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Unread 7th of April, 2008, 13:28
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Prologue: Voices in the Static

It had been a bad day for Alice. It all started before she even woke up, her sleep plagued by strange dreams of fire, distant cries for help and a large booming voice commanding her to do something that she couldn’t make out no matter how hard she tried.

The dreams conspired to rob her of restful sleep and when she finally awoke it was well after her alarm had given up its efforts to rouse her. Through some miracle of adrenaline fuelled rushing she managed to make it out the door and into work just shy of being late, but in her rush she left behind her iPod, leaving her to suffer through morning talk back radio on her drive.

Things did not improve once at work. One of her patients – Mr Alronzo – had finally passed away after a long struggle where he hovered between delusional incoherence and the blankness of coma. She knew he had a family from his file, but not once had they visited the old man during his long prolonged stay. Even when it became obvious that today would be his last day, they declined to come to his bedside. All of this and it was only Wednesday.

The end of the day found Alice driving home giving more though to the live-in care position, for which she had a second interview the following Saturday. For all of the potential downsides of it, it would save her from more days like the one she had just suffered through.

It was the burst of static from her radio that drew Alice out of her reverie, realising with a start that at some point she had made a wrong turn and was now driving through unfamiliar and unsafe looking – though empty – streets. Behind the static she could almost hear the words of the radio announcer, words that seemed strangely familiar.

Then bad went to worse, as her car stalled and rolled to a stop beneath the flickering that that illuminated a large billboard advertising a popular softdrink. Her car radio continued to blast out static as she gazed up at the advertisement, something about it seeming … off and drawing attention. The letters of the logo didn’t quite seem to match up, they were … different but in a way she couldn’t quite read in the rapid flickering.

The radio static grew louder, echoing from within off the windows and threatening to give the nurse a headache, but she couldn’t draw her attention away from the billboard. She could almost make out what it said, knowing without knowing how that it was something important. Something for her.

Then, as she concentrated, focusing all of her attention past the distractions the static parted. The light shone true upon the billboard and the message was clear. The voice from the radio boomed out at her, shaking Alice to her core as it read the message displaced above her, three words filled with unspeakable and unknown implications.

IT IS RAGE

A sudden movement from outside her car drew her attention as Alice turned her head what she saw caused the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. Outside in the previously abandoned street was a figure she knew but one who couldn’t possibly be there. In the darkened street, his face contorted with anger stood Mr Alronzo. Striding forward with implacable determination the figure bore down on another person, a young man barely more then a boy who cowered against the walls of the empty street, wide fear filled eyes fixed on the impossibility that bore down upon him.

Looking out at what was happening a dread certainty filled Alice, an instinctive realisation. This was not right and she needed to do … something.
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Unread 9th of April, 2008, 00:16
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Alice stared at the ghostly figure with disbelief.

Mr. Alronzo…

She drew a breath and held it, paralyzed and stunned by what she was witnessing. Surely that was not Mr Alronzo. Surely it was a man, but not the very same Mr. Alronzo. It couldn’t be--

She glanced back up at the billboard, a strange sense of unreality washing over her, as the city seemed to take on a dark and twisted life of its own. Was she dreaming? The nightmare from this morning, and the radio announcer felt vaguely connected, as if they were familiar somehow. In her haste, she had pushed it to the back of her mind. Still something about the ominous voice in the static beckoned it back into memory. Had she been here before?

Alice turned to face the figure again, hovering over the young man, his eyes flashing with anger and his mouth crooked and snarling with hate.

Lost in the fire...voices... so many lost voices, calling out in fear...

She shook her head at the vision, and closed her eyes, searching for the courage to intervene. On a leap of faith that this was all somehow just a terrible nightmare, Alice very quietly opened the car door and crawled out of the vehicle.

"Alronzo" Alice called, crouching behind the open door for cover.

"Mr. Alronzo!" she called out again from across the alleyway, slowly rising into view.

Last edited by harmony; 9th of May, 2008 at 08:28.
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Unread 10th of April, 2008, 22:17
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Alice's voice echoed across the alleyway. The figured that appeared to be Alronzo paused at the call, hesitating as if he almost heard something then continued his slow advance. An abstract, rational part of Alice's mind noted that Alronzo was walking forward much slower then a person should be.

