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Tongues of Fire (Open)

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Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Talon Rogers on Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:39 am

((Note: This thread takes place on Sunday, June 12, at 10:00 A.M.))

The wind swept over the beach, ruffling the sandy blond hair of the boy now pacing back and forth on the top of a crest of sand. The boy was wearing a long-sleeved, bright red button-up shirt over a pair of neatly creased khaki pants. His feet were clad in a pair of shoes far nicer than what the average person wore to the beach. On a flat rock near him rested a black leather-bound book with gold tooling spelling out HOLY BIBLE. Pausing in his pacing, the boy picked up the Bible with one hand and held it over his head, raising his other hand as he faced the sea.

The Reverend Talon Rogers was about to preach his first sermon.

"Brothers and sisters, let us turn to the Book of Acts, chapter two, verses one through four." He opened the Bible to the appropriate page, which had been marked with a ribbon, and began to read in a loud, clear voice. "'And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' This is the Word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God."

Closing the Bible and replacing it on the rock, Talon resumed his pacing and began his message, even though there was no one to hear but the wind and the waves. "Pentecost. The birthday of the Church. In the last fifteen years I have heard fifteen different sermons with fifteen different messages about what Pentecost truly is, so this year it's my turn. I sat down with my Bible and I read Acts 2 over and over, and then I got down on my knees and prayed for understanding. And I think I got it. So this is how I understand the story, through God's almighty wisdom."

Talon gathered steam as he went on. He really had prayed for understanding, and he had needed to tell somebody, to get his message out into the world somehow, but he hadn't wanted to stand on a table in the St. Christina's cafeteria and make a huge speech. It wasn't that he was ashamed of his faith--far from it--but more that he knew he wouldn't be taken seriously if he was preaching in a mental facility. Everyone would just take him for another raving loony and he would be ignored. Out here...well, he had no idea who would come upon him--it could be a Ward C patient or a doctor, but it could also be a resident--but at least they would know he wasn't totally insane, and maybe he would be guaranteed a listen.

"The Bible tells us that when the Holy Spirit entered the disciples, they began to speak in other tongues while still understanding their own. But, brothers and sisters, when did we first encounter languages in the Bible?" He spread his arms wide. "The Tower of Babel, when mankind's vanity led them to attempt to build a tower up to heaven. They did so not for the glory of God, but for the glory of Man, and as a consequence God caused them to all speak in different tongues, and they could not work together, for they did not understand one another.

"And then, brothers and sisters, what did God do on Pentecost? He sent the Holy Spirit as a wind, and as tongues of flame, and the disciples began once again to speak in different tongues. But this linguistic feat did not deter them from communicating, but rather enhanced it. They spoke the languages created at the time of the Tower of Babel in order to unify the people...for the glory of God."

He smiled at his imaginary congregation. "What is Pentecost, then, but a reversal of the Tower of Babel? God knows that we have learned from our mistakes, and He also knows that all those who were unable to understand what was being said walked away from the Tower of Babel forgetting God, so what does He do? He gives His disciples the gift of tongues and encourages them to preach to men of other nations in their own tongues. Pentecost, therefore, is not just about becoming filled with the Holy Spirit and sharing it with others. It is about forgiveness--about learning from past mistakes and taking steps to fix them."

Talon was so engrossed in his sermon that he hadn't realized his imaginary congregation had become a physical one, inasmuch as someone had come upon his "church" while he was delivering this last paragraph.
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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Guest on Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:51 pm

The great thing about being on ward C was just how early megan could get off the grounds. She liked to do so at the first possible opportunity, and today was no exception. It was Sunday morning, and as soon as breakfast was out of the way, Megan had dashed back to her dorm to change. Today, she was planning on going for a swim, in the new swimsuit her aunt had sent her. Swim leggings would help her to avoid showing off her badly scarred legs when she went into the water, and the tankini top the came with, one that did reach down to the top of them, she wasn't entirely sure what the bathing suit rules were but thought it best to play safe, for now, would make it extremely easy for her. So what if she looked a little odd? She was more than used to that by now.

It didn't take her very long to run to the beach, nor to dump her swim bag and sandals away from the water, and before long, the redhead was charging headlong into the waves. throwing herself into the surf and having a wonderful time of it. She'd never believed in the 'don't swim after you eat' thing, and she'd certainly never suffered any ill effects from doing exactly that, as her post breakfast swim was showing right now. She was having great fun though, as she always did when she was in the water. Being raised around fishermen had done strange things to her mind, sure, and her love of the ocean was only one of them.

