Huh. Not bad.

who: janie and brianna
where: their house of crazypants guestage
when: mid morning

Janie had gotten up and was sitting on the floor in the living room, on one of the rugs. She had her tarot cards with her, and while she was still in her jammies and robe, she had brushed her hair and she had a bowl of cereal next to her. She was looking at the card she'd drawn for the day, and musing over it's meanings.

She'd drawn Justice, which, as far as cards went, wasn't a bad one to have pulled. Really, there were much worse ones to have gotten. Setting it down face up in front of her, she munched on some cereal thoughtfully, wondering what brand of justice they'd be getting. She personally had a deep, back of her mind hope that it would mean Gavin was returned to her, but somehow she doubted it.

 - Trying to jump back on the horse...

Brianna had gotten up at a regular hour today. That was nice. She had basically spent all day yesterday in her room trying to adjust to the sounds of a full house. It was strange how easily she could get used to an empty house but not a full one. Especially one full of strangers. Today, she had planned on practicing on the piano in the dining room (after making sure none of the strings were rigged to do anything awful... she'd watched The Haunting too many times).

So when she finally got her breakfast (There were big, flaky American style biscuits on a plate just waiting for people to nab them so she had a couple of those with honey and bacon and eggs), she started looking for a place to eat that would not put her at their table alone. It was then that she noted Janie in the living room. Being nosy meant going to find out what she was doing...

"Tarot," she exclaimed excitedly. Bri kept a bit of a distance back, unsure of Janie had cast a circle before hand or if she just did the cards. Different people did different things. "What do the Fates have in store?"

 - .

Janie looked up, adjusting her glasses so she could have a world where edges existed instead of fuzzy blobs that spoke. "Yes, tarot. I used to do this for a living." she said. Then she shrugged. "The card of the day is Justice. Which is all about balance and realignment and such. So, really, so far as cards go, this is a decent one to have pulled. Nothing that bad about it, mostly positive connotations. I mean, really, the only sort of bad thing that could be inferred from it is that in order to have realignment and balancing of shit, you have to be unbalanced in the first place. But hey! I don't think that anyone who signed up for this shit really would claim to be a well balanced, totally issue-free individual by now." she offered conversationally.

 - .

"Isn't that the bleedin' truth," she half-muttered frowning a little. Even the people in the control weren't all that... stable. They all had their issues even if they weren't as bad as the people who'd gotten screwed over by the scientists. "If I pay you a fluffy fresh biscuit with honey, will you read for me? I've always been interested in Tarot but never very good at learning it," Bri admitted. Not an easy thing for her to do considering.

 - .

"You know, I was kind of thinking that I would start charging commission in baked goods. Seems like a good way to start. You want a general reading, or do you have a specific question in mind?" Janie asked, actually kind of looking forward to doing a full reading. She hadn't in a while, so now she could do one. It might be interesting, who knew.

 - .

"Brilliant!" Brianna stepped around to sit facing Janie. She set her biscuit plate down in such a way that one was towards Janie while the other was towards herself. They could share. "I think a general reading would be nice... I try not to ask the Ladies specific things. This seems like it would fall under their territory." Now she just sounded like a weirdo... Oh well. It's not like she wasn't weird. Bri also set her bacon and eggs plate aside. No getting food on the cards. To her, that sounded like it would just be bad luck.

 - .

"The ladies?" Janie asked. She paused in thought, flipping through references in her head. "Like fate?" she asked. "Or the fates?" Then she handed her cards out to Brianna. "Concentrate while you shuffle. Try not to let outside fluff stuff flit through your head, just kind of concentrate on yourself, your situation, and what you want out of this." she instructed. "When you're done, or you feel done, cut the deck three times, and put it back together any way you want to. Then hand it back to me."

 - .

"The Fates. The Moirae," she answered. Brianna was very glad that she had put the bacon aside preemptively and accepted the cards. She was very serious about clearing her mind of fluff and focusing on the more important ideas that Janie suggested. For a moment it almost seemed like she was going to flat out meditate on it. Bri, for some unknown reason, seemed to have a slight talent for shuffling with her eyes closed. It made solitaire fun anyway. She was brief but efficient in shuffling, cutting the deck and reorganizing the cards. Her eyes opened and she held the deck back out to Janie, looking kind of sheepish. Maybe she was taking the tarot too seriously.

 - .

