This former rail station was abandoned for many years, but is now being brought back into repair. It consists of a rectangular two-story building beneath a peaked roof, with single-story wings sheltering the platform from the weather and providing additional small rooms. Some of the windows and doors remain boarded up, with rotting frames, peeling paint and liberal graffiti. The main building is in the process of restoration, with new doors (and locks), glass in the windows, fresh plaster and paint on the walls, and even some planters with bright and cheerful flowers.
The main building is open-plan at ground level, smelling of fresh paint, with the floor boards sanded smooth and oiled to a finish. A row of low cupboards lines one wall, providing storage and a flat surface currently used for a microwave, kettle, and supplies for hot drinks. The stairs leading to the upper story are rickety but sound enough to bear. There are the remains of a freight elevator, but whether the rusting mechanisms could be trusted to work now is anybody's guess. Upstairs are several more rooms which are in the process of being converted into small bedrooms, a kitchen and a communal living area.
Outside the buildings, beyond the platform edge, the line of the old rail tracks stretches east and west. Its straight scar is overgrown with weeds, dotted with tumbledown workers' sheds and studded with the rusting shells of railcars.
It is almost midnight and Alicia is currently settled on the couch with a cup of coffee in her hands as she scans through the pages of an old fashion magazine. Music can be heard playing next to her from a small radio. Pop music. Something familar and trendy. She is dressed in her pajamas, which makes up for simple silk bottoms and a matching shirt.
Felix has presumably been told to come by, and he does! Looking pretty much like he usually does, still dressed from the day. "Evenin'," he greets as he arrives, after a knock on the door, "How's it goin' tonight?"
"Not bad. Ready to begin a lesson in dream speaking?" Alicia asks as she takes a sip of her coffee, giving him a wide grin.
"As I'll ever be, I reckon," Felix replies, grinning back, and heads over to join her on the sofa, dropping down into its corner and sprawling a bit. "How do we get started? I'm guessin' you ain't headin' right to sleep, given the coffee an' all."
Alicia gives him an amused grin. "Sorry kid. I do not let random guys in my head, even if I am teaching them. No, tonight you are the one sleeping and I will be the one showing you how it works from within your dream. The best way to show you is for you to experience it yourself."
"Who says I let random chicks in mine?" Felix retorts, but mildly, and followed by, "Not that any've ever aimed at gettin' there, far's I know. A'ight. Long's you ain't gonna hold nothin' I might dream against me. Some nights it gets weird in there."
"I have been in the heads of spirals when it came to trying to take the tower back. Trust me, the shit I will see in your head will be baby time pre-school compared to the sick shit I had to sift through. Unless you plan on putting your dick in a decaptitated head in your dreams, I am sure we will be good." Alicia says as she wrinkles her nose, putting her coffee to the side. "Do you need a sleep aide?"
Felix snorts. "Makin' you queasy ain't what I was thinkin'," he says, but doesn't elabourate any further, just shrugging. She's mentioned that spiral thing before. "Is takin' one gonna make any difference aside from the gettin' me to sleep part? 'cause if not, sure, why not, oughta speed shit up some. Otherwise, nah."
"Most people can't fall asleep with someone watching them." Alicia chuckles as she takes another sip, then turns another page in the magazine. "I figured if we met up late, you'd be starting to get tired, but then I realized you are a night owl. So, you do what you have to do to get ready. I am patient enough."
"Ain't most people," Felix says, "Spent a lotta time sharin' rooms. Ain't a problem 'less I got reason to think they're gonna shank me or somethin'. Which I'm =pretty= sure you ain't." He gives her a grin. "You want me to try an' just sleep right here, or can I borrow an actual bed somewhere?"
"You can borrow a bed if you want." Alicia says as she gives a motion of her hand down the hallway. "I will know when you go to sleep." She says as she flips another page with a grin.
"Don't snore THAT loud," Felix jokes, and pushes up to his feet, stretching. "A'ight. Bed'll be quicker." He heads in the direction indicated, finding a room that seems claimable, and claiming it. As it turns out, even if this IS probably earlier than he'd usually be heading to sleep, he gets there quickly enough once he's in a dark room, his underwear, and a proper bed, alone.
