Ryman Legacy Chapter 12A

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Slide 1: 

The Ryman Legacy Chapter 12A By Mzyra Jose vs The World

Slide 2: 

“And finally a news story for the art lovers out there – there’s to be a new exhibition in Simfield Art Gallery this week, containing some of the rarest and most priceless artefacts discovered from pre-modern Transimvania, which was world-renowned for its incredibly advanced artistic methods in its time. It will be available for viewing for a short time only and is recommended for adults, children and students alike, so visit while you have the chance! Next we go to Heather for the local weather-” ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 3: 

It was odd really, how freeing being told that you’ve ruined your life can be. For somebody who had spent all of their time worrying about the effects of all of their actions, having it implied that nothing you do from that moment matters any more just took all those worries away. Part of Jose’s mind was protesting that putting his shoes on a kitchen counter was terribly unhygienic and that if a teacher were to walk in he’d get into serious trouble, but somehow he just couldn’t bring himself to care.

Slide 4: 

In a way though, his life should have been better. Now he was at the same school with Lyle again he could hang out with him and all of his friends, but that was the point – they were Lyle’s friends, not his. They barely even talked to him. Though, to be fair, most of their conversations seemed to be about grilled cheese, so Jose could never get quite as enthused as they did. He only really stuck around with them because he had nowhere else to be.

Slide 5: 

Except detention. It was a shame that Wally seemed afraid to even talk much with Jose anymore, because they had a lot more in common these days and were often in detention together, joined by Wally’s little sister Isabel who often got into trouble for not showing the teachers respect – she accused them in turn of being repressive misogynists and got (more) detention in return – from what Jose could tell, Wally couldn’t have been prouder of her and James was the disappointment.

Slide 6: 

As for Jose, he didn’t tend to get in trouble for things he did as things he didn’t do – like pay attention in class or do homework. Some of the teachers just ignored him after a while. Which was just like the students, in fact; after the fire alarm incident with Wally, word had gotten out about him, which scared away all the good students, as if bad behaviour were contagious. What was especially annoying was that presumably Wally had warned off the bad students as well, who seemed able to tell he was an imposter in their ranks and ignored him too.

Slide 7: 

Which helped in some ways: it made the transformation of a working school day into a long, intermittent nap or daydream-fest much easier.

Slide 8: 

In fact, if it weren’t for Lyle always being around and keeping an eye out for him, probably nobody would have missed him if he weren’t there. Which he didn’t really want to be. But he was forced to go to school, and so on those days he found himself massively grateful for his older brother and his attentions. Or, at least, that was until- “I talked to Roxanne last night…” Roxanne, Roxanne, Roxanne. Give him half a chance and it was all Lyle would ever talk about. Poor Lyle and his very-temporarily-separated amazing girlfriend, however would they survive?

Slide 9: 

So, summarily, school sucked. But what else was new there? But then of course Jose would come home to: “But it’s not fair, Momma!” “Come on Liv, it’s not that bad and it’s her parents’ decision-” “But she’s my best friend…”

Slide 10: 

“And now her parents have made her go to a totally different school to me! Daisy’s Mum told the headmaster that she wanted to be a doctor! But she doesn’t! And she doesn’t want to go to some snooty school and be separated from all her friends! She should be with us!”

Slide 11: 

“If you really want to spend time with her so much you can see each other outside of school, Liv, you have the evenings and whole weekends you can see each other-” “But that’s not enough!” Poor Liv and her having to spend a few hours less each day with one of her many friends, however would she cope?

Slide 12: 

So it was unsurprising that Jose felt suffocated being at home now. His parents hated him and his siblings were too busy focusing on their own terrible lives filled with friends and girlfriends to care how Jose was feeling. He would hardly be the first teenager to sneak out after dark, though from what he’d heard they usually did so in order to meet up with friends.

Slide 13: 

But that wasn’t so possible in his case. Honestly, he just wanted to go for a walk and get away from everybody. But hell, why stop there? Just about anybody could get into a Simfield bar from what he’d heard and that was what people usually did after a hard and stressful day, right?

