A Beacon In The Night


cat_icon.gif juniper_icon.gif kaylee3_icon.gif s_meredith_icon.gif s_mortimer_icon.gif nightmare_icon.gif

In Shadows:


Scene Title A Beacon In The Night
Synopsis An attack by the Nightmare Man is thwarted by a handful of people who have been in contact with Hokuto.
Date February 2, 2010

Nightmare Scape

It starts with a loud explosion. On the edge of perception, a boom that turns into a rumble that shakes everything, causing crashes, breaking glass. In many ways it seems so familiar. Movies have contained these sounds, life has for many as well. It's the sound of the bomb, and the after effects as they swept out from the epicenter.

As the roar settles down, there can be vague hints of crying, screams that can be heard. The world seems to be made up of black, of dust, of darkness. Smoke fills in from the edges, as light finally arrives, in the form of fires, spreading, burning, finding fractured pieces of wood, crumpled books and paper— anything at all that it can burn, feed off of.

Through the haze of smoke, the setting seems similar to an apartment of some kind. A window opened into a fire escape, glass shattered, possessions knocked off tables and dressers. Picture frames fallen off the wall have broken, showing a happy family in various poses. A red haired father, a blonde mother, red headed son and daughter… The fire licks the edges of them, slowly burning out some of the people in the picture.

Only one item seems to have any remaining function, a music box that sits in the middle of the room.

A red haired girl, a child really, sits in front of it, looking down at the ticking, eyes closed as only the music can be heard. Everything else seems to fade out of senses.

And somehow, the dream smells wrong. The smoke that's visible to the eye, can't be smelled. Instead, there's a scent of bread cooking, of pie crust fresh from the oven.

The music box drowns out the sound of the door creaking open. It covers up the crackling of frost that forms along the floor boards, forcing the fire back. The shadow that creeps closer makes no sound, but if it had, that would be covered to. A shadowy hand reaches out, stretching toward the girl's back.

While much else in the room is broken, a tall mirror stands unfractured.

"Who would this be?" Cat murmurs to herself as the imagery settles in with its sights and smells. The bomb is familiar to her, that event having been long ago broadcast into her mind by telepathy. It lingers, causing her to be briefly still with the memory of all that's come to pass since, before being set aside in favor of focus on the girl and the reaching shadow. Strides forward are taken, and with her is the forming image of a panther with shiny black fur.

"Hands off the little girl, invader," the feline snarls in that voice so close to Cat's own.

There's a falling sensation and suddenly Meredith feels like she's hit the ground. Her shoulder aches with a very real sensation before she sits up, the world blurry and indistinct. As she slowly picks herself up, she starts to realize where she is, what all this means. A world burning down again, the sound of music…it's not 'Ring of Fire' by Johnny Cash, but it's familiar enough that the blonde is immediately on edge. This time, however, she remembers what happened the last time and reigns in her own fire, her own heat. All that remains is the slight glowing of her hands, anger already forming. She's back here. Back with this Nightmare Man, as she's been heard him called. Though many others appear as different animals or forms, she's herself.

"This isn't funny any more, jerk. Cut out the psychological crap and show yourself." So she can set fire to him like she's said so many times she will. The sound of someone else here stops her though. The panther is a new element to a tired tale. "…what the…"

Stepping slowly through the glass of the mirror is a barefoot, slightly smudge from walking, the debris it presses down on crunches, but doesn't puncture the soft soles. Followed shortly after by a tall blonde in an airy white dress. Blonde curls gathers at the back of her head, a few leafs tangled within, a few locks lay along her face. Blinking Kaylee focuses on the the scene before her. The hand and the girl it's reaching for draws her attention even as the others move to stop it.

With a flash of anger, a hand is lifted and simply… Kaylee says. "STOP." The word is hissed out angrily.

Mortimer steps through the mirror before his other half, wearing a black suit, more clean cut than usual. Then Jack comes out right after, followed by his shadow… an incredibly complex floating mass of gears. They form tentacles, all spinning and constantly moving… occasionally one can even see a large staring eye in the center of the mass. It doesn't speak, it simply judges.

