It looked like Alyx Fox had another slow night ahead of her. All of her friends were busy, and she had already finished her backlog of work. That left her with a complete blank space over how to spend the rest of the evening. She could crack open one of her old DVDs. That was always fun. She just picked up the Legend of Korra box set, so that could be a good way to kill a few hours. Maybe she could pick up her DS and put some work into Dragon Quest V. It had been a while since she put a few good hours into that.
... Of course, there was always the ever-present option to get back on Nation of Animation and check out the BartToons situation. And honestly, she was pretty sure that was what she was going to wind up doing. It was a situation that she never thought would happen. Of course, nobody really thinks that someone they are connected to could wind up being kidnapped or... whatever was going on at the moment.
Honestly, she knew about the Kingman incident before it hit the forum. She lived about a half-hour away from the town, so she heard about it as soon as the news first hit. Plus, even though she had graduated college four years ago, she got a frantic phone call from her mom that afternoon asking where she was and if she was okay. She had never heard her mom sound so terrified, and that call really stuck with her.
BartToons disappearing at the same time didn't hit her as hard but it still hit her. However, she didn't think that she would be as affected as she was. He was just someone who happened to be a user on the forum where she was an admin. By all means, he was just another anonymous face behind an avatar and a username. When it was explained like that it sounds like the most distant, casual connection that anyone could actually have. People have come and left the forum since its beginning. It was a good social group and a great place to talk about stuff, but aside from a few people, most of them were just online acquaintances. It wasn't something that most people would consider a particularly strong bond.
With him going missing, though, the forum really showed their true colors. Traffic on most of the forum had gone way down while the topic on BartToons remained active. Information hounds like Great Detective and Grave, who usually spent their time searching out spoilers and development details, were now using their talents to seek out whatever they could find about the Kingman incident. There seemed to be at least one person in the thread at all times, looking for any new source of knowledge on the situation.
Once BartToons' mom showed up in the thread, though, that's when she really felt the full effect. Like a couple of other members, she thought that it might be a troll hacking the account for a sick joke. But when she saw that it was the real deal, she couldn't help but wonder how the poor woman must feel. She just discovered one day that her son was gone. Gone. Alyx may not have had any kids of her own, nor did she plan on having any, but she felt incredible sympathy for the mother's plight. She offered her e-mail address to her through the PM system in case the other woman wanted to chat, but she didn't really expect a response. After all, she was just some random internet denizen. She didn't imagine that she would really be the poor woman's first choice for dealing with grief.
Alyx pulled out a notebook and started flipping through it to appreciate her pet project: Steel Shells. She had been working on it since her freshman year of high school, with so many sketches and scripts that she had to buy a second notebook before she started keeping all of her work on the computer. Page after page of armored beetles, landscapes, and character portraits jumped out at her, memories of long nights spent perfecting every last detail of their designs.
After over a decade of work, she had finally reached the highest point in her career. She had gotten a callback from a studio that saw her pilot, and an offer for a series was now on the table. This was the greatest achievement thus far in her life, and by all means she should be absolutely over the moon.
Unfortunately, she got the call the day after the Kingman story broke. She was very happy to finally bring her career to the next level but at the same time, that excitement was diminished by current events. She hadn't even mentioned it on Nation of Animation yet. Yeah she knew that they would be super psyched to hear about it, especially since she had talked about her work in the past. But with how much the mood has been dragged down, she just couldn't find the motivation to do so. Maybe they would appreciate some good news, but she worried that she would look selfish by cheering herself during a crisis.
Sighing, she placed her notebook back on the shelf and took a look outside her apartment window. If all went well with negotiations, she would be moving to a place closer to the studio. It would be her first time moving across state lines, and it would bring a whole new set of sights that she would have to get used to, but if it was for her dream, then it would be worth it. Of course, getting away from a place that now held some pretty deeply negative memories would probably be good for her as well.
After a few minutes of musing, she got up and headed to her computer. Might as well check and see if anyone on the forum has dug up anything new yet. Maybe there was some good news. The missing kids could have been found and they could be on the way home right now. She wanted to believe that this was true, but she had never been good at kidding herself.
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