Ava Elisabeth

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10/20/2019 12:43am

Dear Diary,

I miss a warm bed. I miss Psychic High. It's been so long. I've been gone so long. It's probably longer than it feels. I don't think I was supposed to be in Mercurial for so long.

It has been a week since Tavin lit fire to the Capricious Canoe.

I miss the mysteries of distant, foreboding winds. I miss the malaise. I miss the discontentment.

Caroline and I hide in the rubble of Mary Sue's Bed and Breakfast.

Every once and a while, we hear Tavin's Officers chanting through the streets, "You are the last holdouts, no one else survives. Give up now or fall to the mercy of our judgement. You are unworthy to live in Mercurial," Plays on repeat from speakers around Mercurial."

Caroline sits on a piece of stone foundation. Her dress is in tatters. Her hair is tied up with a dirty ribbon. She wraps her arms around her knees and rest her head on them.

I walk over to her and rub her back.

"I was sure of it," She cries softly, "I was sure of it,"

"It's okay, it's okay," I hug her, "You couldn't have known,"

"I should have listened to you,"

"It was us or her," I stiffen my voice to keep it from wavering, "She wouldn't have wanted us to come back in,"

"We shouldn't have had to make that choice,"

I looked up at the debris creating our makeshift roof. The odd, both Victorian and modern building was now the same as the dirt beneath our feet.
The cold wind whistled through the shambling rubble.

I began to hum softly. The tune was nothing against our backdrop, but I continued into a soft, whisper-y song.

"Deep within the woods, and behind the hamlet, a path traveled by none, but one you will not forget. step by step, we're walking, hand by hand, we see. step by step, we're walking, we feel. step by step, we're walking, hand by hand, we..." I paused.

"I don't remember the rest of the words,"

Caroline lifted her head, "That's so sweet. Where did you learn that?"

"I... I don't know," I looked up back up the roof.

Caroline placed her second hand over the one that held her's. I looked back to her. We smiled.

"I love it," Caroline said.


Ava Elisabeth.

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10/20/2019 12:11am

Dear Diary,

Caroline shakes me awake, "AVA, AVA," She yells. I blink my eyes awake and immediately feel it. Caroline holds her shirt over her mouth. The air is dense with smoke. I can't even speak. The smoke stings my eyes and lungs.
Caroline pulls me up, takes my hand in a death grip and yells, "HOLD MY HAND,".
We crawl along the floor of diner.
"THE BACK,"
She pulls me behind the counter. We make our way to the back door. Caroline presses her hand against the handle and nods.
"THE BARRICADE, PUSH INTO THE DOOR."
I nod.
"ONE! TWO! THREE!"
We push with all our body weight onto the door. With a sharp crack, we tumble outside. Caroline pulls me to my feet immediately. She tears into the barricade. Our hands bloody, as we tear the wood and metal away. The crackle of the fire tells us clearly, "now or never". I can hear the megaphone on the other side of the diner.
Caroline grabs my arm. We've made a gap big enough in the barricade to barely squeeze through. We push through the gap. Caroline's night gown tears on the jagged edges of what was once a diner table. As we reach the other side, Caroline holds firm grasp of my arm and pulls me to a run.

The danger of the fire has been lifted, but my stomach flops.

"Caroline!" My voice is hoarse and cracked.
She continues to run.
"CAROLINE!" I yell.
She looks over her shoulder.
"Achava,"
She stops, but still holds my hand. She looks back to the building and back at me. Her chest heaves.
"I'll go back,"
"No, you won't, Ava"
"She isn't well enough,"
"She will be okay,"
I pull my hand from Caroline's, "We have to go back!"
"No, I promise. She will survive,"
We hear the footsteps of officers coming our way.
"I can't tell you why," Caroline looks into my eyes, "I need you to trust me, Ava,"
"OVER HERE!" An officer shouts.
"Ava, it is now or never,"
I look back at the Capricious Canoe up in flames.
I nod.
"Okay,"
I take Caroline's hand.

And we run.

Ava Elisabeth

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10/19/2019 11:44pm

Dear Diary,

I feel bad for not updating you. I know it has been a month since I last posted, but it is getting dire. I have such little free time.

We work in shifts reinforcing the barricade. Everything has gone into the barricade. Last week, Achava slowly walked down the stairs and added her rocking chair to the barricade.
It has gotten much thicker, but Tavin's officers and the enslaved Mercurial citizens tear much of it down each day.
Tavin yells through a megaphone from dusk to dawn.

"You are the last holdouts, no one else survives. Give up now or fall to the mercy of our judgement. You are unworthy to live in Mercurial," She repeats over and over.

