A Breath Away From Hell


deckard_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif eve_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title A Breath Away From Hell
Synopsis Various peripheral players in Kazimir's last act cross paths in the overgrown cemetery that's rotted into Staten. Some if them have intentions marginally more noble than others. All of them have guns.
Date February 5, 2009

Overgrown Cemetery

The vast graveyard stretches for kilometers, with dark damp soil making everything feel cold as you-know-what. Signs of mass graves, loose soil, and the faint smell of rotting flesh are present around the outer edges, ominously surrounding the original relaxed single-grave style in the center. Many of the old graves have been vandalized or exhumed, leaving many empty six foot deep holes scattered around. Some open holes are still curiously empty, while others have been reorganized into piles of bodies, forgotten and unburied, and still more are just as likely to house the living.

The marble sculptures and tombstones of long ago have been reduced to nondescript lumps of rock, but this doesn't stop people from placing new markers for the deceased — yet it seems futile since none of it will stay. The inhabitants will take whatever stone and scrap metal are left here, using them to build makeshift shelters, or simply reorganizing them to whatever chaotic patterns they worship.

The coldness of the air is nearly enough to distort sound. Snow muffles, but cold generally makes sound seem to carry further. And thus the *chunk, shunk* of the spade in Felix's hand is strangely distinct. He's got a little electric lantern, suitably dimmed, at his feet, as he works patiently. It's a full sized grave, with a stark, plain marble stone engraved with the legend, in English and Russian, "Felix Nikolaievich Ivanov, 1972 - 2008." He's in a dark coat and cap, glasses glinting in the bluish light of the lantern, breath clouding in the night air. There's already a sizable heap of dirt heaped to the side. As if it weren't eerie enough to be digging up your own grave.

A lot of bodies wash up on the shores of Staten Island — ugly, bloated things with sallow skin, empty eyes and bloodless lips that have peeled back to reveal rows of yellowed teeth. Although the borough has several funeral homes serving its scattered populace, most of the corpses end up here with no families to claim them, laid out for the local gravedigger to put in the ground whenever he gets around to it.

Felix Ivanov is fortunate that the aforementioned gravedigger has checked out for the night — if he were to find someone poking around with a shovel on his turf, he might have a few things to say to him.

Eileen Ruskin has a few things to say to Felix, too, but those can wait. For now, she lurks on the fringe of the graveyard, watching the fed work with pale eyes that appear more feline than human in the absence of daylight. She came here to check if Ethan and Sylar were amongst the recently-deceased, but with Felix so close, she's hesitant to draw attention to herself. For one thing, he works for the government.

For another, he's supposed to be dead.

Now /this/ is Eve's kind of place. The seer had come to.. where Eve never really has an explanation that makes sense for where she goes. She spots Felix and is quiet as she comes to crouch on one of the larger gravestones. Her head is tilted and midnight dark hair spills out from the hood of her long black coat. The coat covers her long black dress and boots and the bandage that surrounds her arm from Sylar's laser. Her eerie light grey eyes study Felix from behind and she grins lopsidedly, "Graverobber." She says loud enough for Fel and anyone else in their vicinity to hear.

Someone's got to clean
'em up, my friends
Bodies on the highway
Law and order upside down
Someone's got to collect
their odds and ends
As a service to the town!

The stink of human decay is one not easily washed away or forgotten. It clings in the hair and in the skin, paints itself thin through the sinuses and hangs heavy in the nostrils. It never really gets old, either. Freshly arrived in an appropriate assortment of black upon black upon black, armed with a full-sized shovel, Deckard is careful to tread quietly. He's a tall figure at Eileen's back, narrow-faced and broad-shouldered with bright eyes screened dark by the snug fit of an untimely pair of sunglasses. It takes some studying to place her. It takes very little to place Felix beyond her. Particularly when he's gone and situated himself at a grave Flint already knows the name of.

Following Ruskin's example, he hangs back, breath clouding thick against the cold. He doesn't move again until Eve's voice breaks the awkward silence quadrangle, heavier bootfalls tracking around Eileen so that he can progress on into the graveyard proper. "So?"

