Adventuring through twisted time.

✧ Easing The Burden ✧
Rolling out of bed Everlee gave a heavy sigh as she moved her hair back. She felt the stiffness in her body from a night of tossing and turning the questions of her birth family eating away at the pink mass that is her brain. She stared at the board that hung over her desk with leads that led nowhere. It seemed her birth mother lied about the name she had given her adoptive father. This was the one mystery that she couldn’t seem to solve in a quick manner. It was driving the overachiever mad secretly, though she should never admit that to anyone. Though nowadays she didn’t really speak to anyone outside of the diner work, and detective work she took on.

Her eyes drifted to the clock out of the corner of her eye and a curse left her lips with ease. “Shiiiit.” She shifted to pull on her uniform, tossing her hair in a messy bun and down the stairs ignoring her fathers good mornings as she went out the door keys in hand. She took off through the town of Oakville to the Crab Claw dinner, which was at the edge of a lighthouse tourist attraction. She was out of the car pushing down the knob to lock the door to her adoptive mothers prize position that was left to her in her death. Looking to the car for a brief moment before hearing her boss yelling at her to get to work.

“Ball buster as always.” Everlee muttered out under her breath making her way into the diner tossing her bag in her locker before making her way to her first table. Hours passed and she moved to make a cup of coffee to get her through the rest of her shift before pausing mid pour as the next person entered the diner. The glop attached to them was massive.How were they still standing. She was frozen, staring at them as she felt her bosses elbow in her side. Making her flinch, and shoot a glare at her boss.

“Yes I got the table. Thanks for the bruise.” she said sarcastically as she moved from around the counter towards the table with her pad in her hand. “Hi, ah welcome to the Crab Claw. Can I uh help you?” her eyes locked with their shoulders again where the dark entity had made its new home. “Are you feeling okay?” she managed to add onto her statement.

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Oakville, New Jersey. Why did it have to be New Jersey? Kjiri slammed the door of his car, as he put on his suit jacket and put his hands on his hips pacing around the vehicle. The car had broken down on the side of the road and he was already late for an appointment in Atlantic City, a date with lady lucky that is. “Damn rental…Of course I had to rent a car and drive. What a good idea it was to take a trip from Philadelphia to Atlantic City…great.” Kjiri growled at the hunk of junk. He should have known better, he had a habit of breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

The geezer called for a tow but it was going to take awhile. What was there to do in a place like Oakville, New Jersey? He couldn’t even make it to the local gas station. Kjiri slapped the car for good measure out of frustration, but it seems lady luck really had it out for him as the place he slapped had a razor sharp edge…it being a junker of a rental and all, and sliced open his hand. Taking a dirty rag from inside the car, Kjiri was able to tie it loosely around the cut with his one free hand but he needed to get somewhere quickly…somewhere with water.

A diner. Finally Lady Luck seemed to be smiling upon him. Even if he wasn’t gambling away his pity in Atlantic City right now, at least he could get some water. He stepped into the diner and almost immediately noticed a young lady staring at him. Judging by the outfit she was wearing she worked there. He tried to look inconspicuous and tried to give polite nod to the girl who was staring and her boss or coworker but ended up just grimacing through the pain of his sliced hand.

He took his seat and as the waitress approached he hid his left hand in his sleeve and waited for the waitress to take his order. Water…he needed water…

“Can I…help you?” The waitress said, the same one that had been staring at him as if she could literally see his emotional burdens. Before he could give his order she asked “are you ok?”

Kjiri hesitated, how did she know anything about him? He thought he was hiding the pain well, or was it something else? Moving his left hand under the table he kept his eyes lowered onto the table. “Just…water…lots of water and napkins.” The older man managed to growl through gritted teeth. If he didn’t get some water for this wound covered in a greasy towel soon, he wasn’t going to be able to hold it together. Just a little longer. Need water. And why is this girl staring at him? “Water!” He barked much harsher than he meant, his right hand a white knuckled fist.

