Midtown Wonderland


carson_icon.gif doyle_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif jenny2_icon.gif kaitlyn_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif tommy_icon.gif

Scene Title Midtown Wonderland
Synopsis A snow day in the Midtown ruins starts innocently enough, but ghosts from the past bring about a showdown that results in a display of powers that surprises most everyone.
Date March 4, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

Snow has a purifying effect on a cityscape. This even holds true in the ruins of Midtown. The black and charred scars of the explosion now years past are covered by a blanket of white snow. The dirty and broken sidewalks are hidden from view, and even the crooked, crumbling buildings that usually loom, burnt and broken, seem more friendly somehow, with their broken jagged edges smoothed by the expanse of white. And, unlike the rest of the city, here the snow has mostly been left untouched. Here, no snow plows clear the streets of the excess white powder. The snow has piled high, in clean pure drifts, with no traffic to flatten or sully its stark whiteness. Three-foot-long icicles hang from awnings, railings and balconies. And above all is the stillness. The snow muffles everything. It is easy to deny that anyone lives here, but for footprints in the snow or the tracks of a cart here and there.

That is, it was still and quiet until today.

Snow day! Due to the inclement weather, most of the city’s schools have set their children free for the day — not to enjoy the weather, of course, but that is what the children have in mind. When the announcement was made early in the morning, a group of enterprising junior high age kids began to spread word: Ditch the parks; this time, we’re going sledding in the urban jungle of the Midtown Ruins.

This section of Broadway has been turned into some sort of a snow park: the long, ornate rails and the steep steps of one theater provide the apparatus for three dozen kids — and no adult supervision. Someone has brought a portable stereo, punk music pouring out and into the previously quiet street. The noise of children laughing is a strange one here in Midtown — but for at least one homeless man, it’s a welcome one. He watches the children jumping off the rails and sliding down the steps while warming weathered, calloused hands in fingerless gloves over a trash-can fire.

“It’s nice to see the youngun’s about,” he says to his only companion, a mutt that looks like it’s part Border Collie and part German Shepherd. “It’s been too quiet ‘round here.”

After the events of a few days back, Eric Doyle abandoned his safe home and lurched off into the darkness of the alleyways like a runaway child gone to sulk somewhere. Just like that metaphorical child, however, he didn't exactly plan things very well, and a light baseball jacket and a Yankees cap don't provide much warmth given the weather. The portly fellow steps along out of an alley, shivering a bit with both arms around himself, and catches sight of the burn barrel.

"Hey," he offers an uncertain smile to the homeless man, his eyes sunken and ringed from lack of sleep, "Mind if I, uh— " He extends his hands towards the fire hopefully, giving the mutt a worried look. Perhaps afraid he's going to get the dog sic'd on him!

Melissa may not be a junior high kid, but she does love snow. And really, there aren't that many opportunities to go sledding in Georgia. She's bundled up in her all black (but for a hot pink skull) outfit, and has a bright smile on her face. Someone just regressed about twenty years. As she heads towards where others are sledding she notices the homeless man, and she veers off in his direction. "What a pretty dog," she says, with a smile for the man, and offering petting to the mutt. And if she tries to covertly tuck a folded up bill in the dog's collar (if it has one), it's a good deed, right?

Carson has come to get the last of his Stuff, scavanged up a bit of luggage to carry it in, even, and he's stopped by the old man; the young man, ragged and bundled up close with newspaper insulation augmenting his Navy Surplus peacoat in this even more chilly than usual weather, hands down the remains of a sandwich to the dog, even as he watches the kids having fun. Kids. They're not that much younger than he is. Huh. "Yeah, it is nice to see," he says to the old man, holding out fingerless-gloved hands to the fire, then he makes way as the other people move in.

Among the preteens that all know each other, there's a few stragglers, brought along in a van that's dragged it's way through the snow as much as possible. It's still quite a distance away, barely visible from the sledding. Two of the kids brought along, pre-teens too, have joined in, smiling and waving. Another stands back, looking on, a shy girl wrapped tightly in a coat. One of the ones sledding, oddly enough, doesn't happen to be wearing very heavy clothes, nor is she shivering at all. A young hispanic girl, in fact.

