Post by penelope marcet ✦ d5f ✦ tris on Jul 9, 2019 14:15:21 GMT -5
There is no honey on his lips.
Only the taste of salt, of fresh tears
— and they are not his own.
Not even Adam can claim them. There is no source for this sadness. Because the way Beryl cries, the way his voice breaks and his cheeks flush with colour — none of it is real. This is not the way he mourns, the way he pulls his soul from his chest and lays it bare. This is a performance. His pain and his indifference are a fine calculation.
Beryl has nothing to call out for, to beg for
— because he has lost nothing.
He kissed Adam only an hour ago, when the sky bled from dawn to day and the sun eclipsed them. He held him close, this one sacred thing, and he thought to say, 'Can I show you my shadows?' But the sunlight never faded, and his iron never tore through the silk. There was only softness, a dove in a calloused hand, a gentle cry.
And he lied to his lover.
And he doesn't regret it.
"This is stupid." He occupies himself by trying to find his reflection in his nails, entering the office with his group and finding a perch on Malcolm's desk. He does not move. "I didn't volunteer for this. Why can't there just be one team to handle the investigation?"'Because there is strength in numbers,' he knows. 'Because you can see what I cannot.'
It's a familiar thing; hiding in plain sight.
"Not that I mind the company, of course." He flashes a porcelain smile, twirls a strand of gold around a long finger. "I'd just rather be in bed, or at dinner, or running a warm bath."With Adam. In the light. His legs cross over themselves, tapping his nails against the polished wood. "So let's get this over with. I'll be our manager."
A scientist surveying her experiments. A knight shrouded in shadows. A serpent writhing among rose petals.
This group puts her on edge.
There's a tension you could slice slowly, the blade lingering on words unsaid. But she's seen worse. It's funny, she notes to herself, how the person she dislikes the most is the one she least suspects.
For now. The will - Nox's last rites and testament, could provide the clarity she's determined to find. To jump towards assumptions this early in the game is a fool's choice, a cloth laid over crystalline glass: obscuring what she could have noticed with eyes unclouded.
Beryl perches on the desk and delegates, the vapidness of his voice revealing how little he cares about their current situation. Fiora responds with a half-listening murmur.
"Sleeping beauty nearly slumbered forever."Theres no prince to save you here.
"I'll take the bookcase," she says, her hands running along cracked spines and ancient ruins. Anything could be hiding within the pages.
The room's been touched. They're not the first here, and she tries not to think too hard about the mess that's being made. In this madness, the killer could just as easily reveal themselves as cover up their crime.
Or, crimes. Indigo might be neurotic, but she concedes: he's not wrong. But he's not right. Not yet.
When she's sure no one else is looking, she glances at Harvey, locking eyes with him before glancing - pointedly, at the back of Amrin's head.
She raises an eyebrow. A question is asked, a theory passed from eye to eye - one she can afford to give away. She suspects it will be dashed sooner or later.
Keep your friends close, Thorne. Your enemies? They may be one and the same.
The mirror of himself stares back at his old friend from years ago. Sickness surrounding the entirety of his memories, where his mother lies. Death was following him, the only clear reasoning he could come up with. Killer. One of them was a killer. With a blade of lies, waiting for the vote to strike Malcolm through the next with precision only a killer could make. The scene had been as he had expected, bloody and lifeless. A memory of what once was Malcolm Nox's life.
Fingertips tightened around his own pocket, holding back the memories of those cold eyes his mother had. Stone cold chills running up his spine as he swallows down the detox of death in the room. The feeling of blood in his veins, reminding him he was still alive and well. The game had changed, no longer these chess pieces for Malcolm to move, but now they were in control of their own piece. Step by step deciding whether they'll set up for a checkmate or be taken by the only king on the board.
All of them were pawns in whoever's game this was.
His office felt cold, tense, and outright wrong in every way. From the scene that had unfolded here, he could only feel the numbness in his fingers of the hollow feeling of death following him once more. The sorrow of a stone grave to be left with nothing more than memories, both good and bad. Malcolm Nox wasn't the greatest of men, Harvey knew that well, but he didn't deserve death.
He deserved more than death.
Beryl is the one to speak first with that sweet aroma of a carnivorous plant, waiting for them to fall delicately into his trap. Harvey knew it well, better than anyone else, after all he spent months in a room with the guy. After all of this, he's whining about having to investigate. It's not like he wanted to have him around, but it was better to split Beryl and Adam up, especially if one was a killer. Malcolm's desk is where Beryl resides with those twisted words and fragrant trap. Harvey wasn't a fly to fall into it. The earth moved beneath his feet, he could rip Beryl out from the ground by the roots if he had to.