Alas, poor Yorick, etc, etc. Alas, poor Felix. Alas, poor John Doe. There's a crunch, as the spade hits the frozen ground. Fel is very much a one trick pony, and that trick is on display - Eve is confronted with the mouth of a pistol, that little Walther; the usual .45 is impounded, considering Felix just used it to kill someone the other day. In front of a zillion people, no less. "No. You can't rob your own house, this is my grave. I'm perfectly entitled to fuck around with it," he says, irritably. "I don't know who the chump is who's actually in it," he adds. "I intend to find out." He looks remarkably healthy for a revenant, albeit rather cadaverous himself. Such profligate use of his power has pared away what little flesh he had left, and he's a severe figure, peering over the rims of his glasses at Eve.

Despite the fact that Felix is now holding a gun, Eileen's attention isn't on him anymore — it's devoted to Deckard, and she watches his progress warily, saying nothing. Although she heard Eve call out, she has yet to locate the seer's shape swathed in darkness, and so remains where she is, her figure barely illuminated by the light of the moon as it strains to permeate the heavy cloudcover above.

If he hasn't seen her yet — or worse, recognized her — she's not about to draw attention to herself by pulling her own weapon, tempting though the prospect is.

The seer tilts her head and an eyebrow is raised. "In a sense you are right, but it's not truly /your/ grave.. it's his." Eve's head nods towards the grave to indicate she is speaking of the body beneath the ground. "Put that thing away, now." Eve's voice is one of a mother scolding her child. "Bad." She adds and wags a finger in Felix's direction. "Just because you can move superfast.." she mutters and shakes her head. The nerve of these speedsters!

Deckard again follows Eileen's example, saying nothing, though recognition almost to the point of greeting is clear enough in the way his head turns slightly after her in passing. A sort of silent congratulations on still being alive, maybe. Who knows.

Shovel squared back over his left shoulder, the tread of his boots over hard-packed snow continues at a steady pace, refusing to be deterred by scolding any more than he is the point of Felix's gun. Especially since neither is directed at him, though one or both might be at the sharp whistle he pitches at them from across the next row of dead and already dug up.

"Lady, I don't know what the fuck you're doing here, and I'm not interested in learning," Felix says curtly, with a rare flash of his native accent. "Piss off," It's been a disconcerting night, already, finding his family's pet genie showing up. And then there's Deckard, and Felix is no more pleased to see him. To Deckard's vision, there are new fracture marks in his ribs, wounded and healed again. Honestly, Fel's survived far, far more than he ever should've. God does look out for fools. He only glances at the tall man, and the pistol doesn't waver from Eve. Deckard isn't likely to pull a gun on him, right?

Deckard isn't. Eileen, on the other hand, is. With Felix preoccupied with Eve and his good old buddy Flint, she slips one leather-clad hand into her pea coat pocket and closes her fingers around the grip of her pistol, feeling the metal click against her pocketwatch as she pulls it out and flicks off the safety with the tiniest of snaps — like the smallest tree branch splitting beneath the weight of too much snow and ice, the sound is scarcely audible beneath the sound of the wind rustling through the otherwise naked foliage.

It isn't that she plans on putting a bullet in Ivanov, but the last time they met she imagines he'd have done just that if she'd been alone at the time. More than anything, it's a precautionary measure.

"Nice shoes." Eve says softly and shakes her head again. "Scusami?" Is said to Deckard and she looks around. Her eyes then drift up to the sky. "Moon missing from my sight." The singer then looks back to Felix. "Guns.. guns.. guns.." Eve looks at Felix up and down. "You don't own this place.." Eve shrugs her shoulder and hums a soft tune. "And the shadow.. seemed to rest.. tonight." Her gaze fixes on Felix and she places both hands on the gravestone as she crouches to make sure she doesn't fall. Her hair spills over her face.

There are a lot of things Deckard isn't likely to do that he seems to do anyway. But maybe not tonight. Especially not when Eileen's taking the risk for him.

A glance cast back her way doesn't involve a turn of his head so much as it does some increased stiffness about the long stack of his spine once he's drawn up opposite Felix's grave marker. "Here lies Felix Ivanov," he recites, as if by heart, "feeb extraordinaire." The shovel is swung down off his shoulder, metal end biting crisply down into the snow at his feet. He eyes Eve all the while. "Did you come here hoping to find some courage? Maybe a heart?"

