It Doesn't Make You A Bad Person...


ghost_icon.gif samantha2_icon.gif

Scene Title It Doesn't Make You A Bad Person
Synopsis Okay, maybe it does.
Date July 15, 2009

Washington Irving High School

Dusk is setting on the night. Most have tucked themselves away for the night, even with the raising of curfew, habits are hard to break. The sprinkling of individuals who stay out are, for the most part, up to no good. The new is reporting Samantha's body count at eleven now, though there are a few that have either not been counted, or found.

She has acquired a darker set of gear, black hoodie with black jeans and sneakers. She stays out of sight, and even those who see her, don't. She has become very adept at being invisible. Not literally, mind you, but after abandoning her apartment, she lives on the street, finding where she can to sleep. She is also very meticulous about those she kills, ensuring that they are evolved before she triggers the microwave that comes from her eyes and melts those who she deems ill suited to continue life in her country. She ducks into a doorway, just briefly before stepping back out and moving down the sidewalk.

Teo and his ghost of Christmas future have few things in common than they do different. The young Sicilian recently accused of multiple homicides and wanted for questioning for those and a dozen others— is remarkably easy to track.

He had grown up in Palermo, a coastal city on Sicily of considerable size. His face is featured in a dozen photographs, yearbooks, fucking— MySpace pages, surveillance footage, his employment history and charity work remain recorded, pristinely intact, as were his charges of juvenile indiscretion. Nothing that would have logically preluded a homicidal attack on a NYPD precincthouse, or inculcated him the skills that Samantha had confronted in the alleyway—

But it was him. No fucking doubt. Long Finnish nose, off-blond hair, blue eyes, height and weight. Ghost, being the other half of that, remains in large part a mystery, negative space, an omission of crucial information.

What serves as an alternative explanation lays before Samantha now, across the street. Still cordoned off in striped balsawood and crackling tape the color of bumblebees, backdropped by the scudded evening sky over Manhattan, it lays here, the gray wreckage and shattered ruin that used to be Washington Irving High School… before it was attacked by terrorists. Media coverage said pro-Evolved.

Samantha, of course, knows better. It isn't a firm connection, but it's the closest thing to a logical one.

Stepping up to the wooded and cordoned entrance, a little concentration on her part melts the yellow and begins to turns the wood an ashen white rather than set it ablaze. She kicks at it with her foot, easily putting it through the burnt wood. She takes a peek around to make sure no one watching before she steps into the school and begins to walk around.

It would make a good shelter, but no doubt law enforcement is not quite through with this facility, so she'll just take a look around. Perhaps she'll encounter a vagrant or two that needs to be taken care of. At least for now, she's not out in the open. With her sketch being plastered around by law enforcement, she doesn't want to be recognized. She will deal with those traitors of Humanis First at the first opportunity. Each step is heard as she walks down the vacant hallway of the school, so far it's all quiet.

Too much dust in the air to carry an echo, or that's what it feels like. The atmosphere hangs stale, dry, hollow around the woman, unwilling to budge under the dissolving circles and pressure waves of Samantha's discrete noise-making. A rusted nail rolls out of her way underneath the brunt of a boot, and there's only the faintest bitter trace of urine blowing through the scorched-blind socket of a smashed window, there. No mice.

Too dead here, for that. One point where the physical setting differs from Samantha's psychology.

Something unfolds on the corner of her mind then, as neatly, ordered, disciplined as the mathematical progression of a crysanthamum bending its petals outward in deference to its genetic programming. Its origin is impossible to place— internal? external? a figment of subconscious, or a simple physical demand for Ibuprophen or hydration?— but its smallness proposes it's as harmless, merely a doubt, a niggle of thought, inquiring after ingress, lacking the capacity to make more than momentary distraction without her say so.

The scents, the dust, it's all she's known for several weeks now. Not in this particular place, but places like it. In her position, adding similiar smells of her own is not uncommon. Call it what you will, but sometimes you do what you have to do, any soldier will tell you that.

Something causes her to stop. Samantha lowers her hood, blond hair falling down to her shoulders. Her eyes glow just enough that if she has to use her cursed gift, she can. She feels something, but she's not entirely sure what it is. It doesn't feel oppressive or imposing, but it does give her pause. She looks from left to right. "Someone here?" she asks, voice low. "Might want to come forward, they say I'm unstable. Dangerous. Unless you place no value on your own life, then by all means.. startle me."

It's a good pitch. If the specter that haunts her now was somewhat closer and not, you know, awkwardly straddling the whole distance of a derelict school with the size of his mind, he might have seriously courted the notion of taking her up verbally.

