Be Careful What You Ask For


emily_icon.gif eve4_icon.gif geneva_icon.gif sibyl4_icon.gif

Scene Title Be Careful What You Ask For
Synopsis They've got questions; she's got answers.
Date December 18, 2018

Phoenix Heights

December in New York: clear, gray skies and subzero temperatures. There was a time, not too long ago, when the streets were crowded and the trees of Central Park were wrapped in so many strings of fairy lights that its footprint could be seen from any rooftop in the city. Carolers loitered on cheerful corners dusted in glitter and snow outside enormous department stores, each with their own gallery of high-end window displays. Lovers made dates at outdoor ice rinks and booked nighttime carriage rides.

Those days are over.

The Safe Zone's rolling blackouts leave string lights looking vacant and dim, and the people who venture outside after dark do so out of necessity rather than any yuletide spirit. Still, there are abandoned parking lots filled with dewy, frost-limned trees brought in from the neighboring Pine Barrens. This year, they're even affordable. Where there were once carolers there are volunteers manning mobile soup kitchens and modestly outfitted toy drives for the less fortunate. A chill wind carries the sound of live music with it, somewhere off in the distance. The voices sound small and tentative.

This is the new normal for Phoenix Heights where there's an empty field on the Safe Zone's perimeter, long forgotten by anyone except for the occasional military patrol assigned to check in on the border every other day. It's the perfect place to observe the continuous rebuilding efforts from a distance — or to meet someone away from society's prying eyes.

Sibyl Black is here to do both. She stands with her hands in the pockets of her wool coat near the razor wire fence on the field's eastern edge. At a distance, she could easily be mistaken for a slim, gnarled tree silhouetted against a rapidly darkening sky.

It's been a while since Emily's been past the edges of what she'd consider to be civilization. It's the first time she's tread it in the dark, or by herself. A thin strap of a small bag is strapped across her chest, the bag's contents bouncing lightly against her side with each step. She has to walk with her hands in her pockets, fists clenched like they're holding onto something.

She's still not gotten used to it yet. She walks more smoothly, more confidently, but it's still a bizarre experience for her to be walking with any kind of aid.

Turning to the horizon and seeing just how low the sun is getting inspires her to pick up her pace as she walks along the fence's edge. She wasn't sure where she'd find Sibyl along the perimeter, just knew it would be nearby. When she notes something, someone leaning against the fence some distance away, she stops to look over her shoulder, hand coming from her pocket to brush her hair from her face, and then approaches her more slowly. "Hey," she greets quietly, in a voice that hopefully doesn't sound as uncertain as she feels about this.

"Hello," answers the figure in the dark. The Safe Zone's glow highlights Sibyl's cheekbones and the sheen of her eyes, which seek out Emily's gaze in the very same way Eileen's do.

Knowing what she does now, that makes sense.

A ripple of movement passes over the fence at Sibyl's back; if Emily looks, she'll see the hundreds of sparrows and starlings threaded through the chainlink, each occupying its own tiny hole in the fence. They focus on the bag slung over Emily's shoulder so Sibyl doesn't have to.

In the distance not far from Emily and Sibyl, a mound of snow lays with a pair of young people running around snickering in laughter. A squirrel picks its way along the round top of the mini hill apparently made by the two teens. Teens and open fields, it seemed that was on the recipe today.

A piece of black cloth sticks out just a little from the mound of snow.

There's a hiccup in Emily's steps as she notices the fence appear to move, a single surprised blink at realizing it's not some kind of tarp after all. That's… she marvels, exhaling slowly. Being confronted with the sheer number of birds doesn't deter her from coming into a more conversational range, her hand tugging down the large scarf worn around the neck of her beige winter coat. "I was hoping to talk with you more," she explains, but that's already obvious. She'd not be here otherwise. "Are you committed to standing in the cold, or would you want to see what's open nearby?"

On this freezing December evening, Geneva is out doing what it is she does best— which at the moment is being a sneaky, nosy fuck. Clothes-wise, for cover from the winter wind she has only her faded black bomber jacket to keep her warm, but the gently glowing, bare hands balled up at her sides mean that the girl is as toasty as the portable heater she is.