"It's you again! I guess you're ready for more, eh?" Jack asks with that slasher smile, pulling that long sword from his jacket as Mortimer draws a golden 50. Desert Eagle.

At the sudden arrival of interlopers, the shadow rises up from the frosted floorboards, taking the form of an older gentleman, with gray hair, thick eyebrows, and a familiar strong face. Arms cross over his suit, a second shadow creeping out from him, a third. Almost as if he's begun to split into different halves, one for each of the people who have appeared. "Clearly there are many invaders." The voice too, is familiar.

Arthur Petrelli.

The music box continues to chime.

The blue tinge begins to shine on the edges, as more color creeps into the dream to match the new entrances. The young red head jumps up, abandoning her music box as her bloodied bare feet pull her away, spreading blood on the scrambles away, the smell of fresh bake bread fades out, allowing the smoke to overcome.

As she moves away, toward Meredith specifically, a shadow creeps up her bare legs under her clothes.

As the last foot steps out of the mirror, there's a flicker of a dark haired woman for a moment, pale skin, very much black and white contrasts, and a black blindfold marks her as someone known to all of them.

Arthur's hand raises up, and the mirror cracks, breaking with a loud crunch.

Looking bored now, Cat just watches the Arthur apparition. The cracking mirror doesn't cause her to flinch, or react much at all. "Oh, please. He's dead. I saw him get injected and melt. Eaten by his own foul creation." She yawns, making no effort to hide it.

The panther next to her paces a bit, snarling, then begins to walk toward the apparent Pinehearst head. Then she opens her mouth wide and roars at him.

Though Meredith was focusing on the shadow more than the girl, the minute the red head jumps up, she recognizes her. "Juniper?" Almost instinctively, the blonde gathers the young child to her and then attempts to put herself between the child and whoever it is that has appeared. "Get behind me." The man that finally shows himself is not a man she recognizes easily. It's not the sudden gasp of intake she's sure he was expecting. Instead, she just puts a hand out in front of her. It glows angrily red, ready to burst into flame should the man attempt to come closer to her or who she's now deemed her charge.

"Yeah, well, invade this." Meredith stays her ground when the mirror shatters, moving only her upper body in an attempt to make sure the shards don't hurt Juniper. Though she knows there are others here, her eyes are focused explicitly on the Shadow man. "If you're the one who burned down my place, we have a few things to talk about."

The man before Kaylee is not familiar in anyway, but then… she never met him face to face.. she has felt his power. Little does she know she's been sleeping on his son's couch and knows his wife having saved her from his vicious work.. small world. A glance is sent to Cat, a brow arching. "Who is that suppose to be mimicking?" Kaylee asks out right, turning to watch the shadows.

The shattering of the mirror makes Kaylee jump a bit and she steps aside from the glass, a hand twitching a bit at her side like an itchy trigger finger.. watching Arthur with curiosity, and a touch of nervousness.

"It's him…" Mortimer says as his hand tightens around his gun, shaking as he tries to hold back. It's a dream, a dream.

This is a sentiment that Jack apparently could care less about. "You stole my ability!" he exclaims, then starts charging for the Nightmare Man, swinging his sword to try and chop the man's head off. "I should have known it was you! But that's alright, I'll rip half your intestines out, staple them to a motorcycle, then blow it up!"

A hand raises, an invisible force seems to wrap around Jack, caught in the moment and thrown back toward Mortimer, where he lands with a heavy thud. One that can be recovered from. A force field seems to spring up around him, visible, dome shaped. Something Cat's seen him use before, while the shadows still creep out, and up the poor girl's leg.

Juniper reaches out toward Meredith, hiding behind her as she grasps at the woman's clothes. "It's cold," she says, cowering away, glancing toward the fire escape as if tempted to run. The sight of her might set in more and more, as she starts to age a few years in moments. One of the Lighthouse kids, one of the oldest ones.

"And how many people have seemed to die only to come back, Miss Chesterfield?" he asks, from behind the safety of his forcefield.

In the shattered mirror, wisps of white and black seem to flicker over the remaining pieces that stay in the frame.

