Eve of Destruction?

OK, I am fucking nervous about this “Art Teacher” gig. You can laugh ’til you spit, and I will still be nervous about it. Because I know what secondary school children are like: I was one not very long ago, and I was a holy fucking terror.

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Is this what an art teacher looks like?

Is this what an art teacher looks like? I’ve got the slouchy jumper. I’ve got skinny trousers. I’ve got sensible shoes. I’ve got silver jewellery with amethysts and some leather bracelets and bangles. My hair is carefully uncared-for. And when the fuck did I ever care what I look like anyway? Well, as long as they don’t dress me up like the cover of a bad fantasy novel, that is.

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Is this what an art teacher does?

Is this what an art teacher does? I keep imagining myself staring at a blank canvas and being completely frozen, unable to do anything with it. I mean, that’s what would happen if I were an actual art teacher.

Which I will be. Tomorrow morning at 8:30 in the fucking morning. And you can stop laughing, right now. Because I certainly won’t be. I will be marching in with a double flat white and I’ll probably put a pack of cigs in my pocket just so I look cool to art students (because they all probably smoke anyway).

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How does an art teacher even think?

How does an art teacher even think? I know Owen picked this cover because he’s pretty sure I can pull it off—but the truth is, I’m shaking in my sensible shoes. And it doesn’t matter how many times I go over it, I am pretty much convinced that I come out of this either exposed as a fraud or on my way to the nuthouse in the special huggy jacket.

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I am so lame, I even practiced standing in front of the class and introducing myself.

I am so lame, I even practiced standing in front of the class and introducing myself. “Good morning; I’m …” and then I forget my cover name and have to go look it up in the dossier. Because that is the kind of fuck-up you can’t recover from, in front of a bunch of 11-16-year-olds who probably know more about art than you do right now.

Right. I need two shots of bourbon, neat, and a sleeping pill. And a really fucking loud alarm clock.

Wish me luck. Or, at least wish that I get through tomorrow alive.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Head
Eyes: Mesange, Don’t Speak Eyes (Omega Appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Meilin, in tone Taupe (This is the February Group Gift at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!) Taupe is a little light for TAC, even in human guise, but I wanted to try out the new Omega body appliers that Izara Zuta has made! These will be released at the upcoming Skin Fair, and they are wonderful! So easy to use, and so fast!
Jumper and Trousers: Salt, Carla Pants, Carla Wooly Jumper (COMING SOON to The Gacha Garden!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Tara (COMING SOON (tomorrow, in fact!) to Fameshed!)
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Shoes: Ingenue, Marlene Oxford, Ebon

TAC’s flat:
Skybox: Vespertine, Reykjavik Loft
Couches, tables, light easel, and curtains: CLAVv, Light Studio (Available NOW at The Epiphany!)
Easel, stool, rolling shelf with canvases: Artisan Fantasy, Art Studio

Poses: Seated, XXY, both from the Thinking of You Pack (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Standing: Vanity, Cool Stance 1 (F)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make TAC soul-search without it (or the F-bomb)!

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Long-Term Contract

Owen didn’t come. He sent some minion of his. I stood out in the fucking rain. On the fucking roof. He sent a minion, some half-grown boy.

“We’ve got a job for you,” says this boy.

“Do we,” I responded.

“Owen needs you to come to his place, as a human, tomorrow evening. Here’s the address.” He handed me a card. Luckily, it was laminated, so it didn’t get nearly as wet as I was.

“And if I don’t want to come?” It was a half-hearted challenge: frankly, I needed the work.

“He says tell you you’ll be mentoring a young svart alfar in a Realm where we must hide ourselves.”

I sighed. Owen still knows me, I guess. “Fine.”

Then, the kid just walked off the edge of the roof and disappeared, and I took myself back to the B&B, took a shower, and sat up half the night figuring what kind of human I wanted to glamour myself into.

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Owen was exactly as I remembered him.

Owen was exactly as I remembered him. Well, aside from some fashion updates. “You’ve gone hipster,” I said once I’d shaken off the cold. His London is very cold this time of year.

“Nah, not really,” he replied. “No shaggy beard. I just can’t handle that level of hair upkeep.”

