Exodus Twenty One Twenty Four


abby_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif

Scene Title Exodus 21:24
Synopsis But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Date February 21, 2009

The Happy Dagger - Basement Tenements

It's a bedroom, for all intents and purposes. There's even a window, although it's high up on the wall, and barred with grill and glass. Should someone peek, they'll only see dirty alley way and the flat, nondescript backdrop of a separate building beyond that. The room itself is bleak, if comfortable. The walls are cement and unpainted, the floor cheaply carpeted and the bed adequately dressed, a single thing pushed into the corner of the room. An empty book case gapes from the opposite wall, and a heavy oak trunk, something of an antique and actual worth, rests next to it, previously empty but now filled with at least most of the room occupant's belongings.

Two doors after that, one that stays locked and leads to out, wherever out is, and the other torn off its hinges to reveal a very basic, slightly rundown bathroom. But it works, hot water running at will, a working toilet, partially cracked mirror moderately clean, and towels and bare necessities provided.

It's designed for existing. But not much more than that.

The sound of music trickles through the walls and floor in the basement of the Happy dagger, a cool breeze through the stairway from the gate that's been fixed (one hopes) that leads out into the cool later winter air. That doesn't mean the bedrooms down here aren't warm. Sounds at this house, in the stairs and hallway usually indicate a few things. A) The residents who aren't working or finished working might be coming down to poke and pester at the occupants of the lower rooms. This is a constant and tolerated behavior. B) Someones bringing a later dinner for the various residents which of late has only been Abigail since Cally was removed to the warehouse. C) Abigail is being fetched to head to the fights and heal those who have been fighting. Or, the last, D) She's about to get a 'cellmate'. Sometimes they're dropped in her room to heal, or they're tossed in an adjacent room.

At the footsteps, Abigail is upright in her bed, having been doing what she does of late, sleep through the day to conserve what she can. That and Caffeine withdrawal is not the greatest thing to be going through. Not when it gets eased for a bit by the red bull but then sets in again. Woken up by the commotion in the hall, pressed into the corner, the pitter patter of her heart lessening when the people in the hall make their way past her door and the door to the room next door is heard to open, disgorge their cargo with a resounding thud and then back out. The door makes it's lonely and heart wrenching locking sound before the steps disappear back down the hall, up the stairs and that sound too disappears. All that's left are the camera's in the hall, locked door and Abigail's looking at the wall between her and the anonymous person in the next room. Her meal long since gone cold and pecked at, greasy burgers are not what her stomach wants right now.

"Hello?" Spoken loud enough that it can filter through the thin walls. "My name is Abigail Beauchamp. Are you okay?" Please let the person be okay. Her hand splays against the wall as if that alone could carry her words.

It's not until the sound of the boot-steps have receded into the distance that there comes a response… but it's not the predicted response, not coming through that thin wall to the next cell but rather from the one that Abigail herself is imprisoned within. The shadows swirl in fractal life to unfold from behind her, a fluttering across the wall where she can't see it before settling there in almost-natural patterns of dark and light. The voice is hollow, quiet, a slightly-raspy echo that seems ambient in its location and yet is also as close as a whisper.

"I'm not so certain he'll be conscious so soon," observes that strange voice, dry as ashes, "If I were him, I'd certainly hope not. They treated him—roughly."

Thud. That's the sound Deckard makes when he hits the floor. The good news is that he isn't dead. The bad news is that he isn't unconscious either.

Remaining eye washed red around blue, he lies where he was dropped, breaths quick and shallow against cheap carpeting.

There's…a lot of blood. It's everywhere. Soaked deep into the heavy cling of his overcoat collar against the side of his neck, tracked in dark runs down the side of his face, blooming more artistically through the lighter fabric of suit and dress shirt. The space once occupied by his left eye is a grisly mess, all gore and gristle, red over black.

He's dizzy, cold, disoriented, damp with sweat and the mess Logan made. So is the carpet in here, now. Whoever gets this room next is going to have a lot to worry about.

"Abby." His answer comes at a sickly croak, weakened more by the situation than the flimsily constructed wall between her room and his. Even so, it's hard to mistake the voice of Flint Deckard.

It's not as if Cardinal's voice didn't make the blonde freeze in spot and look around for the owner of the voice. But Deckard's next door, combined with Cardinal's words make her suck her breath in. "How bad Deckard?" She's still searching for the owner of the mysterious voice.

The voice falls silent once more, at the sound of Deckard's weak croak that carries through the wall to their hearing. Perhaps it was her imagination, or a taunt cast in from one of the men who dumped him here? In any case, Cardinal remains silent, mere shades of silence across the cell's floor.

"I dunno. S'blood…all over." Aaahh God. Deckard's undamaged hand curls up to his face, fumbling numb over the tacky coagulation at the hollow of his cheek. The longer this goes on, the less likely it seems he's going to wake up. "I'm bleeding." Doctor Deckard!

