Qui Es In Caelis

Participants:

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Scene Title Qui Es In Caelis
Synopsis And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Date February 22, 2009

No better cover than the dead of night; the best friend of villains and those who maneuver in silence. Tonight it becomes both, and finds two closing in on a mansion in the heart of New York's richest districts.

Hagan and Huruma; the latter is ahead by just a couple of meters, seemingly hovering over the street-lit sidewalk diagonal from the targeted house. She's wearing seemingly one piece of matte black, flat inky color against a backdrop of gray night and cold street. Around her waist is a pack, hanging off to one edge of her thigh, tied around her leg and accented by a belt of a few more, smaller pouches. Her usually monochrome eyes have been layered under a deep hue of chocolate color, and they absorb what light that the night brings along with it. There is no glint from them out from underneath her brows, not even as she disappears ahead again only to circle around out of sight and reappear another two meters behind Hagan this time. Likely, he has been told to help himself hide, as per his power; only when Huruma approaches his own hiding place does she speak. Her voice is low, and matching of the quiet wind that funnels down the street of buildings. On the road, an old BMW strolls past, heading innocuously for its destination. "Are you ready?"

Hagan doesn't need to wear dark clothing to be invisible under the cover of night. He is nowhere to be seen. Any light that touches him is absorbed into shadow. When Huruma approaches, he makes himself visible only by the faintest outline.

"As I'll ever be." A beat, then, "The fire escape is just that way. It isn't very sturdy, so be careful."
He's not carrying very much excess weight or anything that would make a sound. Just a gun and a small knife, though he prays he doesn't have cause to use either.

One of the woman's hands flits through the air, cutting a short, beckoning gesture for Hagan to follow. That was enough of an answer for Huruma, and she is off again, darting suddenly across the asphalt of the street and into the direction of the home's fire escape. Trusting that Hagan is going to try and be right behind her when she reaches forward for the bottom of the ladder rungs, Huruma reaches up, fixing her hands on the metal. One, two- and up she goes.

Somehow she moves without much noise, and with an almost rubber quality; legs curl upward, both knees hooking over one of the rungs. Hopefully once the tall woman leans herself back, arms extended to pull Hagan toward her, he will be ready to climb up. There is enough space on the nearer metal bars so that fortunately, the poorly trained fellow will not have to climb up her if he can manage. Not that she'd fuss if he missed- there are more important things to worry about than an accidental feel.

Hagan has been up this particular fire escape before, and given the cloak of darkness he wears, his spatial sense is actually heightened. Whatever the shadow covers, he can feel. So he reaches out to grab her hand even before it's fully extended.

As he climbs, he does the best he can to mute the shadows Huruma casts and absorb any light that is hitting her. Now isn't the time for chit-chat, so he stays close and follows her lead.

With a pull and a push, Hagan is lifted up onto the platform, and Huruma sits her torso up to grab up a path behind him, quick to pass him by and sprint up the stairs with soft feet and long strides. Once she gets to the nearest window, a hand moves to the pack at her side, bringing out a glass cutter and adjusting it quickly before taking it to the pane. Praise the lord for knowing how to disable sad and old electric alarms.

There is a tiny screech of diamond-tip on glass, as Huruma effectively draws a line down the middle of the window; a quick and deliberately aimed rap of her hard knuckles knocks the cut apart, and her gloved hands reach one at a time to dislodge each long piece of glass and discard them onto the platform.

An entrance has been made, and the tall woman takes it one leg at a time, long limbs slipping through bit by bit like a large snake sneaking through an impossibly smaller space. Inside, the lights are all out, and the doors are all closed. Only the smell of air disinfectant and dog is discernible amongst the shadowy outlines of paintings along the walls and antique decor. Okay, Hagan- where is it? Huruma steps aside to allow him entrance, watching expectantly for him to lead now.

Hagan doesn't know where it is. That's part of the reason he didn't try harder when he came here by himself. He slowly eases himself in after Huruma. He's used to travelling through shadows, so he knows how to set his feet while making as little noise as possible. Hey, at least he's good at something.

There's no movement from the shadow-cloaked Irishman for a long moment before he creeps forward, near to the empty spot on the wall where the painting will be. Seems as likely a spot as any to start the search.

He is completely invisible now. Not even the slivers of light from outside illuminate him. He searches the room with his shadow sense, feeling for a painting that isn't up on the wall.

