I Am History


francois2_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title I Am History
Synopsis The girl who sees what comes encounters the man that was.
Date October 20, 2009

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connected the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, the reach connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger lower bay. Before the bomb, this vehicle-only suspension bridge spanned the divide between two boroughs as one of the major through-ways, but shortly after the bomb, this bridge, like many others were blockaded by Homeland Security and used as a Government-Personnel direct access route into the city. Only authorized emergency vehicles and government agencies were allowed passage across from Staten Island, as a measure of keeping emergency traffic flow free.

In the months following, the blockade remained despite the lack of necessity in the matter. By the beginning of 2007 it was deemed that the bridge would remain restricted to government vehicles indefinitely until the majority of repair to Manhattan was completed. Currently both levels of the bridge are blocked on all but one lane by concrete dividers that, without the assistance of heavy lifting equipment, cannot be bypassed by vehicles. The bridge remains reserved for emergency use only, though in the beginning of 200, pedestrian traffic was authorized on the upper deck of the bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn. Trespassers on the lower deck could be detained by Homeland Security indefinitely.

For a long time, the bridge was one of the best ways in and out of Staten Island since the Staten Island Railway ceased operations shortly after the Bomb. At the end of January, 2009, it was partially destroyed in what authorities called a "freak explosion" and is no longer operational.

It could be fate, that brought him here, and if there is one thing this collection of psychic impressions and memories believes in, by necessity, it is that. But there's no magical coincidence that has Flint Deckard's lanky frame on the shores of Brooklyn and staring out across the Narrows beneath the lined hood of his brow, eyes glinting pale blue. His body may not recall this place, his physical brain and the superficial excuses for memory have no recollection, but it remembers. It was there.

It is called Francois, for lack of anything more appropriate, in the same way the other is called Kazimir. Perhaps mistakenly, perhaps not. Either way, Francois ducks beneath the shadow of the bridge ruins, his fingers out to claw and tear down the restrictive yellow tape that seeks to forbid his journeying. More has stood in his way, before.

It's chilly, and daylight, with the wind blowing cold off the river and curling around in the shadows, in the rubble. Rather than venturing out towards the shorn off concrete of the collapse bridge, he's content to stay within its still standing structure, coming to sit upon concrete marked with graffiti, broken glass of beer bottles caught up and glimmering amongst the rivershore rock. A journal is extracted from a coat pocket, along with a pen that he clicks open as he sets about finding a new page. In the shadows of the bridge above, he has to squint.

The journal was expected; seen before it was produced from the concealment of its pocket. She could read the words on the page before they're written, but the words are subject to change, and reading comes with tremendous difficulty when it comes at all; the girl doesn't bother. She's not here for the journal.

The scuff of shoe against dusty concrete heralds her approach, a step around fracture-ridden pillar, blonde hair trailing loose under the pull of the wind. Blue eyes smile at Francois, as does the rest of her expression; the comfortable geniality of someone meeting a familiar and expected person, despite the absence of this particular girl from Francois' memory. Tamara stuffs her hands into the pockets of her jeans, letting the ends of her blue scarf also fidget in the breeze.

"Every page is a new beginning. Every day, too. What are you starting?"

He has a lot of memory to go on, too. He is a lot of memory. Looking up from his page, the vague interest and serenity that settles on Flint's features are so unlike the man himself as to be, perhaps, jarring. The lines in his expression are soft, eyes wide and round, that watery tone used to his advantage. When his body matched his name, they had been dark and guarded - perhaps ice blue suits him better.

Laying a long fingered hand on his book, his forehead laddering with some consternation at her odd words. "Reflections," Francois decides upon, in his mildly accented voice from another time and place. "You are right about days and their beginnings. But journals are for ones been and gone, non?"

The girl smiles again at his word choice, stepping forward to take a perch of her own upon the gray wall. If her feet are hanging off the wrong side of it, she doesn't seem to care; heights and the potential of falling apparently don't perturb Tamara. "Maybe they are," the teen allows, after a moment's silence. "A way to remember what's gone away when it's out of reach. Catch the ghosts, each to a page and all in a row — does that keep them from getting lonely?"

He slouches where he sits, but as Tamara comes to take her perch, Francois forces curved shoulders beneath his worn, woolen coat to go straight, to draw himself up. There's a word there, ghosts, that has him looking out towards where the bridge twists and ends, where a sharp drop awaits into the cold river. Haggard but not unhealthy, the lines in his face deepen; the ones at his eyes gain shadows.

"I suppose it must. What else can keep ghosts company? What else but history?"

As if remembering himself, as it were, Francois looks beyond Tamara, concern for the teenager flickering in his eyes as he adds, "Are you here alone?"