The drone of her voice is worse than the constant splinters, the aches, the pains, and the sleepless nights on hard, cold diner tile.

In a moment of rest, Caroline heated a bowl of bone broth for me. She looked out the diner window out to the barricade.
"I thought he would have come by now," She said. Her eyes were glassy.

"Who?" I asked sipping the thin liquid.

She looked back at me and shook her head.

"No one, Ava." She turned from the counter and back to the stove, "No one,"

Sincerely,
Ava Elisabeth


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10/19/2019 11:32pm

Dear Diary,

For two weeks now, I have held down the north Mercurial fort with Caroline and Achava. It is centered around the Capricious Canoe and the diner. Barricaded with old furniture from the Capricious Canoe and guarded by Sheriff Agrité and the few last loyal officers, it is a small corner of Mercurial now. No longer is it the pumping heart.

Not too soon after my first visit to Achava, well Mercurial's Achava, Officer Tavin successfully raised up a rebellion. The majority of the police force joined her against Sheriff Agrité. Up on the roof of the diner, Sheriff Agrité chews on tobacco and watches for attacks through the binoculars.
"Old habit," He says. His face looks more bitter than before.

Officer Tavin and her crew have been terrorizing the people of Mercurial. Burning down buildings, destroying property, and worst of all, rounding up all the citizens and deciding who deserves to be in Mercurial and who does not. The ones called unworthy, are chained and dragged to the police station to find some uncertain fate.

Achava sits looking out her window shaking her head and rummaging through books.
"It isn't right. It isn't right," She mutters. She sits in her rocking chair, but doesn't rock.
The view outside her window looks into the town. It's burnt, scarred corpse looks back up with an unblinking gaze.

When I look out the window, I can't help it. I cry.

Ava Elisabeth

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5/29/2019 9:07pm

Dear Diary,

We approached a rickety wooden staircase leading up to a blue door. Caroline gracefully ascended the steps. Once she reached the door, she smoothed our her skirt and knocked on the door with three neat raps.

"It's me, Caroline,"

"It's unlocked," A voice called out. It seemed familiar somehow. The voice was feminine and precise.

Caroline twisted the handle and pushed through the door. The room was clean and neat, but filled with trinkets. A women covered in a shawl rocked in front of window looking out at the stars. Smoke curled away from a cigarette delicately held in her wrinkled hands. The rocking chair was intricate and well built.

"I'd like you to meet someone," Caroline said with a smile, "She's new to town. Her name's Ava,"

The women just nodded. Caroline walked across the floor to her and I followed close behind. Caroline's heels clicked on the floor.

I stood behind the chair, as Caroline kissed the old women's cheek. Then I took my place next to Caroline.

I froze, as I saw the old woman's face. I felt shock grip me.

"Ava, this is Achava," Caroline said.

Achava smiled. She was old. Wrinkles sprinkled her face. The wrinkles fit her face perfectly. She reached out her hand that didn't hold the cigarette.

"Oh yes, Ava," Her smile was warm and knowing. Her Welch accent was worn with an American tinge, but it was still there.

I took and shook her hand. My fear melted away. Her handshake was firm and warm.

"What have you too been getting on about?" She said with a sly smile.

I looked over to Caroline, then back to Achava.

"Mercurial," I smiled, "Always Mercurial,"

Achava took a long draw from her cigarette and smiled, "Beautiful,"

Brave,
Ava Elisabeth

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5/29/2019 8:29pm

Dear Diary,

The final section was the largest. It was filled with tall wardrobes, each with padlocks and chains around their handles. They were lined in neat rows. Each sat silently.

I followed Caroline as she softly dusted each cabinet. Hung on the wall was a neon sign, "Let It Snow!" It called out in cursive lettering. All I could hear was the buzz of the neon and the soft brushes of Caroline's duster.

We stop silently together until Caroline put her hands on her hips, satisfied.

"Beautiful," She said smiling at her work. She then pulled a small key out of her pocket and waved me closer.

"Now you can't tell the owner I showed you this, but..." She pushed the key into on of padlocks and turned it. The click seemed louder than it was.
The wardrobe was full of petticoats and a-line dresses, but Caroline pushed right past them and pulled open a drawer obscured by the clothing. Out of it she pulled out a furled roll of paper. The paper was yellowed and torn. It was held in a roll by a dirty red ribbon. She pulled the ribbon off and unrolled the paper.

I gasped. Her eye's widened, "You can read it?"

"No, no, the drawings," I studied them, "They're...magnificent,"

Caroline smiled and laughed, "Aren't they?"

"Completely," I said breathlessly, as I observed them.

