When Worlds Fall

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This is a Title.

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6 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:33 pm

I can feel my face twisting with annoyance and confusion as I hear the heavy clunk of leather and metal on the counter, the insistent tapping on what I assume is a speaker doing little to enlighten me to the woman's request. My hands slip from the counter as I stare vacantly, my head cocking a bit as I try to figure out what, "Mm!" is supposed to mean.

"Ma'am, you're going to have to be a little more articulate," I say flatly, trying my best not to let my nose crinkle up visibly at the smell issuing from the helmet she's put on the counter. "I can't see what you're pointing to, and I'm not touching anything until I know what it is. Safety first, you know - Tech's First Rule."

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7 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:40 pm

My fists clench in annoyance as I tap incessantly on the counter before pulling another clean rag from my pocket, wiping at my face. My heart is pounding as I lean forward to grab at his sleeve, tugging his arm upright as I wrap my hand around the back of his. Before I can convince myself otherwise, I lean forward and pull his hand against my jaw with as much strength as I can muster, pressing it into the hollow as I huff at him. I hum and whine, the vibrations ringing through his hand as loudly as I can make them as I will him to understand. 

I release his hand as he jerks it away from me. At this point, angry tears are welling in my eyes as I push the broken vox machine towards him.

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8 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:53 pm

Clarity hits me hard, bringing with it a wave of inspiration that I'm sure lights up my face with understanding and eagerness as I nod quickly. My hand still tingles with the vibration from her humming, the words she'd tried to form resonating up my arm, searching for a way to translate into something audible.

"Ah," I say simply, now more than happy to touch the device she's shoved toward me. "Well, that's an easy enough fix. What kind of device are you using here? Can you show me how it works?"

I'm already horribly unimpressed with what she's put in front of me, my fingers tracing the edge of an unsightly mask, complete with a large sonophone bell to direct sound out from the side. I'm more offended by the hideous device than I am from having my hand pressed against the damp disfigurement of her jaw, it's lack of subtlety bringing a frown to my lips.

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9 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:02 pm

I frown slightly as I tuck the rag into my pocket to pick up the keyboard, clicking pointlessly at the keys before holding it up towards him. I watch him tensely as he sets my mask down to turn his attention to the keyboard, reaching for it despite my reluctance to let it go. If he takes it and begins to work on it, I'll never get it back without paying for it. It's not something I'm ready to do, even if it is broken. 

More gently this time, I reach for his hand, waiting for his permission before I drag it across the keyboard. I can feel his hand relax a bit, understanding my intentions as I guide his fingers over the letters. C-O-S-T.

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10 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:16 pm

"Hmm," I hum at the question, taking the keyboard from her gently so I can click at the keys and touch the wires coming from it. It only takes a few keystrokes for me to pinpoint the issue, and I'm able to come up with a quick estimate on the spot. But the words don't make it past my lips as I continue to tinker with it for a moment, pretending to troubleshoot as I listen to the woman.

Her anxiety is palpable, her gaze darting toward the front of the store occasionally. Keeping an eye out for any potential onlookers. She's self-conscious, that much is obvious. I suppose I would be, too, if I had any concept of physical appearance. It's not a big leap to tell she's probably not the most well off, either, given she's missing half of her jaw - and no amount of money could convince me that this monstrosity in my hands can articulate well enough for her to use the magic that would keep her from poverty in this city.

"I'll tell you what," I say finally as I offer her the keyboard again so I can dig around under the counter for another mask. It doesn't do what she needs, but it will at least spare her vanity in the meantime. "Why don't you give me a few days with it, and once I've come up with a solution, we can work something out? Don't worry about coin. For projects like this, I find it's much more lucrative for both of us if we work on trade, if that's alright with you?"

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11 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:25 pm

Taking the offered mask, I nod softly before humming a soft 'mm-hmm'. I don't love the prospect of being in debt, but being mute leaves me even further fucked than I was. A few days without the mask would give me time to rest, sort out my finances, and figure out where I stand for the next month or so. If I won't owe him what meager amount I've saved up, then maybe I can finally get some proper ingredients for my wares, or even a decent coat for the rainy weather.

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12 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:27 pm

"Do you have a way for me to contact you if I have questions?" I ask as I grab a bin to put the mask in. "I know the wires won't work well, but if you have an address, I can send one of the little ones to send a message."

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13 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:36 pm

I watch with a pained expression as he tucks my mask away, looking at him as I reach for the keyboard on the counter still. I notice the small puddle underneath it, frowning at the mess as he reaches up to offer me his hand. 

8-5 E D-O-W-N-I-N-G. He nods his understanding as he takes the keyboard to inspect, and I step back from the counter hesitantly. Pulling my gloves on, I right the mask to put on as I turn for the door, glancing back towards him as I swallow thickly. 

"-Ankoo." I wince at the harshness of it, the wet and ill-defined speech. Holding the mask to my face, I step out of the door and into the rain.

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14 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:24 pm


Two days pass, and the woman (whose name I completely neglected to collect) has left me to my work. Her mask, with all it's cheap and decaying leather and tarnished bronze, has been completely dismantled on my desk. I've done nothing that remotely resembles fixing it aside from drying the moisture that had collected inside of it. Even with the right motivation and skill, the circuit board for her keyboard is fried, and fixing the loose wiring would only be a bandaid fix before the entire unit failed her permanently.

I could replace the circuit board, true, but the artisan in me can't abide a young woman walking the streets in a mask that belongs in the history books alongside the war and ugliness that takes place on the earth below us. It's unseemly, and if Skycrest stands for anything, it's beauty and innovation - not gas masks turned gramophone.