While her cry did not attract Alronzo's attention, it did reach the young man the figure was menacing. Turning his wide gaze towards her, the man reached out a hand and wordlessly mouthed something.
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Unread 11th of April, 2008, 01:15
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Alice strained to hear the young man. He seemed to be trying to say something, but what it was she couldn’t make out. His wide expression frightened her, shaking her back to reality. This was not a dream. Yet there was something clearly inhuman about the way the figure was moving...much too odd, much too slow. If Alronzo had recognized her, she wasn't sure, and it appeared he wasn't intent on stopping.

"Here!" Alice called out to the young man.
"Over here, run!"

Leaning back into her car, Alice slipped inside the stalled vehicle. Her hands were cold, sweaty, almost unable to move. Frantically she ripped the keys out of the ignition then pushed them back in, trying urgently to coax the car to life.
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Unread 12th of April, 2008, 23:06
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Alice turned the key in the ignition, hoping, willing the engine to start. The car whines, coughs and falls silent. Glancing back at young man, the nurse made out what he was mouthing. The same word over and over: help-help-help-help-help.

Turning the ignition again, the car roared to life as the light above the billboard finally went out. Turning back Alice found that the ghost was still focused on the young man who had yet to move.
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Unread 13th of April, 2008, 11:22
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The car engine blared, as Alice let out a gasp of relief. Turning back towards the young man, she saw he was still motionless, frozen, as the ghost of Alronzo gained on him. Hesitating, she jumped back out of the Jetta, leaving the door wide open and the engine waiting.

“Mr. Alronzo!” She cried out, running towards the angry ghost.

Grabbing the young man’s hand, Alice stopped between him and the specter, her heart pounding in her chest with fear and uncertainty. If there is any part of Mr. Alronzo still there, the man she remembered from that first night he was brought to her care --

“It’s me, Nurse Alice. You remember me don’t you? Please!”

Fixing her eyes on Alronzo, Alice tightened her grip on the man’s hand, pulling him back slightly. She whispered to him. “My car…can you make it…?”
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Unread 22nd of April, 2008, 10:04
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The ghost halted it's advance, turned, and looked directly at Alice. His gaze was mindless, angry and focused on her. His eyes sent a shot of cold lightening through her mind and body, icy fire that ran up her back leaving pain in it's wake.

As soon as the figure moved it's gaze from him, the young man broken and ran for Alice's car, uttering a string of profanities as he did so.
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Unread 29th of April, 2008, 00:50
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Alice felt a chill strike deep into her chest. A cold searing pain suffocated her, as if something had reached in and knocked the breath out of her in one violent punch. The nurse stumbled back, falling to her knees. She tried to scream, but nothing came out.

No, what...what do you want...

Shaking on the ground, Alice fought to shield herself from Alronzo's gaze. Her limbs were nearly frozen, motionless, but she could feel the ghost's terrible rage inside of her. Crawling to her feet, the nurse stood and turned to run towards the car in the alley.
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Unread 2nd of May, 2008, 10:00
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As Alice turned she saw something move from the corner of her eye. Calling on memories of her more vigorous youth, she dropped to the ground, feeling something cold pass over her head. Launching back to her feet she scrambled back to her car, sliding into the drivers seat and fumbling with the ignition.

"Shit shit!" the young man in the seat behind her swore. "Shit! Come on, go! Go!"

With a final twist of the key the engine roared to life, Alice slammed her foot down on the pedal and the car raced out of the alley.

"Goddamn hell," the young man's stream of profanities continued. "What the crap was that?"
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Unread 2nd of May, 2008, 11:12
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"I...I don't know..." Alice stammered as they sped off. Her heart was still racing with adrenaline. What he was she wasn't sure. A dead man, a ghost...something that couldn't be. But she had felt his cold lifeless gaze, and he had struck her down as surely as if he were real.

Alice paused, pressing harder on the gas pedal.
"That thing-- He, was... his name was Alronzo. He was my patient..."
"Are you hurt?!"