"It wants us to think it's Arthur Petrelli," Cat informs Kaylee dryly, "but it isn't. Don't be fooled." This seems also intended for Mortimer and Mr. Jack, one of them having cited ability theft. Attention doesn't stay on the telepath long, though. She faces the faux Arthur again, shaking her head and laughing at the forcefield. "People I've seen die tend to stay that way," she answers, "but it's true, sometimes one believes a person dead and is wrong. Arthur threw me out a window. Thought I'd die, but he was wrong." She smirks.

The panther, meanwhile, turns away from Arthur and pads over toward Juniper. "It looks like the man who came to the Lighthouse, right?" she asks the youth. "The one that hurt Brian. But it isn't him." Lying down next to her, it becomes possible to touch the fur and rub behind the ears. "Sometimes, Juniper," the growly Catesque voice asks, "when you're scared, do you find your mind creates something that helps you not be scared? That helps chase monsters away?"

Reaching behind her, Meredith takes the hand that's not currently ready to toss out a fireball in order to take a hold of Juniper. She's not looking behind her, so she can't tell that the girl has aged to someone she would now easily identify in a matter of seconds. Instead, she tries to be comforting. It's hard to do when angry enough to try and light someone on fire. "Take my hand." She's warmed it just slightly enough so that it could work as a heating pack, something she did in Gillian's car only a few days ago. "It'll be okay." It's a dream, and you can't die in dreams, right?

"Too many, in my opinion." The question wasn't directed at her, but she'll answer it anyway. "You alright, kid?" She tosses in the direction of the tossed Jack. Finally, she is acknowledging the other people here. Her eyes flicker over to the distorted images in the mirror. Her last dream did that, too. Will there be a tarot card again? To Cat, she adds, "I don't even know who that is, but I don't really care that much. If he isn't a dead man, he will be soon."

Brows furrow at the name, Kaylee's head turns slightly a small smile touching her lips. "Never saw him before.. But I broke his hold on his wife's mind." There is a look in the young blonde's eyes, a flicker of something, before her whole body goes still. The next thing that happens is the telepath's mind drives at the faux-Arthur. There is no gentleness needed here, so the fingers that dig in are vicious wanting to tear their way in. Her hand slashes across her, slicing the air before her, as she growls out, "«You will leave her alone.»" Kaylee's feet shift as if to brace herself for a battle.

"He's from the little girl's mind?" Mortimer asks as he pushes Jack to the side with a groan, then stands. "Alright, this makes a little more sense, I think." He cocks his gun, but doesn't fight.

Jack rolls over when pushed from Mortimer, then stands, that tentacled mass of gears flailing even faster, clicking rapidly. It's staring at the Nightmare Man, eye red. "Not the real one? What do I care! I still get to kill him, in the most horrible way I can think of. But how do I kill him, that's the question… Hey, Nightmare Man, how about you take a ride in my head?"

"Idiot! It's my head too!" Mortimer fires his gun at Arthur now, then leaps over to slam Jack to the ground. "Stop doing stupid things! I don't care if you're fucking nuts, you will not play with my life!"

A tarot card does spin out suddenly, flying from the mirror and rapidly twisting in the air. Reversed, a white horse is visible, a skeletal knight, holding a black flag.


Upside down. Death, the thirteenth card.

A distortion rips through the dream, a flicker. The walls seem to rip away, turning to ash and collapsing in on themselves, covering the floor boards in soot, putting out the fire. The shadows that creep around seem to vanish, a light shining down from above. Bright and harsh once the roof collapses. Some will be touched by the dark ash, others will not. Juniper, the red haired girl, is covered in it, as she stands in her night gown. Darkened and black, with the shadows retreating in horror.

The telepathic attack is met with something loud and screeching, which feels the ears of everyone, but hits Kaylee the hardest. Much like feedback from a radio. But the damage may have been done in the sudden change of the dream. The ash slides down the forcefield, showing that it's still raised, but the floor boards are sagging, collapsing toward the lower level of the apartment. The force field doesn't fill in the hole yet, allowing access under the field, for something swift and attentive enough.

"I don't know!" Juniper finally answers Cat, trying to cover her ears, though it doesn't block out the feedback that seems to be building up. The destroyed apartment gives sight of the city around them, burning. A mushroom cloud visible in the distance. The day the whole world changed for all of them. Andthe day many children in the Lighthouse lost their entire family.