Oh God. "Bad? Put.. put pressure on the wound Deckard. There should be bedsheets, or at least a bathroom in there. There's a bathroom in mine. There will be like, wash cloths, use that to stop the bleeding" The blonde glances towards the door, wondering if she makes a loud enough racket whether Logan would let her heal him. But no. if Logan had wanted her to heal him, he would have put him in the room with her. "Are .. is he keeping you here Deckard, or is he moving you to the Pancratium?" Glued to the wall she is, fingers scratching at the wall as if she could make her way through it and heal the man.

A shadow spills up her back without touch, without sound as she leans to the wall, darkening her form subtly as though something had passed before the dim light afforded from the window. Still wordless, the voice disembodied, listening to the conversation between the two… friends?… as they speak.

Deckard opens his eye long enough to note that yes, there is something that looks like a bathroom on the other side over there. Problem being that he's on the floor, and he doesn't really feel like getting up. The air in here is warm, pleasant contrast to the cloying dampness around his neck and chest. "Nothing's clean enough." There is a hole in his head. If he tries to press against it is he going to touch his brain? "I dunno." The source of his voice hasn't moved. He's not going to the bathroom. "Wha — what's happening? Are you ok?"

"Bedsheets are clean enough. They change them often enough. They don't use these rooms to.." he knows what they would use the rooms for. "They haven't hurt me. Logan… has other ways of making someone do what they want. He just has to touch you or not even then, just be close. He's evolved. They.. they took me, to heal the fighters and the whore's…" She doesn't notice Cardinal, but that's how he rolls isn't it. "They have Sergei. He's going by Gerard Harris, they have him at the warehouse" Abby gets off the bed, moving to where she can pinpoint Deckard is opposite her, kneeling down on the floor. "They said people are looking for me. The whores"

Names, at last names. Abby. Sergei. The pieces click together like the parts of a puzzle whose image is just beginning to become obvious. "Stubborn sonuvabitch," murmurs the voice in a growl—barely audible to Abby's ears, like one spoken at the end of a long, empty corridor.

From the bathroom to the bed, Deckard turns his head enough to take it in. It's closer. He only half hears everything else, static fuzz and a blurry haze serving as a distraction and a buffer against enough pain to clog his sinuses and lock unevenly at his chest when he finally pushes himself over enough to reach for the edge. Some dull fumbling and futile grasping later, he's pulled most of the bed dressings onto the floor with him, bloody handprints splayed freely over tangled sheets while he tries to puzzle his way through something productive to do with them. He doesn't make it far before he gives up again, silence settling on his end while he presses the heel of his hand over the empty socket.

Where are you?" Abby's head jerks back from the wall, looking around the room. There's fear in her eyes as she glances to the door, up to the window, everywhere in the room. "Are you in my head? Are you a Telepath?" Deckard can hear her through the walls, if he's paying attention.

A low, hollow chuckle stirs in response—and then the voice murmurs, sharper, clearer, coming from the shadows in her hair, "Don't speak so loud. You wouldn't want to draw… undue attention to my presence. I'm an… associate… of Deckard's. Unfortunately, he insisted on coming here after you himself rather than trusting me to do so." There's a moment's silence, save for the rustling through the walls where Deckard tries to gather himself. "Logan took his eye."

Seated with his back propped up lax against the bed's side, hand over eye, Deckard's having a hard time not losing it. His breathing has slowed out of its initial shocky race, trading panic for more abyssal misery while he has the time to sit and think about what just happened. Current quarters offer some measure of privacy, at least, and he remains attentive enough to lift is head when Abby addresses Cardinal.

"Oh God…." Logan took Deckards eye. There's the sound of the blonde scrambling away from the wall, towards the bathroom attached to her room, with it's absent door. The contents of her stomach come up at the thought of the damage Logan has done to Deckard. Her blonde hair falling to either side of the dinghy porcelain. Tears mingle with the toilets contents too, one arm slung across the seat to support her forehead. "Oh god"

There's no response to that, mostly because, really, there's no real way to respond to a blonde locked in a brothel's prison vomiting into a toilet. Cardinal abides.

Still bleeding, though things seem to have slowed to a more manageable sludge, Deckard is getting drowsy. A nap simultaneously seems like a really good idea and a really terrible one, but things have gotten a little quieter since Abby went to the bathroom. At least in terms of conversation. His chin dips down to his chest, and more deliberately, he sets to stripping a pillow of its cover. Plug the leak. Then he can sleep.