"You should have worn a scarf, Denisa!" one of the older people who attended the small group of kids yells. Gillian's not praticipating in the sledding, or the fun, but she's enjoying the watching. She's bundled up, complete with a fuzzy hood, straight out of an antartic movie. Which she knows is accurate, cause she's been there. A glance is cast beside her, to the other woman around her age. "They seem to be having fun. Kinda wish I could have brought all of them." But the small handful she dragged out to go sledding is about as much as she can handle, without Brians lingering in the distance. "I hope the others aren't too jealous."

The high pitched happy yapping echoes off the snowy landscape and crumbled walls. A smallish brown and white terrier hops through the snow sinking down with each hop. It's fuzzy beard of fur crusted with little balls of snow.

"Benny!" Is a sharp call from somewhere behind him.

The dog in question makes another jump and sinks deep in the snow, only the tip of it's head and folded ears showing, those turn towards the voice, the dog's head rises above the snow to look back, as 'Benny' balances on his back legs in his snow hole. He gives a few more yapping barks.

In a thick army green jacket, scarf wrapped tight around her face, In jeans that look overly worn and thread, the owner of the voice, Kaitlyn, crunches her way through the two feet of snow. "Found a drift did ya?" Benny gives another yap, bouncing a bit as if telling her to help. "It would do you good to leave you there." The terrier watches the woman, still sitting back on back legs, stubby tail moving at insane speeds.

Behind the woman, comes an german shepard, inching his way through carefully, paws lifted high with each step. His muzzles gray from the years, when he stops at Kaitlyn's side, he looks at the smaller dog and sneezes, giving some sort of opinion.

"I agree Jerry Lee." Kait grouses softly and then she finally looks up noticing how busy is around before her, breath catching in her throat. Oh god.

Some are out for fun, some are out for business. For Tommy, it's the latter. In his line of work there's always a reason to be on the move, whether carrying a package from point A to point B, shaking little baggies in exchaneg for cash, or in this case, scouting locations for various nefarious purposes. There's a swagger in his step, earned or not, as the older man moves through the snow. Hands stuffed deep into the pockets of his puffy jacket, tuque pulled low over his ears to keep them warm against the winter's chill.

Jenny stands beside Gillian, shivering beneath her bulky sweater which sparkles with scattered snow caught up in the loose, grey knit. Bright red mittens cover her hands, her duller red hair bound into a ponytail with errant strands peeking from a knit cap which matches her mittens, and has Christmas like snowflakes patterned into them despite it being two months and change since the holiday season. "Maybe we can bring the others out ourselves before all the snow melts," she says, voice partially muffled by her scarf. Her arms are wrapped around what seems to be a plastic dinner tray, already showing the scrapes and wear and tear of sledding. "Hokay. I'm going again."

And with that, Jenny hops on forward to take her turn — she's a girl over twenty, maybe, but seems happy to join in when one of the kids beckons at the Childs sisters. She draws off her scarf and loops it around Denisa's shoulders as she makes her way up the stairs, boots sinking into loose snow as she goes.

Always one to land in an alley where no one in particular will spot him, Magnes accepted Gillian's invitation to come help out with the kids, wearing his black denim jacket, a long red scarf around his neck, a pair of red leather gloves, blue jeans and black sneakers, he's somewhat prepared for potential snowball fights. As he's walking out of the alley, he passes Doyle, and instantly turns his head to spot the rather distinct face. "Hey! You're that puppeteer from the park!" Enough time has passed that he's somewhat gotten over whatever he was angry at Future Doyle about.

"Sure thing. Can't share much, but fire's free," the homeless man says warmly enough. It's hard to tell his age under the rough beard and weathered and dirty face, but crows feet around his eyes suggest he's at least middle aged. To Melissa, he nods. "That there is Rosebud, though she weren't named for no sled. Completely coincidence. She likes to chase icicles if you wanna throw some for her. Silly dog thinks them's sticks. If she were a person," and this is leaned over to Doyle and Carson in a eyebrow wagging aside, "she'd be a blonde. No offense, ma'am." The last, aimed at Melissa with a wink. The dog, however, gives a low whine at the sight of Kaitlyn's pets, tail wagging. It has no collar but a bandana to tuck money into. The dog cocks its head, looking up at its owner, the tail wagging as it pleads for permission to go to the other dogs.

The man, however, is lost in reverie, it would seem, watching the children with the Lighthouse group.

Meanwhile, a group of rowdy teens start grabbing snow and throwing snow balls at the young children — and their guardians. One hits Magnes square in the back of his head as he turns to pay attention to Doyle.

