Will You Call My Name?


ryans_icon.gif delia_icon.gif

Scene Title Will You Call My Name?
Synopsis Njörun has a point to make, whether people understand it or not. She tries to make her point to Ryans this time, with Delia piggybacking along.
Date November 24, 2018


It starts with shadows. Darkness creeping on the edge of vision, dragging over what must have been a normal dream, and becoming more present. More there. But it’s so dark. There’s tendrils of darkness that dance along skin, along hands. And a soft voice. Singing.

La la la, la la la, la la la la la la la.

It almost sounds like a child. But that terrible voice is just so, so familiar. It sounds like Delia.

And it’s coming from the darkness off in the distance.

Benjamin stands for a long moment in the dark adjusting and listening to the sound of what could be his daughter? His head tilts a bit as he catches the sound. The duster he wears is wore and stained from all those years of wear and tear, his fedora pulled low against non-exsistant light.

Slowly though, like a siren’s call he’s drawn forward. “Delia?” he calls out, turning in a slow circle, even as he walks. “Delia? This your doing?” his voice growls with a touch of irritation as he continues towards the sound. “This is not the time for this.” He doesn’t usually get irritated by it, but things have been really stressful for the old man lately.

La la la la…

This comes from above, a matching voice in pitch and tone to the first.

His daughter drops in front of him, landing like a lump of lead on the floor rather than anything fluid. Her red hair is as wild as if she'd been riding in the fringes of a windstorm. The sundress she's wearing is a reminder of warmer days, though the rough and ragged edges seem to lend themselves to unhappier times. Together, father and daughter are a matching set of old and tired clothing.

"Nope," she says as she straightens up and looks toward the shadow, unable to make anything out past the inky tendrils. Her blue eyes flare as she flits a look at her father and shakes her head, "But really, Daddy, there's always room for dreams… and Jello."

The la la las seem to have stopped. The darkness hangs around them for a long time before it slowly starts to dissolve. Walls form around them, dilapidated, broken windows, like how they would expect of many buildings still within the Safe Zone. There’s snow peppering the floor, that seems to be some kind of marbel under their feet. The ambience starts to feel familiar to Delia again. She knows it’s a dream, but for some reason it resists her attempts to push at it, change it. Like another dream. A while before.

Against one wall a figure forms, the red hair visible first. Curly red hair. Then the skin, freckles, eyes, red dress. It looks like Delia had once. Many years ago. Except the eyes.

The eyes are wrong. They aren’t a child’s eyes. And they have a tinge of red in them. “It’s never the right time, is it, daddy?”

The arrival of Delia does it’s job, even though he was expecting something to happen, it startles her father and forces him to take a step back. Though he seriously disagrees with Delia’s sentiment, Ben doesn’t say anything, only places his hand on her shoulder as the world starts coming into focus. The scenery has him going still, his daughter can feel the barest tightening of his grip. He’s waiting.

Of course, it doesn’t seem like he has long. Delia’s voice pulls his attention and he turns to look at the new figure. Blue eyes narrow at the figure, obvious distrust of what he is seeing. Then he looks at Delia… then back. “You look like my little girl… “ but it’s not her is left unsaid as he trails off.

“Who are you?” Ryans asks forcefully.

This is all too familiar, and under Ben's hand, Delia tenses up and balls her fists at her side. She can’t answer her father’s question except with a strong feeling of danger. "You," she growls at it, breaking free to rush forward at it. She's not willing to make this a fair fight and immediately lunges for the small girl. "I'm going to kill you!!"

She's not letting it have a chance to spear her father through the chest with a rebar too. He's too old to wake up to something like that. Her hands come up, ready to close around the child's neck. Whatever this is, whomever this is, Delia isn't planning to give it enough time to hurt her father… or herself. Not again.

As Delia lunges at the child version of herself, that girl dissolves into a red mist, it almost looks like tendrils of her hair before the lunge even comes into contact. The entire world around them seems to move, almost as if the ground under their feet decided to move on them. The building around them vanishes to the snow covered street that she remembered from before, skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan towering above them. They’re different than they would be now. It wasn’t bombs that destroyed this Midtown, it had been something different. Decay. Neglect. There weren’t many bodies on the street, but there were… dark spots staining the empty car seats. The city rolls by around them until it screeched to a stop.

The motion might be jarring, but the place they ended up in seemed just as much so. It was a building, what might have been a loft apartment at one point, big glass windows that were busted in. “This is where it happened. Where they found us.”

