Who: Laurel Harding and Charles Marchand What: Finding a victim Where: Alley next to Laurel’s apartment When: June 15/June 16 shortly after midnight[backdated] Rating: Going with high due to TW for blood and death Status: Complete
Laurel had been working late that night on organizing some things for the current case she had spent her whole evening on. After she was done she had headed for her car and drove home. Her drive home was a normal one with her singing to the radio and dancing in her car. The only difference was that she hadn't stopped for food since she had spent some time earlier that night eating some things from a nearby vending machine. Which she knew couldn't exactly be considered as a healthy meal since what all she had eaten could be classified as junk food, but she hadn't really cared. No, during that moment in time she was more focused on her work. Work that she liked doing and enjoyed doing. Work that made her feel like she was helping give those who could no longer speak a voice and tell others what had happened to them. Maybe that was why she often worked late nights similar to this one. Once she had gotten to the parking lot where her apartment was, she parked her car before gathering her things and getting out of it. She was on her way to her apartment building when it happened. When she was attacked.

Seconds before the first initial hit, she had been distracted by searching for her vibrating phone in her purse. When that first hit to her happened, she had fallen to the ground and her thoughts of what had just happened didn't actually catch up to what she had seen before her eyes. The next hit, or maybe it was a bite, was at her shoulder. Her hands went out to try and stop the animal, the wolf, from attacking her more, but she had quickly failed to do so. What it didn't fail to do though was cause her to try to scream more for help, though something inside her had a feeling that even if anyone heard her then they would be too late. That feeling seemed to be even more confirmed when the wolf had gone for her throat next. The pain she felt had caused one more scream to come from her before her hands left the animal and went to touch her neck. Her eyes were filled with panic and the fear she felt was more than any she had ever felt before. She was scared and her thoughts about what might happen next seemed to pull her from focusing on the other scratches and bits that were dealt to her.

As the seconds ticked by and blood seeped out from different wounds on her body, her mind seemed to somehow be able to think about how she needed to try to scream again. Although, somewhere inside of her knew that screaming wouldn't help soothe the fear she felt. During that time she hadn't noticed that the attack happening to her had stopped or that the wolf had gone to leave. No, all she noticed was the pain and the fear that continued to rise inside her as she laid there. A quick thought crossing her mind about how this is how she would die, alone and in an alleyway next to her apartment. Tears streamed from her eyes then as the sound of a sob escaped her faint burgundy painted lips.

Charles normally didn’t venture into the more residential areas of Vegas. Or, well, perhaps that wasn’t quite right. He didn’t go to them as often, that was closer to the truth. The Strip and the surrounding area tended to draw him in more, full of lights and life, death and stories. But he occasionally did venture off the beaten path, as was the case tonight.

As was often the case, he couldn’t shake the feeling that this was where he needed to be. Something was drawing him. A thinning of the Veil between worlds, and the sense of life ebbing away. He picked up the pace, winding through shops and apartment buildings, until he reached an alley between two buildings. There was a woman lying at the other end, and Charles didn’t have to get much closer to scent the blood in the air.

He hurried toward her, folding himself down next to her, heedless of the filth and blood on the alley floor. “Cherie,” he murmured. “Cherie, can you hear me? What did this to you?” Yes, what, not who. Charles didn’t know of a human attacker that could do this, not with extenuating circumstances.

More tears had fallen as she laid there with her hands to her throat, her mind was telling her to stop the bleeding so if someone did find her then they'd be able to help her. However, the part of her, the one with medical training that seemed to somehow be able to think, told her that even if she succeeded in stopping it or slowing it down for a little bit then it still wouldn't matter. No, there was too much blood coming from her deep wounds. From her neck. Which meant that she'd soon lose consciousness before her death happened. Another sob came from her at that realization and for a moment she wished she had no medical training at all. It was an odd thing for her to wish for, especially since that part of her life was something she enjoyed so much as well as felt pride in. It was that enjoyment that seemed to lead her to stay late and even going beyond, as her boss once told her, what she was required of her to do. Though part of why she did that could possibly be linked more to how she felt that in some way she gave those who could no longer speak a voice to help tell others what had happened to cause their death.

