Headless - Excelsior, Headless - Allow Me, Headless - Maybe a Glower?
Jonothon Starsmore furnaceface
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A Quiet Part of the Park, Sunday Evening
Sometimes, you just had to go walking in the rain.

Maybe it was because of a week spent cooped up in one place. Maybe it was because of whispers and murmurs that had taken to following you around no matter where you went. Maybe it was just a whim.

Tonight, it was all of those things at once. The island appeared to be hell-bent on re-playing the greatest hits of Jonothon's horrible life choices for him tonight, and while he knew, logically, that the visions of Neverland that usually only haunted him in his sleep weren't real, watching himself change sides, watching the grim, businesslike set to his own jaw as he rounded up the innocent and weeded out the useful for the Program...

Sometimes, walking in the rain was the only way to stay a step ahead of your own demons.

And it worked, at least for a few blocks. Before too long the terrified eyes started to fade, and the lines of people marching to their end remained behind him, in his past, where they belonged. The crying and pleading and screaming that was usually reserved for his nightmares faded too, until all that Jono could hear was the sound of his feet splashing through slush puddles, and the otherwise usual, quiet sounds of small town life all around him.

Somewhere around the park, it all came back again. Murmurs at first, little snippets of conversation, of orders he'd been given during his time in the Program. But the murmurs grew louder, became full voices, became -

He stopped dead in his tracks as the air in front of him shifted, seemed for a moment to grow red hot, and then tore itself open, giving a view like a window to something all too familiar, and alien all the same. He knew a Weapon X facility when he saw it, knew the all-too-sterile hallways and the deceptively pleasant set of the mind-wiped mutants that served the program, even if the faces themselves didn't ring any bells.

Not that he had any time to contemplate the view or the faces that came with it as the rift shifted, pulsed, and knocked his feet out from underneath him, ripping at his senses and overloading his psionic powers until that was all that was left were psychic echoes in a world that had suddenly and inexplicably gone very silent and very dark. A stone's throw away, the rift shifted and twisted into itself again, and then with a red-hot crackle it was gone, leaving Jonothon there on the wet ground while the world writhed around in echoes in his brain.

His eyesight wasn't working, though he tried his damnedest to open his eyes and look around.

His ears weren't working, either, and a few minutes of sitting in an overwhelmed daze didn't seem to be helping that, either. His physical senses seemed to be set to mute, his sight and hearing gone the way of his sense of taste and smell. Just... gone.

And it wasn't until he lifted a hand to try to rub at his eyes that he began to realize just how wrong things were. His fingers brushed cold metal where the remains of his face should have been, a mask with a pair of eyeholes blocked by small bars, like a prison cage. Tentatively venturing beyond those bars with one finger left him with a whole lot of nothing. No eyelids shut tight. No face at all. Just the sensation of psionic flame licking against his fingertips.

Right about then, that was when Jonothon found himself clutching to the helmet that covered the flames where his head was meant to go, and all he could do was scream as rain shifted to sleet, and wish that he could sob as sleet shifted to snow.

[OOC: Because I can't throw Jono at horrible canon-AU body horror and not have him aware of how wrong everything is, I went the Rift route. Stuck in Jono's journal because of content, but open if anyone wants to be unfortunate enough to catch a complete psionic meltdown from a headless guy in a Xorn helmet sitting in the snow in the park.]


2014-03-03 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Dang it, it had finally been almost not freezing! Cecil already missed Night Vale, and he hadn't even been back a day yet. Foucault was honking mournfully and shaking off the rain. And then the sleet.

"Come on, let's hurry back!" Cecil tried to herd Foucault in the right direction as fast as possible. They were trying to stay dry under one umbrella and not slip on the slick grass when he spotted a bit of light and movement just off the path, close to the ground.



2014-03-03 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)


Jonothon was cold, but he barely noticed. He was soaked through, as well, a shirt he didn't remember owning clinging to his arms, his chest, his shoulders. He didn't care. What did it matter? He was balled up on the ground with his knees pulled up to a near-flawless chest, hands grasping a helmet that didn't belong there, and for the life of him, he couldn't wrap his mind around any of it.

This couldn't be real. Any minute he'd wake up, and it would be just one more of a thousand nightmares. Another one to add to the collection.

Except he wasn't waking up. He was locked there in the dark, with only the rain and the cold and... and something... someone? Someone moving nearby. What he couldn't see or hear with eyes and ears that weren't there, he couldn't help but sense psionically. Under any other circumstance, he might even have considered that a good thing. He'd be doomed completely if he had been stricken utterly headblind, too.

But right now, all he could do was ball himself up even more, clutch his hands more tightly against the cold metal that didn't belong there, and send a wave of emotion toward the other person that translated to little more than a panicked telepathic jumble, somewhere between a scream and a protest, all fear and confusion and a cry for help, twisting together into a mess of wrong.


2014-03-03 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)

"Oh!" Cecil stopped and blinked for a moment, startled. But he sort of recognized the feel of that telepathy by now. "Mr. Starsmore?" He stepped warily closer and eyed the...helmet?...with a bit of confusion. He put a hand on Jono's shoulder, poking him to be sure he was really there.


2014-03-03 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Some part of Jonothon had anticipated that gesture, had known that somebody was reaching for his shoulder, that he should be expecting to be touched right about...