Needless to say, it's with great pleasure that I drop the pieces of bronze into the melting pot in the back of the shop. I already have a broad idea of what I intend to do for the woman, the bare bones rough draft already fitted to an aged mannequin beside my desk, notes written in raised ink in a gibberish language only I can piece together beside it. The metal from her old mask is useless as far as functionality goes, but I'm sure I can get a few vanity pieces out of it to adorn the finished works.

It's a long and arduous task to shape the metal, sweat dripping off of my brow as I work. I barely notice the hair on the back of my hands singing off before I've moved on to the delicate task of assembling the fine clockwork and attaching it, fully functional, to the metallic lining of a collar while the vanity pieces cool. The gears and springs for this task are so small and thin, they're almost like fabric in the way that they flex and move together against the lining.

I can't see it, but I know that the tiny crystals I use to shape the vox unit glimmer in the light, each facet catching it and bending it into colors I can only begin to imagine. Far from done, I sit back and smile slightly at what I've accomplished so far. Even without my sight, I can appreciate the beauty of it, the pang of loss doing little to dampen my spirits as I wonder what it must look like. Most of what I make favors golds and bronzes with bright highlights of color from items that used to please my mother when I was growing up. It's a template I'm quick to fall back on for general purposes, but this isn't a general item that'll go up in the store.

Unable to proceed without more information, I get up from my workbench and grab my jacket off of the hook by the door. I know exactly where the woman's home can be found, and it's a small task to walk the few blocks in that direction, sight cane in hand to guide my way. When I knock on her door, it takes her a moment to answer - finding her mask, I conclude - before the door opens and I smile broadly.

"Hi," I say cheerfully. "What's your favorite color?"

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15 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:17 pm

I'm still confused as he looks vacantly past me expecting an answer, clearing my throat uncomfortably as I step back and reach over to tug his sleeve so he knows to come in. I glance around the small apartment, grateful the man can't see it's cramped walls and cluttered surfaces, as I go to sit back on the bed. I haven't the slightest clue how I'm going to answer him, so instead I remove my mask and watch him.

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16 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:24 pm

I cock my head slightly as I step into the small apartment, my hands coming to rest atop my cane as I wait for her to answer. It takes me a second to remember that she can't before I take a deep breath and wince apologetically.

"Right, sorry," I say quickly as I reach into my pocket to pull out a small keyboard - not unsimilar to the one she had on her vox mask. "So you can communicate... but, uhm, it's sort of useless for use on the street. It just chimes when you push the buttons, but I'll at least recognize them."

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17 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:27 pm

I rise onto my knees to take the keyboard, looking at it curiously as I glance towards him with a smile. 

"Thank you." I type, hesitating between words to ensure I'm not moving too quickly before looking up at him.

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18 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:31 pm

I smile lightly, bowing slightly as I nod toward her, my head cocking toward the musical chime of the keys. "You're very welcome," I acknowledge before pointing offhandedly toward the keyboard. "That's how I learned my ABC's right there, my mum made it just for that. So, you know, don't lose it."

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19 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:39 pm

I nod quickly before realizing, yet again, the man can't see me.

"I won't." I type out, settling onto my bed as I look around the room a bit sadly. "No chairs, but you can sit on a pillow." I type a bit quickly, leaning over to grab a pillow and hold up towards him in offering.

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20 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:42 pm

"Thank you," I say as I hold a hand out, the back of my fingers brushing blindly over the pillow before I find it. I'm happy to take a seat on the floor nearby, my head tilting toward her again. "So you never did answer me. What's your favorite color? And do you prefer brown leather or red?"

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21 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:44 pm

"Purple," I respond, my legs curling before me as I settle in with the keyboard. "And either." 

"Do you want something to drink?"

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22 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:49 pm

It's not the most ideal means of communication, the chiming keyboard taking time for the woman to spell out each word, and more time still for me to decode it.

"Sure," I nod after a moment. "I mean, usually I get a girl's name before accepting drinks in her home, but I suppose I can make an exception."

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23 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:52 pm

I can't help but grin as I set the keyboard down, crawling over it and going to the small set up near the door. Just a few meager cabinets, one of which is a small fridge. Inside, bottles of water, with a few glass bottles of soda pop and juice tucked into the corner. 

I toy with the idea of trying to sound out the option, the loose form of water even wandering over my tongue before I grab all three and head back to the bed before setting them down to grab the keyboard.

"Water, soda, apple juice." I type out, glancing up at him, "Which."

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24 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:55 pm

"Soda, please," I nod before holding a hand out as she passes me the bottle. The pop of the cap is satisfying, the ridged metal biting into my palm as I twist it off. "I'm Marnin - or, if you're my neighbor, that asshole with that store."

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25 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:58 pm

I grin a bit, dropping the water on the floor as I pick up the apple juice before my hand hovers over the keyboard.

"Its musical." I laugh softly, "I'm Ljuba."

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26 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:01 am

"I'm sorry-," I frown a bit, the bottle of soda pausing at my lips as I tilt my head again. "Jooba? L...j - what?"

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27 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:05 am

"L. J. U. B. A." I type each letter slowly, waiting for him to nod his understanding before I go on. 

"Tricky j." I type, grinning as he tries to mouth it. 

"Loo-" I say weakly, "Loobae." I wince a bit, "Lewwbae."

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28 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:10 am

"Ah, okay," I nod in understanding, the gears in my head turning it over as new ideas come to mind. "I like that, actually. It's unique. Bet your old mask had a hard time with one, huh?"

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29 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:11 am

"It said the J." I type with a slight sigh, opening my apple juice. "Tricky J."

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30 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:17 am

"Well, we'll have to fix that, hm?" I smile slightly as I hold my bottle up toward her.

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