This time the voice is older, less childlike. “We tried to fight. We were fools. They would have killed us— “ There’s half visible shapes inside the building, figures of men and women, but they’re indistinct, almost like someone decided to show it in shadow puppets. “Between the three of us, we killed three of them, but they had dozens more. We were all dead. Until they offered us a choice.”

The voice had been coming from all directions at first, like many Delia’s speaking at once but by the end it was coming from behind them. Still many voices from the same mouth, but from one direction. And standing barefoot in the snow, dressed only in a plain white dress that hung to her ankles was Delia. Older than the child. Younger than the one in front of her. But something about her eyes seemed infinitely older, too.


I’m not going to hurt him,” the strange multi-toned voice says.

When his daughter lunges, Benjamin tries to grab her, but he is a few moments too late. Luckily, whomever this was dissolves and he can’t help but feel some relief. Then the world is changing and his attention is drawn outward. There is a stoniness to the gaze that shifts around noting this detail or that. When it settles into the apartment, he watches.

Moving to look out of the big window to the dead world, something was familiar about this to him, but not exactly it, but… something about it. His eyes unfocused, as he thinks about her words. “Join us or die…” he rumbles out softly after she’s done. It was a guess, but a situation usually ends with an ultimatum like that. If it was him and his daughters…

Ben’s head turns a bit as he looks towards this other Delia. “And I would have done anything to protect you girls until such time as I could figure out how to get you girls out there.” There is a softening of his gaze as he says, “I never found it did I?”

“This is the world Kazimir made,” Benjamin finally concludes. He’s talked to Richard, he’s read the reports of what could have happened; but, also he knew about alternate worlds. Something made no sense though, “How are we here like this, with you here? I didn’t think all this nonsense worked like this.” The visions that is.

Delia's anger at her doppleganger doesn't subside, not right away. At first, her anger turns to feelings of bitter betrayal, when her father doesn't rush to take her side. But then, after the ground shift, the apartment, the shadow puppets, her face falls. She finally understands and remembers "Lu…" It hurts, almost as much as it would have if it were her father and her Lucille. The rebar she took to the chest before doesn't compare to the ache of losing her family. "..oh no."

She stares at the floor for a long while before she adds her own question to Benjamin's question. "Did you use a bridge?" She glances at her father and gives the slightest of shrugs, "A friend of mine from Eltingville is linked to all of her other selves in dreams.. I used her to visit one of the other places a little while ago. If I had to escape here, I would have used my friend as a bridge to get anywhere else."

Then she turns to frown at her v 2.0, but doesn't say anything. Not in front of their father.

The other Delia, the younger Delia responds very quietly to the question from their father. “No, you never did.” She had known that is what he had been attempting to do, because he had known no other way to protect them. They could take the places they had emptied, or they could become dust. There hadn’t been much of a choice, it had felt like.

But sometimes she thought there had been a choice. She glances into the distance for a moment. “I took a bridge, rode my way through. I had thought I could get revenge on those who had killed us, by turning one of their own against them, by manipulating things.” Her voice sounds cold, like the snow that’s falling from the sky. But it also seems to be melting as soon as it touches any of them. “Then the sky changed. And I saw you, felt you.”

She hadn’t used that bridge, but the sky hadn’t made it necessary. “Sometimes I am here, most the time I am there. When I am here I can reach out.”

And when she looks at them again there’s a light in her eyes. A strangeness. A selfishness, but she looks toward their father and that look fades. “We did terrible things to stay alive. I did the worst.”

There is no show of emotion as he listens to this other version of his daughter, but slowly brows do furrow. Though he seems disapproving, he is not. What they don’t see is the twist of pain at the idea of losing his girls. He knows now what that pain is and to feel it many times over… He isn’t sure he could deal with it.

Something in what is said, has him narrowing eyes at the woman, while he steps forward and gently touches his own daughter’s arm. Maybe to focus her or a gesture of comfort, but then he’s stepping past her towards this other version of his little girl. There is something about it, beyond his unreadable expression.

“Us,” he repeats the word, reaching out to try and touch her arm, to snag a hand and offer her comfort in the face of her loss. Even if she is from another world and done horrible things, she was still his daughter. “You’re bodiless,” the words rumble softly, even sounding a touch sad. Not from pity, but more of an apology, because he couldn’t stop it. “Oh, Delia.”

Like a shark on blood, Delia recognizes the look that melted away and whatever condolences Ben gives the other one isn't heard. She looks away, jaw clenched and teeth grinding. She doesn't have the same ache or dread when it comes to the other one. "So, if you were the worst.. what did you do?"

Unlike her father, she isn't really a parent. Her only daughter was born from another woman and really, Delia knows she's a spare. It causes her to hold on harder to what she has sometimes, instead of letting it go.

