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About Traditional Art / Artist Member Chris D. Phillips a.k.a. PhiarMale/United States Recent Activity
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Where We Place Our Hearts Chapter 2 by Phiar
Where We Place Our Hearts Chapter 2
This picture' chapter is in my journal list.

Synopsis (Action/Supernatural/Drama): Venelope, an eighteen-year-old high school graduate, dreams of being a track star. Upon visiting family, she learns that she can interact with her consciences; the good and the bad side. Through further interactions with each, she's able to use supernatural powers based on her dominant conscience. A dark future presents itself when she learns there are others with these powers. Using her abilities, she tries to keep a normal life while not turning a blind eye to the ones using these powers for wrong-doing.

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                                                                                                                       "Where We Place Our Hearts"                                                                                                                  


                                                                                                                    Chapter 2: "Blizzard Bargain"
                                                                                                                                              by
                                                                                                                   Christopher D. Phillips a.k.a. Phiar


(1)       Later that night, Venelope lied wide awake on the living room sofa. It was already passed midnight. The crackling of the fireplace, she loved the that sound. Though as calming and nostagic as it was, she just couldn't drift off to sleep. Having already been lying there since ten o' clock, it's natural that a slight frustration added to her inability to doze off. She tossed a few blocks of wood into the fire before going into the fridge. She grabbed a can of soda and plopped back onto the coach with a sigh. She skimmed through her cell' text messages. Several friends from Laguna had messaged her. It made her smile to know they were thinking of her. As late as it was, she wasn't going to message them now, even though she wanted to. She just wanted someone to talk to who was as restless as she was. As she sat her phone down, a voice from the fireplace' direction sent a chill up her spine.

       "Why so restless?" Venelope recognized that the voice was different from before. The sound of footsteps-- more accurately, boots, nearing her, stopped halfway between her and the fireplace.

       "... is that you again?" Venelope whispered, thinking it was the girl she spoke to earlier in the car. As spooked as she was, she remained vigilant as to not be caught talking to someone - someone she still thought wasn't actually there. The battle between sane and insanity was still conflicting in her mind.

(2)  "What do mean 'again?'' The voice answered, only now it was coming from the kitchen behind her. Venelope turned around quickly. Her hands gripping into the couch. Her eyes speedily skimmed over the entire kitchen. The dense footsteps sounded again, coming from the kitchen to around the far side of the sofa into the living room. The heaviness of the steps had a dark feel to them that was fear inducing all their own. Venelope could see the voice' boots now. Their visibility came and went in the flickers of the fire. Steel-toed and worn in. They were black, but the wear made them grayish, too. Thick mud stuck in the grooves and caked along their sides gave Venelope even more chills. "You're not scared... enough... yet." Venelope swallowed slowly. The windows creaked and tree branches clawed the roof before silence took over the room - instantly. Her fingers etched towards her pillow and blanket. Eek - squeaked a cupboard opening in the kitchen. Venelope turned sharply to face it. The voice chuckled as the cupboard slowly closed. Venelope looked back at the floor to see the boots were gone. Her heart pounded, almost loud enough to overtake the fire' crackle. "You're gettin' there." The voice chuckled as the creaking and clawing returned. Venelope was now petrified. Only her uncontrollable trembling gave motion to her stone-like posture. Her unblinking eyes lit by the fire. Her quivering lips parted-- "HEY!" The voice screamed directly in her face. Venelope now looked the voice in the face. A sinister, grinning face. A face that was identical to her own minus the wickedly sharp features. Pale-faceted, sweating and shaking. Venelope' voice had been arrested by the utter fear. The voice snickered as it placed a hand on Venelope' chin. "Now, you're scared--"

       "Enough!" It was the other voice, the one bathed in light from before. The other two' eyes turned towards her instantly. She stood before the fireplace, glowing as beautifully as the last time she had showed herself.

       "... you." The sinister voice said depressed and annoyed. With a sigh, she stepped away from Venelope and went over to the other coach. Venelope' eyes raced back and forth between the two. The three of them identical. "You had your time with her already and I didn't interrupt you." Her entire body could be seen now. She wore tattered dark clothing - black and browns with numerous chains around her neck and bracelets on her wrist. Her pale skin contrasted against the darkness of the room so much that it lit itself. A pierced nose with wild shoulder-length black hair made her look as ghastly as the aura that accompanied her. "Can you leave now?" She said far more annoyed. With a crooked neck, she played with her black diamond earring.

(3)  "I'm not leaving." The other voice replied calmly. "I'm not leaving her alone, and, especially, not alone with you." She said turning her eyes to Venelope who was still frozen to the coach. Unlike the wicked one, the voice of light wore new clothes that were white and beige colored, and barefoot. Her latte complexion matched Venelope', but her hairdoo was how Venelope used to be years ago. Shoulder-length in curly waves. She wore a sea shell necklace, small earrings, but bracelets or other piercings. She placed a hand on Venelope' lap. Her touch uncuffed Venelope' voice from the fear and warmed away the petrification. Venelope was mesmerized by her presence. Several veils of darkness fled as the fire' crackle whispered into her ears again; giving her even more comfort. Venelope looked over to see the wicked one had vanished. She returned her gaze to the other who had taken a seat beside her. Venelope smiled, unsure of what to say first.

        "... what's your name?" Venelope asked as the girl smiled in return.

        "What would you like to call me?" She answered. Her voice alone resonated with a warmth that continued to strengthen Venelope.

        "I feel... awkward giving you a name." Venelope shrugged bashfully.

        "Try." The girl said with her eyes on her lap. It seemed like Venelope' shyness was contagious. Even Venelope noticed said subtle change in the girl' demeanor. Venelope looked around the room as she tried to come up with a suitable name. Then, it clicked. It showed on her face as a tender smile anxious to speak.

        "Penelope. I know it isn't too different from mine--"

        "I like it." The girl said as they smiled at each other.

        "It was the name of my mom' aunt. They were really close."

        "...I know." The girl replied, making Venelope' head shoot up slightly. " I have the same memories as you, because I am you. " Venelope' eyes softened as she completely took in the sencerity of Penelope' voice. So much so that her tears began to fall. Penelope wiped them away with her sleeve. Venelope chuckled as Penelope started to cry, too. They held each other' hands firmly. "Well, to be more accurate, I am your conscience-- both of us." Penelope said referring to the wicked one as well.

(4)   "Ah... I get it." Venelope nodded. "I'll come up with a name for her later." They chuckled.

The smell and popping of bacon filled the room. Morning had come. Danny, Travis and Ray sat at the bar section of the kitchen eating.

       "Does she always die when she sleeps?" Travis asked with a strip of bacon gripped in his teeth.

       "If it weren't for food and the beach, she'd hibernate all year 'round." Danny added.

       "Hey." Lauri said pointing a spatula at the two. "Leave my baby 'lone. You bums don't do nothin' but eat my cookin'."

       "Mm, had to be good at somethin'." Ray mumbled. Lauri stared him down as he obviously avoided eye contact. She had a glare that would make a rattlesnake run away.

       "We still boardin' today?" Travis asked. "It's almost eleven. She sleeps any longer, she might as well go for the Dracula record."

       "That goes for you, too." Lauri said as Travis chuckled.

       "Sleeps like her mother." Ray mumbled. Lauri now loomed over him, pressing her busty chest into his arm. "As in, she sleeps as peaceful and as beautifully as Snow White." Lauri sneered as they then kissed. She went back to the stove to scramble the eggs. Seconds later, Venelope rose up like a corpse. Taking a deep breath, she stretched and exhaled.

       "MM-MM... Do I smell bacon?" She said with one eye still half shut.

       "Told ya." Danny said with a mouthful.

       "Didn't even beat the Dracula record." Travis said shaking his head. Venelope wiped her eyes with a yawn as she made her way over to them.

       "Morning!" She said brightly. The guys grunted their greetings, more fixated on their food. She walked over to Lauri, both giving each other a hug and kiss. "Morning, mommy."

       "Morning, baby." Lauri replied as Venelope then snagged a fresh piece of bacon.

(5)   "MM! That smells good." Venelope said with a stomp. She kissed her mom' cheek again. Pressing into her so much that they nearly lost their balance.

       "Cool it, crazy." Lauri said to her daughter' laughter. "You know how I do." She added proudly.

       "Hey. I'm supposed to get the first kiss of the day." Danny said dropping his fork onto his plate. He picked up his glass of orange juice as Venelope kissed his cheek. "Yeah, all right." She gave Travis a hug before giving her dad a hug and kiss.

       "Oh!" Ray exclaimed. "You're your mother' daughter all right. That's some morning breath, right there." He laughed as Venelope drummed his back with her fist.

       "You really don't want another meal, do you?" Lauri said to Ray.

       "For real." Venelope added. "I mean, I'd expect that from unc, but not you."

       "Runs in the family." Ray replied.

       "Yeah-ha!" Danny laughed as he and Ray bumped knuckles. The doorbell rang. "Get the door, M.B. Make yourself useful." He said to Venelope.

       "Yeah, that's clever, unc. But don't show us the extent of your intelligence in one sentence." Venelope said as she made her way to the door. Lauri laughed in her daughter' favor. Venelope stopped in front of a mirror to fix herself a bit.

       "Oh, God! Are you serious?" Travis asked loudly.

       "Shut up!" Venelope shouted back at him.

       "Just get the door!"

       "You're goin' to the door with that mornin' breath, M.B.?" Danny added. "You're bold. You're a bold one." Grinning, he stuffed some eggs into his mouth.

       "Forget all three of you! And that's not gonna become a nickname. It stops now." She said gettting to the door. Opening it, Evette stood there happily before they hugged each other and squealed.

       "Really? You just saw each other yesterday." Travis played.

       "Ignore him." Venelope said to Evette.

(6)   "I was doin' that way before you came back." Evette said as they laughed.

       "Burned! Ooh, ooh!" Danny said tugging on Travis' sleeve. "Go outside, get some snow and put the fire out." The others laughed as Travis brushed off the taunting as he went back to his plate.

       "Morning, everybody." Evette said as she and Venelope walked up to the others.

       "You want a plate?" Lauri offered. "I live with these two." Referring to Travis and Ray. "So, you know I gotta keep the fridge full."

       "No, I'm good. Thank you, though." Evette replied.

       "I'm gonna hop in the shower." Venelope said to Evette.

       "I'll be here." Evette said taking a seat on the sofa.

       "I left the toothpaste on the sink counter for you." Danny enuciated at Venelope. "Right in the open."