Then the teen spots that innocuous-looking snow mound up in the distance, framed by the ominous-looking backdrop of dark trees. Approaching the pair of giggling kids head-on, she does a silent 'shhhh!' face, holding a finger to her lips.

As for that 'pile of snow.' Bullshit, she knows; she had personally followed a certain seer from the Cat's Cradle after a post-weed delivery of baked goods. She has not seen Emily and Sibyl, yet — she is too focused on this, the very important task at hand.

…And suddenly plunges straight onto it with a playful tackle. Surprise!!!!

"I like it in the cold," Sibyl says, her breath condensing as steam. "This is open." One of the sparrows, a rumpled little brown thing, flitters across the distance between them and alights on Emily's shoulder with a muted peep. Its claws hook in the fabric of her coat rather than attach themselves to her skin.

It's larger than the hummingbird had been, though not by much.

It peeps again when Geneva catches its notice — and, by extension, Sibyl's as well.

"I don't trust walls," she continues, "or ceilings."

Thankfully the layers of snow are thick though hurriedly shoved over a person. As Geneva lands on the snow pile a pale arm sticks out and swats at the young lady, muffled scolding can be heard coming from whoever is there.

The fabric of the black dress peeks out more and a black scuffed boot wiggles now. Finally, "You motherfucker." Whispers to their young charge.

The small thing that alights on Emily's shoulder draws her attention than the noises coming from behind them, and even though she does turn halfway in the direction of them, her eyes are only on the bird. It's not Lee, and it was fair to assume Sibyl shared the same ability as Eileen, but it's still unnerving to her. Makes her wonder who else is watching them. Little does she know!

"When I saw him the other day, he explained some things," she admits regardless, her voice soft. Out of habit, too used to the hummingbird that often demands her attention upon perch, her fingers lift from her scarf to slowly reach for the sparrow. "But I figured I would rather talk to you about it all. He's —" Emily pauses to exhale a short breath from her nose. "It's not that I think he lied about anything. It's just that I'm not sure I trust everything he says." She looks back to Sibyl for just a moment before returning her attention to the bird. It wouldn't do to be rude to it, if she was courting it for pets. "Would you be okay with that?"

Sniggering like a maniac, Gene sits in the exact spot where she had landed on top of Eve and dodges the swat aimed at her, finally hauling herself up a few moments later as a delayed reaction. As she does so, she sticks out her hand to help her victim up; it is still radiating a comfortable little aura of heat mainly for the other woman's benefit. After all, sitting inside a literal snowbank can't be the most comfortable thing in this cold. "Sorry! It was too good. I couldn't help it."

The quiet peeping of the birds is just barely on the threshold of aural range, so what Gene picks up of it is only registered in her subconscious if at all. What attracts her attention, instead, is a dark oscillating movement at the corner of her eye. Swiveling her head away from the scattered remnants of the snow pile, she is met by a strange scene. She has spotted the living blanket of birds now, and the two faces in front of it: one familiar, one not. It is still too far to discern their exact words yet.

"Em!" she hollers across the distance between them, drawing herself up to wave and noticing the apparent lack of crutches as she does so. "Never thought I'd see you in a goddamn christmas tree park. Who's your friend?"

Gene can be subtle when she wants to but today is clearly not one of those days.

The sparrow stretches one leg out and steps off of Emily's shoulder, onto her finger at the knuckle. "You can ask me anything you want," Sibyl tells her. "I just might not know the answer."

Geneva's voice sends another ripple through the flock. The more skittish birds on its fringes take flight and scissor away into the dark, released from the teen's control.

Her jaw tenses at the lapse. It's been years since she had a real handle on her ability thanks to Epstein's insistence that she never use it, and even though it's slowly begun to come back to her—

A mane of soggy, midnight hair poofs up out of the snow mound along with the long form and familiar face of Eve. Coughing briefly and clapping her hand to her chest she scowls at Geneva and shoves her in the back lightly, "No fun, no fun Genie Beanie. What do we—" The pale woman stops, wine colored lips parted as she takes in who stands in front of her. Her eyes flick to the birds surrounding them and she freezes after tugging herself and messenger bag free of now, it flies everywhere and she's crouched just next to Geneva. A tilt of her head along with a slow grin that just keeps, spreading.

