A Walk On The Rough Side


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Scene Title A Walk On The Rough Side
Synopsis What should have been a nice evening walk in fine end-of-summer weather turns into something a little less than pleasant. —And Devon finds himself grounded.
Date August 24, 2011

Long Island City

It's a fine evening for late summer. Not presently raining, though the sidewalks are still wet and there's the promise of rain on the horizon. But, for the moment the sky is clear if just beginning to show a slight change in hue with the dwindling hour. The perfect setting for a walk with friends and pretend everything is normal for a short while.

So Devon put out the invite, whoever wanted to could accompany the teenager on a small hike. There's no set destination, or none that he reveals, but those who know him best can guess correctly that it would be closer to a hike than a walk. Back streets and vacant lots and long-abandoned parks to name a few sites to be seen. Though, the walk starts off normally enough, a block from the safehouse opens a path that leads the boy and those who'd joined him from sketchily habited dwellings to those obviously void of life; where broken out windows and open doorways stand sentinel.

"This is where you walk?" Elisabeth asks, her tone somewhat skeptical. "Seems like it might be … a bit on the rough side." Not to mention the curfew is coming up shortly. "I hate this part of town," she admits, her hands shoved into her pockets as they walk. "It's like walking through a graveyard."

"Here," Devon answers with a shrug and a glance toward a looming two-story house. Where the front door should be is a gaping maw, the windows broken into jagged and scowling eyes, lifeless. "Other places, too. There's a park further that way." 'That way' is nodded toward, the teen looking toward Elisabeth. "It has some swings still standing. The rest's been destroyed or… It's there, just not useable."

In all, the neighborhood they pass through looks much like every other neighborhood in this borough of New York City. There's signs of life, if no one is specifically living in anything. Graffiti paints one structure, artwork of the streets, while footprints lead here or there, most old and worn down from the last few days of rain. There's little sound to be heard, the whistling of the wind as it finds egress through the eaves of a house, the rattle and clang of an empty can against asphalt somewhere ahead.

Elisabeth is … perhaps far more ill at ease than such a simple walk should require. Walking through here like this brings back memories of a dream of a future she doesn't want — a future where she ran heedlessly through this kind of wasteland, heavily pregnant, only to find herself facing guns. Of soldiers. And of people who'd once been allies and friends. "Yeah… not surprising," the blonde mutters. "Why do you come through here? Christ, Devon, talk about no hope."

Eyes slanting toward the sound of the can, Devon shakes his head. "There is hope, if you know where to look for it. It's… kind of like after a forest fire. The land looks destroyed, but go digging through the ash and char and you'll find green growth underneath. Walking here, through these places, kind've reminds me of that. Things look bad, but what we're doing or trying to do is kind of like that little bit of green coming up."

Gravel crunches as though underfoot, the sound heavy and off to one side but still unseen as a weathered fence blocks the view. Ahead the road seems to come to a T, the fork offering left and further into the decrepit neighborhood or right into a vacant lot, at one time fenced in with chain link.

Elisabeth's eyes unerringly seek out the sounds that come to her. And they come from a lot farther away — she's augmenting what she can hear pretty expansively, unnerved by this place almost as much as by Midtown. Walking along like this, a part of her still expects a bullet to come out of the blue at some point and take her head off. It's just … the way she was supposed to die.

Beside Elisabeth, Devon also seems wary of the sounds. Though in adolescent fashion he tries to shake it off. He's been through these streets a few times, even poked his head into some of the houses, he's clinging to that confident front with sure footing. Though instead of turning to go further into the neighborhood, he turns instead for the openness of the lot. The teen's eyes flick toward Liz and he offers a faint grin. "We'll be okay," he offers assuringly. "Probably just animals, I saw a couple of dogs running through here one day…"

The rest is lost as the lot opens. A wide and long swath of gravel and dirt and potholes speckled here and there with litter and marked in spots with decades' worth of oil, the shell of a car in a far corner where the fence still stands. At first glance it seems empty, but with difficulty a couple of bodies, alive if dirty and vagrant, can be made out near the car. From behind comes several footsteps, decidedly footsteps, scuffing against the broken asphalt.

Riiiiight. They're going to be okay. Elisabeth with her hair down and streaked in its blue, purple, and hot pink locks looks perhaps younger than her years at times, but the woman is still a cop, a soldier. The black tanktop she wears with her jeans and her long hair hide the butt of the pistol in the holster at the back of her pants. Blue eyes flicker toward Devon and she murmurs softly, "If this gets ugly, get clear."