A minute or so pass before Abby, wiping her mouth on her sleeve makes her way back to the wall. "Are you still there?" Who that's for is Questionable. "I'm going to kill him. Or take his eye at least Deckard. I don't know how but.. An eye for an eye. And when I get out of here and we find each other again, i'll fix yours. I promise"

"Exodus," replies the hollow voice of Cardinal in what almost sounds like a snarl of breath, "Twenty-one. Twenty-four." There's silence, then, the shadow settling across Abby once more like a sheltering wing, whether or not she even notices the drape of darkness. More quietly, he murmurs, "There are many people searching for you, Abigail."

No answer from Deckard, which seems to be a running theme of late. He doesn't bother trying to tear the fabric, but presses it up under his brow in a clumsy wad. The briefest of blue-lit glances is enough to confirm that Abby is really Abby on the other side of his wall, and slowly, he tips himself over onto his side amidst whatever blankets and pillows he's managed to get onto the floor with him.

"And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." Abby's skeleton crouched there on her knee's, forehead against the wall. "I told him, I told him it was stupid to take me. He doesn't know what trouble he's bringing down upon his head" She's got no x-ray vision to see if Deckard's okay, or to see if he's still even alive and not bled out on the other side of the wall. "Deckard…" She raps on the wall. "I'm.. I'm sorry. For the flower pot. For everything. I'm sorry… you're here"

"I see the nuns got to you, as well," murmurs the breath of shadow beside her ear, unseen to the radiating light of x-ray as it washes through the room. A sigh is heard, a rasp of depleted protons against one another in susurrant chorus, "I think, though, that Psalm fifty-eight ten is more… applicable to the situation."

"It's okay." It's so fucking far from okay that Deckard can't even look at the wall as he says it, but more silence at this point would be petty, even for him. His skewered hand is inspected with a sluggish sort of half-interest before it drops down onto bloodied sheets along with everything else. Bad day.

Abby shakes her head towards the bodiless voice. "No, no nun's. It's just how I was raised and no it doesn't. Not to me" Abby shifts to sit on her side, instead of knee's, left shoulder pressed up to the wall, her hand petting at the wall. "It'll be okay. Somehow, it'll be okay" The little gold cross hasn't been taken from her, it still sits at the hollow of her throat. She starts singing then, something not that uncommon down in the basement over the weeks that she's been here thanks to utter boredom when she's awake. "God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, Burning bush, Lord the burning bush, God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, Saying I am the Lord, thy God. Take your shoes off Moses you're on holy ground, Holy ground, you're on holy ground. Take your shoes off Moses you're on Holy ground, for I am the Lord, thy God"

Her voice rises and falls where appropriate, a song plucked from somewhere in her mind. "Go yonder Moses and smite that rock Smite that rock, Lord smite that rock, Go yonder Moses and smite that rock, For I am the Lord, thy God. Stand still Moses see salvation work, Salvation work, see salvation work, Stand still Moses and see salvation work, For I am the Lord, thy God" One could imagine how she'd sound in a church with the others that she sang with in Louisiana or even here when she attends service.

The voice is silent throughout the first few verses of the song, either respectful of the singing or just unwilling to try and force itself over her song. As she continues, a faint humming joins with it, echoing from the shadows of the cell in wordless, barely-audible accompaniment.

It's a weird juxtaposition — Abby's singing through the wall and the pulse of a more lascivious rhythm muffling through the ceiling overhead. Nothing like random gospel music to remind you that your charge is a slightly insane person. Rather than grouse, Deckard listens a while in silence, eventually reaching over to drag some of the heavier blanketing over onto his head. Maybe he'll get lucky, suffocate, and wake up dead. In any case, it helps to muffle out both sources of song while he lies there and fails to fall asleep through the ebb and spike of pain in his skull.

No sound from the other side, even when Abby stops singing, palm resting on the wall. It's worry really, that compels hers. "I don't know.. where you are, what you can do, but if you can.. can you look in on him? Check him. He's.. a friend"

A faint, hollow chuckle answers that — though there's no actual humor to it. "Flint Deckard's too stubborn to die," the voice points out in that quiet murmur through her hair, "And if Logan wanted to kill him, he would have. No. We have more important things to talk about, Abigail."

"Logan can do a lot of things he wants, just by touching" She can't see him still, so she doesn't move, just closes her eyes. "Start talking. I never know when they'll show up. The fights will be ending soon and they'll come for me to heal people"

"Then tell me everything," murmurs the shadow back to her ear, tight with intent, "Everything about this place. Everything about Logan. Everything you know." A pause, silence, "I can't free you. But I can tell those who can."

"His name is John Logan. he runs it, or owns it. One of the two. He .. picks up women, to make them work here, or not. Sometimes he gives them to a man named Muldoon who works or own the fight club. Both of them are Evolved. Logan.. he can turn your gift off. Or he can make your body really happy" She squeezes her eyes really tight. "Really really happy. I hate it when he does that. He has to touch you, to make it more than a little happy. It makes you want to do nearly anything he asks, or to make you docile so they can move you"

"Charming." It nearly drips with sarcasm, and there's a subtle undercurrent of anger that's building there. "Muldoon. What can you tell me about him, then…?" A pause, and he adds more softly, "It'll be all right, Abigail."