"It's been ages Crone. You see my leg?" A turn of a healed leg after the Well with a dip of her head, it was a lesson in being humble if Eve had learned it remains to be seen at times.

Her eyelids flutter as she looks in the space around Sibyl before studying her face more closely, remembering that vision on the night she.. Eve didn't like to think about it. Instead she moves closer to Emily and Sibyl, the blonde older girl getting a, "Mmmm," and a wink. "I've been seeing you Old Bird," knocking her temple twice.

"Oh, son of a bitch," Emily breathes at hearing someone call to her, and with that level of familiarity. Only her head turns, hand still held at a good perching angle for the sparrow. When she places Geneva, her brow ticks up, eyes flashing momentarily in alarm. She remembers the last time she'd seen the other young woman near a Christmas tree — remembers the sudden flame, the firetrucks, the authorities. Fuck. That sort of attention, intentional or otherwise, was not desired here, not now. And Geneva was already yelling. "Gene," she calls back in a much quieter, controlled voice. "I'm a little busy, maybe we can just —"

Then the snow next to Geneva explodes, and now Emily is jumping back, closer toward Sibyl. Either out of the desire to be close to anyone who is not Eve Mas, or out of a desire to put herself between Sibyl and the seer is up to interpretation. As Eve starts walking closer, Emily's hand lowers and is moved out to her side (sorry, little guy) as she steps between them, despite the seer's apparent familiarity with the girl.

"What do you want, Eve? Still not up for dancing." Though they'd seen each other a fair share of times since the polka ambush in the park, her sudden appearance has brought that unpleasant memory to front of mind. Emily's blue eyes are sharp in the fading light as she tries to guess at why the seer's here of all places.

In fairness to Geneva, she hadn't actually come here to set anything on fire, despite the place being a timber-filled haven representing what remains of New York's battered yuletide spirit. One tree had been an afternoon of fun. A forest would just be a spectacularly bad idea.

Rather, she takes steps closer to the gathered duo, both hands shoved into her pockets now as snow crunches beneath her booted feet. "M'bad," is her jaunty but quietened reply, matching Emily's much more hushed tone now.

It is with much more interest now that Gene absorbs what seems to be happening with the birds, sharp gaze following with interest for awhile the more agitable ones that fly off and up and out of sight. And then, it travels back down to the young girl that seems to be at the center of it. Something about that particular stance, the look in the eyes, hints at another certain animal telepath when she is going for more or less the same thing. "That's cool shit," she offers to Siybl in a genuine tone, nodding once at the gathered crowd of birds.

The sparrow leaps from Emily's hand and darts a wide circle around both Eve and Geneva, scouting out the nearby terrain for signs of others in hiding. Sibyl doesn't appreciate being ambushed; she takes a step backward, placing one foot behind the other but does not flee.

Her fight-or-flight response has apparently adapted since she and the seer last crossed paths. For now, she lets Emily do all the talking, except for a quiet "Thank you," directed over her shoulder at Geneva.

"This tune's not for you but for your sister."

Eve waves her hand at Emily as if she should know this already, "Or maybe it does concern you, then. Hmm." The seer walks closer but stops outside of reach, the distance between them is eyed and she wonders if she's gonna fall down a well again. "I am happy Miss Mind saved you. Did.. did Jazz- did Gabriel come to you? I sent him.. Or err.. Tried. You know he does his own thing." Much like Eve, much like Sibyl. A snort as her mouth twitches. "If I had known for a second who you were when you walked into my basement.." Shaking her head Eve looks off towards Geneva, the poor teen had no idea about this, neither did Emily perhaps. "I smoked joints and played DMX loudly for an hour at your grave. I haven't gotten over the sketches," the ones Eileen had thrown into the fire, "You don't remember that though, do you?"

Emily's eyes narrow as Eve continues to come closer, almost standing entirely in front of Sibyl. When it's clarified who exactly Eve's come for, there's no visible reaction from her at first. The protective, even sisterly stance doesn't falter. When Eve brings up that Sibyl had been saved, though, she reconsiders.

