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The First Chapter in the Book of Wisdom

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Heather Mason, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. November 1st

    When Heather was a kid, Halloween was definitely her favorite holiday. There was candy, costumes, fun times with friends, and monsters. The monsters in particular were awesome. She just loved reading all of the horror novels and watching scary movies and reading folklore about monsters. Then she met actual monsters, and the allure was lost pretty quickly.

    Halloween in Pandora wasn't too bad. At least, there wasn't much that could scare her more than what Silent Hill had done. No matter where she was, though, she could never escape the nightmares that followed her from that town. Weirdly, they were never focusing on the types of things she'd actually seen in Silent Hill. Most of her nightmares at the schola involved Alessa's fears. There wasn't much for her to assume other than the magic triggering those memories.

    Maybe she should've tried to talk to someone, but that would involve way more honesty than she was willing to demonstrate. Instead, she simply tried to get as much sleep as possible and ignore the problem. That was hard to do when sleep deprived.

    In fact, it was hard to do much when so sleep deprived, which was why she found herself nodding off while studying in the library. She probably would have just fallen asleep if she wasn't leaning on one hand that accidentally slipped off the edge of the table.

    She heard someone ask if she was alright, and of course wasn't going to just blab about her problems. "Actually, no, my nightmares have been getting worse lately."

    ... what?!

    She didn't mean to say that! Why the hell did she say that?! She brought both of her hands up to her mouth in surprise, pushing her chair out from under her in an attempt to leave. Unfortunately, she happened to run directly into someone walking behind her.
     
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  2. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    Abigail was no stranger to nightmares. She had been plagued with them ever since her father became the shrike and forced her to help with his crimes. The dreams had only became worse after her parents' deaths and her own near death. Hannibal was helping her with the dreams, but they still lingered in Pandora.

    She couldn't help feeling a twinge of curiosity when someone else mentioned nightmares, especially in such a public place and seemingly out of the blue. She put back the book she had been reading back on the shelf and decided to try to overhear more of the conversation. Eavesdropping was a difficult task for a girl with only one ear and she subtly stepped closer.

    At least she thought she was being subtle, until the woman ran directly into her, knocking her off balance and causing her to fall on the floor. "I'm sorry." Abigail said as she stood back up and then added. "Are you okay?" There was more motivation than checking to see if their collision had done harm. She wanted to see if the response would once again include a mention of nightmares. It would be far more interesting than the textbook that she had been glancing through earlier.
     
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  3. "Argh, I'm sorry!" Heather cried. Whatever was going on with her suddenly telling more than she meant to, she didn't want to take it out on random people. The girl she bumped into at least seemed alright. Just a little tumble to the ground, she'd be fine. Heather sighed in relief as she saw the other stand back up, no worse for wear.

    Then she asked Heather a question. It was easy, just say 'yes'. All she had to do was ignore the implied question about what she just said about nightmares and head back to her room. She didn't have that much time to prepare, however, as the second after the question was asked, Heather answered.

    "No, I'm not," she said, sounding utterly casual once again "I didn't mean to answer that question honestly, or this one. I really don't want people to know about my nightmares, but now I've just said it and I'm freaking out." She covered her mouth, eyes blown wide.
     
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  4. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    Abigail's curiosity grew at the woman's response and she felt a twinge of sympathy. She'd been forced to talk about her nightmares and her past in support groups that did more harm than good. She could remember the other girls staring at her and asking the most inappropriate questions about her past when the only one she felt safe opening up to was Hannibal. It wasn't an experience she'd wish on anyone. Everyone had secrets they wanted to keep hidden.

    "That would make anyone freak out. Let's get out of the library and away from all these people." She suggested. It was what she wanted when she was in Port Haven, to be away from all the gawking and prying. Once they were outside, maybe she could help figure out what's going on or at least calm the other teenager down. She was far from a doctor but she had learned some things from Hannibal. It would be a nice change to be the one helping.
     
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  5. Heather nodded so quickly that she worried her head was going to fall off. It was bad enough that she'd admitted to having nightmares, what if someone asked her if she still had family back home? What if someone asked what the most memorable amusement park attraction she'd been to?

