"It Should Have Been You."


s_rebecca_icon.gif tallie_icon.gif

Scene Title "It Should Have Been You."
Synopsis Someone comes for payback.
Date December 11, 2009

Late night and Rebecca was doing a little late night research. As she types a few things into the computer and waits for it to spit out the results, she brings her hand up and covers her mouth as she yawns. There is only one small lamp that gives soft light to the room, as she finds that as it gets nearer to bedtime, she can sleep better if she spends a few moments with low lighting. She leans back in her chair, as she considers changing for bed. She closes her eyes for just a moment.

Just a moment means nothing to slumber — time loses meaning in sleep. But seemingly that moment passes, when there is a sound out in the front room — the turn of a door knob, a bump, something going crash in the night. Footsteps on creaky floorboards that normally don't creak. The rustling of something, as if a thief is going through her belongings.

The crash causes her to snap her eyes open as she almost immediately get to her feet. Rebecca pulls out the drawer of her desk and reaches for her revolver. It's licensed, of course, since she's a legal PI, but she doesn't care to use it that often. "Who's there?" she shouts into the open doorway to her study. "I'm armed and I know how to use a weapon." Which is the truth, since she's been going to the range and brushing up on her marksmanship.

The noises stop — enough that for a moment of relief, it causes the investigator to believe that she imagined the noises. There is a moment of stillness — the only sound in the room the heart pounding in Rebecca's chest, her own breath coming shallowly as she waits for the response that may or may not come. The moment seems to stretch and freeze-frame; in a horror movie, the music would be eerie, minor, accelerating into a diminuendo behind the audible thump of her heart.

Suddenly, a figure steps into the hallway — at first, silhouetted, a small, slim frame, shorter than Rebecca. "I don't think that will help you much," says a soft, feminine voice, stepping closer until the dim glow from Rebecca's room is enough to give definition to the speaker's face.

Deathly pale, her lips and the skin beneath the eyes a pale blue, the girl is one that has haunted Rebecca's memory more than one night. Tallie Augustine, the woman who died saving Rebecca, stands before her.

Eyes blink as Rebecca is certain she's seeing things. Imagining things. She must be asleep, but the feel of the cold steel in her hand puts the doubt in her mind. She doesn't put down the gun, but keeps it at the ready as she shakes her head. "No. I saw you. You died." Images of that evening flash before her as she recalls the woman intervening on her behalf and saving her life, at the risk of her own. "You saved me." Like a bad motion picture, the scene replays in Rebecca's mind. "You're not here. You can't be."

"I died," Tallie echoes, affirming Rebecca's words. "But that doesn't mean I'm not here, too, does it? You of all people know that anything is possible in this world we live in." She takes a step closer, and there is the glint of something metallic in her hand; it's hard to make out in the dim shadows of the hallway.

"I saved you because I was trying to do something good, so that you could do something good with your life. But what have you done? Gotten addicted to drugs, lost your job. It's a waste."

That causes Rebecca's arms to lower along with the weapon. She doesn't seems to notice or respond to the metal that comes from Tallie. "I… messed up. I know. I needed it. For the headaches. I didn't know how it would end up." Rebecca had stopped rationalizing her addiction long ago, but the words from Tallie puts it all into a different perspective. "I'm helping now. I'm doing something with my life."

Tallie laughs. The cold sound doesn't mesh with her china-doll face. "Doing something. Helping. Helping what? Bitter women to find out who their cheating husbands are fucking? Background checks for employers to make sure they don't hire some scumbag who might steal a few grand from their millions? Who is that really going to help, Rebecca? Let's not kid ourselves."

She takes another step forward. "If I had lived, do you know what I would have done? I would have gone back to school, become a doctor. A researcher. And I would have found the cure for AIDS. No shit, I'm telling the truth. They showed us what would have happened, had we not died, on the other side. It's not like the books and movies show." She is quiet a moment, and her gray blue eyes narrow.

"There is no heaven. There is no hell. There is just nothing. You're dead. You take no joy in anything. It's an eternity of nothingness, of looking at your choices and living with them. Those who made good choices? It's not so bad. For those of us like me…" she shakes her head.

Rebecca shakes her head. "No. It can't be like that. You're lying." She's always felt bad about what happened. However, it was Tallie who stole her wallet, which is something she found out after Tallie died. "You were just a thief, and now you're making this up." There's the sound of the gun as she sets it on the desk. "I don't believe you."

"I was a thief so I could get my life in order. I was a biology major when the bomb went off, though," Tallie says, which is true enough. "But what are you doing that's any better? At least when you worked for the police, you had a chance of putting away criminals. Now?" She shakes her head, curls bouncing around her cheeks as she does so.

"But you know, it's okay. I get a chance to set things right." Her hand lifts, and the blade is visible now — light glinting off of it, a tinge of red staining its steel. It is the same knife that had been intended for Rebecca once, but had plunged into Tallie instead. "You were supposed to die that night, don't you see?"

Rebecca backs away from Tallie as she now sees the blade in her hand. Unfortunately, she doesn't have far to go as the wall is there. "Don't. Please. I am helping. I still help the police. I still do those things. I still help people." She holds up her hands as if that will stop Tallie from coming towards her. "You died heroically. Why would you ruin that? Please.." Fact is, Rebecca owes Tallie everything, including her own life. She's just not ready to give it up.

"You can try to convince yourself of that, but you'll find out soon enough, if your choices were enough. They will show you," Tallie says, with a nod behind her, where a doorway that should not be at the end of the hallway stands in silhouette, light peeking out from beneath it, as if to light Tallie's way. "Back where I come from."

With that, she rushes at Rebecca, the blade in her hand aiming for the same spot it had once found in her own body — for the heart.

Rebecca feels the floor beneath her as she falls into it with a thud. It starts her awake, if she was even asleep at all. She backs up against the wall, her body shaking as she looks around for Tallie who was here just a moment ago. Her heart is pounding, and it's all she can feel and hear now. Tears stream down her face as she feels that familiar urge, the addiction calling her. She reaches up and places the back of her hand against her forehead as she feels the trickle of sweat moving down her face.

She finally stands, taking a deep breath and reaching over to close the lid to her laptop. As she walks by the lamp, she reaches for the switch, then thinks better of it and moves into her bedroom, leaving the light on as she has no clue how she's going to actually sleep now. "I'm… sorry," she whispers softly, hoping that the one who saved her life can hear her heartfelt apology.

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