They were simple black and white drawings, but they were beautiful. They looked like a mural that surrounded a chunk of text, but the language was incomprehensible. The drawings were split into five sections two on each side and one middle panel. The side sections seemed to be depicting scenes, while the middle was stunning. It was of bald figure with closed eyes and a benevolent smile. They were draped in flowing cloth and held their arms out. It looked so welcoming that I could almost feel like I was being hugged.

"I can't read it either. It's an ancient language, nothing like a human language,"Caroline said, finally ending our breathless silence, "but the owner knows it's somewhat and I memorized her translation,"

My eyes traced the swirly and complex lettering. My years and years of language classes at Psychic High did me no good. I couldn't recognize a single symbol.

"What is it?" I said.

She smiled, "This is why I believe the god will come back to the town," Her eyes shined, "It is a prophecy,"

My eyes widened, "You're not messing with me?"

"No," She looked back at the paper, "I don't lie. I definitely wouldn't lie to you,"

I looked back at the paper and Caroline began to recite:

"Mercurial. Not to be found, not to be owned, because of Our Indigo God. We are the land of lonely and lost found. We are the land of cast off now belonging. We are the land of tenderness, amity, and peculiarity.

Our Indigo God lies in a power unknowable to many.

That of grotesque ambition and wealth cannot feel and understand the Indigo God's nurturing power and love of indescribable magnitude, yet their lack of understanding does not compel them to shy away, but to possess the power. Thus, our Indigo God will be sought after by others."

She paused for moment, then continued,

"By the moon, the capture of the Indigo God shall be the seeming downfall of Mercurial, but you are not abandoned. The Indigo God cannot enrich in captivity, but their power is still intact. At our moment of most need, of most turmoil, The Indigo God will find Mercurial again and restore the land into it's golden age.
Our unrest will come from inside us. The apple rots from the core. Like a fungus spreading from the pit, corruption will choke the hold of the people upon their land. The people shall forget their Indigo God, but the Indigo God will return."

We stood silently together.

"She says she may have mistranslated some things, but I think it's beautiful," Caroline finally said.

I nodded.

"The god will come back, Ava," She smiled her beautiful smile, "I believe. I really do,"

I smiled. Caroline was seemed nearly angelic.

"Let's go to meet then owner then, shall we?" She laughed.

And so, I followed.
Ava Elisabeth

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5/19/2019 10:17pm

Dear Diary,

The next section was made by piles of boxes filled with random items. This area was quite roomy, but chaotically filled to the brim. On a pile of boxes, the next neon sign was propped. It was beaming orange pumpkin that dosed the boxes in an eerily light.

Caroline immediately began to dust. She looked like a roman sculpture, the way the light hit her face.

"Caroline?"

"Yes," She continued dusting a box filled with rubber chickens.

"I don't have a blind date,"

"I thought as much. No need to worry about it,"

"How could you tell?"

"We've been here for an hour and you didn't mention it once after I brought it up,"

"Oh,"

She laughed, "Who are you meeting?"

"I am not really meeting them, as much as they are meeting me,"

"How so?"

I hesitated, "I've been... following her,"

Caroline whipped around, "You've been stalking some poor girl and you have the audacity to come to me and..."

"No, no, it's Officer Tavin,"

Caroline frowned, "What?"

"She wants to start a revolt,"

Caroline pursed her lips.

"I...I found out something concerning about this place and so, I started following the police," Caroline's eyes drew big, "and trying to figure out what was going on,"

Caroline swatted my arm with the duster, "You're gonna get yourself killed,"

"I need to get out of here and everything I try leads me back into the town,"

Caroline shook her head, "So what was your plan?"

"Find out how to leave from Officer Tavin, under the guise of supporting her revolution," Each word was painful as it left my mouth.

"Good god," She sighed.

I cringed and felt my cheeks hot with embarrassment, "I know it's dumb, but,"

"C'mon, this way into the last section. I need to show you something,"

Once again, I followed.

Ava Elisabeth

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5/19/2019 4:45pm

Dear Diary,

The next section was bordered by tall bookcases stuffed with books. An animated neon sign with a smiling sunglasses clad sun periodically gave a thumbs up. Below the sun, the sign flashed, "SUMMER IS NOW!!".

Caroline began to dust the books. I felt calmer in this room. The tall shelves made it feel like a comforting cave of knowledge.

"Some people say this land won't be theirs for long,"

"What do you mean?"

She laughed, "Well, it's just a story, but some say that this land belongs to an arcane god. That the god made it to be a haven for lost and lonely people,"

"That's rather specific," I gazed over the bindings of the books. I didn't recognize any of the titles. I pulled one of the shelf titled "Meaning of Heat". It had no author.