    So many innocent questions, so many landmines that she could accidentally trip. She kept her hands firmly on her mouth, desperate to keep some secrets to herself. Part of her was worried that the stranger getting her out of the library was going to start asking questions, but she seemed to be sympathetic enough that maybe she'd keep it firmly in the important categories. She was at the schola, maybe she knew magic? Because it had to be magic making her actually answer questions honestly.
     
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  6. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    Abigail led the way out if the library quickly, giving a quick back-off look to anyone that seemed about to approach them. She had enough practice using it on reporters and it was much more effective against regular bystanders. Fortunately, she didn't have any books or other materials to check out and they were outside easily enough. She found a quiet spot where they could talk. "There. This is better." No prying eyes or ears around to bother them.

    "I'm Abigail." She introduced herself without directly asking the other girl's name. Everything she said would take careful consideration. Even a simple question might seem invasive if her suspicion was right and she had no control over the answers. "I'd say nice to meet you, but I'm guessing you wish the circumstances were different." That opened the door to more information without being an actual question too.
     
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  7. Heather managed to get her breathing under control as they made their way out of the library and tried to consider what the hell was happening. There weren't many answers to be found since her mind was still a mostly panicked mess at the moment. The only thing she could really say for sure was that some magic bullshit was making her life way too difficult.

    It was very relieving to be taken somewhere without eavesdroppers. Even better to hear Abigail ask a question without actually asking. It was a good sign that her secrets would actually be respected. Heather took a breath and responded, "my name's Cheryl. I'm glad you're not taking advantage of... whatever this is. I don't... I don't know what's happened. My mouth just started answering without my permission."
     
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  8. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    "I wouldn't take advantage." Abigail assured her. "I know how important privacy can be." She knew that secrets had to be kept, sometimes for one's freedom and one's very survival. Her own life had depended on keeping her father's secrets and Hannibal's, in the past. Now, it was also a part of her desire to have a new life where she wouldn't be judged as a monster for her past actions. There was also the issue of nightmares. If Cheryl's dreams were as linked to personal trauma as her own, she completely understood the desire to keep them to herself.

    "Maybe we can figure out what's happening." Abigail wouldn't make any promises; all she could do was try. "Did you hurt your head recently?" Abigail asked, using the word recently to avoid going to far into her past. There had been something about this in one of her psychology readings - patients that suffered brain injuries and changed the way they behaved socially, including losing the ability to filter what they were thinking before speaking it out loud. It felt surprisingly good to think that she could use her studies to help another person.
     
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  9. While there was no absolute guarantee that Abigail was telling the truth, if she was going to take advantage, she didn't need to waste any time getting Heather's guard down. That was enough for Heather to decide to take a chance and let the girl try to help her. Who knows, maybe she'd actually be able to figure it out.

    Heather noticed that Abigail didn't promise to figure it out, and appreciated that. She hated when people tried to promise more than they could. If they can't be sure of something, they should just be honest about it.

    When Abigail asked a direct question, Heather's curse took over again. Too casually for the conversation, she replied, "no, I have not." She shook off the unnerved feeling that answering without thinking like that summoned, because it was actually useful at that point. They could be sure that it was the truth, because what else could it be?
     
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  10. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    Abigail nodded and was careful not to frown or display any other outward signs of disappointment. So much for the simplest explanation. It would have been nice to help Heather and at the same time, be able to show off to Hannibal her ability to make a diagnosis that was both quick and accurate. She could have even drawn comparisons between this case and Phineas Gage. She wouldn't give up though. This was a person, not a paper.

    Since it wasn't an obvious injury, it was time to move onto the next possible explanations. "Have you been ill recently? Or eaten or drank anything strange today?"

    She decided to wait for those answers before asking about drugs or alcohol. No need in asking unnecessarily personal questions, given the situation. This had to be handled delicately. Fortunately, Hannibal had taught her well to be polite and for once the experience of being her father's lure would come in handy. It had given her experience in subtly.
     
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  11. Heather wasn't usually oblivious to people, particularly when they're disappointed. If she could catch someone being disappointed in her, she was able to get on their case much faster and defend herself before they could even say what they expected.

    At the moment, however, she was too focused on figuring out what was going on. Sure, Abigail was being nice and not asking the serious questions, but what if someone asked for her name? Would she say Cheryl, or Heather? Or maybe even Alessa. What if someone she knew overheard that, and started asking more questions?