       "Forget yo~u!" Venelope sang from around the corner as the others laughed.

       "She' gonna need a mop bucket for that breath." Travis added making Danny choke on his food with laughter. He wheezed and pounded his chest to get the cough in check as the others laughed loudly at his expense. A bit later, all were outside loading their snowboard gear and whatnot into the vehicles. Venelope stepped outside and down the steps as she eyed her cellphone with disbelieving eyes.

       "What's that look about?" Evette asked as she walked up to Venelope from her car. Venelope looked up at her with her jaw hanging as she tried to form the words to speak. "What is it?" Evette laughed, making Venelope chuckle.

       "Have you been on Face Book in the last few days?" Venelope asked with some slight nervousness in her voice.

       "You talking about that pic your friend Rosey posted of you at the restaurant?" She couldn't help but laugh at the same time the question ran out of her mouth.

(7)   "Ahh! Freakin' Rosey!" Venelope stomped. "This is embarassing. I can't believe she posted this." Evette continued chuckling, trying to get it in check so she wouldn't be adding to her friend' frustration. "And, look. She waited 'til after I left town to post it. By then, I was already on the road."

       "Sounds kind of stalkerish, taking into account the time she chose to upload it. Maybe she watched you leave town. Maybe she watches you." Evette said with a creepy demeanor. Venelope pushed her away as they laughed.

       "Forget that! As my mom would say "there ain't that much 'sugar' in my 'tea'." Both continued laughing as Danny ran out of the house. He exclaimed happily suited in his winter gear.

       "Ready for this, V, and, uh... V' friend?" He asked with a big smile.

       "You know her name." Venelope shouted. Ray, Lauri and Travis stood around the vehicles with everything packed and ready.

       "Yall ready?" Ray shouted as everyone then made their ways into the vehicles. "Hey, where you goin'?" He said to Lauri who was walking over to Evette' car.

       "I'm gonna hang with the girls." She said with some playful street sass. She and the girls high-fived as Danny walked up behind them.

       "Do I see some three-on-three action trying to happen here?" Danny asked gesturing towards the ladies, then himself, Travis and Ray.

       "For your own good, don't even think about it." Travis said pompously sitting in the backseat with his legs hanging outside the open door. "We told you... we own the mountain."

       "Tell'em one mo' time." Ray added from the front seat as he started the engine.

       "Full of themselves, aren't they?" Evette frowned.

       "Ah, what? Don't even try to act like you don't know." Travis said to her. "You know how I do when I'm doin' what I'm doin'." Danny exclaimed from Travis' words.

       "Save it for the mountain." Lauri said as Danny then placed his arms around she and Venelope' shoulders.

(8)  "I gotta give it to my fellas." Danny said smugly with eyes closed. "Especially, since they have me on their roster again. Yeah-ha!" He said as he ran over to high-five Travis before rounding the vehicle to his seat. The doors shut all at once as if choreographed. Everyone was ready to go.

       "Doors are shut. It's on!" Venelope said from Evette' passenger seat with a cocky smirk. Lauri let her inner child take over and happily took the backseat. The tunes blared as they hit the road. Turning to face her mother, she then sees Penelope sitting beside her. She felt nervous, but only for a moment. She remembered Penelope said she could only be seen by her. Smoothedly playing it off, she turned back around and grooved to the music, smiling even bigger on the inside. She and Evette rocked along to the song. Although this type of music wasn't Lauri' cup of tea, she let herself take it in to let the good times roll. "Come on, momma!" Venelope shouted happily over the music.

       "Don't get me started!" Lauri shouted back as the girls laughed. Evette turned the volume down a few turns down the road.

       "When'd you get your license, Evee?" Venelope asked Evette.

       "'bout two years ago, I think." Evette replied. "You're mom helped me out a lot."

       "Huh? Why? I mean, why didn't you ask your mom or dad?" Venelope asked.

       "They're always claiming they're too busy." Evette said slightly saddened. "I did ask them. More than a couple times, too. But, I was, like, forget it, then. All was good thanks to your mom." She smiled.

       "That's 'cause my mom' the business." Venelope said happily.

       "She's been your friend and coming around the house for years, so I didn't mind helpin' her out." Lauri said.

       "Any new books in the making?" Venelope asked Lauri. She was a great writer and already had three books published that sold quite well.

       "Yeah. I have to keep myself busy." Lauri replied. "When Evette asked me to help her out, I was goin' through a writer' block. So, I needed to get away and clear my head. It was fun, though." She smiled. "I helped Travis, too. He was hangin' around doin' nothin' before he landed the job at the diner. So, I said he might as well get it out of the way, too."

(9)  "She didn't even give him a choice." Evette laughed. "She, basically, threw him in the car." They all laughed. Venelope looked at Penelope who was also laughing along. A bit later, they arrived at the skii resort.

       "We have plenty of time to have some fun here today, but keep in mind, the weather report said there's a good chance of a blizzard coming through." Ray said as they walked. "Stay together, and keep your cells on, please." Locals filled the area, chatting happily. Venelope stopped to look around and take in the nostagia. Facing the mountain, she took a deep breath and smiled before following behind the others. Up the skii lift and reaching their starting point a little later, Danny whoo'ed anxiously to get things rolling. He was without a doubt the cocky type, in a fun way, though. But he was the real deal. He had carved down many mountains in his time. He would even go as far as calling himself a veteran of the sport, whether it was true or not. They all had sorted out their contest to come before getting on the skii lift. The starting gunshot was all that was left.

       "You were shaking like a leaf from the cold before we left." Evette said to Venelope. "Now, you're standing there looking warmer than me." She and Venelope chuckled.

       "I don't know what to tell you." Venelope replied with a shrug. "I guess the adrenaline' pumping. I'm really amped up to do this again. Been too long, Evee." She said serenely with eyes down the mountain. She clapped and exhaled happily. "Hope I'm not too rusty."

       "I got'chu... on camera if you bust your ass." Evette laughed as Venelope jumped on her playfully.

       "Some friend! Really!" They laughed. "Like you can actually board and record at the same time. I doubt you're half that good, even as long as I've been gone." She pushed Evette. Zap!

       "Ouch! Damn!" Evette exclaimed from the static shock she just got from Venelope.

       "Sorry... but you deserved it, though." Venelope laughed. "You're just another Rosey."

       "How the hell do you static shock somebody with that thick jacket on?" Evette said caustiously touching Venelope to see if it would happen again. "Ow. Geez. That really stung. Had some zing to it."

       "Well, quit touchin' me before it happens again!" Venelope said laughing brightly. "You a masochist?" They laughed. Travis was checking his board when a young man his age jumped on him.

(10) "What it is, Vice-Grip!?" The young man said happily as he and Travis then shook hands.

       "T.J.?" Danny said with an unsure smile at the young man.

       "Oh, snaps! No way. The legend'-- the legend' back." T.J. said as he shook hands an hugged Danny. "No way, man. Look at'chu." He said taking a step back.

       "Look at me? Look at you. You really shot up." Danny said. Two guys T.J.' age walked up and stood behind him.

       "These are my boys, Marvin and Nigel." T.J. said as the two greeted Danny. Travis knew the two and hung out with them and T.J. regularly. "So, how long you in town?" T.J. asked Danny. "Travis told me you were down for Thanksgiving, but I was out of town myself for the same thing. Gettin' my grub on." He laughed.

       "Ah, I see." Danny replied. "Well, I'm gonna be here a couple days... like, 'til Christmas."

       "'til Christmas?" T.J. laughed at the joke. December had barely started, so, obviously, Danny was going to be in town for weeks. "Good, good. That's business. Me and Vice-Grip held the mountain down in your absence." He said bowly lightly.

       "Vice-Grip?" Danny smirked at Travis.

       "It just means, when my board grabs the mountain, my moves are so tight it can't get away from me." Travis said before he and T.J. screamed playfully and shook hands.

        "I feel you." Danny said with a smile. "You got it like that now, huh, T?" Travis smiled with a bit of nervousness. "I'ma grab a coffee and catch you guys in a few, alright?" He said shaking their hands before walking off.

       "Alright, legend!" T.J. said with his hands raised to the sides of his mouth. "Now--" He said clearing his throat as he leaned closer to Travis. "--for the real reason I came over here. Who is that cute mullato cookie over there with Evette?" They looked over at Venelope who was about twenty yards away.

(11) "You don't recognize her with the short hair?" Travis smirked. "You weren't feelin' her back then." T.J. put his thinking cap on, but found no clue in Travis' words. He was utterly puzzled. A wet match in the dark. As he took a real good look at Venelope, Travis counted down like a game show host. "3... 2... 1... and your time' up, sir." T.J. waited eagerly for Travis to tell him who she was. His corky smile made Travis laugh. "That's my cousin, Venelope, fool!" He said pushing T.J.' shoulder.

       "What? No way!" He said with a dropped jaw. "She, uh... man. She grew up."

       "Like I said, you weren't feelin' her back then." Travis said walking towards Venelope as T.J. quickly jogged up beside him.

       "Man, Evette ain't bad. She' bomb, actually. But, standing next to her... she just seems... irrelevant." T.J' eyes never leaving the sight of Venelope. "She with anybody?"

       "I'd set her up on a blind date with a rattlesnake before I gave you the go ahead to get with her." Though he was joking, Travis' face was as serious as could be.

       "Man, that's colder than the ice we're walkin' on." T.J. said with a playfully depressed tone.

       "Hey, V." Travis said to Venelope as they reached the two girls. "You remember Thomas?" Venelope looked at T.J. awkwardly before it sank in.

       "Yeah, I do." She replied as she reached to shake T.J.' hand. "Good seeing you again."

       "You, too. And it's T.J. now, please." T.J. said with a confident smirk.

       "Okay." Venelope nodded.

       "Sup, Evee?" T.J. said to Evette who simply gestured 'what's up' with a raise of her chin. "You back for good this time?" He said looking at Venelope.

       "Nope. Maybe. I don't know." She replied. Danny, Ray and Lauri walked up to them as they then made their way to the starting point. Danny took off down the mountain like a mad man as T.J. and Travis followed behind him. "I thought you were gonna do it, too, mom." Lauri stood there boardless beside Ray.

(12) "I skii, girl." Lauri replied to Venelope' laughter. "I need four sticks. One for each leg and hand."

       "Aww." Venelope said as Ray shuffled and hopped into his start.

