Be Unrepentant

Participants:

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Scene Title Be Unrepentant
Synopsis Tyler Case takes matters into his own hands regarding his debt to the triads, unaware that no amount of money can make anything right now.
Date February 21, 2009

Queens

Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on the western portion of Long Island, Queens managed to avoid much of the physical ruin attributed to the Bomb. However, Queens on whole suffered from something far more significant in the wake of the explosion that tore apart New York — Economic crisis. With much of Queens relying on industrial productivity for its commerce, it was the mass exodus of many businesses from the New York area following the bomb that crippled the borough.

With refugees pouring in from the western portions of New York following the destruction of Midtown, Queens was inundated with homeless of all walks of life. Food shortages, coupled with the collapse of Queens business centers and the strain put on local police only furthered what would become one of the most embarassing mishandling of a crisis situation the city had ever seen. Weeks after the bomb hit, riots swept through New York by the panicked populace, this was felt most hard in Queens, where food riots ravaged the businesses that dared remain open. Shea Statium was used as temporary shelter for bomb refugees, and the riots that swept through Queens enveloped the stadium as well, resulting in a remarkable loss of life in the chaos.

Ever since, Queens has settled down from the turbulent weeks following the nuclear explosion. But while its scars may not be as physical as Midtowns are, Queens suffers just as the rest of New York does, under the shadow of that broken skyline to the west and the collapse of its social and economic centers. Queens is now a ghost of its former self, slowly struggling to recover from the damage done.


The twangy guitar notes of a slow Country song reverberate through the doors to the bar even before they’re opened. The double doors swing open like some old-style saloon, though unlike a Clint Eastwood western, it isn’t some rough and world-weary fugitive without a name coming through the doors.

There’s still time to go before then.

With work-boots thumping against the hardwood floor, a young man in a gray pea coat seems remarkably out of place in this bar. Mouth shrouded by the black and white scarf wound around his neck, his face is an unrecognizable expression of unfading concern and anxiety. Brown eyes scan the bar, looking from one rough looking drunk to the next as he winds his way around the bar, shoulders rolled forward in a reflexive posture from the cold.

His hands are shaking by the time he reaches the door to the bathroom, feet moving out of control of what his mind wants. He shoulders through the door, into the draining and bleached out fluorescent lights that draw out of the color in his face, make those deep, dark circles under his eyes seem even more pronounced, make the smoky brown of his eyes seem more gray.

Looming over the sink, the young man raises one hand, withdrawing it from his pocket to stroke over his face, brushing his scarf down with the motion. Everything in him says he shouldn’t be here, that he shouldn’t do anything, that he should just turn around and face what’s happened. But every time he closes his eyes, all he can see is blood, and all he can hear is screaming.

One rattling sound in his pocket is joined by a heavier clacking sound, and shakily, he withdraws an orange pill bottle to hold in one pale hand. With a shuddering breath, his hands twist the cap off, shaking a pair of small round pills into his palm, which quickly slap into his mouth; swallowed with considerable effort down the cottony and dry texture of his throat.

“Tyler,” he rasps out his own name, staring at his reflection in the mirror, “get your fucking head together.” His eyes unwaveringly stare at his own reflection in the glass; jaw trembling as he looks at himself, and hardly recognizes the reflection of the man in the mirror. “Come on, suck it up. Suck it up. You— ”

He stops talking to himself, just a touch too late as the bathroom door opens. It’s obvious to even the stumbling drunk walking through the doors that the pale guy standing in front of the mirror with a bottle of pills in his hand was just mumbling to himself. The way he pauses in mid stride, stares, and then continues on his way crushes Tyler, and reminds him just how crazy he seems to everyone else.

Everyone that doesn’t know him.

“Sorry— Asshole.” Tyler mutters, adrenaline pumping now as he quickly spits out the insult, staggering out of the bathroom. It’s like fly fishing, you have to be patient and use the right bait.

Once he’s out of the bathroom, Tyler doesn’t go towards the bar, but instead winds down a narrow corridor and past a jukebox, past a pay phone, and out a metal door with a glowing red “Exit” sign above it. He slams into the door with his shoulder, swinging it open into a snowy alley. The wind is almost non-existent, giving the fat snowflakes that are falling the appearance of just hanging in the air as if frozen in time, stirred only by Tyler’s motion through them.

