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 Foul is Fair

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PostSubject: Foul is Fair   Foul is Fair Icon_minitime11/4/2014, 2:01 pm

This is a novella I wrote at a camp in my hometown a few months ago. It ends up being ten pages typed into word or google docs, but I hope you'll take the time to read it and maybe enjoy it? Thanks.
~~~
This book is dedicated to my friends and cousins. Keep on shining, you stars! Also, it is dedicated to Shakespeare and George Lucas. Otherwise, I surely would not have survived this week.
This is a work of fiction. True, the four main characters are based on the author and three of her closest friends, but any similarity to any other persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental. On the same note any similarity to other works is also coincidental. Unless you’re thinking of Macbeth, because that was totally planned. Complaints or praise will be recognized at lunafly506@gmail.com.  Thank you.
~~~
I stood up and straightened my jacket. There. Much better.
I walked out of the small house I owned near the beach, heading to work. The house was quaint but I usually avoided it. I prefered being at work because it makes me feel more like I… well… have a life. The house was small, and my work was small too, but at least my workplace seemed proud. The house just looked depressed. It was even the colour blue. It was two levels and at one point must have looked somewhat charming, but now it seemed sad. Dismal even. I sighed, feeling melancholy, thinking about the argument I had with Greta last night. It was just on my mind. She was drunk, no doubt, she’s an amazing friend but sometimes the alcohol controls her.
“No, Greta, you’re my friend, and I worry about you! The life you live isn’t healthy, no matter how ‘fun’ drinking is!”
“You worry too much!” Greta shrieked, waving her ciggie near my face, her wavy brown-ginger hair flying in her distracted eyes. “I’m fine, I’m fine! Everything’s fine! I SWEAR! I know it’s dangerous, but it’s my life!”

And it was my life too. Welcome to my world, a rotting, decaying wasteland in Oregon. It used to be beautiful, I heard, but even the prettiest flower must wilt sometime. The homeless and orphaned struggling for life out in the streets while the wealthy reigned. A place that was home to witches (though we didn’t know who was what, and that was why the hunts were so much fun) with curses and hexes and the people lived in fear of ‘em. Where the wets hid inside their juice joints and the drys lived their lives as normal citizens. Me? I was both. Raised from the gutter. I’ve got friends on both sides. My name’s Lucy, by the way. Lucy Norris. Head of the local detective agency, Only 16 and I’m making my own life already. I have a right to feel proud.
You see, this was the second American Prohibition. Alcoholism was a leading cause of death in the older population. Our country is still struggling to catch up to what it once was, where adults had a place of power over children. Unemployment and crime had gotten overly common in the 2290’s, and the historians seemed to have forgotten what happens to crime during Prohibition, because they went ahead and declared a second one. Sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal, but the “wets” oppose the ban of drink, while the “drys” fight against alcohol in temperance. Crime was up. Drinking and smoking were popular, and so were many other things: flappers, jazz music, 1920’s slang. It was a wonderful time to live… mainly. Except for the fact that the world was dying, and not to mention the witches. They were supposed to be here to protect the earth in secret. The witches weren’t helping anymore, and they just posed a threat. They could control things that people just weren’t supposed to control: the elements, others’ sight, even emotions. Both the drys and the wets struggled to control them, but the witches just can’t be bothered with. They made more mischief than they helped these days. Hiding and revealing speakeasies, exploiting secrets, causing imbalance and mayhem across the world. There was honestly just a push and pull between all the forces, creating a nauseous, constantly changing atmosphere that we had all adapted to.
I swept a piece of my dirty blond, curly hair away from my eyes and tucked it behind my ear. I was almost to work now. The small, quaint, pale-rose colored, yet serious building that was once a shop stood proudly amongst worn down coffee shops and speakeasies. True, they weren’t supposed to be there, but no one really ever got to shutting them down anymore; they had just become a fact of life. I walked through the wooden door. I passed through a lobby-like area and up a small flight of stairs, down the hall past the other offices, and into mine.