A weak but grateful smile's offered the homeless man at the invitation, Doyle's sneakers shuffling through the snow as he gets up close to the barrel to warm his hands, shivering a bit more, "Thanks, thanks…" As the man talks with Melissa about their dog, he might have a respone about blondes - but no, because he's just seen a group of his kids over in the snow, and actually cringed. Well. Okay, they aren't his kids, but he entertained them over Halloween, and he's stopped in occasionally to do it since. For some reason, though, he's sort of trying to hide behind the bum and the brim of his hat right now.

Then he's shouted at, his head jerking up to stare at Magnes, "Wh-what, no, you, uh, you've got to have the wrong guy, I don't know who you're talking about…" Right, because everyone always answers to 'puppeteer from the park'.

Melissa laughs rather than taking any offense to the homeless man's comment. "Hey, I know how some blondes are. So no offense taken," she says, looking around for an icicle to throw for Rosebud — and keeping an eye for money falling out of the bandana. It would be a shame for the money not to get to its intended target. Magnes's yell has her looking from him, to Doyle, a brow arching slightly.

Carson shifts, looks at Melissa and Doyle near him and unconsciously tightens his grip on the thin bag of clothes and accumulated Stuff he has with him, then laughs at Benny the Terrier's antic out in the snow. "Little dog like that might just decide to make his own tunnels," the young man grins. He turns his head as Magnes points out the large man near him, his expression turning curious as he glances back at Doyle.

Then the snowballs start to come in, and the young man stoops to scoop one together, tossing it back at the rowdy boys as he starts to get caught up in the moment.

As Jenny goes to sled, Gillian smiles brightly, dimples appearing on her cheeks as she looks pleased. "We should definitely bring the others before it all melts," she says, mostly to herself as she sees Jenny hop away to go sledding. Denisa makes a shruggy motion, says something about not really even needing it, but wraps it tighter around anyway and goes with the sledding. But it's the snowballs getting thrown around that seem to make the dimples vanish.

"Oh great, snowball fights— Lance is going to…" almost as soon as Gillian says it, one of the lighthouse kids, with dark hair, picks up a snowball and throws it right at one of the other kids, a blonde girl. The one too shy to go sledding.

They get lost in the play, laughing and packing snowballs, ducking behind people… The final of the handful of lighthouse kids runs behind Gillian, just in time for her to get a face full of snow, thanks to Lance. "Lance you are so grounded for that," she says, wiping her face off, before grabbing some snow of her own and launching it back at him.

Leaning down, Kaitlyn lifts the snowball covered terrier out of the snow hole, "Oh god.. what have you been eating Benny." She declares, hefting the pup into a much more comfortable hold, head jerking away as the small canine tries to bestow cold kisses on his owner, tail still moving faster then the human eye can follow.

The whine, gets large ears on the shepard's head, swivel forward and his head lifts, tho Jerry Lee makes no move to go to the other dog. He then swivels his head up to look at Kaitlyn, who jerks her head away from another attempt at a thank you. "Benny, cut it out."

Benny, then twists around to look in the direction of the dog by the fire. Those folded ears fly forward and he suddenly squirms to be let down, which Kaitlyn seems happy to allow. Once he sinks into the snow again, Benny starts his hopping again, heading for the group around the fire, barking a greeting to the strange dog. The travel goes something like. Hop, Bark, Sink into snow.. Repeated over and over.

The healer can only sigh heavily and mumbles a, "Just great…" Which is echoed by a groan from Jerry Lee. Kaitlyn looks down at Jerry Lee. "Think we should?" The german shepard look at her, but there is no answer there, only a typical look of devotion. "Your no help." Jerry Lee only tilts his head to the side slightly.

The sounds of children playing draw the aging thug's attentions and as he rounds a corner to survey the scene, the sight of unbounded joy even manages to bring a smile to his lips. Almost subliminal, gone even begin it fully forms. A pause as he takes in the scene in front of him, whild not even bothering to try to remain inconspicuous. Until the balding man comes into his line of sight, that is.

Teeth clench as Tommy spots the puppetteer, the light in his eyes fading for the moment. He's not the type to forget being disrespected, not the type to be abused and puppetted and let it go. ut he dosen't act on it, yet, just moving along the side of the street with deliberate purpose. Eyes down, head down, just another man on the street.

