Flip or Flop


brynn_icon.gif emily_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Flip or Flop
Synopsis Brynn, Emily, and Squeaks do more househunting in Park Slope.
Date March 23, 2019

Edge of Park Slope

The acorn wars were missed. Not actually missed in the longing for sort of way, but missed because of absence. Squeaks didn’t make it to the house that’s being occupied by Hailey and Geneva. So she didn’t get to partake in the throwing of nuts or adolescent bantering — she doesn’t understand teasing anyway.

But she did text to say she would meet with Emily and anyone who wanted to look more later if nothing was found. A bus ride got her close to the place she’d said to meet her, and it wasn’t too far a walk after that.

Squeaks waits in a place just off the sidewalk where the creeper vines are just starting to sneak out away from the old neighborhood. It’s a quiet corner that sees little foot traffic and only the occasional commuter vehicle. She’s found the corner of an old building to lean against while she waits, and her eyes bounce from actively watching to checking her phone for messages.

Brynn's got her hands shoved into the pockets of the lined denim jacket she's wearing over scuffed jeans and well-worn hiking boots. Her dark hair is loose and the breeze plays with it. Despite the chilly air, she seems invigorated, Doodlebug walking at her side in the specialized vest and harness that mark him as a service animal. Such things don't seem as common as they might have once been, but you can still find them.

She's watchful as she walks along to the meeting point. Emily hasn't been exactly clear what she's looking for, but this seems a good opportunity to get the other girl talking at least a little. She approaches where Squeaks waits and hails little sister with a wave and a grin.

There have been a few days of this whole searching process going on, coupled with Emily wondering if her standards are too high or her capability of transforming spaces is too low. She tries not to look disheartened as she and Brynn walk up to the designated meeting spot.

Brynn's brought Doodlebug, which certainly helps. It's almost impossible to be down around that cute pup.

"Hey there, Squeaks," Emily greets as light as she can get her voice to manage, which brings some strain to it. She looks past the younger girl toward the tangle of vines that grow straight out the concrete and brick of the block, eyes narrowed at the signature aesthetic of Park Slope. "Think we'll have luck finding anyplace worthwhile today?"

Looking up when she hears the shuffle and crunch of shoes, Squeaks straightens when she sees Brynn and Emily. Her phone is pushed into her pocket so she can wave at the older girls. “I think so,” she answers readily, even though she hasn’t done any exploring of her own yet. She’s holding to optimism at least.

“There’s some paths,” the youngest girl goes on, pointing into the overgrown mess that is the wild neighborhood. There are impressions that might have, at one time, been sidewalks. Or roads. There is asphalt peeking through some of the green “I think they’re paths. But it’s maybe a good place to start.”

Brynn glances at the two of them, and nods slightly. This isn't the best area, so be careful. And if Bug alerts, we are out of here. You guys get me? Her gray eyes look between the other two and she's more serious than she's ever been when it comes to Squeaks and exploring. We don't have the guys and neither of you are combat-trained. If there's Pure Earth or human trafficking crap happening out here, we are gone. If we need to split up, we meet back at that bus stop before the 5:00 bus. Right?

It's rare that the deaf teen gives instructions or tells other people what to do. That's not really her way. But if they're going to do this without the more combat-oriented of the kids — any of them, not just her brothers — they're gonna do it safely.

Lead on, Captain, she signs at Squeaks with a grin.

"If something does go wrong, I did bring my gun," Emily inputs at Brynn's firm directions — the hint of worry it uncovers. "So there's that." she suggests.

Otherwise, she's going to trust their discretion more than her own at the moment. Squeaks can help, too — keeping out for things with her hearing. Her brow lifts as she asks, "Right?" But she does turn back to Brynn to nod her understanding and compliance with what the other girl had laid out: bailing if anything felt odd.

Emily starts to head in the direction Squeaks had gestured to, already eyeing the tangle of wildlife and civilization with a discerning eye.

The direct seriousness from Brynn makes Squeaks pause and watch her. The hesitation isn't to form an argument, but from the weight of her sister’s words. It isn't often that Brynn speaks up like that, but when it does happen, she's good at listening.

Her head nods slowly and she shifts a look up at Emily next. “Echolocation,” is more of a question than a correction. She can't super-hear things, but she can see things.

