Day Trip


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Scene Title Day Trip
Synopsis Although the weather is rapidly deteriorating with the onset of winter, it is not yet so cold that the Ferry's youngest wards aren't willing to brave the chill if pulling on their scarves and gloves means they can go on a day trip to the Greenbelt with six of the network's trusted chaperones.
Date October 24, 2009

Staten Island's Greenbelt

Staten Island's greenbelt is a remarkably diverse stretch of land containing broad expanses of salt meadow fringed by low marsh, forested uploads, rock outcrops, swamp forests and small, spring-fed ponds, and although the trail that was chosen for this afternoon's excursion is as straightforward and undemanding as they come, some of the legs in the group are very short. This may be why Eileen has enlisted the assistance of an American Shetland on loan from the Garden to help with the carrying of equipment and the Ferry's two smallest wards who clutch at the pony's bridle and reins with hands bundled in woolen gloves.

Pastor Joseph Sumter has been tasked with the rope to which the bridle has been attached and left in charge of the children the animal carries on its back. Fortunately for the preacher, it's a well-behaved mare of eight years with plenty of experience where little ones are concerned and gives him no trouble as the group winds through a grove of skeletal beech trees limned with silver frost and follows a trail that runs parallel to a stream bubbling white where water courses over rock.

With six adults to supervise less than twice as many children, the expedition is in good hands. The only danger is the threat of exposure, and everyone is dressed for the weather: rain drizzling down in the form of a fine mist, clinging to skin and hair and turning breath to fog when it leaves noses and mouths. According to the forecast, the sun is supposed to come out at some point, but so far all that fills the slate gray sky are bruised clouds the colour of smoke.

Bound up warm in a dark woolen overcoat with gloves and a knit cap to match, Deckard brings up the rear at a drag that isn't slowed down too much by the fact that he's carting a straggler around by his ankles like a long-faced and scruffy gorilla that isn't sure which end is up. The kid doesn't seem to mind, anyway. Five, maybe six, snub-nosed in an offensively blue puffy jacket and a hat with a bob on top, he raises (lowers?) a fuzzy-gloved hand to point down at a greenish brown clod of horse shit on the path ahead.

"Eeew!" says the kid.

"Yeah," says Deckard, voice rough through the warm furl of breath that stinks of stale coffee more than it does whiskey. "Pastor Sumter hasn't been feeling well."

And on they go, the kid with both arms up now, jacket and scarf bunched at his shoulders, face turning redder with every sweep of a booted foot beyond his hat.

It's good to be above ground, which is something Joseph has been convincing himself of being true since he'd resolved to do it. Not completely convinced, yet, if only because the sun hasn't deemed it appropriate to peer out from the heavy cloud above, but getting there. The rope with a pony attached is gripped to with an absent minded but strong clasp as Joseph vaguely follows the group, guiding the animal along as the two children upon its back giggle and talk between themselves.

"Can we make it run?" was asked at one point, to Joseph's apologetic head shaking and assuring smiles. Not today.

He's dressed for the outing in sturdy hiking boots, possibly borrowed or recently bought, hems of worn jeans shoved into them, an untucked shirt of plaid mostly obscured by the heavy black woolen coat hanging from his shoulders and loosely buttoned closed. Pale, yes, (because he's unwell not that unwell), a little damp from the rain, and more or less keeping to himself as they journey through the Greenbelt. He's not looking forward to the boat ride back.

Since the brief scuffle at his theatre that led to Eric Doyle being drawn into hiding with the rest of McRae's people, he's been staying indoors; a recluse, too wary of the outside world to risk venturing out of the Ferryman safehouse very often. Most of his days have been spent alone, or entertaining the children, but since some of the children were being taken on this trip— well, he volunteered to come along. Just in case. It wasn't that he wanted to get out on some subconscious level, oh, no, he was just worried about the dangers of Staten Island…

A baseball cap - Yankees - is pulled low over his bald pate, shadowing his features as he walks along with the group in a baseball jacket, hands tucked into his pockets, his girth providing at least a modicum of insulation against the weather. He puffs a bit from the exertion, but hasn't complained. At least not yet.