After an hour and a half of playing around in the water, she slowly walked away from the waterline, dripping all over the sand, and grinning widely. She'd be back in there soon, she always was, but for now, she needed a break. She'd spotted Talon as she walked away from the waves, though it was only as she got close that she was able to hear him, stopping nearby to listen to him talking about the tower of babel. She could almost remember that from back home, but only in name, she had no real idea what he was talking about. Some of that was down to her memory issues, it was true, but it had a lot more to do with her inability to concentrate on church services when she was younger. Well, that and she wasn't pentecostal.

When it seemed like the boy had finished, Megan applauded him, still beaming brightly. "You're really good at that!" she said happily, bouncing on the spot. "What was it?" she added, laughing a little. "I've never heard anyone doing that before, what's your religion?" she asked, bouncing closer to him, shaking droplets of water all over the place. "I'm Megan, I hope you don't mind me listening to you! It was really pretty stuff, but I didn't get most of it." she explained, still smiling brightly, twieling on the spot. Her hair flying out behind her sprayed even more water over the boy, but she didn't seem to notice, let alone mind. She'd found someone new to talk to, in her favourite place, what could be better than that?

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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:13 pm

Talon had been about to instruct his "congregation" to turn to the hymn he had elected to sing when the sound of applause made him jump. He turned, startled, to see a smilingly pretty red-haired girl in a long swimsuit, water dripping off of her and splattering the sands beneath her feet. He thought at first that she was a resident of the town, but then he recognized her--she was one of the Hadley transfers. He thought he had seen her once or twice in a wheelchair, especially right after he had gotten to Hadley, but he guessed that had been a temporary thing since she was now up and walking.

He returned her smile, but his was a bit more sheepish. "Thank you. It was just...a sermon, actually." He fingered the collar on his shirt. "Today is Pentecost--it's kind of the birthday of the church--and I just felt inspired to kind of preach about it. I'm just a Christian, don't really have a denomination, so I was just saying what I felt about it."

As she bounced forward, sprinkling him with water as she did so, he took a closer look. She really was quite pretty, and she looked friendly and nice. He definitely wouldn't mind being friends with her. And as she was in Ward C--obviously, as she was out this early, the Ward B-ers didn't get to be out until the afternoon and Ward A didn't get out at all--she was probably someone he could count on to be friends with. There were a few people in Ward A he trusted--like Michael--but if she was in Ward C she was probably a lot more stable than most of the people at Hadley, and she was the closest thing to normal the island would get.

She introduced herself, and he bowed politely. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Megan. I'm Talon. I don't mind you listening at all--to be honest, I was hoping someone would," he admitted with a small laugh. "I'm glad you liked it. It's okay if you didn't understand it, though. Everybody understands things differently." He hadn't really been thinking about his audience--he had been preaching the way he would have "testified" at the church he had grown up in, not thinking about the possibility of someone who had never studied the Gospel closely and might not know what he was talking about. Then, too, in trying to link the Tower of Babel to Pentecost he would probably have lost quite a few people. He might even have been decried as a heretic...not that that was uncommon when it came to him.

Deciding to abandon the formal presence, he undid his button-up shirt, stripping down to the white cotton undershirt. He toed out of his well-shined shoes and stuffed them, along with his socks, shirt, and Bible, into the bag he had brought with him. Thus attired, or un-attired, he dropped the bag to the sand and took a seat on the flat rock he had used as an altar, inviting Megan with a gesture to take a seat on the rock opposite him. "That's better...I think I've grown since I came to Hadley, my shoes are getting kind of tight." He indicated her outfit with a slight, graceful, and indisputably gay movement of his wrist and inquired, "Out for an early-morning swim? Do you come out here often during the week?"

Talon had not only never been to the beach before, he'd never been out of St. Christina's grounds until that point. It had taken a certain amount of reassurance before he was certain that Michael wouldn't be upset if he did. In fact, he had already picked up a couple of rather pretty rocks and shells to give to his little brother on his return to the facility. He hoped he could also have the chance to introduce him to a new friend.
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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Guest on Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:17 pm

As the boy explained what he'd been doping, Megan smiled and nodded, listening intently. "That's cool!" she replied, bouncing on the spot again, and spinning around for good measure. "I don't really know what I am, I mean, I believe in god and everything, but I dunno which kind of religion is for me. I've been to lots of churches and stuff, but I can't sit still for very long, so I don't last in them. I tried to join my friend's mosque back home, I was gonna convert and everything, just to give it a try, but my aunt wouldn't let me. That really sucked, I haven't been to anythign since then, been at Hadley and stuff instead. Denominations are kinda weird, but I guess we can go round loads of them and see how everyone does it till we find one that's right, right?" she rambled, speaking fast, barely even pausing for breath.