Devon gives the faintest of nods as his eyes pick up the forms at the car. Whether he actually intends to follow those directions is another thing, but at least he's agreeing. Unarmed, unwilling to show signs of worry or fear, he doesn't bother to look behind nor does he openly stare at those in front. He does, however, shift his cadence slightly to fall more in line with Elisabeth's.

It would be too much to hope that those in front hadn't noticed or were too out of touch with the world to care. But the two who can be seen move several feet from the car, watching. A third shows himself from around the back of the vehicle, and at a word a fourth materializes. Only one doesn't seem to be armed, the others carrying typical weapons of street fare: a length of chain, a baseball bat, a pair of heavy-bladed knives that can only be meant for one thing. All seems to have gone quiet from behind.

Elisabeth nods casually to the group. "Evening," she says calmly. And nudges Devon sideways. Linking her left arm through his right, she remains close to him and keeps him close enough to her. They aren't dressed well enough to get themselves mugged. Not even close. On purpose. The blonde's assessment of the situation is almost insstinctive, checking for how many heartbeats she can hear in a 50 foot or so radius. If it looks like they'll let her and Devon go on their way unmolested, she's perfectly fine with that. If they come at the pair, though, there's a low-level buzz that's singing along the fine hairs on Devon's body. Liz is already ramping up her ability. And she whispers, "Stay close to me. No weapons." She's not even sure if he's carrying. "The sonic boom won't touch you."

The last time Devon had carried a gun was when he and Jaiden had gone into Midtown. And that had been the first time in a while. As uneasy as he often feels without it, he's taken to going unarmed more often than not to maintain a low profile. He glances at Elisabeth, a scant flick of his eyes toward her then back to the group of men, when the audiokinetic's ability begins actually tingling along his arms first. "Damn," he whispers before giving a nod toward the guys.

Elisabeth can make out five separate heartbeats, not including her's and the teenager’s. "Rough place for a couple of kids to go walking," one of the rough looking men grates. His voice is even harsher than his appearance, rocks being slid down a washboard. He rests the bat against his shoulder, a toothy grin showing yellowed teeth. "Pretty kids," calls a second in a nasally voice. A scar cuts across his nose and splits his lower lip. And he's the one holding the knives. "Decided to rebel against your parents and see what life looks like on the other side of the tracks?" The others laugh, as though that were some big joke. From behind, a rock lands heavily a good yard or so from where Liz and Devon stand.

Contrary to their expectations (she hopes), Elisabeth doesn't jump at the sound. Instead, she tugs Devon slightly more toward the side. Fewer heartbeats, a wider space in which to haul ass. "Glad you told us," she says mildly, as if unafraid. "~~It's always nice to run into people who care enough about others to warn them about the bad parts of town. Really appreciate it.~~" She flashes a bright smile as she laces her voice with the subsonic hypnotic effect. Maybe it'll convince them to just let the 'kids' go. "We were takin' a shortcut tryin' to get home before curfew, but I think we're probably better off going back the way we came. Don't know this part of town well enough to find our way through I think."

Head half turning toward the sound behind, even as he's tugged aside, Devon tries for a look at the final and unseen guy. The look doesn't last long, nor seems to afford much of anything more than a view of the houses with their lifeless windows. Another step forward and his attention returns to those guys in front. He doesn't say anything, lips pressed into a line while the blonde woman weaves her ability into her words, eyes watchful and catching the movement of the group of men for anything that may be aggressive.

Two of the four in front seem willing to leave it at that and let Devon and Elisabeth go on their way. They shrug, as though that were the plan all along. Chain-guy and the man with the bat step off and look to return to whatever conversation they'd been engaged in just moments before. The unarmed man looks vaguely confused, torn between letting the pair go and continuing to harass them. Only the man with the knives appears unaffected, a cruel smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

"I do care," the knife-holding man replies, his smile showing far too many teeth to be pleasant. "I fact, I care so much that I'll walk you two home. Wouldn't want you to run into any problems now." His eyes flick past the woman and the teen, his chin tips upward a fraction, and he takes a step toward the pair.

