Hearing Voices


cardinal_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif

Scene Title Hearing Voices
Synopsis Deckard is trying to sleep, but a disembodied voice has some questions it wants answered, first. Sure, why not?
Date February 13, 2009

Deckard's Apartment

Most of the apartment buildings on Staten Island are crap.

This one is no exception.

The hallway up here on the fourth floor is dark, with only a single yellow light at the far end to drag long shadows down its length. The wallpaper is hard to make out, but it's undoubtedly something terrible and from the 70s. It's peeled thick from the wall in irregular patches against the floor and ceiling. At one point there might have been carpeting, but at the moment, there's only solid wood to creak dubiously underfoot. Overloud music muffles in from a different floor — hard to tell if it's above or below.

The third door down, according to the landlord, is paid for by a tall, wiry man with blue eyes, scruff, and an attitude problem. And indeed it is. Deckard is only about 95% asleep on the stretch of his ratty couch, an equally ratty blanket pulled up over his waist. A half-empty bottle of whiskey occupies the floor next to him. The coffee table within arm's reach is populated by a couple of open books and a black .40. The light in the bathroom is on, but nobody's in there. There is no TV, and the bedroom closet has more in it than the rest of the bedroom.

It took awhile to track the man down; the name wasn't getting very many results, but the face was, although just about all of Cardinal's winnings from that evening's poker game were handed off as bribes to get some answers. As far as he's concerned, it's just money—he can always get more of that. The last of it goes into the hands of the landlord to get that last piece of information, resulting in the man standing just outside the door.

A glance left, a glance right, and then the man melts away into a puddle of two-dimensional darkness, slipping beneath the door's edge and into the apartment. After taking stock of the situation, the shadow slips beneath the coffee table and mingles with the ambient shadows there.

Once settled in, a strangely echoing, reverberating voice emerges from them. Okay, it's more of an echoing cough, as of someone clearing their throat sharply to get attention.

Manic paranoia after every creak and groan of the ancient housing structure around him only just having had time to fade into more lax lines of thought, Deckard is slow to stir from the onset of sleep. The flat of his chest rises slow over a deeper breath than the one before it, and he opens one eye to squint blearily at the ceiling. The other follows it, almost reluctant, and half a second later, he's looking through the drywall overhead rather than at it.

Irises a ghastly shade of blue against the shadow crowded around his couch, he mutters something incoherent and lifts his left arm over his head to glance at the attached watch. He's been on the couch for…a total of half an hour. Great.

"Oh, good," that dry, hollow voice that seems more ambient than directed observes from the general vicinity of the coffee table, "You're awake. I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to do something drastic, like start singing boy band music. Good morning, Flint Deckard. This is your wake up call."

Deckard is quick for an old guy. The gun is off the coffee table and in his hand in an adrenaline-powered jerk of movement, left arm propping him up into a half sit while the right levels the gun out…at…nothing. Nobody's here. Eyes ablaze, he's definitely breathing faster now. Paranoia took half a bottle of whiskey and half an hour after that to kill. It's taken about two seconds to come back full force.

The gun is swung left, then right. Nobody is HERE what the FUCK he's drinking again and really, really shouldn't still be going crazy. "I opted out of that service when I signed the contract."

"I suppose that I can't expect a tip, then?" Dry, sharp sarcasm there, "There's nothing for you to shoot, either, so you might as well put the gun down… or keep hold of it, I suppose, if it makes you feel better. It's all the same to me." After a moment, the disembodied voice adds, "I'm not here for a fight. More for an… exchange of information, perhaps."

Semi-automatic quivering just a hair, Deckard continues to rake his bioluminescent glare from wall to wall, disbelieving. Something is clearly here for him to shoot. It's talking to him. He sure as hell isn't putting the gun down, if current appearances are any indication. The bruising marred black across he left side of his scruffy head is evidence enough of how most of his disagreeable encounters have ended lately.

"You have successfully gained my attention."

A hollow chuckle answers that response, followed by the sharp statement, "Then allow me to continue. I do believe that you're aware of the little… incident that occurred at the Pancratia, yes? This — what was his name — Tavisha? And the brit, of course, that thought his involvement in matters wouldn't be noticed…"

Deckard's head tips, inclines, turns slightly aside. His eyes go briefly dark, then light up again. Not seeing anything that way either. The skeletal construct of his apartment remains occupied only by himself. And a disembodied voice that's coming from nowhere and everywhere. "Yeah. So?"