A pinpoint of white light suddenly sprouts onto the wall, and a tiny flashlight within Huruma's fingers searches the other wall for the corners of paintings, searching for the signatures. No dice. The spaces long the walls where there could fit a painting, there is no such piece.

Huruma slips towards the door leading out of the living room, fingers pushing down on the handle in silence to admit them further. First order: find the blasted thing.

The wind blows outside, and Huruma takes that moment of whistling chill to take a bold stride down the nearest hall and into the living room, leaving Hagan in the room behind to continue investigating, passing herself swiftly over a creaking in the floorboards. He may follow if he can, but for those few seconds she is eerily alone. The little white light darts like a fae over the walls, corners of furniture, edges of frames in the hall and the sitting room beyond. Nothing. Her shoulder slides along the painted wall at the corner, and Huruma tilts her dark features to peer around the edge and into a room with a hardwood, antique desk. The lamp is on, illuminating the scattered papers, and the only door beyond this glows alight at its closed bottom. The telltale ticking of a dog's nails can be heard behind it.

A cold chill comes over Hagan, but it has nothing to do with the air that whistles in from outside. He finds himself paralyzed momentarily as he stands there in his cloak of darkness. What's he doing? He's an artist, not an art thief. Then, very slowly, he starts to move forward towards Huruma's position. He listens carefully for the jangle of a dog collar. A few barks and they'll be given away. This man seems like the type to sleep with a shotgun under his mattress.

One pointed step at a time, Huruma lifts herself across the sitting room, making her way towards the opposite wall on the same side as the bedroom door. She steps over an ottoman and at least two squeak-toys in the process, avoiding making even a brush of contact with the latter. The dog's paws stand still behind the closed door, and the woman stops in mid-step, muscles tensed under matte black and one foot forward, on the surface of a rug covering the hardwood floorboards.

Soon enough, the paws move again, disappearing completely as the little creature is likely picked up. While Huruma does make it to the far side, near the mantle of a small fireplace, her worry is more on Hagan- he is no cat burglar, and so those unfamiliar cocoa-colored eyes narrow on the corner of the room from where Huruma had started, feeling him out with the tangents of her own power.

Hagan's no cat burglar, but he is stealthy. He stands a few steps from the threshold to the bedroom door. There's a knife in his hand, its cool weight completely unfamiliar to the Irishman. His heart slams against his ears. He swallows and shifts from foot to foot. There's questions on the edge of his tongue, but he dare not ask them for fear of waking up a small yippy dog or the reclusive man. He's scared, yes, but fortunately not to the point of flight.

There is only one way left to go, and that is forward. Huruma peers around for a few seconds, eyes darting from the bedroom door to the fireplace- and back once more. Certain of her next move, the woman reaches out with one long limb to grasp the handle of the fire poker, drawing it out of its place with another deliberate gesture- a long, arduous scraping of iron on iron.

Silence in the closed room, then the bounding of little paws to the door, followed by a pant of human breath and in a flood, the barking, yipping noise of the Shih Tzu.

"Shit," Hagan can't help but mutter out. The graphic designer scrambles forward, knife in hand. He stops by the doorway, expecting to see a shotgun pointed at Huruma's chest, or worse. He searches the darkness for the movements of the dog, lest the beast wake a neighbor.

The door opens, and indeed, there is a gun- however, the hermit of the house is not a man of training: he opens the door, swings it aside, and points a pistol straight out into the sitting room.

Huruma seems to be ready for this, the iron rod lifted into the air as the man reveals himself. The metal swings with gravity, cracking into the delicate bones of the man's outstretched wrist and sending the gun clattering into the room ahead. He has enough time to let out a cry of pain and surprise, and then the flood of fear hits him like a sack of bricks. And so does the woman's other hand as Huruma rounds on him not unlike a striking predator. At his heels, the little dog scuttles out of the bedroom, doing a yap-yap-yapping circle into the next one, turning confused as it breezes past Hagan, still barking.

There is only a muffled yell of voice against taut skin, and Huruma disappears into the bedroom with the owner of the home, pushing him backwards and out of sight. Who would trust her alone with a Hostage? Hopefully not Hagan- but does he not have a painting to find?

If there is one good thing to be said, it is that Huruma knows what she is doing, and is skillful enough to do so.

Well, it's not like Hagan could stop Huruma from doing anything, really. The little dog and its yapping sends his anxiety skyrocketing. In what would be fairly comedic if anyone could see him. the shadowed Irishman gropes around to try and get ahold of the little dog. If he does, he slides his hand around its muzzle to silence it.