✧ Easing The Burden ✧
Everlee's eyes clung to the darkness that was surrounding the man, she watched his face shift through different stages of pain. It chilled her to her core as she seemed transfixed in that moment on this man who had been met with the worst case she had ever seen. As his harsh tone pulled her out of trance she gave him a nod of her head, tossing her red locks about as she did. “Right away.” Her eyes drifted down to the hand he moved under the table. Taking a single step back before twirling around. Almost running into another waitress she found refuge in the kitchen.

‘He was hiding his hand.’ she thought to herself, her deductive reasoning skills connecting the dots for her. ‘Is it as simple as a bad luck spirit?’ she wondered to herself. “Ace?” She called out to the cook who was always high most of the time. “Where is the first aid kit?” She picked up two pitchers and started to press them into the machine that would fill them with water. Grabbing a tray she placed a glass on it.

“Over here.” Ace lazily pulled it from the shelf and sat it on the tray. “Another person come in here hurt? What are we, urgent care?”

“Coming from the person I have patched up more than once.” She gave him an easy smile before placing the First aid kit on the tray along with the two pitchers. Sliding the tray smoothly from the counter it was on and placing it on her shoulder as she walked through the door, moving back over to his table she slid the tray on it before sliding into the booth across from him. “Can I see how bad it is?” she gestured for him to give her his hand.

“I was meant to go to Harvard premed and forensics specialty in crime. So you are in good hands with me if you let me patch it up. Maybe I can help you out with what brought you here.” She said as she moved the first aid kit to her side to open it. Thankfully Ace kept it full knowing accidents were a common thing for all of them. “Walking in, you look like you have had a rough day.” She explained the things she had picked up. “You were sweating which points to the fact you had been walking for a while till you reached our little coastal diner.” She moved to fill the glass with water and slide it closer.

“Have you always been unlucky?” she asked as she let her blue eyes hold his darker ones in an unbreaking moment. She felt her eyes move to the thing on his shoulder after that moment though.

Kjiri couldn’t remember what happened, as he sat there with his bloody hand under the table. There was a time when a wound like this would have been taken care of in an instant. Perhaps he had sworn off magic for too long and his memory was just fuzzy. He seemed to remember a time when he could feel the magic flow through his body with powerful, youthful energy. But lately it was more like a trickle and even then he felt like he had to beg it to come.

Sweaty and growing faint by the moment, Kjiri didn’t notice that the waitress from a moment ago had ran off in search of a first aid kit despite asking for water. Stupid blood. If only he had is crystal. Crystal…why did he want a crystal? The memory faded as soon as he had called it into being. The more he tried to capture the image of a blue crystal pulsing with power, the more his head hurt. Must be loss of blood making him delirious. He can’t remember ever owning a crystal before especially one with such power.

He was snapped out of his own thoughts when the girl came back carrying a first aid kit and thankfully there was a glass of water. Not as much as he had liked, but he didn’t blame her for not knowing what he wanted. He wasn’t in a talkative mood, however, she sure was!

Kjiri ignored her request to see the wound which was still under the table and took a handful of the smallest bandaids he could find. Between ripping the paper with his teeth and shaking the bandage free with his hand that wasn’t bleeding, he got a few out and stuck them in his mouth.

“Harvard, huh? Your parents must be so proud,” Kjiri mumbled with a mouth full of bandaid. Next he took the glass of water and dumped it on his hand underneath the table, letting the water splash all over the floor. “You think I’m sweating? Why don’t you go out and see that shitty excuse of a rental I got and you will understand why I am sweaty, girl. I prefer you find a way to help me with that mess,” he growled, bandaids still in mouth and through the pain of the ice water. That was definitely on him though, he should have warmed it.

Kjiri’s eyes glowed faintly like it was a cold florescent bulb as he mumbled something incoherent under his breath. The water warmed and soothed his hand in a moment the wound closed. He continued to mumble, eyes averted downward to keep prying eyes from seeing.The water from the floor, defying gravity, left the floor and his hand and returned to the cup. He put the cup on the counter, never stopping his rambling, and spat the bandaids into his hand and placed the wad on the clothes that were bloodied from the wound. The bandaids sucked up all the blood from his clothing until there was only the faintest of tings that could only be detected if you really looked thoroughly.