Slide 14: 

Though he’d never actually tried alcohol before, never mind ordered it. And he was pretty obviously not of age. Still, he figured it was worth a try. If he acted like it was something he did all the time… “Hey, can I get a beer over here?” he swallowed slightly as the barmaid surveyed him, but kept the look steady.

Slide 15: 

She put the glass down in front of him as he tried to look non-chalant “You got any ID there, buddy?” “Huh? Oh, no, I must have left it at home. Or, you know, at work. All that stress at the office takes its toll on the memory, you know.” “Suuuure.” Jose was pretty sure she wasn’t buying it, but heck, she’d been the one to put the glass in front of him already, hadn’t she? Too late to question him now!

Slide 16: 

“…You know, this tastes a lot like cola.” “Really? I’m as certain that that is beer as I’m certain that you’re old enough to drink beer.” “…Right.” “Oh, and future tip – we don’t usually serve beer like that. Though I’m sure you know that, sir.”

Slide 17: 

He may have been embarrassingly easily outwitted by the barmaid, but Jose wasn’t about to go home just like that; it hadn’t even been an hour since he left. Luckily there were pinball machines and things in the corner that could distract him. It might give away his age even more, but if they didn’t like it they could always kick him out.

Slide 18: 

Darn it. He hadn’t actually expected them to do that. Thankfully he’d been able to stay in the outside area, but apparently his presence had been bothering the other patrons. Why did nothing ever work his way? Tonight had gone wrong from the start and then he’d have to go to school again tomorrow and he’d have to face all the other kids – bad or good – looking down on him and Lyle taunting him with his abundance of friends and girlfriends, all while really tired. And hang on, hadn’t they said something about a fitness test in PE? God, he really didn’t want to have to go to school tomorrow…

Slide 19: 

Jose’s eyes wandered the back-courtyard thing hopelessly before he noticed somebody else – hard not to notice when he was wearing a bright red jacket – apparently appreciating a vase of reeds. Oddly, the man’s (he assumed it was a man, though with his long hair and back to Jose he wasn’t 100% certain) skin looked grey. Was it another zombie, like his and Lyle’s Dads? No, surely they were far more blue than grey… Hang on a second…

Slide 20: 

A vampire? Jose had heard rumours that there were some wandering around the city at night, in fact some of the people at school who had part-time jobs as check-out staff had had to stop coming to school after getting bitten by late-night customers. But Jose had never seen one with his own eyes before. Of course he hadn’t, he’d never been out at night before and if vampires couldn’t come out in the day or they’d die- And teenagers could become vampires- …Teenagers who couldn’t come out in the day couldn’t go to school. Ever again. It was like a wonderful epiphany brightening up the night.

Slide 21: 

All of a sudden Jose’s aversion to talking to people – especially strangers – was gone. Forget being shy or what might go wrong, this was something he had to have, regardless of what it took to get it. “Excuse me sir, er-” “What do you want? You look young to be out here at this time. Do your parents know you’re here?” “Er, yes- Er, no- Er, I have no parents. I just take care of myself.” Jose put that lie down to panicking, but he didn’t want people checking up if he could help it. And maybe the vampire might think him more ready to be a vampire.

Slide 22: 

The vampire looked sceptical. “Oh. I’m sorry. But you still shouldn’t be out here at this time at your age.” “I really need you to do me a favour though – turn me into a vampire.” “Ugh, I knew this would happen, all those books and films out now… Look, even if I was okay with turning you, the head vampires have just brought in new rules about that kind of stuff. We have to get new people authorised. They said something about it turning somebody or something into a cactus. I don’t really remember. But I can’t.” But Jose wasn’t going to give up that easily. “Have you even turned one person yet? You should be allowed to at least once and I won’t cause any trouble. And, if they give you any trouble for it, I’ve heard that the Count with the red hair has a real thing for teenage check-out girls that I expect he wouldn’t like getting out…”

Slide 23: 

“Hmm. You drive a hard and potentially manipulative bargain. Fine, I always was a libertarian….” “You mean you’ll do it?” “Yes, on your own head be it. Now, this may hurt- No, actually, this will hurt, but if you want it so badly…” ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 24: 

Mia was angry. It was gone 5 in the morning and she was still awake. She’d been stood in the hallway ever since she discovered Jose missing a couple of hours ago and her feet were really beginning to hurt, but she refused to go and sit down: Jose was going to find her awake and angry when he finally returned. And there would be hell to pay.