Dog, meet Invisible Shadow Man. Hagan grabs the dog, who wriggles in the grasp and makes muffled noises against the man's fingers.

Huruma, now in the room with the owner, gets an eyeful of the unframed painting, apparently having been removed from the frame, which lies with the glass against the wall, flanked by a canvas preservation fixative. At least he knew how to take care of his belongings.

"Here!" Her deep voice bounces back to Hagan's ears, one word enough to bring him forward, she assumes. Trying to keep her arm curled around the stranger's head, however, proves to be more difficult when she has to worry about a partner. The poker is dropped as he slips out of her grasp, just barely, practically leaping his way over to his nightstand for a second gun lying visibly in the open drawer.

Hagan moves quickly into the other room, the dog in his arms struggling the whole way. He reaches the threshold just in time to see the gun. "Ffuck…" And then in the blink of an eye, the whole room goes absolute pitch black. There's the sound of a scruffle, a yelp, and then a wet thwack. Then a hand grabs Huruma and drags her forward, out of the line of the man's gun. He tugs her down, so he can get to her ear. "Three o'clock," he whispers.

At the very least, she can feel both of them even in the pitch black. Huruma crouches with the hand to her arm, eyes open to fruitlessly absorb light. The only response from her is a hushed exhale, and Hagan will be able to feel her tensing seconds before she lurches powerfully away from his grasp. There is another scuffle in the dark, though it sounds more like a tackle. The air can be heard shooting out of the man's lungs, and the mimicked clatter of metal hits the wall as the second gun escapes him.

When she has her hands on this man, there is no stopping her from flooding him with horror. Hot breath on his face, an overpowering, unseen assailant- the man quails under her hands, which are quick to find his throat- and squeeze.

Hagan knows what is happening even if he can't see it. He can feel Huruma's movements towards the man and the shape of everything in the room - including the dog that lies inert nearby. When he realizes what she's doing, the fear in the pit of his stomach turns to horror. "Hey…hey. Don't…don't fucking kill him!" The light returns around her and the man, even though he himself remains shrouded in darkness. It's a misguided attempt to make her reconsider her violence when she can look into her victim's eyes.

Whatever impact Hagan intended for his gestures to have- the opposite occurs. His yelling only serves for nails to dig into skin, drawing pinpricks of blood underneath and the gurgle of choking air passing out of the man's nose and mouth.

The light flickers back, and illuminates Huruma's face pulled into a toothy, open smile- her cheeks pulled back and nose wrinkled at its edges to lift the front of her lip even further. The extent of her sharpening is made apparent only now- while her smiles bare whiteness and perhaps canines, her dark, finely sculpted features are now marred by the presence of two rows of silently laughing, razor-edged teeth.

The sputters of air in the man's lungs give away again, and Huruma pushes him down flat onto the bed. Her hands dig harder, deeper, squashing his windpipe further against the force when she braces one knee on the edge of the mattress. The man's hands attempt without success to push her fingers away.

Hagan looks away, though he doesn't kill the light around Huruma. That would mean he'd have to feel that laughing smile. Until now, he thought his fear of the woman was only his imagination running away with him. Now, it seems as if his instinct was entirely correct. "For god's sake let him GO!" Not that he's really expecting his protests to mean anything.

Ignorance is bliss.

The air is gone from his lungs now, and after a second her hands recede from his throat and she lords overhead like a gargoyle, chin lifted and eyes staring down her face at what bare breath he is still able to draw, eyes glazing in half-death.

Huruma shifts away, and for a moment, there may be some glimmer of hope that she will leave him be.

The drawing away from him is only to fetch that long iron poker, the tip scraping menacingly over the floor as she picks it up.

"Huruma, don't!" There's horror in Hagan's disemboided, shadow-cloaked voice. He rocks backwards and steps onto the paw of the prone dog. He looks down and feels out its prone, unbreathing form. He killed a fucking dog. The toss bounced it against the corner of a piece of furniture and snapped its neck.

When Huruma picks up the poker, he can't stand it anymore. The only proof of his retreat is the fact that the light level returns to normal in the room. He'll catch shit for running, but he can't stand to watch. There's a faint sound of feet clattering on the fire escape and the Irishman's gone.


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February 21st: On The One Hand
Previously in this storyline…
Perfect Circle

Next in this storyline…
A Wheel To Run In

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February 22nd: I Am Not Interested In Your Profession
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