Whatever it takes to never have to deal with an asshole like him.
Harvey hoped he was the killer, just to be able to prove that he had his reasons to doubt the guy.
"So let's get this over with. I'll be our manager."
"Wake me when it's over."
Harvey doesn't even flinch as he moves over to the chair, pulling it out with a screeching sound, hoping to make Beryl tumble onto the floor. His eyes already rolling from the stupidity of the young and the rich. Arms crossed into his armpits in annoyance. Harvey's voice escapes with a hiss.
"No, we need all hands on deck, dumbass. So get up on your feet and start looking, dickhead."
Fiora is the one to speak up now. With wiser words than he could ever muster up, which both terrifies him and makes him feel a thousand times better.
"Sleeping beauty nearly slumbered forever."
Slumbering forever seemed to be Beryl's forte after everything. Useless in every right, but somehow he was on Malcolm's good list. A sigh from his throat as Fiora goes to the bookcase, deciding it's the place she wanted to look. The room isn't untouched, places have been searched already. Harvey knew anyone could look through here. This was the most obvious place to get any sort of information, but he wasn't here for the damn will. He was here to figure out more about the others. If there was a killer among them, information would be the key to snuffing them out. As if throwing sand onto the fire, to let the smoke rise.
Fiora meets his eyes for a moment while no one is looking. They connect on that level that no one else really can. He trusts her, even if she was also a suspect in this. He could trust her, she was the only one who he was glad was here with him. Amrin was intelligent, but Fiora had a way of clicking with him in regards to similar thoughts. Her eyes move and he follows the movement to the only person left with them.
Did Fiora already figure it out?
No. That couldn't be it. Fiora would have done something if she had. Amrin was a suspect, maybe the biggest suspect they had. After all, it's always the silent ones with their little books with every detail in the world in them. If anyone was as precise as Amrin, he would be impressed. Could she do it though? Put a knife through Malcolm's neck to get the riches. That's the only part he wasn't entirely sure on. After all, she didn't do anything drastic to him other than shoot some sharp words. Harvey would be keeping an eye on her now, silently he looks back, connecting with Fiora's eyes again.
Slowly, he looks to Beryl.
The one person that he thinks is fake enough to hide being a killer and toy with them.
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
They were now in this game of pawns and kings, with no control over the other pieces. Everyone was for themselves now, the weak would either die out or break. They'd have to stick together in order to snuff out a killer. A silence follows as he approaches the desk again, opening drawers to check for any hidden compartments. Malcolm seemed like the type of person to make spaces to hide documents and important information he didn't want anyone else to see. The painting on the wall always felt suspicious, Harvey marking that to be checked for later.
Death was close, closer than he would like.
Hovering over his shoulder like an old friend would.
There was no more time to waste.
"I'm gonna check the desk and that painting."
Eyes darting at the three others.
"I don't feel like Malcolm is the type to make things available to find."
They didn’t know anything about Amrin, and maybe that was because Amrin did a good job of keeping to herself. She didn’t find the worth in trying to let people in on her life because she had a feeling that most of them wouldn’t be present in the long haul.
After all, letting go was always easier for Amrin, then trying to keep something that she didn’t find value in.
While she had met people here that did prove their worth, there wasn’t much that she could do avoid not getting to know them. It was clear that because of this, Amrin was seen as the weakest person here, but they had never walked a day in her shoes, and while they might have been ice cold, they weren’t comfortable by any means.
Letting her guard down and the hardest thing she had ever attempted to do, and so far, she felt like it was working. She was getting somewhere with a few of the other interns.
She was doing enough.
Her birthday hadn’t been going any more swimmingly, she was able to celebrate most of it in solitude, but throw in a murder and the discovery that Fiora had made, Amrin was embarrassed. It wasn’t like she didn’t want to celebrate her birthday, she just couldn’t find the right way to announce it to the group of people that she had been living with for the last couple months.
Well, that and the fact that Malcom had been murdered literally hours before she had even finished her cake.
Nothing was made easy for them.
Amrin was starting to get the hint that nothing was ever going to be easy for them from here on out.
And that thought had her on her toes.