       "Watch the ice melt behind me!" Ray smiled as he took off. Venelope whooped for her dad as she felt butterflies in her stomach.

       "Ready, girl?" Evette said brightly. Venelope nodded as Evette then sped down the mountain. Looking at her mother once more, Venelope hopped into her run. A bit shaky, but she quickly regained her knack for the sport in the moments to come. Travis and T.J. tailed Danny who pulled a big-air trick off one of the snow ramps.

       "Le~gend!" T.J. screamed as he and Travis then flew off the same ramp.

       "Thomas Jenkins. Thomas Jenkins and Vice-Grip!" Danny said happily as the boys caught up to him. The entire day flew by on the slopes. Dusk was near.

       "We wanna get one last run in." Travis said to Ray and Lauri. Lauri looked at Ray to handle the decision who shoo-ed them off with a sigh.

       "Come on, Evee!" Venelope said trailing behind Danny, Travis and T.J.

       "Mm-mmm. I'm done." Evette replied bashfully with some fatigue in her tone. "I'll see you when you get back."

       "Fine." Venelope smiled as she sped up to catch the guys.

       "The wind' picking up already!" Ray shouted. "Tell that surf-bum uncle of yours to put a rush on it, alright?"

       "Ok~ay" Her voice slightly drowned out by the wind. A bit later, Evette took a seat in the resort' cafe with a steamy latte and an eager face to go along with it. She stirred in some marshmallows before taking a sip.

(13) "I ain't never seen nobody put marshmallos in a latte." Lauri said sitting opposite to Evette. Evette couldn't help but to chuckle, postponing her initial sip just that much longer. Lauri looked at Ray who was sitting beside her next to the window. His eyes peering into the darkness beyond the window. His expression was solemn. He saw the storm building and began regretting the permission he gave for that last run. Lauri placed a hand on his lap as he then faced her. She pecked him on the cheek with a faint smile. He lowered his gaze towards the table slightly before looking back through the window.

       Just over half an hour passed. The blizzard had come. Ray was pacing before the cafe' door. He was obviously worried, but there was a strong sensation of anger in his demeanor as well. Though he, Lauri and Evette had tried to contact the four via cell, reception in such a storm, let alone them even being able to hear or feel their phones ringing, was a stretch. Just plain old wishful thinking. Boom! The cafe door burst open and smacked into the wall from the strong wind. Danny and T.J. entered the cafe with several others behind them. It took three men to shut the door. Ray' eyes widened with worry and disbelief to see his daughter and Travis were not among the group. As Danny tried to get to his feet on the slippery floor, Ray hauled him up. Wham! Slamming Danny up against the door, Ray eyed him fiercely.

       "Where's my daughter!?" Ray shouted nose-to-nose at Danny. His grip was inhumanly strong. Though Danny was the bigger stronger brother, a man gains a certain kind of strength in such situations. "Where the hell is she!?" Lauri tried to get Ray to unhinge his steel-trap grip. A few other men were able to pry Ray away, but not before he knocked Danny to the ground with a punch to the face.

       "Baby, calm down!" Lauri said to Ray with her hands on his chest. He couldn't keep himself still as he continued pacing back and forth as Lauri then turned to face Danny and T.J.. "What happened?" T.J. was so shaken he couldn't answer. Danny got to his feet, etching up against the door. "Danny, dammit, say something!" Her voice breaking slightly. She was holding back her tears as best she could. The wind roared through the trees. Venelope' snowboard had been snapped in two from being blown against a tree. But, where was she? The sound of something being dragged-- a body, came to ear. The lifeless heels bumped over the snow-caped earth and stone. Hot breath screamed as it met the adverse air from blue lips. A raven-haired girl was dragging the unconscious Venelope towards a cave to escape the storm. Reaching it, the girl sat up against the inside wall trying to catch her breath. Her body shivered feverishly as she tried to warm her hands. She looked at Venelope for a moment before dragging her further away from the cave' entrance and laying her over her lap.

(14) "Why are you ignoring me?" Penelope asked the girl. "I just want to help." The girl could see and hear Penelope? She looked up at Penelope with a sharp glare as her own conscience appeared beside her. Just like Venelope, her conscience was identical to her. The mouth of the cave was gradually closed by the snowfall. The storm could barely be heard now. A couple hours went by. The others were forced to stay at the cafe. The locals slept on the floor and seats. Some were fortunate enough to be given blankets from the workers, while others just bundled together. Evette and T.J. cuddled up to stay warm. Ray and Lauri held each other tight as they stood with worry ridden eyes aimed out the windows. Danny sat at the opposite end of the cafe just as worried. He blamed himself for his recklessness, beating himself up on the inside. He wanted to run out into the storm and find Venelope and Travis at all costs.

       Venelope coughed hoarsely as she came to. Her hands were like stone. She couldn't even make a fist. She looked up to see the raven-haired girl was asleep. She tried to get up, but her body was just too cold. She managed to roll off the girl' lap onto the floor to her back. She looked up to see her wicked conscience had returned. Looming over her with a grin that fed off of her agony. Penelope appeared. A glint sparked in Venelope' eyes. She felt safe, but then she took in Penelope' uneasy expression.

       "Hurry up already." Penelope said to the wicked one.

       "What's the rush? Not like she's gonna freeze to death-- oh, yeah. She could, huh?" The wicked one replied with a vile smirk.

       "Enough of your nonsense!" Penelope shouted. "Save her! Both of them!"

       "I will, I will." She said looking at Penelope. "But I have a condition that needs to be met first." Penelope' eyes narrowed as the wicked one turned her gaze back on Venelope. Venelope looked on in fear. Her blood went colder as she looked into the wicked one' eyes. Her black, lifeless eyes. "I want a name, too." She smiled. She could almost pass for being innocent in that moment. "I recall you saying you'd give me one later." She sucked her teeth with a shake of her head. "Ya know, that really hurt my feelings. You've never once gave me a smile, either."

       "Stop torturing her like this!" Penelope said stepping forward. "Just give yourself a name and be done with this... please!" Penelope' heartache filled her eyes as tears brimmed. Venelope' stammering caught their attention. They faced her instantly as she tried as hard as she could to speak.

(15) "Ca--Ca--ss--ss--" Venelope coughed as she continued trying to speak throughout.

       "Take it slowly, Venelope." Penelope said kneeling down beside her. "Easy."

       "Spit it out already. My, God." The wicked one said rolling her eyes uncaringly. Venelope took a moment to right herself and managed to stop her shivering for just long enough.

       "Ca--Cassi-dy... C-assidy." Venelope said to the wicked one who was now facing her again. After a hard swallow, she said once more-- "Cassidy! Your name'... Cassidy!" The wicked one grinned ear-to-ear.

Where We Place Our Hearts Chapter 1 by Phiar
Where We Place Our Hearts Chapter 1
This picture' chapter is in my journal list.

Synopsis (Action/Supernatural/Drama): Venelope, an eighteen-year-old high school graduate, dreams of being a track star. Upon visiting family, she learns that she can interact with her consciences; the good and the bad side. Through further interactions with each, she's able to use supernatural powers based on her dominant conscience. A dark future presents itself when she learns there are others with these powers. Using her abilities, she tries to keep a normal life while not turning a blind eye to the ones using these powers for wrong-doing.

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"Where We Place Our Hearts"

by Christopher D. Phillips a.k.a. Phiar


Chapter 1: "Back Home"

(1) Folded clothes lying on an un-kept bed. In fact, the entire room wasn't exactly in order. Mainly clothes thrown about, left to lay where ever they had landed. A stereo playing tunes from an ipod connected to it, blared just over a common voice' tone. A young girl sitting on said bed, fell to her back between and atop the folded clothes. A depressed sigh floated to the ceiling - the girl' eyes peered upward as if watching it. Playing with the beige curtains before running across a bare navel - a cool breeze let itself in from the open window. Twice, a knock sounded on the nearly closed door before it was opened by a man. He appeared to be some where within his mid to late thirties. He placed his left hand on his thigh as he waved his right, palm up, with a displeased smirk at the cluttered room. The girl rose her hands to her cheeks in an embarrassed fashion. She was eighteen, African-American with short hair and light skin. The man was Caucasian with shoulder-length blond hair.

       "V-e-e--" The man sung with a touch of annoyance.

       "I know, I know. I'm sorry. I just barely laid down right before you walked in." The girl said as she rose up to a sitting position.

       "Yeah, I'm sure." The man replied as he walked a few feet into the room. He tapped a bobble-head toy that stood on the dresser to his left. "If only you were as fast at cleaning as you are on the track." The girl frowned playfully. "Too much to ask for, I guess."

       "That's a low-blow. I'm--" She looked around her room. The obvious lie to come, mixed with her embarrassment, made the sight of her messy room ten times worse in her eyes in that instant. "--a-almost... done." Her staggered reply and big smile made the man laugh loudly.

       "Okay, okay. I'm not gonna play the harsh parent card. I'm too cool for that." He tapped the bobble-head again just as it was about to stop.

       "Way too cool." She added. Obviously trying to keep the heat of a possible parental crack-down off her neck. "If you were any cooler. Y-you-- you'd freeze the water at the beach." The man' proud demeanor was garnished by her sweet-talk. He puffed his chest out only to shatter the moment with a choked cough. He pounded his chest firmly to get the cough in check.

       "Alright, now. Come on." He said clapping his hands twice. "Now that you brought up water, I really want you to get this done, so we can go to the beach before we skip city."

(2)  "Okay. I'm on it." She stretched and sighed. "And that's an obvious lie." The man' face sank. "We were goin' to the beach regardless. You'd just feel better about it if I got this done first." The man' eyes narrowed.

       "Touche." He was speechless knowing he was caught by the crafty teen. The girl chuckled as she then stood on the bed with a hand raised to her brow.

       "I shall not rest until this room has reached the 'spot' of 'less'." The man rose his hand to his brow as both saluted.

       "Carry on, private." He said with a military mocked tone before walking out of the room in the same fashion. The girl got back to work promptly. With a smile strapped to her face, she showed some vigor in her cleaning now. The hours flew by as the two were now surfing at the beach. On this late November day, the weather was quite chilly; but not cold enough for these two to pass up the waves. The man surfed on a decent wave as the girl sat a ways away on her surfboard and clapped happily.