He looks towards the broken bridge; she continues to regard him, gaze level but not unkind. She smiles at his question, in the moment before he asks it; the last one, the one that expresses worry for her. "Of course not!" she answers, missing the spirit of the concern and responding to the words alone. "You're here, aren't you?" Perhaps that's debatable, dependent on values of 'you' and 'here', but Tamara doesn't care to explore those semantics.

"Other ghosts, perhaps. The shadows beyond the mirror. Or perhaps not," the girl continues with a nonchalant shrug. "There are two sides to a mirror, and glass stands between; only one reflects." It seems an abstract, philosophical consideration to Tamara, as though the answer, in the end, is irrelevant for anything save conversation. "What is history?" No confusion, no lack of understanding in the words; she's not asking for the textbook definition.

Speaking of reflections, Tamara can see her own in very focused eyes, should she be looking hard enough at what is in front of her, what is now. There's no response to ghosts in mirrors, however, drawing a breath of chilly air through his nose as he breaks himself from his reverie, and casts a look down to the blank pages in his lap, the pen caught in the crevice between them. "History

"Is things been and gone. Things that cannot occur again. You know more than you should, I think - I've met those who know more than they should. Me connaissez-vous?" The smile is thin, as he introduces himself; "I am history."

Tamara laughs at the response, of all things; a bright, cheerful, pleasant sound, for all that it expresses some flavor of incredulity. "You claim all that was?" Her gaze drifts to one side, glancing off the curve of Deckard's skull to regard some vast distance beyond. Under the intensity of his focus, the change in her eyes is impossible to miss; a loss of sharpness, a darkening. "Only a piece, I think," she muses quietly. "That fits better. There are holes in your story, Francois Allègre," the sybil continues, a flicker of her eyes bringing her focus back to the present. "Fix them, and then that's not all you would be."

"Oui. Just a piece," Francois concedes. No one ever said he didn't have an ego, as Abigail is quick to point out. This thought catches him, ruefulness displayed in the slopes and plains of the expression he shapes Deckard's face into, before steel sets it into something more guarded. A name that rings something familiar. A piece, just like she says.

The journal closes on its blank pages, and he comes to hug it to his torso, arms shielded him against the cool wind. "I do not know how."

Tamara nods slowly, unsurprised by his admission. "Neither do I," she replies quietly, an admission that is perhaps surprising. The girl tucks errant strands of hair back behind her ears, only to have the wind tug them free again; she doesn't repeat the action, however, the wind's play only mometarily worthy of notice. "I can't see the holes, really." She shrugs, smiles crookedly; some facts of life are nonnegotiable.

Dark eyes fall to the journal held against his chest, the sybil's expression distant and thoughtful. "Like describing what's in a book by the look on the reader's face. Or what's not in it, missing from the pages, questions unanswered." Her gaze lifts to meet Francois', wry regret twisting her smile. "I can feel the mirror's edge, where the river passes beneath the bridge that is, but it reflects no story for me."

Her smile, as it were, is mirrored in his own version of it. "I suppose asking one, even one such as you, to see an absence of something would be unfair." Following her glance downwards, Francois taps his fingertips against the cover of the journal. "This is a book of another man's yesterdays. My yesterdays. Flint Deckard, who I am, and am not, as much as I am and am not Francois Allègre.

"I write in it like it was my own." The broken bridge above them gets more observation, mulling over her words. "I am the piece that keeps going. The one whose name I took with me has ended. Do you see where the river goes or only that it passes? Or where it stops."

Francois Allègre has ended. Her eyes glance sideways again, dark, her posture completely still; the sybil breathes, strands of blond hair snapping in the wind, but there is no other motion. Not for one heartbeat; two; three — and then she speaks. "A hundred paths through tangled wood," she says softly, the words abstracted, devoid of emotional tone, "One carries beyond the horizon; others only wind within. He is. Or he is not."

A moment's silence ensues, the sybil's thoughts somewhere, somewhen, far away; her return to the present is jarring, snap of focus into place, clump of feet on concrete floor as she hops down to the bridge proper. Her eyes are a weary shade of blue, and Tamara smiles once more. "The crossroads is longer than a moment; not forever, but you can think a while. And when you're ready, if you want, we can find where the road begins." She steps beyond him, a clear gesture of leavetaking, though not finality.

Francois stays seated on his perch, watching her with avid interest and finally some amusement; sky eyes steer downwards towards where his feet are wedged against rubble, tired boots of urban journeying with denim ducked into them. By the time he's looking up again, Tamara is stepping away in lighter foot falls than he could ever hope to achieve.

"I would like that," he tells her, but otherwise— lets her go, on whatever path away she chooses, never quite the same as before. The journal is opened, the wind rustling its near empty pages, before it's secured down once more with a patient hand. And he begins to write.

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