Her journal was cemented in her hands as she followed Fiora out of the kitchen and into the foyer. She was nervous, but her blank expression did not show that. She wasn’t about to let herself be vulnerable, even if Fiora was someone that she could trust.
She didn’t trust it.
That’s all that mattered to her after all.
She listened well as they dispersed the group of 12 into three different teams. Each one of them wondering what was going to happen next. They were given a task, as they collected together, and that’s when Amrin realized that Beryl had been placed into their group.
Amrin was livid, but she wouldn’t say a word, because at the end of the day, it was better for them to be in a group, even if Amrin wished she could push Beryl off the top of the roof.
She tried not to focus on it too much, after all, he was nothing more than a garden snake.
A simple stomp of her foot would do just enough.
They moved into the office, and to no one’s visual surprise, Beryl had already staked his position as being the most useless out of the four of them.
”Your laziness astounds me Beryl.” Amrin pursed her lips before simply rolling her eyes and trying to communicate with the others. ”Might as well leave now if you are going to do absolutely nothing.” Amrin turned her attention to Fiora and Harvey, both of them staking their claims to what they wanted to take a look at.
”Ill take the stack of things on the coffee table and the chest.” Amrin was clear in her words, but she did not trust any of them to heed her words. After all, she knew very little of them, and it was clear that they knew very little of her.
All she had was what was in her journal after all.
Post by penelope marcet ✦ d5f ✦ tris on Aug 2, 2019 19:44:09 GMT -5
His chair screeches against the floor — and he lurches forward like a wave.
(Dancing in the water is just another name for drowning.)
But he catches himself, smile sharp.
A cat always lands on its feet.
"There's no need for vulgarity, Harvey." He runs a hand through his hair, trying to laugh away the tension in the room — but it has seeped everywhere, like a stain. Like blood."And you're so sweet, Fiora. I think you're also... interesting to look at, so to say." He excuses himself with a sigh.
"If you're all going to be so harsh, then I'll just wait here. Honestly, I'm seeing a lot of red flags." His face twists, lips turning downwards. "Are you prone to violence, Harvey? I'm not sure I trust you. You could have really hurt me." And there's the difference between 'could' and 'can.'
Beryl has dug his knife in more backs than he can count. It's not wise to challenge him to a knife fight. "Only teasing. I know I struck a nerve." He gently bites a finger, not hard enough to leave a mark on his skin. "I'm not good at this. At facing things like this. So I'm numb to it."
The tears come right on schedule, and he gently pats beneath his eyes. "I'm sorry, I'm just really stressed. I need a second to breathe — but please continue. Don't let me hold you guys back." At least for a moment, let them think him pathetic. He can be the flower, not the serpent.
And he can take root here, in this red soil. In all of this rot. There are ways to destroy someone without a weapon, without words — and he shoots Harvey a glance, fleeting and burning. He will not forgive those insults. Beryl doesn't play games; he's rigged to win before the countdown can even finish.
Without the light Oh, the darkness comes Hold through the night Mmm, the shadows will run
The books, their faces and their spines, reveal nothing but facades. Malcolm Nox was a many of many mysteries, but these findings to little to change that. Around her children squabble, but Death is not a child's game.
She thought it was, once. But she was a fool.
Harvey had looked at her for a long time, before shifting his gaze. She'd made a face — to murder when Beryl has all the cards in his favor seems like a poor calculation — but it was a lie. Motive matters, but only when opportunity has left them vulnerable.
Fiora pays no mind to Beryl's arsenic-laced sobs, but turns, stares at the sprawling portrait that lies landscape on the wall. She moves with purpose, holding onto one corner.
"Amrin, help me with this?"
There's a quibble, a blip under the radar that shakes at her senses. One step at a time, Fiora had told herself, had told Indigo, yet she finds herself at the precipice of the biggest case of her life. And she's not even thrilled. This does not make sense; the pieces fit, but it's like she's outlined the border of the puzzle and called it a day.
The last conversation with Nox drills into her mind: how sure she'd been then.
But that was over months of research. This is a free-for-all, a detective speed-run. And when had she turned down from a challenge before?
Breathe deep, Fiora, reach back into that head of yours.
The only word that could describe Beryl Fucking Fillis.
"There's no need for vulgarity, Harvey." Harvey Slate does the only thing he knew best when it came to handling Beryl, rolling his eyes at the speech that'd flow out of those lips like a sea of poison. They'd bob on the surface of his act. Harvey's seen it a little much now, since they've shared a room in this home for months. Solid as stone, Harvey just ignores the words and focuses on his search. "And you're so sweet, Fiora. I think you're also... interesting to look at, so to say."
