Anachronism - Rated M - 08-06-2013, 09:25 PM
Content Warning: Swearing, Language, Some Content Unsuitable for Children Under 13, Drug Use, Murder, and General Mishaps and Misery.
Note: Ongoing Project.
New Chicago, Northern America
November 23, 2050
22:34 PM CST
Alicia Aarons was an actress of the highest caliber, and she knew this fact very well. The career brought her a variety of lifetimes’ worth of roles, from femme fatales to old crones to young maids in distress. But her present circumstance was distracting her, just a bit, from these usual thoughts about her daily goings-on.
Because little Alice was going to jump.
The fall wouldn’t kill her; she knew that first-hand. Falling was fun, like flying. Hair floated around your face, wind rushed between your fingers… no, the fall was the best part. Pure, unadulterated freedom…
Yes, what would kill her was not her descent to the pavement.
That would be the men with guns at the foot of the Willis Building.
She took a drag off of her last cigarette and exhaled the smoke with the filter still squeezed between her teeth, and her eyes took in the glowing city one more time. Twinkling lights, tall metallic towers, skyscraper apartments and not a single star in the sky, as far as the eye could see. In a pinch, she’d call it desolately beautiful; and she smiled down at the captive audience below. Coppers, FBI, civilians, SWAT – all mingling, gathered on the black and yellow asphalt veins of the dirty city.
Slim fingertips graced her lips as she pulled the cig away, a final cancer cloud dissipating in the thin air as it swirled in the upper atmosphere, and she grinned at the hover cops as they neared. The giant whirlybirds descended to eye level, the wind whipped by its engines tossing her coat to and fro with her long, long brown hair. The side door of the machine opened and men in black combat armor lined up their little red dots on her forehead, the laser heat making her skin tingle as her lips curled up.
Relaxed even as her end drew near, she tossed the tobacco aside, the dull red ember dying in the cold, and she put her hands in her pockets as they drew nearer. Her mind wandered to a few days before, when the entire mess had started. But…
Wait a minute. She stared at the SWAT officers in the copter and drew a finger across her throat, brow furrowing in confusion, and they dropped their weapons in a group groan. “Come on, this is going to be the third friggen time you’ve forgotten your lines! We’re on a petrol budget, here!” Audible groans of annoyance came from the audience below and Alice just sighed, pulling her PDA out of her pocket and reading the prompts on it. This company was starting to get annoying; marijuana had been legal for nearly thirty years now but they had the most stupid and elaborate commercials for it. The entirety of the last five hours had been repeatedly trying to finish this one commercial, the first in a new line for some new film that was using their product, oh my.
“The lines are… just… really stupid.” Alice looked around and over her shoulder behind the fence, at thin wires attached to the harness under her clothes. “Also, where the hell is the police chief? He’s supposed to come up here first before you guys do and I’ve already forgotten what take we’re at.” She shoved the device back in her pocket and grumbled in irritation as the director called it for the day from inside the copter, the techs on the roof coming over to undo her wires and pull her back to safety. A gofer handed her a hot cup full of coffee, half-cream with extra vanilla, and she walked over to the rooftop access door as she drank it slowly. The heat warmed her cold bones and she smiled at the man in the raincoat that began to walk alongside her. “Jak, relax. You know this is just a dumb ad for Mary Jane Cigs, for my movie.” He scowled at her over his scarf and stared straight ahead at the metal door. “Don’t give me that look, I know you didn’t sleep last night and I’m sorry you’re going on day three as it is.” She sipped more of her caffeine down gladly and turned her head as she looked over her shoulder, seeing the director berating his producer and she couldn’t help but cringe at the sight. The married couple fought like, well, a married couple; Jon couldn’t get things sorted right with the acting crew and Miriam couldn’t get his grips on the job properly.
The bodyguard next to her made another noise, this one more inquisitive, and she just shrugged and offered her coffee, a daily routine; he declined with a hand against the mug and she simply nodded, as she did every day, and finished her drink before tossing it into one of hundreds of waste bins across the large rooftop. Fences blocked off different areas of the top of the building – at least, they had, before they’d rented the top off. Each little area had its own purpose – makeup, costume, more makeup, rehearsal spot, catering, a few trailers for naps, and… For some reason, there was a dancing pole. There was a gag about a pole somewhere in the new movie – she had yet to read that far into the script yet, as she liked surprises – so random actors were posing with it for the Bonus Features easter eggs. She found it ridiculous, and so far had avoided it like the plague.
Jakyll put a narrow hand on her shoulder and she looked up at him again with a frown. “No, I’m not hungry, I just want to take a short break. It’s friggin’ cold up here, Jak,” she whined, without quite sounding whiny, just irritated. “You’d think global warming’d fixed that by now!” His bright blue eyes just threw a chuckle at her as they twinkled, a rare smile reaching his eyes, and he kept his hand on her shoulder. His hackles were up, she noticed; he was tenser than usual, quieter than normal. The man was paranoia at its best, but this was out of sorts and she was starting to worry. But she quickly cast these cares away; it wasn’t her job or place to concern herself with his business – which was protecting her from said problems to begin with.
Across the roof, shouting bounced off the ill-constructed shanties, and they only spared a short glance back. The married couple had cracked open the celebratory champagne, for reasons unknown. The two men were quite the lush ones, always drunk if they could help it and it was only proper at this point to feel embarrassed for them.
Motion caught her eye, and a grin leapt to her lips as she saw the door open. Finally, the ass-hole decided to show! “Marty, come on, you’ve taken all-“
Her eyes widened as the door slammed open under the dead weight of a corpse, the body slamming to the concrete roof and brain matter splattering across the roof from the force of the impact. A hole in the head was his cause of death, and the city’s police chief lay prone, cold, gray.
A shrill scream rent the air – not her own, but that of the production team around her.
A flurry of motion occurred and the only thing that felt solid was Jakyll tackling her to the ground to keep her safe from the mass trampling that nearly occurred. She buried her face in his coat, trembling in abject shock, and as silence fell, he grunted. “I’m fine,” she whispered, voice small. He stood and helped her to her feet, wrapping an arm around her to pull her close and safe. The masked man glanced around, pulling a handgun from inside his coat, and he ushered her over to one of the air-conditioner vents and gestured for her to sit. Jakyll didn’t speak – didn’t need to. She understood perfectly that he wanted her to hide and stay down while he looked for the killer. Hired mercs were good at the whole “talk without talking” thing.
Well, he was, anyway.
Alice hunkered down with her arms over her head, trembling minutely as she watched him check behind and under the various props and scenery around the rooftop before scanning over the other roofs. He nodded curtly and returned to her spot, bringing her back to her feet and pulling her quickly past the dead body. No words were exchanged as they descended the stairs until they found an elevator, and as they waited for it to ascend to their floor, Alice began to wretch and covered her mouth, skin turning ashen and clammy as her body shook and her stomach heaved. He kept his arm around her even as she vomited up what she’d eaten at breakfast and the coffee too, and kept calm as the elevator open and he walked her inside. She simply leaned against him, trembling and weak, and he put a hand on her forehead. No, not sick, just in shock. She’d be fine. He rolled his eyes a bit and picked her up, pulling her over his shoulder as she swooned, and pressed the lobby button.
I stare at the girl in the mirror: T-shirt, torn up jeans, no beauty queen.
But the way that you see me, you get underneath me, and all my defenses just fall away, fall away.
I am beautiful with you, even in the darkest part of me. I am beautiful with you;
Make it feel the way it's supposed to be!
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