The size of said mind is considerable, mind you; this is no self-deprecation at his own intelligence. Perhaps of wisdom. God knows, few tactically apt people would recommend this. Leaving his physical person in a small, boneless heap on the corner of a blast-worn floor when, perhaps worse than the alternative, neither of the other occupants seem available for comment, sending his mind further afield.

The niggling persists. Nothing obtrusive. A tickling prod at the part of her that thinks in words, something like realization, disinviting speech from the conversation. Think.

"Why don't you come out and let's settle this once and for all? You made me this way, didn't you? I didn't ask for his. Now you have to deal with it. Deal with me." Samantha's voice echoes out in the vacated building as she walks through layers of soot and dust that accumulate on her boots as she leaves boot prints upon the floor. That being said, she doesn't seem to be all that concerned with forensic evidence she may leave at the scene.

A loose broken two-by-four is picked up and she swings it hard, crashing it through a large window. It merely crackes as the shatterproof wiring holds it in place to keep it from spraying. "You can't just give me this power and expect me not to use it as I see fit. You're just as responsible for their deaths as I am. The news say it's eleven, but we know it's far more than that, now don't we? You wanted to stop me, but you only made it easier for me to kill."

This much is true.

That much is true, but the woman's insights into her— maker? reinventor? What words are there for situations like these?— falls slightly short, judging from the shimmer of laughter at the periphery of her thoughts. There's never been a fucking mutant who can give an ability to another, says a voice. The voice is lying, but general knowledge holds consistent with this lie; and perhaps less meaningful than the content of its remarks is the tone in which it is spoken, in a register of reminiscent of dragons, two-tone, a fluting clash of metal. You can't just take an ability and use it as you see fit, and think there's anything more or less to you than any of the countrymen you've ever killed.

At war or on assignment. You're as painfully human as the next of them.

Strange choice of word, perhaps. Them. The dull light of street level casts the jagged distortion of the window's fresh cracks against her face, painting tiger stripes over Samantha's strangely quiescent eyes.

Samantha pokes at the glass, watching it bend with the stick as it holds together with the wiring. She quickly gets bored and walks away, still holding that board in her hand. "No. But when someone gives you an ability you don't want, seems fair that you would want to lash out. My goal hasn't changed just because you gave me this. So, I'll just keep going on with what I'm doing until someone stops me."

'Kills me' is more like it. That's what it will take. For some that might seem like a plea for help, but from her it sounds more like a challenge. Kill her before she kills more of 'them'.

She turns in past some double doors. The cafeteria. She glances around as she sees the tables all lined up. A few rats scurry across the floor. Either their rats or giant cockroaches. Samantha pats her board against one of the tables as she walks by, hearing the echo of the thud that vibrates throughout the large room.

Kids used to play here, before people compelled by ugliness, bigotry and agendas as dark as Samantha's own had torn down its walls and caved in the windows, slaughtered the students lazing in ennui with their cigarettes in the stairwells along with the teachers both uninspired and earnest, burned the books, deafened its neighbors and framed an enemy, made a tragedy that will be studied for years out of a place that was founded on the hope of forging young minds that would surmount these and other challenges.

It makes sense, that the inheritors are rats, roaches, and killers. Is that why you're looking for me, here? comes the query, woven like gossamer, quiet from thought. Is that why you're killing your own kind, now? You hate being one that much? Or are you just really bored?

Sounds like a joke. It is. Ghost couldn't honestly thinks so, and doesn't. It means something to the Tanner woman, what she's become, and though she may have styled her string of slaughters to look like the patriotic assassinations that had come before, excused it with the unlikely possibility that she was granted her ability by forces less than genetic inheritance, it isn't the same. He'd fucking smile, if he had a mouth.

At first, she was appalled. Diseased. But in time, she's come to realize that perhaps this was her higher destiny. That what was given her was a gift to help her fight for her country. A country that is being overridden by the type that she now is. To even the odds.

Now it's all on her shoulders. Humanis First has abandoned her. In fact, after all she's done for them, they have treated her like she was one of them.

Doesn't matter. She knows what her true calling is. She knows what she must do. "Don't call them my kind. It doesn't matter that I can do what they do. I didn't inherit this. It's all fake. Artificial. You've armed me. So, I guess I should be thankful. Those who have died should thank you. The country should thank you for giving me this weapon to be able to clean the streets up of the scum that litter it. Fuck them. Fuck them and fuck you."

