We are currently accepting new applications for Elsewhere!


This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Arlo Mason

Pages: [1]
Elsewhere Accepted / Ashes to Ashes
« on: 12/02/2013 at 02:32 »

E L S E W H E R E   A D U L T

Character Name: Arlo David Mason
Gender: Male
Age: Thirty-something

Croatan Academy, Sixth Grade through Sophomore Year
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Year Six through Second Year Seven
Some College

Asheville, North Carolina


Do you plan to have a connection to a particular existing place (for example: the Ministry, Shrieking Shack) or to take over an existing shop in need of new management?

Requested Magic Levels:
  • Charms: 7
  • Transfiguration: 7
  • Divination: 7
  • Summoning: 7
Do you wish to be approved as a group with any other characters? If so who and for what IC reason?

Please list any other characters you already have at the site:

Biography: (300 words minimum.)

It had been the only driveway that ever mattered, once, when things had mattered.

Snow was a rarity in the South (even in January, and it was January then) and the snow that marred the worn leather of his shoes was rarer still.  Head bent groundward, his brown eyes watched each step—each terrible transition—white to nothing to the dirty gray of ruin.


Like a dream-damped sheen, ash covered even more than the snow—covered through it, over it, deep into it, for it and the snow had fallen at once, warring on the way down.  Ash had been the clear victor—it was always ash, in the end.

Arlo shook his head and did not lift it.


There had been cowboys here.  There had been great wars of poured-plastic army men.  There had been books—God, had there been books, books of words, of photographs, books of memories and of forgetting and of nothing at all but ink, slung together angrily or in lustful euphoria.  There had been curtains and a bed, there had been a mirror smudged with dirty fingerprints, there had been a bedside table with a lamp.  There had been forts and fistfights and late-night secrets to the dark.

Now, there was ash and the melted carcass of a typewriter.

The boy—he would forever be a boy, though he had been out of his twenties long enough now to have lines crease his face—picked his way across the room.  He was not quite careful enough—his toe caught, snagging against a burned out bed frame where it had tumbled under the weight of the flames.  Ash bit into his knees, sinking its claws into him in threat of never letting go.

It didn’t, but he did, pushing up, brushing off.  The persistent ash stained his knees.

The typewriter, or what had been a typewriter—the typewriter, the only typewriter—had one remaining key.


If it was anything in the end, it was ash, or it was Anne.

It was too early for this.


Head on the bar, he raised his finger for a drink.

The barkeep didn’t question this time, like he had before—or like Arlo thought he had before.  His memory was fogged with years, with transition, with whiskey and with ash.

The glass, smooth and clean, felt familiar in his hand—stable, unchanging—and he swirled the ice within twice before drowning himself with its contents.

It, too, was ash—the whiskey cinders burned him up from the inside on the way down.

It was not yet eleven o’clock.

He raised his finger once more.


This time, he tried.

He mounted the driveway, the only driveway, like it mattered, like it wasn’t covered in snow or ash or anything at all—like it was nothing but the red clay that he knew was somewhere deep down beneath it all.  He closed his eyes against the cold, willing it to turn into the warm sun of summer, and he thought of amber waves of wheat and beautiful, spinning, breathless skies, of the fruiting of plains and of sleeping on majestic peaks after.

For one moment, a brief, fickle thing, he could almost taste it.

But then there was whiskey, sweet and biting on his breath, and there was, of course, ash.

America no longer belonged to her, or them; certainly not to him.


“The house burned down.”

Tilly had grown, and her voice was that now—a voice, the voice of a girl, a girl with blonde not-curls and eyes.

Oh, those eyes.

They were all he saw as he approached the hull of the house.  They sat there, in a borrowed body, locked on his, on Arlo’s.

For one moment, a brief, blinding thing, there was nothing but the colors of sorrow and sorrowful green.

She had her mother’s eyes, bless her.

“The house burned down,” Arlo repeated, his deep, lulling voice too sweet for the ruin of the front porch where he sat beside his daughter—the ash and snow of the concrete steps.

“Sophia was inside,” Tilly trilled.  Her bird-light voice was not big enough for the words.

“Sophia was inside,” said Arlo.

“She is my grandmother,” said Tilly.  She, like Arlo, looked at nothing at all, but her hands worked around the words.  Her hands, too, were not big enough.  “She is your mother.”

“She was my mother.”  And Arlo was hollow, then, in the wake of those words, in the snow, in the ash.

“Sophia is dead,” Tilly concluded.  She did not cry.  Her eyes were not the only part of her mother she possessed.  She said it again, chewed it and spat it.  “Sophia is dead.”

There were so many dead things in the life of Arlo David Mason.

“Sophia is dead,” he mirrored, ghosting like a reflection, in the reflection of Anne.

She looked at him, then, turned her small face to his.  She had his nose and Sophia’s mouth, but Sophia’s mouth was now ash.  There was a smudge of the horrible stuff at the corner of the girl’s lips.  Arlo licked his thumb, like his mother had done so many times in the years of his youth in this very spot, and he ran it over the spot twice, tenderly hard, until the filth was gone.

It was almost as if he knew what he was in for.

“Why?”  The eyes, all green and no innocence, bore into him like he had been used to once.

Arlo shook his head.  He knew nothing but ash.

“Ashes to ashes.”

A page ripped from a binding.  The sound of rejection crumpling, dropping to the floor.  A pause, pregnant.  The frenzied scratching of dulled pencil across the page.


This had become his reality.

When he had been young, he had been here, and he remembered it being easier.  It had poured out of him in waves, volatile and full of truthful beauty, lapping around his wrists in little piles of praise and off-beat observation.

All that poured now was another glass of whiskey from flask to coffeeless mug.  Arlo drained it without thought.

Poetry was something dead and festering inside of him.

Once, a very long time away, it had been breath and air, bone and sinew, nerve and brain and body.  He had been good at it, too—he remembered the feeling of it, an electric thing that had moved through him like fingers; he could smell it in pencil shavings and yesterday’s take-out boxes.

A phantom suitcase had come and scooped it all away, taking his luke-warm fame and the social pages and every manuscript he had ever possessed with it on some nonexistent train.

His journal was still blank, spare the stains of coffee rings and spilled drinks.

He poured another, trying to remember how to feel.

There had been something, he knew it even then.  There had to have been something, something different, something better, perhaps a little more shining, that had made it easy.

A laugh, low and rolling like a river over its bed, trickled from his lips and meandered across the floor of the coffee shop.

There were so many things, and now he had nothing.

Nothing and a five-year-old daughter, asleep and alone in bed.

The thought would have tugged at his heartstrings, if he had much of a heart left, but everyone who had lived in it had moved away to a better place, taking a string apiece and leaving him threadbare.

A hand, small, tugged on the hem of his threadbare coat.  Arlo stared and listened and blinked and drank.

He was perhaps threadbare, but not bare entirely.

“Little bit,” the boy said, stooping some in his seat (the whiskey helped) to crouch before the girl.  The endearment felt sweet on his lips—the same words he used for Tilly, from whom he was knowingly absent.  “I’m sorry to hear about poor Sambuh—your poor little fella there.”

His calloused hand reached to pet the thing’s head.  It felt soft, like his daughter’s (her mother’s) hair.

“He’s lucky to have one so brave as you to keep watch over him, hey?”  A smile settled itself onto Arlo’s face.  It felt out of place, presently, but he allowed it to stay there.  “You can help me help him find his momma, with all those guts, can’t you?”

How did you find us? Nostalgia is a pretty thing.

Pages: [1]