elaine_icon.gif seren_icon.gif trask_icon.gif

Scene Title Ghosted
Synopsis A chance encounter at Red Hook Market makes for an unexpected clash of abilities.
Date November 2, 2019

Red Hook Market

In a way, it always feels like Christmas season at Red Hook Market.

The bazaar sprawling the basement of the textile factory is lit with strings of fairy lights, some of them rainbow colored any day of the year. Admittedly, though, in the days immediately following Halloween, there have been … more.

Naysayers booed down any Christmas trees being put up this early. A victory, or a loss, depending on your stance.

For Seren Evans, they're happy just to be here regardless.

"Ooh, look at this one, Baird." they coo to apparently absolutely no one, peering over the offerings of a stall. They run a hand back through the buzzcut of their hair, a smile touching their lips. "Mn, and does that smell like cider? Maybe we should check that out, too." Their voice is light, absolutely taken with everything around them. This place is so enchanting! They should have come here months ago.

It's been a while for Trask too, he hasn't been in New York city for almost seven years, but it's still his home town. And while he may have changed, and the world may have changed, deep down at it's roots New York never changes. He makes his way through the stalls, dressed in dark clothes, and a scarf that speaks more of christmas then halloween, but his bald head bare and gleaming in the lights.

While some people might be annoyed by Christmas thoughts so early, Elaine's not one of them. Christmas has been the one holiday that still meant something to her… a remnant of a childhood torn from her by a bomb. The lights, however, bring a smile to her lips. It's a peek of Christmas to her.

And, while she doesn't let anyone verbally know it, she's secretly Christmas shopping. Some people are hard to shop for and need lots of time to shop for. The redhead makes her way through the stalls, stepping out of the way of other shoppers as she leans over stalls to take a peek.

"Now… let's see here." Seren announces, lifting a newscap off of a hook and fastening it to the top of their head. While they adjust its lay, testing the snugness, a wisp of black and purple spindles from their fingers and down their hand, misting into the sleeve of their coat. The black jacket emblazoned with the Raytech logo on the breast whispers as the wintry fabric shifts, Seren narrowing their eyes at themself in the mirror hanging up on the rack. "Hmm…"

They take a step back into the aisle to look at themself at a distance, and the smoky substance from before crawls out the neck of their jacket, bouncing in the air around their head. Seren doesn't appear to notice, or at least, doesn't pay it mind.

The longer it remains, though, the more clear of a shape it takes— the black, a core. The purple, a shroud around it. It almost looks like something.

The bald man wanders through the stalls, not looking as much as just enjoying the atmosphere, enjoying being home. For once he doesn't worry too much about looking over his shoulder or who he gets to close to, stopping when the mood takes him or something catches his eye. Window shopping though mostly.

"That hat suits you," Elaine remarks as her attention is turned Serenward. She seems about to elaborate on that when she notices something. "Uh, excuse me, is that… normal for you?" She gestures quickly at the smoke. Her gaze quickly darts around for anything that might actually help should the need arise.

The rippling form of the floating smoke coalesces, edges to its form appearing. The black core at the center serves as a head, the purple cascading around it like a sheet over a solid object.

Except crescents of yellow appear, snapping into full moons without pupils.

In the meantime, Seren is sheepishly ducking their head, pulling the hat off of their head. "You think?" they ask hastily, adjusting the longer-than-normal cut to their hair. "That's very nice of you to—hm?" They look behind them at where Elaine gestures, brow lifting curiously. They seem a little relieved. "Oh," they intone, shaking their head reassuringly with a knowing look back Elaine's way. "That's just Baird."

Baird has ceased his stare in Elaine's direction, though, catching sight of something shiny nearby. The gleam of light catching off the sight of a man's head. With a wibbling noise of excitement, the ghostlike wisp takes off on a collision course for the offending scalp.

Trask is oblivious to the creature hurtling toward him, completely ignorant to its existence. He does note the…actions of those nearby, who seem to by moving in strange ways or marveling at something. He begins looking around to see what it might be.

"Oh hey, you're the one with the… creature?" Elaine vaguely remembers something of the sort but her memory does tend to be spotty from time to time. "I think I remember you. And… Baird?" But she's barely said the words when Baird is off and the redhead is left unsure of what to do. After all, the creature's safe… right?

When Baird peels away, Seren doesn't notice at first. But then they do, the tether between imagineer and imagination-run-wild alerting them to his shenaniganery. "Oh no," comes from them clipped and low, turning on their heel. They watch as someone ducks away from the speedy ghost. "Baird, no— that's not nice!" Their voice is raised as they stare directly at Trask, or rather, the figment that's feet from him. Seren leans away from their spot and takes off in a jog, like one might to catch a pet that's slipped its leash. "What has gotten into you—!"