There's a shriek that bounces off the gutted buildings all around, one that's repeated everytime Jenny goes skidding down snow and ice packed stairs. She may have been homeless herself for some time, she may have gone through a lot of changes, but she's still a pretty princess wannabe actress, apparently, her voice shrill each time the dinner tray she tucks her feet up onto picks up speed and goes skidding down and— she goes tumbling harmlessly onto snow as a snowball from any given direction smacks into her shoulder, exploding powder of ice making her cringe away and lose balance. The dinner tray skids out from under her, in the meanwhile, skitters to a halt.

Rosebud the dog barks at the high pitched screaming and darts forward, even without her owner's permission to begin chasing icicles and then snowballs, and then the terrier and German shepherd. She's rather happy, spinning in circles and then pouncing in front of one of the dogs, before tearing off in hopes that the other dogs will chase. If they don't, she doubles back, yipping and then tearing off again, not bothered by the fact the snow comes up to her belly.

Meanwhile, at the top of the steps, a redhead boy is being dared to go down on his belly on a Crazy Carpet, face first. "Double dare you!" "Double Dog Dare you!" are the cries that ring out, getting a glance from many bystanders, most beginning to cheer. "Do it! Do it!" Luckily for Gillian, it's not one of her charges.

Rosebud's owner is unaware of all of this — staring at the little blonde girl who just got pelted by Lance. Suddenly, he begins to move toward her — slowly, at first, as if in a dream, but then quicker. "Debbie! Debbie!"

Melissa smiles as the dog darts off, then she looks curious at the homeless man, her head tilting. But she shrugs and, since there's no dog and no man, she scoops up a handful of snow, packing it as she moves towards the sledders, grinning and looking around for the perfect target.

"No it's definitely you, only you look like you, though you look a little younger. I remember, you ran away when that guy got hit with the car in the park. My friend Abby was there, it was all on the news." Magnes points out, until he's pelted in the head with a snowball. He rubs his head and groans, then decides to play along. "Alright, how about this!" he yells back at the teens, holds a hand out, then a rather large ball of snow forms on the ground, like the bottom of a snowman. He tosses it into the air toward them, and it looks rather imposing, but it's a pretty soft ball that'll break apart as soon as it hits someone. He's not dumb enough to kill people with snow!

Carson grins as he tosses another snowball at one of the boys, oblivious to the looks and such Doyle gets, then he steps back to enjoy the surroundings for a time - he laughs at the dogs at play, but then looks concerned as the old man starts out after one of the girls. He lobs another snowball in the direction of the boys, but now he's curious, and concerned at the same time. He's seen the old man around, living close to this area, but this..? Hmmm.

It's all fun and games until a hobo thinks he recognizes a kid. The girl who's suddenly being called Debbie is rubbing her face and looking wet and snow covered, followed quickly by 'deer in headlights'. Stranger danger? That's probably what Brian would call this situation. The quicker he gets, the more alarmed she looks, but just like that deer in headlights, she doesn't move.

"Hey!" Gillian yells, abandoning her snowball throwing and sludging through the snow after the man, trying to get to him before he gets to "Debbie". "Leave her alone!" the dark haired girl says, the mother hen of the Lighthouse, when she never considered herself the motherly type. She's the adult in charge, if nothing else.

The kid that ducked behind her spots someone, much as the hobo spotted someone, and moves off to the side, toward the puppeteer. "Santa?" she asks, head tilted to the side, eyes growing big. A little dark skinned girl, with curly pig tails. Uhoh, someone's recognized him outside his suit!

The shrieks of playing people draws Kaitlyn's attention, and she lets out a heavy breath, the air turning white through the scarf. "There is way too many people." Her words directed to the dog at her side, it's habit. "Maybe " maybe we should go back home."

While Jerry Lee shows no interest in leaving Kaitlyn's side, Benny desperately tries to bounce after the other dog, more then happy to play. Yap yap! Hey wait up! Small legs! Is what he tries to convey between hops.

The shepard seems to disagree with Kait, moving to stretch out in the snow, sinking slightly with a deep rumbled groan. He's too old for all this. His head doesn't lower yet as the shouting starts, ears perked forward he watches, alert.

You can take the woman out of the police force, but you can't take the cop out of the woman, so Kaitlyn watches it all with intense curiosity, though she just for the most part just stands there. "Jerry Lee…" The name is softly spoken, but irm in their command and the dog is on his feet in moments, head down watching.