Abigail's bound up in sky blue pea coat, cream gloves, hat, scarf and hat. Bundled against the cold and carrying a messenger bag filled with things to accommodate Joseph's needs, and snacks for their small immediate group. Her glaringly bright Pink hair that was done between rounds of checking in on Joseph in the morning after she'd popped out to fetch the dog and supplies from the girls at the bar who met her somewhere close to the entrances to the underground tunnels. Some of the girls have wanted to finger it, play with it and there's a promise to let them braid it later if they want. For now, she's hand in hand with a little dark skinned girl and pointing out leaves as they go, what kind of leaves and keeping an eye on Joseph.

One eye on Deckard too and a smile at seeing him play with the kids.

Feeling the chill, Robin has given up his usual t-shirt for a long sleeve sweater and a dark pair of jeans as well as a thick black pea coat. He's definitely a tag-along on this trip, as he knows little about wildlife other than squirrels are rats with fluffy tails and all birds are pigeons. And will attack.

Rob's hair is damp from the rain but it doesn't seem to bother him much as he wanders along with a few of the kids, attempting to keep them on the path. Which is a lot like herding kittens.

Eventually, the group comes to a stop at a clearing that has not turned brittle and brown with the changing seasons. Here, the stream forks out into a small but pristine pond surrounded by cattails and thorny blackberry bushes that flower withered purple. The berries themselves aren't any good for eating; dry and shriveled, most have already fallen from the branches and been plucked from the dirt by the local fauna, but the least-appetizing globules still remain and aren't likely to crack off until the first snow of winter.

This isn't the best time of year for a nature hike. Still, the pond is not without signs of life. Red-winged blackbirds dart crimson and gold between the beech trees and chatter noisily amongst themselves while newts and toads slither through the mud and a stately old owl with tufts of feathers in the shape of horns sits in the highest bough of a solitary elm tree looking out over the water — and that's what can be seen at a glance.

Eileen approaches Joseph and the Shetland, rubbing her gloved palms together, and gestures for Doyle to give her hand with the leather satchels affixed to the pony's hoary sides. "Seems as good a place as any to break for lunch, don't you think?"

Mysterious tubby guy who actually likes the Yankees. Joseph with a pony and indigestion. Some other guy with a bird name he hasn't heard enough times to remember yet. Eileen's in charge. There are birds and owls and newts and rhinoviruses everywhere the light touches, and all Deckard can seem to zeroed in on for more than a few seconds at a time is the cotton-candy pink sheen of Abigail's hair from behind. Brows at a somewhat dubious knit, eyes only as focused as they have to be, it's his distraction on this account that probably keeps him walking where most of the others opt to stop, all the way until he's nearly caught up.

The kid he's lugging around has fallen oddly quiet in the meanwhile, and may look slightly ill and/or dizzy — Flint releases his hold on one ankle and lowers him down into the leaf litter head first at his side, ensuring only that his shoulders and a fair portion of his back are touching before he releases the rest to roll as it will. With more care than he'd grant a sack of grain the same size. Probably less than he'd spare a sack of cocaine.

Moving around to the other side of the horse, Joseph nods in agreement then offers out his hands to the two children perched on the Shetland. "Let's get you down." Terry, tiny Ferrymen child that he is, clings monkey-like as Joseph tugs him out of the saddle, feet slipping free of stirrups and carefully set down on damp ground. He ruffles the young boy's hair before Terry is slipping past preacher and pony at a run, mock-galloping towards Uncle Robin and kicking up dirt behind him.

"Where'm I putting this thing?" is mostly rhetorical from Joseph, rubbing his palm against the pony's velvety nose as he glances around for a good place to perhaps secure the beast - and more or less taking his time to stand still and get his breath back. Catching Abby glancing his way— and it's hard not to, the glare of princess pink hair catching what sunlight there is difficult to miss— not for the first time this trek, he feels moved to mouth 'I'm fine'.