Janie took the cards, making no indication that taking it seriously wasn't perfectly fine. She did, anyhow. And, like she often did, she let the deck decide which card was going to be representing Brianna. The first card she flipped down was Death.

"Well, sweetie, looks like the part of Brianna will be played by Death, this evening." she said. "Which, just for your knowledge, is always scarier than it seems. So anyways. Okay. Death for you. Now for what's covering you. 'Covers' is a fancy term for the forces now at work in your life. We've got the three of swords going on, which is...okay, association is separation." she said. "Meaning: Sorrow, upheaval, negativity, triangles, limited view, focusing on the past, and good ole jealousy." Glancing up at Brianna, Janie shrugged. "Sounds like just about everyone around here. And hey--upheaval, we were all dropped into house of random." Then she moved onto the next card. "Next up we have what crosses you." she said. "Conflict, basically. And we've got some King of Wands, reversed going on." she said. "The association with the card is purpose, the meaning is severity, honesty and subordination." Janie told her. She paused for a second, regarding Brianna thoughtfully. "Does honesty cause you shit now and then?" she asked.

It was a rhetorical question, though, and she went on. "Third, we've got short term past. All hail King of Cups, reversed. Apparently, the kings and you aren't seein eye to eye, chica." she commented. "The association is vanity. The meaning is violence, scandal, justice and weakness. Which...hi, I'm Janie, I'll be playing Captain Obvious for you tonight. I'm sure there was a ton of that going on before you got here." she said. "Now shooting on up above you and such, we have what crowns you--your immediate future type things. We've got the seven of cups for you. The association is indulgence. The meaning plays to the tune of temptation, selfishness, illusion, debauchery, addiction, over-everything and promiscuity. So hey at least it seems like you might be having a good time..." Janie chose to interpret it that way. "Next up, we've got recent past." she pointed to the card to the right of the crossed ones. "Hello, four of cups. Association being ennui, so that's y'know, real pleasant. Meaning-wise we have dissipation, contemplation, emotional luxury, satisfaction and apathy. Yeah, it's a little all over the place on that one. You'd know better than I would what it might be referring to." she said honestly. "Next, to the left here we have long term future." she explained. "...okay royalty just likes turning their backs on you. It's the Queen of Wands, reversed. And hey, the lord and lady of wands both showing up. Huh. Anyways. The association going on is aspiration. The meaning being opposition, jealousy, chastity and enterprise. That's the second hit up of jealousy too." she noted, though only noted it, she didn't comment on it. "Opposition I'm sure is obvious, being we're still being messed with by scientists. Enterprise...you might be entering into some type of arrangement with someone. Chastity...well, hope you weren't really looking forward to a lot of intimacy." she said.

"Moving on, bottom of the collumn of four here." she tapped the card. "Inner concers, fears or cares." she explained. "And it's the Page of Swords." she said. "And for once not reversed. Go you." she added unnecesarily. "Of course, you really could have picked a better suit to have right-side up." she added. "Association of this bad boy being battle. So y'know, that's just awesome. Non unexpected, but whatever. Meanings tacked onto him include the ever popular aggression, activation, ferociousness, practical tangible thinking and acting upon ideas." she finished, looking at Brianna again. "Which, for things to be worrying about, yeah, I get all that. I'd try to watch for that last bit though. The being afraid to go through with things, or take action when you think of things." she advised.

"Next up, we have outside influences, friends and society." she said. "And you've got another reversed card here, and it happens to be the ten of cups. The association is satisfaction, but the meaning here is wanting, need and lack." she said. "Well, that sucks, doesn't it." she added. "Basically, you're not going to get out of people what you want or need. At least, not for a while. I'd start thinking on being really self-sufficient. Look for false friends. This could indicate that someone's not on the level around here. And by 'here' I mean 'town', not necessarily this house." she said. "Ninth card, you've got the seven of swords taking up the slot for hopes and ideals. This is pretty messed up. The association is betrayal. Meaning coming out as instability, futility, unreliability, helplessness, hopelessness, sabotage, negativity and lies." she said. "That..." she paused, putting thought into it. "Got trust issues?" she asked, wondering how anyone would come out of this without trust issues. "Or a burning desire to see the scientists flayed and barbecued up for brunch?" She shrugged. "Take from that what you will. Last but not least is the tenth card, the end outcome of all of this. You've got the three of cups here." she said. "The association is carnality. The meaning hitting us up with license, pleasure, overindulgence and abundance." she said. "Which...well that's cool, good on you. Hope it works out for you. Sounds like a fun ride, at least."