It was after that ran through her thoughts that a question of which one of her colleagues would end up doing that for her came to her mind. Another sob came from her mere seconds after it. The sob was one that could have been more because of the pain rather than the question and all the other random thoughts that, for some reason, were going through her mind. But nonetheless, it had come from her. It seemed to be the only sounds that were coming from her at that point. And when the sound of a voice hit her, panic along with fear happened inside of her as a little whimper escaped her lips. Her mind screaming as a thought of how the wolf that had attacked her was back and that it had actually been a shifter. She knew it could possibly be that it was one who'd attacked her because of oddities of the attacks that had been happening in the city for months now. Attacks that she had helped out on and even delivered the files of to the Mayor. Her eyes squeezed shut then, her body seeming to try to move, though all that happened was a small shake of her head and a brief kick from her legs before more pain ran through her. A thought soon coming to her mind asking for them to leave. Or to just end it now so all the pain and fear could stop.

However, it wasn't until she heard his question asking what did this to her that she thought maybe, just maybe, this wasn't the one, if it was a shifter, who had attacked her. That it wasn't them coming back to witness her in the moments before death took her. Her colored lips parted, but it was another sound of a whimper, one that seemed to help signify the pain she was feeling, that came from her when she tried to speak. Her eyes opening a second later for her tear-blurred vision to try to look at the person who had come, the one who was now causing a thought of how she wouldn't be dying alone anymore to come to her mind. After that thought, she knew that she had to try again to say something. Even if it ended up being just one word. Which it was, along with small sounds of pain once she had finally spoke. "Wo… lf… Wolf."

Charles rocked back on his heels, feeling at a loss as to what to do. Normally, if he found someone on the drink of death, sometimes he could help them. But her...she was too far gone. From the looks of her injuries, it looked like it was a miracle she was still alive at all. That didn’t mean he couldn’t help, though. It just wasn’t time yet.

He settled himself onto the alley floor, not caring that he’d likely have to burn his pants afterward. He reached for one of her hands, feeling her fingers slowly growing colder as the life drained from her body. “Did you see what it looked like?” he asked, in a low, soothing tone. He had heard that there had been a spate of animal attacks around the city, perhaps this one was linked somehow.

Then he shook his head. Silly question. It would probably only march her towards death faster, trying to come up with some information for him. “Never mind that,” he went on. “I’m Charles. Can you tell me your name?” He would do his best to keep her as calm as he could, since there was nothing else he could do. Even calling an ambulance would take too long, she’d likely bleed out on the way to the hospital. What a shame. She was so young, and beneath the blood, she was quite pretty. Charles hated to see anyone struck down in their prime.

Laurel's mind seemed to be racing, but yet also going black all at the same time. It was odd, too odd for her to even wonder if this was what happened when one was getting closer to death's door. Heh, death's door. It was crazy for one to even think to call it that. Especially when the one whose mind had thought it was someone who was basically dying. How long would it be until she lost consciousness? If her mind was clearer and not scattered then maybe it would have been able to comfort her with the fact that she wasn't dying as quick as one could with how much blood was being lost from the wound to her neck. One of her hands seemed to grip it tighter as if to try to still attempt at stopping the bleeding. An attempt that would still fail since there was nothing, especially in her weak state, that she could actually do. Tears fell from her eyes as she tried to look once again at the man near her, the one who, from what she could tell, was going to possibly stay with her until she was no longer there. A sob came from her at that thought, it was as if she knew she was dying but yet her mind soon forgot it. It was a cruel thing, she knew that, but it was happening.

As he grabbed her hand that was loosely pressing to her neck, she tried to blink some tears away so she could at least get a better look than the blurry one she had. His question threw her off and for a quick second it almost seemed like her mind was going to try to flash back to the attack. However, his words of nevermind quickly stopped such a thing from happening. She knew that if this wasn't happening, if this had been not as bad of an attack as it was then she'd be thankful for not having to think about it. But this was not something like that. No, this was bad, was something that would come to kill her. Why would an animal attack like that? Why would a shifter, if it truly was one, attack someone? Her eyes closed briefly as she tried to tell herself not to think of that and to think of anything else. Did she not want to have such thoughts because of the fear that it could make her, in some way, relive the attack over again? Was such a thing even possible? She didn't know, but she did know that she wouldn't have the chance to try to think on such a thing.

