompts Flynn to tuck the pendant he's wearing away quietly, even as he steps closer to hear the conversation easily.

Flynn removes a silver pendant of a sword crossed with a scroll and slips it

 into his black jeans pocket.

Natalie feels mildly uncomfortable around all these cops, but focusing on the

 familiar Orderites... and Mace! He's pack, sort of. Not really. Once, she was
 an honorary member in his wolf pack, but it's a bittersweet thing at best --
 she's no werewolf. But she still considers him her friend.

The group is currently with Sergeant Underwood, a lean man in his middle-age with wire-framed glasses. He looks irritated, speaking mostly with Mace right now.

Carth is caught halfway through a step towards the sergeant by Flynn's words, rolling on his heels to face the man. He cocks a brow, head tilting just a touch. "Yeah?"

Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Natalie remains out of the way, a furred shadow near Flynn's legs, though its gaze shifts between speakers to follow the conversation with typical work-dog intensity. It generally ends up watching his face, though.

Spencer hums a quiet tune, standing away from Mace and the Sarge.

Mace tilts his head backward so his nose is in the wind, but just barely while his eyes look over the Sergeant and back toward Natalie and Carth. "Vanishing into thin air, no trace of foot prints, hand prints, finger prints? No sign of forced entry, no struggle but the kids are gone. Any eye witnesses? Basically if none of those pertain, we're standing in a blank slate. We got nothing to go on?"

"How'd Hart die," Flynn inquires lightly of the Sergeant. "Just for th'record, Sergeant." He reaches down to give Natalie a quick pet between the ears, while awaiting an answer.

Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Flynn thinks; 'Any chance there's a weird history with this place?'

Sergeant Underwood turns toward the house and folds his arms over his chest. "Just taken. From places they frequent, school yards, a ballet recital hall, walking home from school - no witnesses. Some hai--" He turns back to look at Flynn, eyeing him up and then down, before answering: "Heart attack. Place has been empty since, a few complaints from the rest of the '"

Sergeant Underwood finishes: "'burb that the place looks like shit and we should level it."

Natalie thinks; '*slightly sluggish* Heart attack... mmmh... *interest* ...was

 he going to say hair...?'

At Mace's questioning of the seargant, Carth turns back around and finishes his approach on the two. "The difference," He begins, focusing on the man for a breath. "Is that we're here now." A grin twists his lips as he turns his gaze on the sergeant.

Acute Smell: The place smells like decay, but it's the mildewy decay of a house in disrepair, coming from the porch.

Spencer crinkles his nose as the scent assaults his nose.
Spencer types a message out on their phone.

"Yeah. I've dealt with your kind before. That reminds me:" And here, at Carth's reminder, Sergeant Underwood pulls out his service gun. "Any of you make a scene big enough to startle the neighbors, and I'll personally put a bullet through you, got it? We aren't here to upset people." He could be a Keeper, he says it with conviction, but then he's returning to his previous thoughts. "Our forensics girl found some hairs, curly. Brown. Oily. Not much else, though, no blood. Six girls, two months, no sign of them -- we'll be sending the girl in with you." Giving a sharp whistle (how annoying!), he hollers out for, "Dru, get your ass over here!"

Natalie thinks; '*in the back of her mind, almost absently* ...this looks like

 a good place to hide if i wanted to hunt rabbits in a place like this...'

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer ruffles his hair.

"Mmmmm..." Flynn gives the Sergeant a thankful nod for his prompt reply, and allows his attention to wander out towards Mace, for a moment, before he speaks further, in the face of the officer's warnings. "Don't worry, Sergeant. We're here t'help, not make a scene."

At the prompting, a much less imposing individual comes over: a woman, no older than 30, with honey hair and warm eyes, dressed in black slacks and a white shirt. She smiles at the group, apologetically at that, and stays quiet as they converse.

Natalie's ears flick back a bit, and it perks toward the whistle to stare at the Sergeant intently. After a moment of that, though, it returns its focus to Flynn.

Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Mace stands quietly as the Sergeant makes his threat and dismisses it entirely. "How coarse is the grain of hair? thicker or thinner? human hair?"

Spencer waves a friendly little wave at the woman as she approaches.

Natalie thinks; 'Oh... the lady looks nice... but I want to see what's under

 the porch. Maybe there's a raccoon living under there... No, wait. I should
 stay here.'

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Sergeant Underwood clasps the woman on the shoulder and leans to speak into her ear quietly, before he strides away, ignoring Mace's question. It's the woman, Drusilla Underwood if her nametag is correct, who speaks instead. "Thin, with split ends. Quite human, but most of the information I wanted was lost - they use heavy drugs."

To Natalie: That porch has space for skunks, raccoons - man, that's a good porch. Just a little slumpy in the middle!

A hint of Carth's pearly whites show behind the amused grin that splits his face as a weapon is shown off. "Wasn't in the plans, Sarge." As the commanding officer is interrogated, he turns his attention on the woman who approaches. Her looks clearly far more towards his taste than the man waving the gun. "Hello, Dru."

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Flynn thinks; 'I know we'll keep it down. Hopefully Mace does, too. (Temple

 can't solve this with a bomb--probably.)'

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Natalie feels a little fidgety. She should really keep her mind on work.

 -Work-. And not getting shot...

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer types a message out on their phone.

Mace nods.

Drusilla says, peeking over at the rest of the group other than simply Mace and smiling at Natalie especially, 'We're sorry for having you all come out here, it's just a stressful time. We're not even sure if there's anything in here, but gravel from this area was found near where Margery Farrell went missi--I'm sorry, are you going to text the whole time? We're here to find people, not socialize..'

Spencer says, in an Australian accent, 'Sorry, had some business to attend to.'

Spencer slips a silver plastic cell phone into his faded blue jeans pocket.

Mace says, a rumbling gruff tone, 'well I'm out of questions.'

Drusilla says, 'Alright.. Well, whenever the rest of you are ready, I'll come with you to help sort out anything we might find inside.'

Mace says, a rumbling gruff tone, 'Its clear to head inside and take a look?'

"I kind of want t'look around," Flynn admits in vague agreement with Mace, eyes flitting to the house at the center of this property. "Missy, ready t'poke around inside?" he asks the canine near his feet.

Mace nods at Flynn.

Spencer waits until the woman and Sarge turns their backs on him, before pulling out his phone, and texting quickly, before putting it away again.

Spencer gets a silver plastic cell phone from his faded blue jeans pocket.

Drusilla says, turning towards the porch and stepping up the steps, 'It is, though it might be best if we stick together. Uncl--Sergeant.. Underwood.. Isn't sure what we might find.'

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer slips a silver plastic cell phone into his faded blue jeans pocket.

Natalie's attention is fixed on Drusilla, its tail wagging automatically at the smile. It's showing a keen interest in its surroundings, but with no more intelligence than any police dog, and when Flynn addresses it, it glances his way and automatically stands.

To Shanie: The others have been speaking to Sergeant Underwood, a lean man with wire-framed glasses, and Drusilla Underwood, their forensics girl. They're about to head inside, after hearing that they only found a hair of a drug-addicted human and some gravel that coincided with the surrounding area. Sergeant Underwood warned, while waving his service pistol around, that he'll personally shoot anyone who scares the neighbors with stupid abilities. OOC: Wait one moment while Vainglory probes some stats that are going to come up during the plot. Don't feel obligated to showstat.

Spencer waits until the woman and sarge turn their backs again, before quickly whipping out his phone, sending out a tex and pushing it back into his pocket.

Spencer feels saddened and enraged at the news on his phone
Spencer gets a silver plastic cell phone from his faded blue jeans pocket.

Carth resettles the strap on his shoulder with a hard shrug as he steps towards Flynn and his dog. Not very subtly, he lifts his chin towards Drusilla and winks, whatever had been between the men being put aside for the moment. "After you, Big guy."

This time, it's one of Sergeant Underwood's underlings who snaps at Spencer. "If you can't be assed to focus, get lost, kid.'"

Spencer types a message out on their phone.
Spencer slips a silver plastic cell phone into his faded blue jeans pocket.

Natalie feels a little nervous and uneasy when Shanie joins the group -- she

 likes the woman, but there's an energy about her that's hard for the shifter
 to process well, and her fae-driven emotions both inspire sympathy and
 uncertainty. Regardless, she's mostly happy to see another friendly face,
 especially one that's always been friendly to her while shifted.

(to Mace) (Privately)Spencer bumps into you and drops a piece of paper. On it is written, Sylvia and Madison may be in trouble.

Mace looks down for a second and squints with a flare of his nostrils.
Mace types a message out on their phone.
Mace slips a silver flip phone into his black leather jeans pocket.

Spencer bumps into Mace for just a moment.

Mace says, a rumbling gruff tone, 'I'm ready to go in, if you guys aren't then its what ever but we have to check for those kids.'

Drusilla gives Carth an awkward chuckle and waits near the door, willing to let someone else go in first. "The door is unlocked. And open, at that." Mace gets a disappointed glance from her. He was doing so well!

Spencer nods.

Spencer feels enraged

Mace gives a apologetic look toward Drusilla, "Alright, I'm going on... I have to go back to Haven."

Shanie remains somewhere in back of the group; a part of it, but not exactly. She scans the local area, arms crossed.

Spencer says, in an Australian accent, 'I need to go back to Haven, as well.'

Natalie lingers by the group a moment before it goes trotting off toward the porch -- though instead of hopping right up, it lingers near the rotting wood and stands to the side, sniffing at any knots in the wood and, if possible, poking its head under the steps.

OOC: When we go inside, you'll notice some rooms have doors. PLEASE do not open them until indicate it's okay. In a lot of cases, it isn't a real door - it's furniture or boards covering the opening.

Spencer's whole body is quivering with rage.

Mace feels rage.. so much tormented rage, and barely holding it together by a

 strand of restraint

Drusilla merely nods, smiling at both Mace and Spencer. "Alright. Thank you for coming! I know Uncl--Sergeant Underwood.. Feels it, he just won't say it."

Flynn peers at Mace for a moment, and shrugs. "Don't worry, w'got this," he assures the departing group. With that, he proceeds inside.

Mace says, a rumbling gruff tone, 'I'm sorry, i would stay but I have.. something dire'

Spencer says, in an Australian accent, 'Dammmit... dammit... I was too late...'

Boston - A Quasi-Pleasant Suburb
This area seems well populated.
The surrounding suburban landscape is rather nice, but certainly doesn't cater to the wealthy. Each house has a manicured lawn and some have toys near the porches, a car in the drive, the occasional owner coming home or leaving. All save one house, that is; this house in particular sticks out like a sore thumb, far less well-appointed. Its siding is dingy and the slate porch is faded. The lawn is overgrown. Some of the windows are cracked. It's an eyesore amongst its neighbors.

Places: the faded slate porch of an eyesore home

(Privately)Natalie just gets a quick look under, if possible. She has Night Vision and is mostly looking for anything out of the ordinary (and secretly, raccoons).

To Natalie: RACCOONS! OMG, there is a raccoon, who'd have thunk that?! It's making raccoony noises and washing its face near where the porch sags. It doesn't seem to notice Natalie, or if it does? It just cannot be bothered. There's also a lot of leaves and stuff, but they're clearly not as interesting as raccoons.

Natalie thinks; '*excited* oh my gosh oh my gosh i have to catch it!!'

To Natalie: It waddles a little, as raccoons are wont to do when they move, to find a new place to sit and wash its face again. Fastidiously clean creatures, those. Despite the dumpster diving...

Natalie snuffles suddenly and starts wagging its tail, shoving its head further under the porch -- though it's too big to get under.

Natalie thinks; '*defeat* i can't fit and i should be WORKING right now not...

 oh but it would taste so good...'

Drusilla pushes the door open. It creaks, as ominous houses are wont to do when doors are opened, before she moves back towards Flynn and the group. "After you all," she offers graciously, giving Shanie a smile as well. Individuals entering the house should open S and proceed.

Flynn opens the southern door.

Natalie feels hungry after shifting -- it takes a lot of energy to enact the

 changes to turn herself like this. But the group is moving on.

An Eerily Silent Foyer
Expansive in size, this foyer was once opulant, with hardwood flooring and beautiful Victorian paper on the walls in cream and gold. The vaulted ceiling makes space for a crystal chandelier that's long since become useless, covered in dust and cobwebs that hang spiders of all sizes, while polished cherry wood makes the arches that lead into the nearby hallways and sitting room to the west.

A long, mahogany buffet has been pulled in front of the sitting room and piled with marble statues, an inept attempt at hiding the room behind it from sight.

Flynn is standing here.
Natalie walks in from behind you.

Natalie pulls its head out and quickly scampers after Flynn before it's left behind.

Carth walks in from behind you.
Shanie walks in from behind you.

Shanie approaches Carth, arms still folded about her chest. Though she can not sense anything in the air, she does keep her eyes open and moving.

Natalie feels mildly distracted by the thought of a nice fresh raccoon. Mmmm.

 But, no. -Work.-

The floor creaks underfoot as everyone proceeds, shoes and canine claws clicking on the floor of the foyer. The house is dark, but not so dark that one can't see, and Drusilla Underwood has a flashlight to make it easier for everyone.

Carth takes up a position a step behind and a step to the side of Flynn. He glances over his shoulder and does a bare shake of a hand in greeting to Shanie. Little amusements aside, as they all cross the threshold of the house, he seems to perk up.

Acute Senses: There is something unsettling in the air, beneath the dust and general scent of mildew. Something rotted. There are places where the dust is disturbed, areas where footsteps - too small to be adult - have made their mark, both old and somewhat fresher. Past the creaking of the house, beyond the sound of the world outside and shattering the eerie silence of the foyer, the sound of a music box mingles with girlish sobs. It has no real direction to it, however. No way to tell where it comes from.

Filing into the house along with the rest of those present, Flynn catches Shanie out of the corner of his eye and gives her a business-like nod--little more than a tick of his chin. "Hey, Shanie," he greets quietly, almost in reverence of the abandoned house that surrounds them. It's after this that he turns his eyes to the place.

You show There are places where the dust is disturbed, areas where footsteps -

 too small to be adult - have made their mark, both old and somewhat fresher.
 to those with perception 2

Natalie is back at Flynn's side, muzzle to the ground as it sniffs quietly. It edges around, then lifts its head with a sudden forward perk of its ears and a low, soft growl.

Drusilla flashes the light around to show off the wealthy interior, catching sight of the dust on the floor, on the walls, on the stairs down the hall. It pauses on the barricaded room nearby.

Shanie creeps as silently as she is able to the table. If she heard Flynn, she at least acts like she doesn't, far as response. Though her facial expression certainly reveals that he'd been heard -- her lips turn into a frown that she purses thinly. After a moment of ignoring the formal, business-only greeting, and trying to peek around the buffet and marble statues, she asks Druscilla, "What's behind here, you know?"

Flynn thinks; 'Died of a heart attack, three years ago, and suddenly we're led

 here as part of a mysterious investigati-- Wait, what? Natalie thinks
 somethin's up?'

Drusilla shakes her head at Shanie. "No one's been in here yet, just outside. Sergeant Underwood is very fr--.. Supernatural anxious, he didn't want to risk it."

To Flynn: Something brushes against Flynn's arm, cool, but not like the wind. It's grave chill, and fleeting.

Carth dips his head and kneels down as he lays his duffel bag out on the floor. It seems to be an awkward little exchange between him the the bag, a long branch poking itself out from its edges as he fumbles with the strap of a headband before finally getting it loose and out. With a hmph, he extends the strap in front of him before pulling it over his head and doing what he can to assist Drusilla with brightening the dark house.

Carth gets a headband with a bright LED at its center from duffel bag.
Carth wears a headband with a bright LED at its center.

