|When Nature Attacks|
|Location||Campground - New York|
|Summary||Tiffany breaks out of her usual monotone.|
Sunrise is long over, but it's still early enough in the morning that it's reasonably cool and quiet. The bird song that greeted dawn has quieted down to the occasional chirping and flutter of avian down into the campsite to peck at any bits of food that have been left behind by messy campers. At least, until a particular aggressive squirrel comes along and chases any off. All food dropped hereby claimed by Squirrel. It chitters and twitches it's tail around manically.
Tiffany has graciously turned down an invitation to attend a nature walk, electing to be left behind. She doesn't say tell anyone the truth, that she's too light headed to even attempt it. Instead, the aloof psionic puts up her too-cool defense and feigns disinterest.
She'd been traipsing back to the cars for a pen that works while the squirrel menace got to work scaring off her fluttery, woodland friends. Coming upon it, she widens her eyes and slows. Squirrels are bigger in person.
Squirrels /are/ bigger in person. And known to be a little crazy, to anyone familiar with them. This one certainly stands its ground, picking up some bit of graham cracker or something, stuffing it's face, and then chattering again. The tail twitches, then the creature skitters abruptly /closer/ to Tiffany. HELLO. What do you have?
In fact, squirrels do not like that. This one darts away from the kicked dirt and around it, pausing to stand up on its hind legs and stare at Tiffany. It's tail twitches like some horrible animal sign language. Maybe it is, because a few feet away another one climbs down from a tree.
"Aw, did you find a friend?" This is quietly from Irene, who is quietly walking through the forest, returning from god knows where. She is barefoot and in shorts and a t-shirt, though there's no sign she was taking a dip in the lake or anything.
Tiffany lets out a tiny squeak of fear, tip toeing back another step as the squirrel's reinforcements begin to arrive. She slowly brings up both hands as if to surrender to her new feral overlords... which is what she's doing as Irene arrives. "Oh my god, these aren't my friends," she offers dryly over her shoulder to the other woman.
Maybe squirrels thrive on fear, because they at least stop coming closer, perhaps satisfied now. Not that they go away immediately, either. Instead, they both pause, ears perking. The tails have stopped twitching. Maybe there will be mercy.
"Uhm," says Irene, pausing in her walk and just looking at Tiffany as she appears to be surrendering to the squirrels. "...I'm not sure I understand your relationship with those squirrels. You probably shouldn't feed them, though."
The squeak that Tiffany achieved earlier resurfaces in the form of a short, abrupt little scream as the aggressive little vermin makes takes a posturing step closer to her. "I didn't feed them, I just came back from the car." Wincing helplessly, she toes her notebook closer to the squirrels. There, just take it and go! "Oh my god," she pants.
One of the squirrels is startled, and zips right up the nearest tree in a flash, only to turn around halfway up the trunk and tail twitch at Tiffany. Chitter chitter. The first one, however, seems interested in the notebook, pawing closer.
"Oh, they're probably just after the crumbs then." Irene does not seem at all worried about the squirrels and is trying--and failing--to hide her bemusement at Tiffany's reaction to them. "They're not dangerous..." She points out, mildly, then strolls closer, maybe with the intent to retrieve the notebook before the squirrels decide to chew on it or something.
"Oh my god," Tiffany purrs. She really is afraid, even if her voice doesn't quite let it on. "Don't get closer to them, they probably have rabies." Her already large eyes grow even larger as Irene casually walks up. She skitters back another step. "Oh, god."
"I don't think they have rabies, I think they're just squirrels," Irene reassures, just a little dry. She doesn't laugh, though, so that's nice. "It's fine, I'm just going to grab your notebook. Unless you want teeth marks in it?" It doesn't matter, she's already reaching for the notebook.
In the bushes, there is a soft rustle.
It's the only warning anyone gets who doesn't have particularly enhanced senses. There is a flash of sandy fur as a lean dog leaps out from behind the cover of branches and leaves, snapping the squirrel up in powerful jaws and piercing teeth. No, not a dog. It's wild looking with amber eyes and no collar. Broken, the once aggressive squirrel now looks small and limp.
"Holy shit!" Irene says, very articulately, because /holy shit/.
The scream. That Tiffany lets out. Could wake the dead. She brings up both tiny, balled fists to her chest and prances back at least a full yard. The high pitched tone, which could probably break glass, lasts at least twenty or thirty solid seconds.
If anyone is nearby, or even down at the lake, they might come running now. That is not the scream of someone having a good time, playfully running around in the woods. And Irene can't really blame Tiffany for that, except that is loud, and she winces at little at the sudden burst of noise for all that it isn't exactly painful. "Okay...just keep backing away slowly," she advises, pulling the notebook towards her and picking it up. Her priorities may be a little messed up. She already had a hand on it, though!