“No matter what, blood stains are still hard to get rid of entirely,” Kjiri grumbled, mouth free of bandaids. He placed the blood soaked bandaids into a number of napkins so that they wouldn’t leak everywhere. He flexed his hands to make sure he got everything and then folded them both on the table in front of him. Just in time for her to finish her story and ask “Have you always been this unlucky?”

Kjiri was about to make a snide remark about lady luck always being on his side when flashes of the same crystal, followed by a woman’s scream, and some kind of fabric came flooding into his mind. His headache came back with a vengeance and he winced. He forgot the question and asked in a whisper now finally cognizant of being in a public diner, “Sorry to have troubled you with that mess. But I can’t help but notice the way you are looking at me. Do we know each other?”

✧ Easing The Burden ✧
Everlee sat there watching the stubborn man turn to ripping into the small bandaids, it was as if the man had a primitive nature about him. She felt a little offended that he didn't want her to help him. Maybe the spirit had already driven him mad and she would have to help him in the shadows, that was something she had gotten used to doing due to the fact that most people didn’t want to hear they had a spirit attached to them. She couldn’t even begin to imagine the adventure that would be taken with the man across from her.

“Would have been proud if one of them wasn’t dead and or if they had been my real parents at all.” She said thinking of her adoptive mother who died in front of her and how she learned they were not family by blood all in one day. When she watched him pour the glass under the table she let out a groan. “You do realize if you wanted to wash your damn hands we have bathrooms with sinks right?” she pointed over her shoulder with a slightly angry expression because she was going to have to clean up the mess then it softened. Maybe the spirit was one that put the man into a rage?

“Well I can easily help you with a crappy rental.” She said looking over her shoulder and called out. “Nick at the shop?”

“YES!” Ace yelled from the back where the kitchen was.

“There we have it. I will call Nick to get your rental in his shop and he will have it fixed like…Magic.” Her eyes locked back with his as they started to glow faintly. She blinked a few times trying to understand if her eyes were playing tricks on her. She cocked her head to the side watching his mannerisms. He wasn’t human was he? She thought to herself as she cleared her throat.

“Well really if you want a trick to remove blood stains I can help.” She said, raising her finger in the air, swirling it like a wand. “I made a mixture when I was younger. I would get into trouble and sticky spots often that I had to learn to get the blood out of my clothes so I wouldn’t get in trouble with my mom." Mom came out strained for her as the pain filled her throat still dealing with the loss and what felt like betrayal. Her eyes refocused on the problem in front of her, not the problems of her past.

“Can’t say I do, but I am not unfamiliar with the problems that seem to be plaguing you.” she spoke lower now to him. “Do you feel that pain in your head? That pressure on your shoulders like the weight of the world is there? You have a spirit attached to you, one that seems to be causing you a string of bad luck.” her eyes drifted back to it as it snarled at her. “I can help you remove it, but that would mean you have to put trust in a stranger and I feel that you aren’t one to do that easily.”

She reached into her pocket to pull out her phone texting Nick to go find a car on the mountain side that had been broken down and a rental. That way maybe she could convince him that she could in fact help him. Her curse wouldn’t allow her not to help, she would be put through excruciating pain if she didn’t help him.

Kjiri was trying to remember something but the more he tried to remember the more he forgot and the more the pain worsen. What kind of memory could he have forgotten? What was it that was causing this pain? He realized that the young woman was still talking. Talking about her parents, obviously didn’t catch his sarcasm. Talking about washing his hands, but it seems that she caught sight of his little magic act and she seemed to have changed the topic yet again to his faint bloodstain. If Kjiri were to guess, he would say this lady loved to hear her own voice more than wait patiently. Honestly, Kjiri felt too old for this but she had been very helpful and perhaps she just needed someone to listen.

“You don’t know me, yet you know what is happening to me?” Kjiri said, not bothering to hide his incredulity. Yet somehow she knew about his headaches and the pain he has when trying to remember. Was she part of his problem? How did she know about any of this? Then she mentioned a spirit. His eyes narrowed as she spoke. A woman who sees spirits and these spirits attach themselves to others. Even though this sounded familiar, Kjiri couldn’t place the memory. Like something just out of reach. Finally, he wiped the dazed and confused look off his face and said, “Speaking of bad luck, I have to do something about this car.”