Last edited by harmony; 9th of May, 2008 at 08:30.
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Unread 2nd of May, 2008, 11:48
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"Shit I ... shit I don't think so," the young man in the back seat said, taking a raggard breath. "Goddamn damn damn, I thought I was going to die. Your patient? What are you, a doctor?"
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Unread 2nd of May, 2008, 13:39
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"Nurse.." Alice said, glancing nervously in the rear view mirror. The alleyway was behind them now, and she could no longer see Alronzo in the distance.

"That man, he was my patient... but that thing back there, I don't know. He died this afternoon," she said grimly.

"What happened to you out there?"
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Unread 5th of May, 2008, 14:40
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"Fuck I don't know," the young man said, still clearly agitated. "I'm walking home minding my own bloody business when all of a sudden I get this ... I don't know a shiver down my back, like an damn electric current. I hear this ... like voice but not a voice yell 'IT IS RAGE' but there is no is there. Then as I'm looking around that ... that thing ... ghost ... whatever was suddenly there.

"I couldn't fucking move, I thought I was going to die. Then you came out of no where. I think ... I think you saved my fucking life. Thank you. My name is Ben by the way."
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Unread 9th of May, 2008, 10:56
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"I think we lost him," Alice sighed, slowing down to turn onto an unfamiliar street. "You say you heard a voice? I think I heard it too...It's the Rage," she repeated, remembering the haunting image of the billboard.

"I was driving home from my shift when the radio went haywire, my car stalled. Then I saw.... you in the alley. Oh god I never felt a cold like that in my life. I see people die all the time.... but that was him from the hospital. I don’t know how, but I’m sure of it...." Alice trailed off, reaching out to touch the radio dial, anxiously turning the volume up and down before quickly turning it off again.

She shook her head. "I'm sorry, she said noticing Ben's agitated expression, "I'm Alice..."

"I'm glad you're alright."
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Unread 19th of May, 2008, 12:14
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"God dammit," Ben said taking a deep slow breath. "Alice, thank you. Look, I know you like, don't know anything about me or anything and you already saved my fucking life, but uh ... I don't suppose you could drive me back to my dorm.

"For some reason I'm not too keen at walking back right now if you know what I mean," he added with an awkward laugh.
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Unread 28th of May, 2008, 00:47
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"No, yes of course," Alice said with a nervous laugh. "No I don't suppose you'll be walking down there again anytime soon. I sure as hell will be taking a different route tomorrow..."

Coming on to a traffic light, she slowed down to a stop and eased forward in her seat, looking out for a familiar street sign. "So, your dorm.... you a student at Haulim University?" Alice asked, turning to look at Ben. "You from around here?"
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Unread 14th of June, 2008, 02:07
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"Go the mighty Ravens," Ben said. "Yeah I go to Haulim University. Sociology major, which is as useless as it sounds. But yeah, raised by my mum in good old Haulim, crap I can't think why anyone would go to collage here if they didn't already fucking live here, this place is a hell hole ... which might be more bloody true then I really meant.

"Look," he added after a moment of awkward silence. " You said he was your patient right, and he died? Why the hell would he come after me? I have no idea who the hell he was."
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Unread 23rd of June, 2008, 10:15
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"Yeah, brain cancer he had. Dementia is pretty common with advanced brain tumors, he barely knew where he was towards the end. I’d guess he’s gone mad... Though I guess I’d be pretty pissed off too if I had suffered through what he had, and no family had even come to say goodbye. Awful way to go." Alice paused and drew a long breath, "I was the last to check in on him, for all I know he was coming after me."

Alice glanced through the window as they pulled onto University Boulevard. "You know I was a Ravens Cheerleader once. For about a week", she added with an uneasy laugh.
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Unread 23rd of June, 2008, 11:47
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"I dunno," Ben said. "He seemed pretty damn fixated on me."

The car fell silent for the few minutes it took to pull up to the entrace of the University. Opening the door, the student hesitated before getting out.