This game they were playing was dangerous, but right now, Harvey could care less about that. Beryl Fillis was up to no good. Amrin may have her little book of secrets, but Beryl had a life full of secrets. The way he holds himself up in front of everyone gave a lot away to Harvey, but not enough to have concrete evidence. The silence almost breaks away, but Harvey can't count himself lucky. Beryl Fillis always got his fucking way.
Whether he was being listened to or not, he always fucking did.
"If you're all going to be so harsh, then I'll just wait here. Honestly, I'm seeing a lot of red flags." Beryl is idiotic. "Are you prone to violence, Harvey? I'm not sure I trust you. You could have really hurt me." Violence. The assumption in the air, heavy with a crashing sound in his ear. Killers were born from the extremes. He's got the history to back up some violent tendencies, but he was young then, dumber then. Sometimes, he had to deal with the horrible atrocities in his life with his own fists. Not something he was proud of, but he had to in order to survive.
None of them knew what it was like growing up alone.
In a world filled with stone cold graves and a class divide cutting him to his core, they would never know.
"Hurt you?" A laugh comes from his throat as he smiles back into the face of a snake disguised as a pretty flower, waiting to strike. Their game of pawns and kings moving slowly in places to make accusations. "If I wanted to hurt you Beryl, I had months and months of ample opportunities to have done so. After all, we shared the same room the entire time we've been here." Eyes glance back to the painting, staring back at him with those dim eyes and precise brush strokes from a painter. A precise beauty that could be that of a killer. "I don't need you to trust me."
Silently, they move pieces closer and closer to dangerous territory.
The rattle ringing in his ears as a warning of the poisonous strike that could hit.
"Only teasing. I know I struck a nerve." Of all the people, Beryl had to be the one he was stuck with. The facade was old to Harvey. He's seen it for months and could see the cracks behind it. He won't lie, the first few weeks Beryl wasn't terribly bad, but as the weeks grow longer, he learned more behind those smiles. The friendliness that disguised his pathetic form of pity, even though it wasn't that. A sigh from his throat as Beryl pulls another trick from his hat of tricks. "I'm not good at this. At facing things like this. So I'm numb to it."
Beryl didn't know what it was like to feel numb.
Harvey's seen death too many times to count. Beryl was lucky, luckier than most boys their age. At least, he started with more opportunities than Harvey could have dreamed of. A start that came with just the lottery that was birth. The fate he got stuck with showing him what true numbness was in the sound of death and grief. The stone cold chill of his mother's grave on his spine as he folds his arms once more, waiting for the rest of what Beryl had to say. As if the words wouldn't make Harvey more annoyed than before.
"I'm sorry, I'm just really stressed. I need a second to breathe — but please continue. Don't let me hold you guys back."
The tears are nothing more than for a show. The game was being played as they spoke and Beryl was using his tricks to get ahead. Harvey could see the signs. There's no trust in him. Harvey's spent months listening to his obnoxiousness of false kindness. He knew him better than Beryl would ever know and that's why he shuts his mouth for a second before letting out a deep sigh that he had been holding in for too long.
"You're not really sorry, but that's fine. Grow up."
A glare present on his face.
This was not how the internship was supposed to be.
A game of kings and pawns.
"You may have others fooled with the act, but you won't fool me. I've dealt with guys just like you Beryl, they're all the same. So grow up, stop acting like the sweet little flower that you want people to think you are." Anger is in his veins, but he needs to calm down. The venom on his tongue prominent, but he huffs into the air, as he focuses on the painting once more and continues what he was saying. "The sweetest of flowers can be poisonous."
Tension in his shoulders as ice glares across the room.
"Now get up and actually help, I could use a hand with this painting."
Fingers touching gently against the glass as he begins to prepare to lift it off the nails it hangs onto.
"And please, no more tears, we're all stuck in the same situation."
Incentive would work.
"Maybe I'll forget your little accusation if you put some effort in for once, Beryl."
It's not even been an hour and Harvey was already feeling like it would be a long fucking day.
Eyes stare back to Amrin and Fiora as he gives them the best apologetic face that he can before focusing on the memory of the damn little book that Amrin had. The curiosity still present on the tip of his tongue. The tense silence of his anger hanging for just a moment before he decides to move the little conversation they have into a different direction. Distract and refocus on the task at hand. Whatever it takes, he'll make it out of here.