Food? Eric's head perks up at the mention of it, shedding his weariness like a duck shaking off the moisture of the rain's gentle fall. One just needs to take a look at the love handles of the fellow to know that he's a big fan of lunch, after all! He trundles along over ahead in the line towards the slender woman that's leading this little expedition, after ruffling the hair of one of the kids that was trotting along chattering at him along the walk.

"No argument here," the man observes, stepping over to help out with those satchels at the beckoning gesture, turning his head a little to look at the other adults as he assists Eileen and offering in a slightly awkward manner, "I, uh, I didn't really get introductions when we started— I'm Eric." No need for the surname today, it tends to draw attention lately. And then he gets set on fire.

Abby knows that Deckard's noticing. But she's not letting him know that she knows, that he's paying attention. That's a partial win for her. At Joseph mouthing yet again that he's fine, Abigail just smiles back. This is doing him good, fresh air is good and in a heartbeat she can get Robin and likely Deckard to help her get him out of here.

She lets go of the little girls hand to let her run off to join the others as Doyle's introducing himself. "Hot dog guy, from the park" Number one suspect in the boob grabbing and rib breaking. "I remember faces pretty good. I'm Abigail" Introducing herself properly. Abigail sidles up in her rubber rain boots, ones that almost match her hair in shade, to the pony so that she can get the blankets out to lay down. "Want to help with blankets Eric?"

Oofs as he catches Terry and picks him up, spinning him once before putting him down. With a nod towards Eric, he introduces himself to the group as well. "I'm Robin, and this is my nephew, Terry the terror."

In a very parental move, Robin reaches out and grabs the back of Terry's coat just as the boy is about to grab at something in the water, "If you touch that frog you don't get to eat lunch. Food first, then amphibians. Trust me on this." With those words of wisdom he nudges Terry to where they're setting out blankets while he heads to the baskets to help pass out food and drinks.

Lunch consists of thermoses of hot cocoa and pre-made sandwiches ranging from peanut butter and strawberry jam to ham and Swiss and slightly stranger combinations that involve cucumbers and cream cheese, but every plastic baggie is clearly marked with precise strokes of black ink from a child-safe marker. The Briton's handwriting clearly designates what is what so there isn't any confusion. "Eileen," she tells Doyle and Robin as she directs Joseph toward the elm in which the owl is perched, watching the gathering below with luminous eyes and the critical acumen of a seasoned predator. "Whereabouts are you two staying?"

Straps are loosened, metal tinkles against metal and the buckles holding the satchels in place prove to be an easily surmounted obstacle. Eileen passes Abigail an armful of woolen blankets thick enough to provide protection from the prickly grass, thistles and the dewdrops of moisture clinging to them, but not so heavy that she and Doyle can't handle laying them out.

"Don't put that in your mouth," gruffed out as an afterthought long after his temporary charge has already picked up a berry and set to touching his tongue at its shriveled exterior, Flint nudges Blue Coat Boy back over onto his side from his hands and knees with a careless turn of his near boot. There's a flump, a grunt and some rustling that may or may not end in compliance. Flint's too busy squinting down at his watch to notice one way or the other, nose scrubbed off on the back of his coat sleeve once he's determined that it's only been ten minutes since the last time he looked.

Abby's sought out again, peered at sidelong, and diverted from in a trudge that takes him winding around the pond a ways from children and blankets and introductions and every kind of sandwich known to man.

"Joseph," is added to the pile of simple introductions, because there are at least two people he doesn't know particularly well, even if one of them is recognisable. If there's anything between Joseph and Eileen left over from brief confrontation during a Ferry meeting what feels to him to be a lifetime ago, it certainly doesn't register on the pastor's end. He ties off the horse, fingers fidgeting but diligent before arms are coming to wrap around his torso as others go about setting out their picnic.

He doesn't go immediately to help, keep an eye on the cat-herd group of children, brow knit into some consternation. What if one of them gets lost! A head count is in order, black eyes moving from child to child in an internal count, and then Flint's wandering-away shape doesn't count at all but he gets a glance too before Joseph is turning his back in physical effort to ignore that particular addition of anxiety.