"Look I'm not hitting on you or anything, but could I get your email or something? I really doubt anyone would believe what just happened - not that I'm going to try and tell them - but incase he shows up again or something..."
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Unread 24th of June, 2008, 01:56
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"My email?" Alice said, gesturing towards a black duffle bag in the passenger seat. She leaned over and fished out a small pad, the words Haulim General stamped on the top. "Oh right, sure...." she said, feeling her pocket for a pen. The nurse scribbled her name and email across the note then handed it to Ben.

"Just stay clear of any dark alleyways for a while - you know it's much easier to perform a resuce in broad daylight," Alice joked with a forced smile, trying to ease the boy’s worry. What could Alronzo have wanted with a college student?

She stopped, her voice falling to a serious tone. "Be careful."

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Unread 24th of June, 2008, 18:01
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Alice arrived home to a dark, silent and empty apartment. It was only as she changed out of her work clothes that the events of the evening truly sunk in. The alley, Mr Alronzo, the voice ... Unsettled at being alone, she picked up the phone and called her boyfriend, only to get his voice mail.
"I'm not answering the phone either because I'm busy or trying to avoid you. Leave a message and find out which one.
Belatedly Alice couldn't remember if Charlie was working tonight or not. Dialling a pizza instead, the nurse hung up and returned her attention to her apartment, until slowly the silence finally drove her back to the phone, punching in her brother's mobile number.

"Hey Al," Jeremy said, answering after only a few rings. "What's up?"
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Unread 28th of June, 2008, 10:37
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"Hey Jer--" Alice whispered into the phone, almost half wishing he hadn't answered. She could trust her brother with most things. Jeremy had always been honest and dependable. But this was not something she could tell even him could she? Still, she was relieved to finally here a familiar voice.

"Busy night tonight?"

Last edited by harmony; 30th of June, 2008 at 23:54.
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Unread 30th of June, 2008, 11:33
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"Not really," he said, the voice emerging from the phone acompanied by a collection of background noises Alice determined belong to someone sitting inside a moving car. "It's been more or less quiet - so don't jinx it on me. Why, something happening I don't know about?" The last said in a joking tone.
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Unread 1st of July, 2008, 00:07
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“No” Alice said, smoothing her voice. "No, it’s nothing. I just thought I saw someone suspicious looking downtown. But. I’ve had a really long day, I’m tired. It was probably nothing," Alice tried to back out of her words even as she spoke them.

Pacing in front of her apartment window, the nurse took one last look out into the street and drew the shades. It didn’t seem as though she was being followed. By...Alronzo. But she couldn’t be completely sure. How do ghosts travel anyhow. Could he just materialize anywhere he wished. Even right here in her apartment? Could he still be out there, looking for someone? As much as she was sure no one would believe it, the thought of Alronzo roaming the streets disturbed her. She felt she had to tell someone. Warn Jermey.

"Yeah, it was nothing I’m sure." She continued. "Just some shady looking old man. But. Just keep an eye out, Jer. You know, if you see anything weird."
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Unread 10th of July, 2008, 02:20
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"Hang on a second," Jermey said. As Alice sat there listening to the muffled sound of her brother talking to someone, the lightbulb in the kitchen went out with a snapping sound. A moment later he returned. "Look I'm only a few blocks away and it's fairly quiet right now, I can stop by […] and […] then […] "

The lightbulb above Alice joined its brethren in the kitchen, flickering before failing, leaving her in darkness. At the same moment the phone connection broke, replaced by static. The static blared from the phone, reaching out to reverberate within her mind. Deep in the static there was a sound, half heard, half felt, drawing her into the white noise as the lights out side her apartment windows faded into nothing. Peering deep within the chaos, the sound eluded understanding, slipping from the edge of meaning as she reached out to seize it.

Then without warning the static parted and Alice found herself within an island of calm, the sound screaming forth clearer than anything she could ever have imagined, words burning comprehension across her consciousness in a voice that ached with familiarity.

BLOOD BINDS BEYOND DEATH.
SEEK THE TRUTH.

A banging noise brought Alice back to the world, sitting in her apartment with the lightbulb burning merrily above her. One hand still held the phone to her ear, busy buzzing an engaged signal. Apart from a slight dizziness and feeling of nausea it was almost as if the message hadn't happened. The banging came again, this time clear as someone knocking urgently at the door.
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