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 Chapter One

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PostSubject: Chapter One   Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:22 pm

Anastasya's dreams had always seemed significant. They always seemed to mean something. Whether it revealed something to come or reflected on the past. Sometimes she would tell the other girls about her dreams, especially those that concerned things to come. At first they never believed her, but eventually the things she told them became true. She became an oracle in their circle. Telling of when people would be moved, or when a girl would fall pregnant. Then her dreams changed. She’d get flashes of a woman’s face, eerily familiar. She’d speak softly, her voice sounded like honey and quiet rain. Her hair was woven with dark red flowers that looked like they were wilting. It reminded her of the flowers she’d see in the hotel rooms of the most wealthy clientele. Her eyes were big and bright, like they knew of greater futures than she was aware of. Sometimes she would get glimpses from farther away, and she could see the dyed fabric that she draped over her shoulder, a red that matched the flowers in her dark hair. Sometimes she’d wear a halo of golden spikes that reminded her of the images of the Virgin Mary she would see as a child. At first the thought the woman was the Virgin Mary, but one night she asked the woman for her name, and got a different answer.

”I have many names. The destroyer, the maiden, those who worship me give me a different name. Our Lady of the Underground.”

Some nights she’d be sociable, and answer a question she’d have. Other times Stasya would ask a question and she would just stare back at her, as if she were waiting for Stasya to come to the conclusion herself. Nights always seemed easier when Our Lady of the Underground came to visit. It let her forget her bedfellows. It let her forget about the outside world. For the first time since she was little, she had faith. She found herself saying a prayer to the Lady every time a knock came on the door. Every time she was hit for disobeying the rules. Every time a girl disappeared. Every time a girl appeared.

One night she found herself in the audience of the Lady again. Sitting at a wrought iron table decaled with flowers spiraling out from the table’s center. They were surrounded by plants, a garden of some sort. Beds of many different flowers were bordered by cobblestone. She can only see a small area of the garden, it seemed like she could only see a small area, centering on the table. A few meters out there was a blanket of darkness. There was a faint sound of jazz coming from somewhere that Stasya couldn’t place. A china plate with delicate golden details sat at the center of the table, filled with pomegranates. The Lady sat across from her, picking at the arils, the ends of her fingers stained from the fruit. She regarded Stasya, yet said nothing. She always waited for Stasya to start the conversation. If you could call a question and answer a conversation. Stasya didn’t have a question for the night, so she paused, thinking of something to ask. However, this time the Lady spoke up.

“You must leave.” She said, picking up an aril and eating it. “Today.”

“How?” Stasya asked. She had always dreamed of leaving this life, getting to be a normal girl, but when it came to the how, she always had pause. Leaving was not easy. She had no money, no family, and no future beyond her pimp’s plan. She knew girls who would escape, and then find their way back into the life, yet at a much lower point.

The Lady looked up for the first time since Stasya arrived, and she could swear the woman looked pained.

“When the time comes, and escape seems impossible. Imagine yourself on the other side, and then let it happen. Someone out there will find you and help you. I cannot say anything else.” Her eyes seemed to flick from Stasya to something behind her. Stasya turned to see what it is, but the cobblestone floor seems to lead into a shadowy fog. When she turned back around, the chair is empty. Then the jazz music fades away, being replaced by the sounds of flesh hitting flesh.

When her eyes open she saw the same water stained concrete ceiling as she saw at the start of every day. There was light streaming in through a barred window, and it looked to be about midmorning. She could hear the angry yelling of Frank, her pimp, through the metal doors of her room. She wouldn’t really call it her room though. It’s a bare stained mattress on the floor. It’s the best they got when they weren’t working. Over on the other bed across the room there’s the huddled mass of Chantelle, still in the skimpy dress she had worn out that night. She could see scratches on her thighs, something that Frank wouldn’t be happy to see. There was a rule about leaving the merchandise unmarked, except the clients never got punished, they did. Somewhere in the building a girl was learning this the hard way. She wouldn’t work for a week once Frank was done.

It took Stasya a moment to realize it, but the shackle that was usually locked around her ankle was open. This was her chance, Our Lady of the Underground had given her an opening. Stasya stood up slowly, testing the waters. She was half expecting Frank to come storming in, but she could still hear him out there, taking his aggressions out on the unlucky girl. She walked slowly over to the metal door, the concrete floor cold against her bare feet. She tried to pull open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. Then she remembered the words of the Lady. She focused fully on the area on the other side of the door. And she willed herself to be there. Nothing. She took a breath and tried it again. Suddenly it felt like every molecule in her body was being thrown at a breakneck speed. She felt ice crystals forming on her skin, and then stillness. She opened her eyes and almost gasped. She was in the hallway.

