Brian Botner: Welcome to L.A.

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Brian Botner: Welcome to L.A.

Post  Brian Botner on Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:41 pm

The last suitcase gave a satisfying, resounding thunk as Brian shoved it to the back of the closet. He closed its doors, flicked his dark bangs from his eyes and surveyed his new lodgings. The apartment was small, minuscule in comparison to what he had had in St. Paul, living off his parents' money, but he'd rather live in a hole like this in L.A. than under his father's scowl like he had been for the past twenty-three years. He was lucky to have found a furnished apartment for cheap before he left Minnesota, but it wasn't cheap enough to keep by himself if he couldn't find work or a roommate soon. There had to be some cork board at UCLA Med for this sort of thing, he mused, making a mental note to make a sign to take with him on the first day of the semester. The few surfaces the apartment had to offer were sparsely covered with school books and pictures of the friends he'd left behind. They'd understood that this was what he needed, to move on, but it was still hard to say goodbye when none, Brian included, knew when they'd be with each other again.

He had spent his first day in the city flying in early, taking a cab to the apartment complex, and unpacking. Brian shook the feelings of nostalgia from his mind as he realized that fact, embarrassed at himself. How could he have done no exploring of his new world? Grabbing a sweatshirt from the closet, he zipped it up over a thin green cotton T and slipped his feet into a pair of sneakers. He left the bedroom and took the apartment key from the kitchenette's counter. Brian gave one look to the apartment behind him, a slight smile appearing on his lips as he took it all in once more, his place, and then opened the door.

The apartment Brian had rented was cheap - he was nowhere near the bright, shining downtown of L.A, but he could see the lights ahead, and turned his feet in that direction, planning to catch a bus or cab when he saw one. Growing up in a city himself, he was used to light pollution at night, and the diffuse glow of the city's heart led him down his own dark street. He hadn't looked much around the neighborhood as the cab had driven him through it, but Brian saw now that it was mainly apartment complexes similar to his own and few abandoned ones as he got further away. There were a few other people on the street, mostly college students, he assumed, but besides that it was quiet. So quiet that he could soon hear notes of a soft, melancholy song being sung. Intrigued, Brian turned off of the main road and into a side alley to follow it.

His new path led him through a throng of neglected complexes. What had caused them to all go under, he wondered. But he hadn't time to ponder that - he was nearing whoever belonged to the deep, soulful voice. He raised his sky blue eyes, searching the buildings for the singing woman. After a few moments of searching he found her, and was drawn to the base of the building in which she sat. He gazed up at her, wishing to see her face. The moon backlit her so that he could see a wild mess of dark curls, but nothing else. Brian wanted nothing more than that and to have her sing for all of time. But before long, she had sung her last verse, and quiet returned.

"Do you like my song, stranger?" asked the woman after her song faded, rising to her feet and awkwardly stepping out of her - chair? From what he could see from the moon glowing behind her, it looked more like an eagle's nest than something a woman would be apt to lounge in. To each her own, but still, there were some limits even to that. Even though he was looking up at her and she was in shadow, Brian could tell she would tower over him with her feet on the ground, and she was at least twice as broad as him. Her legs were thin and out of proportion with her large torso; they were oddly bent at the knees, and it seemed like she stood at the building's crumbling floor, toes curled over the edge.

"I do," he called genially, smiling up at her. "What's it called?"

"It's a song of my own invention," she replied, her voice deep as even in speech it echoed off of the building's steel, "based off of an old proverb."

"Which?"

"Curiosity killed the cat. I shortened it to 'Curiosity Kills.'"

"Charming."

"And true."

Before he could question her meaning, the reason she was twice as broad as he was immediately explained. Enormous feathered wings sprang from her shoulders, and those oddly bent legs bent further then pushed, sending her straight down towards the dumbstruck man.

He hunched over as she swept in, and talons cut into his shoulder. He cried out in pain as the razor-sharp talons again and again slashed open the flesh of his back, arms and chest, unable to process what was happening until his worn sneakers were stained with his own blood. Getting a grip, he ran from her as fast as he could, tripping over his astonished feet as he went. His long legs carried him down the alley quickly, once they got past the idea of being followed by a mad harpy. As he came close to the street he looked back, and even from the distance he could see her face. It was not lovely as he had imagined, but horribly monstrous in her fury as she settled back down into her nest. Swallowing down the bile that threatened to escape his mouth, he continued his sprint until he got to his building, his heart sprinting as fast as he, making each laceration throb as blood seeped out.

Brian took the stairs up to his floor - he was too jumpy to wait for the elevator - and praised the Lord above that their night watchman wasn't in the lobby to see him. He tightly held his ruined sweatshirt wadded against the gashes on his left shoulder, the worst of them all, as he climbed up to the fourth floor. When he got to the landing he was winded - the profuse amount of blood throbbing as it left his veins wasn't helping the whole moving quickly scheme. As he fumbled with the key, a thought struck him.

Why didn't he just go to the hospital? They were professionals, better suited than he to treat wounds of this magnitude. But he needed medical treatment, and fast. And he had a kit in the apartment, as all med students do. And what was he going to say anyway, walking into the Emergency Room drenched in blood and covered in wounds inflicted by the talons of a giant, mutilated bird-woman?

"Why hello there, nurse! I was just wondering, what treatment plan you would suggest for harpy-inflicted wounds? I know they're mythical creatures, but one just mauled me out of the blue and I could really use some advice, I'm bleeding quite profusely onto the carpet and wouldn't want to stain it too horribly, so really, the faster the better."

No. That wouldn't do.

Instead, the first time he used them, he would soil a number of the pristine white hand towels his mother had bought for him as he applied pressure to and, after the bleeding had stopped, carefully cleaned the wounds. Meticulous as he could be in his state of both physical and mental exhaustion, Brian stayed in the diminutive, dimly lit bathroom until satisfied with his efforts. He used up the bandages he had in the kit and more, improvised by tearing a pillowcase to wrap around those on his arm, and collapsed into his bed as the sun gently eased tendrils of light into the room.

His last thought before going under was that maybe he'd stay in that night.
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Brian Botner
Arcane-Touched
Arcane-Touched

Domain : Conjuration

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