    "No, I've been feeling fine except for sleep deprivation," she responded, "and so far today I've only had coffee." What? She was under a lot of stress and needed something to keep her awake during class. That was how students worked.
     
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  12. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    Abigail didn't think that was the answer. Sleep deprivation could have many complications. Cheryl's problem was so specific, answering questions honestly, that it didn't quite seem to fit. And caffeine wasn't one of the drugs she'd been worried about. She nods. "Yup, low sleep and lots of caffeine. The student diet. I don't think that's causing this. Or we'd all have the same problem." She's still the manipulator her father and Hannibal taught her to be - it was a social comment, a lie meant to allow her to feel that they had something in common. She didn't actually overindulge in coffee or stay up too late. Hannibal wouldn't approve of her developing bad habits. And his approval was everything to her.

    "I think this might have a non-physical cause." Abigail is thinking of psychiatric issues, based on her own training. She isn't ruling out the strange, supernatural events in this place either. "Is there.." She trails off for a minute. Phrasing was coming into play again. She didn't want to ask anything too personal or be bombarded with non-relevant information. "Something could be on your mind, maybe something that you pushed into your subconscious and it's affecting you in this way." Hopefully, her sentence would lead Cheryl to answer her unspoken questions about anything traumatic in her life. The human mind caused all sorts of problems when trauma was suppressed. Abigail's own past gave her nightmares and Cheryl had mentioned nightmares earlier. There could be something more to it.
     
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  13. At least Heather wasn't alone in her bad habits. It wasn't really a conscious decision to actually ignore her health, but it was hard to get it under control. The more she studied, the more the nightmares of what Alessa went through plagued her. It was almost like they were warnings, but she didn't really believe that anyone would pay enough attention to her to send them.

    "Push...? like, something I forgot?" she asked, trying to make sense of Abigail's question. Psychology had never really interested her, for basically the same reason she lost interest in the occult magazines and such. None of that ever really struck her as true, or at least, it all just seemed a little too soft science-y for her tastes.

    "I mean, I doubt I'd just forget anything that could be causing this," she continued. There was no way to just forget something like that. No matter how traumatizing or guilt inducing. What, was she supposed to believe that someone could kill another and then just repress it? Stupid.
     
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  14. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    "Not forgot entirely." Abigail's met people who managed to completely forget, or at least claimed to, back in the psychiatric institution she once lived in and in the group therapy sessions. She never believed them. Her past would always be with her; the ghosts of her father's victims and her own victims following her in one way or another. She simply found ways to live with it.

    "More like repressed, if it's too much for you to deal with at the time, you keep the bad memories in the back of your mind and force yourself to think about other things. Which works in the short-term, but can cause problems later on. Like if there's a secret that was weighing heavily on your mind, maybe you've started telling the truth about other things, because some part of you wants to let the bigger secret out." It makes sense to her. She had dug up Nicholas Boyle's body, leaving it out for the FBI to find, when that secret had been too much for her to live with. She had to remind herself that her life and experiences were not Cheryl's.

    "We might have to consider another type of non-physical cause." Abigail's occasionally been the victim of the strange events in Pandora, though she hasn't heard of any wide spread compulsive truth telling. She tries to think of one word to cover all the strange things. Magic? Non-human-ical? Was there one word that could cover all of it? Despite the library they'd met in, she was still more familiar with science and the reality of her old world. "Like a supernatural phenomenon."
     
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  15. The explanation made a little more sense, but Heather was sure it didn't apply to her. Just because she didn't advertise what happened in Silent Hill didn't mean she was repressing it. Really, all of those events were almost impossible to not think about at times. Those nightmares kept happening for a reason, after all.

    "Supernatural phenomenon..." she repeated, looking thoughtful. Something in her memory twinged at that. There was something that she had almost dismissed the day before, something strange. Maybe... but if it was, that couldn't be good.

    "Now that I think about it, yesterday there was this weird lady," she said, trying to remember all of the details, "she had this necklace she was petting that she said was from 'lover's dying sighs' and just made this weird gesture before disappearing. Nothing happened so... I mean I just thought it was some crazy person, but...?"
     