She doesn't let herself pay attention to all the noise, makes no move to cover her ears against it. Nor does she acknowledge the mushroom cloud or the explosion. Cat's focus is on working with the girl, to bolster her resistance and lead her to cast out the attacker. "Look at me and the panther," she directs, "rub behind her ears and pet the fur. See, it's all inside you. Calm down, find something of strength in yourself, and tell the man you saw attack the Lighthouse to go away."

Other people trying to keep the apparition busy? Not a bad thing. It isn't trying to get Juniper to harm herself yet.

When the roof collapses, Meredith doesn't shout out. Instead, the feedback causes her knees to buckle. The mental pressure sends bright spots of light behind her eyes. The only thing productive she can do when all but floored by the attack is reach out and attempt to cover Juniper from the falling ceiling and keep her away from the worst of what is happening. As equilibrium is slowly restored, she even manages to say, "Shh, shhhh," to the girl. With all the loud noises, this is the best she can do to comfort.

She can feel the fire, can feel the floor boards staggering. What is happening here? This is just like before, in her own nightmare. Before, she couldn't stop it, couldn't prevent him from burning down her apartment building. But, this time, she knows this is a dream, knows that she can control herself and the surroundings. Juniper doesn't have to live through this again. On wobbly legs, she stands. "Stop it," she commands. It has nothing of the power of Kaylee's telepathic command, but it's certainly verbally forceful. The fire that was working against them blows back slightly the other way in a whoosh of energy.

Focusing on Arthur Petrelli, or whoever he really is, she decides to fight fire with fire. Literally. She doesn't know there's a hole in his forcefield, but she does send the flames burning all around them to surround him and push.

There is almost something satisfying in the look of the telepath.. something wicked and intense. Kaylee loves her ability, there is no denying the power she feels in it.. The control. There is another vicious thrust as she tears into the mind, before the sound hits her full blast. It's almost like a physical blow to her senses, making her stumble back a few steps with a cry of pain. Hands move to clutch at the side of her head, as she sinks to a knee, nails digging into her flesh, leaving moon like impression.

Gasping, Kaylee screws her eyes shut against the way the sound messes with her ability… she can't really concentrate on what she's doing, though she does try, teeth clenched.

While Jack and Mortimer are fighting, two of the shadow's tentacles suddenly wrap around their necks and sits them upright before releasing them. It looks from one to the other, silent.

"Alright, fuck, come on before that thing chokes us or something." Jack says with a rub of his neck, then starts running at the Nightmare Man again, holding his sword for a swing while Mortimer fires bullets.

The feedback continues, causing the area to shudder, the dream that's projected around them to shimmers at the edges, a fire beginning to lick at the edge of the world. For a moment, it's like everything is a backdrop in a studio, and it's caught on fire.

"He hurt Brian. He— I tell him to go away, he always comes back, makes me see things, hurts the others…" Juniper's not crying, but she does reach out and touch the large black cat, feeling the silky fur, the breath against her face. The air changes again, the smell of cookies in the oven, of warm vanilla. It's strong, overpowering the smell of the smoke and ash. Masking it, making it seem as if it isn't there.

But the fire is there, roaring toward the shield, engulfing parts of it, burning the floor boards. The bullets impact, bounce off, as the shield starts to expand outward, attempting to push back the fire…

But the fire finds a way under, sliding through the hole in the floor board, through cracks in the shield.

The ends of the card spinning near the mirror also catch fire, no longer spinning, burning away into nothing. The noise stops.

And the specter of Arthur starts to scream. The forcefield crumbles as he begins to burn. The shadows all disappear, light shines down, the world smells of sweet baked goods…

The woman herself is silent for the moment, watching as Juniper touches the panther and seems to draw comfort from that. A quiet sound develops, perhaps not audible over the feedback, but more than likely palpable. The panther is purring, seeking to encourage the youth. Cat, observing, seems to have an idea take shape.

"Juniper," she prompts, "think of Brian, the man who took you in, gave you shelter. Call on him, bring him out of yourself, and tell the torturer to go burn in hell."