Lord. One day, a hike in the woods'll just be a hike in the woods. When New York City is just a city, probably. "This is nice," he offers out in general, and. It is. Actually. Come to think of it. "Don't suppose the birds out here'll be so different to Tennessee."

"Have we met? I don't— remember, I'm sorry," Doyle admits, giving Abigail a quizzical, searching look beneath the shade of his baseball cap's brim. As those woolen blankets are retrieved, he turns, gaze searching the autumn-faded clearing to try and spot a good place to settle everything down before finally gesturing to an area that looks at least somewhat dry and without too many thistles, helping Abigail wrestle those blankets over to be laid out for the small army of rambunctious, curious children happy to finally be out and about and not hiding somewhere indoors.

"I'm, uh," a glance back to Eileen, "With McRae's people. I mean— I'm not with McRae's people, I'm just— well, you know." A quick, unsure grin, and then he goes back to getting the seating arrangements settled, giving Abigail another bemused sort of look as he tries to place her. Unfortunately, he's about a decade off to remember her.

"At the park, central park" But there are blankets to put out and lay out so that the kids can get to eating, watching birds like they were brought out here to do. "Nice to meet you regardless. Maybe you have a twin out there" The bright infectious smile coming to her face as Abigail turns to regard Deckard and Joseph while giving the woolen linens a snap of her wrists out and settle the large squares on the ground. One, two, three, all laid out before the bubblegum haired woman is taking off her gloves, tucking them into a pocket. " 'leen, I gotta go use the little girls room, I'll be back okay?" The unspoken gesture to Robin to keep an eye on Joseph. Her messenger bag is left in case something might be needed for the pastor. And like that, off she goes, in search of a tree to go pee behind. Possibly. Or a shrub.

With a small nod to Abby, Robin finds a spot to sit where he can keep an eye on the kids, as well as Joseph, and makes sure Terry gets a peanut butter sandwich, not one of the 'weird' ones, before he replies to Eileen.

"I'm staying at the Grand Central Terminal, now that it's mostly fixed up. It's still not perfect, but we're working on it. Neil and I, I mean." He runs a hand through his damp hair, attempting to dry it without success and wishes he'd thought to bring a hat for himself instead of just Terry. The boy is happily chomping away at his sandwich and leaning against Robin, getting peanut butter on both their coats.

In the time it's taken to lay down the blankets and begin passing around the food, the red-winged blackbirds have since been joined by a small flock of woodland sparrows, two robin pairs and several oily grackles with eyes a little too bright and intelligent for the liking of the daintier songbirds. They adopt perches in the blackberry bushes, on the tips of cattails and even at the edge of the blanket closest to the treeline, though none are so daring as to attempt to snatch food from hands. Yet.

"I haven't met McRae personally," Eileen says as she turns one of the thermoses over in her hands and then begins to unscrew its plastic cap, "but I've heard good things." Robin receives a small smile, something that probably has more to do with the smears of peanut butter on his coat. "Your son?"

Once Abby's wandered off, Deckard wanders in on a pendulum swing of renewed interest in the sandwiches he started thinking about around an hour ago. Upon closer inspection than most of them have been allowed to get in a while, Joseph and Abigail's bathroom aside, he looks better. Stronger, healthier, better rested. There's a natural scruff to the bristle of beard growth and grizzled hair still conforming to a vaguely buzzed shape and the hollows in his face are not so severe as to imply anorexia(??) or homelessness.

He didn't help with the blankets, but he has no problems dropping himself down onto one at a cross-legged slouch close to ongoing conversation and in clear view of sandwiches. The furtive glance he shoots their way isn't difficult to interpret. There better not only be weird ones left.

No interest in the sandwiches himself, weird or unweird, Joseph eventually meanders to the edges of the spread out blankets as well, as tempting as it might be to poke around the wider periphery and continue his relative silence. Instead, he sits, enough vicodin dealt out by token Ferrymen nurse, a redhead named Megan, and currently swimming in his system that it's without effort.