It not appearing that Eve has bad intentions, her arm slowly lowers and she looks back to Sibyl to let her answer for herself. In a way, after all, it related to what Emily had wanted to ask, herself.

In the modest span of time that Geneva had known Eve, she had already gotten somewhat used to tuning out the older woman's apparently incongruous ramblings. Thus, though she hears all the words she gives little immediate thought to trying to piece together the meanings. She'd just barely gotten over the headache from trying to make out the meaning of the first reading she had gotten. There are a few stick-out phrases that make her curious, though.

"Grave? Eve, like, this girl's not dead." Clearly, as Sibyl is there standing before them all now. Perhaps she might be a little shy, but there is nothing else about her that seems particularly deceased.

Sibyl runs her tongue over her front teeth, feeling around her mouth for words that she might be able to piece together into an explanation, except that there aren't any. Eve's mention of Gabriel has her on edge in a different kind of way. She looks past the other women, beyond the parking lot filled with squat, feathery pine trees.

If Gabriel is nearby, he hasn't shown himself. If has hasn't shown himself, he probably isn't nearby.

She lowers her eyes to her dominant hand as she flexes her fingers and opens her palm. "I could show you," she offers. "What I remember."

"You make his world make sense." She says in answer softly. Eve takes a moment to look at the snow at her feet and then the birds around her, a vein in her neck visible and blue. "Your story hasn't been told, it's been buried, tarnished." The older woman's face shows sorrow for the woman she couldn't call friend or enemy. "It's not right, no no. Stories told wrong are cursed, bad luck. Watch your heads while under the roof." Muttering softly to herself before she stops and leans forward to stare in silence at Sibyl.
Weighing her options, a tilt of her head from one side to the side slowly with eye unblinkingly pointed forward. "Show your story Eileen," people deserved to know.

Geneva's interjection to what Eve's been saying earns a glance from Emily that holds a semblance of sympathy. When Sibyl offers to show them, though, she turns back to the smaller blonde. Show? It takes her only a moment, where before it would have taken her some time, to figure she means to use an ability to demonstrate whatever it is she means to show.

Emily is uncertain exactly what awaits on the other side of the show-and-tell, but often, showing was the best way to explain. It could be the untarnished view she'd been desiring.

Hopefully, it's anything but the end. God, don't let it be that.

"It isn't my story," Sibyl says as she raises her hand, "or yours. What happened doesn't belong to any one person." Eve has seen her do this dozens of times before; the birds darting out from between the holes in the fence are no cause for alarm, even as they stream together as one and follow the sparrow's earlier's path, clustering in a whirlpool of flashing wings.

They're joined by more bodies, larger birds summoned from the other side of the fence that move too fast to be identified. Something that looks like a hawk whips past Eve's ear. Emily thinks she can hear a familiar chorus of crows chanting in hoarse voices.

The sound the flock makes is deafening, like a tornado or a freight train barreling down a long, dark tunnel.

What happens next is new. Eve smells smoke. A distant rapport of machine gun fire strains to be heard over the cacophony of other sounds. In the intermittent gaps between birds, she glimpses Pollepel Island's stone ramparts backlit by flames. Suddenly, it's snowing. Even Geneva feels the sleet washing over her exposed skin.

Sibyl is right about that, it is more than theirs.

The pale woman looks around the island, a former home to her in the physical and metaphysical. She has lived here. Eve takes a look over to Emily and Geneva, "No fear, this has all past…" She whispers in case they freak out, which most people would her tone uncertain though and she stiffens. Hunched over Eve takes long fingers and wraps her coat tighter around herself, telling the girls it isn't real doesn't mean they aren't feeling something right now. Shuddering there is one thing Eve always knows in these places.

Walking forward, the woman doesn't look back, "Forward is the way, the only way to get home. Let's learn the story."

And Emily certainly needs the nudging to move, otherwise she would still be frozen to the spot. She lowers her hand from her ear, having tried to cover it and her head when the birds first began to swarm. The breathe she lets out is unsteady, and when she finally starts shifting, it's only to turn in a circle to get a better idea of where, and when, they are seeing. To say she has a bad feeling about it all is an understatement.