We both laughed. Even though it was smalltalk, it felt OK to talk to him again.

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“So I’ve got you a flat near the school where you’ll be teaching.”

“So I’ve got you a flat near the school where you’ll be teaching,” Owen said, as if this were the most normal thing in the world.

What?” I balled my hands into fists. “That kid didn’t say anything about teaching.”

Owen scratched his head; his hair flopped into his eyes again. “I figured you’d get that when I said you’d be mentoring,” he said.

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“No,” I replied evenly.

“No,” I replied evenly. “No, I did not.” I really needed the work, though. “What kind of teaching?”

“I’ve got you set up a teacher in the comprehensive this kid is about to start attending.”

“A teacher.”

Owen nodded.

“In a comprehensive.”

Owen nodded again.

I turned to walk out. “Look; I can get jobs in elf-safe areas where I know what I’m doing, even if the risk of my getting killed is pretty high.

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“Tacey! Don’t!”

“Tacey; don’t!” Owen struck a pose that reminded me vaguely of Saturday Night Fever. “You’re the only one who can do this job! The only one!”

“Oh, ffs, Owen,” I said, pronouncing the letters instead of the words. “You know I’m going to hear you out, but a teacher? Seriously, stop being so dramatic. Pull yourself together and let’s talk about this. I am no teacher. I don’t have the credentials, which I know you can fake, but I also don’t have the knowledge, which I know you can’t. What’s your solution?”

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Owen visibly relaxed.

Owen visibly relaxed. And he smiled a little smile. “Yes, credentials we can fake, and knowledge we can’t, but—” and here he spread out his arms wide as if he had the solution to everything. “You’re going to be an art teacher.”

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I exploded again.

I exploded again, and Owen drew back before I even finished my breath. “An art teacher! Owen Gentry! I do not know the first thing about art!”

“Neither do most secondary school art teachers,” Owen said grandly. “That’s why you’ll be perfect for this.”

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“You’re kidding me,” I said.

“You’re kidding me,” I said. “Secondary school art teachers don’t know much? That’s your spin? That’s your selling point?”

“Tacey. Take a breath.” Owen always thought that saying that name — a name my family never even used — would calm me down. It rarely did. “Tacey. Look. You know how to impersonate almost anybody. You can give yourself a crash course in art and art history, get a couple of little projects started, that kind of thing, over the remainder of this week and the weekend, and you’ll be just fine on Monday. First week of school is mostly reception, anyway.”

I frowned. “What kind of a Realm starts the school year in the middle of January?” I asked.

“The kind that has a Saturnalia festival up to the ninth and gives people two weeks to recover,” Owen replied smoothly.

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“OK, that’s different.”

“OK, that’s different.” I tapped the toe of my shoe against the floor. “I feel weird in dresses. Am I allowed to wear trousers in this position?”

“You are,” Owen said. He relaxed yet more, put his relieved smile on. “Can I ask, why’d you make your human glamour like that? You could have looked like anybody, but you chose a short, tiny woman who’ll just blend in to a — ah, ok. Yeah; I get it.”

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I winked.

I winked. “See? That’s the difference between you and me, Owen; I don’t always have to be a pretty boy.”

Owen looked thoughtful. “You may be right,” he said. “You may be right. Let me take you out to the flat?”

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“How far out is this place?” I asked as I turned toward the door.

“How far out is this place?” I asked as I turned toward the door.

“Just south of the river. Deptford. You know it?”

I gaped. “I grew up on Telegraph Hill, in New Cross.”

“OK, then, you’ll be familiar with some of the surroundings.”

I wasn’t so sure: going back to “my” part of London and seeing it the same but different, as all close realms keep many of the same attributes, always gave me the willies.

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“Yeah, OK,” I said.

“Yeah; OK,” I said. “Take me to the flat.

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Yowza.

Yowza; Owen sure knows how to make a girl feel like an artist, I thought as I entered the converted warehouse space. “You’ve got that fox picture on your wall as well,” I observed.

“Yeah; I own all these places; put a few things I like in each of them,” Owen replied. “Same kitchen, too.”

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“I kind of like this kitchen,” I said.