 - .

While Janie spoke, occasionally Brianna made a sound of disbelief, confusion or agreement... But never spoke. Let the girl get the cards on the table and explain them. If she could keep everything straight by the end, then there could be discussion. The idea of being covered by Death was... Unusual to her but somewhat acceptable if you just looked at the word death. Brianna was so obsessed with what was after it...

Did honesty 'cause her shit' as Janie so bluntly put it? Yes. A big resounding yes. Still, it was a very woolly science - divination. After all, who could really tell anything from cards? They were all meant to have interpretable meanings just like palm readers. She almost laughed at the meaning of the reversed King of Wands in explanation. A world of drama would do that after all. And honestly, with Bri's luck, that idea of indulgence and what not in her future was probably very wrong. Or it meant something very bad. She was becoming afraid...

The four of cups in translation sounded like the house before the town. They were all so carefree... "No, not really," she muttered at the chastity part of the Queen of Wands. Brianna never expected physical love. Or intimate love. Or really any sort of love. It was rather depression. So her weaknesses were depicted in the cards as well. Perhaps she should have thought through asking the cards for her life. Janie was learning a lot though perhaps she didn't quite realize it yet. More than most people ever knew.

"I hope the end result comes quickly," she said after an extremely long moment where for awhile it looked like she was going to cry. "Perhaps this was a mistake... But it's done now. No changing the past," Bri rubbed her face with her hands. Snap out of it. Keep out of the dark place. "The cards are just meant to be... generic right? Like every other divination technique." It sounded like she was just trying to convince herself but it wasn't rhetorical.

 - .

Janie looked up and arched a brow. She'd had a lot of reactions to readings before, but people looking ready to cry wasn't a common one. Sure, she'd had it, but yeah. It had been a while. "No telling when the end result will show. Just...eventually." she said. "And the cards are what you want them to be. For me? In my experience, especially in my experiment where I could see so often the results I gave coming to pass, I wouldn't say generic. Either way, though, it's a guide. It's nothing set in stone, and it's meant to give you a heads up, so y'know, if there's shit in here you don't especially like, you can work to change that. Or at least be aware that things are there." she said. "It's up to you how you take it, in the end." She paused for a long moment, eyes on Brianna. "Why're you so upset?" she asked.

 - .

Eventually. Not exactly something she wanted to hear. Eventually meant a lot longer than anyone really wanted to wait. It meant that it would surprise you and be exactly when you didn’t want an ending. That was how those things worked after all. Still, Janie was right. Nothing was set in stone. The future was like an amorphous ball always changing with everything path you chose in your daily life. From the lacy sleeve of her Victorian blouse, she produced a delicate handkerchief and gently dabbed at the corner of her eyes, “I don’t... I really...” Brianna paused and pressed her lips together, “This experiment – the first part of it – it was supposed to help me change my life, make me stronger. Instead it just seems to be a continuation of my life except with more and different people.” The corner of her mouth perked up in a wry smile, “and I hate my life.”

As if responding to her words, the lights flickered overhead and went out entirely... “Why hello there, Murphy! We’ve missed you.” Turn it into a joke. Pretend it’s okay.

 - .

Pretending things were okay worked out tons better when one wasn't dabbing at one's eyes with handkerchiefs. So, Janie just stared at Brianna, with a slight eyebrow raise. That was...a lot of information. Coming right out there with 'I hate my life'. Riiiight. "What was your experiment like?" she asked. Because if her life was filled with daily surprise tortures, then something was fucked, or this chick was a fucking drama queen. One of the two, really, and with her chosen mode of dress, the vote for drama queen was a favorite. But she didn't do anything but keep her eyes on Brianna, and waited for the answer.

 - .

Brianna shook her head, "It wasn't the experiment. That was... bliss. I loved living in the house. It's everything before that. I was nothing but an object for my parents to trot out at parties and say 'oh look, we own one of these too. Let's watch her do tricks.'" She pursed her lips, sniffling lightly and tucking the handkerchief away. "The experiment was my chance to escape. To grow. It seems we were the control group." There was no need to elaborate as it would only sound like bragging, "Then the food stopped coming... And people left the house, disappearing and likely dying in the woods." There was more to the woods but she didn't speak of it and pointedly closed her mouth to keep more from coming out. "Kind of new to this stuff," she added barely above a whisper.