He flinched back from the hand all the same, from the person reaching with it, from that familiar spark of somebody he knew, wrapped in a layer of confusion and curiosity. He shuddered, wanting to close his eyes tightly and scream his throat raw. He settled for sending another twist of not-words toward the person there with him, a plea for help and a whimper of horror no no nonononono and a fair bit of confusion of his own.

It was followed a moment later by more panic as some shred of his consciousness realized that he had just shied away from help, from a human tether, some measure of the familiar, and he moved one of his hands away from his helmet and reached in the direction of the spark he felt, blindly searching for the hand that had touched him.


2014-03-03 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)

"Oops. Sorry!" Maybe his shoulder hurt? Cecil wracked his brain for what to do in the event of panicked telepath writhing on the ground.

Oh, hand! A hand was good. He gripped Jono's hand, and since he seemed sort of stuck in telepathy mode, he thought loudly at him, like Jono had back when he'd had his ability. //Mr. Starsmore? It's Cecil. Can you hear me?//


2014-03-03 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

A hand. There was the hand that had reached for him, the person who owned it hadn't left him alone there on the ground, and Jono was going to cling to that hand like a lifeline, trying to calm down.

He wanted to be sick. Good luck with that, too.

Cecil's thoughts were a bare murmur in the whole mess of it, but there was some part of him that paid attention, that took the words and processed them and held on to them for the few moments it took for Jonothon to realize that there was speaking being done at all.

Cecil. It was Cecil. Okay. Okay. He could do this.

//I... Cecil... I can...//

Words this time, sounding as though he'd beaten them into shape using panic as the main ingredient. That was a marked improvement, at least. They were still words.


2014-03-03 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Cecil grinned. Yay! Communication made things much easier. //Are you okay, Mr. Starsmore? You...um.// It was probably not a good idea to tell him he didn't sound okay, right? //It's raining. Or snowing. Or...something. Have you got an umbrella?//


2014-03-03 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)

It was probably for the best that Jono couldn't stare incredulously at Cecil, right? Because he was on the ground and down one head, and 'are you okay' really didn't seem like the question to be asking, once decapitation came into play.

//... No.//

That... answered pretty much all of those questions, actually. No, he was definitely not okay. And no, he had no umbrella handy. He'd barely noticed the cold. He was feeling it a bit more, though, now that Cecil had pointed it out. He shuddered, bunching his shoulders and curling into himself a little more.

//Not okay. Not okay not okay...//

In case there was still a shadow of doubt.

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2014-03-03 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)

It was probably a little past the time that Amelia should really have been getting back and hunkering down for the night. Especially since it was getting colder again and even with her jacket, it was starting to bite at her.

So she was making her way through the park, checking now and then for squirrels, since she still hadn't found any, and came to a stop at the sight of someone just sitting in the snow.

It wasn't any of her business. It really, really wasn't. But Sparkle was nice for no reason, and no one had tried to hurt her here, so Amelia lingered, anxious and not sure what to do, because more than half of her said she should just go, but a small part of her said maybe she should see what was wrong.


2014-03-03 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)

The person in the snow wasn't doing much, really, but clutch at his head and shudder. Which could have been a result of the cold, or maybe it was fear? There was definite distress involved.

As a matter of fact, it was practically radiating from him, quite literally. There was something the matter, and anyone who approached him would be well aware of that fact, even without getting a good look.


2014-03-03 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Amelia wasn't the slightest bit of a sensitive--wouldn't even know what that word meant, if it concerned powers--but, as she took a few hesitant steps forward, even she should feel something that made goosebumps rise.

"Mister?" Amelia said, her voice wary.

She forced herself to take another step, then one more, until she was almost within reach of him. She trembled, not knowing why, just knowing something was off.

"Are you okay?"


2014-03-03 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)

There was something there, at the edge of Jonothon's senses. Something familiar-but-not, approaching tentatively. If he'd been calm - and he most certainly was not - he might almost have been able to understand the words she was asking of him.

As it stood, the most he really managed to grasp was that the familiar something was wary. He wouldn't have blamed them, either. He was well beyond 'wary,' lost somewhere in the void between panic and denial, and piecing together actual words wasn't something he was going to be able to manage for a while.

He did manage a wave of something that translated roughly to //Nonononono,// though it was more emotion than actual, tangible word. Telepathy wasn't something that translated through hysterics well.


2014-03-03 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)

That was... that was terrible and Amelia stumbled backwards, her wariness turning to fear, as bad feelings hit her like a blow.

"Mister?" she said, trying one more time, despite the fact that she was shaking all over.


2014-03-03 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)

This time, Jonothon managed to catch a hint of something like a question, a tentative terrified hint of something concerned, barely just outside of arm's reach.

This time, he turned toward the familiar something, flame blazing in the darkness. He could almost place who the question belonged to. Almost. If he'd been any less panicked, it would've been easy.

As it stood, he was still mostly just fear and fire.


2014-03-03 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Amelia took one look at the man's face and did what anyone sane would do: she screamed shrilly, a sound of pure terror.

She scrambled backwards, falling flat on her ass, before hauling herself up and then, with another panicked look at the monster, to make sure he wasn't any closer, she bolted.

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