Dec 18, 2018 10:23 AM
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Niagara Falls is gorgeous, but there's only so long you can stand at the railing staring at it. Emily is, therefore, giving her feet a rest with one of the convenient benches and snapping photos of miscellaneous attractive objects.

She isn't taking pictures of specific people, because, privacy, but in a crowded place like this you can't exactly complain if you happen to be in frame when someone's trying to take a picture of a rainbow or a flower. Or if someone happens to notice your bracelet when the sleeve of your hoodie rides up a little. Or that it's not actually a bracelet, but some kind of...vine? With thorns?

Okay, they could probably complain some about her getting up to follow them, but it would bother Emily for weeks if she never found out whether she had seen wrong or not.
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She's walking along arm in arm with a friend(?), giggling, and yep, that bracelet sure does strongly resemble a black vine with red-tipped black thorns. Also, if you get the right angle on it, it looks like it's sprouting directly from her wrist. There's even a trace of blood on the skin.

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The friend's denim jacket has long sleeves that don't ride up so easily, but is that a hint of a thorn? It might be.

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Thorny vines growing from the skin. Maybe on both of them. Are they part of some kind of--weird plant cult? Okay, this has potentially shifted from light curiousity-based stalking to altruistic espionage. She works harder not to be noticed.

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They don't appear to notice her! But they are seeking out progressively more secluded locations, very much in the manner of two people who want to go make out right now but don't want strangers to watch.

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Well.

That makes following them rather more creepy if it turns out this whole thing is perfectly innocent, but on the other hand, if it's not, this would be a decent way for them to--escape to--do nefarious things, or report to nefarious people, or be collected by cult leaders or something.

Emily texts her sister, letting her know exactly where she is and that she doesn't expect to mysteriously vanish, but if she does she probably did not just get lost. And she keeps following them.
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And eventually:

Potential Plant Cult Member #1 shoves Potential Plant Cult Member #2 against the back wall of a restaurant in a little not-quite-alley space that suits their desire for privacy.
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Potential Plant Cult Member #2 is super into this! Giggly kisses ensue.

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There is a flash of metal. PPCM #1 has a knife and is pulling up PPCM #2's shirt.
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She giggles at that, too. Even when the other girl cuts her. Repeatedly. That is definitely blood, but... not nearly enough of it, like the cuts are healing over almost before they're finished.

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...

What the fuck.

Okay...that cannot be natural. Plants growing out of someone's skin can't be natural either. So...magic? Is magic real? Is magic real and the plaything of a kinky couple and this is so not her business but magic okay there is probably not a cult and you are being creepy for real. Move, legs.

"Ack!"

...

I said legs, not larynx!
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"Did you hear that?"

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"Nah."

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"Come on, Cass..."

She rolls her eyes.

She spots Emily.

She freezes.
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Cass follows the other girl's gaze. "Shit!"

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"I'm sorry!"

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"Who follows lesbians into alleys to watch them kiss?!"

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"I mean, straight men, but besides that same question," says the other one.

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"I saw the thorns on your wrist and I was worried you were being taken advantage of by some--weird plant cult!" She winces. That sounded less stupid when she didn't have to say it out loud.

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...She starts laughing.

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"Well obviously I know better now. And I am sorry."

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"Well, we're not in a weird plant cult," she says. "We're just, you know, making out in an alley."

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"With convenient healing magic, apparently."

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"Says who?"

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"...Says I saw that knife leaving rather more temporary wounds than ought to be possible."

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"What knife?"

She's not holding it now.
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