       Hey, what's up. I'm Venelope. I know, it's kinda odd. But my parents aren't exactly the common type. My mom' aunt was named Penelope. She meant a lot to my mom. When she passed, my mom was so broken by it. That's what my dad told me, anyway. So, to kind of 'inherit' her spirit, my mom named me Venelope. Similar, but different. My hometown is Billings, Montana where my parents live. For the last six years, I've been living here in Laguna Beach, California with my uncle, Danny. He's a big kid and loves the waves. My dad calls him a surf-bum. It fits. I call him that from time-to-time. He taught me how to surf-- teaching me, rather. I suck compared to him, but I'll catch up. I've been forced to clean my room because we're packing to go visit my parents. My uncle is just as messy as me, so it's hard for either of us to get into a cleaning mood. I graduated early from high school. So, until I find a job, or go to college. I have all the free time in the world. What better way to spend it than with family, right? We stayed at my parent' house the week leading up to Thanksgiving and the day itself. We never miss a holiday, and if we do, we make up for it by making our own holiday at some resort or theme park. Danny paddled over to her.

       "Good run?" She asked.

(3)   "Always." He replied as he kept his eyes on the waves. "Have you thought about what your mom and dad said during our last visit?" She nodded lightly - keeping a faint smile. "So, where are you with it? Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to pressure you on your decision. But, if you do decide to go back home for good... uncle would be okay with it." He said with a smile just bigger than the one she was wearing. She lightly smacked the water's surface with her fingertips. The sound of the ocean filled the scene as they fell silent.

       "I... I wanna go back, but I... I-I don't know if I wanna stay." She eyed her board - lacing and unlacing her fingers. "I feel like I haven't matured at all. Those same feelings from when I first came to live with you are coming back."

       "It's not always bad having a strong feeling to not wanna let somethin' go. I remember when my goldfish, Archie, died." Her eyes rose up to him without moving the rest of her. He inhaled deeply before biting his lip. "I kept his bowl just the way it was when he passed... for six months." Venelope' head now upright with a comical expression filled with skepticism. He inhaled again with a shake of his head, biting his lip a bit more deeply.

       "Unc..." She said quietly as he faced her. "You never had a goldfish." His eyes rolled around as he thought hard, trying to find validation for his story. A smile started building on her face from Danny' confusion, like a volcano itching to erupt. She broke out into an inaudible laugh, her shoulders quaking as she covered her mouth.

       "Naw, naw, I had one. Yeah, Archie." He answered, though his tone was far from convincing. His eyes still rolling about. Her laughter erupted.

       "No. No, you didn't. That's the dumbest, fake sob story I've ever heard." She laughed.

       "How you gonna-- How you just gonna write off my story as phony? It's true as this water we're on." She fell to her back, laughing until she had to hold her sides from the cramping pain. Splash! She rolled into the water. Surfacing, her laughter didn't falter as she hung onto her board. Her cheek placed on it as her body continued to quake. "I ain't tellin' you another one of my childhood stories! That's just plain rude." He said turning his upset face away from her.

       "'cause it ain't true! Drop the act." She said still laughing. Danny flipped her board over as he then paddled to shore. She got herself right again, but couldn't stop laughing. "You can't just do that to me and run off! He--" Her heart thumped. The sudden feeling left her nervous and quiet. She couldn't even hear the ocean anymore.

(4)  "Get to shore." A voice whispered. Venelope looked around for the speaker. As she did, her nervousness became fear as she saw no one else around. Danny had already made it to shore.

       "Don't look down." Another whispered voice snickered. Similar, but the mischievous tone distinquished the two. The first was softer and had a sense of concern to it, while the second was undeniably intended to instill fear. Her fear began building into a panic as she paddled to shore as fast as possible. Though she reached the shore safely, frightful jitters trembled all over her body. Looking back at the water, she wondered where the voices came from. She wasn't going to write herself off as crazy. Things like this had never happened before. But with no one else on the water, she couldn't help but assume. Was she losing it? Dizziness laid over her and made her knees give-out for a second. She used her board as a crutch and caught herself. Placing a hand over her face with closed eyes, she tried to get herself back to normal. Adversely, closing her eyes made the dizziness worse as it made her focus on it. Everything was spinning now, even in the darkness beneath her eyelids. Danny walked over to her a moment later.

       "You all right?" He asked. She looked at him as her head slightly wavered, much like the bobble-head in her room. The dizziness grew stronger as she slumped down to her knees. Danny reacted instantly and grabbed her by the arms to help lower her slower. "Hey." He said with concern.

       "I'm so-- diz-dizzy." She replied with a choked stammer as if about to gag.

       "Take it easy." Danny said as he helped her sit down. Her eyes rolled to the top of her head. "Hey. Hey, V!" His tone worried and scared. He continued calling her, but just like the waves, his voice faded away. She blacked out. That mischievous snicker sounded again in the blackness of her unconsciousness.

       "I know it's in your nature to be malevolent, but why do you have to be so... malevolent?" The soft voice asked in the darkness. The mischievous voice scuffed uncaringly.

       "I did the same thing you did, just in my own way. She's safely on shore because of me."

       "Because of you?" The soft voice said with a raised tone.

       "Me inducing a teeny, tiny bit of fear got her to safety, promptly." She giggled. "People use fear in one of two ways. It either makes them run or freeze."

(5)   "...whatever." The soft voice said quietly. Obviously annoyed, it didn't want to reply anymore. "She's waking up." Venelope' eyelids fluttered before staying open. She was lying on a hospital bed. She looked at the open door as she slowly regained her senses completely. The footsteps of nurses passing by came to ear, then indistinct talking. She sat up as Danny then walked into the room.

       "I thought I heard you moving around." He said as he came to stand beside her bed. "You feelin' okay now?" She nodded. "You sure?" He asked as he lowered his posture so he was looking up at her. His goofy smirk made her chuckle.

       "Yeah. Yeah. I'm good now." She said with a smile. "So, what--what happened?"

       "The doc said you were dehydrated, most likely. From the salt water."

       "That's never happened before. We weren't even out there that long." Danny shrugged having nothing else sensible to add. "I--" She stopped herself instantly. She was about to tell her uncle about the voices she heard. She kept her eyes on her lap as she tried to recall the incident. She couldn't remember what the voices had said, but she knew she remembered hearing them. She couldn't tell her uncle about something like this, no matter how down-to-earth he was. "I meant, uh... how long do I have to stay here?" Her eyes still on her lap.

       "The IV's look like they've done their jobs. Doc said as long as you feel good enough to leave, you can." He smiled. "And for you too stay well hydrated for the rest of the day." He held a small paper cup of water out to her. She looked up at him. "Just in case." He said with a shrug. Both smiled as she took the cup in hand. Minutes later, they stepped outside the building - dusk.

       "No way! How long was I out?" Her eyes wide open. Danny stood beside her with his hands in his pockets. He churned his lips about before spitting out a sharp sigh.

       "Um... you blacked out around one-- 1:30'ish or two, I think." She faced the sidewalk in disbelief. "So, you were out for a bit." He stepped off the curb before turning to face her. She then followed behind him to the car. The various street lights streamed in her eyes as she slumped against the window. She couldn't get the thought of hearing voices out of her head. Glancing over at Danny, she looked back through her window as soon as he looked at her. "You hungry?" His eyes back on the road for a few seconds before looking at her again. Stopping at a red light, she stared into it before blinking to closed eyes. She sighed softly. She remained silent until they crossed the intersection and were a ways down the road.

(6)   "I don't like blacking out." She said just above a whisper. "It's not fun." She looked at him as both grew smiles in the seconds to come.

       "I'd expect it isn't." He gripped the steering wheel tightly before relaxing with a sigh. "Look, I'm starving. You had me worried, Black Out Beauty. And making me worried, makes me hungry. Very much so." She started chuckling from his playfully raised tone. "Yeah, you can laugh. But if we pass up one more restaurant, one of us is going to sleep hungry tonight. And that ain't gonna be me." She propped up with some vigor.

       "Okay. Pick your poison." She said peering down the road.

       "It's gonna take some highly venomous stuff to satiate this hunger." Venelope laughed.

       "Ooh, ooh!" She exclaimed excitedly pointing at a restaurant.

       "Alright, monkey." She frowned from the comment as he chuckled. "Ooh, ooh." He mocked only for her to smack his arm. He continued mocking her.

       "Stop it! You're being a real punk. I just had a... life-threatening episode, and this is what I get from you?"

       "Yeah, I'm your uncle." He replied without a moment' hesitation and with the straightest face a person could possibly make. Her jaw dropped with a big smile. "I'm supposed to, and I'm allowed to more than any other to kick you while you're down. Helps you get up stronger." She dropped into her seat with folded arms. Her expression wavered between a smile and a frown. "I just had a life-threatening experience." He said with an overly feminine tone. "Like, OMG. Freakin' drama queen." She laughed before kicking his thigh. "Alright, if we crash, then ain't nobody eating."

       "Then, leave me alone!" He chuckled from her expression. She tried to be serious, but her smile won over. They pulled into a parking lot. Both tried to trip each other on their way to the restaurant' door. She fell to her rear, losing the battle. Danny laughed obnoxiously as he crouched and pointed at her. She quickly rubbed her rear before springing to her feet and giving chase through the restaurant doors. After a good time and meal, they arrived at home about an hour and a half later. In her night clothes, she stood in the bathroom, staring at herself in the mirror. The door slammed shut with a load bang that made her jump. An instant sweat broke out onto her face as her chest pumped with each breath. Trying to open the door which seemed to be welded shut, she screamed for her uncle!

(7)   "Shut up already! Geez!" Venelope froze. She felt as if she turned her neck, it would shatter like ice. The voice that sounded was the same mischievous one she had heard at the beach. Just as she was about to turn around, a warm hand touched her shoulder. Instantly, her fear was gone. She felt as warm as said hand and quite happy. A blissful unknowing that just felt... good. "Still gonna baby her?" The voice exhaled sharply. "...I'm gone."

       "... good." The soft voice said to herself. "Venelope, wake up now. It's okay."

       "Wake up! V, come on. Hey." It was Danny. Her eyes opened. Danny had a firm grip on her arms and had been trying to shake her awake. "You were goin' berserk, then you just stopped on a dime out of no where." His arched brow full of worry and a lack of understanding. She sat up as his expression remained the same. "You're really startin' to scare the hell out of me, V. What's really goin' on?" To her, his voice, though clear, sounded smothered. As if she had earplugs in. She took a deep breath. "V, Say somethin'." She blinked a few times with a low grunt from the grogginess.

       "I'm good." She said quietly.

