Crossing Over


lydia_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Crossing Over
Synopsis Nick visits the bookstore to learn more about ghosts.
Date September 26, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

Nestled in the heart of the main street marketplace, the Ichihara Bookstore is an old and crooked structure pressed between two newer high-rise tenement buildings. The old glass windows and creaking wooden door on the shop's front give it a rustic and old-world feel. Catering to both antique books and newer prints, the narrow aisles and tall shelves are packed full of literature. A single shelf for periodicals lies near the front counter, while signage both out front by the register and in the back of the store indicates that tarot card reading is done on-site at request for ten dollars per reading.

Behind the old and weathered wooden counter that contains the register and a small stack of reserved books, a narrow wooden staircase leads upwards to a black wooden door with peeling paint, revealing red paint in narrow strips beneath, a rope crossing in front of that door hangs with a small sign that reads, "Private".

The man who approaches the bookshop today is barely recognizable as the man Lydia met briefly weeks ago. There is no sheen of sweat on his skin, no hospital-issue sling holding his arm to his chest. His skin is no longer sickly pale, but a little ruddy from a day spent in the sun yesterday and his eyes are not dilated from the morphine in his system. But they are still that bright cornflower blue that contrasts with the black of his short but shaggy head of hair.

His hand automatically goes to the handle to push his way in, but it is met with resistance. Nick blinks and brings his gaze upward to where the hours are posted, brow darkening with a little bit of a scowl. The trip to Roosevelt Island these days is a pain in the ass, slowing down the flow of commuters even on a lazy Sunday. He should have called, and should have known a small mom-and-pop store wouldn't be open on a Sunday. New York City is not so different from London in that regard.

He tips his head to peer through the window, wondering if the answers he seeks even lie in this store — likely not. The answers he seeks are the kind that man has been trying to find and comprehend for all of eternity. It's sheer arrogance on his part to think he can find them. Nick sighs with self exasperation, turning to go.

The sound of someone trying to come in draws the attention of the proprietress. While Nick may be altogether put together compared to their last meet, Lydia looks exhausted with paler skin and dark lines encircling her eyes. But there's something that brings her to the door as she sees the man turning. Even if she's feeling tired, the notion of sending someone away obliges her to walk to the door.

Ironically she knocks on the glass. Hoping to get his attention she issues him a small smile as she unbolts the lock and opens the door. Recognition strikes as she lays eyes on him. Her lips curl a little higher as she opens the door and rubs at her own eyes. With a stifled yawn, she blinks at him and tilts her head. "You look better," the observation is smooth as she tilts her head at him and lingers in the frame of the door. "Can I help you?"

The knock on the glass makes him turn, surprise pulling his brows up toward his hairline, and he waits while she unlocks the door. A small smile tics the corner of his mouth up into a half smile, and he gives a slight nod at the recognition.

"Thanks. It'd be hard to look worse than I did the last time I was here, I'm sure," he says. "You look a little tired yourself. I don't mean to bother you on your day off, miss. I can come back when the shop's open. Just somethin' I was looking for that I don't think Barnes'n' Noble would have. Something more up … your alley." He nods to the sign about tarot reading and palmistry. "Not a reading, but … in that realm of … stuff."

Tired. Headached. But still, her heart goes out to someone who came here to find them closed. Not all people are stringent about hours when they happen to live at work. And while Lydia could turn him away, with the smallest tilt of her head, a nod towards the inside of the store, she invites him in. "Please. Come in." And then as the smallest of excuses she shrugs, "I'm here anyways."

She steps back into the shop as she shuffles towards the counter. "Sounds like you're looking for a book on something intriguing. I take it your Bible was sufficient?" She issues him the smallest of smiles, "The mysterious is my bread and butter. I've been reading palms and tarot for many years and am quite familiar. What can I do for you?"

"You sure?" he asks, but when she steps in and heads to the counter, he follows, brows furrowed again, though this time in a bit of embarrassment. At the counter, he picks up a pen, turning it in his hands to distract himself as he explains. Eyes on the pen rather than her, he clears his throat.

"I never believed in ghosts before," Nick says, his voice hushed as if he might be disturbing one at the moment. "But … don't think I'm crazy… one's been talking to me. Or, talked to me, once. I ain't hearing voices all the time or anything loony like that. But she… she told me she'd died. It was someone I hadn't seen for a while, and she apparently died a year ago, but she knows stuff that she couldn't know about me — and about other people. Things even my subconscious wouldn't have made up. I ain't that imaginative."

Nick swallows, and his eyes look up, finally, to see how insane she thinks he is. "I was wondering if you had anything on … if certain abilities can make someone stay as a ghost or the like. And if … like, I donno, they have all those movies and television shows where people can't cross over because they need help or whatever? If … if she needs help…" He swallows, his cheeks flooding with color at his embarrassment of these ridiculous questions.

Lydia listens carefully and without judgment. The notion of an ability keeping someone alive widens her eyes a bit, however. "Do you mean…" Hokuto? She cuts herself off before she can finish the thought, her own eyebrows furrowing at the notion. "There's a lot of mystery in this world that we can't begin to understand." It's a cryptic answer. As always.