My office wasn’t cluttered because I was a huge neat freak, and was actually filed and organized quite nicely. The walls would have a few newspaper clippings here and there, things I thought could be relevant at sometime or another. Mainly witch hunts and speakeasy raids. I was sitting at my desk, chewing a cigar when I heard a knock at the door.
“Come in,” I called.
A young, bold woman came into my office maybe 30-something minutes after I came in. Short, golden curls bounced around her face. Her bright blue eyes scanned my office impatiently. I vaguely recognized her, but from what I knew she was a local temperance leader. Mary something, I think her name was... “Hello.”
“Hello.” I replied casually, “And you are here... because?”
“Need you to do a bit of… research... for me. I want to see the files you and law enforcement have on Jack… oh… what’s-’is-name… you know what, forget it. I’m sure enough I can go to the police against him even if I don’t have files on him.” She said, speaking crisply and quickly.
“I’m sure you’d remember if you got a bit of fresh air,” I said, smirking. The office, no matter how clean, was never heated or air conditioned, so it often got stuffy, which had fogged my mind more than a couple times. “How about we take a walk?”
Turns out, the cutie was looking for some information on a friend of mine, because she wanted him arrested. I knew lots of stuff about Jack. Runs a speakeasy here in town. Engaged to Greta. Really cute couple, actually. We were walking down through an alley, heading back to the agency.
       “I’ve heard that his place has been raided by the police on multiple occasions! I don’t think we should allow a joint like that to run in such a nice city!” Mary said, continuing her anti-wet rant. I didn’t have the heart to tell her the city was already ruined. “And I heard that they even caught a few witches around his place once. Disgusting!”
       I hear a loud -crack-, and then a high-speeded whoosh.
       “What was that?” Mary said, anxious, looking around.
       Two more cracks, two more whooshes, and Mary was on the ground. I could see the red oozing around the breast pocket of her jade-green jacket. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
       She’s down.
The day after Mary was killed I was sitting in my office again, feet on the desk. It would appear I was relaxing to anyone who entered, but my mind was truly weighed down with thoughts. Yesterday’s events had shaken me up very much, and a murder wasn’t the kind of thing you could tell anyone. When you report it, YOU become a suspect.  If I didn’t know better, I’d have blamed the witches, but they didn’t cause sudden things like this to happen. They played with their victims first.
       Greta burst into my office like a hurricane, papers stacked neatly near the door flying away with the sheer force, her grey eyes tearing. “LUCY! Did you hear the news?!”
       “What news? You know me well enough to know I almost never leave this office.” I said, sighing, to Greta as she continued with her hysterics. Greta always knew the news for some reason, all the juiciest talk about witches and the townspeople. I never knew how she learned it all so quickly, but then again, how much did I really know about her?
       “Mary Tuppence was MURDERED! You knew her, didn’t you?” She asked, and I nodded. Of course it would be the news, the whole town buzzing. Word of mouth got around faster than the newspapers did these days. I’m just glad I wasn’t with the body when it was found. “And of course, you know how she was trying to start a case against Jack?”
       I nodded, even though I spent little time out of my office I still knew most town talk a few days or so after it happened, word travels quickly, like I said. “Go on.”
       “They… they’re… he…” She said, sighing. “He’s the main suspect now. But worse, the drys have taken this as a blow to their defenses. It’s a war out there, Lucy. We are at civil war in Cannon Beach.”
       “In that case, Greta, you should go seek shelter with Jack. I’m fine, you know I always am. Now go, please.”
       Greta left without another word, just as quickly as she came in. It was nice that she listened for once. Greta was just her own woman, and was often quite hard to persuade. I cursed silently. Word was out, and now, according to Greta, war? I sighed and puffed the cigar. I actually wasn’t such a big fan of smoking it; it was just assumed that as a detective I should. But Greta had what was called an overly-active imagination. She loved stretching the truth, a quality that just added on to her flamboyant personality.
       But what if she was right?
       The answer to that question came striding in through my door a few minutes after Greta had left. I noticed her a few seconds after she entered, I jumped even. Another young woman, not too different from the one I met yesterday, actually. Her braided ginger hair whipped around on her back as she walked. She wore a tight, movement-restricting navy blue skirt that went down just past her knees with a pale yellow blouse. Her hazel eyes met mine, and she seemed, at least for a second, to be staring deviously into my soul.
