An Impossible Lie


howard_icon.gif lene_icon.gif

Scene Title An Impossible Lie
Synopsis Wayward children reunite on the eve of everything falling apart.
Date October 13, 2011

The Verrazano-Narrows bridge may never be rebuilt. It stands now as a testament to one apocalypse sidelined by the desperate actions of a handful of disparate individuals. On the Brooklyn side of the ruins, vegetation has started to overgrow the cracked asphalt of the bridge surface. Shoots of grass grow up from between fissures and climbing vines entwine around the stone support tower's base. The handful of concrete barricades placed at the end of the bridge dissuade traffic from coming up the ruin, but does little to dissuade foot traffic. This much is evidenced by the graffiti covering nearly every ground-level surface. In the years that have passed since the bridge's destruction, it has become more and more a home to the city's cast-offs.

In the shadows under the Brooklyn side of the Narrows, a small homeless community has arisen. The beleaguered NYPD have done little to break up the settlement, comprised of ramshackle structures built from corrugated metal, blue tarps, and cardboard. Fires burn here, day and night, and the population of near sixty people is split nearly in half with children. Stray dogs flit to and from the settlement, and for the city's many residents displaced by violence or poverty, it is home. For those displaced from time, it can also be a respite of sorts.

Howard Philips knew to come here today, he'd made a promise months ago to that effect. Sitting on a moss-dappled concrete block by the river's edge, he watches the early morning sun glitter across the water's surface. Distant barks of dogs and quiet conversation as the homeless refuge comes to life is largely ignored. His mind is elsewhere, and in some regards elsewhen, lost in a deep contemplation of the severity of his own situation and the people he'd traveled to this time with. People who have now, in their own ways, fractured. The sound of footfalls crunching across gravel at Howard's back elicits a look over his shoulder, and the faux-red haired woman approaching brings him to his feet.

"Lene," is Howard's greeting, and though delivered with his usual temerity, has a hint of something more familial about it. Unlike Howard, Jolene Chevalier is dressed for the cold October morning, bundled in a winter coat, wrapped in a scarf, and bedecked in a knit cap and mittens. She approaches, arms wrapped around herself, and comes to a lazy stop a few feet from her ostensible friend. Her greeting is a lopsided, if weary, smile. Howard looks back to the river, momentarily, then back to Lene expectantly.

Jolene exhales a sigh, takes another step forward, and rests her forehead on Howard's shoulder in a somewhat defeated gesture. "It's… not good," she whispers against the fabric of his jacket. Howard stands still, hands still tucked in his pockets. He doesn't dissuade Jolene from finding comfort, but he also doesn't encourage it. "Rhys just… isn't sure what to do at this point. Nothing we've tried seems to have — I don't know — had an effect. Samuel, everything we've… it's all still playing out exactly like it did, with just — these weird differences." Howard doesn't respond, just stands motionless with his head bowed and brows furrowed. After a moment one hand comes out to rest on Jolene's shoulder, not in a reassuring way, but to move her back a step so he can look her in the eyes.

"We were sold a lie," Howard bitterly explains. "We can't change the future. I don't know why we ever thought we could, it's — "

"We can!" Jolene pleads, swatting Howard's hand away. "They've done it before, we learned as much. The people from the future came back, Edward and the others, and things are different now." Glasses fogged up from her time at Howard's shoulder, Jolene stares blankly up at him. Howard frowns, visibly, then looks back to the River. Jolene follows his attention, then steps around him and crouches down to pick up a small piece of broken concrete, hurling it into the water with a deep plunk sound. Puzzled, Howard turns fully around to regard Jolene and what she'd just done.

"Ripples," Jolene looks back over her shoulder to Howard. "Ripples aren't enough." In her voice there's a tremor of hesitation in her voice, and Howard starts to suspect where she's going with this. "I worked with Richard Cardinal for a while," she notes, and Howard's eyes narrow. "He's — he isn't the monster he became yet. There's still time to change things, change him. But," Jolene falters, looking around. "All of this, the stuff he's done, it's happening decades too soon. I think that's why nothing is working the way we expect. We keep trying to change things, but— but they've already been changed." Swiping one hand at her forehead to brush an errant lock of wine red hair from her face, Jolene takes a step closer to Howard again, looking up at him.

Howard understands, painfully so, what kind of monster Richard Cardinal becomes. He expresses it with a tightness of his jaw, with a furrow of his brows, and a look away to a dog padding down the river's edge. "Ripples aren't big enough," Howard agrees, rubbing one hand over his mouth. When he looks back to Jolene, there's uncertainty painted across his face where stoicism usually rests. He nods, a few times, a bobbing rhythm of understanding and relent. Howard tucks his hands back in his jacket pockets, shoulders slacked, and looks back to the river. "So, what, then?"

"We make the impossible lie, possible." Jolene answers, reaching down to snatch Howard's hand from his pocket, tugging it out with her mitten-covered one, to give it a squeeze. "Our futures, our parents futures," that makes Howard wince, "can be better. But we've been going about it the wrong way. For as — as insane as Calvin turned out to be, I think — I think he had some right ideas." Jolene swallows nervously, watching Howard's expression shift from concern to curiosity. "When Edward and those people from Moab came back to the past, they weren't discreet. They weren't — there was nothing coy about what they did. We tried to stay in the shadows, we tried to hide what we are because that's what we're used to. We're just a bunch of scared kids who've been hiding who we are all our lives."

Tugging his hand from Jolene's, Howard looks at her with a wary expression. "So… what? What the fuck're you implying?" He already knows, he wants to believe she does, but he has to hear it from Lene herself.

"We burn it all down," Jolene stares firmly, brows knit together in a determined furrow. "We burn it all down, and start over. We stop trying to make ripples," she affirms, hands curling into mitten-clad fists.

"We destroy the whole god-damned river."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License