Friendly Voices


felix_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Friendly Voices
Synopsis There's a window of opportunity to talk, and Felix takes it. A conversation transpires between prisoners.
Date September 12, 2009

Monmouth Country Jail

Natural light filters in pure white through the barred window of neighboring cells, deceptively cheerful in its play off concrete walls cracked and worn a smooth, uniform grey above a waist-high band of neutral blue. The floors are clean, for the most part - large drain grates worked into cement flooring every so often likely responsible for that. The cell entrances are barred over as well, chained and padlocked where the original mechanism is chewed over thick with rust. The hallway outside looks exactly like the interior, smooth and lifeless and flat, stretching on for God only knows how long before the next locked door looms out of cold sunlight to cut off any hope of escape.

He eats very slowly, these days. Partially because Fel's terribly weak, and very little of what he's served appeals to him. And partially to keep the burlap sack off his face for as long as is humanly possible. If the guard is particularly lazy, they unbind his hands long enough for him to do so. This is one of those lucky days, and he's got vision, free hands, and relative privacy for one of the very few times in days.

As well as curiosity. He's heard a name he knows mentioned. And there's no sound of immediate footsteps. So Joseph hears a harsh whisper come drifting down the hallway. "Preacher?"

Felix's voice echoes down, turns a corner, and there's some amount of heavy, wary silence in reply. It's been about a week of deliriousness for the federal agent since he's had company, and the opportunity to speak— well. The planets have to align. Between fear, between being muffled by the burlap covering faces for as long as they do, between the guards roaming down the hallways. Chances are he won't get a reply at all.

But then, eventually, when there is no immediate sound of disciplinary action— "You're the fed, aren't you?"

Perhaps not out of recognition, not for who Felix is, but what's been said. Joseph's voice is gentle, if made harsh from periods of dehydration. Barely above a whisper, it tremors on down to the other cell, flits between bars.

God. A friendly voice. The first time he's heard one in two weeks. "Yes, name's Ivanov. If you're who I think you are, we've met," he says, fervently. ""Do you know what day it is?"

There's the quiest of shuffles, but there is really no way Joseph could get closer to the bars. With one arm still attached to the chair, his legs bound, hand free only to feed himself, he'll have to be content with his seat on the chair in the center of his cell, and he deals a glance back towards the window. "I'm— I don't know. It's going on a week now. I think's Saturday. Or Sunday." A beat, then; "I remember you."

"Yes. I came to ask you about a case. You gave me a vision. Why'd they take -you-? Just for being out?" Of the freak closet, he means, presumably. It's a hurried, hissing series of questions, somewhat accented. English is harder than it was. "Have they hurt you badly?"

There's a rough, sordid little chuckle that is not becoming on Joseph, before he eventually says, "No. No, I ain't— they haven't hurt me much. They took me— yeah. For bein' out, and…" He trails off into silent uncertainty. Down here, really, Felix could count as an ally, but you never can tell. "And for what I've done with my church," he finishes. "I guess. What about you? Are you alright?"

There's a beat or two of listening silence. Perhaps he's merely trying to make sure there are no eavesdroppers, or mulling over his own response. "No," he says, simply. And doesn't append further explanation. "What have they asked you?"

No explanation is granted and no explanation is sought after. Food and appetite are too precious currencies, down here. Joseph has already stopped eating. "Asked me?" There's a pause, as if he has to think about it. "Nothin'. Not really. They already got a whole lot of information from my phone and my church sometime ago. Um. The little girl— " And he stalls out again, tense silence falling.

"They didn't hurt her in front of me, last they asked me questions," he assures Joseph, hastily. There's a guilty note in his voice. "Preacher. What denomination are you?" Sort of an odd question here, of all places. He's managed to drink what he was given, some sort of soup, but he's still, lest the guards recall him to mind and come looking.