You show You sense something depart the foyer. to those with perception 2

Natalie feels yourself unconsciously filing away the fact that Carth is

 carrying a stick with him.

Natalie's growling seems to be what catches Flynn's attention. He paces slowly forward, deeper into the room, with carefully-laid footsteps. Those footsteps stop abruptly as his eyes dart suddenly to the side. A frown worms its way onto his lips, and he rubs at his arms, much the same as if he were chilly. "Probably... Probably all th'better, lass. Y'never know what's... goin' on, here..."

(to Natalie) (Privately)Somewhere in that look around, Flynn sets his eyes on Natalie expectantly. The frown he wears is probably familiar--he doesn't look endangered, he looks... well, creeped out, essentially. He doesn't say anything to her about it, however.

Flynn thinks; 'Ugh, I already don't like this place... Something's fishy, here,

 and it has nothing to do with raccoons, damnit.'

Shanie turns to face Drusilla, and in that process, finally looks upon Flynn and Natalie. They're given a brief, curt nod, and she says, "Unfortunately, pretty sure we're going to need to move it..." She rummages through her bag and pulls out a small kit. It gets opened, and a pair of latex gloves are tugged on. She wiggles her fingers and pulls at the gloves to position them properly, then takes out a thin pen light. The light shone is blue, when she holds down on the pen top.

"Should we move it?" Drusilla asks the group, hanging back a little near the front door and appearing nervous. Oh so nervous.

Natalie's growls quiet, but it certainly seems less composed now, anxiety present in the way it prances slightly in place and tensely paces toward where Shanie is inspecting that buffet. It seems well-trained enough to not go poking around just yet while the kit is out, though.

(Privately)Flynn does look past his shoulder, in the moments following that eerie feeling. His gaze narrows, looking for something in the room behind him, or maybe to the side--he's not exactly sure, which leads to a lot of glancing around the place. (attempt to perceive the origin of that vaguely familiar, chilling feeling with perception (2) and clairvoyance (1))

(Privately)Natalie is hanging back for now, though she's keeping an ear out (heh) for if her positioning in the room is altering the distant sobs enough that she can triangulate a rough direction on it. Also -- what kind of statues are on the buffet, for curiosity's sake?

Something creaks in the room behind the buffet, the room not easily glimpsed past the statues.

Carth shoulders shift as the weight of the duffel bag resettles itself, eyes flicking towards where Shanie works with the table and the statues. He stays back near Drusilla, letting his gaze play across the room.

Slowly, Shanie scans over the wood of the buffet and the marble statues with her blue light. As this is happening, she is also digging around for containers to collect any sort of trace she might find, as well as fingerprint tape, some pink chalk, and finally, a small bottle of Luminol.

As the sobs continue, sometimes faint and almost impossible to hear and sometimes louder, but not so loud as to alert the rest, it becomes clear that some of them are coming from behind the buffet, which is piled with marble statues depicting tasteful nudes and some family busts.

(Privately)Carth is trying to spot out anything other than the obviously hidden door, guiding the light of his headlamp over the room in slow sweeps.

To Flynn: The chill fled to the west, fleeting though it was. It is, indeed, familiar - the chill of ghosts possessing a body, of ghosts in the room, of the dead during winter.

There's nothing. The hallway leads south, to the staircase, and a broken door to the east leads to a caved-in closet that can't be accessed. The rest of the house lies ahead, but this blocked archway stands alone.

Natalie's slightly oversized ears are swivelling and flicking before they perk straight toward the room behind the buffet. It paces behind Shanie, but keeps a respectful, non-pestering distance as the woman does her forensics magic. Eventually, it just stands there and stares at the wall behind the statues, glancing back to Flynn and Carth.

The wood is varnished oak, beautiful really if it weren't so old and poorly cared for. Dust has collected on it, a month's worth of dust, but the place where fingers once sat can be seen. Someone pushed this here, and then stacked the statues.

Natalie feels the thought that the sobs might be a trap not even cross her

 mind. There's a little girl, and she's hurt, and maybe it's Margery! Her best
 friend's real name is Margaret -- she's extra biased here.

There is no particular segueway into the question Flynn abruptly blurts out, though he does so slowly, uncertainly. "Did, ah.. Mister Hart.. have any next'f kin?" he wonders of Drusilla curiously. Although Shanie's work receives his attention, his feet edge slightly westward, towards the hallways. "Do y'know? I know th'house's been abandoned, but surely someone took care'f funeral arrangements, three years ago, right?"

When there is some movement behind the buffet, Shanie stiffens. She merely catches a glimpse of it, but its nothing that would give her any indication as to what it is. Her raspy voice lowers, "Something is back there..." She tries to, however, keep her focus on any kind of collection. She peeks behind her once, shining her light onto the men. "I found some fingerprints ..." She then peels the backing of her tape off, and despite the dust, brushes that away and replaces it with her pink chalk. She presses the tape down in order to collect the sample.

Flynn thinks; 'Fuck, -fuck-! Creepy as shit... And I don't have a fucking clue

 how to banish them, either. Please, be a friendly ghost? Like, uh.. fucking
 Casper? Or Kaine? (And not the vengeful wraith of, say, a murdered little
 girl?)'

Drusilla stands by, looking relieved that Shanie is ready to take a hold of the forensics work, leaving her free to continue holding her flashlight and staying out of harms way. "The big fellow asked most of the questions, did any of you have any other ones?" she asks, her eyes darting around in the foyer as things creak, the sounds of phantom life in the house. At Flynn's inquiry, the woman blinks her eyes and turns her head up as she thinks. "He had a sister, but she and her husband died in a car accident. Their daughter came to live with him... But she disappeared, and social services had no records on her. Unfortunately, Mister Hart wasn't a very good guardian."

Natalie thinks; '*proudly* Shanie is really smart... i didn't even think about

 fingerprints...'

Drusilla adds, quieting as Shanie speaks, "They believed she ran away, as did he."

Flynn thinks; '...Wow, that is some incredibly bad luck. Or a really fucking

 weird string of coincidences.'

To Shanie: A perfect sample, a definite whorl from someone's left hand, forefinger through ring finger and a partial thumb.

Natalie thinks; '*mildly, distantly regretful* A lot of death... a lot of

 sadness...'

Carth shakes his head as he continues to survey the room, stepping away from the door to join the others. As he approaches, he nudges Flynn with an elbow. "You hear that, right?" His voice is kept quiet, almost a whisper, sounding just a tad concerned.

Natalie whines, quietly, just after Carth's words. It's back to pacing a bit with the quiet skittery-click of claws, staring intently at the buffet.

"Not a peep," Flynn replies to Carth, though he gestures Natalie's way. "Missy was growlin', though. Maybe sh'heard whatever y'think y'did?" he suggests. Shanie's announcement of fingerprints calls his attention in that direction, though. "Good work, lass. There's, ah.. definitely some creepy shit, here."

Shanie presses the back of the tape down, sealing that perfect sample of a partial handprint with fingerprints included. "Drusilla? I may want to run by your facilities in a while, if ..." She says nothing more after the if. "I'd like to run this through Aye Eh Ef, Aye, Ess."

It's sudden. The door slams open as a gust of wind blows through, banging shut again afterwards. One of the marble statues falls from the pile near Shanie's feet and smashes. Drusilla jumps, letting out a shriek of shock and dropping her flashlight. It isn't until she's collected it and managed to compose herself that she nods at Shanie. "Of course..."

Acute Hearing: The sobbing fluctuates, from very faint to louder, but not audible to normal ears. It seems, at times, to come from the nearby room.

Natalie jumps back like a startled cat -- or in this case, a dog... or forensics girl -- with a yelp that mirrors Drusilla's.

Shanie is not prepared for the sudden gust of wind that sends the statue down, and the dust and cobwebs through the air. She stiffens, and actually begins to reach for her guitar case with a step back from the now shattered marble at her feet. She, however, stops herself and just exhales. "Just ... the ... wind."

Flynn tenses suddenly, eyes rapidly flitting over to the door as it slams shut and startled most of those present. "Jesus fuckin'..." he starts to complain. "Aye, just th'wind... Y'want help movin' this thing?" he asks, gesturing to the buffet.

Shanie says, simply, 'Yes. I ... I can't.'

Carth leaps and twists as a door slams, his duffel bag swinging wide around him as he does. The light from his headband sweeping back towards the door before he lets out a squeak of a laugh, eyes wide. "Yeah." He replies after the others. "The wind..."

Flynn thinks; 'Just the wind, my ass.'

Natalie shrinks down a bit, scuttling back over to Flynn and Carth to cower over there, between them. Its tail is between its legs, ears canted back unhappily, before they swing forward toward teh buffet again.

Flynn feels a shiver and the raising of goosebumps along your arms.

Drusilla presses her palm to where her heart is, scooting over towards Flynn and Carth much like Natalie does. Solidarity in hiding behind the menfolk, after all. "Be careful, it looks heavy.."

Flynn steps forward and gestures for Carth to join him. "C'mon, buddy, let's move this thing aside," he tells the man. "Shanie's right, an' I got a weird feelin' somethin's back there, m'self."

Natalie thinks; 'Flynn and Carth are big and have guns... scary wind... just

 the wind... only the wind...'

Shanie seems to be the female not cowering, despite the rapid beat of her heart, apparent maybe from the red of her cheeks. She begins to try and lift a statue and move it elsewhere. Its a smaller one. "So it is believed that they just ... ran off? What about the ... the other girls?" Her voice is a quiet murmur.

"The other girls were definitely kidnapped. It started... January? Early January, a five year old. She just disappeared off her school playground," Drusilla explains to Shanie, watching the men do their thing near the statue-laden buffet. "Then a six year old from her backyard, a seven year old from a ballet recital, an eight year old from a bus stop waiting to go home, a nine year old and a ten year old, both walking home from school. All with brown hair, all with green eyes."

Carth gives Flynn a disbelieving look as the man volunteers him, face screwing up into something resembling anger until... Well, until he remembers just how many women are in the room with him. "We got this." The words much more confident than the way he approaches the statues gives off. Slipping his duffle bag from his shoulder, he approaches the opposite side of whatever statue the bigger man chooses. Before beginning to lift, he pauses and glances towards Drusilla. "six, seven, eight, nine and ten? When were they each taken?"

The statue Shanie moves is easily moved by the woman. It's not very heavy. The other ones? They're probably heavier. Some of them are large busts, after all. Strength 2 to drag the buffet and lose a few statues in the process. Multiple characters can band together to move it with more ease.

Drusilla brings her hand to her mouth, chewing at a fingernail nervously. "Well, at first it started slowly. January 3rd, then January 16th, then February 2nd. The latest ones have been much closer together, Magdalena went missing just a week ago."

Natalie probably weighs less than several of the larger statues -- it comes up knee-high to Flynn and thigh-high to Shanie.

To Flynn: There it is again, the chill. This time it grabs Flynn's hand, it clings, it's just a minute. Then it's gone again, the chill fading to the west.

Shanie shines her light on some of the busts. "To be so rich," is stated, quietly, though she doesn't actually -look- jealous. She's looking at the features of the busts. "All brown hair and green eyes ... anything else that ties them together. Minus sequential ages..."

Carth lets out a soft breath after Drusilla speaks up, nodding his head slowly as he considers the words. He turns back to Flynn and rubs the palms of his hands together before bending to grab one end of one of the statues.

Flynn starts to put his weight into moving the buffet, but that attempt ends without warning, he paling and looking to his hand. "....Aye, get th'statues first," he covers, when he realizes he hasn't moved in a moment or two. He puts his effort into attempting to preserve some of the statues before they move the buffet.

Carth thinks; 'Kids... There has to be something here, something i'm missing.

 Brown hair, green eyes. one year apart in ages.'

Our Boys Are Tough! The combined efforts of the men successfully moves the buffet, with only minimal statue lost. A tasteful nude of Venus crashes to the floor and her arm breaks off, but that's all.

"Not really. They all have good home lives, both parents. Some have siblings, some don't." Drusilla gives Shanie a look of apology at having no further information.

(Privately)After the busts have been moved, Carth gives each a quick look over and a nudge with his knuckles to see if there are any moveable parts within.

The statues are just statues. Cold, hard, white marble.

Flynn thinks; 'It's... trying to get me to follow it, maybe? (Fuck, this is

 creepy! Why can't CARTH see ghosts? Fucking hell.) Okay, so we'll see what's
 up back here, and then I'll nudge us westward. Calm down, ghost.'

With the hard work taken care of by those who weigh somewhere in the triple digits, Natalie rises from its seat to go investigate whatever is uncovered by moving the buffet, hopping nimbly over the cracked remains of the first statue and the wayward Venusian arm.

Carth grunts and groans and just plainly does not make moving statues look pleasant in the least. Once they're out of the way, he walks around the buffet tables rapping his knuckle against each of their heads before looking down at the bust of Venus. Sighing, he nudges it with a toe. "What were their names again?" He shoots at Drusilla as he moves back to his duffle, swinging it up and onto his shoulder before starting towards the next room.

"Penelope, Chelsea, Laura, Julia, Magdalena, and Margery - Margery is the most recent, she went missing a few days after Magdalena." Drusilla peeks over toward the now-revealed archway.

Natalie thinks; '*amused, fond* ...Carth is such a baby...'

Carth thinks; 'Penelope, Chelsea, Laura, Julia, Magdalena and Margery...

 Nothing, I see nothing.'

The nearby room smells rotten...

From Natalie's throat is another low growl and it takes a step back, though it still stays toward the front of the group that enters.

Carth drops his hand to the base of the stick that still sticks out of his bag as he rounds the buffet table and approaches the archway, eyes narrowed in concentration as he looks for whatever Shanie had seen earlier.

With the buffet dragged out of the way, Flynn brushes himself off and wipes his brow. "Sorry about th'bust, Hart," he offers up to the empty room around them. "I'm sure h'don't mind, though... Meanwhile, what's back there? Missy, y'got somethin'?"

Shanie slips in a bit closer to the archway, peering in as if to get some kind of indication of what she'd sensed earlier. She sucks on her bottom lip. "I'm not sure ... I just know I saw -something-. Like ... out of the corner of my eye..." She glances aside to Flynn then looks away just as quick, focusing the pen light into the room beyond.

It's a phantom breath, but a girlish laugh emits from the newly opened room, young and chased with fading speech: "Alright, Mister Butler, let's open the door for the party..."

The pen light reveals the faint outlines of furniture, the arrangement of a sitting room, a dollhouse - and something else, white fabric, hair? The longer the room remains revealed, the more the scent of decay filters out from it into the foyer for everyone to smell.

An Eerily Silent Foyer
Expansive in size, this foyer was once opulant, with hardwood flooring and beautiful Victorian paper on the walls in cream and gold. The vaulted ceiling makes space for a crystal chandelier that's long since become useless, covered in dust and cobwebs that hang spiders of all sizes, while polished cherry wood makes the arches that lead into the nearby hallways and sitting room to the west.

A long, mahogany buffet has been pulled in front of the sitting room and piled with marble statues, an inept attempt at hiding the room behind it from sight.

Carth slides into the room. Neither foot fully lifting from the ground as he moves through the archway, the light from his headband hopefully doing a touch more to illuminate the room ahead of him and the source of the smell of decay.

Though more than eager to head for the opening at first, Natalie paces in place, whining low in its throat as its ears pin back against its skull and it instead opts to remain close to Flynn.

Flynn opts to step closer to the archway, though obviously lets Carth and Shanie lead the way, if desired, with their headlamps and forensics pen-lights.

Natalie feels it all, belatedly, click into place. Only small footprints. But,

 wait... aw, fuck.

Shanie covers her mouth and nose with a hand, holding her breath. With her free hand, she digs in her kit and pulls out a small little bottle of some kind of ointment, it gets placed under her nostrils, and then she procures a mask, tying it in place. She clears her throat and looks behind her to those by her.