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  16. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    "Lover's dying sighs." Abigail repeated the phrase and thought it over. "That almost sounds like a talisman and a witch's curse from some old fairy tale, but I never had much time for those." Her father wouldn't have wanted to plant ideas in her mind about princes and happy endings. That wasn't the life he wanted her to have. "I guess I never thought I'd have crazy vines take me to some place where magic is real."

    She considered the words again. "It's hard for me to ask you about past lovers, without asking you about past lovers. And it might not have been your lover. Maybe her lover died. Could she have been saying dying lies? Like someone lied to her and now she wants everyone to tell the truth?" Making sense of curses was strange enough that Abigail was trying to put into terms she could understand. Everyone in her past had a motivation when they manipulated others, even if it was as simple as satisfying their curiosity. Figuring out the why, might be bring them closer to other answers as well. That was what Will did, put himself into the mindset of criminals, understood their thinking and used that to catch them. And if this woman was cursing people, that should be some type of crime too.
     
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  17. "I used to be interested in that stuff, but it's been years since I've read any of it," Heather replied, getting more frustrated once her troubles had someone to blame for them. She wasn't usually a deceptive person, but she still had secrets that complete strangers didn't deserve to hear. After all, the first truth she gave was the nightmares, and she had been trying to keep quiet about those. Not that Abigail seemed too nosy about that stuff.

    She couldn't help but snort in agreement at the observation about just how weird the situation was. Heather had never expected to follow her father's killer into a resort town and end up killing god. Life was just weird like that sometimes.

    Once again, Abigail showed restraint in how she asked for more information, which, given the subject matter, was very thoughtful. "If you'd count the one guy I shared a kiss with in middle school a 'lover'," she responded, dismissively. Romance had never really been that much of a big deal for her. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate guys, she just always found more important things to worry about than finding dates.
     
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  18. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    Abigail didn't show any surprise at the revelation that Cheryl hadn't had a lover. Abigail herself had never been allowed relationships while her father was alive. And since he died, her life had been too chaotic for any thought of relationships. Perhaps, in Pandora, she'd meet someone but it wasn't a priority. Helping Hannibal create a family with Will was her main goal and after that, it was her own education and future career.

    "I wouldn't think a one time kiss would be worth making a curse over. From what I've heard curses are a lot of work." Abigail found herself thinking about how many dangers could be hidden. No one knew how dangerous her father was or about Hannibal, except her. It made her wonder how many other killers could be lurking in plain sight. And now, there were curses to worry about too. There was the chance that the woman was disturbed like her father, substituting Cheryl for some other person she wanted to victimize. "There is the possibility that she wasn't in her right mind when she cursed you. Or she didn't mean to target you. Did you remember anything about her that could help you find her and ask her to undo it?"
     
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  19. "Yeah, magic isn't as simple as the movies make it seem," Heather commented. They were in a school for magic, so she assumed mentioning that wouldn't have been much of a surprise. The fact that most people had powers also meant that it wouldn't be the most incredible revelation. Not that her psychic powers were much compared to the curses they were discussing.

    As she was about to reply to Abigail, the direct question made her curse kick in again, causing her to answer in the same almost monotone as before. "The necklace of hers was so hard to look away from that I barely got a glimpse of her before she disappeared," she replied, " from what I did see, she was pretty much the most generic old woman ever. Wrinkly and small and looking at me like I was insulting her by existing."
     
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  20. Abigail Hobbs

    Abigail Hobbs Hannibal

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    "Magic wasn't even real where I'm from." Abigail admitted. Even while discussing curses, she thought her life would have been a great deal simpler if it there had been some magical way to stop her father, to save her mother or to find out who she was on her own terms without Hannibal's or anyone else's influence. Life simply hadn't been that way and it was too late now. She was forever changed by her old life and bonded to Hannibal now in a way that she depended on to cope with daily life.

    "That doesn't help much. There might be senior's centers that we could look into, but I doubt they'd give out personal information." Abigail considered suggesting Will and his resources to help them find this woman. Maybe she'd suggest it later, as a last resort. For now, she wanted other options. "Maybe if we went back to the library, they'd have a reference book with pictures of magic necklaces. Finding out what it was might give us an idea of what to do next."
     
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