The drugs game is a rough one, the only thing more important than getting new blood into the gang or crew is replaceing the clientele that seem to fall out from time to time. Even teeth gleam for a moment in a smile almost as white as the pristine snow as the aging thug makes his way along the mostly abandoned street towards the top of the improvised sliding hill. He keeps well away from the sliding tracks, it wouldn't do to get bowled over by some kid moving like a meteor on a piece of greased plastic, after all.

It's not until he approaches the head of the hill that he crosses it, timing his movement mostly carefully. A quick sweep of his eyes to make sure no one is looking as he bends over to get himself a double-handful of snow and pack it quickly and expertly into a hard snowball as he keeps moving. The snowball, thawed a little and refrozen by virtue of being made bare-handed, is tossed up and down in the air to draw the eye if anyone happens to be looking. But left behind at the spot where he scooped up the snow is a small glassine baggy of lettuce. Ok, maybe it's not lettuce. But it's green and there's some itty-bitty-leaf on it.

The man is too fast, propelled on older anemic legs by the need to see this child. "Debbie! I thought you died… they said you died!" He grabs the girl, who looks to be eleven or twelve years of age, a hand on each shoulder as he gazes at her. It's a poignant if disturbing scene — clearly he doesn't mean to hurt the little girl. Clearly he thinks she is someone he lost — his daughter perhaps?

But then he begins shaking her, fingers digging through her parka to bruise the fragile bones beneath. "Why didn't you come find me? You weren't supposed to leave me! Rosebud and me — we've been alone all this time, and you're alive and playing with these people like nothing's even wrong?" His voice, sweet a moment before, grows furious, and suddenly there is a slight crackle of electricity.

When it rains, it pours — even in the snow. The boy at the top of the stairs crows like a rooster, then throws himself down on his apparatus — sliding down the fifty or so steps face first — but at the base of the hill, he loses control, skidding right for Carson.

"No, no, no," Doyle tries to smile, but it's somewhat sickly as he becomes increasingly desperate to convince this complete stranger that he isn't who he says he is. Maybe he's forgotten the guy? It's possible. "No, I'm not…"

Oh no. At 'Santa' he freezes, looking over at the pig-tailed girl, "What? No, see? No beard!" He pats his stubble-shadowed chin, managing a slightly more genuine smile, "No Santa here! Well, maybe I help him out some.. times…"

Then he looks to the homeless man, his brow furrowing, "Hey, whoa, whoa, fella— " He stretches out a hand, "— relax, you're gonna hurt the girl!"

Melissa pauses at the attention the homeless man is getting, but then she's looking at the sledder, and for a moment it looks like she's watching a tennis match. But people are going after the man, and Carson might be clueless, so she starts towards him at a brisk pace, calling out, "Hey! Watch out!" as she points towards the sledder.

Carson is concerned, yes. He's no hero, hell no, but this is a kid, you know? A little kid. "Dude," he starts to say, seeing others beginning to see what's happening and deciding to interfere. He's hesitant, but then he jumps back when he hears the crackle of electricity.

That puts him right in the path of the sledding boy, and he's too distracted to even see it. Pain looms in his future.

Carson goes 'HUH?' as he hears Melissa, and that'll probably save him from a broken leg, as he steps closer to her; the sled will probably clip him, then, but not hit him full on.

"Hey!" Doyle is temporarily forgotten and ignored when he sees the man shaking the girl, and he moves his hands down into the snow to make a basketball sized ball, condensing and throwing it rather hard to try and daze the man in the head. This one is meant to hurt. "Someone get the girl!"

"You're a little big to be an elf," the young girl with pigtails speaks up. Her dark skin gives an exotic, look about her. She's Indian (like Bollywood, not the Native American kind) and cute, but as she looks to see where Santa's Helper is moving off too, she gasps in surprise.

"Hailey!" she cries out, as the blonde girl starts to tear up, looking afraid as she tries to escape the grip of the older man, to no avail.

"I don't know you! I don't! My— I don't know you, let go of me. Gillian! Jenny!" she calls for the two adults who were supposed to watch her, probably wishing the army of Brians would jump out of the sky to protect her.

Tug tug on notSanta's conscience, "Help her!" the younger darker girl cries, tears already forming.