       “Hello. I’m Lucy Norris, detective; and I’m assuming you need help on some case or another, right?” I said, putting my feet down and setting my cigar on the glass ashtray that was sitting idle on the desk.
       “Yes, er, Lucy.” The woman said, impatiently. She was older than me, probably older than Greta, maybe somewhere in her twenties. I could pick up an accent in her voice, diluted, but still there. Scottish, maybe. “I’m Diana. I have no doubt that you’ve heard about the murder of the temperance leader Mary Tuppence?”
       “Course I have. Now lemme guess, the drys want my help on proving Jack guilty, right?”
       She nodded quickly. It was obvious she wanted to get this over with.
       “That,” I said slowly, “will cost some money. Now I’m not a cheat, but Jack and I have a mutual friendship, so… this might cost a little extra.” I said, smirking happily.
       The woman sighed and reached inside of her purse. She pulled out a thick wad of dough and handed it to me. “Now can you please just work with us?”
       I smirked, satisfied, putting the money in my desk. I was excited because of the pay, but the job meant standing for something I didn’t believe in.
‘Yea, sure.”
A few days had passed since I’d been hired to work against my friends. It was becoming tedious, exhausting even. Work on serious cases was honestly hard. A person like me wasn’t even supposed to have friends. That way, if I had no conscience, I could help or hurt whoever I wished; dry or wet; witch or human. True, I had a conscience, and it was killing me: but being born to the gutter in a family like I had, you learned to just “follow the green”.
I was born to a low class family here in this wasteland of a city, Cannon Beach, Oregon. My mother died in childbirth, having me. My family, as I have said, was poor. We couldn’t afford proper health care, and I ended up bringing her demise. My father then left me and my older sister. My sister, who died soon after of tuberculosis. My family just couldn’t afford life, really. I never got the chance to even know my family all that well. It was just there and gone.
That’s why I’m always so proud of my work. Because I had been able to do something for myself for once. I crawled out of the gutter and worked my way up to being able to go to school and learn how to be a detective and have nice things and live a nice life. Or decent, at least. As nice of a life as you could have if you were me. I mean, I have a house, furniture, food, and money. I’m OK.
I was getting ready to head home for the day. I pulled my black cashmere shrug around my shoulders tightly and gathered up the files I had been using. I slipped them inside of my smooth black leather tote, slipped it over my shoulder, and stood up.
I… I was not prepared when I got outside.
Greta was right. It was horrifying. I was shocked as I saw people fighting one another in the streets with seemingly no reason. A man standing over another and shooting the corpse repeatedly, like a broken record. Another man bludgeoning another with an empty bottle. I could smell and see the blood mixing with the dirt. It was sickening. I could hear gunshots coming from most directions. And then there was that horrible screaming.
I ran home. I just ran for it, terrified.
I was lying on my stomach on my bed, tired. The bed was a bit too hard, and uncomfortable, but it was inside of a locked house, where I was safe from the “war”. That was all I needed. I hadn’t left the house in days. Still, it wasn’t safe. I had people who brought me the files I needed, did the actual investigating for me. Diana often stopped in to visit and check up on me. She wasn’t as menacing as I thought. She was caring and kind. She was concerned about the people she loved and could often sense if something was off with them. She had parents in Scotland (as I thought) and a brother who lived nearby.
I haven’t heard from Greta in days. Hopefully, that meant she was hiding. But knowing her, it was more likely she had remembered we were fighting and had started to avoid me. I didn’t wish to think of the third possibility.
I stared at the blankets. I was basically emotionally wrecked by the past two weeks. I did not wish to do anything but sleep. So I closed my eyes and…
A loud, repeated, hurried, panicked knocking at my front door abruptly ended what was so surely going to be SUCH a nice nap. I dragged myself off the top of my bed and down the stairs to the front door. I opened the door to see a familiar face there, slightly bloodied and slightly sweaty, but a man I knew nonetheless.