Drusilla gags audibly and covers her mouth with her hand, flashlight fumbling when she turns away from the rest.

The Sitting Room: Penelope's Dollhouse
This room was once a sitting room, as evidenced by the silk-covered chaise and various sofas and chairs that are placed tastefully about. A brick fireplace dominates the southern wall and thick curtains leave the room without outside light at the north and west. In the center of the room sits a well-appointed dollhouse, a miniature of the home it resides in. What ruins the serene picture the room is possessed of has been situated just near the dollhouse, her legs curled and body leaning against it as if in the middle of play; she's been dead for nearly a month, a child of perhaps five.

Extra: a perfect dollhouse of the home in miniature, cradled by a corpse

Natalie thinks; '*apprehensively* ...what if the heavy

 stuff was there to keep her /in/, and not us /out/...?'

Shanie leads the way in, keeping her light focused on the fabric she'd swept over. And the hair. She squints, the closer she may get to said object.

Like much of the house, this room is cold, but less dank than the nearby foyer, made warmer by the furnishings and a phantom touch from a long-dead fire in the fireplace.

Flynn tried to be strong, but the smell is too much--he lifts the collar of his shirt, attempting to cover his nose. "Oof..." he remarks in response to the stench, eyes squinting as he peers into the parts of the room illuminated by the group's lights.

Natalie feels super grateful she's not a human right now, or the smell of decay

 would probably make her throw up. Like this, though, it just triggers
 deeply-ingrained warning flags -- danger, wariness, and... okay, probably a
 little hunger. Don't judge, coyotes can be carrion-eaters.

The lights sweep over the room, revealing more of the furniture, the walls, the curtains, the dollhouse, the little girl. The winter's been exceptionally cold, and perhaps it's a good thing that the house isn't heated; the decay isn't as bad as it might have been otherwise, but she is - quite clearly - deceased...

Shanie holds the little jar of methol smelling ointment to her group, gesturing it between Carth and Flynn. She looks down at Natalie, biting her lip beneath the mask she wears.

Drusilla, weak-stomached as she is, didn't come with the group this time. In fact, one can hear retching in the nearby foyer.

The need to keep a hand on a weapon is forgotten as the stench hits Carth full force, he doubles over and immediatly is pressing a fist against his lips. The force of his gags taken as if each is a blow to the stomach.

Natalie doesn't really look all that disgusted by the smell -- it's not wrinkling its nose or trying to cover it -- but that doesn't mean its posture is relaxed in the slightest. If anything, its ears are flicking around, and it's pacing, clearly looking for /something/.

Another phantom laugh drifts into hearing, audible to even those without such clear views of the source. The air around Flynn grows cold for a moment, affecting everyone near him, before it fades.

To Natalie: A grave chill seeps into Natalie's skull as something unseen pats her between the ears! A small hand?

To Flynn: Once more, something clings to Flynn's hand before releasing quickly, bone-chilling. This time, it doesn't seem to leave the sitting room.

Natalie thinks; '*puzzled, having to work through the thoughts a little harder

 than if she weere in human shape* ...where's the girl...? that girl's dead...
 there's no girl... but i hear a...  *instant relief, then just as sudden dread
 at the chill* girl??'

Natalie flinches, muzzle lifting from the floor as it suddenly turns a quick, startled circle.

Flynn approaches Shanie and makes use of the smelling ointment, relieving himself from the smell right about the time everything chills, near him. He freezes, in an entirely different sense. "...Guys..." he murmurs, sounding a bit concerned. His eyes, once more, flick to his empty hand.

Flynn thinks; 'You're still here, aren't you? That's you, right over there,

 isn't it?'

Flynn feels a faint wave of nausea, not brought on by the smell so much as the

 notion of what he is in the presence of.

Flynn thinks; 'Why? What happened?'

You show This room hasn't been entered in a long time. Dust coats everything.

 There are no footprints. The dead girl is all that's there, clutching the
 butler doll for the dollhouse. A dead end... to those with perception 2

Carth takes longer than the others to recover from the revulsion of the stench in the room, eyes watering heavily as he finally looks up to Shanie and takes a dap of the offered ointment on the tip of his finger. Smearing it beneath his nose, he takes in a series of short, heavy breaths in an attempt to clear away the remnants of that reek. The shiver that runs through him, finds him stiffening eyes nervously scanning the area around them before looking to Flynn. "What...?"

Natalie feels wholly conflicted. On one hand, this is not right at all. On the

 other, she wants to save the girl! It did not occur to her at all that it
 might be a Bad girl.

Natalie gives a tense, anxious look around before slinking toward the corpse -- its posture is low, ears back, but it seems to be focusing on the morbid scene.

Shanie closes the container, slowly, as her eyes scan the room. The hair on her arms has risen, from the phantom laugh and the obvious change in temperature. She, doesn't, however, try to let it affect her, despite she is clearly tensed. She approaches the poor, deceased child. "I felt it .."

Natalie thinks; '*sympathy* ...she is so /little/...'

Natalie settles at Shanie's side, sitting, and glances up at her face intently before getting near enough to disturb the corpse.

"Sh'still here," Flynn announces, keeping his voice low enough to be between them only. He finishes smearing the ointment and blinks a few times, before following Shanie's lead on approaching the body. "Shanie, can... can y'tell what happened?" he wonders, absently reaching down to scritch Natalie between the ears as he stares onwards at the deceased girl.

Though dead, this girl is set carefully. Her skin is unbruised, save the finger marks around her neck, slender fingers. Someone brushed her hair before they placed her, tended her dress, placed her with care around the dollhouse. This death was not done by brutal, unloving hands.

Shanie crouches before the deceased girl. The blue light of her pen scans over the girl's face, and lingers on her neck. "Suffocation..."

Natalie feels more things click into place at Flynn's words. Flynn is good at

 ghosts -- he'd said something in that same tone when she'd asked last night
 about Kaine's ghost. Maybe this is a ghost. Ghost girl. But she's confused...

Natalie thinks; '*uncertain* ...are we supposed to be saving the ghost girl

 now...? this one's dead... it's too late for this one...'

Shanie says, with a raspy, southern Californian inflection, 'Whoever did it is ... They're corporeal.'

Flynn thinks; 'And what was with that voice, too? When we opened this place up,

 at first. Something about a party?'

Natalie presses its head a little into Flynn's scratching fingers, though its tail certainly isn't wagging by now. Most of its attention is on Shanie, wary but rapt, absorbing her words.

Carth is blinking away the moisture in his eyes as he moves about the room, eyes avoiding the corpse of the dollhouse for now. Instead, he buries himself into finding something, anything to keep his mind off the fact that there is the body of a child in the room with him.

Shanie lifts a brow up and though the question may be posed to Flynn, she looks at Carth instead, for one reason or another. "Unless spirits can leave fingerprints."

"Young--She's probably Penelope, th'five year old... or maybe Chelsea, th'six year old. Can't b'older'n that, I'd wager," Flynn suggests to Shanie. "So w'can probably guess th'other five'r dead, too... An' no. Th--" he stops answering, when he glances upwards and realizes Carth was addressed, not he.

(Privately)Natalie mentally moves on from the fact that there's a dead body here relatively quickly, it's filed away and any residual pity for the shell dismissed. She's got a job, damn it.

To Shanie: Something cold touches Shanie's wrist, following her hand, following her fingers to the pen light. It's a curious something that fades shortly after coming.

Shanie peers at Flynn briefly, eyes dropping to the hand that is scritching behind Natalie's ears, then away to the girl once again. She says, simply, "I didn't think so ..." She tilts her head, and says, after a clearing of her throat, "They cared enough to brush her hair, dress her, place her ..."

Shanie pulls away quickly after the study of the girl, she clutches her hand. As if burned, or frozen. Or simply touched.

Acute Hearing: There it is again, the soft sobs, this time with laughter, backed by the faint tinkling of a music box... It all comes from the house beyond the archway. None of it comes from this room any longer.

Natalie feels herself picking up on some of the ~drama~, but she's more or less

 ambivalent. She's completely unaware that she might be a factor in it, either
 -- that whole thing holds her interest far less than the raccoon did. The
 raccoon she's -certainly- not letting distract her anymore.

To Natalie: And that raccoon is probably under the porch still. Washing its face. Mocking you with its waddling, hiding where the porch sags. Smug little bastard...

(Privately)Is there anything Carth might find the room?

Natalie takes a step back and whines, ears turning a half-second before its head does. It leaves the others, trotting back toward the archway with the same single-minded interest of any canine focused on something.

Natalie feels drawn to the sobbing, fixating on it. She's gullible as hell.

Natalie takes a step back and whines, ears turning a half-second before its head does. It leaves the others, trotting back toward the archway with the same single-minded interest of any canine focused on something.

"Or maybe they're just sick enough t'care f'their victi--" Flynn starts to say, though his face twists downwards in what looks like a grim enlightenment. "Fuck. Th'lass said Hart had a neice't ran away, right? Supposedly?" he inquires. "Y'don't think this's a case'f someone actin' out'r somethin', targetin' girls wh'look like her?" As if more clarification was needed, he adds: "I... don't think Hart's abandoned th'house, t'be honest, lad'n lasses."

There's nothing here. The dead girl is it, no suspect, no zombies behind furniture, nothing. This room has no other entrances, and all of the dust - except what's been churned up by the group - indicates it hasn't been entered for quite some time. Perhaps as long as the girl's been dead.

Shanie says, still holding her hand, 'I don't think his niece has, either. Maybe its a case of ... giving her playmates.'

Natalie thinks; '*strayly, mentally imitating Flynn* ...lad'n lass'n lassie...'

Carth wanders through the room feeling over the covered furniture and just busying himself through searching. When nothing comes from it, well nothing more than dust and disappointment, he finally manages to approach the group gathered around the corpse. Sucking in a heavy breath, he finally looks down at the macabre sight.

Natalie feels amused

The room grows eerily still. The chill is still there, the chill of winter seeping through floorboards, of wind creeping in around the windows. The curtains move, just barely. But that's all, it's a quiet room. The house around it creaks.

Natalie feels like she doesn't want to be in this room any longer -- she wants

 to explore more. Now how to tell that to the others...?

Nearby, the front door slams open again with wind. Drusilla, it's probably Drusilla, lets out another shriek!

Natalie feels sudden alarm, concern for Drusilla.

Natalie paces by the archway restlessly, scratching at the corner before craning its head expectantly toward the three others. It whines, for good measure.

Flynn starts to open his mouth to speak, eyes flicking to Shanie and an agreeing nod being given just before that shriek. Not surprisingly, he turns and rushes back to the room they'd just left Drusilla alone in.

Shanie is in the process of trying to get a good sample of prints from the child's neck when the door slams. It sends her standing upright. Though it could have been the shriek.

Flynn opens the eastern door.

Carth had been leaning in, tilting his eyes to look at the toy house while trying to avoid focusing on the girl's corpse. The loud crack of the door slamming has him leaping. "Oh, Gods..."

An Eerily Silent Foyer
Expansive in size, this foyer was once opulant, with hardwood flooring and beautiful Victorian paper on the walls in cream and gold. The vaulted ceiling makes space for a crystal chandelier that's long since become useless, covered in dust and cobwebs that hang spiders of all sizes, while polished cherry wood makes the arches that lead into the nearby hallways and sitting room to the west.

A long, mahogany buffet has been pulled in front of the sitting room and piled with marble statues, an inept attempt at hiding the room behind it from sight.

Carth walks in from behind you.
Shanie walks in from behind you.

Drusilla has the door pressed shut. She's leaning on it, pale, flashing her flashlight down the hallway.

As soon as the group has started eastbound, Natalie is darting ahead, clicking claws heralding her arrival as it makes a bee-line for Drusilla.

Natalie thinks; '*concerned* ...is she okay...?'

To Natalie: Drusilla looks alright. Scared, mostly. She smells scared too.

Shanie flanks the group as they reenter, closing the tape down on another fingerprint sample. The aim of Drusilla's light has her shining her own blue LED light down the hallway, as well. "Are you .... alright?"

Silence reigns over the sitting room. Now, the faint sound of the music box and the laughter, the tears, they all come from further down the hallway.

"F.. Fine. Something.. Something touched me, that's all." Drusilla rubs at her wrist as she says it, sucking in a breath and moving away from the door.

Natalie turns a little circle around Drusilla's calves, nosing them in a light, perhaps comforting way, before -- for whatever reason -- it seems satisfied.

Looking concerned, Flynn steps back into the living room, though he doesn't go quite so far as to run all the way up to Drusilla. "Probably th'same thing I felt," he mentions. "Somethin's been tuggin't m'this whole time, tryin' t'get me t'go down th'hallway..."

Shanie comments, "Its an old house ... it might have just been a cobweb.."

Drusilla reaches down, just briefly, enough to pat Natalie on top of the head. She nods at Flynn, clearing her throat softly, then agrees with Shanie. "Right, probably."

Natalie thinks; '*relieved* ...person not dead... check.'

Shanie peers up at Flynn and shakes her head slightly.

You show You sense something leave the foyer. to those with perception 2

To Flynn: Another chill, this time with more energy, breezes past Flynn on his left, heading down the hallway.

Natalie's fretting is short-lived, and soon enough its muzzle is to the ground, trotting steps taking it across the room toward the hallway after Flynn's words.

Shanie aims her light down the hallway again, taking a few small steps that direction.

Flynn eyes Shanie, eyes narrowing for a moment before he shuffles off, moving for the hallway himself. "W'found th'body'f one'f th'missin' girls," he comments in passing Drusilla.

Carth has lost all desire to want to lead, once again his hand falling down to grasp the end of the branch poking out of his duffle bag. A strange sort of amusement flitters across his features as he looks at Drusilla.

"O-oh.. Body?" Drusilla looks crushed, but quickly tries to shove the emotion from her face, wiping her hand against her cheek. "That's.. That's unfortunate." She begins to follow Flynn down the hallway herself.

Shanie's pen light reveals the baulstrade of the staircase, an empty hallway, a door - typical parts of the house, through the haze of dust.

A Dank Hallway & Curving Staircase
Like the foyer, this hall was once very nice to behold, done in Victorian fashions that have long since faded. Dust coats most surfaces, including the baulstrade of the curving staircase that leads up into other rooms of the building.

A glossed, oak wood archway leads towards the dining room, and a door leads out to the backyard further down the hall. The dining room is inaccessible, partially caved in.

Shanie nods to Drusilla, "It is, but I've done some collection ... they left fingermarks." She clears her throat again and looks at Flynn, giving a huff or sigh, or a huffed-sigh, at him and his narrowed gaze.

An energetic laugh brightens the room, fading near the door further down the hall.

Drusilla opens her mouth to answer, the laugh causing her words to die in her throat as she blinks, horrified and startled.

Flynn feels nervousness beginning to mix with amusement: are these really all

 that frightening? Or are they merely.. disconcerting and unnerving?


 Shanie picks her phone off of her hip

and mutters, "I should change that ringtone.."

The music comes from all sides, the sobs fading, replaced with laughter that centers around the door.

"Carth, keep y'eyes peeled. Shanie, keep y'kit ready, I'm sure there'll b'more evidence somewhere around here," Flynn says, turning his eyes to Shanie as he makes that suggestion. "Missy, c'mere! Y'might just smell any more bodies before w'do. Dru? ... Try t'stay calm, lass."

Carth rubs a knuckle against his ears, looking at the others in the room as if something were wrong with them. "Can you not hear that?" He asks again, sounding irritated and worried. Still pressing a hand against his ear, he starts moving towards the hallway, eyes focused on the door at its end.