Baird swoops behind Trask's head, cackling, drifting close with the yellow shapes of his eyes squinting while he chuckles. He's like a tissue-paper topper, a living hat. Surely he can be felt there. But he can't be.

Not by Trask.

"I am so sorry about him," Seren apologizes to Trask directly, looking at him now rather than just in his direction as they get closer. "He's not normally—" And then with a poof of smoke, the last thing left of Baird is the glow of his eyes, but even that, too, fades.

Seren blinks cautiously, hands still half-raised to snatch the creature that's no longer there. "—like this." comes from them much more slowly. Their brow furrows, and they keep their gaze fixed at the point above Trask's head. Sometimes Baird did surprising things — like take off in the first place!! — but this was extreme for him. "Baird, c'mon out, I'm not really mad, I swear." they promise the air.

Trask looks confused, not reacting at all to the creatures presence but definitly reacting to Seren actions, "Is everything ok Miss?" He asks in a gravely voice, "Did you lose something?"

"I—" Seren lowers their hands slowly, looking down at Trask again. To say they look troubled is on the nose. The grey of their irises run silver at the edges in a flicker, but that too fades in Trask's presence. Not that they know what's causing it. "N-no, I don't think so. He's… He should come back."

An apologetic smile follows. "I'm really sorry for bothering you," they say, starting to slide a step back.

Elaine stares for a moment, then there's a sudden grin. He hasn't noticed! She stifles a small laugh, but stays back, not interrupting the interaction between Baird and whomever he decided to float around. "What a mischievous one."

With a stammered shake of their head, Seren insists with a quick smile, "Yeah, yeah, everything's…" But still they search for something that isn't there. Their shoulders sag a touch in confusion, and then they look back to Elaine. Whatever things currently are, they're having a hard time putting words to it. "I've got this friend, and it seemed like he was bothering you is all," Seren explains finally, more flustered about it than usual.

Elaine seems to think that the disappearance of Baird is part of the game. She's invested, now, but the way that Seren's shoulders have slumped tells her that the creature is supposed to still be there. She takes a moment to step closer to Seren, lowering her tone. "Is he hiding?"

Trask turns to look for the "friend" being described "No, noone was bothering me…is it a pet…did it run off?" He tries calling out a few words in Nheengatu in a sing song voice like you would to a cat or puppy. He takes a few steps away from them as he does.

Elaine's question is the thing that makes the most sense, so they explain with quiet exasperation, "Yeah, he must" And they turn away, heading a few steps the opposite direction from Trask. Behind their head, the wisps of yellow light from Baird's eyes flicker near Elaine, right where the creature had been last. The light dances from place to place, like a video that had fallen behind and is rapidly trying to catch up but the closest Baird comes to reforming is a slight dark wisp accompanying the light, but even that fades, too.

When Seren turns back around, they look back to Trask with a small frown. "Today, he's been looking like a ghost," they explain, all seriousness without a trace of frustration in their straightforward delivery. "He's kept a couple different forms, but he would have looked just like one of those sheet ghosts when he was—"

And that's when it dawns on them. "Wait, you didn't see him before?" Seren asks with a touch of confusion, their confidence swept again.

Elaine's head tilts to the side almost in a comical fashion as she looks towards Trask at his calling for Baird. "I'm sorry, what was that again?" She looks absolutely delighted, but her attention is surprisingly distracted with the hunt for Baird again. "Does he have selective appearance abilities?" She's assuming by now that this is due to Seren possibly being an Evo and that this is all part of it. "I mean, I think I saw you before but this is the first time I've seen him."

Trask blinks and repeats the foreign words, before shaking his head, "Sorry I, just got in to a lot of practice using that with animals." He then looks at Seren "No I didn't see your pet…it's wearing sheet? You dressed it up for Halloween?" He looks around, not noticing Baird reforming as he does.

Seren rubs the side of their neck, fingers running over the script tattoo there. "No," they explain, slowly at first. "Baird's my friend, I've been with him since I was very young." Faster now. "We're always together, so when he goes off like this on his own and we've not talked about it first—"

And it's cut off before their pace reaches a fever pitch, but only just. They shake their head again. "He looks different every day, but today he's— yeah, I guess he's still feeling Halloween." They let out a short laugh with that.

Elaine repeats the words Trask said slowly, sounding them out before nodding. "Oh no, just languages are my thing and that's not one I've heard so I admit it was a little exciting." Then there's the matter of Baird. "I can imagine it's a little disconcerting then. I can't say I've been lucky enough to have someone that sticks around all the time," clearly not a barb at anyone, "but I know what it feels like when someone you're attached to is gone."