The use of her ability may or may not have been what was meant by hearing, but it's what Squeaks uses. Her squeaks and clicks, too high pitched for normal hearing, precede her as she steps out onto the path. She's slow at first, her steps cautious while she starts getting an understanding of the route they're going on. With so much overgrown vegetation it's hard to get a clear map, and her face shows her concentration.

Brynn's glance between the two girls is simple acceptance. Emily's got a weapon — she's still not entirely convinced that Em could shoot someone, but her backpack has the pistol that goes everywhere with her and her boot knife is in its sheath. Growing up with Brian just means that such things are the norm — it's like Boy Scouts, always being prepared. With a grin at Squeaks, she gestures them to go ahead. She has to rely on them for hearing things, but having Doodlebug with her makes her feel less of a liability.

Since they're pushing aside vegetation, making their way into the smaller paths among the growth, Brynn doesn't attempt to sign at the other two very much. At least not while they're walking. She does, however, do what she always does in a new place — keeps an eye out for interesting patterns and views. These parts of the city, half-reclaimed by nature, often yield unusual surprises for an artist's eye.

Even with their conversation at least needing sign language input, Emily keeps quiet anyway as they head down the streets. She's been into Park Slope from various angles before, between searches like these and visits to Hailey and Geneva, but each new point of entry brought a new experience. The way the war and the growth that sprouted in its aftermath affects each block differently. Some of these buildings were better built to last than others.

She trusts Squeaks' super-hearing/seeing more than her own, but doesn't hesitate to point out buildings that catch her interest to see if it passes the younger girl's scrutiny. "If it looks like someone's been there recently, we might want to pass on it," she inputs softly.

The first building they come to, Squeaks passes with barely a pause. The outside looks crumbly, like a strong wind would take it down easily. Glass is broken out of most of the windows, and the door appears to have been missing for a long time. She looks back at it once, but keeps pushing forward through the tangle of thickly grown bushes and creepers and things.

“Maybe this one?” The youngest girl’s voice cuts into the silence probably ten minutes or so after that first building. She knows Brynn can’t hear her talking, so she uses her hands to point out her thoughts. She’s already walking slowly toward it, even as she makes the suggestion, a narrow looking two-story home that has most of its windows intact.

Brynn walks with them, her gray eyes seeking out anything at everything. One of the things she looks for, though, might surprise them. Or perhaps not. You're looking for a safehouse, like the kind that someone in hiding needs? she signs to Emily. Then she starts pointing. This one has a couple of benefits to it — it makes sense that someone would want it. The glass isn't broken, which is more protection from the wind and the weather. But the alleys on both sides offer a lot of cover, and the proximity of the next-door places means that the only really viable exits are front and back.

Brynn looks thoughtfully at the place, and then signs, Or up. If there's a good egress point that can be hidden on the second floor to get to the roof, evac could be made across the rooftops. The houses next door and all down the block are close enough to give multiple avenues of escape if necessary.

These are the kinds of things one learns at Brian's knee. Escape and evade was an especially important series of lessons for the deaf teen — she's small, and in a one-on-one close-up fight she's really good with a knife… but the best defense is to keep out of reach.

Emily doesn't bother to refute Brynn's guess, taking in the building that's been pointed out instead. When the deaf teen continues to sign the various benefits, her look remains even as she waits out the assessment — long as it is. Her nod of acknowledgement is a stammered out thing, but she regains her confidence by the time she looks back to the building.

"Okay," she concedes, willing to at least take a look. She approaches the building, taking the porch steps two at a time (something she does by habit now, for the sheer fact she can) and peering down at the handle. On a hunch, she twists the knob and leans into the door.


She shoves her shoulder against the door, just to make sure it's not due to any growth on the other side. Nope. The deadbolt's still in place. Someone stronger than her might be able to shove their way through, at detriment to the building, but this was where they were at right now. "Okay…" Emily sighs, less enthused than before. She turns back to the other two, signing as well as saying with a flat awkwardness, "I don't know how to pick a lock. Any suggestions?"

More slowly, Squeaks follows Emily up to the front steps. Once the older girl’s attempts to muscle the door open is over, she climbs up to the porch. “Picking locks isn’t hard,” she says looking at the keyhole. “Just tricky. But maybe one of the windows slides open, if I can’t get it.”

Do you have really small screwdrivers? She directs that question to Brynn, along with repeating her suggestion about checking windows. I might be able to get the lock, but just in case that could be another way inside.