"What will you do?"

While the look melted away when her eyes met their father’s, it comes back sharply when the other her, the living her speaks. Those eyes fall back on her again, similar yet foreign, the dream gets tipped in red, like blood. “I killed in ways no one should ever die.” She doesn’t sound guilty about it, because it had been kill or be killed. Just matter of fact. “And I found them, led him to them, so that they could wipe them off the face of the earth, that miserable band, those remainders. The ones who killed us. My Family. Me.”

They seem to have some of the same thoughts really, because that look comes back for a moment.

What will she do.

That gets a soft answer, one that seems to ripple through the dream almost like an echo. “I could stay.”

A part of Benjamin wants to say, Of course stay. She was still Delia, even if she has had a rough time of it. Still he finds himself hesitating, especially after she talked about what she did to help the Vanguard, to protect herself and her family.

A look is cast back over his shoulder at his daughter, his hand squeezing the hand of this other one gently. The old man had lived too long to not ere on the side of caution. So instead of telling her she should stay, he asks a question. “If you wanted to stay, what would it take for that to happen?” He looks down at the hand in his and after a moment he adds another questions, “Who killed us?”

"A body."

His Delia answers for her. She knows already. It's a problem she's been pondering since finding out about Eileen. She shoots a narrow eyed look at the younger version of herself, the dead one. She doesn't elaborate on which body she needs, the one that cost her a rebar through the chest in a previous dream. This other Delia wants the easy life she sees here.

"No one here killed you," she cuts off the answer to his second question before her younger self can answer. "And even if they did, it sounds like it was payback for some of the things you did."

“They attacked us,” the other Delia growls a little, a hint of frustration in her voice. “They burned the children alive. The ones we were trying to get out of the country and to the retreat so they could grow up and rebuild the world that had been destroyed. Those fools who hid underground weren’t going to do it.” The Vanguard had destroyed the world, she would not argue against that. They had. But they were going to rebuild it, fix it, save those who had not been tainted by disease…

The anger on her face continues to twist. “The worst I did happened after they killed us.” Though she wouldn’t say she had never done it before that. With a wave of her hand, the world around them seems to melt. “Ray’s people. Those who lived in the Hub. They killed us. But I finished them. Except the ones who fled to another world. I followed those— but that place…”

She trailed off, looking away for a moment. As she does, the landscape turns bright and clean and almost beautiful. A New York City that had been rebuilt, better and stronger.

It is hard to really know what Benjamin is thinking as he listens to Delia. Both of them. He looks back to his Delia. There is a furrow of his brow, but not for her. He was struggling with this a little, not that it shows. He understands one, but also trusts the other.

The name Ray grabs his attention again and has him turning back to the other one. There is an inkling of who she is referring too and caution has him holding his tongue.

Luckily the world shifts and changes and pulls his attention to this newer, brighter world she found herself in. “Where-” Ben knows so he doesn’t complete that sentence, taking time to take in a New York a little more like it used to be.

Delia steps forward to gain a closer look at the more beautiful city. The expression on her face turns pained as she sweeps her gaze over the impressive architecture and cleanliness of the landscape. Although where she lives is lovely, the labour that goes into the maintenance and care of the garden has her lost in the ugliness more often than not. There's always another project or another thing to fix, every time she turns around.

She's not unlike this other Delia, when she covets things she gets angry. Whether it's at herself or pure jealousy is something that only her other half can possibly understand. "So you came here instead. To torture me and Lu and dad, for what?" She faces the younger version of herself, not bothering to hide the grimace of anger on her face. "Unless you can shape up, you should just leave. This isn't your place, you don't belong here."

“Another place. Another New York. Where I have no family anymore,” the other Delia responds to the questions posed mostly but her father, even if not fully. This place, this city, was empty of anything she wanted from it, honestly. It had no one who she could focus what she wanted, what she even needed onto. “I’m not torturing you. I’m trying to show you,” she growls in a different tone, one that seems to overlap with a child wanting to scream the same exact words, but it’s much softer there, as if she were trying to control it. “If you don’t even understand that, then perhaps I should switch to torture after all.”

“This is my dream. Not yours. You’re the one who doesn’t belong here.” There’s a pushing feeling that Delia can sense, as if someone was giving her a mental shove, almost how she might imagine it would feel for someone she tried to push out of a dream of hers. It doesn’t quite work as well, though, because unlike most people she’s capable of resisting it. If she tries.

“Delia,” their father snaps softly, blue eyes shifting from one girl to the other. Clearly, he is addressing them both. “Stop, please.”