The pleasant distraction of the topic of the unfamiliar language helps to bring Seren's thoughts away from what exactly is happening with Baird — or themself — and they find themself doing a doubletake, looking back and forth between the two. "Wow, what an amazing language to know," Seren asides. "Must have been quite the circumstances to learn it."

As for Baird, they admit, "Yeah, he's… he's got to be around." with a tinge of hope as much as concern to it. With a blink a moment after, they realize something. "I'm Seren, by the way. Rude of me to just run up on you without so much as properly introducing myself." A more earnest smile is accompanied with an extended hand to Trask. "I'm still a bit new to town, only moved here earlier this year."

"I deal in artifacts of all kinds, so the language of a small tribe anywhere is always of my interest," Elaine says with a grin. "The languages of the world are my playground, and the history of it my bread and butter." She offers Trask a hand. "Elaine Darrow, Head Curator of the Yamagato Fellowship Center. Should you ever be interested in sharing your knowledges, I'm willing to listen."

That aside, Elaine's attention is quickly back on Seren. "He'll be around, he won't be far. I'm more than willing to wait here with you until he's back." She smiles gently. "I wasn't kidding about the hat. It looks good on you."

Trask says, "My name is Norton, I…. I grew up around here, but I have been gone for a little while, with all the chaos and things…I spent some time in the Amazon, before the war, humanitarian projects and such.' He smiles and takes Elaine's hand "Norton Trask, formerly of…too much to count, currently considering options""

Well, if they're first- and last-naming it!: "Seren Evans, junior architect at Raytech industries— wait, wow, head curator?" And Seren's head is whipping back to Elaine, brow arched. They're impressed! "That's amazing! Sounds like a dream job, honestly. Good for you." Their hands affix together in front of them and they let out a steadying breath, looking around again in a last-ditch hope to see their imaginary friend floating around. They don't waste too long visibly on that effort, looking back to the other two. "And humanitarian work—" they add belatedly. "That sounds like an honor."

"Pleasure to meet you Norton, Seren," Elaine says, nodding to each of them as she mentions their names. "And yes, head curator is a dream job. One I got very lucky to get and they're even paying for me to get my masters agree so that the job and I will be very suited to each other. Yamagato has given me an incredible opportunity and I certainly won't ever forget that." She nods to Seren. "I've got friends at Raytech. They're good people over there. You've certainly got your foot in a good door." She lets her gaze drift to Trask. "She's right though, humanitarian efforts are certainly nothing to scoff at. I've done the job of preserving culture, you've done the job of preserving people. My hat's off to you."

Trask chuckles and shakes his head, "Preserving lives has been something of my life's work I guess" He hmmms "Raytech? Is that a new company around here? I am afraid I am not that familiar with corporate politics any more."

Seren perks up at the mention of Raytech, looking back and forth between the two with more interest than before. They're certainly coming back to the conversation. "Yeah! Raytech— it's based out of Jackson Heights, in New York anyway. Run by the Ray family. It's been a joy to work for them. They do a lot of good work, too. A lot of prototypes, a lot of innovative thinking…"

"They've done some great work supplying food to the Safe Zone, you'd be surprised at the good they've done so far," Elaine nods towards them both. "Richard Ray's a good man. I'd vouch for what he's doing any day. You can't really go wrong with Raytech. So I mean, if you're fresh off the humanitarian effort and want a place of quality to work, Raytech's a great option. Yamagato is great but much more corporate."

Trask nods slowly, "Maybe I will look them up, I have a few friends in town still, I may do some looking around, but maybe I will check in on Raytech for jobs. " He sighs, "Most of my experience is in …security I guess you would call it." He glances around again, "Are you sure your friend is going to be ok…should we be looking more?"

Seren's eyes reflect uncertainty, even as they move to insist everything will be fine. But that would be lying, and they're really not sure they'd even be believed anyway. A thin sound leaves them as they exhale, and they end up shaking their head anyway. "He'll come back when he's ready," they assure, sounding a little tired. With all their heart, they're wishing to see their friend again, not knowing what they did wrong to send him off how he went, but … that's not worth bringing up in front of these perfect strangers.

With a broad, warm smile, they say, "There's new openings in security, even, I'm sure it'd be great to have a seasoned hand join the team!"

"Yamagato always needs more security too. You can investigate either company and have a good in, I believe," Elaine says, looking at the both before focusing on Seren. "Hey… we'll wait with you. Maybe it'll take a little time but you aren't alone in this."

Trask nods "What…what exactly does he look like, what is his name? You said he was wearing a sheet?"

Shifting their weight, Seren rubs at the tattoo on the side of their neck again as they try to explain. "His name's Baird, and he's not wearing a sheet, he just looks like one— like I was saying he's been very ethereal today…"

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