 - ,.

"Well, which is it. First you said that it was the experiment, then you switched and said it wasn't." Janie pointed out. "And hey! We had someone die in the woods. I was part of the search party. We only found bits of him though. We were told wolves got to him. I'm not entirely sure I buy that though. But then again, I'm not sure what I'd buy from them at all. They tended to like the truth at odd moments." she said. She also wondered if this girl had just never had anyone to talk to. Because woah. Coming out and dropping the bomb of 'i hate my life' was kinda...hedging into what the fuck territory considering they'd really just met.

But whatever, it wasn't like Janie minded. "Kind of new to what stuff?" she asked curiously, wondering if she could help clarify anything.

 - .

Brianna chuckled softly, “You’re right. I’m not making much sense am I? I suppose it wasn’t the experiment itself but the aftermath. And being here. If that makes any more sense though I’m becoming fairly certain that the loss of food and people may be part of the experiments...” Or she was just becoming paranoid. Bri paled quite considerably despite being rather pale already at the thoughts of people being eaten by wolves out in the woods. Oh gods, how many people from their house had gotten themselves eaten then?

“All of this. The extra heaping of crazy and drama. The torture. I’m not going to say we didn’t have our moments of drama because that would be the biggest lie on the face of the planet...” She was rambling and going on about more than was necessary. Janie was right – Brianna really didn’t have very many social skills.

 - .

"Just pickin up on that idea now, huh?" Janie asked. "I'm fairly positive that was part of the experiments." Duh. "Well, not everyone's crazy and dramatic. I mean, sure, don't get me wrong, we've got our share of drama queens. I'm sure all the experiments do. I guess I'm kind of just having trouble following along with what you're getting at here. I mean, let's take a look. You said you hated your life and everything. But--hi, take a look at what you could have been put through. You? Were spared. What you've been through, traumatic as it was...it wasn't like what everyone else was put through. You don't really have the right to be sitting here dabbing at your eyes and getting misty eyed because you actually have to deal with people who had it worse than you. That's...well, pretty fucked, if you ask me." she said. Her voice was not pointed. In fact, for as much inflection as she put on the words, they could have been discussing the weather. "Don't sit back and claim you hate your life when you're living in a sea of broken people, when you were held above, and given sanctuary from the broken glass and razorblades." She paused for a moment, just looking at Brianna. "You're saying this to me. Who survived my experiment, where there were several suicides, a couple murders, and we all lived in terror of whatever might come next. Who made it through that, and got here, and then had pretty much the only thing that truly mattered taken away at random. Just to twist the knife that one last time." she continued. "And you want to cry about dealing with things. And how you hate your life. Well suck it up. If your life sucks it's because you let it suck. That's your own responsibility. If you don't like it, change it, but don't sit here and tear up at me when you've got no right to."

Janie gathered up her cards, and wrapped them back up in the cloth she kept them in, standing up and stretching, emotion still mostly absent from the proceedings. The only real touch of it in her voice was when she was referencing Gavin being taken away. And even then it was only a small touch. A light flicker of something behind her eyes that hinted at true pain.

 - .

"Firstly, I did try to change my life. That's how I ended up here," Christ, why was she getting into this argument? This was only going to lead to bad. "And second, I never said we were the worst off, now did I? I know perfectly well we weren't the worst off. That does not mean we do not have the right to feel a certain way about our situation. You are not the emotion police. Besides, I feel guilty enough as it is. I don't need your bloody help there."

Served her right. Talking to people, even just saying hello was just bad luck for her. Brianna's plan was to do her best and not let Janie get to her. Jeremy had told her she didn't need to feel guilty. He'd told her a lot of things...

 - .

"Somehow I can't follow the logic of 'hey I want to make my life better, oh I know, I'll join something to become a lab rat for a year! that'll make me feel better! Oh and it says 'high stress' on it too! Even better!' That just fuzzes out somewhere for me. So sorry, can't back you on that as a solid effort to change your life. I can't sympathies there." Janie said, still not sounding overly emotional about anything. "And seriously, chick...what you just did was get teary eyed at me and start talking about how poor you, and you hate your life. To someone who's been through a hell of a lot more than you. It's called 'insensitive'. And coming from me, that's saying a hell of a lot. So no. I am not the emotion police. But I know bullshit when I see it, too." Janie said. "and that was bullshit. Anyways, I'm going to go, I hope your reading helps guide you. You seem to need it."