lowreaches: (Stop)
The Low Reaches ([personal profile] lowreaches) wrote in [community profile] the_low_reaches2017-01-13 07:38 am

The beginning

Who: The cast
Where: The Belfry's front yard and parking lot
When: Morning
What: A bus has arrived, empty, causing quite the stir.

The storm fell over the town like a pall, and with it came the fog.  
 
It was a hungry, curious thing.  So thick and wet it licked at your clothes and skin when you stepped out into it, tasting you, and stealing sight and color from the world, leaving it slick and oily.  Shadows festered in its recesses, coiling and dancing beneath it like living things, greedy in the low light.  Above was no better:  the angry thunderheads hung mountainous over the city, spitting rain and blooming with lightning.  Storms were fierce in Sinjoh, and this was no exception, booming and growling its discontent, threatening to shake the bones from bodies.  The rain fell in heavy sheets, gutters and creeks swollen and fast with it.  Little rivers streamed across Blackbell.  It choked the city.  It blinded it.  
 
Maybe that's why no one noticed until it was too late.  
 
Out of that grey, pitiless gloom rose the old (new) crooked Belfry, and beneath it, a mass of children and their beleaguered teachers, their rain slickers and jackets shiny in the rain, whispering and sharing glances among themselves -- those who weren't transfixed on the cloudbursts of red and blues in the fog and the occasional ghostlight that meandered clumsily through it.  Police sirens chirped, sharp against the dull grey fog, and sometimes a walkie would crackle to life.  
 
Worse still were the keen wails as whoever stumbled out of their car up to the police barricade were turned aside, told the news, and lost themselves.
 
Because everyone remembered the cargo ship.
 
Everyone remembered what washed up to shore, only a short few weeks ago.  There were pictures all over the internet:  strange, pale figures.  Motionless.  Their mouths toothless gapes.  Their eyes worse.  Empty.  Nothing staring at nothing.  They were human shaped, but too slack, too soggy, too translucent.  They would burst if they tried to move.  Some had when the authorities had gone to collect them.
 
The bus was submerged in the fog, its bright yellow coloring strange and forbidding now.  Nearly twenty minutes ago it had lurched into the parking lot, and died.  It went still, lights and engines snapping off, and no one had noticed anything amiss -- the steady beat of the rain and growl of thunder drowned out everything else the fog didn't cover -- until a few minutes had gone past and no one had stepped off.  The door had remained shut.  Eventually someone investigated.  Called out and knocked on the side door, frowned into the empty inside.  They managed the door open, and a gentle rush of fetid, dark water spilled out.  Inside, the rows and rows of bus seats were empty.  Just backpacks and toys, even a few pokeballs, sat lonely and abandoned.
 
When the authorities arrived, they found the teachers trying to shoo the children away from the bus, many of them lifting on to tiptoe to try and get a glance inside at the back door, or smashing their faces into the side door.  The first cop car was soon joined by another, and another.  EMTs were called:  a child had fainted.  A barricade was constructed, and some order was restored.
 
Until the first parent arrived.  
 
And then the press.
 
The Belfry hunched over the small circus forming on its parking lot, bell toning with the start of the school day.  Its crooked arches and spindly lengths, occasionally thrown into fierce shadows from a lightning strike, were skeletal in the gloom.  School had been cancelled for the day.   Parents were being called to pick up children.  A line was queuing near the western port of the parking lot.
 

pay_day: (worry)

[personal profile] pay_day 2017-01-13 10:33 pm (UTC)(link)
No sooner had she joined the mass of students outside than Anastasia's umbrella fwooshed open (collapsible and spheal-patterned, complete with a beige underside; which, she reflected not for the first time, kind of undercut the effect of the pattern, if she herself couldn't see it). She felt like the fog was actually kind of pretty, in its own way, despite being, yes, gloomy and creepy.

Only, it was a bit hard to appreciate thoughts about Sinjoh's aesthetics when this whole... situation was ongoing. Anastasia had taken to shuffling back and forth, near-ish to the front of the crowd, aimlessly. She was as morbidly curious as anyone what was going on with that bus, but at the same time kind of... didn't want to know.

Like being afraid of the dark at night and burying her head under the covers, because even if the monsters (in her closet, under her bed, right behind her) were real, so long as she didn't look at them they might not be.