"That's only land man ever really owns," Felix says, biting off each syllable. Articles are never more than linguistic decoration, so far as he's concerned, and that tired, he drops them. "Six feet of earth. And someone is squatting in mine. Shove off." He's taken a careful step back, before eyeing Deckard. Three way standoff. "What the hell, there's a party and I missed my invitation?" He doesn't bother to ask Deckard what he thinks he's doing.

It's as if Eve doesn't hear either of them, her eyes are unfocused and her mouth hangs open. She's having one of her moments. The seer closes her eyes and with a eerie and.. strange tone she sings, "Ring around the rosy, a pocketful of posies.. ashes ashes.. Kazimir fell down." Eve's eyes snap open and she looks to the two men and then to the bodies. "Do you know that's why they are here? I saw some of them die.. but I couldn't stop them all.. not at all." Eve's eyes begin to water and she grips the tombstone tight as she rocks back and forth, almost in danger of falling off the large tombstone.

"I'm here every other night, midnight to four. It's like happy hour." But — with dead people.

One gloved hand braced loose over the grip of his shovel, Deckard doesn't really move to do much of anything. Not until Eve starts having crazy time, anyway. After that, he seems to think it might be a slick idea to reach into his coat with the distraction of her singing and rocking potentially enough to keep him from catching a superfast bullet with his face.

Hugh is regarding Eve with increasing horror. He doesn't remember placing an order for a large serving of crazy. "Fuck," says Felix, oh so eloquently. He takes another few tentative paces back, apparently quite content to leave spade and lantern to her tender mercies. He hasn't yet noticed what Deckard's up to, nor Eileen's presence.

That's the way Eileen prefers it, really. She'd like to take a closer look at the bodies to see if she's capable of identifying any of them without the assistance of dental records, but that's going to have to wait until the sun is up and Felix has taken his leave from the graveyard. If Ethan and Sylar are dead, then they're dead — confirming this isn't about to bring either of them back. As soon as Eve starts talking about Kazimir, she begins to retreat, partly to get away from Ivanov, partly to turn her back on the memories Volken's name invokes.

The wound is still fresh. Sticking around here only grinds salt into it.

The seeress blinks and looks at the reactions of Deckard and Felix, Eileen is still not noticed. Eve then hops down from the gravestone and begins to back away. "You know.. it's over." Eve's gaze looks over the area and soon she finds Eileen, recognition dawns on her, she remembers that face.. from the bridge. "Hello dear." She says softly and her eyes are still watery. "I'm so sorry.." sorry for the deaths that she couldn't prevent after seeing them.

Wool eases past wool, shifts against leather and the cold butt of a gun. With one last lingering look to gauge whether or not Felix is really distracted, Deckard snaps his revolver free of its holster and cleanly out into the open. Now there are three guns floating around. His points at Felix, not necessarily because it seems like a good idea, but because…because. Whether or not there's anything altruistic in pointing a gun at someone pointing a gun at someone who isn't pointing a gun and does in fact seem quite mentally unbalanced can be debated at a later time.

The movement of Eileen off to the side draws his attention that way about the same time as it draws Eve's that way, though — her talk of Kazimir and death provoking very little from his lean person.

Who's she talking t- oh, shit. Fel doesn't look frightened or angry so much as he does disappointed. "Eileen," he says, resigned, like she's just one more thing on a too-length to-do list. Too much to hope for she'd gone down with the ship. Deckard gets an annoyed look. "Jesus Christ, Deckard, what, you gonna shoot me?" He doesn't drop his weapon or lift his hand. I save the world, and this is what I get. A paid suspension until he can get time on the crazy couch. Everyone here but him is apparently a friend of Munin's.

"He should," Eileen's voice rings out from across the graveyard, her progress momentarily halted by Eve's somewhat inadvertent unveiling. "It'd put you back in the ground where you belong." She turns, small feet kicking up the snow as she angles her body away from the gathering and chances a quick glance over her shoulder toward the graveyard's entrance to make sure nobody else is sneaking up on them.

Satisfied that the four of them are alone, she moves around an old limestone cross covered in dead vines, putting it between her body and the men. If a weapon does happen to discharge, she isn't entirely protected from getting hit, but her chances are better if she's at least partially shielded from any stray bullets that might come whizzing her way. To Eve, she says in a much softer, more gentle tone, "Don't apologize. Least of all to me."