"It's nice to meet you too Talon!" she replied, beaming brightly and stepping forwards to hug him, not thinking about how wet his clothes might end up. Little details like that rarely entered her mind, especially when she was enjoying herself and meeting new people. Besides, it was a nice day, there was plenty of sin, he'd dry off quickly! "Sorry!" she said, giggling as she stepped back, not sounding as though she meant it. "I'll understand it sometime." she added, giving a firm nod. Well, assuming she didn't forget it all again, like she usually did with sermons. Still, even if she did, she'd get to listen to it all again, and what was wrong with that?

She certainly wouldn't have called him a heretic, but then, as far as she was concerned, most of the people in the stuffy, boring church services she'd been to over the years weren't the kinds of people she'd want to hang out with in heaven anyway. She'd much rather have people like Talon, people who were fun to be around, it wouldn't be heaven if everyone was boring after all. "I think I've shrunk." she replied as he spoke again, nodding once more. "Lost weight anyway, but the food at Hadley was rubbish, so I blame that." she continued, grinning at him. "This is the...second time I've come out here for a swim. I only got my new swimsuit stuff yesterday, and I kinda need it so i don't go showing off all my scars and stuff." she continued, rambling again, and not seeming to notice.

"How about you?" she asked, still smiling brightly. "I love the beach, do you? I'll be coming here a lot more I think, it's awesome here, and I can watch the ships and stuff if there are any around." she continued, bouncing some more. One day, she'd be on one, maybe she'd come into the little island to visit! Chances were there wouldn't be anyone here who'd remember her by then, but it could still be fun, right?

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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:36 am

Talon found himself listening to Megan with his mouth slightly open. She talked so fast, and seemed able to rattle off entire speeches without pausing for breath. He closed his mouth and smiled at her comments about denominations, though. "Exactly. And who's to say any one denomination is right? They're all Christians, they all believe in the same basic thing. The rest is just ritual." He stretched a little. "Besides, I think most people believe in the same celestial being. God, Allah, Yahweh, or Manitou--what matters the naming of Him?"

He was a little startled when she gave him an enthusiastic--and somewhat wet--hug, but then he mentally shrugged and hugged her back. He was accustomed to hugs from his female friends, but usually he'd known them for a while before they started hugging him. Clearly Megan was one of those people who never met a stranger. He thought he might be able to get used to that.

"Don't worry about it," he reassured her as she apologized. "It's a nice day. And I was thinking about going swimming later anyway." Well, not in his clothing. And he hadn't planned to go until after lunch; he was going to go back to St. Christina's for lunch and then see if he could find any other patients in Ward B or C who wanted to go swimming with him. As she added that she would get it eventually, he smiled. "Don't worry about that, either. I don't pretend to be an expert, but if you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask and I'll answer as best as I can."

He studied her slightly as she said she thought she had shrunk. "Well, I wouldn't know, since I didn't really see you much around Hadley. But I'd say you look pretty good to me." He didn't add that he also probably wasn't the best judge of the female body, since it wasn't what held an attraction for him, but still. He had no way of knowing what her issues were that had brought her first to Hadley and now to St. Christina's, but he guessed that it wasn't anorexia or she wouldn't be concerned about having lost weight. In fact, she probably would have been upset that she hadn't lost enough. As one who had never had to struggle to keep his weight down, he had to admit that he didn't understand anorexics in the slightest.

Her comment about the scars, however, startled him. "Scars? Are you all right?" Well, that was an inane comment...if she had the scars, she had obviously been hurt long enough ago that her wounds had healed, leaving permanent reminders. "I mean...I've got a few, too, but they're not...they're my own damn fault." He rotated his left arm, showing her the track marks that still marred the underside of both arms. "I was a cocaine addict. You? I mean, where'd you get yours from? If you don't mind me asking," he added quickly. He didn't want to offend his new friend, but he was curious.

"How about you?" she asked, still smiling brightly. "I love the beach, do you? I'll be coming here a lot more I think, it's awesome here, and I can watch the ships and stuff if there are any around."