And mostly due to Flint now being in a close enough vicinity and maybe sitting silent is kind of rude, Joseph offers a, "Hey," upon approach, which may or may not have been passive aggressively withheld before now.

The blankets are settled down while the pink-haired young woman excuses herself to nature's own lavatory, smoothed out as best as they can by Doyle's large but agile hands— with the dubious assistance of some of the more 'helpful' of the kids, laughing and tug-of-warring with each other as much as they are actually helping. "Alright, alright," he laughs, a rare smile curving his lips, "Settle down and lets gets some food in our bellies, kids."

The portly puppeteer settles down, legs crossed like some buddha of baseball with that hat and jacket he's wearing, and starts to pass out the sandwiches and the like amongst the children. "McRae? He's— he seems alright, we've only met once," he admits, glancing back over to Eileen, chuckling faintly, "Been in a bit of a mood lately, as you can see." Eyes roll upwards, as if suggesting the rain's the man's own tears.

"He's my Nephew, actually. Neil's son. I get to be the fun uncle while Neil gets to actually be responsible. It works out best this way. Really." Robin tugs Terry's hat down over his eyes which earns him an elbow to the side from the little guy. Which… ow. Pointy elbows.

Terry chooses that moment to point to Abby as she's walking back towards their group, "Why is her hair pink, Uncle Robin?" Some kid had to ask the question.

"Because it's not green." Robin smiles brightly at Terry. It's the perfect answer, really.

Hot cocoa splashes into the lid of Eileen's thermos, which also doubles as a cup, and rises all the way to the fill line, producing a gout of steam that quickly dissipates into the crisp autumn air. This she passes to Deckard, along with a sandwich bag marked roast beef w. horseradish. "I can see the resemblance," she says of Robin and Terry, unable to keep the smile on her face from curling into a slightly slyer expression as she sets the thermos down on the blanket so others have access to it.

Like Joseph, she has yet to show any interest in the food — hopefully this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that she prepared it. Instead, she drops into a crouch and offers her hand to an overcurious grackle with feathers glossier and more iridescent than its flockmates. There's a moment of hesitation in which the grackle studies the girl's outstretched fingers with a canted head that reflects the light as a metallic purple sheen, but this scrutiny doesn't last. One quick hop and it curls clawed toes around Eileen's knuckles, using its beak to explore the silver rings she wears on her fingers. "Does he like birds?"

Deckard's "Thanks," is automatic in the way polite things he says occasionally are when he isn't paying attention, if a little gruff against the cold bit back into his throat. Cocoa sipped first, he endeavors to be subtle about his checking over of the sandwich label. Fortunately what he finds written there is relevant to his interests, and with little more than a glance around at the others (Joseph excluded), he sets to unwrapping it.

He's successfully cleared off an edge, sniffed at the contents and nipped off a bite by the time he finally replies to Joseph with a flat, "Hey," that's somewhat muffled by his chewing at the same time.

There's a soft chuckle from the pastor's corner at Terry's question and Robin's subsequent answer, Deckard's belated reply getting an uncertain glance and, well— Eileen's demonstration is a welcome distraction. An arm wrapped about his knees, other hand scratching the back of his neck, Joseph watches with idle curiousity the bird's journey onto the girl's hand as if it were tame. There gets some reaction out of the children, at least the ones that aren't engrossed in their sandwiches or a couple who are contemplating stealing away to pet the pony. There's some shuffling to get closer, Joseph obligingly shifting away to make room.

"Go on, take a look," Doyle murmurs to the kids closer to him who've taken an interest as well; leaning back and relaxing as he takes a bite of a sandwich himself, a wistful sort of smile curving to the big man's lips as they sneak in with jam and cream cheese on their fingers and their faces to check out the glossy-feathered bird.

Abigail sally's back from the woods, beelinging for her bag to get some hand sanitizer before she selects her own sandwich. Cucumber and cream cheese for her. The grackle is seen as it alights on Eileens hand and it causes Abigail to smile. Lets hear it for evolved abilities providing some education on nature for the children.

