etherthief: (whatever this feel is it's very intense)
Iman Asadi ([personal profile] etherthief) wrote in [community profile] rapturecity2015-10-24 12:01 am

the ocean on her shoulders [closed]


That's all she has room in her brain for: water. Water water everywhere. Freezing fucking cold. Shock to the system. She's sinking. What the hell is happening?

Dream. Gotta be a dream. One of those hyperrealistic dreams the rift always makes them have. Except she always knows when those are happening, like they feel real but they feel different too, and this—well, it's different, but it's reality, the distinction is intangible but it's there.

So she's just drowning in the ocean. Okay.

Her arms flail in slow arcs around her, her body kicking sluggishly into gear as she struggles back to the surface, kicking so hard she feels like she's going to dislocate something, until she's breached and gasping and choking on saltwater.

Where is she. Where is she.

What the hell is happening?

There is, by some apparent providence she's not stupid enough to trust, a structure within reach, and she swims toward it, already feeling a numbing in her extremities. She has to get there, out of the water, inside, and then she can—

She'll fill that part in later.

She hauls herself out and up the stairs, shivering so violently she can barely keep herself upright, rocking and stumbling against the hard, water-slicked stone. A staircase lit by lanterns that seem somehow out of place, and doors that are heavy and... gilded? Yes, a gilded fucking relief of a man and a city, which, she's never been to a lighthouse before, but this doesn't seem entirely on. Still, though, thoughts are so hard to hold onto right now, who even cares, she just can't be out here in the elements, the dark, icy wilderness; she needs to be inside. She hauls the door open and shoulders her way in and stops short, the door falling slowly, ominously shut behind her.

The room is brilliantly lit - more like a lobby than what she expects the inside of a lighthouse to be. She stares up at the absurd decor, the imposing statue greeting her, the bright red banner, the slogan—that slogan—all of it, all this art deco nonsense, what is this, what did she just walk into? Her first thought is 'cult' and her second thought is 'cult so secret it's in the middle of the ocean' and then she thinks she might rather go back outside.

But she's never been good at leaving things alone, so instead she steps forward gingerly to examine the plaque beneath the statue, which is both enlightening as well as not. Andrew Ryan is not a familiar name, which is neither comforting nor alarming. Thinking is still beyond her, so she keeps moving instead, trembling and dripping all over the elegant marble floor, down the stairs, slow and disoriented. She stares at shiny plaques proclaiming various nouns that seem meaningless out of context: art, industry, science. Pillars of society? And in the center of the room... is that... a submarine?

Her eyes widen and she spends a solid several seconds just staring at the spherical vessel, its door open, inviting.

She should not do this. Definitely should not do this. Doing this would be a terrible idea.

She steps forward slowly and extends a shaky hand to brace against the open portal. She ducks her head as she climbs in, then spends several more seconds staring at the lever.

Well. Why the fuck not, anyway.

She pulls it and falls sharply into the plush seat as the door shuts, sealing her in, and the vessel jostles into movement. Obviously this was going to happen, she doesn't know why she's surprised, but she's still breathing hard and sharp as she descends into the goddamn sea, and only then does she realize how fucking stupid this was, how she's trapped now, you can't just go back from this. She's going down, somewhere, and there is no turning around.

Through the window she sees a full statue in the same style as the design on the door, and numbers, hauntingly measuring the fathoms as she drops down deeper and deeper.

And then the lights go out and a little video starts to play, projected flickeringly against the wall of the vessel. The video is... distressingly old-timey, with a 1950s looking ad for something called Incinerate—"Fire at your fingertips!" it proclaims. And then, a photograph of a man sitting in an armchair smoking a fucking pipe, oozing smugness.

His voice rings hollow and tinny around the sphere. Illustrative images of bald-faced propaganda accompany his every word. I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question: Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? No, says the man in Washington, it belongs to the poor. No, says the man in the Vatican, it belongs to God. No, says the man in Moscow, it belongs to everyone. I rejected these answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture.

Oh dear lord. She can see where this is going and it's nowhere good. She's awake now, fully at attention. He's still talking, describing a city—a city. A fucking city. Called Rapture.

The projection stops, leaving only the self-satisfied narration, but Iman isn't listening anymore. She's looking out the window.

"Ho-ly shit," she breathes, and the glass fogs.

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