"What's in that little book you carry, Amrin? I never really got around to asking about it."
(Harvey still searches, but there's no roll since I succeeded last round)
Amrin doesn’t miss a beat as she starts to shift things around. However, she finds nothing.
She takes a moment to collect herself, the piles of crap on the coffee table was nothing more than loose ends that Malcom was probably trying to finish up before he got ready to kick three people out of the program. Amrin couldn’t help but think that she was one of them, she wasn’t so sure that she was able to win the others over. She only had so many people in her corner, and with her birthday now passing, this truly was the hardest part of the day.
She couldn’t wait for it to end.
But alas, she needed to help, and it was clear that there was something here for them to find. She wasn’t sure who would find it, or if it would even matter at this point.
Beryl though was making it clear that he wanted nothing to do with this group. Amrin simply rolled her eyes. She knew it was best to let him pout, because he didn’t need her attention. He made that very clear the day that he threw her under the bus. She sighed, a loud and heavy one before finally giving up on the coffee table and returning her journal to her hands. Fiora had made mention to her, and so she stood up. ”Sure, what do I have to lose?” She placed the journal in between the crevice of her arm and ribs as she reached up to help Fiora to pull the painting off the wall.
”What could be behind here.” Amrin said as she caught light mentions coming from Harvey’s direction. ”Get back on my good side and maybe ill tell you all about it Harvey.” She said with a light whimsy in her voice. Of course she was only slightly kidding. She was mostly over the fact that Harvey as well threw her under the bus, but she would survive that. He at least had a chance to explain himself. ”That can come later. I think were on to something here.” She said as she took a closer look at the wallpaper behind the painting, pushing it in places to see if there was anything else that Malcom Nox was hiding.
Post by penelope marcet ✦ d5f ✦ tris on Aug 23, 2019 12:12:40 GMT -5
He doesn't move.
Not as Harvey lashes him with a sharp tongue, and not as Amrin and Fiora ignore his theatrics — he roots himself to the ground, arms crossed over his chest and jaw lifted high. He refuses to look down, to spare a glance at his attackers. His eyes shine with tears, but his expression is hard and cold. They are bullies, and they are beneath them.
"Oh, did I miss you buying out my free will? I thought you were poor, Harvey."
The word is emphasized, drowned in sugar. His features twist from indifferent to sickly sweet so easily, rubbing a thumb against a wet cheek and pouting his lips. All he feels is pity, and hatred. "I don't care what you think of me, or what you claim to know about me. Your opinion is worth as little as you are." He laughs, flipping his hair away from his brow.
"I'm going ahead to the next room. Feel free to follow, there's obviously nothing here."
Beryl pauses by a potted plant, pretending to help with the search by lifting a leaf to sift through the soil. "See, no knives or anything. And now my nails are dirty!" He shudders, marching ahead with a dramatic sigh. He looks over his shoulder after passing over the threshold, waving sweetly. "No need to say thank you, this is the least I can do."
And then he's gone, moving through the halls and entering a random room. He doesn't pay attention to his surroundings, and he doesn't bother to check for any clues. His only goal is to find the softest place, curling up like a cat in the sun. It doesn't matter that he can hear the thunder over the silence, that the lights have gone dim. Call it mind over matter. He scoffs to himself, picking at the dirt beneath his fingernails.
"You're not really sorry, but that's fine. Grow up."
"Get back on my good side and maybe i'll tell you all about it."
"No need to say thank you, this is the least I can do."
It is difficult to think in the middle of a parade; they used to hold them, she was told. When Lethe Turner came back. When Patricia Valfierno came back. When they were two she was born, her mother told them, she brought them right to the front of the line, holding up her twins as Patricia passed by. All she remembers is a pale spectre, a hollow ring to a face.
She was her first ghost.
A discovery is made as the painting is placed back down, and she turns from her findings: Amrin and Harvey are quick enough with their discoveries, candid enough with just the three of them in the room. Beryl has already sauntered off, towards greener pastures. Towards shadows. Towards the dark.
She sighs, deadpans. "We should follow him."
But she makes no move to leave.
Instead, the desk now clear of its former intrusion, she sits in his armchair and begins opening drawers, sorting through weathered files, scattered papers, scribbled notes. A life was led and built in this room, gathered together and built skyward. Cobbled together with privilege and patience, candor, callousness, this house on the hill stood tall.