Breathe In The Air



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Scene Title Breathe In The Air
Synopsis …and balanced on the biggest wave, you race towards an early grave.
Date November 20, 2011

Sliding steel doors slam with a resolute finality. Air is evacuated from the room by powerful fans bolted to the ceiling, streaked with rust. Fresh air is pumped in through taped ductwork extending through a hole cut in the concrete ceiling. Everything feels sterile and dry. And yet…

Breathe, breathe in the air.

Clothing torn, wet hair matted to her face, Odessa Price exhales a ragged sigh as the airlock protocols continue. Lights affixed to the wall go from dark to illuminated in bright yellow. First one light, then two, then finally three. The third light is accompanied by a too-loud buzzer, and then the clank-squeak of a valve-locked door like those found on a ship opening ahead of her. She storms ahead, heeled boots stomping hard on the concrete below, water shaking off of her soaked peacoat, dripping off of her chin where dark hair is plastered to cold, pale skin.

Don't be afraid to care.

"Hey, Price, we — " A security guard at the door wheels around as Odessa blows past him, hands balled into fists at her side. H ehustles up behind her, sneakers squeaking on wet concrete. "Hey! Wait, I need to give you your Decon bracelet!" Odessa comes to a sharp stop, turns around and levels a withering stare at the young, mousy-haired technician carrying a handmade bracelet of orange caution tape with a serial number scrawled on it in sharpie marker. She's seething with anger, and he can see it. Yet, she holds out an arm, patiently. The bracelet is wound around her wrist, marked with today's code. She's clean.

Leave but don't leave me.

Three corridors down and one floor up, Odessa stomps her way down a narrow hallway and comes to a stop by a window-lined office obscured by newspaper glued to the window panes. She doesn't knock, she slams the door open and strides into the room expecting to have the drop on its occupant. Instead, she finds the office cleaned of most of its old clutter, and instead replaced with something new. Strings of myriad color dart from one chalk board to the next, some connecting to corkboards, all dangling with photographs, Company files, and newspaper clippings. The fire in her eyes cools to a smolder, brows knit together, and she takes one tentative step in.

Look around and choose your own ground.

A stack of newspapers balanced precariously on the one remaining desk, and she gives it a wide berth as she ducks under a red string with an unfamiliar young man's photograph hanging from it. A photograph of Sylar catches her attention, and she slips over to it, fingering the square and plucking it from the paperclip holding it in place. She flips the photo over, one brow raised. There's dates on the back: 11/8/08, 11/17/08, 12/7/08. Odessa's eyes track from side to side, trying to understand what she's looking at. But then, out of the corner of her eye she sees two other strings that run parallel to this one, a silver thread of garland alongside a purple piece of shoelace.

Long you live and high you fly

She pockets Sylar's photograph, glances back at the open door, and then steps over to see the garland. Her fingertips brush over the silver bristles, following the line to a newspaper clipping. The dateline reads, November 21, 2008 and the headline MASSACRE AT WASHINGTON IRVING. 36 DEAD, HUNDREDS INJURED Fingertips trace to photograph clipped to it, of a smiling blonde woman and Obituary: Elisabeth Harrison, 33 printed below.

And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry

Odessa follows the string back to the source, and finds where they connect to one-another. There, a photograph is clipped of a tanned man with short curly black hair and a strong jaw. He's wearing an electrician's jumpsuit in the photo, hands tucked into his pockets. The nametag on the jumpsuit reads Ruiz. Lips part, and Odessa looks back to the door and — her breath hitches in the back of her throat.

And all you touch and all you see

"You're back." Edward ray casts a dark silhouette in the door frame, his drab jacket spotted with rain on the shoulders, collar upturned. There's beads of water in his short hair too, some trickling down the side of his face. Intense blue eyes lock with Odessa's, and she feels a flutter of anger building up in her chest. Jaw unsettled, she stomps back across the office and ducks under Edward's strings. Edward stays still, though his brows twitch ever so subtly, pupils dilate as if his focus is changing.

Is all your life will ever be.

"There wasn't anything there!" Odessa shouts with a wild wave of one hand. "No lab! No samples! It was full of those things!" Her voice cracks, eyes reddened around the edges. "You— You almost got me fucking killed!" The shrill sound of her scream is raw with emotion and a sense of betrayal. Edward looks down to the floor, away from Odessa, then to the side and back up as he takes one measured step toward her. Odessa steps back and away from him, and her elbow catches on the stack of newspapers she'd avoided earlier. The entire stack falls to the floor in a crash, and she wheels around to see newspapers sprawled out on the concrete all around her. She snaps back to look at Edward—

Run, rabbit run.

— and he plants a fixed-blade knife into the middle of her throat up to the hilt. Odessa lets out a gurgling noise, and Edward steps in and places an arm around the small of her back, gently lowering her to the floor as her legs kick and buckle from shock. "Shhh," he whispers, "shhh, the pain's almost gone. It's almost gone. It's going to get cold very quickly." He presses the knife up, blood is pooling out from the wound and spilling onto the newspapers. Not a drop has landed on his skin or clothes. Odessa's legs kick, knees bend, fingers grasp up and paw at Edward's jacket, at his face, but there's no strength to fight him. Tears well up in her eyes and trickle down the sides of her face.

Dig that hole, forget the sun

"You weren't supposed to make it back," Edward exhales breathlessly, brows raised as if in apology for the situation. "You're putting us all at risk, because I know you're not taking your adynomine. I tried to tell you, it's important." She gurgles blood out of her mouth, trying to say something, but all he does is quietly shush her and push the knife to the side to widen the opening. Richly flowing streams of blood drizzle down onto the newspaper. The color is fading from her face.

And when at last the work is done

"For what it's worth," Edward leans in and whispers against her brow, "I really did like you. You just— you don't follow orders. You've probably already seen too much, and…" Edward's lips twitch, "well, I can't have you fucking this up for me." He slowly slides the knife out of the wound, wipes it off on her cheek and shoulder, and then slips it back inside the right front pocket of his jacket.

Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.

Odessa's body goes limp in Edward's arms, still bleeding out. She isn't dead, yet, but consciousness is fading as fast as life is. Wiping a clean hand at his neck, Edward looks down at Odessa and draws in a slow breath, then exhales a weary sigh and looks around the room. Sliding his tongue over his lips, he circles her body and picks up a walkie-talkie from his desk.

For long you live and high you fly

Clicking the receiver, Edward exhales a deep sigh. "K-Mart," he calls into the device. "Could you come up to my office, alone? I've got a favor I need to call in." Edward's lips twitch downward, a rueful frown. His blue eyes flick back to Odessa's body laying on the newspaper, her eyes still squared on him.

But only if you ride the tide

He walks away from her, to a green string, and takes the knife out of his pocket again. This time he cuts the green string free, balls it up, and shoves it into another pocket on his coat along with a photograph from Company files of a family. Odessa recognizes her family in fading consciousness. They're the last thing she sees before it all goes dark.

And balanced on the biggest wave

Odessa bolts upright in the passenger seat of a parked car, streetlights shining down through the windshield. The radio is still on, engine idling. She paws at her throat, feeling neither blood nor gaping wound, just sweat that has soaked through her clothing. The car is still idling, keys in the ignition. The clock on the dashboard reads 3:00am. She's only been asleep for a few minutes. Her heartbeat races, body trembles.

You race towards an early grave.

A green spark floats up from her right hand like a firefly.

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