Eve sniffs and shakes her head as she moves closer to Eileen and then stops behind another of the bigger tombstones that will give her semi protection from any bullets if they go flying. "I tried.. I tried so hard. But their were so many!" Eve sinks to the snow ground and shakes her head again.

"I…dunno," says Deckard, who sounds pretty genuine about that, at least. His brows lift over his sunglasses, furthering the 'haven't really thought about it,' sentiment, but his gun stays pointed pretty firmly at Felix. Which would suggest that he has, in fact, thought about it. And is still thinking about it. "She thinks I should." She, of course, being Eileen in this case, though the flicker of his eyes after her and Eve is invisible.

"Don't tell me you were working for Volken all along, too," Felix says, shoulders hunched against the cold as much as he dares, with the Walther on Eve. He still sounds grimly resigned to it all. "Fuck it," he says, abruptly. "I'm leaving. Keep the shovel, I'm feeling generous today," And he apparently means it, turning his back on both Deckard and Eileen, passing by Eve with steps that crunch on the frozen ground. Either trusting his speed to save him, or he's on the cusp of one of those periods in his illness where death and life look about equal in the balance.

There are some things you just shouldn't say around Eileen. Bringing up Volken in such a tone is one of them. As Felix abandons his shovel and turns away, showing the young woman his back, she drops her arm, points her pistol at the ground by Felix's feet and fires off a single shot into the snow. Upon impact, the bullet kicks up chunks of ice and dirt, spraying the fed's feet with slushy filth, though it does him no real harm.

"Don't," she warns, fury beginning to creep into her voice, worming its way through each tersely-spoken syllable. "Let's set a few things straight before you go, shall we?"

The sound of a gunshot stops Eve's crying and she quickly gets her gun from it's thigh holster and she holds it tight. The gunshot has brought Eve back to sanity for the moment. Her eyes narrow at Felix and she says to Eileen, "Is he always such a prick?"

The suggestion that he would be is enough to bite harsh into the lines around Deckard's face. Hate is one of those things that's hard to hide when you have the range of expression he does. His jaw clenches, his nose rankles, his teeth show a sliver of themselves and he tightens his grip on the gun until the tendons in the back of his hand seem likely to snap. But. He doesn't fire. Eileen does, and quickly enough he's kicked the heel of his left hand off his shovel so that he can use it to support his gun hand in its snap after her hiding spot.

Apparently, he is. There's no response from Felix. There's an odd sound, like the rush of a gale, and he's simply nowhere to be seen. The lantern remains gleaming on the pale marble of the stone, making the letters in the Fed's name seem to blur and run.

The crack of a gunshot discharging into the night attracts the attention of the gravedigger from inside the cemetery's cottage. A light flicks on and the sound of dogs baying soon joins the the roar of Felix's retreat.

Her hair whipping in the wind left in Felix's wake, Eileen takes this as her cue to take her leave. With one last glance at Deckard and Eve, she turns and takes off toward the nearest exit, narrowly avoiding a rifle round that rips apart the cross she was standing behind just a few moments ago. Limestone shatters, littering the snow with chunks of broken rock.

It's definitely time to go.

Deckard hunches away from the shot, nearly hitting the ground in his reflexive haste to get the fuck out of the way. Gun reholstered with haste that can never quitematch the speed with which Felix manages to get clear, he snatches at his shovel, scoops the blade up under Ivanov's lantern, and flings it hard across the graveyard in an untidy spray of snow and earth. The same movement carries over into a long-legged sprint, down a foot-worn path through the brush. A second shot rings out behind him, skipping narrowly across the broken crust at his heels, and the choked bay of a hound straining against its leash poses a more persistent sort of threat. The kind that doesn't need to see to find you.

But he doesn't go far.

As accustomed to the habits of the groundskeeper as any of the mangy coons who make a happy living pawing through his garbage when they aren't picking at corpses, he hangs at the graveyard's border, watching and waiting. Soon enough the son of a bitch gives up and retires back into his hutch, dog, rifle and all to leave Deckard to turn his shovel down into the already disturbed earth of Ivanov's grave.

Who is in there? Inquiring minds would like to know!

February 5th: Something For The Pain
February 5th: Plans At The Lighthouse
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