Her eyes opened then and she looked at him, she wasn't sure if she wouldn't be able to say hello or ask why he had come down that alley. Or why he was sitting there and holding her hand. Hell, she wasn't even sure if she'd be able to get her own name out. Not with the heavy feeling that was coming over her. Although that didn't seem to stop her from trying as her lips parted and a pain filled voice slowly came from her. "It's Laurel." Surprise seemed to quickly come and then go from her eyes when she had spoken her name. Part of her had been so certain she wouldn't be able to say it since she was feeling heavy along with tired just seconds before. Was she close to losing consciousness? Her eyes blinked as her hand gripping her neck loosened ever so slightly. Yes, the loss of consciousness would soon happen, but before it did, it seemed that she had the strength to speak one more time. "Hi, Charles."

“Pleased to meet you, Laurel,” Charles replied, running his thumb soothingly over her knuckles. “I do rather wish it had been under better circumstances, though.” He sighed heavily, glancing up to look at both ends of the alley. No one was around. No one was coming to see what was wrong, but then, he hadn’t expected that they would. Not really. It was amazing what people would ignore when it suited them.

“I’m sorry we met like this,” he continued, his voice low and lilting. “I hate to meet someone only as their flame is going out, you know? People are so full of fire and life, I like to see that in its full glory.” He sighed again, more mournfully this time. “Still. I cannot change some things, no matter how much I might want to.” He placed his hand in his pocket, and even though it had been empty up until a moment ago, he could feel the familiar weight and shape of his spectacles.

He placed them on his head one-handed, adjusting to the sight of both worlds at once, as he always did. The light around her continued to grow weaker, much to his chagrin. He started singing a soft song in Creole, a song meant to soothe a frightened child and help them go back to sleep. Laurel deserved as peaceful a surrounding as he could offer her.

The running thumb caused her to feel some comfort at that moment, her mind telling her to try not to let the heaviness take her yet. To not let go of the world just yet. But that telling wouldn't matter since it was clear, though maybe not fully to her, that she'd be leaving this world in a number of seconds. Yes, her time here was coming to an end and even though it frightened her, there was this part of her that seemed to find comfort in it. Maybe it was because it meant the pain would be ending. Or maybe it was because of something else entirely. Whatever it was didn't really matter. Especially not with how her thoughts were going more blank as the seconds ticked by. Tears were still coming from her eyes at that moment, however, she could feel them getting heavy. Almost as if sleep was calling to her after a long day at work or a day filled with fun. A shaky breath came from her as her hand on her neck loosened more, her eyes slowly starting to close despite her trying to stop them.

Half opened eyes looked at him as her head slightly nodded once in response to his words of one's flame going out. Was that what it looked like? Did it seem like the flame inside her was coming to an end with each breath she took? Her heart squeezed tight as pain ran through her body when she felt it move a little. Her lips parting for her to say something, but her voice didn't come out. In fact, nothing did. It seemed wrong, seemed like she wouldn't get to thank him for being there and holding her hand. To thank him for not ignoring whatever it was that led him to this alley. Her eyes closed some more as a scream inside her head told her to not succumb to the pull yet. However, it was no use since mere seconds after she screamed in her head, her eyes shut completely. The pull to death's door taking her more and more as each second ticked by, her breathing slowing until it came to a stop. It was almost forty-five seconds from the time her eyes fully closed to the time she had taken her last breath for that pull to finally take her from the world.

Charles could feel the strength leaving her hand. The light around her was growing dimmer by the moment, matching the pooling blood staining the alley floor. He squeezed her hand tightly. “You’re not alone, cherie”, he whispered, not knowing if she heard him. He just needed to say it. “You’re not alone. I’m waiting for you.” Not long after he said those words, her hand went limp, and the light went out. Charles sighed, and reached over to stroke her hair. He would have liked to know Laurel while she was still alive, full of personality and fire. Such a shame. Such a waste.

A flicker of movement slightly behind him caught his attention, and he turned to see a spirit there. He had expected as much. This Laurel looked as she must have in life, unmarred by the bites that marked her physical body. Charles stood, turning to face her fully. He drew his hand from behind his back, now holding his slightly battered top hat. He placed it on his head and offered her his hand. “Come on, miss Laurel,” he said to her. “Come on now. I’ll take you home.”