She throws the board across the cafeteria. She turns her eyes to one of the tables, and almost immediately it flares up.

You're welcome, the stranger says, listen to the hollow rattle of planed wood bouncing off the tables, cartwheeling off the edge of dusty furniture— seconds before the fire catches, heat shimmering toward the ceiling. Though I think your gratitude would go over better if you mean it, or weren't— you know, thanking me for starting a career as a serial killer that you plan to finish by getting murdered. A lot of my acquaintances cope with stress by going insane, you know; don't think I haven't noticed the lack of a smile painted on over the plastic veneer, or that you're playing with matches alone in a derelict.

I guess, also, this just in: neither I— nor, I guess, the vast majority of said acquaintances give a lot of a fuck about having moral superiority. The world hasn't done jack shit for me in a long time, not the mutants, not the little shitheels in Humanis First! or even the cops who have you tacked up on a board between Gabriel Gray and the Zodiac cunt. You can have them all, and they can fucking have you. It'll be bright. Circle of crimson, as if you did it in lipstick. And before you die, you might just get it through your blonde fucking skull: if artificiality makes you an exception to the rule, you've been shooting blind your whole fucking life.

"Oh trust me, I'm the biggest exception you will ever find. Being /like/ them doesn't make me like them. Doesn't make me want to protect them. It doesn't make me want to stop killing them. Like I said, you've just given me a better weapon to use on them." Perhaps there will come a time when Samantha Tanner will be the only one left. She's not foolish enough to think she can eliminate them all on her own, but there are others taking them down as well. There just aren't many as effective as she is. And if by chance, she ends up being the only one, she's not conceited enough to think she's above all this now. She hasn't truly completed her mission until they are all gone, including herself.

She aims her eyes at another table and sets it ablaze as she moves from the cafeteria back out into the hallway, the smoke building up in the room and pouring out into the hallway after her. She turns and slowly makes her way towards the gymnasium. "Have you come to try and stop me? Or was your master plan to bore me to death with your speech? I have listened to Colonel's give speeches that were far more boring than this and survived, so I'm afraid you're going to have to try another tact."

The bleachers are still pulled out, from a game or an assembly or something that occurred before this place was deserted. She immediately sets it on fire as well.

Line of sight, temperature, flames, entropy. The progression of these attacks is noted, one by one, in the wallowing silence of Ghost's thought. It's a few long seconds facing the flames before he answers. That's the point, Tanner. You can't know you were the only one who was made; you can't know you were made. You don't know jack shit. You're a mad dog, waiting for somebody to put you down.

There's a man I know— you would've liked once. Kazimir Volken. Not one damn original thought between the two of you, but I guess every story in the universe has been told before.

I'm not really looking for a fight. Or to fucking stop you. As far as I can tell, despite your— scintillating rationalizations, and most earnest efforts to make the best of your life situation, things look pretty bleak. And are beginning to smell like shit. Smoke funneling out, heat pressing against the back of her skin in waves of tangible pressure, though the sensation of actual heat is somewhat lost in the translation between his ability and the intricacy of Samantha's physical nerves. Suppose that makes me a bad person.

The smoke is starting to get thick as the flame burns through the layer of varnish that covers the wooden bleachers. As she nears the exit of the gymnasium, she can already here the sirens as the smoke from the kitchen blaze is already pushing its way up into the sky. She walks towards the double doors and pushes them open, inhaling some of the fresh air before she smells the smoke again. "So, you just create a monster and let others be responsible for putting it down, is that it? It doesn't make you a bad person…"

She starts down the sidewalk leaving the building that will soon be completely engulfed in flames.

"… It makes you an uncaring prick."

Flames that will leap off one set of walls to the next. Start making their way through dust-riddled classrooms and glassed desktops, throwing eerie light across the yellowing scurf of the lawn. Somebody will call it in before it gets out of hand, if not necessarily before Ghost can drag his disoriented corpus out of it. More than anything, that means, merely: good-bye.

He shifts in the periphery of her mind, like some patina of algal bloom across the moving surface of water. You know. Slimy, doesn't need much to live off. Calling me names now? he inquires. Fuck, woman. Just because I couldn't give a rat's ass about them doesn't mean I don't care. You don't get as good as we do without caring; you wouldn't give that much shit up. You just aren't part of it anymore. You're not a part of jack shit anymore. Anyway. There's a hiss of laughter, a single monosyllable rusting out through the steely clash of his voice in her inner-ear. I have to go. Getting hard to breathe in here, if you know what I'm saying.

Nice jeans.

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