Slide 25: 

Part of her kept thinking how she knew this would happen, but she wasn’t entirely certain whether that was true. If a child started getting detentions then she thought it was only a matter of time before they started sneaking out at night, but this wasn’t ‘a child’, it was Jose. Secretly she had believed Juan; Jose had made one mistake, he probably wouldn’t make another. But here she was, waiting for him to arrive back at 5am on a school night. People never thought it would be their own child, but it often could be. She tapped her foot impatiently and tried to stop grinding her teeth, but finally she heard footsteps on the path. About time…

Slide 26: 

“Where on earth have you been and how dare you go out in the middle of the night without permission?! Do you know how worrying it is to not know where your child is and-” Only at this point did she cool down enough to notice something odd.

Slide 27: 

And then she screamed. “It’s nice to see you too, Mum.” “W-What-? Wha-?”

Slide 28: 

“What have you…?” “I’m a vampire.” “A…?” she was speechless.

Slide 29: 

Then Juan came running. “What’s going on, I heard you scream-? Er, what’s happened to Jose?” “He’s gotten himself turned into a vampire! What do we do?” “You don’t have to do anything,” Jose interjected. “I want to be like this.” “You’re a teenager, young man, it’s not your decision! Now you’d better go to bed and get some sleep before school! And you are so grounded from now on! I never would have thought-”

Slide 30: 

“Actually,” Juan added reluctantly, “from what I understand about vampires, there’s a bit of a problem with school – vampires can’t go out in the daylight. It can cause… death.” “Yeah,” Jose said defiantly. “Unless you want me dead, mother.” “I- Wha- I don’t-” Mia was speechless. Juan sighed. “Go to bed Jose, the Sun’ll be up soon. We’ll find something to put over your window and then talk about this tomorrow night. You’ll have to take the day off school, but only for today.” “Whatever,” Jose said, slipping off upstairs.

Slide 31: 

“I’m afraid Jose won’t be able to come in to school today. Yes, he’s...” Mia hesitated before deciding she didn’t want to go into too much detail, “badly ill. We’re hoping he’ll be better in time for school tomorrow however. …Yes, thank you for understanding.”

Slide 32: 

Mia crashed backwards on to the couch, her head in her hands. “Come on Mia, we’ll sort him out for tomorrow. He’s always been ahead of the class before, he can afford to miss one day.” “It’s not that that’s bothering me. He accused me of wanting him dead, Juan. How can he even think that for a second? He’s my son, I love him. I’ll always love him, no matter what he does.” “He’s a teenager, they have a tendency towards the melodramatic.” “But where did I go wrong? Why’s he acting like this.”

Slide 33: 

“Come here, Mia,” Juan said, pulling his wife on to his lap. “You are a wonderful mother to three generally pretty well adjusted kids. Most individuals and nearly every family have their momentary blips, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed him. It’s probably just a phase. Lots of kids and teenagers have them, it’s not the end of the world.” “I guess you’re right… You always know what to say to me.” “I live to make you happy, love,” he said, kissing her.

Slide 34: 

Meanwhile, Lyle and Liv had not been oblivious to the all the noise going on below them, but Lyle quickly distracted his little sister with her dolls so she wouldn’t get upset. “Why do Momma and Jose keep fighting, Lyle?” “Jose’s just… having a rebellious phase.” “Do all teenagers get them? I don’t want Momma to shout at me…” “Well I never had one, so if you can avoid it then I would if I were you. It’s perfectly possible. And I’m sure Jose will stop soon, it’s not in his nature to be like this.” “Okay. I hope that happens soon.”

Slide 35: 

A large and thick quilt was quickly located to cover Jose’s window for the day as he stayed in bed while his siblings headed off to school with no protest. Jose’s plan had worked exactly as… planned. They couldn’t make him go to school so long as he was a vampire and he was sure they couldn’t stop him being a vampire if he wanted to be one, if they could undo the vampirism at all. Permanent freedom from school, it was like the holy grail and Jose had finally found it. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 36: 

Liv couldn’t help but feel very sad at the empty seat next to her in class now that Daisy had started at private school. In a way she thought she shouldn’t make a new best friend in memory of Daisy, but she couldn’t go for like almost a decade of school with no friends at all, so she’d have to find more people to hang out with instead.