Jack was standing there. “Greta’s missing.” He said, urgently.
“What?”
“She’s gone!”
I stared at my friend’s lover silently for a few minutes. His pale face was lined with worry, his dark hair was messed up, untamed. It was obvious he was in a state of unrest. He was also hurt. “You should come in.”
After I had bandaged him up well enough and gotten him a seat in the living room, I sat down and sighed. “Now what’s this about Greta?” I said, watching him closely. I was a detective by trade, so I knew that this would end up more like an interrogation rather than an exchange of knowledge. Also, Jack wasn’t the most trustworthy person in town. I mean, he and Greta made a profit from running an illegal bar.
“Greta went out to go get food, she said she’d be quick, but she hasn’t come back at all. That was yesterday. Today I got this.” He said, handing me a neatly written note.
Greta Smith is in our possession. Confess to the murder or we’ll get you next.
Drys
I stare at the paper and sink into the chair, holding my forehead in my hand. So it wasn’t witches. These people, the DRYS had my best friend captive, HOSTAGE, to get to Jack. These people I was working for.
It was going to be a long day.
I stood in the lobby of my office building. If you could call it that. I was dressed the way I normally dressed, white dress shirt, black shrug, knee-length black skirt, black flats. I was trying to be inconspicuous. I had a handgun concealed on the inside of my coat in case I needed it. Hopefully I wouldn’t. I hadn’t ever before.
This was the decision I had made last night, in my room. I was going undercover and helping Greta escape. Even though I was a detective, not a spy, I had confidence in my abilities.
I stepped outside and moved quickly to one of the buildings I knew the drys had taken over. I had a feeling that this was where they would be holding Greta. Most of the doors to the offices were wide open, while the end door was shut tight. I entered the building quickly, and I went up the stairs. I passed Diana.
“Hello, Lucy.” She said smiling. “Nice to see you out of your house. May I ask why?”
“I’m here to question the hostage.” I said softly, trying to slip past her without anyone getting too suspicious. Diana nodded and continued her way down the stairs.
I walked through the hallway -obviously this had been a house at some time, the walls were still nicely papered with a victorian spinoff design, though it was peeling a bit. I started with the door at the end of the hallway. Sure enough, “the hostage” was in the room, sitting, handcuffed to the single wooden chair, looking out the only window in the room. It seemed as though she might even have been ill. The walls were like the hallway’s sickly sweet, peeling victorian paper. I stared at the scene for a few seconds, perplexed. The chair she sat in was simple enough, small and weak-looking, Greta could have easily moved it and made her escape.
Then I caught sight of the security cameras they had installed in the corners. The drys that got them must have a pretty high status, because only the government had technology. Or witches. Witches always seemed to find their ways around things. Greta had pretty good common sense(when she was sober, at least, which she had obviously been for the past three days or so. She actually adjusted back and forth rather easily.) and so of course she didn’t try to escape. They would have caught her anyways.
All of the sudden Greta looked away from the window and seemed to realize the fact that I existed and was standing in the same room as her.
“Lucy! What are you doing here?!” She exclaimed, in her trademark, crazy, hysteric and loud voice. She seemed a bit nervous to see me, even though I had good intentions.
“Getting you out,” I said, walking over to her and whispering. “They just think I’m questioning you. Now, if I get you out with those cameras on, Diana will come running. If I shoot the cameras, Diana will hear and STILL come running. So any way this goes it needs to be quick.” I hissed into her ear, looking around quickly. I started fiddling with the lock on her handcuffs, picking it as fast as I could.
In the end, I don’t know if it was the cameras or just Diana’s curiosity, but for some reason in that moment Diana came striding into the room, obviously surprised. She spoke in her crystal-clear voice that in that moment I hated so much,
“What do we have here?”
       “Lucy, please, can you just tell me how you are really involved in this mess?”
       Diana had taken her findings as an opportunity to question me, and honestly, I didn’t blame her. I would have done the same thing had I walked in.