Gillian is there, and quickly, trying to grab onto the man's shoulder, "Hey, leave her alone. She's not named Debbie and she doesn't know you. Back off."

"Hey!" Kaitlyn shouts from her spot, the dog beside her starts to growl at his owners tension. The dog stalks along with the healer as she starts to approach the homeless man as she grabs the girl. She moves without thinking, closer to the crowd, shrinking her comfort zone.

When Kaitlyn gets within a certain distance, her advance slows as the familiar feeling hits her coming from the girl as the man grips her, bruising her arm. Taking a deep breath, she takes another step further.. it could be worse.. .course, she's not aware that worse is on its way.

With a heavy growl, Jerry Lee stands a little in front of Kaitlyn, eyes on the man. "Jerry Lee… Steady." Her words hold command in it, the shepard is a well trained dog from the way his shoulders twitch, but he doesn't move. Pulling her scarf from her face, Kait's eyes study the man. "Sir… step away from the girl."

Over —> there and peering at the disruption like a snowbunny from her burrow, Jenny currently has an arm wrapped around Denisa's shoulders, the girl barely paying attention with a pained look on her face and her right foot coming off the snow gingerly. Not one to go running into danger, the redheaded Childs stands still and alert, watching Gillian with an avidly concerned expression while she supports Denisa's weight from some unknown crash coming down the snow hill. Jenny's green eyes are wary, looking with alarm at how scattered the children are, but without a word, she starts helping Denisa back to the van.

The aging thug doesn't stop moving, trudging through the snow even as his eyes watch the child on the slide flying headlong towards the man. This should be interesting and fun to watch. He stops near the top of the steps, fishing in his pockets for a packet of cigarettes and a lighter. Tommy takes his time as he taps on out and fires it up, shielding the flame from any errant breezes as he answers the call of nicotine addiction. His iceball is launched, even as he exhales that first satisfying breath of cigarette smoke, a high arcing throw that should land in the middle of the crowd that's converging. With any luck, it'll hit someone.

Several things happen at more or less the same time:

"GANJA!" yells a kid with long red hair and a snowboard, clearly thinking himself the next Shaun White. He scoops up the baggie and holds it aloft like a trophy for all to see before jumping his board on the rail and sliding down.

Next, thanks to Melissa's warning, the sledding boy clips Carson's ankle, then skitters off and slams into a wall headfirst, before the sled turns and the rest of his body slams along the wall closest to where the adults had gathered to share the heat of the fire. The boy lies inert, and a drop or two of red accumulate on the snow. His friends cry out, and half of them — the ones who weren't really his friends — take off running before anyone comes to reprimand them for their antics.

The homeless man clinging to Debbie — Hailey — blinks as the snowball lobbed by Magnes pelts him, and the electricity, now visible in blue sparks around the mans body, crackles and snaps all the more violently, all the more viciously — Hailey's eyes grow wide and she shudders, though the current hasn't actually moved to her body.

When Gillian's hand comes in contact with his shoulder, however, everything changes. Suddenly, it seems that all the pale blue sparks and bolts of lightning from his body zoom to that contact spot, and Gillian's hand crackles with a purple glow. Finally, the ice ball that comes arcing from Tommy pegs Melissa in the chest, bouncing up and hitting her lower lip.

"I said, let her…" Doyle's hands both lift, fingers flicking outwards, "…go!"

The unseen threads of his power tangle about the homeless man's muscles, bones, his nerves giving impulses he didn't send as he suddenly releases the girl from his electrical embrace. He's glaring at the man, jaw set sharply as he holds him still now, "What the hell do you think you're doing, buddy?"

Melissa forgets about Carson when she sees the boy hit the wall. She's about to start off towards him when she gets hit, and she looks in the direction it came from, as her lip is cut a little by the impact. "Are you stupid?" she yells at Carson, before she breaks into a run for the injured boy, skidding in the snow to end up on her knees beside him. She's not a doctor, or even a nurse, but blood? Not a good sign. Laying still? Also not a good sign. "Oh shit," she whispers, checking to see if she feel or spot any protruding bones or Freaking Big Gashes from the impact. After that…well, he's unconscious, and she has no medical training, so nothing she can do for him at the moment. So instead she looks up and calls out, "Anyone a doctor or nurse? This kid needs attention!"