As she sips on her coffee, Alicia waits as she tilts her head down towards the hallway, tracing her finger along the pages of the magazine slowly as she looks to form the symbol of a rune or two. Humming to herself, she closes her eyes and says, "Felix." The word is simple against her lips, and then there is nothing but darkness as she feels herself fall backwards and pushed through the familiar rotes of her gift.
Night -- late night, the world dark except for flickers of coloured light here and there, the moon, faint stars -- and off not too far away, flames. It feels like the city but the buildings are ghosts, transparent and insubstantial, visible mostly from the corner of the eye. Except the one with the flames. It's fairly solid, filled with people, light and chatter and laughter and music spilling out of the windows: the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. And it is. No one seems to be bothered by the fact. A closer look, and most of the people are shifting, melding from one appearance to another, slow enough that it isn't distracting but they're never the same from one look to the next. Skin and hair colours range throughout the rainbow. Here and there someone who seems perhaps glabro, or some kind of sea creature. Not notable to anyone there, chatting and dancing and drinking, flirting with each other. Felix is among them, balanced on the rail of the second floor balcony inside, more still than most of those around him, dancing with Lilah to something much slower than what appears to actually be playing.
As Felix and Lilah dances, the music begins to slowly draw into a drawn out grind, the type when a cassette tape begins to get run down and the song stretches out. The world about him begins to blur subtly here and there and then Lilah fades away witha a static flicker, leaving the Bone Gnawer alone in the room as the other bodies begin to melt away. Once his eyes begin to adjust, he catches sight of a small, glowing purple butterfly that hovers before him. *Hello, Felix. Welcome to a dream within a dream.*
Felix's hand goes for the spot Lilah disappears from, brow furrowing and a flash of anger, but like so many things in dreams it melts away quickly, along with the rest of the surroundings. He blinks at the butterfly, and moves closer, reaching out as if to touch it, instead.
The finger passes through the butterfly, though it gives him a warm sensation coursing through his body. The butterfly's wings give a few flutters. *When you use this gift to speak through one's dreams, know that you have the power to effect it. What I did was dramatic. It is a dead give away that someone is tampering with your mind. I wanted to show you, so you know what it felt like. Now, we practice*. The butterfly gives a few circles about him. *Think of Lilah again. Bring her to the forefront of your dream.*
Felix looks around. He's still standing on the railing, it seems. "...right," he says quietly, as if the butterfly's words have reminded him what's going on, what the plan was -- probably, they've let him know he's dreaming, as well. The dream flickers a bit around the edges, unstable, as it loses its 'reality', then solidifies somewhat again. Felix focuses on the top of the post at the end of the railing, and reaches out a hand, trying to bring Lilah back, right there, her hand in his.
*The best way to gain information from a target is to focus on something they are emotionally connected to, and to something they would trust. If I wanted to gain information from you, I would use her to do it. That sounds harsh, but sometimes a dream does not always reveal what you want and you have to give gentle nudges.* The Butterfly settles down upon Lilah's shoulder, leaning in to whisper against her ear. The world begins to ripple, revealing the pair of them in bed together with the kin's lips gently teasing against the Gnawer's neck. Her hair is a bit wild and she has a sultry look in her blue eyes as she strokes Felix's chest. "Hey." She says in her usual twang as she curls up closer against him. "I love you." The words are so honest and gentle as light music begins to fill the air, perhaps 'their' song, the sound coming from an old radio on the floor. Maybe they are in a hotel they once used on the road. "I can't believe we've made it this far in that stolen car. Where'd you find it anyways?" The butterfly? She is gone. But, do you even remember it being there? No. Right now, all you have is Lilah, her kisses and the warm music.
"Hey," Felix murmurs back, running a hand through Lilah's tousled curls, and his fingers tighten then, tugging her in for a good, thorough kiss. One might almost start worrying he's not inclined to chat, by the time it breaks. "You know that," he tells her, though, touching the tip of his nose to hers, and looking amused. "Florida. Just sittin' there all neglected on the lawn, gettin' weeds all in her wheels. Couldn't let her just sit there an' die."