Talon's smile returned. "I think I could definitely get to like the beach. I grew up in inner-state New York, so this is really the first time I've ever been near a beach. The smell is intoxicating, though. I don't think I would have gotten addicted to cocaine if I'd been near a beach. It's like there's a special kind of high you can only get from the sight and sound and smell of the wind and the waves...you know what I'm saying?"
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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:22 pm

Megan was used to responses like that when she got all ranty, but it wasn't something she could really help. ADHD was bad enough on it's own, when she got manic, she doubted anyone could understand her at all. Strill, Talon was able to keep up, more or less, so she supposed she must be comparatively normal at the moment. That was nice to know. As he spoke, she grinned again and nodded enthusiastically, glad she hadn't scared him off. "I think they're all right." she replied, nodding in agreement with him. "It doesn't matter if it's one god or lots of gods, if they're up there, watching us, then just paying them some attention every week is gonna be fine, doesn't matter what you do, right?" she continued, beaming brightly at him. "Or her!" she added, giggling a little. Why couldn't god be a girl anyway?

"You'll dry off really quick." she said with a nod as he spoke again, still smiling at him. "The ocean is awesome to swim in, you have to try it." she added, nodding again. There was no way a pool could ever even hope to compare, the ocean was just too amazing. Even the shallows around the little island they now called home were great to swim in, she couldn't wait to get out there, onto the open ocean on the deck of a fishing boat, though she knew it was going to be a while yet before she got out of here. She wasn't guaranteed freedom at eighteen anymore, which sucked, but she'd get out eventually, whatever it took. She had to, wasting away on this rock wasn't how she wanted to live the rest of her life.

"okay, I will!" she replied as he spoke again, bouncing on the spot, and giggling as he continued. "Thanks!" she added, her smile growing ever brighter as he complimented her. She hadn't been expecting that really, just from where he'd kept his eyes she didn't think he was interested in her at all, she wasn't planning on trying anything with him, for a nice change. Maybe she'd go find Jamie later, he was always up for something, she hoped.

"I'm fine, yeah." she replied, nodding again, her smile fading a little. "Mine are...I got some from the hurricane that hit Hadley in Louisiana, I ended up in a wheelchair after that for a little while. I have others though. Before that, I got caught in a fire on a fishing boat. My legs got burnt up. That's why I live with my aunt." she continued, her gaze flicking out to sea for a moment. She didn't like thinking about that night, ECT or not she was sure it was going to be burned into her memory for the rest of her life, it was not an experience she wanted to relive. Still, he'd asked, and she'd explained. Looking back to him, she smiled again. "I'm bipolar, and I have ADHD, that's why I'm here."

"You've never been to the beach before?" she asked, sounding surprised. "I'm from Seattle, I'd never been away from the water before I went to Hadley. I think you're right too, I think it's why there's always so many people on beaches. Soon as it gets hot, this beach is gonna be more person than sand." she continued, smiling once more, happy to keep the conversation on nicer things.

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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Talon Rogers on Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:19 pm

Talon was slowly getting into the rhythm of conversation with Megan. The trick was not to assume the conversation was going to progress in a linear, logical fashion. It was almost like carrying on three or four conversations at once. He could deal with this, though. Actually, now that he was getting the hang of it, he was kind of having fun. She seemed like a genuinely nice person, and she was definitely enthusiastic. He liked her.

The sparkle faded a little as she told him what her scars were. Talon's smile faded as well. "I'm sorry," he said sincerely. "I wasn't at Hadley in Louisiana--I think you'd already been in Phoenicia for a couple months before I came--but I heard about it. I'm sorry you had to go through that." He didn't mention the fire, or the loss of her parents; he could see the look in her eyes, the way she looked away after she said it, and he knew that was definitely one memory she didn't want to bring back up. He wasn't going to make her dwell on it any more than necessary.

The smile returned, and he couldn't help but laugh when she mentioned why she was there. "You have ADHD? I never would have guessed," he teased her. "Seriously, though, I get it. Like I said, I was a cocaine addict, and I supported my habit with prostitution. That's why I'm here. Well, that and my parents were crazy Jesus freaks who literally beat me with the Bible when I told them I was gay, never mind the other stuff. Honestly, I kind of like it better here. If I get released, I might even stay on the island."

