As Safe a Place as Any


felix_icon.gif munin_icon.gif

Scene Title As Safe a Place as Any
Synopsis Felix encounters Munin on his way home from work.
Date October 15, 2008


Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on the western portion of Long Island, Queens managed to avoid much of the physical ruin attributed to the Bomb. However, Queens on whole suffered from something far more significant in the wake of the explosion that tore apart New York — Economic crisis. With much of Queens relying on industrial productivity for its commerce, it was the mass exodus of many businesses from the New York area following the bomb that crippled the borough.

With refugees pouring in from the western portions of New York following the destruction of Midtown, Queens was inundated with homeless of all walks of life. Food shortages, coupled with the collapse of Queens business centers and the strain put on local police only furthered what would become one of the most embarrassing mishandling of a crisis situation the city had ever seen. Weeks after the bomb hit, riots swept through New York by the panicked populace, this was felt most hard in Queens, where food riots ravaged the businesses that dared remain open. Shea Stadium was used as temporary shelter for bomb refugees, and the riots that swept through Queens enveloped the stadium as well, resulting in a remarkable loss of life in the chaos.

Ever since, Queens has settled down from the turbulent weeks following the nuclear explosion. But while its scars may not be as physical as Midtown's are, Queens suffers just as the rest of New York does, under the shadow of that broken skyline to the west and the collapse of its social and economic centers. Queens is now a ghost of its former self, slowly struggling to recover from the damage done.

Like his black and white namesake, it seems that the Russian must have nine lives. Because despite leaving what seemed like most of his blood on that apartment's floor, Fel is alive. And even out of the hospital and walking around, albeit looking very wan and weak while he does slow. He's frankly trudging home - the FBI's New York HQ escaped the bomb, but things are still nowhere near what they once were, and there's always too much work. He's in his usual dark suit, briefcase in hand, as he heads out of the building and turns east.

Sitting on the street corner not far from the building's entrance is a small, slim girl with a tangle of dark brown hair and pale eyes. It isn't uncommon to see drifters in this part of the borough — they come in all shapes, ages and sizes, dressed in many different layers of clothes to fend off the October chill. This one is wearing a pair of leggings, black ballet flats and an oversized sweater several sizes too large for her diminutive frame. She can't be more than seventeen or eighteen, at the very most. At her feet sits an open violin case while the instrument itself rests across her lap. Several other passersby have already left her a few handfuls of change — nickles, dimes and quarters all shining in the light — but that doesn't stop her from offering Felix her cheeriest smile as he approaches her. "Nice evening, isn't it?"

He's got a foolish weakness for street musicians, no matter their actual level of skill. "Yes," he agrees, with a faint smile, fishing in his pocket for change. Which in this case, happens to be a handful of golden dollars, as well as assorted silver. "It is," he agrees, opening his hand to let it trickle down into the case and join the change already there. "Had a decent day?"

"As well as can be expected." Munin taps the bow against the inside of her thigh a few times, watching as the change bounces off the case's velvet lining and clinks softly against what's already there. "What with all the killings in the paper and on the radio." She glances sidelong at the building from which Felix emerged, her smile beginning to weaken, drooping at the corners. "I figure this is as safe a place as any, though. Thank you."

Felix glances back over his shoulder at the monolithic building, and his expression turns wry, behind his glasses. "I should hope so," he says, voice dry. "That's New York for you, though…." he trails off, pinching the bridge of his nose, as if trying to fend off a headache. "Do you know Albinoni's Adagio in G, if you take requests?" he asks, after a moment.

"I know it," says Munin, "but I've never tried t'play it a'fore." She looks up at the man, her head tilted at a curious angle, bird-like. The expression she now wears on her face is one of concern, though it isn't immediately clear what that concern is for — it could be Felix, or it might be the piece of music he's just asked her to butcher. "What about Johann Pachelbel?" she offers. "Canon in D Major?"

"That'd be fine," he says, gently, in no apparent hurry to move one. It's the end of his day, he's at leisure. He props himself wearily against the wall near her, out of the flow of foot traffic.

Munin gives Felix a nod and raises the violin, resting it lightly against her chin as her eyes lid halfway shut — it's easier for her to concentrate that way. When she begins to play, it quickly becomes apparent that while this busker isn't as skilled as some of the older men and women working the streets, but she has a good ear for music and an earnest passion for the art. Any mistakes she makes are smoothed over with a slow turn of her wrist and a gentle hand, never abrupt, never breaking her pre-established rhythm.

Fel's far from a critic. He lets his eyes close, folding his arms lazily over his chest. It's a moment's peace in a rather grim period. Once she's finished, and the last note hangs in the air, he opens his eyes with the air of one waking from a pleasant dream. "Thank you," he says, simply.

"You're welcome," Munin replies, lowering her violin. "If you don't mind me saying so, you look like you needed it." She begins gathering the change from the case, transferring it to the leather pouch she wears beneath her sweater. "Do you think they'll catch the men responsible? For the murders, I mean." As soon as the last dime disappears from the case, she gently places the violin inside and closes the lid with the same sort of tenderness a mother might show a child upon tucking him in at bedtime. "Everybody I know s'been jumping at shadows. Sleeping with one eye open. Might be nice to get a good night's sleep again, yeah?"

Felix's smile turns rather distant and wintry. "I'm sure they will. There are none finer at that task," he says, gesturing lazily at the facade of the building he left. "It may just not happen as swiftly as everyone wants," He pushes himself away from the wall, and sighs, glancing up and down the street. "Take care," he wishes, before picking up his briefcase again, and continuing on his way.

"And you." Munin's farewell is punctuated by the sound of the case's locks snapping into place, followed by a familiar rustling of feathers and a low, throaty croak that comes somewhere from the darkness. Wordlessly, she rises to her feet and — violin case tucked under her arm — disappears into the mouth of a nearby alley, footsteps growing fainter and fainter until they too are gone.

That was….unnerving. Like one of those fairy tale encounters where what you thought was a mere passersby is revealed to be a witch, or a monster, or a changeling. He pauses for a moment, as if he'd pursue, pulse jumping in his throat, and then hurries on.

October 15th: An Old Friend

Previously in this storyline…
Not Ever

Next in this storyline…

October 15th: And Jesus Brought a Soapbox
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License