       "Yeah, my ass, you're good!" He placed a hand on her forehead. "Sweatin' like a pig on a spin-up. I'ma get a wet towel. Don't move." He stood and looked at her for a moment before leaving the room. He sighed and rubbed the back of his head as he turned the corner. Venelope, with a crooked neck, blankly stared at her palms. She took a deep breath and exhaled. She placed her feet on the floor while still seated. It pained her to not be able to remember a thing from that dream. Was it a dream, she thought over and over. She didn't even remember falling asleep or walking into the house last night. Danny entered the room, handing her a bowl of water with a face towel in it. He leaned against her dresser with folded arms. She placed the bowl with the towel inside it beside her after wiping her face.

       "I don't remember when we got home. I don't remember leaving the restaurant... but I feel like I do..." She looked up at Danny. "Can I get some sort of clarity from you, unc?" She said with a comical tone and a light shake of her head. "You're in statue mode right now, and quit looking at me like that!" He chuckled quietly.

       "You're freakin' me out, you know?" She lowered her eyes as he sighed a moment later. "Well--" He cleared his throat. "--we went to the diner. You handled two number ones, on my dollar, I might add." She smiled faintly. "Then, you just crashed. I'm talkin' face-down on the tray." She chuckled.

(8)   "You're lying!" He rose his hands palms up, gesturing that his words were true.

       "It's true. You're friend, Rosey, was workin'. She even took a picture or two of you. That's undeniable proof. I bet Instagram and Face Book are goin' crazy right now." She threw a pillow at him. Catching it, he shrugged before placing it on the dresser and sitting on it. She jumped up quickly with a shout. Her legs gave-out as she dropped to her knees. Danny got to her instantly. "Whoa, take it easy." He helped her back to her bed before leaning back on the dresser.

       "Ah! I'm sick of this already. I don't like feeling like this. Anything else happen?" Danny took the bobble-head in hand as he tried to think of anything else.

       "Um... well, since you were kissin' the tray, I had to carry you in. I thought track runners were supposed to be light." She grabbed another pillow to throw. She had several, so ammunition was abundant. A second thought quickly raced through her mind as she sat it back down. "Yeah." He chuckled. "I'll sit on that one, too."

       "I hate you sometimes." She said with a grumpy tone.

       "Let's go get some breakfast." She nodded as he then flew off her dresser with a fart.

       "Ah! No! You're nasty!" She screamed.

       "Hey, hey, it could've been worse. I could've dropped that on your pillow."

       "You stink!"

       "I stink, huh? Alright." He said as he reached for the pillow. She quickly jumped up and fought him to get the pillow back. He backed into her and farted again. "Yeah-ha-haa!" He laughed as she jumped about in a girly fashion, digusted from being the stink' ground zero. She planted a swift, strong kick on his butt that made him leap in pain out the doorway. "Ow! You didn't hold back!"

       "I sure didn't!" She tailed him and continued kicking him down the hallway.

       "Buy your own breakfast, then!" He laughed.

(9)   "Naw-uh! That ain't fair." The next couple days flew by and they were now on the road heading to Billings. It was a long drive, so they switched off, each driving half the way. Venelope drove first and was now sleeping in the back seat with her headphones on playing. Danny snacked on some chips as he turned up the radio a bit and vibed to the music. Venelope dreamed. Walking through a vast space of nothingness. The area was shadowed, faintly lit like the first light of dawn. She stopped as she caught notice of another set of footsteps beside hers. She was confused, but had a faint sense of understanding, too. Like, there needed to be another set. She looked around as some footsteps came to ear close by. Moments later, she was able to locate the direction from which they were coming from. The steps slowly sounded wetter, as if stepping in an inch of water. She then noticed water was on the floor, which wasn't there a second ago. The footsteps came into sight. Oddly, that's all it was - footsteps. There was no one there, only ripples, which had stopped just over several feet away. Venelope peered into said direction with narrow eyes, focusing as hard as she could. She stood quietly, her mind filled with a blank anticipation.

       "Please, don't be scared." It was the soft voice again. Naturally, a shutter ran across Venelope' body. "It's harder for me to be around you when you're afraid." The more Venelope listened, the more calm she became. She slowly began remembering the times the voices had spoken. Though they were fragmented, and she was still puzzled, she had a faint feeling of understanding. "Are you still scared?" Venelope' face showed some confidence. She tried to pool some into her voice so she could answer. She cleared her throat.

       "N-- No. I'm not... that scared..." Venelope replied. The scene fell silent before two steps from the voice' direction sounded. The ripples broke into many more after reaching Venelope' feet.

       "That's good enough for me." The voice said with just a touch of joy. "I'm sorry for making you uneasy the times before. Not many people can hear voices and still call themselves sane." Venelope' body was now relaxed - comfortable.

       "Are you just a voice, or... or is there something more to you?" Venelope asked. Two more steps were taken from the voice' direction.

       "Are you ready to see me?" Venelope swallowed loudly - opening and closing her hands slowly.

(10) "...... yes." She replied just above a whisper. A subtle light began to shine from where the steps had stopped and glistened in Venelope' widened eyes as it grew brighter. Feet now appeared at said spot with the rest of the body slowly materializing upward. Pants as white as the light came into sight as the waist-line was reached. A short, white top with long sleeves hung down to calves. Bare shoulders and the tip of the chin could now be seen. Lips, cheeks, nose. Venelope was astonished to look upon the entire being. Earrings chimed as the being cloaked in light smiled warmly.

       "I'm glad we could finally meet. It will be easier for us to talk in the future now. But I have to go now."

       "Huh? Why?" Venelope asked as she took a step towards the being. "Why can't we talk more now?" The being smile bigger.

       "Because of your mother." The being answered, causing Venelope to arch in confusion.

       "My mother--" WHAM! A loud smack sounded as Venelope shot wide awake. Her mother, Lauri, was outside the vehicle laughing loudly with her hands on the window. They had arrived in Billings. It took Venelope a few seconds to come to her senses. She then quickly got out and hugged her mother tightly. The snow and dirt crunched underfoot. "Momm~a!" She shouted happily as they circled a few times while hugging and laughing.

       "God, I missed you so much!" Lauri said. "I couldn't resist scaring you awake after your uncle said you were out here sleeping. I ran out here as fast as I could to make sure I didn't miss my chance." They laughed. "I had to slow down on those steps. Almost busted my ass. That ice ain't no joke." They walked towards the house arm-in-arm. "You got that California tan. Gonna have to go down there and get me one." They chuckled.

       "That's my momma." Venelope thought to herself. "Wow, you've really been on it." She said referring to her mother' slimmer physique as she stepped away to get a better look. "I'm proud of you, mom."

       "Thank you. I been at the gym, girl. Gettin' my sexy back." They laughed. "Where do you think you got your athleticism, good looks and smarts from?"

       "Dad said that was all him." Her mother frowned with dissappointment as Venelope went sheepish. Now arm-in-arm again, they continued walking.

(11) "Please, baby. Your dad was a C student, couldn't do a lay-up, and he only landed me 'cause he could make me laugh." Both chuckled as she then sighed. "Things were different back then. Easier. Just, clockwork." Heavy footsteps came to ear from the wooden porch. It was her dad, Ray, making a quick walk to her with a warm smile. Venelope ran to him as he picked her up and hugged tightly.

       "Dad." Her voice smothered from pressing her face into his shoulder.

       "MM!" He grunted with one more squeeze before setting her down. "My baby girl' back." He subtle and warm. He was six foot three to her five foot six, so he hunched over to look her eye-to-eye. "It's colder around here when you ain't around."

       "I keep you warm enough!" Lauri intervening with a stern voice and smile. He took her under his arm as Danny walked out onto the porch.

       "Why you always gotta try and start somethin'?" Ray said to Lauri as they pecked a kissed onto each other' lips.

       "Hey, things haven't changed between us, Lauri." Danny said leaning his shoulder against the porch. "If little bro is messin' up, you know you got me whenever you need me." He quickly reacted, running off the steps as Ray scooped up a snowball and gave chase. "OW!" Danny yelped as the snowball stung his lower back. "You didn't hold back!" He and Ray wrestled around.

       "Go ahead and keep that up and bust ya ass." Lauri said. To her surprise, Venelope had slipped onto her rear that same moment. "Now, what is wrong with you?" She asked with her hands on her hips. Venelope got to all four, nervous to stand and risk another fall. "If I can stand on this ice and not fall--" She stopped as Venelope playfully snapped at her.

       "You gonna serve me right now, mom? Really?" Venelope looked up at her with shakey arms. Her fingers had vanished beneath the snow. "I could use some help and not a lecture." Lauri pointed at her with a rised brow.

       "Interrupt me again." Lauri said playfully as she then went to help her up. More footsteps sounded from the porch. Venelope looked over to see a young man her age.

       "I got her, L." The young man said as he cleared the steps with a leap. It was her cousin, Travis. "Not here five minutes, and already hurtin' yourself." He said to Venelope with a smile as he helped her to her feet. She dusted herself off before giving him a hug. "How you been?" He chuckled.

(12) "Good, good." She replied. "What have you been doing? You're, like, buff." Travis was unable to reply as Danny and Ray bumped into him before standing beside him.

       "It's cold up here." Ray said. "Need some meat on your bones, or... a hot woman--" He stepped over and kissed Lauri again. "When things get too cold."

       "That's right." Lauri added proudly as Ray walked back over beside Travis.

       "I'm, like, right here." Venelope said with her eyes low. Seeing the flirtacious acts of one' parents was something no teenager wanted to experience.

       "You think-- you honestly think I'ma let you do that to my woman in front of me?" Danny said with a smirk.

       "Slow down now." Ray said patting Danny' chest twice. "You just loss one fight. Don't lose another one."

       "Please. I went easy on you. I ain't gonna embarass a man in front of his family. Not on the first day, anyway, I won't." Ray oo-ed as he stepped out in front of Danny.

       "Sounds like a challenge to me." Ray said looking at everyone. "Is that what it was? Was that what I think it was?"

       "You got snow in your ears or somethin'?" Danny said stepping up to him.

       "Laguna' got your head all watered down. We hit the ice up here, not the waves."

       "I taught you how to board." Danny said pressing his index fingers into Ray' chest. "You ain't sayin' nothin'!" He laughed as Ray smacked his hands away.

       "Things change. I'm the king 'round this 'itch now." Ray put an arm around Travis' shoulders. "Me and this young man own these moutains, from top to bottom. Am I lying, Mr. Travis?"