Slide 37: 

There were hardly any girls left in the school now though. Surveying the playground there were three options: two townie kids she’d never spoken to before on the swings, one new kid on the monkey bars or her cousins Clark, Josh and Tommy on the roundabout.

Slide 38: 

Normally she might have befriended a new kid or two, but she wasn’t feeling so secure, so she decided to go for the kids she knew already, even if they were all boys. Besides, there was a space free on the roundabout anyway. “Hey guys, do you mind if I join you?” “Go ahead!” Tommy said happily. “No! This is a boy’s roundabout!” Josh, the brunette brother, objected. “No it’s not Josh,” Clark said, rolling his eyes. “Hop on Liv. Being the oldest and strongest, I’ll push!” “You’re not the oldest, we’re twins, so-” But Clark was already pushing and nobody was listening to Josh’s protestations.

Slide 39: 

And it was always more fun with four kids anyway. Even if the boys had to let a girl into their group for once.

Slide 40: 

After a while the roundabout lost its charm, however, so the kids just sat around and chatted. “We’re going to be in high school soon. It’s gonna be great,” Josh said dreamily. “You go at the same time as us, don’t you Liv?” Clark asked. “Yeah. Not sure how much I want to grow up though. I hear you don’t get so many birthday presents when you do.” “I’m gonna be on my own when you all leave,” Tommy said miserably. “It sucks being the youngest and not having a twin.”

Slide 41: 

“You can make new friends, Tommy” Liv said kindly. “Yeah, you can’t just follow us forever,” Josh joked while Tommy glared at him. “Hey! Can I join in?” The four cousins looked up at the new boy who’d interrupted them . “Who are you?” Josh asked sceptically. “It doesn’t matter who he is, he can join if he wants to,” Liv scolded. “Sit down if you want. What did you say your name was?”

Slide 42: 

“Thanks,” the boy said appreciatively to Liv before taking his place. “I’m Briney, Briney Lum.” “Lum?” asked Clark. “Like Aunty Gina and Aunty Jenna?” “Yeah! They’re my Mums! Who are your parents then?” “Er, Rick’s my and my brothers’ Dad and he’s Gina’s brother. Liv’s Mum is Aunty Mia.” “Oh, so we’re all cousins then? Neat.”

Slide 43: 

“Hang on,” Tommy interrupted. “If you have two Mums… How can anybody have two Mums without a Dad? I thought everybody had to have a Dad.” The older kids rolled their eyes. “Duh, Tommy!” Clark gave his twin a disapproving look. “Briney’s probably adopted, right Briney?” Briney shrugged. “I guess.” “My big brother’s girlfriend was adopted,” Liv agreed.

Slide 44: 

“Hang on though,” Josh said thoughtfully. “Does that mean you’re that kid I heard Mum and Dad talking about?” “Er, I don’t know?” Briney said, puzzled. “You know, the one that was just left on Aunty Gina’s doorstep!” Briney frowned a little. “Well I’m the only kid they have…” “Don’t say it like it’s a bad thing, Josh!” Clark scolded. “But he was!”

Slide 45: 

“But,” Liv said loudly over the twins’ arguing, “I thought when people were adopted the social-y people did it with a car and stuff. They don’t just put kids on doorsteps and leave them.” The other kids shrugged, she clearly knew more about it than they did. “So?” “Well, if somebody walked up and left a baby on a doorstep, they must live pretty nearby.”

Slide 46: 

“What are you saying, Liv?” Clark asked hesitantly. “I think that, if Briney wanted to, we might be able to find out who his real parents are since they might live nearby.” “Woah, what do you think of that Briney?” Briney looked thoughtful. “I would be interested who they were and why they gave me away… But I don’t think I should tell my Mums, they might think I want to replace them or something, which I don’t. I just want to know.”

Slide 47: 

“Our parents must know most of the people living in and around Simfield between them,” Clark reasoned. “If we asked them and Uncle Calvin and people I bet we could get like a list of people. Somebody’s bound to know something somewhere.”