Carson yelps as his ankle is clipped, and he falls onto his butt in the snow, grimacing and cursing under his breath at the sudden shock of pain. He rolls and snarls at the sledder who clipped him, and sees he's probably out. Melissa gets a grimace. "Hey, what the hell?" he snaps, then sees the kid. He shakes his head and hobbles over there, but he hasn't got any training either. "I work.. for a doctor. Pharmacist, he's not far," he says to Melissa, pain throbbing in his ankle as he sits down again. "Dunno what he could do, but…'s closer than.. agh.. ambulance could get here…"

The air around the hand touching him crackles still, a purple elecricity pulling from his shoulder up Gillian's arm. Then a glow flashes in her eyes, also purple, as those close by will feel a surge of power, strength and energy filling them. The hobo's strength and energy, for using his power. Licking cold lips, she lets go, the crackling breaking off, and reaches to pick up the blonde girl and carry her away, the blanket effect of her augmentation following her. "Are you okay?"

"I— I really didn't know him. I— I thought that he was going to hurt me," the blonde girl cries, hugging against her.

Lance is running over as well, pointing at the badness that happened from afar, his mouth moves, but no sound seems to come out. His feet aren't even crunching the snow, come to thik of it…

The small Indian girl stays close to Santa's helper, even reaching to grab onto his pant legs for protection.

Jenny and the final Lighthouse kid's departure seems to have been timed nicely.

Anything that was going on is blown out of Kaitlyn's mind as all this stuff happens at once. Her ability explodes on her, with a pained gasp, the woman doubles over as the injuries hit her… Her head jerks from one side then the other as she drops to the ground, with a groan. The shepard stops growling and turns towards his owner, there is a whine that escapes him.

The power coming off Gillian has tripled what she's feeling, she hasn't felt like this since midtown. There is a soft cry in the back of Kait's throat as one battered body draws her ability most. Slowly, the healer starts to crawl to the crumpled body to the sledder. Jerry Lee follows after her confused by Kaitlyn's state, she's acting hurt, but isn't.

When she's close enough she glares at both people over the body. "Move.. " She hisses at them both, viciously, her tone gets Jerry Lee growling again. One cold hand drops to Carson's arm as Kaitlyn, pulls herself up along side the boy, using the injured man for balance as she settles. But she holds on as a hand drops to the kids head.

Thanks to Gillian, Kaitlyn's healing ability flares, her brown eyes seem to glow slightly and both Carson and the boy feel her hands warm into an uncomfortable heat, expanding from where the healer touches moving through their bodies. Brows furrow as the power seems to flow easier, moving faster, finding the injuries of both in a timely manner. The pain in Carson's ankle fades away, and slowly the boy starts to stir as ribs knit, his head heals… and so on.

Finally, after what seems for ever to her, yet only moments to others, Kaitlyn is able to jerk her hands away from both and she scrambles back in a kind of crab walk as fast as she can, both are fully healed. There is a cold nose at her elbow and Kaitlyn glances down to find Benny, looking at her. She grabs the dog and pulls him close, as she gazes at the others, brown eyes wide as if surprised at what just happened to her.

"Jerry Lee!" Comes a sharp command afterwards and the german shepard stops growling, the sound cutting off abruptly at the others and turns back to it's master, who holds out a hand to him. "Good boy." She murmurs softly, sinking fingers into coarse fur.

A giggle, creepily high-pitched and childlike, slips from the aged thug's teeth as he watches the events taking place at the bottom of the sliding stairs. A long index finger beckons towards the redhaired kid who scooped up the 'lost' ganga baggie, and Tommy holds a short conversation with him as the healer and others work on fixing the damage done to the Georgian luge specialist in training. A business card trades hands, giving the little redheaded punk a streetcorner and business hours should he want more of the herb, and he probably will. Little does he know that it's spiked with a hefty pinch of angel dust. It's always good to make new little junkies, huh.

The man who thought the little blonde Lighthouse kid was his lost child simply slumps in the snow once Eric Doyle forces his grip off of the child. He begins to cry, burying his face in his hands. "I just… I thought she was Debbie… She's all I had after her mother died, and then the bomb took her, too," he cries to no one in particular. His shoulders shake with sobs. It's clear that the bomb took away not only his child but his sanity in some ways.

With Benny's return to Kaitlyn, so does Rosebud return to her owner. The border collie and shepherd mix bellies down in the snow, wagging her tail and putting her chin on her paws, whining and whimpering as if to console her bereft owner.