This is an unusual place in the house. The chill comes from all sides, disappearing in different places. North, to the foyer. Southwest, to the door. Up, along the staircase. So many places to go, though one of them has already been seen.

Drusilla just nods dumbly at Flynn, clutching her chest anxiously and letting the professionals do their job.

Shanie thinks; 'Missy ...? Why is she Missy and not lass?'

Natalie thinks; '*relieved at a job* ...okay, bodies! I'm good at smelling.'

Natalie quickly joins Flynn's side, then heads forward, along the edge of the hall. It zigs and zags across the corridor in a precise, practiced pattern, nose to the ground.

(Privately)Ignoring the creepy laughs toward the door just for this moment, Natalie is on body-finding duty, focusing particularly on any either rotting smells or signs of potential life.

To Natalie: Canine noses are interesting things. Unfortunately, this is an odd place in the house - the smells come from all sides, mostly dust, mostly mildew. Stronger decay comes from the door further down the hall, though this same smell (like the sitting room, but not so powerful) drifts down the staircase as well...

Shanie looks aside to Drusilla, having not actually done a thing with her phone, despite her claim after the chilling laugh.

"Depends, Carth. What're y'hearin'?" Flynn asks the man, pausing briefly. He squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, shivering before he continues. "Somethin' up ahead'r somethin' up above?"

It's on all sides. It drifts down the staircase, fainter than it does the door further down the hall. It fades, in and out, even to Carth's hearing.

Natalie circles toward the stairs, taking the first few before trotting back down and sitting at the bottom as it looks toward Flynn, whuffing low in its throat. It rises, heading for the far door, and repeats the motion -- sitting, staring, and a low bark.

Carth brings his hand down from his ear and motions towards the door before sweeping his arm around himself, including the whole room. "It's... crying and laughing and... Music." He sounds confused by it, annoyed perhaps. "Its here and its not... It's right there..."

Something prompts a frown out of Flynn, even in the split second before Carth speaks. It lingers, however, in light of the man's words. "Aye, could've sworn I heard a little girl, earlier," he says, tossing his gaze over to Natalie before continuing forward. "Let's clear this floor before goin' up. I'm expectin' t'find five more bodies, sad's that'll be..."

Shanie shines her light down the hall to the door, focusing on the handle. She heads that way.

Natalie feels a hint of regret -- more bodies. That will be Bad...

Much like the buffet earlier, this door has the marks of someone's fingers, untouched for quite some time. The door isn't locked, but it's also not broken like the front door. It shuts completely, and seems to lead into the backyard. The silhouette of a willow tree can be seen when the light hits the window, small as the light might be.

Natalie trails along with Shanie, keeping near the woman as it follows her to the door at the end of the hall.

Flynn opens the southwestern door.

The Backyard: Chelsea's Hideout
A sweeping willow tree dominates the backyard, the remains of a treehouse tangled up in the branches. The leftovers of winter's recent snowfall still rest on top of the dying grass, the sandbox, the windowsills - it could almost be picturesque if it weren't for what's sitting in the tree as well; dressed in a green jumper, about to step into the miniature hideout, is another dead girl, this one perhaps six.

Shanie crouches down by the door and takes another dusting and sample of the prints there. Then, on the uprise, she goes to open it, though Flynn beats her there.

Boy, it's cold outside, isn't it? The branches of the willow tree sway and caress the ground beneath the tips as a chilled wind brushes through the area to ruffle hair and sweep clothing.

To Shanie: A perfect thumbprint, and the ridges of someone's slender fingers.

Shanie peers down at the print, "I'm going to have to go with child here ... or young adult. Its a thumb but very slender..." Her light is then pinpointed on the willow. "If there's a swing..." she starts but doesn't finish, glancing down at Natalie, "Smell anything?"

Because it's outside, the smell of decay is less overpowering, though Drusilla still doesn't join the group. Unfortunately, because it's outside, the lights that touch the branches of the willow tree reveal the corpse is in much worse condition than the girl with her dollhouse...

Natalie feels unable to fully dismiss this scene with her coyote side. The dull

 eyes, the frozen stance, the marked innocence -- the humanity you cling to
 shudders, stabbed in the gut with a knife of dread.

Death is here, amongst the fresh air, the smell of decayed plants, the smell of decayed flesh, the smell of nature.

Carth is the first to approach the tree itself, head lifted to look at the girl who, excluding the decaying factor, might just be playing on the treehouse. "Why...".

Natalie's head angles up toward the corpse in the tree, ears perked straight forward, and it whines very softly.

Much like the sitting room, this space becomes silent as it's entered. No laughter. No sobs. No music. Only the sound of the world, branches rustling from the forest beyond the fenced in backyard, leaves rustling, wind.

The tree isn't particularly high, making it perfect for children who want to play in it - furthered by the ruined treehouse that rests in the branches. Oak boards painted gold, black trim, the windows even have draping cotton curtains patterned with leaves. Inside is a table and chairs near the kitchen counters, and a small bed with aged bedding, as if someone were prone to spending the evening amongst the branches. The door is opened by the corpse in the branches, as if the girl were about to step inside.

Her hair is brown, and her eyes were green though now are left muted by time and greying. She's dressed in a jean jumper, brighter than the surrounding foliage that remains, and white sneakers. Perhaps she was six, at the most, at the time of her death.

Shanie calls out over her shoulder, "Drusilla? When did Mister Hart lose his niece? What age was she too?" The blue light is turned and twisted upward to the little treehouse, and subsequently, the little girl.

From back in the safety of the old, decrepit manor, Drusilla's voice comes. "I believe the reports said she was eleven when she went missing. Nine when her parents were killed."

"W'found another!" Flynn additionally announces to their less hearty companion, as he takes a few steps closer to the treehouse, eyes staring up at the girl with a sad look. "This's... terrible. Why th'fuck..? If only sh'could tell us."

The curtains in the treehouse flutter as another breeze of wind passes through.

Carth runs his hand along the bark of the willow, eyes finally dragging away from the corpse to look at the tree itself. Dropping his duffle bag onto the ground, he finds a spot where his foot might catch and launches himself upwards arms extending to catch an edge and pull himself up.

Flynn thinks; 'She could, if she could take control of one of us. (If you can

 hear me, DO IT! Use me! Tell us what happened to you! I won't mind, lass.
 Y'didn't deserve this.)'

Natalie feels relieved that Carth is doing the climbing. She's more than happy

 to stay down here -- maybe she could manage to get up there, too, with a low
 enough branch, or a shallow enough slant, but fuck that noise.

The cause of death is obvious with this one. Her neck is mangled, not from suffocation, but a break. Despite that, much like the first little girl, this one was cared for. Her hair is tidy in her decay, and her clothing might have been nice before the weather got to it.

Carth manages to climb up easily. The tree is squat, perfect for children to climb and play, the branches thin and whip-like, lacking leaves in winter and making for easy movement out of the man's way.

Shanie glances down at Natalie and nods faintly, "I know..." she near whispers. The fluttering of the curtains catches her attention, though, and with a long sigh, she starts to the tree. "There might be ..." She looks back at Drusilla, clenching her right fist briefly. "I'm going to climb up and take a look." Her eyes close briefly before testing a little ladder leading up.

With Carth already climbing, Shanie backs away.

What's that? Less fleeting, something embraces Flynn's arm, still cold. Then it's gone again, but it doesn't seem to leave the backyard.

Carth gulps, the climb up having only distracted him during the well... climb. "What... Should I lower her?" There is nothing hopeful about his tone, terrified is more like it. Pushing passed the though, he lifts his gaze to look at the treehouse itself, head bobbing as he tries to direct the lighlt of his headlamp into it.

This was a nice treehouse, once, painted pink and white and purple. There's still furniture in it, but it's been ravaged by time and wear. Like the sitting room, it seems to lack use, and has lacked use for quite some time.

Flynn glances down at his right arm, eyes downcast towards the ground. "I'm sorry," he quietly says, before crouching down. "Are y'able t'talk?" He speaks as if a little girl were immediately nearby. "Y'could speak t'us, little lass, if y'want. It's okay. What's y'name?"

The breeze blows again, more like a phantom exhale, brushing hair back and swaying the branches of the willow tree whimsically.

Natalie's ears flick toward Flynn, and it tears its gaze away from Carth to look toward the former curiously.

The breeze carries syllables, a soft sigh, a name: Chelsea.

Shanie responds to Carth, "Bring her ... " Though, she is caught off guard by Flynn, much like Natalie, and shifts her attention his way.

Shanie thinks; 'Why he would not talk to me about this .... I bet /Natie/ knew

 before me.'

Carth is leaning over the little girls body, peeking into the treehouse before that breeze rolls in. Slowly, and losing what little color he had, he looks down at the girl taking in the whole sight of her. Before making any move to touch, he just lets himself take in the sight of the decomposing child. "Chelsea..." He whispers.

Chelsea doesn't look pleasant to touch. She was a petite girl, pretty even, if one can get past the decay of her skin and the sunken look of her face paired with the bloated look of her body. There are no maggots, luckily, but she almost appears slimy and she's clearly begun rotting in the full definition of the word.

To Natalie: There it is again! The chill sets in as someone gives Natalie's left ear a tug, playful, coy, energetic! (There's also probably a raccoon somewhere nearby, washing its face. They work in tandem.)

Flynn looks up at Carth when that man whispers, following the eerie breeze and silence. "Th'best thing w'can do f'these girls's try'n figure out what happened t'them, an' maybe put a stop to't," he says quietly, as well. "Shanie, see what y'can find, before w'head up. There's still four more..."

Natalie feels a little less startled and scared by the tug this time, though

 the alarm is there in a quick burst like before, set on edge by the chill. But
 Flynn's comforting of the ghost is making you feel a little more keen on the
 whole incorporeal communication thing.

The sound of soft sobs comes from the open door, a woman's sobs. Drusilla's taking this moment alone to its full advantage, trying to be whisper quiet.

Shanie calls over to Carth, chewing first on her bottom lip before she even does so. "Is there ... anything in the treehouse?"

Carth steps away from the girls body, flicking his arms out in front of him and shaking his head. His fists clench and release, clench and release. "Oh, gods." He mutters, shooting a glance at those still on the ground, before slipping his sweater off of his back and doing his best to wrap it around his arms. "I'm sorry." He mutters to the girl's body as he turns his head away and wraps his sweater covered arms around the child with the intention of crading her.

Natalie twists around suddenly, head cocked -- almost a bounce, really. Its coppery-yellow eyes search, catching the from various sources in the reflective layer in the back, and it bounds forward a bit with a soft ruff.

Chelsea's skin sloughs off, just a little bit, as she's touched. It gives her a sagging look, it can be felt through the sweater. She's ice cold.

Natalie thinks; '*searching vaguely, sent out -- much like her telepathy -- and

 as such, it follow the same rules, the same simplifications* ...hello...!
 ...where did you go...? ...are we playing a game...?'

To Natalie: Ear replaced with tail? That gets tugged too, another fleeting, exuberant moment of energy.

Natalie feels like you'd much rather be playing a game right now than searching

 for sad, sad bodies. The distraction is welcome.

Shanie waits for Carth to approach so that she might examine the small body of the girl. She seems to be fussing around in her kit longer. "They're just kids..."

If anything, Natalie seems to be in some sort of ridiculous canine fit of playfulness, whirling around like it's chasing its tail, ears perked with interest.

The climb down from the treehouse is an awkward one, mostly revolving around keeping Carth's balance as he attempts to treat the ladder as if it were stairs. Just verticle stairs using only his heel... That isn't including the fact that he is carrying a rotting corpse laid across his extended arms.

To Natalie: Something small and fingery begins to scratch at Natalie's side. Scritch. Scritch. Scritch.

(Privately)It's inevitable -- Natalie's emotions are swayed as easily as the wind like this, and she's so easily forgiving. Creepy ghost girl? Oh, but it's petting her. Cold... but Sadie's fingers are cold, too. And like that, she outright likes the girl, ghost or not. Dumb dog.

Somewhere between the branches and the ground, closer to the ground than the branches, Carth breaks through one of the ladder rungs. Luckily, he manages to land unharmed, the little girl in his arms no more damaged than she was previously, though flesh sloughs off of her hand as it brushes awkwardly against a branch, revealing wet muscle.

Flynn grimaces and is forced to avert his gaze. "...Good job, Carth," he says over to the man, genuinely sounding gracious, but also sounding ready to move on. "I -really- hope a'least number six's alive..."

Shanie is caught temporarily off-guard by Natalie's antics, but she is soon sweeping the yard for any other signs or clues. Footprints, perhaps.

To Shanie: Nothing. Like the sitting room, no one has been out here in a long time. Nature has reclaimed it, and signs of life have been washed away.

To Natalie: A final tug to an ear tip, a pat between them, the chill fading with a fluctuatingly audible, "Good puppy..."

Natalie stretches languidly, its tail wagging for the first time since they got in this house -- and Carth's transportation of the decaying corpse doesn't draw much of its attention. It's certainly distracted by something, but doesn't seem frightened or bothered.

Carth lets out a muffled little squeel as the rung breaks beneath his feet, his eyes closing tightly as he just lets reflex take him the rest of the way down. As he hits, he bends his knees and leans forward as if prepared for a forward roll that he prevents. "Her name was Chelsea." He says when he finally speaks up, kneeling so he can gently lay the girl's body on the ground. "I think it was... I heard..."

Shanie turns back to Carth and the girl. Though she has to turn away, wiping at her eyes. "Penelope and Chelsea ..."

Natalie feels a swell of pleasure. Those words -- 'good girl', 'good puppy' --

 as much as your human form might take offense to the potential condecension,
 she does secretly love them, love the praise.

"I -did- ask," Flynn points out, though being able to put a name, for sure, to the girl retrieved from the treehouse doesn't make him look any less disheartened.

Blank eyes gaze up at the dark sky. They were green. Were. They're faded now, filmed over in death, grey and empty. Her face is sunken, her body has bloating to it. No maggots, but rotted, and it's clear to anyone looking that someone mangled her throat - not the bruised marks of suffocation, but something broken, something someone tried to fix. It looks awkward, a haphazard try, like when kids glue broken things back together hoping their parents won't find out.

Carth steps away from the body, leaving his sweater beneath the corpse, and turns his back on the others. He brushes his arms against his sides, trying to shake the feeling of the moving flesh on his arm. "Are you going to... You needed to look at her, right... Please tell me I didn't just do that for nothing."

Natalie comees to its senses somewhat, though it -- unlike the others, perhaps -- has actually perked up a bit, and it's with an easy gait that it pads over to Flynn's side to join the three humans.

Shanie bites down on her bottom lip as she studies the child. "I think its a ... child ..." The thumb print, the laughter, and now just the very appearance of the neck of the girl all leads to this conclusion. She gently wipes back the hair from the girl's forehead, and closes its milky eyes.

Natalie's return is welcomed by Flynn with a brushing motion of his hand over her fur, but it's brief, distracted. "Y'think sh'was killed by another child?" he asks Shanie, requesting clarification.

Natalie thinks; '*more enthusiastic, now* ...okay, we're going to save the

 ghost girl now, right? ...how do we save her... how do you save a ghost? can
 you save a ghost? *uncertainty*'

Shanie glances aside to Flynn and Natalie, "Yes."

Silence reigns. Like the sitting room, this part of the house is quiet, empty. Only the soft rustle of branches disturbs it.

Natalie lifts its head and angles it to nuzzle Flynn's fingers lightly, ears perked as it glances around, then over its shoulder toward the house.

Carth The conversation behind him is pushed to the back of his mind as he paces across the backyard, flinging his arms to his sides as if trying to clear away that feeling.

Shanie speaks more to Carth, and the little girl at her feet. "It looks like whoever did this, didn't mean to, and tried to fix it."

