Inside A Snow Globe Looking Out



Also Featuring:


Scene Title Inside a Snow Globe Looking Out
Synopsis The girl who walked between time finds herself at odds with the inside of a snow globe.
Date February 4, 2011

Roosevelt Island

Rooftops usually provide a clear view of the sky in a city. No such thing can be had out here any longer, where the horizon looks like a dirty red blur and the shadow cast by snow settled atop the gradual curvature of the dome looks like an umoving cloud.

For a time, the barrier cutting through the heart of New York was unseen, save for the slightest distortion of distant views that would be expected of looking at something through curved glass. By the time the snowstorm came, the heavy precipitation settled atop the dome, icing over and becoming a frozen shadow looming over the apex of the barrier. Wind has done little to shear any of it away.

Now the dome itself is visible, not by merit of its own but by the mere presence of the people trapped within. People like Clara Francis. Sitting on the damp rooftop of a tenement building overlooking the buckled frame of the Queensboro Bridge she stares up at the grimy walls of the dome, marveling at the way distant city lights look the color of cinnamon through the barrier.

Down below on the street, pedestrian traffic remains frozen in time. Private security officers stand frozen in mid-stride, eyes warily focused on distant alleyways and faces contorted into tense expressions behind the dark fabric of a balaclava mask. Further away, a fire is burning. Light sheds from the flames in static illumination, like a three-dimensional freeze-frame. Roosevelt Island is dark within the dome, shadows are deep, animosity even deeper. Someone like Clara is to blame for what happened here, she can feel the tide of resentment towards her genetic ilk the same as she can feel the sting of the stagnating, polluted air in her nostrils.

Somewhere in this dome is a guilty party, an individual to blame for the barrier's rising. Somewhere in here is the person that Clara Francis is supposed to find and apprehend. Coincidence trapped her in with the other residents of Roosevelt Island, obligation has her trying to figure out how to find a needle in a haystack, uncertainty has her hesitating. Thankfully for the latter, Clara Francis has all the time in the world to hesitate.

Dark brows crease together when a frown crosses her face, thoughts wandering away from the condition of the dome and its residents, to the situation that she's now found herself in. Being trapped inside of a snow-globe has some level of irony that she can appreciate, even if the situation itself is a harrowing one. Clara has always had the ability to look on the bright side of life.

Sometimes to the point of delusion.

Four Days Earlier

«— hat is your s— Fr— »

Staticy pops and snaps make interpreting a cell phone call difficult. The screech and groan of metal, the cries of terrified passengers trapped on the collapsing bridge, and the sheared steel tumbling down from the sagging Queensboro Bridge makes it impossible.

Clara can't look back at the smoking wreck of cars piled on top of each other behind her, because with every creak and groan of the bridge it feels like the world is about to fall from beneath her feet. Given the way the bridge has been sliced apart by an invisible barrier, that much may not be figurative much longer.

Adrenaline and fear fuels Clara's retreat from her car, heels carried in one hand, stockinged feet slapping on the snowy bridge, cell phone pressed to an ear. "The whole bridge— The Queensboro bridge! It's collapsing!" Her panicked scream reaches the person on the other end with staccatto interruption.

The sudden shriek of metal overhead comes from the supports of the high tension cables staining under the weight of the bridge's buckling deck. Clara is thrown off of her feet when the bridge sways violently, sending her toppling to her knees then onto her side as stalled cars collide into one another, sliding down towards low end of the now sloping deck.

Heels discarded in panic, Clara scramblesaway from the skidding automobiles. Horrified expressions of the drivers are briefly visible as the cars slide and crash, headlights shattering, windows popping, broken glass everywhere. Clara winds up tumbling out of control, rolling down the ever-sagging bridge's deck until she collides with the side rail.

Tires screech across cracking asphalt as Clara watches a station wagon sliding sideways across the bridge towards her. The driver struggles to turn the wheel, eyes wide in horror as he helplessly watches his car bearing down on the blonde. A ton and a half of steel pushed by other skidding cars closes in on Clara. She can feel the driver's stare on her, feel the way it affirms her into the moment and no other.

Clara barely has time to throw herself out of the way of the station wagon as it plows into the rail before another car is barreling down on her. One stocking-clad foot steps up onto the railing as she leaps up to try and get away from the vehicle, falling down onto the hood with a hollow, metallic crunch.

Wind knocked from her lungs, Clara rolls across the hood of the car as it's impacted from behind. The noise of the guard rail groaning from the weight of the vehicles pressed against it makes Clara's already rapidly beating heart feel like it's about to burst in her chest. Her feet slip across the hood of the car as she tries to distance herself from the other panicked drivers. Too many eyes on her, too many people watching to get to safety.

Climbing over the roof of one car, Clara looks over her shoulder to see a man trying to climb out of his window, screaming for help and tangled in his seatbelt. Her blond hair whips across her face from the frigid breeze howling over the buckling deck, and from atop the car Clara can see just how far the damage goes.

Both ends of the Queensboro are sagging down towards the water, split as if they'd been cut across the middle by some impossibly large knife. The high-tension cables have started to snap, struggling to hold the weight of the bridge and the cars trapped on it, metal buckling and bending as the centuries old bridge starts to collapse under its own weight.

The roof of the car pops and clunks under Clara's feet as she clambors down towards the trunk, then across onto the hood of another car, terrified drivers looking up at her in her fleeing scramble. The railing yawns a metallic noise accompanied by the popping of joints and welding from the strain of the weight.