       “I told ya, I’m a detective that you hired to work on Tuppence’s murder. But, as I told ya beforehand, I’m personal friends with Greta and Jack and owe them a couple favors.” I said, reciting the lines that I was mulling over in my head. I couldn’t mention the fact that I knew almost everything about the murder, not to Diana.
       “Lucy, I know there’s something you’re not telling me. That your place in this runs far deeper. Please, can ya just tell me?” Diana asked once more. If I was seeing things right, her eyes were welling up with tears. “Please, Lucy.”
       I grimaced and kept looking away from her. She was now just too painful to look at, those hazel eyes full of hurt. “I told ya. I’m just me.”
       “Well, are you sure that ‘just me’ has no further place in the case?”
       “Yes!” I exclaimed, hoping to get out.
       “But Lucy, if you really are on our side, then why were you trying to rescue Greta? I know she’s your friend but still… if we need her to get to Jack, we need her to get to Jack.”
       The words that slipped out of my mouth were not the ones I’d meant to say. Not at all. “Because I know Jack didn’t kill Mary.” I said softly at realizing my mistake. “She came to my office to ask me to access Jack’s files for her. We went outside, took a walk. We went down an alley, few shots later, the girl was D-E-A-D.”
       Diana stared at me. “You… really? Why haven’t you told?” She began, but then I saw her face freeze, mouth open with horror and realization. “You… you!”
       “No, it wasn’t like that!” I insisted. This was what I was afraid of from the start. The confrontation. I knew as soon as the words were spoken, I would be seen as the criminal. Not Jack, not Greta, not anyone else. Me. “I would never-”
       “You knew she was after the papers so she could go against Jack! You killed her in the streets to protect your friend, and then lied about it all! And he… he sent you here to rescue Greta!”
       The lies Diana was telling were all wrong, but I have to admit, it must have seemed quite believeable.
       “You probably have a gun on you right now, don’t you?” She said in a questioning tone. I swallowed hard. I usually didn’t have one with me, no… but Diana had caught me in… unfortunate circumstances. She stood up, walked over to me, and checked me. She found the handgun, of course. It wasn’t concealed all that well, because I had no intention of being caught.
       Diana looked at me, and I could see she was crying. “Lucy…
       “On behalf of the drys, I sentence you to death.”
       Now of course, the government system wouldn’t just let such a huge crisis in a small town go any further than it was here. The government intervened in our civil war before it could “spread”. Word of our dire situation spread to other small towns around the area. It was reported in those places, and the town was taken over quickly to keep us quiet. Because apparently if we can throw this uprising here, the same thing can happen in New Orleans or San Francisco or New York.
       According to the law enforcement officials, the drys had no right to sentence me to death. I was given a formal trial.
       Innocent. I was proven innocent, thank God, after all that happened. But there was a more sinister force working behind the mishap, apparently.
       As I was arguing to not having killed Mary, Greta spoke up. She said she had something to say.
       “Lucy was cursed by a witch.” She said. Of course, Greta had a history of overreacting to most things, so all she got was a chorus of jurors laughing like hyenas. But she sounded so serious, not like the woman I knew.
       “And how do you know that?” Diana spoke up, snickering.
       “Because I was the witch who cursed her.” Greta said, swallowing hard and closing her eyes. “Lucy and I had a stupid argument, and I was drunk. I cursed her to bring misfortune to whoever she meets.” She said and opened her eyes. “Which means I killed Mary Tuppence.”
       Of course, that stirred up quite a bit of discord up in the community again. Men and women alike were outraged because of Greta and her crime. I saw no point in it being a crime. Greta was a witch. OK. She was a witch in the first place with good intentions. She came out as a witch in the first place with good intentions. But there is no rhyme, reason, or responsibility in this place anymore.
       I lay down on my bed, closing my eyes, recounting the mayhem of the last month. I can’t remember a time in all of my life where Cannon Beach, this toxic wonderland, was ever in a state of such chaos. Never had wets and drys, or witches and humans, ever collided like this before.
       I hear someone knocking at my door quietly,. I sit up, then stand, then run down the stairs to answer it. Greta was standing there, looking forsaken and abandoned by all. Worst, she seemed to be fine with it that way.