And there it is again, the soft tinkle of a music box, now accompanied by the soft and incomprehensible chatter of little girls.

Natalie feels a keen interest in going and checking out that sound.

Shanie picks up her kit and rises to her feet. She wipes her shoulder along the corner of her right eye, heading back to the door. "Lets go, yeah?"

Natalie straightens and turns, its interest fixating back on the door now, the house. It follows after Shanie, a few steps behind.

Shanie opens the northeastern door.

A Dank Hallway & Curving Staircase
Like the foyer, this hall was once very nice to behold, done in Victorian fashions that have long since faded. Dust coats most surfaces, including the baulstrade of the curving staircase that leads up into other rooms of the building.

A glossed, oak wood archway leads towards the dining room, and a door leads out to the backyard further down the hall. The dining room is inaccessible, partially caved in.

A Second Floor Hallway & Staircase
The feel of discarded wealth continues on the second floor, as dingy as the first from hardwood flooring to wallpapered walls. The baulstrade of the curving staircase that leads back down to the first floor has handprints, where it's been touched recently.

Several doors lead off to other rooms, and the hallway continues to the north and south, with glossy arches opening up to the library in the southwest and den to the northeast. Both the den and library have been blocked off by heavy furniture, and the southern hallway is inaccessible due to decay.

With silent feet, Shanie leads the group up the stairs of the old house. And despite her best attempts, the floorboards creak underneath even her dainty feet. The blue light is angled up, lighting their way in a pinpoint of LED.

Here, the sounds diverge: to the northeast, past the furnishings, is the sound of chalk on a blackboard. To the southwest, past the furnishings, is the sound of porcelain clinking together. Both have the sounds of chatter from girls, words unable to be discerned.

Drusilla is near the door, wiping tears from her face. She straightens and pretends she wasn't crying as the group trudges back into the house, following them up the staircase. "This is very.. Disheartening.."

Natalie navigates up the stairs with gentle tippy-taps that contrast with Flynn's heavy steps and Carth, Drusilla's, and Shanie's lighter ones. It keeps off to the side to avoid being tread on.

Another one of those strange places, where the chill runs in all directions. North, southwest, northeast - things flee when the group ascends, returning to their respective coffins, if the pattern is to be trusted.

Shanie nods to Druscilla and speaks in a hushed tone, "It is..." She pauses at the top of the stairs and flashes her light down the northern hallway, then to the two doors flanking either side.

Flynn looks a bit guarded, reserved--he offers someone a sympathetic smile. "Agreed, lass," he mutters over to her. His hands seek out his pockets, and he sweeps his gaze over the various directions they could continue. He pauses, eyes closing briefly before he sighs softly. "Pick a door, guys. Feels like'm gettin' pulled towards any'n all'f them."

Carth still seems a bit distraught as he slips back into the house, from time to time running a hand down across his forearm in a sweeping gesture.

Down the northern hallway is a clutter of furniture, still navigatable unlike the decaying southern hallway. A large sofa is stacked under a matching armchair, blocking off the northeastern door. A few side tables block the southwest.

Natalie feels some lingering excitement from playing before, optimism. Maybe

 they're having a party. Sadly, the job she was so fixated on before has been
 shunted just a little to the side -- though she's still keeping in mind that
 she should REALLY be looking for Margery.

Shanie approaches the northeastern door and tries to budge the sofa with her thigh, though, she's tiny and not very strong. The added weight of the armchair likely doesn't help. She holds the pen light in between her lips, puckering her mask in.

There isn't even the most moderate budge of the sofa. Drusilla joins Shanie in trying to move the furniture, but the armchair totters atop the couch and she backs away quickly.

Natalie thinks; '*observantly* we really could have used Mace with all this

 heavy lifting...'

Shanie backs away with Drusilla, wearing a frown that, although is hidden under her mask, is clear in her eyes. "Can one you guys move the furniture?"

Flynn blinks, having been staring at one of the doors for several moments, though Shanie's request snaps him out of it. "Hmm? Oh, right." He rolls back his sleeves a bit and steps over to replace Drusilla in the task of moving the heavy furniture. "Here, let me, lass. Carth! Gimme a hand?"

Shanie lingers behind, perhaps with Natalie.

Carth keeps a slow pace behind the others, letting his eyes roam over the walls and floor. He also comes back to reality as Shanie speaks up, quickening his steps to meet Flynn. "Yeah... I got this." Looking over the furniture to watch Flynn as he prepares to help move things.

Drusilla backs up herself, folding her arms over her chest and flashing the flashlight to help the boys pick up the furnishings.

Ever helpful, Natalie provides unspoken moral support from back with Shanie, watching the men flex their muscles as it sits in the hallway near the woman's calf.

The armchair totters. Totters. Totters. But it doesn't fall. The sofa is dragged away with more difficulty than the buffet, but the men manage to move it far enough away to open the door that was hidden behind the stacked leather.

Natalie leans in toward Shanie a moment and noses at the side of her knee before standing, one eye kept on that wobbling time-bomb of an armchair.

"What're th'odds there's a livin' person up here, somewhere?" Flynn dismally inquires, eyes flitting to some of those nearby. "Like, even just one'd be nice."

Shanie's arms fold about her waist, and she grips each side of her coat. With his back to her, her eyes focus solely on Flynn. Though, should he look her way, or Natalie's way, she'd be quick to turn away. "Before you touch the door, I want another look at the handles...." At the nuzzling of Natalie's nose at her knee, she too is walking forth.

Shanie chews on her cheek, offering up, though not very convincingly, "Maybe."

To Shanie: The doorknob is round, smooth, dusty. This one was touched more recently than the last two rooms, the imprint of where fingers once sat more clear: five of them, though positioned awkwardly. It's a round doorknob.

Shanie takes the fingerprint sample. "Five prints on this handle. Definitely more recently placed than the others.... The positioning of the fingers is odd." With her gloved hand, she places hers on the round knob, and with a glance behind her, turns it.

"Odd'n what way?" Flynn asks, following behind Shanie after a quick, sympathetic look in Drusilla's direction.

Carth sticks to the back, crossing his arms over his chest as he watches the others do their business with the door. At Shanie's remark, he does step forward, eyes moving down to the doorknob and back at her though Flynn beats him to the question.

Shanie says, whispering soft as the door opens, 'Just awkwardly placed.'

Drusilla doesn't seem any more keen to enter this room than she did the last. In fact, she hangs back completely, watching.

The Office: Julia's Schoolhouse
Well-appointed as far as offices go, this one has several windows that show the world outside unaffected by curtains or blinds. The floor is carpeted in grey, not showing the dust that inevitably covers the rest of the furnishings: a leather armchair and sofa, a coffee table, a desk and office chair. There's a blackboard on the western wall, written on in chalk to affect the feel of a school room, furthered by the row of old wooden desks and the little girl standing before them; dressed as a childish teacher, perhaps eight, she holds a ruler and gestures to the board.

Extra: a classroom headed by a corpse at the western side of the room

Stoic and hard, this room is masculine from head to toe, a screech of nails on the chalkboard the only greeting given by the space before silence.

Both math and English are showcased on the board in large letters indicative of a young writer, white chalk stark against the black of the chalkboard. An eraser and colored chalk rests on the tray under it, and a row of desks face it ready for the class. Their teacher stands to one side, a finger pointing at a math problem and a ruler in the other hand.

Her hair is brown, and her eyes were green though now are left muted by time and greying. She's dressed in a black jumper and white tights, her hair bound in a bun at the base of her neck. Perhaps she was eight, at the most, at the time of her death.

(Privately)All that optimism? All that hope? Well, it's pretty much gone out like a candle in a hurricane at the sudden wave of decay-smell and the harsh screech meet Natalie

The screech of nails down a chalkboard sets Shanie's teeth to gritting.

Natalie feels her heart, metaphorically of course, fall.

This room smells dead, like the last two, but it's not so bad as the sitting room. This little girl is not nearly so decayed, half-resting against the wall in the middle of her lesson, eyes staring dully. Though she is clearly dead, nothing shows a cause.

Carth hands unfurl from around him and lift to cover his ears, eyes scrunching shut as the teeth rattling sound fills the air. "Fuck." He cries, turning away from the blackboard as if to shield himself from the noise that, as sudden as it had appeared, fades.

Flynn clenches his jaw, steeling himself against that single screech as they enter. "Well, that was fuckin' nice," he remarks grumpily. His eyes seek out the next body, not needing to wait long before finding her at the head of the class. "Do y'work, lass. What can y'tell us about her?" he asks Shanie, preferring to hang back this time.

There's a muted whispering on the air, phantom sound, that fades into existance and out again. Nothing concrete. Nothing defined.

To Flynn: The chill comes in through the door. It leaves through the door. It's slow, but repetitive, like the ebb and flow of students in the makeshift classroom.

(Privately)Natalie is totally focused on work again, the distress and pity and sympathy drowning out any further thoughts of play and slowly dimming hope of finding anything more than corpses. She tries to remember how many are left -- five, six, seven (no seven, yet), eight, nine -- and Margery.

Natalie thinks; '*grim, now* ...three more...?'

Shanie's breath hitches in her chest for a moment before she approaches the little girl. With her gloved hands, she takes hold of the child who was left propped against the wall and gently lays her down, kneeling before her. "I don't see any outward signs ..." She starts to look at the girl's fingernails for white moon shapes, then at her mouth for any sign of foaming. Like the last, she brushes the girl's hair from her forehead, having moved it out of place when laying her down. "She's more recently deceased."

To Shanie: This girl seems fine. Or she would, if it weren't for the purplish bruise that spiders out from her left temple. Tentative cause of death? Blunt force trauma. But like Chelsea and Penelope, her hair is brushed and her clothes are of a good quality.

Natalie thinks; '*holding on to that little hope* ...no, Margery is -alive-...!

 Don't give up.'

Shanie As she studies the girls head, the bruising of her temple becomes more apparent. "I take that back. Blunt Force trauma. Side of the head."

Natalie thinks; '*in the back of her mind, almost mocking* ...two more, then...'

Flynn's eyes roam back to the door shortly after he asks his question of Shanie. He's staring at the open doorway for a bit, his face a bit absent, even as she answers. "S'now w'have a more direct act'f violence," he comments. "None'f these girls've died th'same way. What th'hell?"

Natalie's ears are canted back again, standing vigil near Flynn and making no move to inspect this room closely. Its tail is tucked between its legs, posture slightly lowered.

Carth watches Shanie perform her duties with a stoic silence, waiting for an explanation of this death before turning his eyes onto the rest of the room. Without the appearance of not having been touched in a long while, he takes a moment to see if there is anything out of the ordinary (Besides, you know, a dead person) in the room.

Nothing. Like the last room, and the backyard, this space hasn't been entered, though rather than months it's only been weeks. A few photos rest on the desk, but nothing more.

The creak of the house around the quartet smothers what might otherwise be a silent room.

Carth moves over to the desk, pushing over the photos to get a better look at each. From time to time, he looks over at Shanie and the girl, and gently sighs.

Shanie shakes her head. "They aren't. I'm beginning to wonder though ... If it is a child. Children can have sadistic tendencies too, but they appear to simply be killed by one blow. A child wouldn't be strong enough...." She slips the girl's eyes closed, and lays her small hands upon her chest.

Natalie feels her desire to leave this room hit faster than the others -- it's

 exponential, and she's starting to feel the full disheartening effects of each
 grisly scene even if she's a little detached from her own humanity.

To Carth: Most of these photos are old, but they all showcase the same general people. A little girl, her hair tied in a ribbon, with who are likely her mother and father. A little girl, her curls riotous as they frame her face, in a ballet costume for Swan Lake. A little girl, gazing at the camera listlessly with an austere man of similar features clasping her shoulder. She's a pretty girl. In the most recent pictures, ten or fifteen years old, the girl is in her adolescence. Perhaps eleven.

A soft whisper enters from the hallway, chased by a clink of porcelain on porcelain, the sound of classical music tinkling from a musicbox. With each room, the variety of sounds grow fainter, the music, the sobs - they all become more clear in direction. And right now? They do not come from this room.

Natalie feels it start to sink in that these aren't JUST dead bodies... these

 aren't just sad corpses, these are murder victims.

Natalie thinks; '*with sudden fervor* ...someone has murdered these girls and i

 will bite them...'

"Is't possible that..." Flynn starts, though he stops and begins rubbing his stubbly chin. "Maybe w'ought t'just hurry'n see th'others, lass. I felt more'n one up here, an' answers seem t'lie'n either findin' all'f them'r findin' th'most recent one'f I had t'guess."

Natalie wheels around with a quiet, fluttery growl -- almost a whimper, but most certainly agitated -- and quickly slinks out of the room.

Shanie nods and follows Natalie out of the room this time.

A Second Floor Hallway & Staircase
The feel of discarded wealth continues on the second floor, as dingy as the first from hardwood flooring to wallpapered walls. The baulstrade of the curving staircase that leads back down to the first floor has handprints, where it's been touched recently.

Several doors lead off to other rooms, and the hallway continues to the north and south, with glossy arches opening up to the library in the southwest and den to the northeast. Both the den and library have been blocked off by heavy furniture, and the southern hallway is inaccessible due to decay.

Carth considers the pictures a long while before taking one and bringing it across the room, offering it to Shanie with a soft shrug. "Probably Hart's daughter, i'd think."

Flynn thinks; 'I still think there's something to do with Hart, here. Too many

 coincidences for me to be wrong. (Maybe it's a combination of things? Hart
 didn't -mean- to, but he killed his neice... And she's a ghost, so he's just
 trying to bring her back, or something? Maybe he's just delusional?) And if
 he's dead...'

Flynn says (to Carth), in a soft, but masculine voice with a faint Irish lilt, 'Niece, y'mean?'

The clink of teacups comes from the southwest. The music? It fades in and out, but comes from everywhere.

Drusilla makes some distressed noise as she glances through the door, when the group returns. Silently, she makes her way back down the staircase, mumbling about reporting to the Sergeant.

Carth give shis shoulders a shrug. "I missed exactly what she was... Dru has a nice rack." Where there might be amusement in the phrase usually, he delivers it dryly. More delivering a truth than sharing an opinion.

Natalie trots straight over toward the southwest door, winding around the legs of one of the side tables blocking their way. It clamps its teeth around the nearest one, growling quietly, and pulls. Of course, it doesn't have much of an impact.

Shanie says (to Carth), moving over to the southeastern part of the house, ' That's what I thought too.... uh ... about the niece.'

Canine teeth sink into the wood, and the tug from it slides the table just a fraction of an inch. Not enough, though.

Flynn moves to give their canine companion a hand. "Just checkin'. I agree, though, I think'ts Hart'n his neice, here still, somehow," he tells Shanie and Carth. "I just.. somethin' don't quite add up, yet."

Shanie says, quietly, 'She has help ...'

This time, the tables are moved with ease by Flynn; they aren't very heavy, it would seem.

(Privately)Natalie can hazard a guess at what's behind Door Number Two, but now she just wants to see, to maybe understand what the hell is going on. It's a roiling mix of apprehension and dutiful drive, and the latter is winning out.

A Second Floor Hallway & Staircase
The feel of discarded wealth continues on the second floor, as dingy as the first from hardwood flooring to wallpapered walls. The baulstrade of the curving staircase that leads back down to the first floor has handprints, where it's been touched recently.

Several doors lead off to other rooms, and the hallway continues to the north and south, with glossy arches opening up to the library in the southwest and den to the northeast. Both the den and library have been blocked off by heavy furniture, and the southern hallway is inaccessible due to decay.

Once again, Shanie approaches the door to give it an examination.

Another set of fingerprints, another brassy doorknob - two, in fact, as it's a slim double door. These ones? The freshest so far, even more than the office.

