... And Mirrors



Scene Title … And Mirrors
Synopsis A predator arrives at the scene of another's kill.
Date March 4, 2010

Solstice Condominiums: Wendy's Home

It has been a long, monochromatic winter. Spring isn't look much brighter. The gray brick and glass exterior of Solstice Condominiums, frosted in ice, stands out against a charcoal sky with dark clouds whose bellies are lit by Manhattan's city lights rather than the moon struggling to part their inky veil. It stopped snowing some hours ago, a brief respite from what had been until then an otherwise ceaseless fall. White chokes the streets, thick and clumping, puts black taxis out of commission and reduces New York's Upper East Side to a mere shadow of what it's supposed to be.

Not even the little slate birds are out tonight.

The lights in the complex's ornate marble and brass lobby flicker overhead in sporadic bursts, and no one living there finds anything amiss about the faltering power. This is a battle that's been ongoing since the sun went down, but so far the only casualty has been the elevator its residents use to access the building's higher floors.


If anyone cared to notice, the track of melting footprints don't match fine Italian leather shoes pacing across the apartment building's lobby, but no one does. Perhaps later, when the FBI, Homeland Security, the police and the passersby come to crawl all over the place to investigate the murder he plans to be cleaning up from some time later, they'll notice. But right now, the doorman barely gives the familiar visage of John Logan a second glance when he permits him inside, a folded over tip of money distributed before Sylar carries himself and his illusion towards the elevators.

Which. Leads him to the stairs, only casting one slightly disdainful glance up and over his shoulder and sputtering lights as he begins the hike up towards the room. An addict's anticipation has begun to shiver, low and warm, relished rather than resented as he makes his way towards the door and skitters his fingertips along the surface.

Good things come to those who wait. Rather than passing through solid wood or shedding the face he wears, Sylar knocks.

At the other end of the hall, the muted sounds of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata can faintly be heard bleeding through the walls. Like the lights, the music is hitches between measures, gangly, uncertain and infuriatingly reminiscent of the man Sylar used to be before Chandra Suresh entered his life. Whoever is behind the keys is very unpracticed, but if there's one thing to be said for Gabriel Gray, it's that he at least knew what he was doing with his hands.

A pair of footsteps move down the stairwell behind him, every few beats against the floor punctuated by a spate of shrill, girlish laughter and a lower, more masculine voice scratching huskily beneath it. It's late. Not so late, however, that the couple living above Wendy's condo has decided to abandon their plans for the evening. The bars may not be packed tonight, but they'll at least be open.

Downstairs, the door leading out into the lobby claps shut, and Sylar is alone again. Wendy has yet to answer his summons, though this may have something to do with the smoke now leaking out from the bottom of her front door. Thick and viscous, it swirls in lazy eddies around John Logan's legs and rolls over the material of his shoes as if inspecting their make and the quality of the leather before it begins thinning out into wispier gray tendrils as if fraying around the edges.

He steps back, first thing, some age old instinct that most people don't carry motivating him to backpedal tortoiseshell patterned leather back some few steps. Animals flee from smoke too, and there's certainly a prey-like tension that defines the angles of his posture, Sylar watching its movement before steering an accusing look up towards the door. He takes two seconds of thinking before reaching a hand— through the door, flesh passing effortlessly through the solid wood and taking the cuff of a pinstripe suit with him, the winking eye of a silver cufflink.

Long fingers seek out the lock on the other side, undoing the chain, twisting the lock, before carefully opening the door with a shoulder pressed to it, snaking his arm back to the appropriate side. "Wendy?" is a voice plucked straight from the woman's memory, masking the deeper gravel of Sylar's true voice as he ghosts inside.

The door opens, giving way to the scene of a upper class condo, leather couch with it's nest of blankets gone cold from lack of anyone sleeping it, flat panel television turned off and lights on enough for someone to move around. The studio has always been open to the rest of the house, easier to move things in and out of it. True light set up in the work place of the resident that helped her with her art.

The light fills the room, spilling out into the hallway and only highlights the contents of the room. The canvases half painted and aborted, bags of clay waiting on a table for it's resident to get inspiration and create with it. The scent of oil paints heavier than usual because of their recent use, a canvas toppled over and half hidden from view.

Laid out on the floor, carefully arranged on canvas that has yet to be cut and stretched over frames like some macabre installation art piece, is the resident that Sylar's come for. Light just this side of bright to distort the view of her body laid bare as if awaiting autopsy and for a moment, she might be sleeping. If it wasn't for the fact that when one walks closer, the middle of her forehead and above is lopped off in a familiar fashion, placed to the side oh so neatly.