"Gene," she warns quietly, "In case it wasn't obvious yet," what with the gunfire and flames, "the story's an unhappy one." She looks back toward the other young woman, waiting for her to move first so she can follow after. "I'm sorry you got dragged into this." Emily murmurs, trying to brace herself mentally. She's not sure it's possible.

Before Geneva has a chance to do or give much in way of a response, Sibyl has lifted her hand and the world changes around them all. The experience is highly unnerving, and the very first instinct that hits is a defensive one. By reflex her hands seize up into fists, wreathing themselves in an intense heat as she turns to take in her new surroundings. She is met by the strange feeling of precipitation on her skin, in addition to the new smells, and she has to close her eyes for a moment to right her bearing.

Even when she receives the warnings from the others, it is hard to relax much when inside such a vivid moment. Though she does try. "…Are we inside her memory?" There are so many questions possible that none really materialize into coherence; it's more just a comprehensive feeling of 'what.' No animal telepath or empath she's ever met could do this.

However fazed she might be, it certainly seems wiser to keep moving rather than waste breath on words and let the sights answer for her. So that is what begins to do, following Eve down a little ways down the path the other is taking.

The birds part like the Red Sea at Moses' command, opening a rift through which Eve and her companions can pass. Their feet seem to leave prints in the bloodied snow as they navigate the beachhead. There are bodies— so many bodies. Water laps against those closest to the shore and obscures the damage done to them, but as the group moves toward Bannerman's Castle and the great plume of black smoke wafting out of its courtyard, it's impossible to look anywhere and not see the carnage detailed by countless documentaries and books written on the subject.

Many are in uniform: members of the armed forces struck down by resistance gunfire or brought to their knees by the birds now stripping the flesh from their bones. Others are dressed in bright-coloured parkas and heavy wool coats. Eve recognizes old friends among the dead as well as strangers whose names she never learned. Gore soaks through the material of their clothes. Those struck and disassembled by mortar fire are almost easier to look at than the bodies that are still whole, if only because they no longer resemble people.

Emily was right: This story is an unhappy one. If it's a story at all.

The deeper the trio moves into the island, the more the world changes, transforming around them. As they pass into what should be the courtyard, they find themselves not inside Bannerman's Castle, but the damp interior of a warehouse instead. Geneva makes out the words 'EAGLE ELECTRIC' faded on one of the far walls. Water drips from the ceiling and collects in stagnant puddles on the cement floor.

Outside, a mortar round shakes the ramparts and causes dust to filter from the ceiling.

This isn't right. None of this is right.

"Friends.. Not friends.. We all fought this night," Eve laments softly as they make their way through the stage of destruction and gore. "There was a rat, a sneaky bastard that doomed us all here. They say that Rat is the Bird but no no, it could never had been." This part of the story Eve knows and knows well and she stops when they need to, when they want to, if they want to. Tapping her fingers along her arm, its business as usual for the woman who dreams these twisted things that are memories to come, the memory is painful still for what they lost that night. Moisture collects at the corners of her eyes as they pass through finally to..

"No no.." Eve shakes her head as they com to the factory, a place that was gone.. It .. "This was their home.”

Emily follows after out of necessity, even with discomfort at the prospect of physically moving. If they were moving in real life, too, where would they end up when the vision ended? It's something she puts aside for the sake of staying together in the pack, the bodies of those around them something she spends as little time as possible observing as they move through.

Each glance is already a nightmare she's sure she'll be reliving for a while. She doesn't need to make it worse willingly.

Eve's retelling of the night provides a sense of focus, a metaphor to dissect, which she does gladly. Eileen had to have been the Bird. Who the Rat is, and any ponderings on that, come to a halt when the scene shifts suddenly, like they were in a dream. Her brow furrows as she takes in the unreal change, from outdoors to indoors instantly.

She blinks rapidly, movements slight as she spends more time studying this place. "Who?" she asks, guarded.

Of the three companions, Geneva is perhaps the most silent in general as they pass through the surreal scenes of carnage; it may be because of them all, she has the most new information to take in on all levels. "Oh. Oh, god." She can't help but murmur this in disgust as she sees fighters being literally torn to pieces by birds particularly close by, and there is a prickle at the base on her neck, like the hackles raised by a dog.