Death lies behind the door, but perhaps that was obvious? Fresh death. Far newer than the girl in the makeshift classroom.

Shanie says, with a raspy, southern Californian inflection, 'There's literally .... no dust on this knob .... some fingerprints, again.'

Carth glances over at Drusilla after his comment, wincing as he shrugs an apology for his previous statement. As the group moves towards the next door, he slides up behind them .

Not a man's fingers. Perhaps not even a child's, though they are slender, petite even. Female fingers of indeterminable age. If it were a kid, they'd have to be at least an adolescent.

Natalie slips out from under the sliding tables, and away the scrape of wood on wood as they're pushed aside. It's already whining, maybe too quietly to have been heard if it weren't so otherwise still in the house, and antsily prances near Carth and Flynn.

Shanie turns the knob, adding, "None of these prints have been from any of the children we've found ... But I'd still say young. Slender. Female, possibly. Without being able to run anything through IAFIS, I can't be sure.." She swings the door open, holding her breath.

The door opens with a soft creak.

The Library: Magdalena's Fairytale
Old books line the walls from ceiling to floor, a vast expanse of space that must not have been locked away quite as long as the other blocked rooms. It's quite tidy, with leather furnishings at the center of it and a table to sit around, complete with delicate antique lamp for lighting. Windows might give the area lots of light, floor to ceiling like the bookshelves, but they're blocked off by wispy curtains and it's nighttime on top of it. A porcelain teaset stenciled with roses rests on the table, where another piece in the menagerie sits; perhaps nine, dead for a week, is another corpse having tea with stuffed animals.

Extra: a lady's sitting area, set up for tea with stuffed animals and a corpse

Carth walks in from in front of you.

Some real warmth is in this room of the house, taking the chill from the bones as hard-soled shoes click on the floor underfoot. A sense of whimsy is affected in the victrola that starts to play once the threshold of the library is passed.

The furniture is opulant, covered in beautiful brocade touched by the ravages of time but surviving quite well: a settee, several chairs, a sofa, all surrounding a low table set with an antique Tiffany lamp and beautiful porcelain teaset stenciled with roses. Several teddy bears and dolls sit on the furniture as if holding court, some holding tea cups and others dainty plates with slices of flower-themed cake or cucumber sandiwches. One of the cups is clasped in the hands of the corpse resting beside a blonde doll.

Her hair is brown, and her eyes were green though now are left muted by time and greying. She's dressed in a lovely silken gown, fit for a princess, with a silver tiara wound in her girlish ringlets. Perhaps she was nine, at the most, at the time of her death.

Natalie feels herself staunchly ignoring that this one smells fresh enough to

 eat. That is GROSS, Natalie. You don't eat people. But the thought, unbidden,
 still crosses her mind -- even if it is quickly dismissed, buried, and stomped
 on a few times.

Shanie slowly releases that air she had held within her chest as she opened the door and walked through the threshold. "Fucking Christ.." escapes her lips when her blue eyes fall upon the corpse of the older child.

Flynn continues on into the room, despite the unusual shift between the other rooms of the house, and here. "This what y'heard?" he asks Carth curiously, in response to the victrola's music. He seems to expect the body they find, and his nose crinkles. "I ain't th'expert, but sh'don't look long dead..."

Natalie thinks; '*briefly self-loathing* ...i should have eaten after i

 shifted...'

There's no real way to doubt that this is the second oldest girl to go missing, perched on a couch with a porcelain teacup brought to her lips. She's barely begun to decay, and there's a sweet sort of serenity in her expression, though her green eyes are unseeing and filmed over.

The clink of teacups fades, as all sounds fade. It leaves only sobs, only the music box, backed by the soft, whimsical music of the victrola.

To Flynn: Something loops its arm around Flynn's elbow, the manner of a lady walking with a gentleman. It fades, as the chilling touches are wont to do, shortly after it occurs.

Carth rolls his neck from side to side as he steps into the room, rubbing at his arms as his body acclimates to the sudden shift in temperature. He turns his head towards the victrola as Flynn speaks, closing his eyes as he focuses on the tune for just a second before shakes his head. "It isn't and it is? I've heard it, i think, but not... No, this isn't what I was hearing." He is back to avoiding looking at the body and, in avoidance, finds himself exploring the room.

Natalie thinks; '*mulling over what you know, what you can expect* ...nine...

 we have our ballerina left... and Margery...?'

The library is expansive, with books on every subject. A few knick knacks rest on some of the lower shelves, a few framed pictures showing the little girl with brown curls, both happy and miserable. Some of them show her older than eleven. Fourteen? Seventeen?

Shanie tilts her chin upward, and starts toward the child. She crouches down by the sofa, and tries to pry the teacup from the girl's hand, "She hasn't been dead as long, either. But the effects of rigor mortis are definitely subsiding..." With a softer touch and an inhale through her mask, she begins to process the girl's body the best she can, seeking out wounds, hairs, prints.

Flynn's eyes seek out a person to his right side--a person that does not exist, as it turns out. "None'f th'people'n this house'f ever left't," he notes sadly. "I dunno what's keepin'em here, but maybe'f w'solve this damned mystery, they'll all b'able t'find peace..." He frowns and turns his gaze to someone still living--@Carth. "W'haven't seen any signs'f someone livin' here other'n these girls, though, nor've I felt a ghost'f anyone besides them. There's still more rooms, I guess, once Shanie's got what sh'can get."

To Shanie: Magdalena shows no real signs of trauma, save the crushed hand, the broken forearm. Like Chelsea, someone tried to fix this break. It has to be the cause, there isn't anything else, but how it brought death to the girl is uncertain. Bone marrow leeching into the bloodstream? Air? A few stray hairs cling to the silk of her dress, but it's lank and brown, like each of the girls have been.

Natalie feels herself clinging to that notion Flynn suggests -- ghosts finding

 peace. Like Kaine. It's Good if ghosts find peace. She's less certain they'll
 find Margery alive, with all this death.

Carth keeps an eye out for any book that looks like it might be related to something that might not be considered appropriate reading or something as glaringly obvious as 'worshipping satan and you'. His walk brings him to another series of pictures and again he picks it up before offering it to the others. "She looks older here..."

Natalie is quiet, watching, reserved -- settled onto its haunches beside Flynn, still observing raptly. Again, even sooner than the last few times, it's already trying to back up and get out, but it doesn't leave, nor whine or try to pressure the group.

Shanie gathers some lank, brown hair from the girl's dress. "Its her hair color, but it doesn't mean its hers ... They all have brown hair." She shakes her head softly, "All I can see is a broken arm, no other physical signs of death. Maybe it was out of fright ... or simply the pain of the break being put back together ..."

Shanie says, with a raspy, southern Californian inflection, 'Marrow seeping into the bloodstream and reaching the heart? The brain?'

Shanie shakes her head, "I'd not be able to know without an autopsy and at this point, they should just ... go home."

The victrola begins to wind down, the song coming to an end. It leaves the room as silent, still, as the rest of them.

Natalie thinks; '*thoughtful, letting everything tumble around in your head*

 Older here... is the murderer *a flash of anger* trying to bring back the girl
 who ran away...? ...is it hart? is it the niece...? is it the parents who
 died...? but there are no big footprints, no big handprints... are they being
 possessed...? there's something different, different fingers... different
 deaths...'

Flynn thinks; 'Maybe all they wanted was to be found? To be seen? To be

 remembered, by someone? Ugh, I just wish I could understand them better! This
 is like seeing someone's shadow, and trying to guess what they're doing!'

Without the victrola, it's more obvious: the music box has gotten louder, filtering in through the open doors, from the hallway.

Natalie feels like she'll figure it out... she /really/ wants to figure it out.

Natalie is already by the door, waiting patiently, though its attention is very clearly on the hall outside.

After a few more moments, the tinkling of a music box becomes audible to all ears, softer to the normal ones. It filters in through the open library door, from the hallway.

The fading of the victrola seems to catch Flynn's attention, and he lifts his hands from his pockets to brush his bangs from his face, hands running slowly towards the back of his head as he tries to think. "Seems like, every time w'spend time with'em, whatever's happenin' just kinda stops. I don't sense'em, either, after a while," he considers. "But w'still have two more lasses t'find... hopefully with one'f them alive." His voice grows quieter as the music box becomes audible.

Exhaling an exasperated breath, Flynn moves towards the hallway again. "C'mon. Sh'won't mind us movin' on," he reasons.

No necronomicons? With the lack of the finger biting, midget creating books of ultimate evil, Carth wanders back towards the door. A shiver running through his spine as the sound of the music box grows louder. "Gods, that is... Terrifying."

A Second Floor Hallway & Staircase
The feel of discarded wealth continues on the second floor, as dingy as the first from hardwood flooring to wallpapered walls. The baulstrade of the curving staircase that leads back down to the first floor has handprints, where it's been touched recently.

Several doors lead off to other rooms, and the hallway continues to the north and south, with glossy arches opening up to the library in the southwest and den to the northeast. Both the den and library have been blocked off by heavy furniture, and the southern hallway is inaccessible due to decay.

Natalie thinks; '*slowly* ...boss says the ghosts fade... maybe they're finding

 peace... maybe they're going somewhere else... *empathetic* i wish i could
 play with them... i wish i could make them smile...'

The music box drifts in from the northern hallway, the hallway cluttered with furniture, cramped to everyone but the most slender of figures but accessible to everyone. Of course, canines would have no trouble being comfortable in such a small space, but the men might find themselves a touch squished.

Shanie is no longer AFK.

Natalie slinks ahead, before the rest, or alongside whoever else seems to be taking the lead. It's obvious where the canine is headed, and it doesn't get distracted from the task at hand -- weaving through the cramped passage between furniture with ease.

Natalie feels briefly wry at the thought of gigantic Mace trying to fit through

 this, and a little smug that your little, scrawny frame has a slight advantage.

Shanie puffs her cheeks outward, moving toward the furniture, following someone' path in order to slink through the tight space, twisting and bending around furniture with some difficulty.

To Natalie: And what's that? Amidst the sound of the music box, growing louder as canine paws carry her down the hallway, is the choked, muffled sound of a sob. A real one.

To Everyone Else: And what's that? Amidst the sound of the music box is the choked, muffled sound of a sob, faint at the mouth of the hallway.

Flynn folds his arms, standing back as Natalie and Shanie seek their way through the blocked passage. "Yeah, there's no way'n hell'm gonna fit'n there, without just movin' th'whole thing," he comments. "Too bad Temple left. They always have, like, tiny bombs f'shit like this, seems like."

Natalie feels genuinely torn. Music box, sobs? Sobs are -real-. The girl!

 But... the music box. Another corpse? Another ghost? She feels sympathetic for
 the -ghosts-.

Carth stares at the furniture in front of him and glances over at #flynn and then down at his duffle bag. "I can slide through... You'll have to hold my purse, big guy." The purse being the overly full bag hanging at his side. Slipping it from his shoulder, he shoves it into the other mans chest and starts forward.

Carth gives a duffel bag to Flynn.

Lucky for Flynn, the furniture is light. It could probably be moved. Imagine Mace going down this hallway for a moment! But the girls have no trouble. After all, Natalie is a canine. Shanie She's just small. The music from the tinkling music box continues.

Average height, maybe, Carth is far thinner than what might be considered healthy. On top of that, he seems far more flexible than one might expect, the furniture in front of him creating an obstacle but not an impossible one.

At the far side, Natalie turns back to rise on its hindlegs, forepaws resting on the top of the nearest bit of furniture as it stares expectantly at Flynn. At his words, it starts to whine plaintively, ears pinning back.

Shanie slips through the mess of furniture, stumbling out onto the other side as her foot gets caught up in between a chair's armrest.

Flynn slowly steps forward, urged on by some invisible force that prompts him to move. He winces, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. "Aye..." he admits eventually, and steps forward and begins trying to find a way to manipulate some of the barricade--just enough to get through without a lot of hassle.

Flynn feels a tint of guilt--there's a

 voice in your head, and it's absolutely right.

Even Carth manages to get through with ease. Flynn, though, he scrapes against pieces of furniture as he moves them. It's a tight fit, but not impossible.

Flynn thinks; 'Damnit... I never asked for this 'gift'. All it brings me is sadness... (Maybe it can bring -them- peace. Natalie's right...)'

Natalie tells you '(To Flynn) *distress and dismay* ...no no no no no... don't

 stay behind... no... the ghosts need you...! ...the girls need you...!' 

A Cramped Second Floor Hallway
Quite thin compared to the rest of the house, this hallway has been relegated to storage for the most part, stacked on either side with old tables and chairs, a bookcase, a vanity. The balcony to the north is blocked off, and a heavy buffet rests before the door to the west, making the nearby bedroom difficult to pass.

Natalie walks in from in front of you.
Flynn walks in from in front of you.
Shanie walks in from in front of you.
Carth walks in from in front of you.

Another door. Blocked off by another buffet, this is definitely the one the music is coming from behind.

Shanie claps her hands off and and wobbles her ankle from side to side briefly, heading on before Flynn is truly past the barricade, only to be stopped once more by another buffet.

Natalie thinks; '*distress* ...more heavy things... *surprise* ...wait...

 where's the other room, there's only one...?'

Natalie feels like that math isn't adding up. Two noises, two girls... one

 door? Maybe further on...

Perhaps unusually, this buffet has nothing atop it. It could be climbed over, if one were so inclined to do such a thing.

(Privately)Natalie keeps an ear open for those sobs, worried for the source of them. But even still, she's drawn toward the music box...

To Natalie: It's faint, but when another sob comes, only once everyone is near the door, it too comes from behind it.

Flynn isn't hesitating, anymore. Even though he has the most difficult with the barricade, being neither tiny, a dog, nor Carth, he continues on through with a renewed vigor. Finally freeing himself of the tangled mess of furniture, he brushes himself off and looks forwards. "Someone -really- wanted us t'stay th'hell away," he comments with a dry tone.

Natalie speeds up as it approaches the door, nimbly leaping atop the buffet and starting to pace. While before it wasn't rushing anyone, now it certainly is, scratching at the buffet and whining, head lifting as its coppery eyes stare back at the human trio.

Natalie thinks; '...it couldn't have been possessed girls... how would they

 lock themselves in... or kill themselves? something bigger... this is
 bigger...'

When Flynn makes his way through, Carth moves back to collect his things from the man. "Appreciate it." As he moves further down the hall, he pulls the strap of the bag up over his shoulder. "I'm not sure I want to go." he complains even as he plants a hand firmly atop the buffet table and hops up, legs lifting up to his chest before kicking out to put him into a sitting position.

"I'll climb over this fucking thing and try to kick the door in if I have to...." Shanie bitches, before she too is starting to climb the furniture.

Natalie bumps up against Carth, a fretful and bodily thing, but not enough to jostle or potentially push him or anything. It's just anxious contact.

Carth curls an arm around Natalie's neck, pulling the animal against his side for a quick but hard embrace, burying his face in the fur of its throat before pushing it away as if annoyed by the brief weak moment.

Natalie feels like she really wants to be pet right now. Or hugged. Doors are

 unfortunately insurmountable obstacles in this form.

Natalie feels much better.

The buffet is sturdy, and manages to hold both the woman and the canine. While Natalie scuffs the buffet, the door creaks open - it wasn't shut completely, it seems, making it easy for Shanie to push it the rest of the way if she'd like.

Shanie does just that. The door is creaked open, with her on top of the buffet, with a wobbly heel, and a coyote beside her. And a Carth.

(to Carth) (Privately)Natalie leans against Carth at the embrace, but seems just as alright slipping away when the moment is over.

Still last, Flynn makes his way over to the buffet, though he doesn't quite climb up on top--it already olds two people and a canine, after all. "Yeah, I'll b'right behind y'three. Stupid obstacle course," he complains.