He looks at his daughter from his world. “I’d like to hear what she has to say,” the words are calm, not scolding like before. Benjamin is curious about this version. “Just like I listened to Ingrid,” he points out his daughter that he himself never had the honor of raising himself, that was another version of him. She had in a sense lost her family too.

Then Ben turns to other Delia, a calming hand lifting to forestall her throwing his daughter out. “Please, continue, Delia.” He would really like to understand why she is doing this and why she felt it was necessary.

"You have no idea what you're doing to the waking world," she accuses the other, "Lucille was beyond pissed." And now, Delia finally understands the reason why. She falters at the shove but steels herself and responds in kind, like little kids in the backseat of a car during a long trip. It's not her dream, she knows it, but she doesn't have to put up with the abuse.

Benjamin is more charitable.

He's her father, therefore older, and (probably) wiser. So, with a roll of her eyes, Delia acquiesces to the request. Not unlike a child, but she's his child and sometimes can't help but act the part when he takes that tone.

The shove has visible effects on both her and the dream around them. The other Delia, the one known as Njörun, steps backward as shoved in the shoulder, and the dream itself seems to shudder, like an earthquake they can’t actually feel. The ground doesn’t rock under their feet, but everything else does. It returns to steadiness as Ryans speaks, as Njörun straightens back up and looks at him.

“I’m scared,” she says after a moment, looking at her father, ignoring the other her. “My entire world is dead. My family is dead. None of us are here where I am. I think we all died. I looked. I searched dreams. No one even remembers us.” That could have been the work of her father’s people, the ones he worked for. He didn’t talk much about that, but… She glances toward Delia again after a moment, shaking her head. “Lucille didn’t understand what I was trying to tell her. You don’t understand. No one understands.”

The world shakes again, but this time it’s not cause she’s distracted. It’s like a child stomping their foot and knocking everything off the wall. Only this time it does seem to rock them. It is moving them.

There is a look cast his Delia’s way, a look of thanks for her pulling back. Deep down, Ben didn’t really see this version of his wild daughter as a danger to him. So he listens. “You’re right,” he says after she says her peace. As the world rocks and he stumbles, Ryans doesn’t let it stop him. “We don’t and can’t understand what you have been through. I can’t even imagine how scary it is having lost everything.” His voice is soft as he talks, risking to take steps towards her, to reach for her and try to curl fingers around her shoulders.

“I might not have raised you, but you are still my daughter, Delia.” and it was hurting him to see her that way. It takes everything in him not to brush at the red curls or pull her into a hug. “I can give you some hope. Someone that… whomever removed us in that world didn’t know.” He dips his head down slightly to make sure that she looks at him and offers a quiet. “You have an older brother, Bradley Russo. I didn’t know about him until he came to me. A secret from my past.”

Benjamin sighs softly, “You wouldn’t be alone then. The one I know is a good guy and does what is right.” He offers her a small smile. “A family trait I guess.” The smile sides away as he
studies her. “I am… I am so sorry I left you alone and that you had to go through all of that. If these people are coming we’ll watch for them and protect ourselves from them.”

Delia's eyes widen, her jaw drops, and her head jerks toward her father. "Dad, no!" But it's too late, the name's been dropped and an incredible feeling of dread looms over his daughter like a heavy thunder cloud. Just as she can feel it, it slowly manifests, even in this dream that isn't her own. "You don't know what she'll do to him!"

And yet, neither does she.

The fact that her counterpart is afraid doesn't shift Delia's perception of the matter. Benjamin hasn't been on the receiving end of the worst of it. To guess, the dreamwalker simply feels that her other self is sparing him because of his status. Otherwise, she is coiled like a snake in the grass, gathering sympathy and trying to find an ally to take shelter behind.

A brother. Delia at least will recognize the myriad of emotions that cross her face, cause many of them mirror her own reaction to finding out about surprise brother for the first time. But Njörun has one emotion she did not have, relief. A hint of it, at least. “Our brother,” she repeats quietly. “Bradley Russo.” From the way she says the name, she might even recognize it.

Without saying much else on that though, she moves forward and is suddenly hugging Ryans. For a moment she seems smaller, more childlike, frail. Maybe outside the dream, she really had been. A world destroyed by a virus would not have had many opportunities to eat, and likely they had all been a little malnourished at one point or another. “Goodbye, dad. I loved you, even with everything that had happened.” And there had been a lot, from the sounds of it.

Then she looks toward her mirror, her older, sullen-looking mirror. “Don’t you forget about me,” she says with a sudden wink, but at least she isn’t singing anymore. With that, she vanishes.

The world around them melts away. And they return to their separate dreams with only the memory of that glimpse of another world.

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