Is this butchery and gore what the war had been like?

Eve's reaction is caught out of the corner of her visions. "I'm sorry," she says quietly, noting the moisture gathered in the seer's eyes and attempting to put a hand on her shoulder in comfort. It is all she really can do. She does not know what words to say, she can offer nothing else. Aside from this, and the jolt of the continually shifting landscape, she keeps her wide-eyed hawkishness as the journey continues on, as though in a dream. As indeed they might be.

"You achieve a goal," says a booming voice that seems to come from all around them in the same way that the explosions outside do, "and then you look to the next horizon."

It's gravelly and low, all sandpaper and paternal warmth. Of the three women, only Eve has heard it before — and only Eve will recognize it as belonging to the late Kazimir Volken.

"The world isn’t fixed in one movement," Kazimir thunders, "isn't saved by one victory. That's where tyrants are born, in the complacency that they've done enough, that they own their victory."

Taking Geneva's hand and squeezing Eve wipes her eyes and nods her head to herself, it's past now. She tells herself. Emily's question has a stare for the girl, "The wolves, the ones your father hunted and then ran with, your extended family. The Vanguard and he," pointing a finger towards the factory before his voice actually booms throughout the place and Eve freezes, a look of horror coming over her face.

"The Black Death" She hisses, eyes wild as she goes for her gun that isn't here, that's useless here. His words causing her eyebrows to shoot up and she walks closer to the factory, long hair ruffled gently by the wind. That voice and the face attached had haunted countless dreams for the dreamer, he had taken Cameron too soon. "What do you own? There are debts." Whether speaking to him was fruitless or not she still does. Memories of her fight against the Vanguard, her friends and the lives lost. It was a wonder they survived that at all, one of the first times as a group the city had to rise together in order to bring an end to their plans. The trauma is visible on her face.

Emily swivels in place at the voice, realizing only after that it's disembodied. Her brow starts to furrow as she listens, staring at nothing in particular. The context of the words, the tone in the voice, it's all studied. Her lips have started to pull down with suspicion when Eve puts it all in perspective.

The fucking Vanguard?

Unlike Eve, she's not currently in the throes of reliving trauma. Unlike Geneva, she has just enough context to make wild guesses about what they're seeing, regardless of their accuracy. "Is this…" she starts to ask the air, sliding closer toward Geneva for a lack of another anchor. Eve wasn't suitable. "Is this after?" Everything they'd just seen. After Eileen's death. Perhaps the voice itself was a memory inside the memory, but…

Something unsettles her suddenly. Where was the girl? "Sibyl?" Emily calls out.

That is the one grounding point that Geneva tries to base herself around as well. She is mostly past her initial fear now, having noted that she could interact with nothing here; there had been attempts made in the beginning, only for her hands to pass through seemingly solid objects into pure nothingness. Whatever else is going on here, she is fairly sure this place cannot affect them physically, nor vice versa. They are passengers along for the ride.

Emily's question is a damned good one. Where was the one who had brought them here? None of the places they had seen looked like any place for a child. Gene does not call out but looks about for any trace.

Kazimir does not answer. Sibyl does not answer.

A shadow darkens the doorway at their backs instead. Wet feet lick the cement floor, too soft to produce an echo. The steps are slow and purposeful.

Kazimir does not answer, because Kazimir isn't actually here.

Something else is, and it's behind them.

Where Sibyl is the oracle could not begin to say. Possibly on the outside projecting, hiding.. She thinks back to when Eileen had done this before. "I don't.." she looks confused holding onto Geneva's hand tightly, Gillian would kill her if something happened to one of the kids on her watch. "Stand together now my lovelies," motioning for Emily and Geneva as she turns her head to look back at them and suddenly stopping as she spots that shadow. A big O expression being made with her mouth.

It's impossible to know what colour Eileen's nightgown used to be. It's red, now — not like a flower or someone's flushed cheeks, but like the juice of a crushed blackberry. The comparison is one Eve, Emily and Geneva all make against their will, because it's a thought imposed on them the same way that the vision of Eileen's corpse is imposed on them where it stands in the middle of the warehouse.

Blood saturates the nightgown's material and leaves the excess to carve dark paths down her long, bare legs, and form ugly smears on the floor.