He got up out of the booth and threw some money on the table, enough he figured for the wad of bandaids and the glass of water, “Thanks for calling ahead and keep the change. I will wait for a tow outside.” Kjiri didn’t know much about this spirit thing, or at least have any tangible memory of it, and so he thought it best he make tracks before she had a chance to continue her monologuing. She sounded like a sweet girl, but he didn’t want to get caught up in other people’s problems. He had problems, and more than he realized, of his own to deal with.

Kjiri kept his head low as he exited the diner, trying not to draw any more attention to himself. Now that he healed himself, with special thanks to a rather talkative youth, he looked at his problem with fresh eyes. “Well, now what do I do?” Kjiri mumbled realizing that he was still in the same situation bloody hand or no. He didn’t have any way to move the car on his own and for whatever reason his magic has seen better days. He could have sworn he was better at magic. He seemed to remember a war…a battle…a king…the headache came back again worse now.

Now that he was out here, he remembered the girl said something about being able to help him. He didn’t even catch her name, or if she even introduced herself, or if she did he wasn’t paying attention. He was about to kick the wheel of the junker and remembering his hand, thought better of testing lady luck again. What the hell was he supposed to do now?

✧ Easing The Burden ✧
If Everlee could read minds she would be rather offended by him, but also could he be right? She had pushed away everyone who knew her before her mothers death. She didn’t really have friends most of her time was eaten up between solving the entities attached to her curse or just numbing the side effects. She hadn’t even put much effort into finding her birth parents to learn more about her curse. She was stuck effectively in the self destructive path she chose to follow instead of going to college on the full ride that was offered to her. Though the talking at the moment was more so out of nervousness because she wasn’t sure how to explain to a stranger that he has a spirit that will kill them both attached to him because he chose to walk into this diner that very day. Bad Luck, yeah maybe that was just the long and short of her curse.

She watched the pain on his face, she felt bad for the older man across from her. She reached her hand out towards him but stopped herself short before giving a nod of her head. “I do, it's something I have helped many with.” She pulled her hand back to fold her hands together before she felt her jaw drop open as he got up and was out of the booth before she could talk more. “Definitely not human.” she mumbled under her breath as she pushed out of the booth and called over her shoulder “Sorry! I will be back as soon as I can!” She ran to the back room and grabbed her bag, hooking it over her body making her way out the door shortly after him.

As she made it out the door she realized he was gone, with a frustrated groan she dug in her bag and pulled her keys out moving over to the old blue car that her mother had left her in her will. She turned the engine over and off she went down the direction she felt the curse energy pulling her. They were linked now even though she never touched him, she would be able to find him until their deaths that is. She drove as quickly as the windy road would allow. When she saw him besides his car she let out the breath driving past him just so she could turn around and park behind him.

Climbing out of her car she moved closer towards him looking at the rental that was broken down on a dangerous part of the road. “Well it's a good thing I was able to find you.” she said as she texted Nick right where the car was so he wouldn’t be driving ten miles per hour down the road to find it. “You know I could have given you a ride back to your car, and a ride to the garage since you don’t know where Nick’s place is.” She chuckled as she crossed her arms looking at him for a long moment.

“You are making that pained face again,” she said as she tilted her head to the site. “I’m Everlee by the way.” She offered her name even though her badge read Nancy on it. “You ran out so fast, I didn’t even get to catch your name.” Her eyes moved to the spirit on his shoulder that seemed to tighten its grasp on his head, then noticing that if she stared at him it looked as if chunks of him were missing. She quickly shook her head to ride her eyes of the visions before looking towards the cliff edge.

Kjiri leaned forward on the car, head downcast. If he could only think straight. Something about that woman he couldn’t shake off. He had been quite rude, but he paid for the trouble. Something she said clung to him, a spirit? HIs memory was so fuzzy. He could remember really concrete things. He grew up with a loving family. He left them in pursuit of his own ideas, whatever it was to “make it on his own.” He served in the military, he was a highly decorated vet. He lost his wife and daughter in an accident. These facts replayed in his mind. He was at their funeral, his brother-in-law pushed him away. He retired unable to focus on his job. These he knew were real facts. But he found the harder he tried to remember anything else the more his memory fogged. He couldn’t remember the exact place or the years it happened, couldn’t remember his commanding officers but remembered serving high up in the command.