“I kind of like this kitchen,” I said. “Hang on— I had the same one when I went to that Mabon festival in — oh, I don’t remember the name of the town now.”

“Yeah; those belong to me as well,” Owen said. He put his hand in his pocket; I knew he was itching for a smoke, or a vape, or whatever he did in this Realm.

“So you…”

“Your usual fixer works for me,” he said. “Listen; I gotta go, but text me if you need anything? I hate voice calls.”

And then he was out the door, just like that. Fucker. Drop a bombshell like that on me? How long have I actually been working for Owen, anyway?

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Then, again… fuck it.

Then, again… fuck it. The prospect of spending the next six months in a posh art studio in southeast London, even if it would be a little creepy and require way too much research on my part… not so bad. And, you know. Helping a poor little svart not go through what I went through. OK, OK, I’ll take it. I texted Owen to say I had decided to take the job.

“Knew u would! Nite

Great. He even texts in textspeak, I thought.

Style Cards:

TAC:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Head
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega Appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Fajen, in tone Sand (Available NOW at the OMG Gacha Fair!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, London (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Dress, stockings, shoes: Mignon, Mia, Black
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

OWEN (portrayed by Ben Ballard):
Skin – 7 Deadly S{k}ins – Jager, Cotton V2
Eyes – IKON “Sunrise” eyes, Light Steel Blue
Hair – no.match – NO_OFFENCE Blonds (Macchiato)
Outfit – hoorenbeek Mesh Outfit – Kimmel

TAC’s flat:
Skybox: Vespertine, Reykjavik Loft
Couches, tables, light easel, and curtains: CLAVv, Light Studio (Available NOW at The Epiphany!)
Brown art table, bench, bowl, and tea towel: Apple Fall, Artists Collection
Large easel, stained art table, stools, rolling shelf with canvases: Artisan Fantasy, Art Studio
Kitchenette: Trompe Loeil, Finley Kitchenette
Kitchen Lighting: {e}lusive, Shapes Pendant Lights (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Mirror: {anc}, Looking-Glass, Magic Mirror, Heaven

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never put TAC in yet another crazy situation without it!

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Make Me a Lullaby

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

Lullaby For a Weary World
TJ Burnside-Clapp

I wonder how my world can live
With all the hate she harbors.
(Sleep, my weary world.)
And I’m scared of all how long it may last,
And just how soon it all may end,
And I wish the power to stop it all
Could rest within my hands.

I’ve seen her people dying for
Such bold and bloody causes. (Sleep, my weary world.)
And the bodies of the innocent
Just wash up on the lengthening shore
While the rising tide of history
Just ebbs and flows again. make me an angel - 2 (1) Oh, make me a cradle to rock my weary world.
Make me a gentle voice,
To soothe her when she weeps.
Make my arms strong enough
To hold her when she wakes,
And make me a lullaby so sweet and fine
That I can sing my weary world to sleep.

I wish that I could soothe away
Her jagged shards of hatred. (Sleep, my weary world.)
And, ‘though my hands may bleed and burn,
I’ll hold my broken world to me
Until her ugly scars are healed,
And peace may reign at last. make me an angel - 1 (1) If her fighting will not stop,
Then I’ll hold her that much closer
And sing my lullaby above the noise and pain of war.
And if her bleeding I can’t staunch,
I’ll bleed along beside her.
But I will not let her go,
No, I’ll never let her go. make me an angel - 3 (1) When the stars have all burned out,
I’ll sing to her in darkness. (Sleep, my weary world.)
And I pray a tender God may find me,
Huddled in the dark and cold,
And grant the weary world I shelter
One more chance to live.

May God grant my precious world
Another chance to live.

Lullaby For a Weary World

Performance by Julia Ecklar (with Technical Difficulties)

Style Card: Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Baukje (Available at Designer Circle!)
Hair: Mint, Enchanted Child Gacha, Celestial (Snow) (At The Epiphany Event)
Dress: Fallen Gods/Faida, Nuit Reveur, Beige (At The Epiphany Event)
Wings: CLAVv Gatokaca, Golden Rustic Wide Wings (Exclusive at The Epiphany Event)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, The Dreamer, Enlightenment (bold)
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Monochrome Shoes

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never stay home without it!