Brynn's ever-present backpack usually only seems to carry art supplies. Oh, and a gun. But Squeaks' question isn't as unusual as it might sound — the bag is her 'leave without returning home' bug-out-bag, and when she first arrived it regularly contained an emergency change of clothes and a few sundry other things that could not be left behind if she had to bug-out without going back to the apartment. However, she's slowly relaxing into life here in the city.

No, is her reply to Squeaks. I have a regular-sized one, but not one small enough to slip into the window. Brynn had planned for if they needed to pry things open. Really small screwdrivers she hadn't thought would be helpful for what they're doing. we can just break a small pane of glass if we need to. It's not like there aren't plenty of broken windows.

Picking locks isn't hard. Really? Emily's brow furrows in skepticism about that, but she steps away from the door giving enough space for someone else to try their hand at it. Her attention more firmly turns to Brynn as she suggests breaking a window, blinking rapidly.

It's not something she'd ever have thought to do herself. It's a little awkward to consider, feels a little wrong, but these places were also abandoned anyway. She tries to reconcile the conflict within her.

Swinging her attention back to Squeaks, Emily frowns thoughtfully. Which way, tiny captain?

No screwdrivers means trying windows. So that's what Squeaks goes to do. She climbs her way onto the railing to reach the window nearest the door and gives it a push inward and then upward. But it seems to be latched no matter how she wiggles it.

“Is there a basement,” the redhead decides to ask, after a minute or two of trying to manipulate the window open. She leans back, feet kicking out so she's sitting in the rail. Her head turns from the window so she can look at the older girls. “That could be easily broken and then we'd be inside fast.”

Watching Squeaks make the effort, and then shrugs and signs, If we're going to break a window, might as well break the one near the door anyway and let ourselves in. It's way simpler than worrying about going to find a basement to clamber through. If you're worried about it, let's just do it in the kitchen door. She moves to go down the steps and around to the side 'alley' between this house and the next one, seeking the way to the back door.

Emily waits out the attempted break in period mostly looking over their shoulders and then her own, checking for progress and looking up the block to see if anyone else is nearby. People still lived out here, or roamed through here, anyway. What if the place they were trying to get into had its new 'owner' come back as they were letting themselves in?

Instead of letting that anxiety bother her, she firmly tells herself Bug would hear anything odd first. With a self-assured nod, she bends at the waist to scoop up a chunk of concrete that'll serve as a break-in rock, possibly, and follows Brynn back around the building.

“Yes but…” It isn't that Squeaks really wants to argue with Brynn that makes her speak out loud instead of with her hands, it's her focus being stuck on getting the window opens he doesn't even want to argue at all, but had an idea, a reason, for choosing a lower window that she neglected to explain. She gives it one more solid try, fingers wedged into the tiniest crack between frames. But there isn't enough leverage for her to get the thing open.

She huffs, mostly at her annoyance that the window wouldn't just open like it should. Her head turns to her friends — only they're not on the stoop or even at the front of the house.

“Emily?” Squeaks calls out quietly while sliding off the rail and onto the ground. It was probably a window garden at one point, now it's a tangle of dead plants and weeds. “Brynn?” Even though her sister won't hear, maybe Bug will, and it's still comforting to say the name.

Doodlebug wuffs from around the corner of the house, giving Squeaks a direction to follow. When the younger teen comes around the corner, it's to find Brynn at the far corner peering into the back yard. She glances back, spotting her sister approaching, and she signs, There might be one already broken or open back here. Bug isn't giving any signs that he hears anyone inside, so no squatters, at least, ##but I'm not sure if he would warn of that.## After all, Doodlebug is trained, but she doesn't think he's supposed to be searching for stuff or anything like that. He's meant to alert Brynn of things like people calling her name or knocking on a door or what have you.

"We're heading around back," Emily replies to being called, only just around the corner. She's still holding that chunk of concrete in her hand, however awkwardly she might be hefting it. Her eyes narrow thoughtfully after Brynn makes her pronouncement, and she follows around to the back door of the abandoned townhome. It, like the front, is locked, and now is the moment of judgement. Bug seems relaxed enough, there doesn't seem to be anyone that they can see, and Squeaks had pronounced the place looked good on walking up.

So there's little to do but throw the rock as hard as she can at the door's glass in order to gain entry.

It merely cracks.

Emily's not very good at this.

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