"Oh," observes the ambient voice, tone still dry as bones in the Sahara, "I just thought you might like to know that… certain parties… happen to think you had something to do with it. More to the point, that the entire thing was your fault, plan, and intent."

"…What?" Earnest confusion tips briefly down at Deckard's brows and etches lines out flat across his forehead. "Wha — someone told you…that doesn't make sense. I don't even talk to that guy. Jesus Christ." He's a sociopathic mass murderer who shoots fire out of his hands and destroys people by touching them. Very much on the do not want list. There's an edge of a panicked waver to his next exhalation, and once again his eyes flicker rapidly around the room.

"Kain Zarek," points out the voice in a lazy drawl, "Appears to suspect otherwise." A slip from the coffee table, shadow crawling beneath and behind the couch, twisting itself to insinuate itself into Deckard's shadow—which, if and when he happens to glance in its direction, is now stretched up the wall, arms seemingly folded in its shaded silhouette.

Kain Zarek. The name is met with exasperation mingled with disbelief, the shadows running deep across Deckard's face painted in clear contrast with what light filters in through the bathroom. He's easy to read when he thinks no one is physically here to see.

The glow of his eyes passes right over the weirdness of Cardinal's shadow puppetry. The effect is one of apparent blindness, which makes it seem like a bad idea that he's still pointing his gun around the way he is. "I'm just a fucking bookie. Why the hell are you so interested?"

"Oh, are you?" There's a silent moment, perhaps consideration, as those luminous eyes sweep over the shadowy form, before the ambient echo of a voice asks in sarcastic tones, "Well, then, you certainly won't mind telling me about Teo Laudani, will you? Or, just perhaps, what a certain… infamous FBI agent is doing on Staten Island? After all, a bookie -certainly- wouldn't know anything of interest about that."

Deckard stiffens, there — shoulders bracing and jaw set against this new conversational direction. It suits him even worse than the original one, and his grip on the gun readjusts. Tightens. Slowly, he moves to swing his feet over, down off the couch and onto the cold floor. "The fuck do you care?"

"Let's just say that I'm a very curious man," replies the disembodied voice that echoes from the shadows about the room, "And if my curiosity isn't sated… well… I'll have to go elsewhere." After a moment's pause, he adds, "Of course, you might not like me discussing certain things with those people."

There's a flinch, nearly a wince, and Deckard looks hard at his coffee table. Thinking. Mostly thinking that he does not want Mr. Disembodied Voice drifting around the island telling people that Flint Deckard or Mike Burrows or Boris Benton is keeping secrets for the FBI. Still, it's a while before he says anything else, or even looks like he's going to say anything else. The table must be really interesting. Maybe even a little moreso once he's tossed his gun carelessly back onto it so he can use that hand to scrub over the back of his head.

"I don't know what Ivanov's doing here. With any luck he'll catch a fucking bullet before the month is out. In the event you missed the gun that was pointed at my head, we aren't friends." His back hunches, battered face pushed down into both hands once his elbows have braced down onto his knees. "Teo's here looking for some stolen property."

"Ivanov seems pretty close with Laudani, but then again, you seem to have a rather odd friendship with him yourself…" The statement a bit dry, shifting slowly as the shadow creeps over the wall, "…hm. What is it he's looking for? There seem an awful lot of people looking for things lately. Stolen goods. A Russian man."

"I have my suspicions." About exactly how close they are. The thought is enough to prompt a thumb deep into the socket of his unbruised eye, as if that's going to do anything to stave off an oncoming headache. Deckard doesn't lift his head, preferring instead to talk down to the floor. "A van. Periwinkle blue."

"A van?" A twist of bemusement, "What's so important about the van, that someone so… obviously completely unprepared for this part of the city would come here looking for it?"

"I dunno. I guess most people get pissed off or something when they find out someone's fucked off to Staten Island with their main mode of transportation." Voice muffled, Deckard drops one of his hands down through the cage of his knees to reach for the whiskey bottle. Slowly but surely, tension is ebbing out of his shoulders. Most of the tension in his neck has already gone slack. Non-existent person talking to him in his apartment, asking him questions. Sure. Whatever. Just another day in the life of Deckard.

A rough snort there, "…either you're lying, he's lying, or he's quite possibly the stupidest person in New York City. Given what I'm seen, sadly I'm inclined to lean towards the latter. So what's the urn?"