As the feedback continues, the pressure behind Meredith's eyes sharpens acutely. Using this much energy to use a fire that's not hers and to push it against a powerful shadow forcefield isn't easy. Without mentally trying to keep it away, it just continues to build until the pain is too much for the pyro.

Just about the time that the shield drops and Arthur screams, Meredith herself collapses one leg and then the other to the floor. The fire has much less purpose than it did before. While some parts of it are still attempting to burn Arthur Petrelli, the others have returned to their natural ways, burning every which way and not in a singular direction. She uses one red hot hand to steady herself on the ground, keeping from toppling over. The other presses sharply against her own forehead. Her hand is still glowing, but it doesn't seem to affect her. The smell of cookies and sugar is disorienting and making it harder to concentrate.

The feedback may be gone, but the headache still remains for Meredith. Shadows or no, the fire rages and parts of it still seek to burn the man who ruined something dear to her to ashes.

Jack and Mortimer are still running forward, but as Mortimer is raising his gun to shoot, Jack decks the hell out of him and he goes tumbling. "Not today, fake-me. This revenge is mine!" Jack's sword is suddenly a scalpel, and he's slashing, and slashing and slashing… He's going for arteries, eyes, anything painful, trying to cut Arthur into oblivion, which causes the clockwork tentacles to rotate and twist with excitement.

Her whole body just seems to go somewhat limp sitting there when the sound suddenly cuts out, leaving Kaylee panting and grimacing against the ringing in her head. No longer is her dress a pure white, it's torn and smudged. Blue eyes open and slowly lift to the glare at Arthur. "Son of a bitch…" There is so much anger in those hissed words, it could almost drip with it. Hands press to the ground, glass cutting at her tenders palms, but she doesn't seem to feel it even as the blood wells within. Pushing to her feet, she rises gracefully and starts to walk forward, feet leaving bloody imprints as all her concentration seems to be shifting to a different purpose.

It's never a good idea to anger a telepath, especially one that prides herself in not being easily angered. The people around her can almost feel the vibration of energy around Kaylee. "«You will leave this girl…..»" The pressure builds even as the fire burns and knives cut the figure into shreds, it feels like ears should pop. Her hand comes up in a gesture like she's tossing something. "«NOW!»"

At the yelled word her ability surges forward like a tidal wave, thrusting at the Nightmare Man, in an attempt to throw him out of the little girls mind. Everything in her goes into that gesture. And then with a twisting flick of her hand, like she's turning a key to lock the door, she whispers.

And don't come back.»"

Everything changes as soon as the key twists in the door.

The fire burns away the final edge of the drop screen in the dream, making the burning and destroyed city vanish. In fact, the only fire that remains when it finishes would be what's burning just around Meredith. Water splashes against rock, the overpowering scents calm, no longer grating at the senses.

No Patronus appears, but perhaps it wasn't needed. This is what they were brought together to do. This is what Hokuto had warned them about. And what she had prepared them for.

The only thing remaining from the old dream, would be the mirror. Still broken, with some pieces of reflective glass hanging onto the edges. A flicker of black and white dances along the edge, then disappears from sight.

"Is he gone?" the young girl asks.

That's the last sound, before the dream suddenly fades, returning them to their respective locations.

A few yards away from the Lighthouse, Juniper suddenly awakes up, feet cold and dirty from walking in the snow, knees scuffed from falling down. But if she'd kept walking, she likely wouldn't be here to pick herself up and walk back to the warm beacon that is the Lighthouse. She must not have been out long. A light's already on, someone's hurrying out the door with a coat.


Waking into a world of pain, Kaylee gasps from the intensity of it and rolling on her side. As she does, she feels something let loose in her nose and the taste of iron in the back of her throat. A hand moves quick to pinch her nose closed on the flow of blood. Rolling to her feet, Kaylee bolts for the bathroom, stumbling at a sharp stab of pain ripping through her head, its enough to make he stomach want to try and empty itself.

Making it to the bathroom, she leans over the sink, hair a curtain around her face as she tries not to think about throwing up even, as she listens to the soft plink of blood into the basin. With a groan she whispers, "Ow…." Lesson learned.

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