Slide 48: 

“My step-dad’s a policeman so he could probably look at records and things if I asked nicely. And my Mum has loads of friends, I’ll ask both of them. It can be like a group project and stuff! Or a detective investigation!”

Slide 49: 

“Yeah, it might work…” Briney said thoughtfully. “Thanks guys, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want though.” “I think we all want to know who your parents were now though, mate. We’ll find out before even our parents will!” Clark declared gleefully. “Great…” ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 50: 

“So now we’re all trying to find out who his real parents are and since you know like everyone Momma-”

Slide 51: 

Mia was hesitant enough already. “While I know a lot of people, I can’t say that I really know anybody who’d just leave a baby on somebody else’s doorstep without talking to the people inside about adoption. It was completely out of the blue, Liv.” “Oh… But maybe Juan knows people through the police who could tell us about those kinds of people…?” she said hopefully. “It’d be more of an issue narrowing down that list,” Juan responded. “And it could still be somebody, maybe an unprepared young parent who’s never gotten involved with the police, so that wouldn’t help, even if it were allowed, which it’s probably not really.”

Slide 52: 

“But I promised I’d do something!” Liv wailed. “Okay, okay, I’ll ask around four you,” Mia conceded. “At the least I’ll find you somebody who might know better about the goings-on around all of Simfield, rather than just our area.” “Thank you Momma! So… Can you do that now?” “Oh Liv…”

Slide 53: 

Jose could hear the light-hearted discussions going on in the lounge as he snuck down the stairs and out the front door. Thank god for Liv and her inability to stop talking. He hadn’t exactly wanted to stick around just to be shouted at all night and be subjected to whatever anti-vampire experiments they’d come up with in an attempt to ‘cure’ him. There were better things he could do with his free not-burning-up-in-the-Sun time…

Slide 54: 

“Jose? Are you in here?” Mia knocked on his door before entering. The room was empty. Of course it was. She supposed she wouldn’t see him again until Sunrise. Again. Oh Jose…

Slide 55: 

She sat, emotionally exhausted, on his bed and drew her knees up in insecurity. Juan could say this wasn’t her fault and Jose was going through a phase as much as he liked, but it certainly didn’t feel that way. Yes, teenagers rebelled, but how many spent every moment they could away from their family? Got themselves turned into vampires? Thought their parents wanted them dead? What had she done? And what was she supposed to do?

Slide 56: 

None of this was on Jose’s mind down at the Lucky Card Shack. He’d never played poker before, but he’d been good at maths and probabilities, so he figured he ought to do quite well out of it and card games were fun. The bar also had a karaoke machine, but as daring as he’d become, he wasn’t quite that daring. Not yet, anyway. He’d stick with poker for now.

Slide 57: 

It wasn’t long before his table was filled with adults. They were actually taking him seriously too! This was great! Now if he could win too…

Slide 58: 

“You know, I thought I knew all the vampires around here, but I don’t think I’ve met you before,” the blonde vampire said casually to him as the game started. “Er, yeah, I- I guess I’m pretty new on the vampire circuit.” “Really? Who turned you?” “Er…” That guy had said turning new people wasn’t allowed, Jose probably shouldn’t get him into trouble… “I didn’t catch his name.” That was true, actually. “Hmm… Well I suppose what’s done is done anyway.” “Yeah,” Jose said, relieved.

Slide 59: 

The conversation didn’t end there though. Jose wondered if it was part of her poker strategy. “If you’ve only just been turned, then you’re still a bit young for being out late gambling, aren’t you? Do your parents know?” Jose figured he might as well be consistent with his web of lies, “I don’t have any parents, it’s part of why I wanted to be a vampire.” “Wow. Well, if your poker face is as bad as your lying face, I’m going to clean you out pretty quickly, kid.”