The skin and muscle on the left side of her face has been peeled back to expose her jawbone and an uneven row of pink teeth. One of her eyes is gone. The other glows like a cat's in the dark.

Emily takes in a sharp breath as she sees the corpse standing there, still standing there somehow. It … it doesn't look like it should be. Oh no. she worries at the sight. Oh, no, no.

What if this wasn't just what Eileen Ruskin's corpse had looked like? What if it was all that was left of her otherwise, too? "Oh god." she whispers, hand coming to her mouth.

Unlike the other horrors they've seen, though, this one she can't look away from. This has become something of a personal one. She has to force herself to face it. "Eileen," Emily calls out, uncertain one way or the other if they can even be heard at all. "What else do you remember?" She holds out no hope for happy memories. Just prays there's something other than this.

As one with Emily, Geneva turns around and then involuntarily takes one step straight backwards at the entrance of this new sideshow attraction. As she had tried to do back in the very beginning of this sequence of visions, she tries to interface with what is before her, arcing a wave of blistering, furnace-temperature heat straight forwards with the hand that is not being held onto by Eve. Of course, as before, what this attack accomplishes is exactly nothing… or so she believes.

Unlike the others, Geneva does not recognize who the hideously malformed thing of a corpse is supposed to be. But even through the exposed bone, the mangled blood-covered body; one thing is clear. That's definitely not the kid.

Also: "—Um, that person should be dead. That person should be very fucking dead.”

The warehouse goes up in smoke.


The air in front of them blackens and burns. In an instant, all three women are snapped back to reality, to the field in which they were standing. The flock disperses in every direction, shrieking, screaming, dissipating into long shadows and an ink-black sky.

Some of the birds are on fire and climb higher at a steep incline as though that might save them.

But it doesn't. They drop one at a time into the snow and extinguish there.

Sibyl stands where Eileen had been, her arms raised protectively in front of her face, now smudged with soot but otherwise unharmed. The flames have seared the dense wool of her coat and perhaps burned the skin beneath them, but whatever injuries Geneva has inflicted are probably not as serious as the blood running from the teen's nose.

"Oh Bird.." sucking in a breath as Eileen comes into the light, "It's nothing a lil highlight and foundation won't fix." Trying to unsuccessfully lighten the mood as the woman with the glowing cat eye shambles before them, reflexively taking a step back Eve looks to her two younger companions. "Run." She says to the girls as she pinwheels her arms backwards. As Emily asks her question, Eve reaches and tugs on her arm but something makes her stay, not wanting to leave the blonde to face this on on her own.

"Show us, we are not afraid." It's a lie but she tries anyway and then Geneva is making her move and Eve shouts, "Genie n—" before they are thrust back into reality with a snap, leaving Eve confused and blinking as she rears back looking upwards as birds fall flaming to the snow. The choruses of hisses as they impact the water fills her senses Eve tips back her eyes fading to her, mirror black as her mouth drops open in a gasp.

Building blocks dance around Sibyl's head, explosions and fire rages in the background, one by one they shudder and burst into nothing.

"All the blocks, city blocks, the whole city. Boom." Eve whispers as she stares ahead at Sibyl, transfixed in place by the hallucination.

Emily's barely had time to yank her arm back from Eve when the suffocating smell of smoke clogs her lungs. The sound of screeching birds rushing back in to awareness leads her to realize that this scene is real, and seeing the streaks of flames, seeing Sibyl on the other side of them, sends her into a panic.

"Shit." Emily can't blame Gene for having panicked, but she's frustrated to see the girl standing there burnt. Then, she notes the blood. Emily lurches forward, crouching closer to the smaller blonde. "Sibyl. Jesus. Are you all right?"

If Emily is aware of the deaths of the birds, she puts them out of mind, focusing on the girl known as Sibyl Black. And once, as Sibyl Epstein. "How bad is it?”

The attack had been one born of impulse and reflex, a self-protective measure acquired from years of street living, not knowing whom one might be suddenly woken up by. But this was precisely the opposite of everything that Geneva had imagined would happen. In her mind: wave go right through fake corpse, nothing happens, poof, done.