Bubble gum pink settles in beside Joseph, plucking apart the seal of the baggie and producing a unmarked nalgene bottle of blue liquid that he knows is something for him to drink if he wants it. Gentle on the stomach. "She communicates with birds" Whispered quietly. "She was the one from that vision you gave me, the first vision. About the bird flying and then a friend backing away from me and telling me not to touch her. That's her. I met her while we were feeding some pigeons in little Italy. Saved her life a few times and, she helped save mine just before I met you"

The bottle if uncapped and offered over to the pastor, a glance to Deckard and his child companion. A wide smile offered for him and a red rising to her cheeks that rivals her haircolor.

"He's only really seen pigeons." Robin nudges Terry, "Do you like birds?" Finally realizing he's been peanut buttered, Rob snags a napkin to try and clean it up.

Terry eyes the bird that's exploring Eileen's rings, "Doesn't that hurt? It looks like its biting you. I like to watch birds fly but I don't like it when they bite at me. I like frogs a lot, and fishes. And seahorses!" Deep breeeeath in and —

Before the kid can start talking again, Robin distracts Terry with food! "Here, you can have the rest of my sandwich, there's lots of jam on it." He gets the peanut butter cleaned up as best he can and gives Eileen and the others a somewhat apologetic smile, "He'll keep going and going if you let him."

"I'll bet that pond over there has some frogs and fishes in it," Eileen says with a glance toward the body of water in question, angling her hand so the grackle is forced to abandon her rings and climb over her fingers in order to remain aloft. Breathy laughter so low as almost not to be heard meets Robin's apology; a moment later, the grackle is springing from the young woman's hand to Abigail's knee with the swift precision of something prehistoric and hungry. Its long, black tail gives a single twitch of movement as whitewashed gold eyes stare at Deckard's sandwich, intent.

"He won't hurt you." Just in case there was any doubt, though this statement isn't directed to Abby so much as it is the children crowding around the blanket. "They're actually quite gentle as long as you don't handle them in a way they don't like. Avoid his face and his feet."

There's an open invitation to touch if there ever was one.

Slower than some of the others to let his chilly eyes track after the start-and-stop siezes of movement that comprise the grackle's tatty progress from Eileen's hand to Abigail's knee, Deckard is inexplicably also one of the first to look away again. He's been similarly avoidant of the horse, glances cut its way only when it seemed likely that one of the kids astride it might have bounced off to their highly anticlimactic deaths earlier in the hike. A defensive turn of his shoulder and a lift at his elbow gives him a vaguely vulturish outline while he chews. One scavenger to another. This is his fucking sandwich.

In any case, not looking at it gives him an excuse not to look at Abby once pink hair and a blush to match have crept into his peripheral vision. The fact that Joseph's on the other side limits his options there. In the end he's forced to frown down at his own knees, and occasionally Doyle, who doesn't look like the type they should be letting hang out with a gaggle of small children. Flint, on the other hand —

Listening to the story, some surprise mirroring in dark eyes as Abby grounds a couple of realities into place. News of a former vision gets a twist of a rueful smile, before Joseph is sipping from the water bottle with only a slight wrinkle in his nose for however it tastes. "Come in all shapes, don't they?" Powers, that is, as indicated with a nod of his head towards Eileen before paying attention to the wider conversation.

And birds, too. "Careful, we're gonna have to paint a whole bird cage at the Terminal if he gets attached," is directed towards Robin, before Joseph is leaning away just a little from where the bird has perched on Abby's knee. Setting aside the drink, Joseph offers out a hand to Terry to direct him to sit closer, attempting to avoid traces of peanut butter as he does. "Be careful with 'im, now."

There's a slight pang, for the fact he didn't think to invite Raquelle and his girls along, and other wistfulness generally, but it's not hard to focus on directing Terry to touch and pet the grackle with clean fingers.