Unheard to Felix, Joseph eases out a sigh of relief at the news that BJ Cambria is still— as far as he can tell— unharmed. Swallowing around a dry throat, and ignoring the dregs of food he has left to eat, he looks out into the empty hallway at that question. Turns it over in his head a few times before he responds, quietly. "Southern Baptist. I don't suppose they have a lot of presence in— where you're from."

Save for that chuckle at BJ's defiance, it's been a long time since he laughed. It comes out a little rusty. "No," he admits. "In both senses of the phrase. Too bad," he adds, quietly. "Have they said what they took you for?"

"No." The word is bitter, as if perhaps Joseph wishes he had more to replace it. "They keep— talkin' like I ain't gonna see the light of day again. At least, not anywhere from here. But I can't work out what they're waitin' for." A beat, then, helplessly, he offers; "Dean said they was gonna make an example out of us."

He seems to know what that might mean. Or suspects, anyway. "It'll be a public death, then, that they're saving us for," he says, quietly. "I was wondering. I told them what I knew, and couldn't figure out why they didn't just kill me after. I'm sorry. For what it's worth….it's not bad. Just dark. And quiet."

Joseph's silence could be interpreted as acceptance, or shock, or any number of things. Felix can never know! Not without seeing him, which would be to see a somewhat blank stare leveled down at the clean surface of his cell. "Don't— " His voice hitches, before his voice eases as a hiss down the hallway. "Don't talk that way. They won't get away with this. You're a federal agent, and— I got friends too. We'll be okay, Ivanov."

"Padre, I'm for the dark. I don't need to be a visionary to see it coming," His voice is strangely matter-of-fact. "Listen, I have a favor to ask of you. I know you're neither Catholic nor Orthodox, but it's likely that you're the last kind ear I'll have, will you hear my confession?" There's that strained, listening stillness, as he falls silent again - attending to any sound of the guard's boots.

The stillness and silence is matched, as if perhaps Joseph has the same thought and is listening for the foot falls of guards too. Or perhaps even hoping for. No one comes. "It wouldn't be honest. No man can serve as a medium for God," he says, voice low. "But— I can respect that… there ain't a lot of choice. If it would— " Make you feel better, sounds condescending. Joseph wouldn't want to be condescending.

Instead, he says; "I'll listen. The girl— she's the daughter of a friend of mine. I think it's why they could get her. You kept her safe, in the only way you could, so— I'll listen."

"We're permitted to confess to fellow believers, if there is no priest to be found," Fel murmurs, quietly. "I think you qualify," He's teasing, by the sound of it. He pauses, dredging up the litany from memory, and begins, quickly, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," What follows, happily, is far from exhaustive, though it is also no doubt far more than Joseph ever wanted to know about anyone, let alone a cop he's met once previously. Violence, arrogance, irresponsibility, and carnal deviance, though he's mercifully vague on all of it. And then he's silent again. It has the air of exhaustion, this time.

Joseph is silent and attentive, a knot of tension in his brow as Felix gives his vague list of sins, rattled as they are down the hallway. He licks his dry lips, and finishes his food in the meantime— because surely, Ivanov would forgive him that— and when it rings quiet again, he lets that silence fall. It's reverent, if eating into their precious time, so it doesn't take a long time for him to quietly murmur, at the very edges of Felix's hearing—

"Oh Lord, may this man's words have reached you, even from all the way down here. May he know comfort that you have heard him and may he find salvation should his journey end too soon. Stay with us both during this time, we both need your strength. May— "

And the prayer is cut off abruptly, by Joseph's own choice, as the echoing sound of foot steps start to fall. Petrified, there is no verbal conclusion for Felix's benefit.

"God bless you," Fel says, though it barely carries. He's done, as well, waiting patiently for the guard to open the door, take the empty bowl, and rebind and blind him. Even the effort of that much speech is exhausting - he's already nodding again, even as the clang of his cell door opening resounds down the hallway.

"Amen," Joseph sighs out his conclusion, and it's the last Felix will hear of him for who knows how long as the rough, scratchy burlap sack is pulled down over the agent's head, as his hands are tied, and as the process is repeated not several feet away from them.

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