Elisabeth wraps her arm around Devon's waist, and smiles back. "You haven't seen problems yet, friend," she murmurs coyly. The thrum is nearly inaudible as she uses her own voice as the catalyst, holding the sound close to herself and Devon before loosing it in a thunderous thrust of physical force in circular pattern with herself and the teen at the epicenter. She doesn't know how far behind them the other guy is exactly, but as soon as the wave hits him, she feels that. And she puts enough ''oomph'' into it to tumble both of them arse over teakettle, she hopes. And even as she does it, Elisabeth hauls Devon and shoves him back the way they came. "Go!" she orders under her breath.

All four in front show some effect of the sound blast. The two to move off are stumbled and left wondering while the two remaining are physically pushed off their feet. The man with the knives hits the shell of a car and tumbles over the hood with a curse lost in the momentum, the unarmed man is sent sprawling. Whatever Elisabeth was hoping to find behind them is left to a lot of the same, the houses they'd walked past, the hard packed dirt lot with its ruts and potholes and trash, and seemingly little else.

Within her hold, Elisabeth can feel the uneasiness the teenager has been keeping masked, muscles tensed nearly to the point that he should be shaking. He flinches at the blast of sound, or the effects of the wave of sound, his heart hammering all the more. Devon turns with the shove, a hand reaching back to grab hold of Elisabeth's arm or shoulder to drag her along as he partially stumbles while trying to run.

She keeps right with him, her hand twisted into the waistband of his jeans as they move. Once he's stable on his feet Elisabeth releases him so they can both run more effectively. In the back of her head, Elisabeth's cussing a blue streak.

The path back to the main road is unimpeded, no one standing in front of them to bar the way. Behind them a nasally voice rises in tones that imply that pursuit is possible if not imminent. The gravelly tones that follow and undercut the higher tones are of a like mind. At least one set of boots on dirt road seems to be following, hastening though still slow from recovery after being knocked over. The pair is able to keep ahead of those behind without problem, feet striking dirt then pavement, reaching then passing the first couple of houses without issue. Then, from a window to their left, movement followed by the faint sound of something small cutting through air. Twice.

A small handful of steps is all it takes for Devon to get his feet under him. Eyes slant toward Elisabeth briefly, the boy checking to see that she's keeping pace, that she's okay. The noises behind are ignored. They can get deeper into the neighborhood, cut through a yard or two, and make it back to the safehouse without having any followers. His eyes go back to the road in time to catch movement just at the edge of his vision. His mouth opens to voice a warning a little too late as one of the two metallic objects strikes his knee and staggers his step.

When he stumbles, Liz's hand is once more wrapped in the boy's waistband and she's keeping him on his feet and moving. She sound of something slicing the air is most assuredly caught by the audiokinetic, but her focus is on getting them out. So although her side is suddenly stinging with what she knows has to be a cut of some kind, the blonde keeps Devon moing at the same time that she looks over her shoulder to yell, "Fucker!" It's filled with disgust and annoyance…. and it shatters every bit of glass in that building where it came from, and probably blasts a good bit of plsater right off the walls as well. The wave has no sound, but it sure has one hell of an impact — WHUMP! *Smash*!

A hop and a step and Devon keeps moving, propelled in part by Elisabeth's drive to get out. He ventures a look in her direction, again assuring himself that she's keeping up — or that he's keeping up with her — before setting his focus on simply pointing the way out down the street and away from the vacant lot. He slows only one other time, a wince at the sounds of breaking housing.

Glass shatters, walls both inside and out rattle. Those made of plaster and paper crumble in some places, raining down within and exiting the house in a cloud of dust. From inside the house is a surprised yell. The sight of destruction without discernible cause gives the pursuit behind pause enough that steps fade into absence. A beat, and then another passes, and on the third is another set of twin objects cutting a path through the air. These two kiss the dirt at Elisabeth and Devon's heels, bouncing off ineffectually with the telling clack of steel striking asphalt.

Twice more do the small bearings strike the ground, chasing after the pair as they flee. They bounce off the pavement, sometimes finding vague marks on calves or shins though it's more unnerving than physically damaging. By the time they round a corner, all signs of danger are left far behind, nothing further to assault the pair, returned to signs of abandoned habitation. Nothing to follow them as they return to the safehouse.

Elisabeth hauls him around the corner and she doesn't let him stop running for at least a half a mile. For a woman who does at least three miles every other day, it's a no-brainer. Keep moving as fast as you can. If he's out of breath? Sucks to be him! And by the time they slow, Elisabeth's temper is on a slow simmer. "You are so grounded," she grits out. "Dear God, you are an insane boy-child and you are so fucking grounded. Or something!"

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