When the door is pushed open, Natalie takes advantage of the crack it's open to go jumping through to settle on the opposite side, within the room.

With the door opened, what little light is offered displays a child's bedroom, notably the bed. The music becomes louder, soft and comforting.

Shanie hops down from the buffet after Natalie, landing hard on her heels.

Once others start moving forward, Flynn is able to start climbing furniture to, eventually, join them on the other side.

Carth is prepared to move when the others do, sliding his ass across the top of the buffet table until his fingers are curled around the edge.

The Bedroom: Laura's Recital
This room once belonged to a child, as evidenced by the twin-sized bed bedecked in faded pink and purple bedding. Violet chiffon curtains cling to the window to the north, obscuring the view outside, and the carpet is a fluffy white that's since become a bit dingy with time and dirt. Pictures of a brown-haired girl sit on the desk that's kitty-corner the southeastern corner, and a corkboard of photos and notes rests just beside the door. On the southern wall is a large mirror and a barre, a girl of perhaps seven poised en pointe to dance with its assistance.

Extra: a ballerina corpse poised en pointed at the ballet barre to the south

Ballet music emits from a music box that lies open near the bed, a soft tinkling sound danced to by the porcelain ballerina that unfolds from it.

Flynn thinks; 'Margery Farrell, age 10... Maybe she's still alive, in here,

 somewhere. Maybe.'

A large, mirrored surface makes up the southern wall in its entirety, reflecting the rest of the room in its image and set behind a long oak barre meant to assist ballerinas in their workouts. Her hand resting delicately against it, the corpse ballerina is poised en pointe with an arm above her head, as if performing a scene from Swan Lake.

Her hair is brown, and her eyes were green though now are left muted by time and greying. She's dressed in a creamy white leotard with white tights and a white tulle tutu, her pointe shoes silken and of the same color and feathers woven in her hair elegantly. Perhaps she was seven, at the most, at the time of her death.

Hopefully none of those present are vampires - the light reflects off of the large mirror covering the southern wall, lighting more of the room than would otherwise be lit.

Natalie thinks; '*honestly sort of soothed by your expectations being sort of

 met* ...ballerina... *a brief, odd thought* ...none of the girls so far have
 looked sad or hurt or scared...'

Shanie's eyes rest upon the little girl in the ballerina outfit. However, this time, she is heading over to a corkboard, eyes glancing back to the girl many times in the course of her walk, however.

Natalie stands there in the doorway, not underfoot but not far from it -- its head is cocked to the side, ears perked toward the music, and instead of holding back and lingering behind, it starts trotting around the room, sniffing the ground.

Some of Flynn's enthusiasm is sapped by coming across another corpse, when he finally makes it into the room. "Five," he murmurs quietly, as he contemplates the scene before him. He uncomfortably scratches at the back of his neck, before proceeding more than a few steps into the room. "Why th'barricade, though?"

To Shanie: The corkboard is criss-crossed with satin ribbons, with pictures both stuck in with and without the colorful pushpins. Some display a lovely brunette smiling, young and cheerful with her friends. Others display a similar brunette, older, somber - but certainly older than eleven in several of the images. Fourteen. Seventeen. Twenty.

Natalie thinks; '*focused on your job* ...sobs sobs sobs... gotta find the

 girl...!'

Shanie says, with a raspy, southern Californian inflection, 'Maybe they cannot leave with the items there....'

Like the rest of the rooms, this one is large untouched by foreign presences, perhaps as long as the girl has been dead.

Shanie trails off in her sentence when she scans over some of the pictures. She pulls one off, of a brunette, somber looking, and twenty, at least. "Huh..."

And there it is again, a faint sob, a soft cry of words, undecipherable. And from where? Well... From up, of course.

Flynn thinks; 'No, that doesn't seem likely. Does it? I've felt you ghosts fly

 through walls and doors, seen it in the corners of my eyes.'

Carth immediately moves towards the music box, seeming quite intent on shutting the damned thing up. The others may have things they're all planning and topics they need to discuss but for Carth, it is all about shutting down the bane of his mansion adventure.

And there it is again, a faint sob, a soft cry of words, undecipherable. And from where? Well... From up, of course.

Without the music box, the room is silent, a soft creak of the house. A soft creak of the floor. A soft creak of the bed. A soft sob from space above the room.

Natalie joins Shanie, pausing by the corkboard but making no attempt to try and read or look at whatever's on it -- the canine is focused on the woman, studying her reactions, before its ears twitch and its head slowly cranes back. It's staring up at the ceiling.

To Natalie: In the darkness, it could be missed. Night eyes make it obvious, once Natalie's head turns up. The outline of an attic door, with a pull cord dangling from it.

It's the sobbing that catches Flynn's attention, not the lack of music as Carth turns the music box off. His eyes drift upwards, and his brow furrows. "Wait.... Does everyone hear that?" he asks, gesturing for silence for a moment.

Shanie again starts to say, while looking at the picture, "I don't think his niece ever ..." And again, she is cut off by the sobbing. Her eyes also are drawn upward.

Natalie huffs suddenly, then seems to find its voice in a clearer bark as it skitters back across the floor, staring upward intently before its had angles toward Flynn.

Carth lifts his head slowly, almost as if expecting to see something clinging to the ceiling prepared to jump down and eviscerate him. If nothing is there, he slowly starts to sweep his eyes over the ceiling looking for any line that might mean an door to the attic.

The light Shanie carries is what makes it clear to the rest, what Natalie seems to have seen before everyone - the outline of an attic door, a pull-cord hanging down to retrieve it, in the corner of the room.

Natalie tells you '(a few seconds ago, just FYI) to flynn *energetic, intent,

 maybe even a bit frightened* ...attic door there's a door with a cord right
 here look up it's right here can you pull it look up...!'

You tell Natalie 'Sneaky canine!'

Flynn moves towards the pull cord, clapping a hand on Shanie's shoulder as he brushes past the shorter woman. "Maybe w'-do- have a survivor," he says, though it isn't specifically directed at her, so much as the group. He reaches up and attempts to grab the cord and give it a careful tug down.

Under the sobs, Shanie asks, "Do you think ... maybe these are .. things that happened to.." She points upward now, where her LED light lingers. "Her? A broken arm ... strangled .... hit on the temple ...." She does not make for the attic door or its drawstring. She's too short to reach it.

Carth drags his eyes down over the pull chord before finally looking towards the others. "I do not want to be the one pulling that..." He tells them in a soft voice, drawing out his stick from his duffle bag.

The touch on her shoulder by Flynn, causes Shanie to draw in a slow inhale of air, eyes closing. "We can hope..."

Flynn's superior height enables him to pull the cord down, the door creaking faintly and the ladder-staircase descending to be climbed, even by Natalie in her four-legged form. And as it comes down, the sobs become more evident, interspersed with words. "I said I was sorry! Please, don't be like the other ones, I just... I just didn't want you to cry anymore!" A woman's voice, panicking.

Natalie feels sympathy, sudden worry.

Natalie thinks; '*anxious, empathetic* ...don't be sad...'

Flynn gives a duffel bag to Carth.

Carth gets a waist-high knobbed branch from duffel bag.

"Margie? Margie! Stop it, this game isn't funny!"

Natalie thinks; '*dread* ...no...'

Natalie darts up the stairs in a sudden burst of speed, sliping a bit clumsily across the wooden steps but apparently very intent on getting up there as quickly as possible.

Silence answers the woman's cries, and the house grows still again.

Shanie is soon heading up those stairs, urged forward at the exclamations.

Natalie thinks; '...no no no...'

Carth grips the branch with two hands, eyeing the open attic door with apprehension as he waits for the others to move. For once, he is speechless, instead just casting a nervous look around the room following if his companions go on up.

Flynn follows behind the bounding dog and the hurried woman. "Please b'alive..." he murmurs quietly under his breath, as he joins the others in ascending.

Shanie walks up. Natalie walks up. Flynn walks up.

The Attic: Margery's Coffin
This room is dark, though spacious, and entered into from the narrow collapsible ladder that hangs down into the room beneath it. Despite being the attic, it seems to be the most used room of the house, as it's clean and resembles a miniature apartment with a bed, kitchenette and sitting area. Some floral paintings adorn the walls and a hooked rug warms the wood floor, large white sheets draped over much of the unused furniture to hide it like gigantic ghosts.

It is night, and about 55F(12C) degrees.

Extra: a frail little girl cradled in the arms of a brunette waif

Flynn is standing here.
Natalie is standing here.
Shanie is standing here.
Lausi is cradling the corpse of a little brunette girl, sobbing quietly over it.
Carth walks in from below you.

The attic is less dusty, by far, though where the group enters has clearly not been used in quite some time. Instead, a larger door resides on the other side of the attic, probably heading back to the rest of the house through an alternate staircase.

Lausi strokes the hair from the dead girl's face, her hazed eyes red and her body rocking the little girl almost tenderly as she whispers her apologies and begs forgiveness. "I didn't mean to hurt you, I just didn't want you to cry... Please open your eyes again, please? Please..." She doesn't seem to notice the others.

(Privately)All that hatred building and growing for the murderer swells, but in a confusing way. A dead body. A sad woman. Where's the murderer... Natalie will bite him... but where...? She wants to comfort the woman, make sure she's okay, the words not sinking in until moment's later...

Shanie grits her teeth when she hits the attic, eyes hard on Lausi, "Let her go, now..." And she actually wastes no time in heading over to the woman. "Let her go!" She doesn't care if the woman is startled. "She only just stopped crying! I can save her!"

Shanie thinks; 'I think I can save her...'

Carth stands just at the entrance of the attic, knuckled white against the brown bark of the branch he carries. An unwielding weapon but one he seems prepared to use on the girl and her newest victim.

Natalie's head swings around as it stirs up dust in a sudden scamper around, looking at its surroundings with an initial soft growl that tapers off to an inquisitive whine.

To Natalie: This place is the most lived in. And this woman smells like the house, marking her as the one who lives here, human and alive and very distressed.

Flynn steps forward as well, though not as hastily, his eyes focusing more on the body of the girl being cradled. "Maybe'ts not too late," he agrees with Shanie.

Lausi's head jerks up, her gaze unfocused. And though she may be startled, the unbreathing little girl is willingly given over to someone, meekly. "Please don't let her die like the rest," she asks, more tears spilling over her cheeks. Another breath is sucked in, a nervous fidget, her face disappearing in the palms of her colorfully bandaged hands.

To Shanie: Her hair is brown, and her eyes are green and open in a state of shock. She isn't breathing, her lips are faintly purple, and her skin is pale - she's clearly dead, perhaps ten, dressed in a simple checkered dress.

Natalie winds along behind the others, a little delayed in its confusion, and it zeros in on the crying woman.

She isn't breathing, but Shanie's right - she's this way only recently, perhaps within the last ten minutes. CPR could help her, but she'll need a hospital and it's shaky at best.

Natalie thinks; '*things click, click, clicking into place* ...the niece...

 she's been here the whole time...?'

Whimpering gently, head down, Natalie noses at Lausi's elbow before angling its head up to try and lick at her jaw.

Shanie lays the child out and begins to give the little being mouth to mouth, she pumps the child's chest, counting, then a breath. "Breath! Breath damn it!" She pumps the chest again, her small hands layered one upon the other.

Natalie feels her sympathies follow rather predictable patterns -- the girl

 isn't moving, the woman is. Save the woman!

Bandaged fingers tremble as Natalie noses Lausi, the woman mumbling more of her apologies. "I didn't mean it, I just wanted to help her, I just wanted to make her better before something bad happened, I'm so sorry..." Her words are chased with another sob, catching in her throat.

"Lass... Miss hart?" Flynn calls out, keeping his voice calm while Shanie deals with the dead or dying woman. "What'd y'do? What happened to th'others?"

To Shanie: Nothing. So far, Shanie's efforts bring nothing, but sometimes... Sometimes it takes a minute...

Natalie thinks; '*sorting through this* ...but if she killed them, she's bad...

 she's bad!'

Books are scattered, some open and some not, around the floor near Lausi and the potential corpse. They're old, probably from the library.

Seeing the others handling the situation, Carth glances back into the bedroom and uses his stick to pull up the trap door before sliding along the wall of the attic. Always keeping an eye on the girl, and Shanie's attempts at CPR, he takes up a stance near the newly revealed door.

Shanie presses her ear down to the little girl's mouth. And when there is no sign of breath, she begins the process again. "Come on!" She doesn't even spare a glance to anyone else in the room. She combs out the little girl's hair and tries again. Though others might not see, she has tears in her eyes. One can only be so strong and not-so-empathic, afterall.

Carth thinks; 'She doesn't... I don't think this girl could've kidnapped the

 girls by herself, could she? I mean, she's so... No, there might be someone
 else.'

Lausi says, past a whimper, beyond another sob, muffled by her hands as she tries to stem the flow of tears, 'I just wanted to make them better, she deserved to better! But then she started to cry, and I didn't mean to hurt her!'

It's faint. It's very faint, thready, but the little girl's heart starts beating again and her lungs suck in a barely audible breath. She couldn't be considered conscious, but she's alive. Barely.

"What was wrong with'er, that y'had t'make better?" Flynn continues questioning, even as he moves closer to her. Foot over foot, he's careful and slow, in sharp contrast to the intense scene over where Shanie is.

Coherent thought doesn't appear to be something Lausi is capable of, as Flynn's inquiry goes unanswered in favor of merely repeating her apologies, her promises that she didn't mean to. A broken record from what seems to be a broken person.

(Privately)Natalie relates. She relates so much it's almost a physical thing, crushing and twisting. How many times has she accidentally bitten Shane, drawn blood? Hadn't she killed Nick when he'd seen what she was and shown her that look of repulsion? How many mistakes has she made, how many people has she hurt? It was just a mistake... she didn't mean it...

Shanie scoops the breathing child into her arms, petting her, "We need to get her to a hospital, and soon...." The little girl's eyes remain closed, and the breathing is shallow, but she is breathing.

Flynn thinks; 'I don't feel a ghost, yet... Whew.'

There are some books near the other door, as well, also from the library. The occult section of it, apparently. The passages they're open on relate to activating supernaturals.

One of Natalie's ears flicks toward Shanie, its head perking up as it stares toward her and the girl -- especially at the tone of the woman's voice.

The guard post duty is not something Carth revels in, even if it is self-imposed. He seems extremely uncomfortable with the situation in front of him, Lausi's words seeming to cut him to the core as they're repeated. Turning his attention away from them, he kneels down to start flipping through one of the books on the ground beside him, keeping an eye on the nearby door.

"Missy, get th'police," Flynn orders. "Just... bark't them a bunch, lead'em up here, lass!" Growing still closer, Flynn suddenly leaps out and attempts to restrain the brunette, his movements cautious.

"Lau..." For a moment, the quasi-conscious little girl tries to speak, her voice as faint as her breathing. She doesn't finish the word she was trying to express, lapsing back out of it.

Natalie's gaze darts to Flynn, and like that it's gone, streaking back down the stairs like a furry bolt, through doors left open.

Shanie's tone would be one of a woman who had been crying. She wipes at her eyes, turning them then onto Lausi. "What did you do?" Though her question is likely going to go unanswered when Lausi is grappled.

Natalie walks down.

It doesn't take much for Flynn to restrain Lausi, her vivid green eyes finding the girl in Shanie's eyes with a look of hopeful relief. She simply sinks into the hold the man has on her, not fighting it. Quietly, as quietly as Margery, the woman mumbles, "She hit her back on the wall..." Apparently hard.

Shanie's tone would be one of a woman who had been crying. She wipes at her eyes, turning them then onto Lausi. "What did you do?" Though her question is likely going to go unanswered when Lausi is grappled.

Shanie continues to cradle the little girl. "Why?" she wonders, blue eyes intently piercing the frail woman.