The coyote crunches the squirrel in it's jaws and swallows it like it's nothing. Ears pinned back, it bares red-stained fangs defensively. Or maybe aggressively. It's a little hard to tell if you're not well versed in canine or an empath or something.
Bringing up a hand, Tiffany presses her fingers to her temple. "I can't-" She plants her feet, drawing up her other hand out into the air for balance. Her eyelids flutter as she fights to remain conscious. For a moment her body sways and an illusory version of the young woman peeks out as if it might split off. She manages to slip back into herself before her body falls to the ground, though.
"You can't? Shit." Irene catches a little of that struggle, glancing back at Tiffany briefly. For, probably understandable, reasons most of her attention is still focused on the snarling coyote. "Hold on..." With a swift motion, she reaches out and smacks it hard on the nose with the notebook. No. Bad dog.
The coyote is not well behaved. It does not look shamed by this. But hitting it in the nose is very startling and does /hurt/. So its immediate response is to yelp and dance back a pace. Before it resumes snarling.
"Oh my God," Tiffany pants breathlessly, "Don't piss it off." Her knees buckle inward as she continues to sway. She manages to shuffle back just another inch or two away. "I'm supposed to be murdered by an angry lover, not by fucking Balto." And then... "Don't you like, have a gun? Where's Kade? Set it on fire!"
"Oh, for fuck's sake." Irene seems vaguely /annoyed/ of all things that the wildlife is sticking around. "You--what?" Now is not the time to get distracted by murders by angry lovers. "I didn't bring a /gun/," she says, plainly exasperated for a brief moment. "No fire!" Maybe she's worried Kade really will show up and set it on fire. With a sigh, she tries to chase the coyote off instead, running towards it and yelling. "Shoo! Go away!" She even makes 'shooing' motions.
The coyote startles, but doesn't flee immediately, snapping at one of Irene's arms. It manages to look genuinely shocked this seems to have no effect. What. Right before it's smacked in the head with her other hand. It yelps again, lets go, and runs off into the woods, away from camp, perhaps deciding it's really not worth it.
Tiffany whimpers squeamishly as Irene's arm is almost ripped right off of her feeble, inadequate human body by the vicious canine's sharp teeth. Once all is said and done, Tiffany can only stand by with her hands pressed into her clavicle and her mouth agape. She blinks her long lashes in awe of Irene.
"I am going to have to report that," Irene murmurs, brushing her arm off and making a face. Gross. "That was unusually aggressive..." She is still rubbing saliva and squirrel blood off her arm as she approaches Tiffany and holds out her notebook for her. Here. Only a little coyote snot on it. "Sorry about that," she says like it was only an inconvenience. "Are you okay? You got kind of..." She does not know how to describe it.
"Thank you," Tiffany mumbles, taking the notebook with a shaky hand and hugging it. Her eyelashes flutter, again. "I'm..." She shakes her head no, "I'm fine. I panicked." Tiffany's voice, at least, doesn't even betray her with so much as a tremor now that danger has passed. She gulps, wetting her lips. "Do you think it'll come back?"
"No problem," Irene says like nothing much happened. Not that she doesn't look a little concerned for the behavior of some of the locals. "That's fair," she says, looking over her shoulder into the forest. "No, I don't. It won't come back until nighttime even if it does and we'll be long gone by then," she reassures, then ruins it all by musing, "Though usually you see them in packs." Slightly more helpfully, she also adds, "And they're more skiddish."
Tiffany tilts her head. Her perfectly shaped eyebrows furrow and her lips pout outward, "Squirrels?" Somehow, that doesn't comfort her. The young woman glances over her shoulder as if they might be creeping in on the campsite again even now. "Or... what kind of dog was that?"
"I don't think the squirrels will be back either after that." Irene looks down at her arm, perfectly fine for having been mauled, then back up again. "But they really aren't dangerous. I mean, you see them in the park back home. People feed them." She eyes Tiffany like she's concerned that maybe she's never been anywhere with trees before. "I think it was a coyote, but it /might/ have been part dog."
There were plenty of trees on Tiffany's street growing up! Rubbing her forearm to comfort herself, Tiffany creeps back into the safety of the camp. The sound of her own tent flap's zipper doesn't come very long after. "Do you want to do a shot with me?" Okay, she's back to normal. She ducks inside to retrieve ...something.
Irene still looks concerned while Tiffany creeps back to the camp. Probably not about if she's been places with trees before. More likely it's for the screaming and the almost phasing out. But at least she's walking around now, so that's good. Maybe. "...it's before noon," she points out, responsibly and boring, when asked if she wants to do a shot. "And I have to drive later."
All but Tiffany's butt disappears into her tent. She calls back rather flatly, "I didn't hear the word, No." She wiggles her tush cutely."...it's not tequila is it? Otherwise, maybe just one. In solidarity." Maybe Irene feels a little bad about the wildlife getting feisty.