His smile broadened as she talked about the beach being more people than sand. "In that case I'm going to have to get a new swimsuit. The one I have is getting kind of threadbare. I don't mind one or two people seeing me in it, but if this place is going to be as crowded as all that, I'm going to need something a little more substantial." He looked out over the ocean. "Maybe I'll invest in a wetsuit. Is the water cold? It seems like everything's so much cooler here than it was back in New York."
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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:46 pm

"Thanks, but it's alright." she replied as Talon gave his sympathy, smiling at him. "It was a long time ago, and there's nothing anyone can do to change the past. It's easier just to get on with things, what's happened is done, we can't do anything about it, it's not worth dwelling on." she continued, giving a small nod. Life was too short to worry about the past, the future was a much better thing to think about. She could change that, do the things she wanted to, not like the past. "Louisiana was too hot for me, I like the weather here a lot more. It's much more like home." she continued, nodding. "It was nicer in Phoenica, but here is the best it's been." she added, nodding again.

Poking her tongue out at the teasing, she giggled. That stopped as he continued though, and instead, she hugged him again. She didn't care if he was gay, why should she? Why should anyone? "It is kinda nice here, yeah. I don't think I'll stay, but I might come visit!" she replied, letting go of him and bouncing on the spot again. "I'm really sorry people would do that kind of thing to you. It's a really stupid reason to hate someone, I doubt people who think like that have ever even read their bibles." she continued, nodding again, still speaking too fast. "I've never tried cocaine, that's probably a good thing though, I don't think anyone would be able to keep up if I did." she added, grinning at the boy. Stimulants for someone who was already hyperactive? Madness!

"It's kinda cold, yeah, but I don't think it's wetsuit cold, yet anyway. It will be in winter, it'll be too cold for anything really, but we'll have the pool for then." she replied, giving another nod. "It won't be as cold as up in Seattle, but it's really gonna be bad when it gets snowy. I dunno how badly we're gonna get snowed in down here, but I don't think we're gonna want to be doing much on the beach when winter hits hard." she continued, spinning around to look out at the ocean again. "It's nicer here than there." she repeated, nodding again, turning back to him. "Maybe I should get a wetsuit, then I wouldn't look so weird." she said, grinning at him again. "Think they'd let us learn how to surf?"

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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Talon Rogers on Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:31 am

"I've not heard too many good things about the weather in Louisiana," Talon said, a half-smile on his face. "But I've never experienced it firsthand. This is the first time I've ever even been out of New York State. Born and raised in Red Hook, until I got sent to Hadley in Phoenecia." He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. At first he hadn't minded Hadley being so close to home--it had let him get away without getting too far away. But with Jackson and Skylar living out of state, it hadn't been as important to stay in New York. And he really relished the idea, now, of being as far away from his parents as possible.

The sudden hug caught him off-guard, but he hugged Megan back. "It's not your fault. Ordinarily I would say that people pick and choose what to believe in the Bible, and that's one they often pick, but unfortunately I can't even levy that charge against my parents. They follow all the 'laws' in the Bible. My dad doesn't shave, my mom doesn't wear pants, they don't wear blended fabrics, they don't eat shellfish...it's kind of insane." He grinned. "I pointed out to my father once that the Bible doesn't prohibit homosexuality, just the act of gay sex, and boy did he get mad at me for that. I think he quoted something that said the act was as good as the deed, but I don't remember the exact chapter and verse." It was odd, because usually he could pull any verse out from memory, but that one was one that had always eluded him.

He grinned at the thought of Megan trying cocaine. "Yeah...that would be a recipe for disaster, wouldn't it?" he replied, laughing. "Like a manic-depressive drinking alcohol. I never got too hyper on cocaine...Henry always made fun of me, said I was a 'considerate' druggie because I'd take the drug and then go sit somewhere quiet to watch the fireworks. Not that you hallucinate on coke, but..." He shrugged, then changed the subject. Like Megan clearly did not want to discuss the fire that had claimed her parents' lives, Talon had no wish to discuss Henry. The boy who had been his first experience with so many things held a special place of terror in his heart. Henry was another reason Talon had been glad to get away from New York.

He listened to Megan's explanations of wetsuit weather. When she said the facility had a pool, he couldn't help but pull a bit of a face. "I never really got into pools. The chlorine, I guess. I think I'm unusually sensitive to it...if I'm going to be in there, I'll definitely need a wetsuit, to minimize the contact. But all in all, I think I'd rather swim in the ocean." He inhaled deeply. "It smells better."
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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:06 pm

"You're lucky." Megan replied. "It's not just hot down there, it's so humid it feels like you're breathing soup." she added, still smiling. It was a lot nicer up here, so far anyway. Not knowing how cold it was going to get come winter, she couldn't say weather or not they'd all end up feeling like they were breathing needles, like she had when she was out on the boat in a winter storm once or twice, a few hundred miles to the north. It'd be warmer here, she hoped, or else half the kids would probably end up freezing themselves to death. "Is it hard, being so far away for the first time?" she continued, glad to have someone to talk to, especially someone who could keep up.

