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In a puff of smoke

Posted on Mon Aug 7th, 2023 @ 7:38 by William McAvoy & Claire Cavendish & Jonathan Monroe & Cameron Johnston & Otis Jackson

Chapter: All Hallow's Eve
Location: Outside Cavendish City Manor
Timeline: 00:15 November 1st, 1992 (immediately following: The Aristocrat, in the Study, with the Candlestick
1316 words - 2.6 OF Standard Post Measure

Otis clutched his stomach as they walked into the night. He was grateful that the four of them had made it out alive, but the guilt he felt at having played a part in destroying someone's house was almost overwhelming. Though if he were being honest, he couldn't solely blame guilt for the way he was feeling, he had never created a shield that big and powerful before and it had drained him; he had also inhaled a fair amount of smoke too. He had already wretched so much that his insides were burning and all he could taste was stomach acid.

"Does anyone know where we're going?" Otis asked again, clutching at the tattered remains of his red Thriller jacket for warmth.

William said nothing as they walked street after street mixing in with the city crowd that seemed to be streaming from all different buildings. He had never been in such a crowded or loud place before. "No idea but it is loud and busy." He commented looking around still trying to look for street signs up high.

Orientation was something Cameron had spent the last few minutes trying to secure. If he could figure out where they were, they had some hope of making sense of it in relation to where they ought to be, and then perhaps there would be a point to him trying to scout ahead. Dashing off blindly into the dark was just a recipe for getting lost at high speed and there was enough confusion without adding his disappearance into the mix. Beyond that, he wasn't faring much better than Otis, plagued by the same sense of extreme fatigue without any sustenance available to replenish is reserves. He squinted up the street and then turned to take the next few steps ambling backwards.

"Anyone ever pay any attention to where Claire's parents lived?" The woman didn't mention them often and he'd been wracking his brain trying to figure out if there'd ever been reference enough that he'd paid attention to. He held stubbornly to the opinion that the man who'd shot at him was Cavendish, however, and that seemed to be the biggest lead they had.

William nodded. He had known Claire before everyone else and they had spent many nights just discussing the world and what had led them to the old castle. She had mentioned London several times in those conversations. “English Capital. London.” He said gruffly as he watched a pair of women pass the group laughing and clutching each other talking about the club they were going to. “They are going to catch a death.” He said not having seen such skirts before on his very few visits to the local town in the last three years.

"Better the cold...than the alternative..." Jonathan had been very quiet since they'd made their escape. Too many bad memories; a loss of control and the fear that brought with it all resurfacing sharply in the wake of destroying someone's entire home and livelihood. He wrapped his arms around himself tightly, keeping at least a couple of strides away from the others. "Better we stay clear of people until we can be sure it doesn't happen again."

William frowned and smacked the man on the back in a kind gesture of trying to offer some comfort for his troubled mind. There was not much he could offer other than that at the moment. He did not have an ability like the man, and he did not know what it was like but he could at least offer morale support.

Otis wondered why it had taken him so long to recognise the city he had called home only a mere few weeks ago, but it dawned on him, this wasn't the London he knew. They were clearly in one of the richer areas of the capital, Kensington or Chelsea maybe. Far from where he called home, someone like him would never be welcomed in these parts. He pulled his tattered jacket even tighter around himself as though it would protect him as much as his shields did. Usual did he corrected himself. "Why would Claire transport us here?" He asked. "Should we try to contact the school?"

"We need to think about getting ourselves back," Cameron replied, distracted by renewed investigation now that he was struck by a similar sense of expectation regarding the familiarity of their surroundings. He'd been a kid still when his family had left Chelsea and headed across the pond to America, a chunk of his life long enough ago that recollection was not guaranteed. The compulsion to find something he recognised was still rampant, however, because if he could find a reference point, he stood a chance of orienting himself. And if he could orient himself, he could navigate. And if he could navigate...

It would mean leaving the others though, even if it was just to pick up the jet and fly back for them. A side-glance at Jon didn't make that the most appealing prospect.

"Let us try and contact the school, first" William stated firmly. They were so far from the school that it felt impossible right then and there to get back.

The air around them started to sizzle and a moment later with a pop of displaced air Claire appeared in front of them. Soaking wet, still in her Ripley Halloween costume, though there were rips and cuts as well as bruises on her face. "You've strayed a bit..." She looked around seeing a plume of dark smoke coming from the direction of her parent's house. She didn't want to ask anything. "Stand close to me, I don't know how much I have left." She was clearly in a hurry.

Jonathan felt his heart pound at the thought of getting close to people again. After basically destroying a house, he wasn't sure how ready he was to put more people at risk. "Make it...quick..." he muttered, edging as close as he dared.

Swamped by the incompatible sensations of guilt and relief, Cameron couldn't help himself as he stepped close enough to oblige but focused intently on Claire's face. "Are you all right?" Both hands reached out to settle on her shoulders, perhaps as much to steady himself as her. "I can get the jet," he quietly offered. "If you need a break, let me run for it."

"London to Avalon?" Claire took in a deep breath. "I think we're better off with me burning the candle at both ends for this one." Even if Cameron would be able to make it all the way back to the hangar on the charge he had left, there was no telling how it would impact him. It wouldn't be safe for him to fly the jet back there and pick them up for the round trip. Aside from the fact that they were needed at Avalon right that moment. She focused on the people around her, the ones she had displaced into her father's house. A moment of hesitation as she looked in the general direction of what she had once called home. She closed her eyes and focused on the bridge, the gate, the entrance of Avalon. Focusing it into her mind as clearly as she possibly could. No distractions, not an easy feat with everything that had happened, but too important to mess up this time.

The air around the five of them started to sizzle with energy and perhaps a bit of anticipation. The darkness wrapped around them, as it had done for her so many times. Her protective blanket. A pop of displaced air was all they left behind. One of the three girls on their walk to a nearby club looked over her shoulder to find the people they had just passed disappeared. It wasn't given a second thought.


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