Instead, the realm around them dissolves in fire.

Once Geneva realizes what she's done, the teen's eyes go wide as saucers. She doesn't so much care about the birds, though she can see them wheeling in flames before they drop uselessly out of the sky, but the kid

"Oh my god. Oh my god- I am so sorry-" With all the haste she can muster after the experience, she fumbles with the latch of the green messenger bag hanging at her side, somehow managing to find and whip out a roll of bandage wraps followed by a small bottle of water. "Here- I have bandages- Are you alright?”

Sibyl hisses out a pained breath through her teeth. She slumps to her knees in the snow and leans a shoulder against Emily for support. One hand smudges at the blood under her nose; the other grabs a fistful of Emily's coat.

"Everything is in pieces," she says, like that's an answer to the question both Geneva and Emily are asking. "I keep trying to put them back together but the edges— the edges don't fit. I don't fit."

She starts to fumble with the topmost button of her coat as if trying to peel out of it and assess the condition of the skin on her arms, but she isn't able to loosen it before she slides the rest of the way into unconsciousness.

That part isn't Geneva's fault. It's her own.

"Goddammit," Emily murmurs as she holds onto Sibyl tightly. The least she could do now was make sure she wasn't injured worse. She's haunted, though, by what's been said. Pieces. Can't get back. It all sounded so familiar.

Unlike (or perhaps like) the problem with the 'ink-woman' that Squeaks had discovered, maybe there was no way of recovering all of Eileen Ruskin's pieces. Maybe everything didn't fit because too many pieces were broken … or gone. It's a thought that sombers her, one making her look up to Gene to help find her center again.

Bandages. Yes. Those would be helpful. "We've…" She starts to issue an order to help with the coat, but they needed to get out of here before any people showed up. "No hospitals. We've —" She makes a split-second decision to keep this from any more of the Lighthouse Kids, and avoid their apartment across Phoenix Heights. "I need your help getting her back to my place. Elmhurst."

Emily looks up for only a moment to check on Eve, wondering if she's in a state to be helpful, or if she was going to be (permanently) broken like that for a while. They'd witnessed a lot, after all.

Now that the adrenaline is starting to disappear from her system, Geneva is feeling the effects of using her own ability that the way she had. It was nowhere near what poor Sibyl had suffered, but the toll is there, and she is looking quite a bit paler than usual from a heady mixture of exhaustion and heavy guilt.

There is only one response to Emily's request, and that is: "Of course." It is the very least she is able to do. As carefully as she is able, and gesturing either Emily or Eve to help (whoever is able; she is not sure of Eve's current state), she goes to pull Sibyl into a position where she can then be hoisted up onto her back, as though the younger girl were being given a piggy back ride. Given that Gene was not actually that much larger than Sibyl, this seems the most practical way to carry her.

Snapping back to reality doesn't come for Eve with a gasp she scrambles backwards on her hands with wide, wild eyes. Taking a moment to gather her surroundings doesn't seem to work and the tall woman bends backwards and takes a large breath, her whole body shaking. "Blocks.. City blocks.. Building blocks.. No sorry.. Building blocks.. City blocks.. Im sorry. Sorry. Im sorry."

Her eyebrow twitches and Eve's black eyed stare falls to Sibyl's form and she looks at her as if she's seeing something terrifying. "No more blocks, no more city, I'm sorry." Another moment and the dark haired woman is up and running away, black eyes wide as she makes her way towards the streets, towards wherever.

"Probably better fucking off, honestly," Emily mutters like a swear. It's not like she's keen on Eve knowing just where she lives. Geneva, though…

Reluctantly, Emily allows her to shoulder Sibyl's weight. "Let me know if you need to swap. I can try."

She tries her best to wipe the blood away, as it's about the only thing she can do right now. "If Julie's home, she can help with getting her checked out. She's a nurse." They just had to get there, first. “Ready?”

In other circumstances, ones involving Geneva having more energy, she would have more of a response to seeing Eve run away like that. Instead, she mumbles something and shakes her head; the unconscious girl is the pressing matter at hand here.

Once Sibyl is squarely in position, like a backpack, Gene says: "Yeah, it's all good. She's tiny. Just point the way."

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