As usual with such things, her imagination was doing a decent job of filling things in (was that one of this school's buses? was it supposed to have been bringing people to the Belfry today? if so, and nobody was being allowed to look at it... -- but maybe everyone had gotten off already and they were just cancelling classes because of the weather; so long as she didn't know better, there might not be anything really, terribly wrong).

Periodically, she checked her phone--
("school got canceled, i think because of the weather" ; "Do you need a ride home?" ; "idk will msg you when they say something" "message*" "I don't know*" "they want parents to come pick us up. i don't know if they'll have buses for the kids whose parents can't come. there are police here" ; "I'll talk with your father, and one of us will be over as soon as we can. I'll let you know when to expect us." ; "k" "okay*" ; and that had been... several minutes ago, at least, though time felt like it was just stretching on interminably)
--but mostly she shivered and rubbed her arms for warmth. She was really not dressed for the chill or the moisture, only a light and medium-sleeved cardigan warn over her regular clothes. The chill and the damp did at least provide a distraction from the other aspects of the situation, it wasn't nearly enough of one, not with that bus just... looming there.
sail_away: (3)

[personal profile] sail_away 2017-01-13 11:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Uncle Ueda would probably be one of the last ones here today. It wasn't because he didn't care, but really because he was caught in the middle of work. That was fine. Shizuka had been taking care of herself for a long time for the most part, and so she wasn't really worried about all that. All he cared about first was that she was ok and safe, and once she'd talked to him on the phone to let him know, he had said he'd be on the way.

Covered head to toe in a rain slicker, she watched what was going on with far too much curiosity right now. She wanted to know what had happened. She'd heard about the rumors in the past, and now the bus had appeared but not the kids? She'd known people on that bus after all, and she wanted to know where they were, if everyone was ok, and when she was sure that none of that was known, she wanted to know why.

At the same time, she wasn't going to ask or start pestering the adults about it. instead, she stared curiously at the front of the crowd, watching away and trying not to look too obvious about her curiosity. One hand idly rested on her Amaura, Peanut, fingers taking comfort from their chilled head. Her eyes stared on and she tried to decide how to investigate what was happening.

...but under the adults' watchful eyes, she was damned sure that wasn't going to be happening today.
foxfeathers: (krnaoshitartr4)

[personal profile] foxfeathers 2017-01-14 02:06 am (UTC)(link)
Rhyssa was quiet in the rain, her Rowlet, Fallon, had decided to become an impromptu umbrella for all that his wings weren't remotely big enough. She let him help anyway as she dug into her bag for her umbrella. It was black, nondescript, but on its underside it was blue and populated by bird pokemon flying through a blue sky background. It was also large enough to fit a few more people once she got it open. Kali, her Eevee, had managed to carefully drape herself around Rhyssa's neck in the most impossible of ways. Honestly, it looked like she had somehow acquired an Eevee as a scarf.

She was, however, warmer.

"Come on under here where it's dry," Rhyssa called as she watched the commotion with interest, snagging elbows and hands when she could. Her mother wasn't coming, she knew that already. She'd have to walk home or get a ride. "I wonder if they'll let me walk home or if I'm going to have to beg a ride with someone. My mother's been at a conference somewhere for days. Just me in the house."

She paused for a moment to consider the scene.

"I guess that bus is probably a mess. Figures it'd come here, this place already looks like someone plucked it from a horror novel." She craned her head back toward the school and let out a huff. "It could use some new paint and someone to plant a friendly garden."
phasephoros: ([ 13 ])

[personal profile] phasephoros 2017-01-14 06:31 am (UTC)(link)
If she had known school would be canceled for the day, Emme never would have gotten out of bed. She's here now though, huddled away from the crowd and closer to the school building where she can see everyone without a mess of umbrellas and elbows jutting in her face, so all she can do is wait. Not for her parents to come— she hadn't called them, not yet, and doesn't especially plan to until the crowd of students thins out to nearly nothing— nor for the rain to lighten enough that her Pokemon wouldn't stomp her half to death for sending them out in the rain, her unwilling to drown her Mareep or Ponyta in exchange for companionship.

Instead, she tries to find comfort in others, a strained "Morning!" contrary to the heavy mood, to her classmates and their Pokemon. "What do you think happened?" she asks, when she can no longer pretend the bus isn't what holds the other students captive. Or she'd gripe a little, with a "I wish they close a clearer day to cancel school!" as she holds her hands over her forehead, shielding her eyes from the rain in lieu of an umbrella, which she has tucked away in her schoolbag and hadn't bothered to unfurl. "They should at least let everyone wait inside," she'd say, taking to stomping through puddles in agitation the longer the wait drags on, "instead of outside in the rain and all this noise."