       "He ain't lying." Travis added with a smile. A girl he and Venelope' age came into sight just down the road. Venelope nervously scuttled towards the girl as she came into the driveway.

       "You're back, girl!" The girl said excitedly as they then hugged. "What was that penguin walk you were doin' just now?" She laughed.

       "Don't start with me, Evette." Venelope frowned playfully. "I already fell once." They chuckled.

(13) "You lost your snow feet? Well, I'm gonna help you get'em back." Evette replied. She was just flushed with joy to see her friend again. They walked arm-in-arm back to the others who were making their way into the house. "I missed you out here, girl."

       "I missed you, too, and everyone." Venelope replied. They pressed against each other with big smiles.

       "How long you down for?"

       "Um... awhile. Gonna be here a good while." Venelope nodded.

       "Like, 'til Christmas awhile?" Evette asked as they reached the steps.

       "That's the plan. Maybe a little longer." They reached the top step and stopped in front of the open door. "I graduated early, so I have a grip of free time."

       "Awesome, and congrats!" Evette said brightly. "We can really catch up now."

       "Excuse me?" Lauri said to the two from inside the house. "Do yall pay the electric bill 'round here?" The two bit their lips as they scurried into the house. "That's what I thought." She chuckled as Venelope hugged and kissed her cheek.

       "Good to see you, Lauri." Evette said after closing the door behind herself.

       "You, too." Lauri smiled.

What's up, everyone? Phiar here!

      I'm ecstatic to say that I have completed the writing of my 36 comic. I did so on September 2nd. Since said time, I have been drawing it out. I'm making steady progress on it. For those who have read my 36' Introduction Chapter, I'm starting from there and revising that chapter. All the following chapters I have in my gallery will also be revised. I can see my improvements now; drawing and writing-wise, so I'm really amped about that. I don't have all of the necessary comic making tools, so I'm doing what I can by making improvisation my foundation until I can acquire such tools. 

      Anyway, since that's going to take awhile before it will be uploaded. My other story "Where We place Our Hearts", will be having monthly uploads in the meantime. I want to at least upload a chapter, if not two a month to keep it rolling fairly well. But, I'll just have to wait and see how that goes. It's my second attempt at a novel. As an aspiring comic artist, I need pictures in my books. LOL! So, there will be pictures in said story, but not as many as a comic book, naturally. I hope you all will enjoy that story. I'll be uploading its chapters as journals. Until next time, I leave you with its synopsis and hope it's intriguing enough to draw your attention. Later!



"Where We Place Our Hearts"


Synopsis (Action/Supernatural/Drama): Venelope, an eighteen-year-old high school graduate, dreams of being a track star. Upon visiting family, she learns that she can interact with her consciences; the good and the bad side. Through further interactions with each, she's able to use supernatural powers based on her dominant conscience. A dark future presents itself when she learns there are others with these powers. Using her abilities, she tries to keep a normal life while not turning a blind eye to the ones using these powers for wrong-doing.






   

                                                                                                                       "Where We Place Our Hearts"                                                                                                                  


                                                                                                                    Chapter 2: "Blizzard Bargain"
                                                                                                                                              by
                                                                                                                   Christopher D. Phillips a.k.a. Phiar


(1)       Later that night, Venelope lied wide awake on the living room sofa. It was already passed midnight. The crackling of the fireplace, she loved the that sound. Though as calming and nostagic as it was, she just couldn't drift off to sleep. Having already been lying there since ten o' clock, it's natural that a slight frustration added to her inability to doze off. She tossed a few blocks of wood into the fire before going into the fridge. She grabbed a can of soda and plopped back onto the coach with a sigh. She skimmed through her cell' text messages. Several friends from Laguna had messaged her. It made her smile to know they were thinking of her. As late as it was, she wasn't going to message them now, even though she wanted to. She just wanted someone to talk to who was as restless as she was. As she sat her phone down, a voice from the fireplace' direction sent a chill up her spine.

       "Why so restless?" Venelope recognized that the voice was different from before. The sound of footsteps-- more accurately, boots, nearing her, stopped halfway between her and the fireplace.

       "... is that you again?" Venelope whispered, thinking it was the girl she spoke to earlier in the car. As spooked as she was, she remained vigilant as to not be caught talking to someone - someone she still thought wasn't actually there. The battle between sane and insanity was still conflicting in her mind.

(2)  "What do mean 'again?'' The voice answered, only now it was coming from the kitchen behind her. Venelope turned around quickly. Her hands gripping into the couch. Her eyes speedily skimmed over the entire kitchen. The dense footsteps sounded again, coming from the kitchen to around the far side of the sofa into the living room. The heaviness of the steps had a dark feel to them that was fear inducing all their own. Venelope could see the voice' boots now. Their visibility came and went in the flickers of the fire. Steel-toed and worn in. They were black, but the wear made them grayish, too. Thick mud stuck in the grooves and caked along their sides gave Venelope even more chills. "You're not scared... enough... yet." Venelope swallowed slowly. The windows creaked and tree branches clawed the roof before silence took over the room - instantly. Her fingers etched towards her pillow and blanket. Eek - squeaked a cupboard opening in the kitchen. Venelope turned sharply to face it. The voice chuckled as the cupboard slowly closed. Venelope looked back at the floor to see the boots were gone. Her heart pounded, almost loud enough to overtake the fire' crackle. "You're gettin' there." The voice chuckled as the creaking and clawing returned. Venelope was now petrified. Only her uncontrollable trembling gave motion to her stone-like posture. Her unblinking eyes lit by the fire. Her quivering lips parted-- "HEY!" The voice screamed directly in her face. Venelope now looked the voice in the face. A sinister, grinning face. A face that was identical to her own minus the wickedly sharp features. Pale-faceted, sweating and shaking. Venelope' voice had been arrested by the utter fear. The voice snickered as it placed a hand on Venelope' chin. "Now, you're scared--"

       "Enough!" It was the other voice, the one bathed in light from before. The other two' eyes turned towards her instantly. She stood before the fireplace, glowing as beautifully as the last time she had showed herself.

       "... you." The sinister voice said depressed and annoyed. With a sigh, she stepped away from Venelope and went over to the other coach. Venelope' eyes raced back and forth between the two. The three of them identical. "You had your time with her already and I didn't interrupt you." Her entire body could be seen now. She wore tattered dark clothing - black and browns with numerous chains around her neck and bracelets on her wrist. Her pale skin contrasted against the darkness of the room so much that it lit itself. A pierced nose with wild shoulder-length black hair made her look as ghastly as the aura that accompanied her. "Can you leave now?" She said far more annoyed. With a crooked neck, she played with her black diamond earring.

(3)  "I'm not leaving." The other voice replied calmly. "I'm not leaving her alone, and, especially, not alone with you." She said turning her eyes to Venelope who was still frozen to the coach. Unlike the wicked one, the voice of light wore new clothes that were white and beige colored, and barefoot. Her latte complexion matched Venelope', but her hairdoo was how Venelope used to be years ago. Shoulder-length in curly waves. She wore a sea shell necklace, small earrings, but bracelets or other piercings. She placed a hand on Venelope' lap. Her touch uncuffed Venelope' voice from the fear and warmed away the petrification. Venelope was mesmerized by her presence. Several veils of darkness fled as the fire' crackle whispered into her ears again; giving her even more comfort. Venelope looked over to see the wicked one had vanished. She returned her gaze to the other who had taken a seat beside her. Venelope smiled, unsure of what to say first.

        "... what's your name?" Venelope asked as the girl smiled in return.

        "What would you like to call me?" She answered. Her voice alone resonated with a warmth that continued to strengthen Venelope.

        "I feel... awkward giving you a name." Venelope shrugged bashfully.

        "Try." The girl said with her eyes on her lap. It seemed like Venelope' shyness was contagious. Even Venelope noticed said subtle change in the girl' demeanor. Venelope looked around the room as she tried to come up with a suitable name. Then, it clicked. It showed on her face as a tender smile anxious to speak.

        "Penelope. I know it isn't too different from mine--"

        "I like it." The girl said as they smiled at each other.

        "It was the name of my mom' aunt. They were really close."

        "...I know." The girl replied, making Venelope' head shoot up slightly. " I have the same memories as you, because I am you. " Venelope' eyes softened as she completely took in the sencerity of Penelope' voice. So much so that her tears began to fall. Penelope wiped them away with her sleeve. Venelope chuckled as Penelope started to cry, too. They held each other' hands firmly. "Well, to be more accurate, I am your conscience-- both of us." Penelope said referring to the wicked one as well.

(4)   "Ah... I get it." Venelope nodded. "I'll come up with a name for her later." They chuckled.

The smell and popping of bacon filled the room. Morning had come. Danny, Travis and Ray sat at the bar section of the kitchen eating.

       "Does she always die when she sleeps?" Travis asked with a strip of bacon gripped in his teeth.

       "If it weren't for food and the beach, she'd hibernate all year 'round." Danny added.

       "Hey." Lauri said pointing a spatula at the two. "Leave my baby 'lone. You bums don't do nothin' but eat my cookin'."

       "Mm, had to be good at somethin'." Ray mumbled. Lauri stared him down as he obviously avoided eye contact. She had a glare that would make a rattlesnake run away.

       "We still boardin' today?" Travis asked. "It's almost eleven. She sleeps any longer, she might as well go for the Dracula record."

       "That goes for you, too." Lauri said as Travis chuckled.

       "Sleeps like her mother." Ray mumbled. Lauri now loomed over him, pressing her busty chest into his arm. "As in, she sleeps as peaceful and as beautifully as Snow White." Lauri sneered as they then kissed. She went back to the stove to scramble the eggs. Seconds later, Venelope rose up like a corpse. Taking a deep breath, she stretched and exhaled.

       "MM-MM... Do I smell bacon?" She said with one eye still half shut.

       "Told ya." Danny said with a mouthful.

       "Didn't even beat the Dracula record." Travis said shaking his head. Venelope wiped her eyes with a yawn as she made her way over to them.

       "Morning!" She said brightly. The guys grunted their greetings, more fixated on their food. She walked over to Lauri, both giving each other a hug and kiss. "Morning, mommy."

       "Morning, baby." Lauri replied as Venelope then snagged a fresh piece of bacon.

(5)   "MM! That smells good." Venelope said with a stomp. She kissed her mom' cheek again. Pressing into her so much that they nearly lost their balance.

       "Cool it, crazy." Lauri said to her daughter' laughter. "You know how I do." She added proudly.