The sound of Frank was louder now, and Stasya backed slowly away from where the noise was coming from. She quickly and quietly walked up the wooden staircase, into the house proper. The girls who Frank liked got to stay upstairs, it was usually the younger ones. The ones who brought in more money because they were farther away from being adults. She used to live that life. She wouldn’t go back.

The kitchen was empty, so was the living room. It was still too early for anyone to be awake. They all lived nocturnal lives, so the house usually wasn’t active until the afternoon, unless there was some clients who preferred the work hours so they could be home in time to eat dinner with their wives and kids.

She walked slowly down the linoleum floored hallway, her eyes trained on the front door. She just needed to make it five more feet. When her hand gripped the doorknob, her heart raced, waiting for the catch, waiting to wake up on that dirty mattress with her ankle still shackled. But she opened the door, and she knew that this was real. She was going to leave.

She stepped out onto the small covered porch, staring out onto the street. She could do it. She walked down the front walkway, opening the chain link gate and closing it behind her. Then she ran as fast as she could, down the sidewalk past rows of small beat up houses and dented sedans. Her eyes were trained on her target, the sprawling horizon of looming skyscrapers. She was free.

She didn’t stop running until she reached a bodega, one that she saw through a van window hundreds of times. The shopkeep didn’t seem to recognize her as she stopped to catch her breath outside of the window. He did seem slightly perturbed at the sight of a barefoot girl in ripped jeans and an old t-shirt with last night’s make up still on, yet he did nothing. It was better that way anyways, any sort of trouble would get her sent right back to Frank, who would have a hell of a time punishing her.
Manhattan still seemed far in the distance, and Stasya starts to wonder how far she would be able to make it on foot. She also had to figure out what her next step would be. Go to the police? Then what? She immigrated illegally, she’d just get sent right back to Kiev. She had no intentions of being in the same city as her father.

The Lady said that someone would be out there to find her. Yet she didn’t know how. She didn’t have any sort of tracking device on her. For the time being, she’d just have to stick with the first step. Getting to Manhattan.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter One   Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:36 pm

The orders were strange, but Dimitri was quick to take them given his current state of mind. He was meant to find someone in front of a building at an exact time frame of ten minutes. Then he was supposed to bring them back to camp. They had Satyrs for this, and this was entirely volunteer, but Dimitri felt that anyone who needed to be brought here deserved a chance. He'd spotted the person where she was supposed to be, but at first didn't even stop to think it might be her.

In hindsight, Dimitri probably should have been able to figure out who he was looking for sooner. Torn clothes and bare feet were a telltale sign of someone in distress. But Dimitri still couldn't figure out what people generally wore outside of where he grew up. There was a ton of diversity, and it hadn't rung into Dimitri's mind at first that she was the one he was supposed to be looking for in the moment. He began to walk after her.

He'd thought to pick up his pace, but he could tell how distressed the girl was, and the last thing Dimitri wanted was to startle her further. He approached her slowly. "Anastasya?" Dimitri asked, approaching her. "My name's Dimitri Midnight." He expected the usual skeptical look at his surname, but suspected that might not be the first thing on his mind. "Are you? Anastasya? I was told you'd be in front of that building, and to bring you back to our home."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter One   Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:24 pm

Noah stood, leaning against the wall of the building that she and Dimitri were supposed to find someone, at some extremely specific time. They had barely made it, and she had just caught her breath when a ragged, barefoot girl ran toward them. The girl had stopped and looked around.

Noah made the assumption that this barefoot girl had to be who they were looking for, no one just ran around barefoot in the dirty, trash litered street cause they felt like it. The girl glanced over at Dimitri, he hadn’t seemed to notice the new person. “Hey, that’s probably who we’re supposed to meet, ya think?” She suggests.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter One   Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:20 pm

Dominika had been asked to go along with Dimitri and Noah. The whole thing had happened so fast without much time to really thing it through. Regardless she had grabbed her weapons in case she would need them and she began to make a b-line towards the hill. The instructions were fairly simple, get there, wait, and bring the girl back. It seemed like it wouldn't be hard to fuck up, but who knew what challenges they would face. A lot of demigods had been chased by monsters to camp and sometimes in the rare instances they didn't make it.

When they were standing there waiting, she heard Noah's remark about the girl. "No, I would have never though that. I thought she was a nice CEO of a big company." The blonde said with her arms folded. Most of it was pure sarcasm and wasn't meant in a harsh way, but Dominika didn't always come off in the best light.
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Chapter One
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