'They sure do. Eileen, you should come over soon. Visit Pila, make sure she's fine and doesn't need something special" She'd never forgive herself if Teo's bird died. But the grackles perching on a khaki clad knee and the pink haired woman lays a single finger on it's head and gently strokes along it's spine. Careful as if it were Teo's blue goddess herself. "well now, look at you. so bold. I bet Terry'd love to just pick you up and squeeze you. Instead I think, Terry's gonna do what I'm doing and caaaarefully pet you" Murmured softly so as not to scare the bird. Bit of bread from her own sandwich offered up as sacrifice.

The occasional looks in Doyle's direction are noted, returned with a slight frown of his own— but since for now they're just looks, he lets things go. After all, he's trying to be a good boy, turn over a new leaf, all of that. The cucumber-and-cream-cheese sandwich in his hand is contentedly crunched upon as he watches the children watch the bird, the frown fading for a faint smile again. He tilts his head, regarding the bird thoughtfully himself.

The grackle snaps the bread from Abby's fingers in a shimmering flash of violet and bronze. Eileen's promise holds true; no beak draws blood or so much as even grazes her skin. Although birds can be notoriously vicious, especially magpies, this smaller cousin shows more interest in the food than it does the woman stroking its back or the children edging closer to risk brushing fingertips against its colorful feathers.

"I'll stop by this week if I can find the time," Eileen promises Abigail as she finally takes a seat on the woolen blanket, cross-legged, and begins unwrapping a sandwich of her own after checking the label to make sure it's something that she'll eat. She continues to abstain from the hot cocoa, at least for now. "Things on my end have been a little hectic lately."

Once Terry has tired of petting the bird, or the crush of kids means it's no longer his turn, Joseph is slow to move, but move he does. Taking the boy's hand and tilting his head towards the pond to indicate to the kid's nephew as to their next destination, the pastor gets to his feet at a reluctant rise. There's promise of fishies and frogs in the stagnant water over yonder, and so Terry pulls ahead a little as Joseph drags along after.

The reprieve of the group is about as welcome as the fresh air, away from sketchy glances and mother henning, two things on the opposite sides of the spectrum but somehow aligned.

"I know. Peter said as much. That things were busy. Just leave a message if you have some time and head on over if I'm not able to come" Joseph moves away with Terry in hand, grackle still parked on her knee and consuming it's treasure. Careful hands cup it like she would Pila, to place the bird on the blanket for the kids to crowd, and get their touching in while bubblegum girl scoots back, then up, then down beside Flint on his blanket and an offer of cucumber and cream cheese. "walk with me on the way back? Promise I won't talk"

Eileen supervises the handling of the grackle in silence, save for the occasional crinkle of plastic wrap being peeled back as she makes progress on her sandwich. Strawberry jam and cream cheese, second only to tomato, basil and mozzarella — and she didn't have the luxury of being able to pack any of those.

Slow mastication of roast beef and horseradish gone even slower at the sudden nearness of Abby and her pink hair, after a few seconds spent staring, Deckard finds the line of his glare wandering a little helplessly back towards Eileen. What if they're ambushed by pirates or dinosaurs or more sex offenders than are already present?

In the end, they're all in too close of quarters for escape to be an easy or tactful option, and he inherited healing. Not teleportation.

"…Ok." Ok. 8<a Brows skewed and tilted, he glances around for a place to set his unfinished sandwich down and eventually resolves to take it with him once he's started to push awkwardly to his feet.

"Not right now Flint" A hand comes up to yank down flint before he can get fully up to his feet. "when everyones ready to go" She takes the opportunity though to steal a bite of that sandwhich in his hand. "Hmmm horseradish"

A sliver of gold cuts light across the clearing, causing individual dewdrops to glitter and spider's silk to shine like threads of diamond. The sun is finally coming out. Warming oneself in its dappled glow isn't a bad way to spend the rest of the afternoon, even if the children would rather splash in the shallows, taunt snapping turtles and catch frogs in homemade slipknots fashioned from tall stalks of grass.

Joseph was right. It is nice, however temporary — a brief respite from the urban warzone that awaits them outside the greenbelt, drenched in fog and the general sense of malaise and misery caused by the knowledge that things are only going to get worse before they get better.

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