Dead Drop

Participants:

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Scene Title Dead Drop
Synopsis She's Not There.
Date June 29, 2021

A beige delivery truck rolls down a rain-slicked side street in the looming presence of recently-constructed highrises.

Well, no one told me about her, the way she lied

Well, no one told me about her, how many people cried

But it's too late to say you're sorry

How would I know, why should I care?

The delivery truck's young driver might have been ten when the Civil War started. Maybe old enough to remember the way New York City used to look before it was dubbed the Safe Zone. But the reality of the situation is that the generation coming into adulthood after the war may only remember a world like this. And few of them remember a world where superhuman abilities weren't a part of everyday life.

Please don't bother tryin' to find her

She's not there

Distracted by the music pumping into his earbuds, the delivery driver nearly misses his turn. Quickly changing lanes, he takes a right across two lines and waves an apology to the car he cuts off. Grimacing, he straightens his truck out and rolls into the security checkpoint at the gates of his delivery destination.

Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked

The way she'd act and the color of her hair

Her voice was soft and cool

Her eyes were clear and bright

But she's not there

The guard at the checkpoint runs his identification, checks ahead with internal security, then waves the young driver in and directs him to the glass fa├žade of the front office. The driver's eyes look past it to the terraced residential building overgrowing with vegetation. He offers a smile to the security guard and gently eases off the brake as the checkpoint arm rises up.

Well, no one told me about her, what could I do?

Just after 6:00pm, that delivery truck rolls up out front of the main office and comes to a stop. The driver rifles around in his passenger seat and pulls out a padded packing envelope and slips out of his truck. Drizzling, soot-stinking rain pelts his hair as he hustles to the front door and into the well-lit lobby. Cameras pivot to him as he steps in and armed security watches the delivery man's every move. The front desk clerk, listening to music that feels in-rhythm to the delivery driver, looks up from her computer and raises a brow in interest.

Well, no one told me about her, though they all knew

As the delivery driver hands the parcel over, he pulls a tablet out of his jacket and hands it over for her to sign. She briskly signs her name, Sera Lang, and turns the package over, looking for a recipient as the delivery driver waves a wordless goodbye.

But it's too late to say you're sorry

How would I know, why should I care?

Please don't bother tryin' to find her

She's not there

Sera's brow furrows as she looks at the "to" field: PRICE, ODESSA

Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked

The way she'd act and the color of her hair

Her voice was soft and cool

Her eyes were clear and bright

But she's not there

Both of her brows shooting up, Sera looks around the label. The "From" address is somewhere in Phoenix Heights and the sender one Jim Farrell. Frowning softly, Sera nearly sets the package aside when something gives her pause. She breathes in through her nose, brows furrowed, and looks at a reflection in the glass lobby wall out the corner of her eye. She crinkles the package, then heads for the elevator.

But it's too late to say you're sorry

A few minutes later, Sera stands outside the mail drop area for Raytech Corporate Housing. She squeezes the padded envelope in her hand, feeling the corners of something that feels familiar. A VHS cassette. With a soft sigh, Sera slides the padded envelope into the apartment's mail drop box, then glances at the name on the box: PRIDE, O. She shuts the drawer and the envelope lands in the bin with a thunk.

How would I know, why should I care?

Halfway across the city, in a rundown tenement building in Phoenix Heights, a lone man sits in quiet anticipation. His weathered face is illuminated by the glow of his cell phone, thumb pulling an app down to manually refresh it every few minutes. Outside, a light rain patters on the windows, rivulets of water tracing forking paths on the glass.

Please don't bother tryin' to find her

His thumb slides down again and the app refreshes.

She's not there

STATUS: DELIVERED

Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked

The gray-haired man cracks a smile, setting his phone face down on the table.

The way she'd act and the color of her hair

His blue eyes track to the window, looking at the way the city lights bloom in the water drops.

Her voice was soft and cool

"Alright," he says to himself and rises to his feet.

Her eyes were clear and bright

"Now we wait."

But she's not there

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