When the door moves to slam shut, it’s not the hollow click of metal and metal like it should be, but the loud thump of a palm striking the door, keeping it from closing all of the way, “Hey!” The man from the bathroom, a strung-out looking middle-aged man with a full moustache, comes stumbling out, looking up the wrong end of the alley first before spotting the troubled looking young man from before.

Tyler stops in his tracks, hands shoved into the pockets of his coat, shoulders moving forward again as he lowers his head, mouth hiding behind the cowl of his scarf. “Hey are you fucking deaf?” The man slurs out, letting the door come closed, a few shaky footfalls taking him through the freshly fallen snow.

“No, I – I’m sorry.” He just doesn’t have the nerve, “I – Uh, too much to drink. Just – forget about it.” His left hand grips clenched tightly in his pocket, not around the pill bottle. It takes a moment for the moustached drunk to piece Tyler’s stumbling words together, marshalling several scuffing steps through the snow as he raises one hand to point threateningly at the young man’s back.

“You’re god-damned – r-right you’re sorry.” A few more steps carry the drunk man forward. He’s slow, uncoordinated, Tyler could just take off, he could run out into the snowy night and get out of here. But he’s so tired of running, so tired of turning his back on his problems.

He’s gotta’ make something of himself.

When a hand clamps down on Tyler’s shoulder from behind, the young man wheels around, one arm raising as he brings a pistol up to press under the drunk man’s chin. “Look, just stay still, please just stay still.” Tyler’s other hand quickly begins patting down the man’s pockets, searching for a wallet.

In the history of bad decisions and poorly-timed risks, Tyler Case is leading the race towards the most sequential blunders.

He doesn’t find a wallet, but the man he’s holding at gunpoint does find a switchblade in a pocket Tyler’s hands haven’t rummages through yet. The quick click-flick of the blade is accompanied by the shine of yellow street lamps on cold steel, which quickly finds itself buried up to the hilt in the young man’s side, just below his kidney.

Tyler’s hand shakes, dropping the revolver as it rolls out from his fingers, and the taller, more intoxicated and less hesitant man he was attempting to mug grabs him by the throat, guiding him towards a wall by the knife driven into his side. “You son of a bitch!” The drunk shouts, “You son of a bitch! I’ll kill you!

Blood pulses out from the wound at his side, and Tyler crumples down to his knees, hand moving to where the knife rips out from his back. “Stop, stop please stop.” He sputters out the words, head sliding against the brick wall of the alley as droplets of blood strike the snow at his feet, rivulets of it running between his fingers.

“Stop? I ain’t fuckin’ stopping you little piece of shit!” Stepping forward, the man flips the blade around in his hand, resting his thumb on the back, the four inches of pointed and blood-smeared steel jutting out the back of his hand. “I’m gonna’ stick you like a pig.

“Just give me your wallet, please just – fucking give it and run.” Slouching forward, Tyler’s voice is tight with pain, his back on fire from the knife wound. Yet curled up in the fetal position, bleeding in an alleyway, all Tyler can think about is the end result.

“You – You are the stupidest son of a bitch I ain’t ever seen!” One swift kick tp the side of Tyler’s head sends him face-first into the snow, mouth pressed to the dirty pavement and ice beneath. “You mugged the wrong son of a bitch tonight, kid.”

Even as the man reaches down for Tyler’s lost gun, he’s already gone too far. Half of his face buried in snow, Tyler’s vision begins to blur and turn a sanguine shade of crimson. His irises ring with that red hue, bleeding out towards his pupils, while the veins in his arms bulge and muscles tense.

My name is Tyler Case…

Out of the alley in the street, the sound of screams and gunfire rings out, causing passers by to duck for cover and others further away to run. Barely heard over the noise of the music in the bar, the screams join the sounds of the symphony of violence that is New York City.

…and I’ve made some mistakes in my life.


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February 20th: Jonathan Carmichael's Sins
Previously in this storyline…
Whatever The Case May Be

Next in this storyline…
Surrealism

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February 20th: Lighting The Flame
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