Needless to say, she's worried. Anyone who knows her, knows she talks the more she's worried, trying to fill in the silence to keep thoughts at bay.
azraelschild: (Default)

[personal profile] azraelschild 2017-01-15 06:44 pm (UTC)(link)
The pale blue light washed over his pallid face, a bright flicker beneath the encumbering mouth of an umbrella far too large for the boy’s size. The phone’s screen faded, and with it the light went, retreating from the umbrella’s curved spines, the pitch fabric reverberating with the rhythmic tap of pummeling rain. Poe loomed tall, black coat embracing his lanky frame. He could feel his warm breath sink into the raised collar, his fingers retreating behind long sleeves.

It would be a long walk home, too long of a walk. Hours, perhaps. His head lowered, a sleepy nod as he watched the water pool about his shoes in the midst of a haze. Well, there wasn’t much to be done now, was there? Mom and dad were working, surely there would be arrangements for getting everyone home. All that was left to do was wait.

Poe gave a small shrug, propping the umbrella just a little higher into the air, an invitation for anyone who couldn’t get dry. It was father’s, and therefore could easily shield at least four miniature humans. He gave a small wince as a drop slithered into the back of his collar, slipping down his neck. Ah well, it’d be done with soon enough. Home was waiting, warm and inviting, and stocked to the brim with hot cocoa mix. He could wait.
heart_swap: (put that down please)

[personal profile] heart_swap 2017-01-17 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
Not for the first time, she found herself browsing back to the forums.

It wasn't one of the official news articles, the ones where the pictures were somewhat tasteful and respectful. That almost felt more wrong than the crazy shit, the forum pages dedicated to conspiracies and monster stories and the big grainy photos of the swollen, veiny water balloon people with their big toothless mouths. The accusations of photoshopping. The increasingly hostile arguments over whether or not these were aliens. It felt more wrong to act like it was normal, to report on it like it were a celebrity scandal or a house fire or a feel-good story about a litter of skitties.

'Some bus driver drinking on the job', she'd told her friends in Kanto when they asked after the news reports on the Belfry, and it had sounded as wrong then as the calm, respectful reports on the Blackbell Hound's webpage.

She was taller than the others, able to look over the shoulders of the younger children and through the windows without much effort. 'No way they're human,' read one of the comments in the thread on her phone. 'Look at them.'

The bag on the seat was discoloured and waterlogged, but the characters on it were still easy enough to recognise. What kind of alien would use a Teddiursa Friends backpack?

The click of her phone drew her out of her trance. She'd barely even taken notice of herself turning the camera app on until the photo was there, on the screen, looking offensively normal. Just an old bag. Just a broken games system. Just some nasty-looking pokeballs. She shoved her phone into her pocket before a teacher should catch her and confiscate it and allowed herself, with a little less resistance than the younger kids, to be shepherded away.

For a moment, anyway.

She didn't keep Shuppet out of his pokeball as a habit, but she'd let him out today. Raury's Gastly had been finding its way into her bag a little too regularly over the last few days, and a guard couldn't hurt. But Shuppet didn't follow her when she was led away from the bus, and she found herself having to wander back to find him. He wasn't quite visible through the window, not as himself, but the toys scattered around the bus moved as he flitted between them excitedly, never quite finding purchase (none of them, after all, were discarded, just left behind) but gleeful all the same. A waterlogged, mouldy teddy bear waved its half-detatched arm at her. It would have been sweet if it wasn't just a little horrifying.
velovoid: (Default)

[personal profile] velovoid 2017-01-22 09:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Alexander had wasted no time rushing to the barrier, heedless of the stern warnings from the uniformed adults around him. As long as he didn't cross the barrier, he was fine, right? A sound line of reasoning, as far as he's concerned, and one he puts to the test as he tempts gravity by leaning as far over the barrier as he dares, phone in hand, taking snap after snap to upload to social media.

Does he look a little too excited by all this? Absolutely. Of the downsides to frequent travel, missing out on local events is not usually high ranked. He had, however, missed the ship. That had been a sticking point for him; sure, he'd seen the pictures. -Everyone- had seen the pictures. This time around he wanted to be the one taking them.

And so, he leans a little further in. Just enough to cause him to wobble, teetering ever closer to losing his balance, and oblivious to everyone else around him,