In The Absence Of Family



Scene Title In the Absence of Family
Synopsis As Christmas draws close, Colette begins to realize that this may well be the first Christmas in years that she spends without any semblance of family…
Date December 21, 2010

Cliffside Apartments

It doesn't smell like soot any longer, but the roof doesn't look the same in any case.

Two years ago a place like this was Colette Nichols' home, and on the roof of the Cliffside Apartments she would first meet Eileen Ruskin. Here, now, watching snow flurries fall down over the burned out neighborhood of Hunter's Point not far away, Colette has grown and changed as much as this neighborhood had. Tucking her mouth behind the fabric of her red scarf, the dark-haired young woman watches with furrowed brows as the snow swirls and lashes about wildly in the air, watches the bright red of tail lights shining through the flurries.

Felix Ivanov lived here, Gillian Childs, so many people Colette has come to know. Now, with the roof mostly rebuilt and the skeletal framework of Cliffside being brought back from the severe fire damage that gutted it last winter, Colette sees little of the ghosts she had come here to find solace with. Nothing looks familiar, not the plastic-wrapped walls that breathe with the wind, not the tar paper covering on the roof, no the vista of six city blocks all but burned to the ground by the riots.

The riots she couldn't stop.

Cradled between two gloved hands, Colette holds the digital recorded that Tamara had given her for the first birthday they shared together two years ago. The recorder that she thought was going to be the key to stopping the riots, to preventing the chaos, to saving the lives of all of her friends.

It sails through the air like a thrown rock as Colette wheels around, letting out a scream. The digital recorder strikes the brick chimney nearby, exploding into several large pieces of damaged plastic and lenses. One hand sweeps up to rake through her hair, pushing her hood up and off of her head. In that same fit of rage, she storms over and stamps her heels down on the camera, crushing the now exposed interior and cracking the lens. That foot raises again and stomps down a second time with a crunch of plastic. Colette's scream turns into a choked sob as she kicks the broken remnants of the recorded across the roof, scattering like the snowflakes.

She covers her face with one hand, slouches to the side against the half finished brickwork of the chimney and hides her eyes behind the worn suede palms of her leather gloves. Narrow shoulders shudder beneath her jacket, and Colette's legs buckle, sending her collapsing down to her knees as she breathes in ragged, frustrated breaths.

Nearly a week ago she snuck out of the Garden in the middle of the night, left behind Koshka and Sable, left behind any semblance of honoring that request made of her to stay behind and talk. Words, cruel things, aren't her strength these days. Instead she'd come to wallow in her memories, in the places that once brought her happiness. Even the soup kitchens below the Cathedral of St.John's have done nothing to lift her spirits, because everywhere she goes has Tamara imprinted on it like greasy fingerprints on glass.

Once, memories of where the sibyl haunted the world were reassuring to Colette. Once, remembering that Tamara was out there served as a safety net. Now that safety is gone, that illusion shattered. Colette's jaw unsteadies, her eyes wrench shut and one gloved fist strikes the brick wall, then again, then again until her hand is sore and she's managed to fight away the threat of tears. Fight away the humiliating sense of helplessness.

Colette has a dwindling number of people to turn to now. She found the home of her adoptive father abandoned, found him gone like a phantom. She has seen every person in her life systematically taken from her, and now her sister sits on that precipice as well. If she loses Nicole — again — loses Tasha, loses the people who matter the most to her what will there be left?

That question keeps her awake at night.

Because if there's anything that Colette fears more than the dark, it is being alone.

The wind whips cold across the roof of Cliffside Apartments, carries with it stinging ice crystals and bitter wind that reddens her cheeks, chills the tracks of tears down them. Christmas is coming, and she won't even be able to spend her sister's birthday with her, for fear of leading even more danger into the lives of the ones she loves. Drawing her knees up to her chest, Colette wraps her arms around them tightly, presses her forehead to their backs and lets out a tiny, feeble whimper.

Even the Ferrymen are gone, vanished to some island, some fall-back point that she quite literally missed the boat on. Every single last recourse she had for assistance has faded, and with her chin tucked behind the brick red fabric of her scarf she is left to wonder where to turn next, where to go next.

On considering the scarf, Colette Nichols finds her answer.

Now she just has to find them.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License