       “Hello,” She says quietly, her voice no more than a hoarse whisper. Her eyes are red and puffy from crying.
       “Hello,” I say, watching her. I open the door wider for her so she can come in. She walks to the living room and sits in a chair. I sit in the chair opposite her.
       “So,” she says rather dully, “How long has it been since you last left your house?”
       “A few days.” I say quietly. I don’t like seeing Greta this way. She had lost her spark; those once-shining grey eyes seem dimmer now.
       “Then I’ll have to catch you upon the news, sistah.” She says softly, watching me closely. “There was a witch trial for me.” She says, sighing.
       “And?” I ask, curiously. Witch gossip is extremely popular in a small town like Cannon Beach.
       “I’m guilty,” She says, lifting her hands above her head and holding them out limply, as though she is waiting to be handcuffed. “They say I either gotta go to the asylum or be hanged for it.”
       I gasp, even though it was common knowledge that is the punishment. “Greta… why did you come out about being a witch? You could have just kept it a secret.”
       “And let you suffer for my mistake?” She says, hoarsely, choking on her words. “No. I would never do that to my best friend.”
       A moment of bittersweet melancholy silence later, she speaks again. “I needed to see you again before they take me to the asylum. I guess you can visit me there. Jack is leaving town as well, to follow me, though we can’t be married now.” She says sadly. I know Greta had been putting a lot of thought into their wedding. They’d been engaged for four months. Greta was always so excited, but now that she was going to the asylum, well… it was all for naught. “I’m sorry, Lucy, for everything I said. And the curse. I should have trusted you, this entire incident is my fault. So I’m gonna be the one to take the blame.”
       She says this and stands, walks over to me, and gives me a tight hug. She walks over to the door, her ginger-brown hair falling around her face.
       “Bye, Lucy.” She says calmly, waving at me.
       “Yea; bye.” I say.
       A few hours after that I hear another knock at my door. I walk over and check. It’s Diana. I open the door to her.
       “Hello…” She says quietly, looking away.
       “Hey.” I say, actually sort of glad to see her. It had been days since I had seen the ginger-haired dame. It was almost a relief. “Please, come in.”
       She steps inside the house and we walk to the living room. She sits in the same chair that Greta had been sitting in. I sit down as well.
       “Lucy, I’m so sorry for jumping to conclusions last week. I had no evidence to prove it was you. I can’t believe I almost killed you out of that blindness.” She says softly, eyes closed.
       I smirk. “Nah, it’s fine, Diana. I would have done all the exact same had I been in your shoes.” I say.
       She smiles softly and sadly. “Well, Lucy… my brother was killed in the fighting.”
       I stare on for a few seconds, then close my eyes and say, “I’m so sorry.”
       She nods. I know a lot of people have already probably told her that they were sorry, but… what else are you to say? “Well, the funeral service will be later… I was wondering if you would attend.”
       “I would feel honored.” I say, watching her and smiling. She smiles back, and we just sit there like that for a few minutes, smiling.
       The service for Diana’s brother is small, but sincere. Afterwards I seem to find myself wandering down the shoreline, between the cold sand and dark seawater, headed towards Haystack Rock, the massive landmass that jutted out of the water a long ways off shore. I reflect on everything that has come to pass again. I no longer have Greta, or Jack, or Diana’s brother… but life goes on.
       You don’t get to choose when it stops. It just does. It doesn’t matter how long it is. Things happen between the beginning and the end, and that, I think, is the part that counts.
However, the town is now being watched. People are not all they seem to be anymore. Life goes on, but forever changed. And all the sudden it hits me. The loss I had endured really drives its way home, and I can’t help but admit it out loud.
“I’m going to miss them.”
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PostSubject: Re: Foul is Fair   Foul is Fair Icon_minitime11/4/2014, 4:46 pm

AND FAIR IS FOUL
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PostSubject: Re: Foul is Fair   Foul is Fair Icon_minitime11/4/2014, 6:37 pm

HOVER THROUGH THE FOG AND FILTHY AIR.
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