"He's tall, blonde hair, I don't know.. his gift. He has to touch though, he touched my cheek and it tingled. I don't know more than that. he tried to get me to go to him first, but I refused, and so he gave me to Logan. Said that he could do with me what he wanted, so long as it didn't break their deal. They, the fighters, there's, they've kidnapped others. Sergei is one. He's going by Gerard Harris. He negates. I've talked to him a few times while I'm there. They have Magnes Varlane, they took him with me, gravity control, he's fought once at least and he got hurt bad. he's trying to fight to get me free. They keep them in a rusty warehouse" she rattles off where the warehouse could be found as best she could. "They bring me there with four people, armed to the teeth. They keep them in cages, with a bunk and facilities to go to the bathroom but it's all open bars and no privacy"

"Sergei…" A slow, thoughtful stirring of that name, drawn out in the rasping voice of the shadow, "…there are many people looking for him, as well. Idiots." That anger is clear now, a sharp hiss, "Did they think we're animals to fight for their entertainment? Their own kind?"

"I don't know. I'm.. I'm exhausted once I'm done, I always worried that homeland would snatch me up once I was registered and drain me like a battery. I didn't.. I didn't think that it'd be someone else" She looks over her shoulder, direction of the voice. "They have someone who has access to the list itself, not the one on the internet. But the one that homeland, and cops and all that have access too. It's how they found me. They showed up at work one night" She tilts her head back to the wall tapping her head against it ala Teo repeatedly, gently. "The whores.. they're waiting for Logan to break me in. He hasn't touched me, no ones touched me. He brings me redbull when I'm brought out for healing, but then I'm shoved back in here. Did you know… Mr… whoever you are… that caffeine withdrawal… is a bitch"

"He won't have the chance to… break you in," replies the darkness in a deeper, dangerous rumble of voice, the shadow spreading across the wall behind her slowly in the pattern of sheltering wings, like an angel painted 'cross the plain cement, as if she had a pair her own that was merely unseen to the naked eye but not to the light, "Not if I have anything to say about it."

"Teodoro Laudani. You need to find him. Or Isabelle, the owner of Old Lucy's in Chelsea, you can go to her. Tell her my name, tell her to get in contact with Teodoro Laudani. She'll know who, how. There's.." Abby spots her shadow, her changed shadow. Something incomprehensible crossing her face. "Stop that… stop that, please. That's not funny"

The wings swirls away in a flurry of vanishing feathers, spilling down to be lost in the darkness of the room. "Who do you think asked me to keep an eye out for you, Abigail? I know who I need to talk to," replies the voice, quiet once more, though still intense and clearly seething beneath the surface, "This needs to end." There's a long silence, before he asks, "Ivanov. Do you know him? Is he involved?"

'Ivanov. He's a friend. An FBI agent that I've saved a few times. He's another person you can tell. Or if you want to try, Agent Matt Parkman with Homeland Security. You need to tell him. He knows who I am, he can bring down homeland on this place" Abby starts to move over to the bed, sit on the edge of it, elbows on knees and hands on temples.

"Then I know who I need to talk to," murmurs the disembodied voice in her ear, "Just hold on. And… try to keep Deckard from giving up. I think he's a better man than he likes to think he is." A pause. "Don't tell him I said that."

You say, "Deckard and I… we.. begrudgingly get along.. at the best of times. I can't help if they take him away, but I'll try" She looks up, around. "Who are you?""

To that, there's a long moment's silence. Then, a quiet offering, "You can call me Richard."

"Thank you Richard. Isabelle, Ivanov, Parkman. Jessica. Jessica or Niki Sanders. Tell them. Tell them all. I've hung in this long, I'll make Deckard hang in too. Make sure Isabelle tells Teo" Abby murmurs. "I need to sleep Richard. It takes too much energy to stay awake"

"Sleep, Abigail," offers the voice, soft, gentle, "I'll be here again. Don't tell them about me."

"I won't. Keep an eye on him too" Obviously the Him is Deckard. Abigail pulls her feet up, grabbing the blanket and assuming her usual position. The corner of the bed pushed into the corner of the room. Back to the wall, head on the pillow, the window far above her. There's a prayer, murmured under her breath as she waits, letting sleep come and take her for as long as it might.

The shadow lingers for a time, waiting until her breath steadies. Then he's gone, fading into the night on his mission.

You think you're untouchable here, Logan? We'll see just how untouchable you are…

February 21st: What The Hell Did You Say, Teo??
Previously in this storyline…
Eye for an I

Next in this storyline…
Perfect Circle

February 21st: Perfect Circle
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