"Maybe," She stood on her tip toes and dusted the top of a high shelf, "Some say that the founders will be overturned when the god returns,"

"Who says that?" I picked up the next book "Love as Friendship" said the title. No author.

She laughed, "Well, truthfully, I do,"

I looked up, "Really?"

"Really," She smiled and continued to dust.

I nodded. The next book was called, "Secrets Lie Under Hills". No Author.

"I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but..." She looked to me, as I squinted at the authorless books.

"Oh," She laughed, "None of them have authors,"

"Why?"

She shrugged and looked away, "Maybe the god wrote them,"

I smiled and looked around the little area. It was such an odd way to set up a store, but it was beautiful.

"Who owns this place?" I said.

"Do you want to meet her? She usually is out in the woods, but she's in this week,"

"Out in the woods?"

Caroline smiled, "She stays out there weeks at a time. Her cat stays up in her apartment and I feed him and play with him. He is really the cutest little thing you could ever see,"

"What does she do out in the woods?"

"Oh," Caroline laughed, "She is an old woman. She has a whole spiel about what she is doin' out there," She laughed again, "She says she is casting spells,"

"Do you believe her?"

"Well... She is rather old. I don't even know how long she's been in this town,"

I squinted my eyes at Caroline, "You believe a god will come to rid this town of the mayor, but not a witch in the woods?"

She laughed slowly to herself, "I do guess I sound rather foolish,"

She shrugged and put her hands on her hips.

"Onto the next section?"

I followed.

Ava Elisabeth


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5/2/2019 7:28am

Dear Diary,

I walked to the Capricious Canoe. I felt relief.
"Hello, Ava," Caroline smiled. She slid the bookmark into her book.

I nodded nervously with my hands in my pockets. I nervously looked around the dim, neon lit room.

"I hope that arrest the other day didn't scare you," She laughed, "I haven't seen you around the diner in quite a time,"

"How long?" I impulsively asked.

She narrowed her eyes a second, but put her smile back on. "Just a week or two. I don't typically stalk my customers,"

"I've gotta clean. Why don't you come with me?" She said, as she pulled out a ornate feather duster from under the counter. We proceeded into the first section of the store. It was made into a section by three folding paper screens.

"I'm sorry," I said forcing a smile, "I'm just nervous. I am trying to... meet someone, but I don't know if I can do it,"

The section was packed with tables full of vases, mugs, and other pottery. Some of it looked professional. Some of it looked ancient. Some of it looked homemade.

"Blind date?"

"Yes," I lied. The neon on the wall of the section was bright green. "Spring!" It yelled.

"Oh, well those are always challenging, but the people of Mercurial are good. I would trust any of them! Well, except..." She shook her head, "but they don't date anybody, so you don't have to worry about it,"

"What? Who wouldn't you trust?"

Caroline shook her head as she dusted a tiny table packed with bad homemade ashtrays, "You don't need to worry, dear. To become a police officer, you have to swear of dating and anything that will distract you from the goals of the mayor,"

"You don't trust the police officers?"

She laughed and avoided eye contact.

"Well, I'm not scared of them. I just don't trust them,"

She moved to another little table precariously packed bowls.

"They just... I love this town. It has given my soul a rest... but the Mayor and the police, they... they have their own agenda. But as long as you follow the laws, there is no real reason to be scared. They might be snakelike, but they aren't unjust,"

I nodded and bit my lip.

"Oh dear, I hope I didn't scare you," She frowned looking at me, "Here let's go to the next section there are lots of books there.

So I followed.


Ava Elisabeth

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4/18/2019 10:19pm

Dear Diary,

It was really, really late or really early depending on when you had woken up. The air was dewy and the streets were quiet.

Officer Tavin sat at the counter of the diner gulping down a beer. It wasn't her first and it wouldn't be her last. No one else was in the diner, but Julio who wiped down the tables and vinyl benches of the booths. In front of Officer Tavin was a notebook filled with scribbles of angry handwriting. I peered in from the outside. My feet nervously kicked around the gravel of the unpaved parking lot. I had followed her here.

I contemplated whether or not to walk in. I knew I needed to talk to her, but the knot anxiety in my stomach beckoned me to look anywhere but the diner. My eyes glanced over to The Capricious Canoe. Caroline was reading behind the desk. The neon creating a bright halo around her head. She looked beautiful.

It was an inviting image.

So I looked away from the diner. I looked away from Officer Tavin
and I walked into The Capricious Canoe.

Distracted,
Ava Elisabeth

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