Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monsterhearts, Episode 3 - Forewarned is Four-Armed

Last time, there was lots of sex, a waterlogged corpse, and shopping for a dress. This time...less of all of that.

We open in the mall, and the four characters there (Cassi, Rook, Skylar and Genesis) a little shaken by their encounter with Mrs. Gable. They get some coffee and calm down, and then head to another (much more expensive) store. Genesis finds a dress she likes, which Cassi happily purchases with Daddy's credit card.

Meanwhile, Dora gets a phone call from Mrs. Diaz. Omar Diaz is a classmate (and one-time lover) of Dora, and the Diaz family owns a winery outside of Perdido; they're pretty rich. Mrs. Diaz is calling for Dora's mother, which surprises Dora - they don't exactly run in the same circles. She takes the message, and then calls Omar directly. He tells her that his parents are having a party on Tuesday night (it's now Saturday) and inviting folks they don't normally invite. "Poor people," says Dora, and Omar uncomfortably agrees.

The others, having purchased Genesis' dress and gotten Skylar a tux, head back to Cassi's house to use the pool. Cassi finds an invitation to her parents from the Diaz winery; apparently her folks are invited to the party as well. She lends Genesis a swimsuit and they head for the pool. This rapidly becomes a pool party as more people show up.

Cassi's mom is around, kind of facilitating the party. Cassi gives her mother the invitation, and she opens it - it's a dinner party. Her mother seems interested in going, while Cassi is just curious about the whole thing. Meanwhile, in the pool, Skylar flirts with Genesis in a teenage sort of way.

Dora's mother comes home, and Dora doesn't mention the incident with the police (she doesn't want her mother to freak out), but does tell her about the phone call. Genesis calls Dora and asks her to come over; Dora clears this with her mother ("Just be back for church tomorrow"), and Dora bikes out to Cassi's.

The characters talk to each other about the upcoming party. Omar is there, and they ask him about it. He says it's weird; his parents are being very tight-lipped about, inviting people they don't normally associate with, and that they sent their regular chef back home to Mexico on vacation and brought in a new chef for the party, which is odd. The characters, already suspicious of weird goings-on because of previous events, decide this bears further consideration, and four of them (all but Dora) decide to gaze into the abyss. Genesis floats on the water, and wonders about a connection between the events at the school and the party. She sees a meat truck leaving from the school, driven by Mike the janitor, and knows she must get into the basement at school.

Skylar drops to the bottom of the pool, and considers the party. He sees Cassi, grabbed, held down, and butchered, chunks of muscle cut off and fried. He realizes, though, that he must go to the party.

Cassi walks around the pool house and looks in the window, into the dining room. She sees people eating there, drinking red wine, and then sees the kitchen door open. There's a carcass on the table, of something she can't identify...but there are men's running shoes under the butcher block.

Rook goes into the bathroom and stares into the mirror. He hears a dinner party - clinking of glass, knives on plates. He hears someone ask about the meal, and someone answers that it's a proprietary recipe of the chef's...but that everyone will be invited back. He winds up drained.

Meanwhile, Dora talks to Omar, and tries to turn him on. She fails, and winds up getting led off into the house for sex, but doesn't get anything out of it (other than the obvious). Her sex move does apply, though, and she takes the condom wrapper as a sympathetic token. Cassi notes them walking out through the dining room, but doesn't say anything.

Skylar, following his vision, surfaces, and yanks Genesis down. She flails, lashing out physically, and fails - her hand goes right through Skylar's chest. A bit terrified, she swims to the edge and freaks out, asking Skylar what the hell he is and so on. She keeps an eye on Skylar as Cassi and Rook find each other and creep off to talk; Genesis sees Skylar slip through the wall to watch (Skylar is attempting to creep on her friends). This pretty much confirms it to Genesis - Skylar's a ghost.

Cassi decides to get rid of everyone else, and goes and finds her mother. She manipulates an NPC to get mom to get rid of her guests (her mom agrees, but the condition is that she help get Daddy to take her to the party at the winery, which Cassi's dad is probably otherwise not inclined to attend). She agrees, and her mother gets rid of the NPCs, leaving just the five characters.

Genesis rather publicly confronts Skylar, and Skylar agrees to tell the truth. She walks through the door, and then knocks. Everyone else (except for Genesis, who already knew) holds steady, and Cassi fails. A moment later, Austin shows up, banging on the door, concerned for Cassi. Cassi reveals that ever since childhood, she, Austin, Alyssa and Madison have had a link - when Cassi is afraid or hurt, the others know it (and indeed, she calls Madison and finds that the other two are on the way; she dissuades them).

They talk with Austin a bit, and he reveals that he's been removed from the football team's group email, but he isn't sure why and he's planning to ask the coach on Monday. He leaves, and the characters go back to their discussion.

Over the course of said discussion, Genesis reveals that she's a selkie (and her lack of knowledge of pop culture comes into focus for the others), Rook tells the story of how he found the silver key and stole the power of the fae, and Dora reveals herself as a witch. The conversation, though, is very well done - I've seen these kinds of things in RPGs, and they tend to be "OK, what are your powers?" This one, the revelations felt very personal (Rook's especially), and no one really gave up everything. Very Monsterhearts.

Anyway, the characters decide that they should totally check out the basement at school, but not tonight. They decide to go tomorrow morning when Dora is done with church. She and Genesis head back to her place (but do not engage in further sexin's), and in the morning, they head to church. Skylar, curious, joins them.

The sermon goes OK until the whole "blood and body given up for the everlasting covenant" thing, at which point Genesis, already sensitive to questions of eating people and not really grokking metaphor, freaks out. She's asked to leave by a younger priest, and Dora tries to shut her down, and gives her the submissive condition. The group of them leaves the church and meets Cassi and Rook at school.

They break in (well, really, Skylar goes through the door and opens it), and sneak downstairs. The smell alone makes Cassi hold steady; she fails and vomits. They make it downstairs and find a body on a huge butcher table. Skylar is relieved to see that the body isn't his, but the shirt on the chair is a uniform and has the word "Mike" stitched into it. They also find some notebooks, with notes in a language none of them know. Dora grabs a blank page to use as a token, and they started heading upstairs.

As they near the top of the stairs, they hear footsteps. Skylar tries to slip through the wall and manipulate an NPC, hoping to distract whoever it is...but it's Mike, the janitor. As Skylar appears, Mike points his hand at Skylar, and his hand turns white and corpse-like, with long, black nails. Skylar freezes, and feels pain shoot through her.

The others burst out of the room. Rook tries to lash out physically and fails; Mike tosses him back downstairs. Cassi tries to manipulate an NPC just to distract Mike, and this works; she makes some noise and Mike glances over. Dora tries to hex the janitor, but he rips off his shirt and reveals an extra set of arms. His whole body becomes that horrible corpse-flesh, and he stabs Dora in the stomach with his claws.

At this point, Skylar lashes out physically and tries to tackle, him, but flies right through Mike and lands on Cassi. Everyone decides that "fuck this" is the better part of valor, and runs away. And everyone succeeds, running to different parts of the school, except Genesis (though she does manage to run). Dora makes it to her sanctum and starts patching herself up.

Mike, meanwhile, reabsorbs his extra arms, and calls someone on his cell. "Just get here," he says, "bring everyone you can find."