The more he thought about it, the more he returned to the waitress. He didn’t have this problem before he encountered her. Whatever he name was. Did she do this to him? Did she put some kind of curse on him…some…evil spirit? Cursed. Kjiri groaned and almost hit his car again. She was cursed. He tried to remember what he knew about the subject but the same fog that was blocking his past memories wouldn’t give him access to what he knew about the other creatures he encountered. If he wanted to know more than that, he would have to relearn it. Perhaps it would help him unlock more of his memory. He had some luck with it when she was with him, just fragments and notions, more than he had now.

“My name’s Everlee by the way,” came the same youthful voice from the diner. His eyes opened and for a moment the pain cleared. He looked around and saw the young lady now called Everlee approaching him from her car. At least there was some reprieve. He tried to smile but then another thought flooded his mind: cursed people are bound by evil spirits. From the way she was looking at him, it seemed like there was some kind of spirit on him. Kjiri straighten himself and looked at the woman for a moment. So being around this woman cleared his memories. Of course chasing them continued to hurt, but he wanted to know more. “You can call me K.” Kjiri responded, his eyes flashing blue and for a moment they looked more youthful and less weathered than before.

He looked at her with a more knowing expression as if he identified who she was but he said nothing. He smiled for the first time, the only way he was going to get answers was to get figure out more about who this Everlee was. “I have to apologize for my behavior back there. It’s hot and my car broke down. Gave me a nice gash as a reward. Thank you for your help in my fast recovery.” Kjiri showed her his perfectly healed hand. Kjiri nodded, “we did get off on the wrong foot.” He watched her carefully, obviously she saw the spirit that was around him, perhaps the reason his memory was gone. “If you could help me get the car to the shop, I would compensate you for your troubles.”

✧ Easing The Burden ✧
Everlee gaze watched him, he didn’t seem like he was there or hearing a thing she said. She had come across curses that dull the senses but she knew that wasn’t the kind of spirit attached to him. Her gaze watched as he seemed lost in his own mind; it was as if there was a fuzzy line around him, as if he was an old TV static. As if his body was shifting in front of her yet she knew he was standing still. Little did she know the reason he looked this way to her is because the spirit was attacking him in more than a timeline. She stood there awkward and quiet for a brief moment looking out towards the sea line.

“Is Kay short for something?” She asked as she finally met his gaze once again. She gave an easy smile hoping it would put him at ease with her being there. Hell she hoped that easy smile would make it so he wouldn’t think of hurting her. He was acting a bit erratic. Watching the flash of blue cross his eyes, it confirmed to her that he was in fact a magic user. She had been putting some hours into studying different magic users since she dealt so heavily with curses, unsure how to break her own curse, she wondered if it would be done with magic.

Finally when the male cracked a smile she felt her shoulders relax a bit from tension she hadn’t realized was there. Her gaze moved to look at his healed hand and she gave an easy laugh from her lips. “Oh? So you know some kind of healing magic or something?” She gave a teasing question back. “No need to apologize though, I have seen worse in my year at the diner than you being a bit grumpy over cutting your hand open.” She moved her hand up to tuck her hair back behind her ear that had flown around in the car ride over to where he broke down.

“Wrong footing is my state of life when it comes to explaining to people that something has attached itself to them. Causing some kind of harm.” She said with a gentle sigh as she crossed her arms loosely. “How about you just allow me to help you figure out why this spirit has attached itself to you.” She offered instead, she often didn’t take money from those she helped in less they were some rich jerk who deserved the spirit that attached to them. She had a feeling he didn’t deserve it though. “Tell me while we are waiting for Nick.” She leaned back against the hood of her care.

“Where are you from Kay?” She asked as she leaned her head to the side, taking him in to see if that fuzzy effect would return if she started to question him. “Do you have family wherever you are going? Where are you going? I am sure our little town isn’t where you want to be.” She chuckled realizing how many people had just randomly found themselves in this town just to run into her because the spirits steer them that way.

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