What he really came for though, is missing with only a spent cigarette left in the cavity that once housed her brain.

Were he to glance over his shoulder, he'd see the last of the churning smoke slip out into the hall with a flick of its flimsy black tail, a water moccasin vanishing into a shallow pool of ink.

There's a strange phenomenon when it comes to artwork. Take a busy picture, one full of geometric buildings, colour, weather conditions, crowding cars, and say there is the solitary moon of a human face tucked away and off to the side, the shape of arms and legs, the cookie-cutter attributes of a human. For all the chaos, the human eye will forever gravitate, forever focus towards the image of another person. This apartment has its clutter, still and sedate, and so Sylar can only stare at the misshape of the dead woman laid out as she is.

Some psychological disconnect has his image melting away, the air around him shimmering as detail distorts, green eyes shutting to open as amber brown, black and pragmatic clothes over a bulkier frame instead of tailored lines over slighter angles. He moves, now, towards her body, crouching down to peer into her blank, dead face, mouth pulling into something of a grimace at the ashy smear trailing from the used cigarette nestled so comfortably in her egg-cup scooped skull.

He doesn't touch, frozen still in growing anger, until his attention snaps harshly towards where the smoke is trailing away. Pearly white teeth show as his lips pull back, thinly, a sneer of— recognition? Imagined recognition? With a fluid determination, Sylar stands, and moves in quickening paces towards the open door, to catch sight of where it's going.

As Sylar is taking that first step out into the hall, the stairwell door at the end of the hall is thundering open rather than shut. Two men in staunch navy blue uniform and black jackets bundled around their frames emerge from the first floor landing. Gold badges emblazoned on left side of their chests wink in the failing light as, arms stiff, they raise the weapons clutched in their gloved hands and level them with him.

There are only so many people in New York who are authorized to carry firearms, and fewer still who are be bold enough to flaunt them in public with racial and political tensions flaring as high as they are. "Get down on the ground!" one of them is barking. "Hands behind your head!"

Now would be a great time for the electricity to enter its death throes.

Smoke is forgotten at the commanding sound of policemen barking their orders down the length of the hallway, narrowing his focus on the twin figures in front of him with a look of mute neutrality on his usually expressive features, that hunter's anger smacked clean away. Then, it's a matter of fastest draw in the West, and he doesn't even have to handle a gun. Sylar's hand flies up, and a booming gunshot-like sound rattles the doors in their frames as a concussive wave of energy floods down the hallway, fills it, and sends the two men snapping back like ragdolls.

Sylar doesn't look to see how they land before he's moving, back turning and abandoning the open door of Wendy's apartment. Foregoing the downwards hike to the lobby, he instead takes off at a run towards the end of the hallway and the window one that doesn't open, and doesn't need to.

Thunder is supposed to accompany rain, not snow, but the residents of Solstice Condominiums — save whoever placed in the call to the police and reported the disturbance at Wendy's apartment — are so complacent that it's not the sound of the concussive blast that wrests them from their stupor but shattering glass as the two police officers are thrown through the stairwell doors with enough force to blow the panes apart and splinter bone.

As shards of broken glass tinkle and glitter like spindles of teeth in the edges of the frame, some of them coated in blood, a static hiss fills the stairwell, followed by two sharp pops crackling from the radio attached to one of the fallen officers at the hip.

A hand blossoming red smears across the stairwell's marble floor, reaching—

Like a cockroach fleeing the sudden light, Sylar plows into wall and window, but instead of smacking into solid glass and brick, he passes easily through it at a leap, arms windmilling as he's suddenly thrown out into the bitter exterior cold. Feet first for the sudden drop, passersby might not quite distinctly remember the sight of the Midtown Man passing through the wall of the Solstice, but they might remember the figure that lands. Feet find the top of a parked taxi car, dents metal, legs crumpling quickly after and the diminutive, wool-clad frame of Eileen Ruskin tumbles down the windshield, the hood, landing in a heap on snowy concrete.

Springing to his— her feet as people crowd in, shocked and concerned voices murmuring up and as light as butterfly wings. Without showing particular pain, the illusion shoves through the milling people and takes off at a limping run, leaving behind bigger footprints than her feet would suggest in the snow, until falling ice buries them forever.

Much like footprints, Gabriel Gray disappears into the anonymity of New York City, fading into walls and crowds alike.

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