"He's pretty stupid," Deckard agrees with less malice than something more like grudging affection. Like the kind people have for retarded cross-eyed puppies. One last scrub over his jaw later, he pushes off his knee and tips the bottle back for a long swallow. Then he sits the rest of the way back into the couch, too-blue eyes tracing halfheartedly after his neighbor asleep in the next room over while he sink slouches into the crook between cushion and armrest.

"Ivanov faked his own death. Somebody else's body got burned, urned, and buried. He wanted to know who, but I got to it first."

"-Do- you know?" A curious stir of the anonymous's voice as it continues to interrogate the poor man, "I suppose it doesn't really matter — mmn — so do you know anything about this Tavisha? Whoever he is, the people who know don't seem to want to talk about him."

"I've already told you about two people. You've only told me about one." The whiskey bottle is curled over into Deckard's side like some kind of grotesque teddy bear, his blanket still looped over one pajama pant leg. He continues to stare at nothing while staring at something. That isn't Cardinal. "What's your name?"

"That," observes Cardinal rather dryly, "Would be telling, and really, I'm not particularly interested in giving up the advantage I have at the moment, thank you very much. I suppose that we could leave it there — for now — but I'm fairly certain that Kain will be asking the same questions. Only he may do so rather less pleasantly than myself."

"I'll live. Or I won't. Guess it doesn't really matter unless you were hoping this would become a regular thing, in which case — you might want to hold off on the purchase of promise rings." Glug, goes the whiskey bottle. Deckard lifts it for another long swallow, eyes rolled shut against the rancid burn of it down the back of his throat.

The voice chuckles, low and hollow. "You have balls, Deckard," he muses, "Either that, or absolutely no hope at all, which I suppose comes out to about the same god-damn thing. I think I can respect that."

Deckard just kind of lifts his brows in vague acceptance of both distinct possibilities. Maybe he has balls and no hope at all. As Cardinal says, roughly the same thing anyway. "How easy was it for you to find me?"

"Probably easier," Cardinal observes a bit dryly from all about him, "Than you'd like, honestly. It took a bit of legwork and money, but I narrowed it down before too long. You really should work on that."

"Can't be both invisible and a successful businessman. I don't think I'll stay here, though." It's an odd sort of FYI, weirdly casual given that Deckard's providing it to a disembodied voice that stalked him here and then somehow got through a door that's still locked and bolted. His eyes stay closed, meanwhile, scruffy head tipped back into the couch without much change in expression.

"Oh?" Cardinal's query is dry, "And give up your -ever- so wonderful job watching your fellow Evolved murder each other while profiting off the matter, working for people who don't trust you? Why would you ever want to leave?"

"I already told you I didn't know that was going to happen," Deckard points out with the ghost of a frown. He scratches at his chest, t-shirt further rumpled, and fails to seem particularly defensive overall. He didn't know it was going to happen, but he's not all that surprised that it did, in retrospect. Bad things happen to and around him. A lot. "Anyway. I meant I'd leave the apartment, not the job. You try finding something that pays well enough to live off of when you're wanted for quadruple homicide."

"I don't particularly bother with employment, myself," replies Cardinal with a rough snort that echoes through the room, "Although I suppose that I can see the difficulty for you. I meant, though, the Pancratium itself, not Tavisha's little… demonstration of power on the arena floor. In any case, I suppose I should let you get back to your nap, then…"

"It's not like they're being forced into it. If some drugged-out dickhead with a superiority complex wants to throw himself on a spike in front of an audience…" Deckard trails off into a half-hearted shrug, though his frown draws a little deeper than he might like it to. The fact that it's a shitty situation doesn't actually escape him. He's not retarded. Or a psychopath. Boy would his life be easier if he was. "You shouldn't've woken me up in the first place."

"I do a lot of things that I shouldn't," admits the shadowy voice, "So maybe I can make up for it. Is there anything that -you're- interested in knowing, Deckard?"

"I'd like to know who's using the van I mentioned earlier. And what for. I mean," Deckard's brow knits, inevitable cynicism furrowing his forehead again when he slits his eyes open over at the door, "a van like that could be used for all sorts of things it'd be a shame to have Teo's name attached to."

"I'll see what I can do," muses the darkness that speaks, "Who knows? Maybe I'll even turn up something…" There's nothing else said, as the shadow flickers, whispering over the floor, slithering beneath the door's edge. Of course, Deckard may end up talking to himself for awhile before realizing he's alone.

If he is.

February 13th: The Hollow Men
February 14th: Learning To Share
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License