"She was crying..." Lausi looks through Shanie and the little girl, her eyes unfocused. "She... She wanted to go home..."

Natalie walks in from below you.

Natalie is already back, wired with energy, back at Flynn's side a second or two later.

Some of the passages are circled. Why supernaturals activate early, primarily, with chickenscratched notes in the margins about someone named Lausi and someone called Uncle.

Flynn doesn't relax, even if his capture seems to be pretty laid-back. He maintains a hold on her arms, especially, keeping them behind her. "Why was sh'here'n th'first place?" he asks.

Shortly after Natalie returns, surly Sergeant Underwood manages to climb up the attic ladder, flashing his light around the space. "The fuck is this?" He looks disturbed, followed by a few other members of the police squad.

"Flynn, keep an eye on her..." Carth mutters over his shoulder as he flips through the pages of the book, glancing back to the restrained woman from time to time. "Lausi?" The name is used softly, almost nervously.

Shanie frowns, "What were /you/ doing?" she questions. But then asks, "Did you act alone?" And also "What about those other children?" She is snapping out questions while holding gently onto a shallowly breathing little girl.

Lausi mumbles something inaudible. She follows her mumble with, "Maybe if Lausi'd been different, she wouldn't have gotten stuck here with him..." Carth's voice and Shanie's questions bring more tears and more sobs. "I didn't mean to hurt them, but they kept crying..."

Natalie thinks; '*with belated dismay* ...wait, they don't understand... she's

 okay, she's not bad, why would a bad person be sad like this...?'

(Privately)Natalie is seriously dense sometimes. She's still clinging to that hope, even as further words sink in, chip away at her certainty.

"Sergeant, Margery's still alive!" Flynn snaps at the Sergeant. "Y'don't have time t'waste!" He has a firm hold on the brunette woman, still. "This here's th'culprit, though w'don't know much yet."

Natalie thinks; 'take the girl take her save her she's still breathing she's

 still alive!!'

Shanie hugs the lightly breathing child in her arms. "We need to get her to a hospital..."

Sergeant Underwood motions for two of the officers to move, one heading to Shanie to take the little girl from her and the other moving towards Carth to force open the door he's near. It opens easily, without so much as a creaking, to reveal a set of side stairs with a door at the bottom. The Sergeant himself grows somber as he listens to the answers to the questions, approaching Lausi and the others. "Lausi?" he asks. Lausi looks to him, her eyes unfocused. "Mister Underwood...? Is Dru here? I'm not s'posed to have visitors..."

Natalie thinks; '*alarmed, confused* ...they know each other...?'

Carth fingers pause halfway between flipping another page, eyes widening as Lausi speaks to underwood. "Oh, gods." He mutters beneath his breath, fingers tightening around the middle of the stick. Slowly, ever so slowly, he turns his head to look up at the sergeant. "Hey there, Sarge..."

Shanie sits a bit still, and confused at the conversation between Sergeant and Lausi.

(Privately)If Sarge makes any aggressive moves at Carth, he's going to Cryokinesis the soles of his shoes and just push him. Can check fast reflexes and cryokinesis, if you'd like.

"No. Lausi, you're gonna have to come with me." Sergeant Underwood is already retrieving his handcuffs from where they're hanging, continuing his expression of grim stoicness as the other officers take the quasi-conscious girl from the room in a hurry. Lausi seems confused, her head tilting as she sags in Flynn's hold. "Because of the girls...?" "Yeah. When'd you come back, Lausi? Your uncle died." Underwood's eyes go to Carth at the greeting, his head shaking briefly, though they return to the waifish woman afterwards.

"Come back? I didn't leave..." Lausi blinks slowly, uncertainly. "Did I? He wouldn't let me go to school anymore..."

Lausi says, quietly, 'They have a puppy. I always wanted a puppy.'

Natalie feels that as much as she hates cops, she finds relief in that stoic,

 soothing certainty they're trained to exude. As long as they're not trying to
 get *her*. She doesn't feel suspicious of Underwood.

Flynn looks equally confused, honestly, though he seems reluctant to turn her over to the normal police, just yet. "Sergeant... Th'hell's goin' on?" he finally asks, interjecting himself into the discussion between the Sergeant and the brunette he's got restrained.

Natalie feels initially kind of keen on being the woman's puppy. She can make

 her smile and feel better and comfort her...

Carth is still watching the Sergeant suspiciously, collecting up the book and slipping it into his duffle bag as he stands up. "She might be a super..." He tells Flynn, eyes flicking to the big man for just an instant before looking back to the officer. With a gulp, he steps in front of the door in an attempt to stop anyone from slipping away with the girl before any questions can be asked. "I thought you didn't know mr.Rath, Sarge... Or should I say, Uncle?"

Natalie thinks; '*firmly, chidingly* No. I'm Shane's.'

Shanie says (to Lausi), finally finding her words again. She's back on her feet and looking at the opened books., ' What's going on? Are you saying that Mister Hart kept you here? From eleven on?'

Natalie thinks; '*vaguely frustrated* ...no, Carth, it's Sergeant Underwood...

 not Uncle... silly...'

Underwood seems as confused as the rest of them, holding out his cuffs to Flynn instead of trying to put them on the woman himself. "That's a good question. Get those on her." The spinning lights of an ambulance light the room and then begin to fade as it presumably drives away. At the suggestion from Carth, Underwood gives a vaguely agitated snort. "You've got me mistaken for someone else, ki--" Shanie's new question cuts him off.

Lausi says (to Shanie), looking from the men, lethargically, painfully slow, ' I was eleven a long time ago, you know. Fifteen years. The papers say 2014 now, I saw when I went out last week.'

Carth chuckles. "No, you wouldn't be uncle." He amends. "Hart would be, though, right?" Confusion still plays across his voice but at least he doesn't sound completely incompetant. His weapon of choice might look ridiculous but he crosses the large branch across his chest and stands as if ready to use it. "I asked you, I thought you didn't know Mister Hart..."

Flynn thinks; 'She's definitely not right in the head, but none of this makes

 any fucking sense.'

"It didn't work on me," Lausi says over towards someone at his suggestion, sounding quite miserable at the revelation, "I tried... I thought it might help..."

Shanie says, clearing her throat, 'These girls have been going missing longer than a week... What were you trying? And what happened to all of them?'

Shanie looks from Lausi to the Sergeant and Carth then back.

Lausi says (to Shanie), quietly, ' I thought they'd be better if they were special, but they cried... I don't... Like crying... I didn't mean to...'

Shanie hisses softly, picking up one of the books.

Shanie thinks; 'Fleshforming?'

Natalie thinks; '*dismay* ...no, you can't make them... what if she tried to

 make them vampires?? that's bad... there's nothing wrong with being human...'

"I don't make it any habit, spending time with local weirdos." Underwood gives Carth a confused, irritated look, his temper no better than it was earlier on the street. The explanation from Lausi only makes this worse. "Christ. Fucking Christ, what sort of idiot didn't check this fucking house?" A long string of curse words comes from the Sergeant.

To Shanie: Nothing so deep as fleshforming resides in these books. Highlighted passages detail early activation, and how it most frequently occurs in humans.

Flynn gradually begins shifting Lausi into handcuffs, wielding them with a calm familiarity. "This don't make a fuckin' lick'f sense, but we've captured th'killer, a'least."

"She seemed to know you..." Carth replies, countering anger with sarcasm. "Sergeant Underwood and Drusilla." He pauses there, glancing over at Lausi. "Do you know Drusilla?"

Natalie thinks; '*with sudden cheer* ...the girl was breathing...! we saved

 Margery!'

The gravity of the situation seems to sink in, however slow her brain processes. Lausi finally asks, to anyone present, "I have to go to jail, huh..." The handcuffs clinking around her wrists only seems to finalize her statement, her voice melancholy as she answers someone. "I liked Dru. We were best friends... She stopped coming to visit me... Uncle Michael says she doesn't like me anymore."

Shanie comments, "There's something else going on here ..." She flips through the book. "About activating ..." Her eyes draw upward, "Uncle Michael?" She lowers the book and looks upward. "We should search the house again."

Shoving one of the other officers at Flynn and Lausi, Sergeant Underwood stalks back to the attic staircase that leads down to the bedroom. He begins barking orders, demanding the corpses be collected, demanding forensics shows up, demanding to know just who's ass he needs to kick to get people on the phone about who the fuck didn't go into this house after Michael Hart died. He swears a lot, like a sailor.

Natalie quietly winds in and out of Flynn's legs, restless, but rapt on each person's face as they speak.

"...Y'uncle Michael," Flynn comments, when he can get a word in edge-wise amongst the authoritative order-barking, "lass, I don't suppose y'can tell us'f y'uncle's still around here?"

Carth glances over at Flynn, eyes searching the man's face. "We have any say here, Big guy?" He wonders. "We have the means, can we keep her? Because... I have the feeling that if we let her go, Flynn, we won't learn a thing."

Shanie chews on her bottom lip, "Lausi ... these deaths ... are they matching anything that happened to you?"

In truth, Boston PD seems scattered. It might be possible to slip out with Lausi in hand, without Sergeant Underwood knowing, if one were so inclined. Even the officer he ordered to take her is distracted, being reordered to help someone in the bedroom.

Natalie thinks; '*happy* ...oh, let's keep her... she can work in the

 library... she can't be as far gone as Red and Yellow... Red was a raccoon!'

Lausi blinks slowly, tilting her head to look at Flynn. "Uncle Michael? I haven't seen him in a while... I don't think." Her face scrunches up, and her attention returns to Shanie. "I don't do those things to them. I just... The books say, sometimes if you hurt enough, you become different... I always thought it'd be nice to be a fairy, and maybe then I could run away..."

Flynn gives Carth a quiet, agreeing nod. "Yeah, fuck't," he says, after a moment's consideration. "I want t'kn--after feelin' ghosts all night, I -need- t'know what th'fuck's goin' on, here." Handcuffed or not, he starts guiding Lausi to her feet. "Shanie, y'thoughts? Leave'r with th'goons here'r take'r with us?"

(Privately)Goddamn, Natalie relates to Lausi. That notion makes her a little uneasy -- is she bad? She's not bad, is she? But more than anything, she'd love to shift into a bird, to fly away. She's been working on it for years with no luck... but she hasn't been killing little girls.

Shanie scrubs at her face. "Sacrificing someone ... it doesn't change you the way you think. These were children. Children that you murdered... Why the barricades? Why the trapped souls?" She doesn't answer Flynn right away.

"I didn't mean to." The word 'murder' brings Lausi back to her pitiful sobs, tears flooding her eyes and spilling over her cheeks. "I didn't mean to, they just wouldn't stop crying, I didn't mean they should die, they were supposed to be special, not die!"

Underwood is more trusting than he seems. Or he's just very angry. He's disappeared into the lower level rooms, but his voice can still be heard barking orders.

Carth keeps his eyes on the sergeant after Flynn talks but his words are clearly not for the man. "And, are you special, Lausi?"

This is a lithe, brunette waif of a woman in her mid-twenties with small C cup breasts facing away from you.
You would judge her to be a 6.5 out of 10.
She is 5'5" and has an unhealthy pallor, loam-coloured hair left dishevelled, and vivid green eyes lost to a drugged haze.

You can see her face, neck, forearms, and hands.

Though slender and possessed of beautiful features, her good points are overwhelmed by the unsettling parts of her: her dull gaze, her unhealthy pallor, the way she lacks the ability to see things and looks through them instead; this girl is unhealthy by sight. Her hair is dishevelled and rather stringy, possessed of body without health and the dull colour of loamy brown. Though the vivid green of her eyes could be considered startling, they're dulled in a drugged haze; her gaze is without recognition and sees through things. The slender line of her jaw completes her heart-shaped face, lips pale and boasting a white chap to the faint pink surface. Colorful bandages, like one might find at a pediatrician's office, cover her fingers - evidence of injuries.

Lausi is using:
a faded pink crewneck tee sporting a ballerina decal
a pair of threadbare, hole-laden jeans in a dark wash
a pair of lightly scuffed, teal-trimmed black Nikes


a white sateen ribbon, tied into a bow in her hair
a ballerina's charm bracelet, crafted of silver links

Shanie says, biting back, 'Now only one of them will ever be special, Lausi. That's if she lives.'

Lausi says (to Carth), bitterly, miserably, chased with more tears, ' No. It's why I'm here, still, because I couldn't go away... But even if they're dead, they aren't here anymore. They're luckier.'

Shanie shakes her head, "To many unanswered questions ... " She crouches down by the woman and looks into her eyes. "What happened to you?"

"...W'ought t'continue this discussion back't th'Order," Flynn suggests to Shanie. "Too many questions, an't th'very least, she's super-aware. Carth, scoop up some books. Missy.. Go bark'r somethin'. Let's dodge out."

Lausi's eyes, if they weren't so drugged and didn't look quite so unfocused as they gaze through Shanie, are a very vivid green. They blink slowly. "I'm tired..."

Shanie says, with a raspy, southern Californian inflection, 'Her pupils are huge ... she's been given something...'

Carth nods in response to Flynn and bends down to start collecting up the books and dropping them into his duffel bag. His stick, for now, is set just to the side of the stack near the door.

Or she's been taking something. Some odd scent, the scent of narcotics, clings to a piece of furniture. A table, littered with pill bottles and needles.

Shanie takes ahold of Lausi's arm, urging her up. "Come with us."

Natalie leaves Flynn's legs to slink back toward the door that the Sergeant had opened earlier, though it veers off to a table littered with pill bottles and needles.

Natalie feels a little tired of barking duty. She doesn't want to leave her

 friends.

It takes effort that the waif doesn't seem to have much of, but Lausi manages to get to her feet with the help of Shanie and Flynn. Her eyes catch the movement of Natalie and she calls a soft, "Oh, puppy, don't... Don't go near that, it's bad for you... It's bad..."

Shanie has been trying very hard not to pay much mind to Flynn and the weaving in and out of his legs by Natalie. "Did you inject yourself?"

Watching Natalie scamper off, Flynn turns his attention to Shanie. "Can y'go grab some'f that? Maybe't will help us figure out what's wrong with'er?" he suggests. "W'don't have time f'more questions, here."

More orders are barked down below. Sergeant Underwood must be in the upstairs hallway, where the office and library meet. That might leave this other door open to flee through with their stolen prisoner, without incurring the wrath of a very annoyed man.

(Privately)Natalie doesn't know the first thing about drugs, so even if she can single out the particular smell (she sucks at reading with canine eyes), she wouldn't know what the hell it was. So she's depending on Shanie

Shanie looses her grip on the woman and heads over to the table, scooping up pill bottles and a few needles, carefully. She caps the ones she takes that look used but have stuff in them.

When ready to proceed, STalk and you'll be summoned back to the Order gates, safely assuming that the BPD didn't notice any prisoner theft for now in the flurry of handling the other bodies.

Carth continues filling up his duffel bag until either his bag is full or there are no more books on the floor. Collecting up his stick, he does his best to keep the now awkward bag balanced on his side as he turns back to Flynn. "If we're going to make a dash, we need to do it now."

Natalie thinks; '*ever considerate* ...we should leave a note saying we're

 sorry but we really need to take Lausi...!'

"Agreed." Flynn doesn't waste more time. Lausi is carefully guided towards their escape route, even as the others gather up various elements of evidence. "Good work, guys, even'f this ain't exactly th'endin' w'imagined."

To Natalie: In retrospect, perhaps unnoticed by a canine, the raccoons would probably eat it.

Lausi sags in Flynn's hold again, staying on her feet this time, following as she's led.

(Privately)Natalie is tempted to go downstairs and grab that raccoon. A good snack for the trip home.

25/Feb/2014: 03:40AM