       "Hey. I'm supposed to get the first kiss of the day." Danny said dropping his fork onto his plate. He picked up his glass of orange juice as Venelope kissed his cheek. "Yeah, all right." She gave Travis a hug before giving her dad a hug and kiss.

       "Oh!" Ray exclaimed. "You're your mother' daughter all right. That's some morning breath, right there." He laughed as Venelope drummed his back with her fist.

       "You really don't want another meal, do you?" Lauri said to Ray.

       "For real." Venelope added. "I mean, I'd expect that from unc, but not you."

       "Runs in the family." Ray replied.

       "Yeah-ha!" Danny laughed as he and Ray bumped knuckles. The doorbell rang. "Get the door, M.B. Make yourself useful." He said to Venelope.

       "Yeah, that's clever, unc. But don't show us the extent of your intelligence in one sentence." Venelope said as she made her way to the door. Lauri laughed in her daughter' favor. Venelope stopped in front of a mirror to fix herself a bit.

       "Oh, God! Are you serious?" Travis asked loudly.

       "Shut up!" Venelope shouted back at him.

       "Just get the door!"

       "You're goin' to the door with that mornin' breath, M.B.?" Danny added. "You're bold. You're a bold one." Grinning, he stuffed some eggs into his mouth.

       "Forget all three of you! And that's not gonna become a nickname. It stops now." She said gettting to the door. Opening it, Evette stood there happily before they hugged each other and squealed.

       "Really? You just saw each other yesterday." Travis played.

       "Ignore him." Venelope said to Evette.

(6)   "I was doin' that way before you came back." Evette said as they laughed.

       "Burned! Ooh, ooh!" Danny said tugging on Travis' sleeve. "Go outside, get some snow and put the fire out." The others laughed as Travis brushed off the taunting as he went back to his plate.

       "Morning, everybody." Evette said as she and Venelope walked up to the others.

       "You want a plate?" Lauri offered. "I live with these two." Referring to Travis and Ray. "So, you know I gotta keep the fridge full."

       "No, I'm good. Thank you, though." Evette replied.

       "I'm gonna hop in the shower." Venelope said to Evette.

       "I'll be here." Evette said taking a seat on the sofa.

       "I left the toothpaste on the sink counter for you." Danny enuciated at Venelope. "Right in the open."

       "Forget yo~u!" Venelope sang from around the corner as the others laughed.

       "She' gonna need a mop bucket for that breath." Travis added making Danny choke on his food with laughter. He wheezed and pounded his chest to get the cough in check as the others laughed loudly at his expense. A bit later, all were outside loading their snowboard gear and whatnot into the vehicles. Venelope stepped outside and down the steps as she eyed her cellphone with disbelieving eyes.

       "What's that look about?" Evette asked as she walked up to Venelope from her car. Venelope looked up at her with her jaw hanging as she tried to form the words to speak. "What is it?" Evette laughed, making Venelope chuckle.

       "Have you been on Face Book in the last few days?" Venelope asked with some slight nervousness in her voice.

       "You talking about that pic your friend Rosey posted of you at the restaurant?" She couldn't help but laugh at the same time the question ran out of her mouth.

(7)   "Ahh! Freakin' Rosey!" Venelope stomped. "This is embarassing. I can't believe she posted this." Evette continued chuckling, trying to get it in check so she wouldn't be adding to her friend' frustration. "And, look. She waited 'til after I left town to post it. By then, I was already on the road."

       "Sounds kind of stalkerish, taking into account the time she chose to upload it. Maybe she watched you leave town. Maybe she watches you." Evette said with a creepy demeanor. Venelope pushed her away as they laughed.

       "Forget that! As my mom would say "there ain't that much 'sugar' in my 'tea'." Both continued laughing as Danny ran out of the house. He exclaimed happily suited in his winter gear.

       "Ready for this, V, and, uh... V' friend?" He asked with a big smile.

       "You know her name." Venelope shouted. Ray, Lauri and Travis stood around the vehicles with everything packed and ready.

       "Yall ready?" Ray shouted as everyone then made their ways into the vehicles. "Hey, where you goin'?" He said to Lauri who was walking over to Evette' car.

       "I'm gonna hang with the girls." She said with some playful street sass. She and the girls high-fived as Danny walked up behind them.

       "Do I see some three-on-three action trying to happen here?" Danny asked gesturing towards the ladies, then himself, Travis and Ray.

       "For your own good, don't even think about it." Travis said pompously sitting in the backseat with his legs hanging outside the open door. "We told you... we own the mountain."

       "Tell'em one mo' time." Ray added from the front seat as he started the engine.

       "Full of themselves, aren't they?" Evette frowned.

       "Ah, what? Don't even try to act like you don't know." Travis said to her. "You know how I do when I'm doin' what I'm doin'." Danny exclaimed from Travis' words.

       "Save it for the mountain." Lauri said as Danny then placed his arms around she and Venelope' shoulders.

(8)  "I gotta give it to my fellas." Danny said smugly with eyes closed. "Especially, since they have me on their roster again. Yeah-ha!" He said as he ran over to high-five Travis before rounding the vehicle to his seat. The doors shut all at once as if choreographed. Everyone was ready to go.

       "Doors are shut. It's on!" Venelope said from Evette' passenger seat with a cocky smirk. Lauri let her inner child take over and happily took the backseat. The tunes blared as they hit the road. Turning to face her mother, she then sees Penelope sitting beside her. She felt nervous, but only for a moment. She remembered Penelope said she could only be seen by her. Smoothedly playing it off, she turned back around and grooved to the music, smiling even bigger on the inside. She and Evette rocked along to the song. Although this type of music wasn't Lauri' cup of tea, she let herself take it in to let the good times roll. "Come on, momma!" Venelope shouted happily over the music.

       "Don't get me started!" Lauri shouted back as the girls laughed. Evette turned the volume down a few turns down the road.

       "When'd you get your license, Evee?" Venelope asked Evette.

       "'bout two years ago, I think." Evette replied. "You're mom helped me out a lot."

       "Huh? Why? I mean, why didn't you ask your mom or dad?" Venelope asked.

       "They're always claiming they're too busy." Evette said slightly saddened. "I did ask them. More than a couple times, too. But, I was, like, forget it, then. All was good thanks to your mom." She smiled.

       "That's 'cause my mom' the business." Venelope said happily.

       "She's been your friend and coming around the house for years, so I didn't mind helpin' her out." Lauri said.

       "Any new books in the making?" Venelope asked Lauri. She was a great writer and already had three books published that sold quite well.

       "Yeah. I have to keep myself busy." Lauri replied. "When Evette asked me to help her out, I was goin' through a writer' block. So, I needed to get away and clear my head. It was fun, though." She smiled. "I helped Travis, too. He was hangin' around doin' nothin' before he landed the job at the diner. So, I said he might as well get it out of the way, too."

(9)  "She didn't even give him a choice." Evette laughed. "She, basically, threw him in the car." They all laughed. Venelope looked at Penelope who was also laughing along. A bit later, they arrived at the skii resort.

       "We have plenty of time to have some fun here today, but keep in mind, the weather report said there's a good chance of a blizzard coming through." Ray said as they walked. "Stay together, and keep your cells on, please." Locals filled the area, chatting happily. Venelope stopped to look around and take in the nostagia. Facing the mountain, she took a deep breath and smiled before following behind the others. Up the skii lift and reaching their starting point a little later, Danny whoo'ed anxiously to get things rolling. He was without a doubt the cocky type, in a fun way, though. But he was the real deal. He had carved down many mountains in his time. He would even go as far as calling himself a veteran of the sport, whether it was true or not. They all had sorted out their contest to come before getting on the skii lift. The starting gunshot was all that was left.

       "You were shaking like a leaf from the cold before we left." Evette said to Venelope. "Now, you're standing there looking warmer than me." She and Venelope chuckled.

       "I don't know what to tell you." Venelope replied with a shrug. "I guess the adrenaline' pumping. I'm really amped up to do this again. Been too long, Evee." She said serenely with eyes down the mountain. She clapped and exhaled happily. "Hope I'm not too rusty."

       "I got'chu... on camera if you bust your ass." Evette laughed as Venelope jumped on her playfully.

       "Some friend! Really!" They laughed. "Like you can actually board and record at the same time. I doubt you're half that good, even as long as I've been gone." She pushed Evette. Zap!

       "Ouch! Damn!" Evette exclaimed from the static shock she just got from Venelope.

       "Sorry... but you deserved it, though." Venelope laughed. "You're just another Rosey."

       "How the hell do you static shock somebody with that thick jacket on?" Evette said caustiously touching Venelope to see if it would happen again. "Ow. Geez. That really stung. Had some zing to it."

       "Well, quit touchin' me before it happens again!" Venelope said laughing brightly. "You a masochist?" They laughed. Travis was checking his board when a young man his age jumped on him.

(10) "What it is, Vice-Grip!?" The young man said happily as he and Travis then shook hands.

       "T.J.?" Danny said with an unsure smile at the young man.

       "Oh, snaps! No way. The legend'-- the legend' back." T.J. said as he shook hands an hugged Danny. "No way, man. Look at'chu." He said taking a step back.

       "Look at me? Look at you. You really shot up." Danny said. Two guys T.J.' age walked up and stood behind him.

       "These are my boys, Marvin and Nigel." T.J. said as the two greeted Danny. Travis knew the two and hung out with them and T.J. regularly. "So, how long you in town?" T.J. asked Danny. "Travis told me you were down for Thanksgiving, but I was out of town myself for the same thing. Gettin' my grub on." He laughed.

       "Ah, I see." Danny replied. "Well, I'm gonna be here a couple days... like, 'til Christmas."

       "'til Christmas?" T.J. laughed at the joke. December had barely started, so, obviously, Danny was going to be in town for weeks. "Good, good. That's business. Me and Vice-Grip held the mountain down in your absence." He said bowly lightly.

       "Vice-Grip?" Danny smirked at Travis.

       "It just means, when my board grabs the mountain, my moves are so tight it can't get away from me." Travis said before he and T.J. screamed playfully and shook hands.

        "I feel you." Danny said with a smile. "You got it like that now, huh, T?" Travis smiled with a bit of nervousness. "I'ma grab a coffee and catch you guys in a few, alright?" He said shaking their hands before walking off.

       "Alright, legend!" T.J. said with his hands raised to the sides of his mouth. "Now--" He said clearing his throat as he leaned closer to Travis. "--for the real reason I came over here. Who is that cute mullato cookie over there with Evette?" They looked over at Venelope who was about twenty yards away.