"All of them? Wow! Is that even possible?" she asked, grinning and giggling a little. She didn't really remember many of them, but she was sure there were plenty that were either impossible or illegal to follow. Still, it'd be funny to see someone try! "Do they dress up like Amish people?" she asked, giggling again. Wasn't the way those guys dressed something to do with the bible? She'd never actually met any, predictably, but she'd seen them on TV a few times. "He probably just made it up!" she added as he spoke again, spinning on the spot, still smiling. That was something a crezy guy like Talon's dad seemed to be would do, right?

Grinning, she nodded as he spoke again, bouncing on the spot. "I think it'd be worse than that!" she said with a giggle as he spoke again, nodding some more as he explained things about his drug use. "I used to smoke pot to help me to calm down and relax and stuff, I kinda need stuff like that sometimes. they don't see it that way here though. It's really, really hard for me to just sit and chill out if I can't get any, and I can't remember the last time I managed to have a smoke." she added, completely truthfully. her memory might not be as ruined as it once was, but it was still far from good.

"It does, yeah." she replied to his words about the sea, turning to look out at the wide blue expanse again. "It's really clean here compared with the beaches back home too, I guess there's no ships coming in close on this side." she added, staring at the slow moving blob on the horizon again. "I wanna go fishing, do you think they'd let us have rods and hooks and stuff?" she asked, turning back to him and grinning again, surprised she'd managed to stay on topic so long before her mind had wandered. Usually it happened much faster than this, but then, usually she didn't get a decent conversation like the one she'd been having.

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Re: Tongues of Fire (Open)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:23 pm

Talon pondered Megan's question for a moment. "Is it hard?" he repeated thoughtfully. "No. Not really. My parents and I had a...contentious relationship. And my older sister is kind of a snob. The only one in my family I really got along with was my brother, and he got thrown out a couple years ago. He lives out of state now. And...well, there was an ex-friend of mine. Let's just say I wasn't too unhappy to leave him behind." It was more than true. He didn't want anything to do with Henry any longer, and he sure as hell didn't want to be in New York. Even if gay marriage was legal there.

He couldn't help but laugh when Megan asked if his parents dressed like the Amish. "Are you kidding? There are days when my folks make the Amish look like Chippendale dancers. It went so far that when I was born, my mother wasn't allowed to come into the church for a month because the Bible said she was 'unclean' for thirty-three days following the birth of a male. It's like twice as long for a girl." A smile crossed his face when Megan suggested that his father had made up the quote. "More likely he was paraphrasing. I do know that the beginning of Leviticus says that if you know someone else is sinning and don't say anything about it, then you've sinned too. I guess, though, that comes under the category of Thou shalt not lie. Those are the only real rules, right? The Ten Commandments?"

Rubbing the back of his neck--he had a feeling he was starting to get a little sunburnt--he listened to Megan explain that she used to smoke pot to relax. He'd heard that marijuana was a calming drug--tokers tended to be stereotyped as mellow dudes--but he'd never taken it himself. "I never tried pot. Probably because I can't stand smoking. 'S why I mainlined cocaine. Got the high without having to inhale anything."

"I wanna go fishing, do you think they'd let us have rods and hooks and stuff?"

Talon gave the matter serious consideration. "I think they might let us have it," he said finally. "We're Ward C. We're the good kids, right? Obviously we're not going to--to use the rods to fashion garrottes or disembowel each other with the hooks or anything. I have a feeling they'd insist on us being supervised even so, but...yeah. I bet if we asked the right people at the right time, we could do it. Heck--" Talon grinned as an idea occurred to him. "We could go into town and buy the rods and stuff. If they don't like it they'll confiscate it at the gate, but at least we could fish some. Bet it'd be a lot of fun." He looked out across the gently bobbing waves. "I've never been fishing before. The senior high school members of my church's youth group used to go on a deep-sea fishing trip every summer to learn to be 'fishers of men', but I wasn't old enough to go when I got sent to Hadley."
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Talon Rogers

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