Intercision, Part II


camilla_icon.gif greg2_icon.gif sofia2_icon.gif

Scene Title Intercision, Part II
Synopsis Noun, 2. a falling off, failing
Date February 6, 2021

Bodies of government agents lay side by side along a desolate stretch of highway cutting through a ghost town. Blood soaks into the concrete from the bullet-riddled corpses, their faces slack and glassy eyes left open to stare at the starry night sky.

Scuffing bootfalls scrape across the asphalt as a gray-haired woman approaches the corpses. Sofia Sharrow looks down at the corpses, frowning softly. She kicks a brass shell casing down the street with a nudge of her foot, then looks up past the bodies to floodlights arranged around a camp of tents not far away. She follows the street that cuts through the camp to a bridge in the distance, one that crosses the adjacent ravine on the town’s edge, a bridge broken in the middle by some otherworldly calamity. For in the middle of the broken span there is a spot of infinite darkness around which the debris of the bright floats weightlessly.

Sofia exhales a sigh through her nose, then looks back down at the bodies. She raises one hand, fingers spread, and by the time her fingers close into the fist the corpses have all dissolved into a fine pink slurry, leaving nothing but waterlogged clothing behind.

OEI Containment Site ID08

Twin Falls, Idaho
PNW Dead Zone

February 6th
9:44 pm

“They’re all EVs, each one has a solar recharge kit.”

On the other side of the town, in the largest tent in the camp outside of the Twin Falls visitor center, Gregory Sharrow listens to reports from Mazdak scouts while overlooking a marked up map of the town. “How many?” He asks.

“Four.” One scout replies. “SUVs, at about a third of a full battery each. They were traveling light, but we think they might have had an aircraft out here before we hit them. Sonja says she saw tracks from landing gears in the dirt parking lot across the street.”

Greg nods, running a hand over his beard. “Rig them to blow when they’re started again. We don’t need them and these feds will be on this place soon enough once their men don’t report back in.”

The scout leader nods. “Anything else, Sir?”

“Not for now.” Greg says, starting to turn away before remembering to add: “Good work out there.” The scouts don’t seem to care for his praise one way or another and make their way out of the tent as a wiry young woman slips in between them.

Greg catches sight of Camilla Bell out of the corner of his eye as he was turning back to the map. He turns to face her, expectantly.

“It’s done.” Camilla says with a nervousness, glancing around the tent with wide eyes. “What is this p—”

“Where is he?” Greg cuts her off.

Camilla looks back at hin, no longer letting her stare wander. “Gone.” She shrugs, looking a little helpless. “He just—left.”

Sighing, Greg nods and puts a hand on Camilla’s shoulder. “Alright. Come on,” he urges, putting a hand on her shoulder and guiding her out of the tent. “I made you a promise.”

Camilla tenses when she’s touched, but turns with Greg’s guidance and steps out of the tent back into the abandoned parking lot. She squints against the bright light of the flood lamps illuminating the camp and does her best not to look any of the heavily-armed paramilitary types in the eye as she passes by them.

“Greg?” A voice calls from across the parking lot, one he pointedly avoids. Camilla starts to look back, but Greg just pushes her ahead.

Gregory!” Louder this time, Sofia’s voice can’t be ignored. Greg stops halfway to a row of trucks and grabs Camilla by the arm, urging that she stay. He looks up at Sofia, expectantly, and follows her gaze with a glance at Camilla.

“Can we talk?” Sofia asks, hastily walking up to her brother. Greg shrugs in acquiescence to her request, but she makes a purposeful amendment of, “Alone?

Greg bristles just a little. “I’m taking Camilla to see—”

“I know.” Sofia interjects. “Can we talk.” She insists. “Please.

Greg looks at Camilla and releases her arm, but motions ahead to the row of black trucks parked on the side of the road. “Go wait by the trucks in the lot.” He instructs her and Camilla turns to do so, but not before catching Sofia’s gaze on her way out.

Once Camilla is out of earshot Sofia shakes her head and steps in closer to her brother. “What are you doing?” She asks through her teeth. Greg closes his eyes and looks nothing if not frustrated by the interruption.

“I’m giving her what she asked for.” Greg says with a motion to the direction Camilla fled in.

“She’s a child,” Sofia hisses through her teeth, angrily brandishing a hand at Camilla’s back and then to Greg. “She has her whole life ahead of her you are not doing this to her.”

Greg’s eyes are halfway-lidded as he looks at his sister, then sighs and rolls his eyes. “You think it’s good to keep leading her around by the nose? She doesn’t want to be a part of this. She isn’t a believer she’s—how did you frame it?—a child?” Though when Greg says it there’s decidedly more venom in the word. “We can’t keep her around, and I don’t imagine you want her to wind up like the agents, right?”