Coming to, the kid sits up with a grin, looking up at the assembled throng that came to his aide. "Did you see that? That was totally awesome!" he declares, jumping up as if he hadn't just kissed a brick wall. "I'm going to do that again!" Kids. They never learn.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the distance, a siren can be heard, drawing closer — one of the kid's fleeing friends must have called 9-1-1.

"Let's split," the kid who organized the "party" declares, and the main group of kids grab their sleds and boards and begin to sprint — as much as one can sprint in thick snow — to get out of the area before the police arrive.

"You could've hurt her!" Eric's voice is sharp, angry as he takes a half step forward, the puppeteer's head raising as he brings one hand up again— and the sobbing man's own head snaps back at the same time in a sharp motion as if pulled by the unseen touch of the puppeteer, "I should… I should…"

Then there's a little girl clutching his leg and hiding behind him for protection, and he glances down, uncertain… and then his hands drop, and he releases the homeless man, turning with a grimace, sounding tired, upset, "I… I should go. Get back over to, uh, whatever her name is that brought you here, kiddo, okay?"

Melissa glances up when Carson approaches, and then frowns a little as Kaitlyn gets touchy with her two potential test subjects. She blinks, then narrows her eyes at the now healed visible wounds. Her gaze slides to Kaitlyn, and her expression is a myriad of emotions; surprise, a touch of awe, relief for the boy…and irritation of all things. "Guess we don't gotta go visit your pharmacist friend after all," she says dryly as she looks back to Carson, and rises to her feet, brushing snow off her clothes. She looks up when she hears the sirens, and she shakes her head, muttering something under her breath as she starts off at a quick pace. No way is she sticking around for the cops! She does, however, give Doyle one more curious glance. Then…run away, run away!

Carson takes a deep shuddering breath, letting it plume out in the freezing air. "Guess not," he says to Melissa, as he shifts in the snow, Benny sniffing at one of his shoes before trotting to Kaitlyn. "I.. yeah, should … go.." he says as he gets up. "Thank you," he says to Kaitlyn, offering her a hand up. "You - we all - need to get the hell outta Dodge, the cops are coming," he says urgently.

"Lance, get your ass over here!" Gillian yells, cursing when she probably shouldn't. The Lighthouse kids, dark haired kid included, scurry over. He keeps trying to talk, but no sound comes out, so he waves his hands around to show he's complying. "Sorry," she says, wincing a bit and knotting up the power in the back of her head. The excess has disappeared, she's able to close it off again. "It's okay. But— you scared her and… just be careful next time," she says to the hobo, gathering up the children so she can lead them back to the van.

Mala, the young Indian girl, looks up at Santa's helper and says, "You made a really good Santa," in a secrety whisper, before letting go finally and moving over to Gillian, to get shepherded away before the sirens get too close.

The sound of sirens has Kaitlyn's head jerk up. "Shit…" Many of the older cops on the force would know the healer. Pushing away Benny, the ex- K9 officer scrambled to her feet, ignoring the offered hand, before scooping the smaller of the two dogs up. "Don't thank me.." The woman says sharply, almost viciously, glaring at Carson and then Melissa. A glance goes to the dogs, her expression softening, "Come on boys.. We.. need to go."

Glancing at the boy and then letting her eyes slide to Carson, she gives a shudder and starts to hurry away through the snow, Jerry Lee close at her heels like a good dog.

Ears perk at the sounds of sireens, the aged thug using the experience of multiple decades to differentiate between police, EMT and fire sirens. Some he doesn't worry about, but the wailing of a police siren, that's something that Tommy doesn't much like to be around for. Hooded eyes dart around as he watches people scatter, drawing a disposable pen from his pocket and using it to scrawl down the plate number of the van that carries the kids off on the palm of his hand. As the wailing sirens approach, he does what a good gangsta does when Five-O is on the way, and vanishes like the ghetto ghost he is. Color me gone!

When the police arrive, they will see a partial story of what happened — the tracks of sleds and boards in previously fresh and pristine snow… the drops of blood and the foot prints of the people scurrying to the aide of an injured child. They will find the broken, crying man kneeling in the middle of the street. With no one to press any charges or tell the full story, there won't be much they can do for him. But at least for a short time, there was laughter and children in the streets of Midtown.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License