As he is pushed nose to nose with her, Lilah gives him a loving grin as her fingers curl about his neck to play with the back of his hair. She shifts her body, rolling over on top of his to straddle his hips. She gives him another kiss as the sheets fall away from her naked frame, her breath warm against his lips. "Florida." She hums against his mouth. "Which city? I forgot." Her lips lean down to nip at his neck.
"...fuck, I dunno," Felix says, which has a reasonable likelihood of being true, but his chances of pulling that information up are definitely not being improved by the distraction of that new position. He focuses somewhat more on looking her over, the sensations of her legs and skin and lips against him. "Who cares?" he asks, hands running over her waist and hips, "Ain't takin' her back."
There is a giggle from Lilah as she steals another kiss from him. "I care. I am trying to remember because I recall going through that city and I saw a cute coffee shop. I just cant remember the name of it. If I remember the city, I can remember the coffee shop. I am sure it will come to me." As his hands slide against her hips, she scoots up closer to him, pushing firmly against his hips as her head rests against his. "Had the name of the city in it ... something something Roasters .."
Felix draws her down closer, and aims to steal another kiss. Afterward, he's quiet a moment, brow furrowed, hands moving over her. "Must've been... near the mermaids," he says, "Weeki Wachee.... mm, Brooksville? Think 'round there."
As soon as he gives the answer, Felix finds himself waking up in his bed in the safehouse, the lights still out and dark. He can hear music being played out in the hallway, the same pop style that Alicia was listening to earlier.
Felix blinks into the darkness, glancing around, and sits up. Much earlier than he expected to wake, certainly. He stretches, and eases out of the bed, pulling his clothes back on and readjusting everything comfortably before he heads back out into the living room, blinking at the light.
It is about thirty minutes since he went to sleep, and Alicia does not appear to have moved from her spot on the couch. Glancing upwards to him, she gives him a grin. "So, I gave you the deep dive version of how to dreamspeak. Usually when you use this gift, you want to have a focus of what you wish to obtain, then go about it subtle, draw it out. Does that make sense?"
Felix reclaims his earlier corner, settling into it with a yawn. He nods. "Yeah, makes sense," he says, "Kinda like tryin' to get it in conversation normally, I s'pose. Give shit little pushes an' pulls so it goes the right way. ...makes sense. How do you get into the dream, though? Seems like the kinda thing I gotta practice from outside."
"You have to focus on the person you want to slip into and you have to make sure they are sleeping." Alicia says as she plucks up the magazine. "You close your eyes, you focus on their name and you sorta .. fall backwards I guess. Like if you were sidestepping, but ... not really. It's like when you use the gift of mind speak, to slip into someone's head, but they are awake and conscious? The same is when you dream. It's hard. Easier to start off on willing subjects that trust you. Makes their defenses weaker. After you get some practice in, try it on someone that may not suspect it."
Felix gives this some thought, and nods. "A'ight. S'pose I'll ask Lilah if she'll let me practice on her, first. Maybe the 'yotes, ain't like we ain't kinda in each other's heads anyhow. But we got more control over it, in the link." He shrugs, stretches again, then gives her a grin. "Thanks."
"No worries. I'll teach you tomorrow how to safeguard yourself as well, know what to look out for. The butterfly was an example. Every time you enter someone's dreams, you have to take the shape of an object of some sorts. So you will be out of place. You have to make it subtle." Alicia says with a grin. "Know what the best one is? A shadow."
Felix laughs. "Good thought," he says, "Ain't a lot of people lookin' at the shadows. Bet a light ain't bad neither, dependin' on the situation..." He thinks about this a moment. "Folks prolly don't look up no more in dreams'n real life, neither. So shit up high, maybe, too..."
Giving a nod of her head, Alicia grins at him. "Maybe. But something that you can move around in carefully and stay hidden. Just be careful though. Do not be too obvious like a rat, or a wolf." She flips another page in the magazine and chuckles. "You should get some sleep though."
"Fly on the wall," Felix suggests, with another grin, "Get real traditional." He pushes up to his feet, and gives her a light mock salute. "A'ight, I'll get outta your hair. Night. An' sleep well, when you do." He starts for the door, heading out to spend the rest of the night in his own bed, this time.