But it loses some its lustre thanks to her current state and her own racing thoughts. Her eyes glance from the door and then back to Nick, "I've seen it." She raises a hand to halt any thoughts or questions he might have, "There are abilities that can keep a person alive even post-mortem." Her hands are then lowered to the counter. "As far as books are concerned…. I don't believe you actually need a book on ghosts. How did this person die?"

The young man nods, slowly. He'd never believed in ghosts before, but then until 2006, he had never believed that people could read minds or fly or go invisible, either. It makes sense.

Sort of.

"I guess at that bridge collapse last year, the bridge to Staten Island," he says quietly, repeating the vague answer that Amato had fed him, validating the lie that Eileen had told her brother. He swallows. "I hadn't seen her in a long time. I … I don't think it's my imagination. She knew things — she knew where I'd been, she told me things about someone I work with that I didn't know."

Nick runs a hand through his unruly hair. "So these people with abilities who, what, linger, is it because they can't cross over to whatever, or is it because there just isn't anything to cross to?"

Lydia's face flushes at the questions. "I don't believe anyone can answer whether there's something beyond this life. Not even those that — don't cross over." Her eyes narrow a little as her eyebrows furrow. "I think, in some way, something keeps their conscious here or their ability operates in some way that… that they thrive even after physical death."

Lydia hmmms quietly. "I'm sorry I don't have better answers. Even those that have such abilities… I'm not convinced they know how or why they're still alive other then… in life they didn't always occupy their body either."

There's a twitch of a smile as she's shaking her head. "I'm sorry, I'm not making much sense." She didn't have a restful night, not that she really makes much sense in general anyways. "Like these people could exist outside their physical form in life… so in death they just remained outside their bodies." She presses her lips together, "I'm sorry, I don't really understand it myself. There are just some things in life we have to accept…"

With a shake of his head and a sigh, Nick offers a sad smile. "Don't be sorry. You've been helpful, miss," he says quietly. "It's good just to know it's possible, that I'm not going insane, you know?" He steps back from the counter, then reaches into his pocket to come up with a twenty dollar bill, wrinkled and worn. "For your time," he adds, laying it on the counter rather than trying to press it into her hands, knowing she's not likely to take it if he does.

After taking a step toward the door, he turns back. "So you don't think — they're not stuck here, they don't need help to find peace or anything? I … I wouldn't be the right person to help, I'm pretty sure of that, but I'd do whatever I could to find the right person to help if I could."

"That's not — " Lydia objects to the money with a shake of her head. "I don't… I just want to help any way that I can." Her cheeks flush a slight pink, and her features knit together slightly at the question, there is something disconcerting about existing forever in an altered form. With a quiet hmmmmm she glides towards him, her eyes carefully watching him with each step.

By the time she's reaches him, everything has softened again with the resolution of a solution in her own mind. "You should ask her. I think… I think t could vary from person to person. Maybe… maybe she wants to be done and she needs to find peace, or maybe she's perfectly content in the existence she has." There's a small tilt of her head as she reaches out to squeeze his shoulder. "Do not be afraid to engage her. Ask her questions. I've talked to someone who died… there's a certain… wisdom beyond the grave, I believe." Her eyebrows arch rather expectantly before she's taking a step back. "And please… from now on… call me Lydia."

Dark brows knit together in a scowl of pain at the idea of Eileen lingering because she can't find peace. "I don't know when she's around — she's only spoken to me once. I think — I'm not sure, but I think through a … bird." He frowns. It seems impossible, but then there is that puzzle that Amato gave him, with crows around a crouched fallen angel.

"If anyone deserves peace, it's her. And if she's any wiser than she was already, she'd be the wisest person in the world," he says softly, before clearing his voice and looking away for a moment.

Reaching out his hand for hers, he gives a nod. "Nice to meet you, Lydia. You can all me Nick."

"If she's searching for peace, I believe she'll come back and you'll have an opportunity to ask her," Lydia's voice is reassuring, even at the scowl. There's a gentleness about her; an unusual way, even at the upset. "And she'll find it if she hasn't. Just trust that she'll be back if she needs your help." Her head tilts slightly as her chin drops slightly.

"And nice to meet you, Nick," she shoots him a flicker of a smile, still soft as she takes his hand and gives it a squeeze rather than an actual shake. And its in that contact she can feel his surface desires, fears, and feelings.

There's a momentary pause as she studies him before offering, "If she's looking for peace… my resources are at your disposal…"

The young man offers a toothy smile that Lydia knows does not match in the least how he feels inside. "Thanks for your time — especially since you weren't even open. If she comes to talk to me again, I'll … I'll ask, and let her know there's someone who can help, maybe," he says, giving another nod.

"Tell the redhead hi for me," he adds with a touch of a mischievous smirk, before heading toward the door, pushing it open and stepping back into the bright sunlight — only Lydia can see the proverbial rain clouds over his head that will follow Nick wherever he goes.

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