(11) "You don't recognize her with the short hair?" Travis smirked. "You weren't feelin' her back then." T.J. put his thinking cap on, but found no clue in Travis' words. He was utterly puzzled. A wet match in the dark. As he took a real good look at Venelope, Travis counted down like a game show host. "3... 2... 1... and your time' up, sir." T.J. waited eagerly for Travis to tell him who she was. His corky smile made Travis laugh. "That's my cousin, Venelope, fool!" He said pushing T.J.' shoulder.

       "What? No way!" He said with a dropped jaw. "She, uh... man. She grew up."

       "Like I said, you weren't feelin' her back then." Travis said walking towards Venelope as T.J. quickly jogged up beside him.

       "Man, Evette ain't bad. She' bomb, actually. But, standing next to her... she just seems... irrelevant." T.J' eyes never leaving the sight of Venelope. "She with anybody?"

       "I'd set her up on a blind date with a rattlesnake before I gave you the go ahead to get with her." Though he was joking, Travis' face was as serious as could be.

       "Man, that's colder than the ice we're walkin' on." T.J. said with a playfully depressed tone.

       "Hey, V." Travis said to Venelope as they reached the two girls. "You remember Thomas?" Venelope looked at T.J. awkwardly before it sank in.

       "Yeah, I do." She replied as she reached to shake T.J.' hand. "Good seeing you again."

       "You, too. And it's T.J. now, please." T.J. said with a confident smirk.

       "Okay." Venelope nodded.

       "Sup, Evee?" T.J. said to Evette who simply gestured 'what's up' with a raise of her chin. "You back for good this time?" He said looking at Venelope.

       "Nope. Maybe. I don't know." She replied. Danny, Ray and Lauri walked up to them as they then made their way to the starting point. Danny took off down the mountain like a mad man as T.J. and Travis followed behind him. "I thought you were gonna do it, too, mom." Lauri stood there boardless beside Ray.

(12) "I skii, girl." Lauri replied to Venelope' laughter. "I need four sticks. One for each leg and hand."

       "Aww." Venelope said as Ray shuffled and hopped into his start.

       "Watch the ice melt behind me!" Ray smiled as he took off. Venelope whooped for her dad as she felt butterflies in her stomach.

       "Ready, girl?" Evette said brightly. Venelope nodded as Evette then sped down the mountain. Looking at her mother once more, Venelope hopped into her run. A bit shaky, but she quickly regained her knack for the sport in the moments to come. Travis and T.J. tailed Danny who pulled a big-air trick off one of the snow ramps.

       "Le~gend!" T.J. screamed as he and Travis then flew off the same ramp.

       "Thomas Jenkins. Thomas Jenkins and Vice-Grip!" Danny said happily as the boys caught up to him. The entire day flew by on the slopes. Dusk was near.

       "We wanna get one last run in." Travis said to Ray and Lauri. Lauri looked at Ray to handle the decision who shoo-ed them off with a sigh.

       "Come on, Evee!" Venelope said trailing behind Danny, Travis and T.J.

       "Mm-mmm. I'm done." Evette replied bashfully with some fatigue in her tone. "I'll see you when you get back."

       "Fine." Venelope smiled as she sped up to catch the guys.

       "The wind' picking up already!" Ray shouted. "Tell that surf-bum uncle of yours to put a rush on it, alright?"

       "Ok~ay" Her voice slightly drowned out by the wind. A bit later, Evette took a seat in the resort' cafe with a steamy latte and an eager face to go along with it. She stirred in some marshmallows before taking a sip.

(13) "I ain't never seen nobody put marshmallos in a latte." Lauri said sitting opposite to Evette. Evette couldn't help but to chuckle, postponing her initial sip just that much longer. Lauri looked at Ray who was sitting beside her next to the window. His eyes peering into the darkness beyond the window. His expression was solemn. He saw the storm building and began regretting the permission he gave for that last run. Lauri placed a hand on his lap as he then faced her. She pecked him on the cheek with a faint smile. He lowered his gaze towards the table slightly before looking back through the window.

       Just over half an hour passed. The blizzard had come. Ray was pacing before the cafe' door. He was obviously worried, but there was a strong sensation of anger in his demeanor as well. Though he, Lauri and Evette had tried to contact the four via cell, reception in such a storm, let alone them even being able to hear or feel their phones ringing, was a stretch. Just plain old wishful thinking. Boom! The cafe door burst open and smacked into the wall from the strong wind. Danny and T.J. entered the cafe with several others behind them. It took three men to shut the door. Ray' eyes widened with worry and disbelief to see his daughter and Travis were not among the group. As Danny tried to get to his feet on the slippery floor, Ray hauled him up. Wham! Slamming Danny up against the door, Ray eyed him fiercely.

       "Where's my daughter!?" Ray shouted nose-to-nose at Danny. His grip was inhumanly strong. Though Danny was the bigger stronger brother, a man gains a certain kind of strength in such situations. "Where the hell is she!?" Lauri tried to get Ray to unhinge his steel-trap grip. A few other men were able to pry Ray away, but not before he knocked Danny to the ground with a punch to the face.

       "Baby, calm down!" Lauri said to Ray with her hands on his chest. He couldn't keep himself still as he continued pacing back and forth as Lauri then turned to face Danny and T.J.. "What happened?" T.J. was so shaken he couldn't answer. Danny got to his feet, etching up against the door. "Danny, dammit, say something!" Her voice breaking slightly. She was holding back her tears as best she could. The wind roared through the trees. Venelope' snowboard had been snapped in two from being blown against a tree. But, where was she? The sound of something being dragged-- a body, came to ear. The lifeless heels bumped over the snow-caped earth and stone. Hot breath screamed as it met the adverse air from blue lips. A raven-haired girl was dragging the unconscious Venelope towards a cave to escape the storm. Reaching it, the girl sat up against the inside wall trying to catch her breath. Her body shivered feverishly as she tried to warm her hands. She looked at Venelope for a moment before dragging her further away from the cave' entrance and laying her over her lap.

(14) "Why are you ignoring me?" Penelope asked the girl. "I just want to help." The girl could see and hear Penelope? She looked up at Penelope with a sharp glare as her own conscience appeared beside her. Just like Venelope, her conscience was identical to her. The mouth of the cave was gradually closed by the snowfall. The storm could barely be heard now. A couple hours went by. The others were forced to stay at the cafe. The locals slept on the floor and seats. Some were fortunate enough to be given blankets from the workers, while others just bundled together. Evette and T.J. cuddled up to stay warm. Ray and Lauri held each other tight as they stood with worry ridden eyes aimed out the windows. Danny sat at the opposite end of the cafe just as worried. He blamed himself for his recklessness, beating himself up on the inside. He wanted to run out into the storm and find Venelope and Travis at all costs.

       Venelope coughed hoarsely as she came to. Her hands were like stone. She couldn't even make a fist. She looked up to see the raven-haired girl was asleep. She tried to get up, but her body was just too cold. She managed to roll off the girl' lap onto the floor to her back. She looked up to see her wicked conscience had returned. Looming over her with a grin that fed off of her agony. Penelope appeared. A glint sparked in Venelope' eyes. She felt safe, but then she took in Penelope' uneasy expression.

       "Hurry up already." Penelope said to the wicked one.

       "What's the rush? Not like she's gonna freeze to death-- oh, yeah. She could, huh?" The wicked one replied with a vile smirk.

       "Enough of your nonsense!" Penelope shouted. "Save her! Both of them!"

       "I will, I will." She said looking at Penelope. "But I have a condition that needs to be met first." Penelope' eyes narrowed as the wicked one turned her gaze back on Venelope. Venelope looked on in fear. Her blood went colder as she looked into the wicked one' eyes. Her black, lifeless eyes. "I want a name, too." She smiled. She could almost pass for being innocent in that moment. "I recall you saying you'd give me one later." She sucked her teeth with a shake of her head. "Ya know, that really hurt my feelings. You've never once gave me a smile, either."

       "Stop torturing her like this!" Penelope said stepping forward. "Just give yourself a name and be done with this... please!" Penelope' heartache filled her eyes as tears brimmed. Venelope' stammering caught their attention. They faced her instantly as she tried as hard as she could to speak.

(15) "Ca--Ca--ss--ss--" Venelope coughed as she continued trying to speak throughout.

       "Take it slowly, Venelope." Penelope said kneeling down beside her. "Easy."

       "Spit it out already. My, God." The wicked one said rolling her eyes uncaringly. Venelope took a moment to right herself and managed to stop her shivering for just long enough.

       "Ca--Cassi-dy... C-assidy." Venelope said to the wicked one who was now facing her again. After a hard swallow, she said once more-- "Cassidy! Your name'... Cassidy!" The wicked one grinned ear-to-ear.

deviantID

Phiar
Chris D. Phillips a.k.a. Phiar
Artist | Traditional Art
United States
Been drawing since Preschool, if not before. Started growing into my own style around my late teens. I'm in my twenties now and am working on my original comic, 36. Music, I like whatever sounds good to me, giving me a very eclectic mind. I like to stay in shape, and since my love for anime and action alike plays such a role in my life. I practice swordsmanship and acrobatics to stay fit and to simply go banana-sandwich crazy. With that being said, 36 started from just that. My co-creator friend and I would larp (as it's called now; we just called it playing back then), and eventually we started writing and building on our same larp characters. That started around ages 13-15, I think, which is also when I first started writing. Beforehand, I just drew pictures. Anyway, drawing and writing are my passions, music motivates and inspires me, and I love to eat, fight and live in my imagination.
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:icondrchrisman:
DrChrisman Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hello:) long time no see:D
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:iconphiar:
Phiar Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014   Traditional Artist
Hi. I suppose so.
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:icondrchrisman:
DrChrisman Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
guess you forgot me^^;
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:iconphiar:
Phiar Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014   Traditional Artist
I don't chat with anyone on here, so of course I wouldn't remember.
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(1 Reply)
:icongreenyeti:
GreenYeti Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for the watch bro :D
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:iconphiar:
Phiar Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014   Traditional Artist
I just read your first "Comatose 7" chapter on MM. I left a comment.
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:icongreenyeti:
GreenYeti Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks bro :D
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:iconautoclave07:
Autoclave07 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014
Have a llama :)
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:iconphiar:
Phiar Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014   Traditional Artist
:happybounce: 
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:icongonzain:
Gonzain Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thnk for you watch ;)
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