Slide 60: 

Jose was surprised she saw through him, and she wasn’t wrong about cleaning the rest of them out, either. “I don’t suppose your parents will give you more pocket money either, will they?” “Yeah, yeah…” Jose said. “If you’re satisfied to know that I’ll have to walk home now with no taxi or bus money…” “Well if you’re going to tug at the heartstrings like that,” she responded sardonically. “Besides, I believe it’s pretty customary for the winner to buy a round. Non-alcoholic in your case.” “If you insist…” he sighed. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 61: 

Across town…

Slide 62: 

The security in some of these places was shameful, it really was, Rodney mused. They ought to prize their art enough to give it decent protection from criminals. Not that better security would have stopped him either, but a couple of old guards who could be knocked out quietly with one hit to the head? Where were the standards?

Slide 63: 

He could have stolen hundreds of thousands of simoleons worth of art already, but Rodney wanted more than that. He could break in and steal the ordinary exhibition anytime, but he wanted to get that new exhibition before anybody had even seen it properly – that’d mean there’d be fewer people around who could identify it as stolen later. The pieces should be somewhere there in the backroom…

Slide 64: 

But what in the hell was this stuff? Oh sure, it was art – or at least most of it could be considered such, he didn’t personally think much of modern art – but this stuff was nothing like the Transimvanian treasures promised. Maybe the museum owners were stupid and had paid for a load of junk, but surely it was obvious? Maybe there’d been a hold-up in its arrival… Maybe they’d lied in order to get more people in the museum. Couldn’t say he’d blame them, people just didn’t appreciate art properly anymore – that was part of why it was better off in his house.

Slide 65: 

But it didn’t add up- Ah, a big, long, black curtain? Duh Rodney, he thought.

Slide 66: 

They probably wanted to keep that exhibition separate from their ordinary works. That would make sense. You didn’t want to put a Simese vase in with Transimvanian sculpture, it would never work. It was also possible they’d put another security guard in with the exhibition for extra security, but one or two museum security guards were easy enough to deal with, he thought as he slowly slipped his hand around the edge of the middle curtain and then suddenly pulled it back.

Slide 67: 

One or two museum security guards, yes. Five armed ordinary policemen and women? Not so much. “Er…”

Slide 68: 

“Hello Rodney, what a surprise to see you here in an art museum in the middle of the night. We were just looking for the person who keeps robbing museum and art exhibits, I don’t suppose you’ve seen him anywhere?” Juan Harris, you zombie bastard. You set this up. “Jenna, if you’d be so kind as to handcuff the gentleman? Kauker, read him his rights. Demi, go find the CCTV tapes. I want as much evidence as we can get. Jalowitz here is going down for as long as I can make him.”

Slide 69: 

Rodney sighed. Shit. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 70: 

“So, if you have parents and everything, why are you a vampire at your age and out downtown?” “Erm…” Jose’s previous cover had been blown, but somehow the truth seemed a bit embarrassing. “Well my parents have always been abus-” The vampire sighed angrily. “Look kid, I’ve known a lot better liars for a lot longer than you, I’m not going to buy any old story you throw at me. Give me the truth or don’t even bother. I can probably guess anyway.” She wanted the truth? Fine, he could tell her that then.

Slide 71: 

“What do you want to know?” “Why are you a vampire at your age? I assume you want to be one?” “Yeah, I do. Okay, I don’t like telling people this, but I have no friends. I don’t fit in. Yeah, I have parents and siblings, but they don’t understand me at all, they’re all so busy with their own problems. I feel like I’m alone when I’m at home and it’s even worse when I’m at school. I just always want to get away from it all.”

Slide 72: 

“Okay,” she said slowly as their drinks arrived, “But I don’t see how being a vampire solves any of that. You try to fit in by becoming even more unusual? I have heard vampires have become popular in fiction, especially with teenagers, but-” “I didn’t become a vampire to be popular, I became a vampire to escape.” The woman looked puzzled. “School is during the day. Vampires can’t go out during the day. Now I am a vampire, I no longer have to go to school.”

Slide 73: 

The woman turned away with a distant look in her eye. “So. You became a vampire to get out of going to school. Any other reasons?” “Er… Not really. I can stay up all night?” Jose thought he saw a muscle twitch in her face, but he wasn’t sure what that meant. She took another sip of her drink. After a while she continued. “What about your family then?”