Rushing to get to the end of the cars, to get out of sight, to get anywhere but where she is, Clara hears the sound she's been dreading behind her. The railing splits and the first car goes toppling through the gap, turning end over end as it plummets through the air down towards the icy water of the Hudson below.

The car impacts the water as if it were concrete, crumpling the hood and sending up a shower of water in white froth. Another vehicle follows immediately after, crashing into the top of the sinking vehicle, and the tragic cascade of one car after another through the widening gap in the rail sends Clara tumbling forward and off of the roof of one of the vehicles. She lands hard on the concrete, the heel of one palm scuffing bloodily on the asphalt.

Turning to look back over her shoulder, Clara can feel her heart pounding against the inside of her chest as she watches a car disappear over the edge of the bridge, the mother and two children trapped inside simply dropping out of view among the cacophony of screeching tires, crunching metal and screams.

Before Clara can catch her breath, the sound of an explosion reverberates across the bridge. The whining cry of a demolished engine screams overhead, flames fall down along with the burning wreckage of a helicopter that seems to have exploded in mid-flight, crumpled up against an unseen barrier. Shrapnel from the broken rotors fall like knives down to the bridge, some large pieces of flaming wreckage disappearing over the sides of the bridge.

Staring up at the falling helicopter, Clara exhales a throaty noise and wraps her hands over the top of her head, curling up into a ball as a massive chunk of burning fuselage comes crashing down onto the bridge. Metal impacts with concrete, flames and smoke blast out in a plume, and Clara Francis is nowhere to be seen by the time the impact occurs.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Roosevelt Island

Present Day

The sing-song chirp of a cell phone rouses Clara from daydreaming. Somewhere between thoughts she'd lost track of time, found herself settled back into the steady flow of events happening in linear fashion. Rummaging through the pocket of her winter coat, Clara produces a hot pink cell phone with a tiny white bunny charm dangling from the bottom. It's stealing if you don't intend on returning something, borrowing if you do. Clara's a self-defined, long-term borrower.

Sliding her thumb over the 'talk' button, Clara shakes her hair away from one ear and brings the phone up. "//Agent //Francis," is stated with a chipper tone of voice, lips crooked into a lopsided smile.

«Clara,» the woman on the other end of the phne sternly asserts in lieu of calling her by agent. «I'd like a status report on the situation inside of the dome. DHS operations are clawing at whatever scraps of information I can give them, and the DoEA doesn't seem to know what's going on. I'd like to be able to bring something to the table.»

Unfolding her legs from beneath herself, Clara rises to stand up on the rooftop, looking out over the amputated section of the city beneath the dome. "I really don't know, boss. Been here a while now and nobody seems to know anything. Everyone's just trying to survive or— okay I guess some people might be trying to subvert the whole survival thing."

«We've heard reports of violence, but no real context.»

"I've heard rumors that Humanis First is out here, but so far it's just been isolated incidents of violence. It's hard to tell if they really planned anything, or if this was just an opportunity they took advantage of." Walking along the perimeter of the roof, Clara feels more restless than vigilant. "I haven't found anything that indicates whether this was an accident or intentionally done. I'm…" Clara stifles a rueful laugh halfway through it. "You know, I'm actually a little scared."

«Don't be, we have the best minds working on this situation to try and resolve it. Doctor Suresh at the Commonwealth Institute has been working around the clock trying to analyze the data that's been collected about the dome.» It's something of a cold comfort to Clara, that people outside of the dome are trying as hard as they can. Sometimes that's just not good enough, she knows that failure first hand.

"The air quality is getting bad, you can probably see that from the outside, though. I've been spending as much time as I can quantum-locked, better than being caught up in this mess I suppose…" Stopping at the northeast corner of the roof, Clara looks up at the sagging ends of the Queensboro bridge, never having collapsed all the way, looking more now like a tired animal sagging drowsily in preparation to sleep.

«What do you think?»


«What do you think caused this? The encapsulation.»

Clara exhales a steady sigh, struggling with the question as she stares up at the neaby hulk of the Queensboro Bridge. "Evolved— obviously. There's no evidence that it was planned yet, no ransoming, no threats, no credit taken. If it's accidental manifestation, then— "

«Then we need whoever did it.»

"I… suppose." Trailing off in uncertainty, Clara turns her back to the ruins of the Queensboro and raises one gloved hand to warm her exposed ear, now getting cold from the bitter wind. "We won't be the only agency looking, though. You know the Institute already has people on this, the Suresh Center was caught in the perimeter. They sent… a boat, out across the river, there was a Retriever squad on board. I don't— I'm pretty sure they didn't find anything."

«Let's hope not. I promise we'll get you out of there, Clara. I don't turn my back on my operatives and I don't give up.»

"Thank you… ma'am," sounds resigned when Clara softly says it into the receiver, eyes closed and shoulders curled forward against the cold.

«Now get out there and get to the bottom of this. We're counting on you.»

When the line goes dead, Clara takes a prolonged time hanging up her end. The bright pink phone comes down from her ear, gloved fingers squeezing the plastic case as she turns to look back up to the buckled and demolished bridge, to the shimmering blue edges of the dome where it contacts the bridge's severed deck.

Blue eyes shut again, and Clara Francis is gone.

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