“She hasn’t had a chance to understand,” Sofia says with a frustrated tremor in her voice. “You’re the one who filled her head with all that revenge bullshit. For fuck’s sake, Greg, give her half a chance.”

Sighing, Greg lowers his head and passages his eyes, pushing his glasses up his nose as he does. “Look,” he says with a gesture toward Sofia. “Look. I am trying to get us an asset here. The Mazdak fighters are going to punish one of their own at dawn. One way or another that’s happening.” Greg says as he sweeps his hand in the direction of the tents. “So either that ability goes to them or it goes to us.”

Sofia looks at Greg, narrowing her eyes. “I thought all of this was we,” she says with a hint of frustration and resentment in her voice. “All you ever talked about was how we’re going to change things, how we have a plan. When dad—”

Don’t.” Greg grunts, jabbing two fingers at Sofia. “Don’t you dare,” he adds in a whisper.

A tense silence comes over the two and Sofia hangs her head in silence. Then, with a mean laugh she looks up at her brother. “He was right about you,” she says with a look up and down at Greg. “You’re a coward.”

Greg opens his mouth to say something but Sofia doesn’t give him a moment to. “Because just ask yourself Gregory.” She steps in, challengingly. “If you really believed that was an asset? You’d give it to yourself.” Sofia’s words cut Greg to the bone. He can’t look at her, turns his face away.

Sofia scowls, looking in the direction Camilla went. “Let the fucking Mazdak people play musical chairs with abilities. You are not hurting that girl.” She insists, taking a step away from her brother. Greg sighs and throws up his hands.

“Then you figure out how to keep her under control!” Greg shouts as he starts walking away from Sofia. “Because otherwise, we know how this is going to end!”

Sofia keeps walking in the direction that Camilla had been ordered to go, wrapping her arms around herself as she does. Greg stews in his anger, pacing around in the vacant lot before storming off in the direction of the tents again.

Sofia slips between two of the black SUVs parked in the row, finding Camilla waiting on the other side, sitting on the ground with her back up against a tire. She looks up to Sofia with wide, sad eyes. For a moment Sofia says nothing, wondering how much Camilla might have overheard. But when Camilla offers her a faint, disappointed smile, Sofia imagines that she hadn’t heard enough.

“Hey,” Sofia whispers, crouching down. “How’re you holding up?” She asks, sitting down on the ground beside Camilla.

“Fine.” Camilla lies.

Sofia smiles with a snorted laugh. “I figure you heard Gregory and I arguing,” she suggests, gauging how to continue based on Camilla’s response. The nervous smile the young woman gives back is reassuring. It determines a means to move the conversation where Sofia wants. “Then you know what I’m gonna say, don’t you?”

“I’m not ready yet.” Sofia says in a small voice. “For the gift.”

The word gift makes Sofia wince. “Not every gift is what it’s cracked up to be. But right now, what’s important is that you know I believe in you. And one day—”

“It doesn’t matter.” Camilla says in a small voice, pulling her knees to her chest. Sofia’s brows knit in confusion. “I’m not—I don’t know.”

“What?” Sofia gently urges, putting a hand on Camilla’s shoulder.

Sighing, Camilla rests her chin on the back of her knees. “I can’t remember what her voice sounds like.” She says in a whisper. Then looks side-long at Sofia. “My mom.”

Sofia nods in understanding, squeezing Camilla’s shoulder. She doesn’t say anything, choosing to let Camilla lead the conversation.

“I don’t even know if I’m mad anymore. If…” Camilla closes her eyes and hides her mouth behind her knees. “I used t’be so mad. All I wanted to do was—” She cuts herself off with a strangled noise and starts to sob, curling her fingers into her sleeves. Sofia exhales a soft shushing sound and scoots closer to Camilla, wrapping an arm around her and drawing her close.

Camilla breaks down, turning to hide her face against Sofia’s shoulder, trembling between each ragged sob. Sofia continues to make soft shushing noises, stroking a hand over Camilla’s hair as she does. “It’s okay,” Sofia says in a tiny, hushed voice. “It’s okay. Let it out, baby-girl.”

Camilla continues to cry against Sofia’s shoulder, eventually falling asleep from exhaustion there. Sofia does nothing to discourage her, letting the young woman sleep. Sofia looks up at the starry night sky, tears in her own eyes. She understands Camilla’s pain. It isn’t about the loss of a parent, or the inability to make that loss right. It’s a different kind of grief.

The grief of letting go of an anger that defined you for so long…

…and the fear of the unknown that lies beyond.

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