Slide 74: 

“Well my Mum doesn’t like it, but she doesn’t like anything I do anymore, she thinks I’m a complete disappointment. She’s probably happy I’m around less.” The muscle twitch happened again. It was weird. “My biological parents aren’t together, but I got a really long phone call from my Dad telling me much the same thing though and I’m sure my step-dad doesn’t even care. And my brother’s so wrapped up in his girlfriend and my sister in her friends…” The woman still said nothing. “Er, so enough about me. What’s your story?”

Slide 75: 

She looked at him speculatively for a few seconds before responding. “I’m about three hundred years old and was never given the opportunity to go to school, being female and everything.” “Oh. Well, you’re probably better off-” “I also never really had a family. They died of diphtheria when I was a toddler. I was lucky to survive myself.” “Oh. Right.” “That’s why it’s so easy to tell you’re lying about your family, you wouldn’t speak like that if it were true. Well, that and your clothes are way too clean and well kept for a teenage boy living alone.”

Slide 76: 

They sat in an extremely awkward silence for a few minutes. Jose wondered if she was angry. Either way, he didn’t want to stick around, so he downed the rest of his cola. “Er, well, thanks for the drink, you were very good at poker. I’d better go… See you around.”

Slide 77: 

She didn’t say anything until he actually went to leave: “What did you say your name was, by the way?” Jose wondered whether to lie, but he thought they were a bit beyond that really. “Jose,” he said and swallowed anxiously, “Jose Ryman.” “Hmm.”

Slide 78: 

Jose only got a few steps through the door before he started feeling odd. Very odd. He felt hot, then cold, then hot again. The streetlights blurred and everything slowly started to spin, getting faster- And then he was falling-

Slide 79: 

“Jose Ryman,” the Contessa said thoughtfully. “Jose Ryman…” ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 80: 

Meanwhile, at Simfield County Jail…

Slide 81: 

Rodney overheard Juan talking to the other officers as he left. He was finally going to get home to his wife – the wife Rodney could have had – and children – one of whom was Rodney’s child, not his. Rodney wasn’t a typically violent man, but he found himself with an incredibly strong urge to beat the repulsive zombie to death with a chair. Juan Harris may have thought he’d won, but he’d soon learn that it took more than one arrest on grounds of attempted theft to bring Rodney Jalowitz down. And he’d wipe that smug smirk of the bastard’s face.

Slide 82: 

But he couldn’t do anything yet, so he’d just have to spend the night reading and plotting. Plotting was always fun for anybody with sufficient imagination and somebody at which to aim it. And if he had anything at that moment, he certainly had that. ~~~~~~~~~~

Slide 83: 

Jose opened his eyes slowly, his head thumping painfully. Oh look, stars. They were pretty. But he felt cold… Where was he, what was he doing?

Slide 84: 

“Hey, what the-?!”

Slide 85: 

Rodney trailed out to breakfast despondently after very little sleep. This place was depressing. Identical rooms, each surprisingly difficult to escape from and each with as much creative flair as last year’s Simfield modern art exhibition. And, damn it, there was nobody around who would appreciate that comment if he had made it out loud. Hell, there were more police officers than prisoners and they didn’t tend to be particularly friendly. Maybe he could find a way to bribe one of them…

Slide 86: 

Turkey, salad and gelatin? Seriously? For breakfast? No omelettes? From the looks of it they were the options for breakfast, lunch and dinner too. Every day. No salmon? No pork chops? He was going to go crazy… How long could they keep somebody in jail for not actually succeeding in theft? Probably not long, but bloody Harris would undoubtedly look into his past and he’d find plenty if he looked hard enough… God, he needed some fresh air.

Slide 87: 

Nope, Officer Kauker blocking the way. Also unlikely to take bribes or befriend inmates. Where was Officer Centowski when you needed him?! There had to be another way out… He shifted uncomfortably, trying to ignore the impression that the walls were getting closer, his pulse increasing and temperature rising. This was not the time for claustrophobia, damn it, it wouldn’t get him anywhere! This was all bloody Harris’ fault! Not only had he been outsmarted by a zombie, it was the zombie of Juan Harris of all people. Rodney had to escape, for his pride if not for his sanity. There had to be a way…

Slide 88: 

There just had to be a- Oh. Oh yes.

Slide 89: 

Oh yes indeed. ~~~~~End of 12A~~~~~

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