Kill The Lights, Verse II



Scene Title Kill The Lights, Verse II
Synopsis Faking every tear
Looking like a compromised suicide
Keeping all my dreams alive

Date April 20, 2011

A Jersey City Storage Unit

For April, it's pretty cool out in Jersey City. Brisk enough that Royce Garret to be standing by his car, cigarette hanging from his mouth as he pulls a jacket out from the backseat of his car. Sliding it on, he looks over at the three others with him, offering them a smile.

"Well, guys, I think we got this," one of them, a guy with shaggy blond hair, says. He smirks, giving Royce and the two other men a thumbs up. "There's, what, three other acts left in this thing, right?" He turns his attention to Royce, his smile fading bit. "You sure you're good about going up against that girl you used to bang?"

Royce rolls his eyes, leaning against his car. "We didn't- she's gay, Mark, Jesus."

Mark laughs, shrugging slightly. "Yeah, I know. Ain't for nothing, though."

"Christ, you're an asshole," Royce breathes out. "Look Quinn… she's a nonfactor. This stuff she's playing, it's good, but solo? It's not that great. I don't even understand how's made it this far. So yeah, it'll be fine."

"Yeah, well…" A young man with well styled brown hair starts, "this whole Battle of the Bands thing has been pretty cutthroat. I know it's supposed to be the whole tri-state area, but.whoa. Like, people are getting broken into and shit? Didn't the guitarist from Corner Pocket get pushed down three flights of stairs?"

A shorter guy, with longer dirty blonde hair speaks up next. "Dustin? Yeah, man. I mean, he says he was pushed. No one else was there, though, so he probably just tripped. He's an idiot, anyway. Maybe it'll knock some things loose."

"Rude," the brown haired man retorts.

The long haired blonde gives him a sceptical look. "Look, Rory, do you believe him? I think he's just trying to ride the wave of all the thefts and damages being done. I mean, no one is safe lately. It's some scary shit."

"Okay, dudes. Shut up," Mark speaks up again, pushing off his car and straightening up. "Final day's tomorrow, and you guys sound like you're trying to psych yourselves out. It's gonna be fine."

The other two look up at him and nod. Royce drums his fingers on his arm, and then sighs, dropping his cigarette down to ground and stomping it out. Mark looks over at him, rolling his eyes. "You look like you're thinking too hard again guys, I-"

A hand reaches into his pocket, and an exasperated look forms on Royce's face. "I fucking- think I left my phone back in the practice space," he grumbles, pushing off his car.

"It's a storage unit, dude.It barely qualifies as a practice space."

Royce waves a hand dismissively, tuning back to the row of storage units behind them. "I'm gonna head back in, get my phone and… maybe check on things. You guys are freaking me out with this shit."

The other two are already headed to their cars, but Mark lingers for a moment and chuckles. "Grow a fucking spine, Garret," he teases, before pulling open the front door of his own car.

Royce ignores him, offering a middle finger back as he hears the door shut and the engine start. Keys are fished out of his pocket, pulling open the door to the inside halls of the storage centre. He just sort of drifts down the hall, slow and aimless, until he comes up to unit B37. There's a side door as well as the shutter door on the front. Quietly, he winds his way around the side, key slid into the door knob-

And then he notices it. The shine of clean white light from underneath the door. His eyes widen, panicking internally. Besides his phone, this was exactly why he'd come back and now- he suddenly finds himself terrified. No one should be in their space. And the door is locked still? How did anyone even get in?

Taking a deep breath, he steels himself as he pushes open the door. "Hey!" he yells, reaching to flick the overhead light on. A blindingly bright light swings his way, A hand quickly raised to shield his eyes. The blindly light abruptly vanishes, the entire room looking significantly darker as he slams the door behind him. "I don't know who you are but-"

Something crashes into him, cutting him off. He grunts as his back slams in the door behind him. He pushes back, grabbing the person that has just collided with him by the shoulders and wrenching them from him, shoving them back with all his might. Rubbing his back where it impacted with the doorknob, he looks up- and he freezes.

"The hell?"

Ahead of him stands a woman, shorter than he is, with straight, short, clean cut black hair, curled slightly at the ends, in a short sleeve blue shirt marked with a white and red floral pattern, and a red bow at the neck, black slacks to go with it. She wears dark gloves on her hands, visibly scratched and torn on one side. He looks up, into green eyes, and gasps. He recognises her.


She looks like a deer stuck in headlights for a moment, before she begins backing away from him. "God damnit, Royce," she hisses at him, grasping at music equipment behind her. She snatches at a microphone, but seems to miss it. Royce looks back up at her, and then back down.

"Quinn, what the fuck are you…" He begins to look around the room as he speaks, and with the light back on and no longer dimmed, he begins to see something horrific. Two of their arms have had the front grills smashed in, the speakers ruined, and the headstock on his bass snapped off. "…are you… doing… here…"

She breathes quick and shallow, watching him like a cornered rat. "You were supposed t' fuckin' go home, Royce!" she shouts. She would keep her voice low, but she can see the layers of soundproofing on the walls meant almost n sound leaked out into the halls around them. She backs into a monitor, almost tripping backwards.

"What… the fuck is this, Quinn?" Royce stands there, looking over at the damaged instrument and equipment. A hand rises to cover over his mouth, eyes wide as he looks back to her. "Holy shit. It's you." He raises a hand at her, pointing accusingly. "You're the one who's been breaking into vans and shit, aren't you?!"

"Don't call me that," she growls out to him.

His other hand reaches behind him, relocking the door. "How the shit did you even get in here?"

She straightens up, and that deer in headlights look gives away to something much more… smug, a knowing smirk and slightly tilted gaze aimed his way. "Y'know, it's been a fuckin' year, Royce. Y' think I haven't learned some new tricks?"

He isn't prepared for what happens next. He knows his former friend is evolved, that she was able to do some weird and cool shit with light, but he watches in horror as the light wavers and ripples around her - and she suddenly vanishes from sight. He doesn't move from the door, watching where she stood in disbelief.

"There's no way," he breathes out, swallowing hard as he breathing starts to quicken, that panicked feeling slowly starting to rise within him again.

"I listened to y'r entire practice." The disembodied voice of Robyn Quinn immediately draws Royce's gaze to the direction it comes from. "Been here th' whole time. The lot of y' are pretty good. Good enough t' win this competition."

"Seriously? Is that what this is about? The fuckin'- competition? Quinn, you've got-"

He spots a shimmer in front of him, just before she fades into view in front of him and pushes him back into the door. "Don't call me that!" she shouts back. "You don't get t' call me that anymore!" She stares at him, nostrils flaring as she takes rapid breaths. "Fuck no," is her reply to the preceding question. "Not t'night."

Royce groans as his back hits the doorknob again, groaning and stumbling back forward. She steps aside, letting him stumble back forward and past her; instead of speaking further, she moves between him and the door. He hunches over, coughing.

"Nngh. J-Jesus, what did-"

"You abandoned me!" She doesn't even wait for him finish. Rubbing the back if her hand over the corner of her mouth. "So yeah, y' wanna know what's up? Fine. Sure. I fucked up those other acts." A grin slowly forms on her face. "Do people still think Dustin Cottrell fell down those stairs?"

She watches as the horror on Royce's face grows as he stands straight again and turns back to her.

"But this?" She motions towards the ruined equipment. "Nah, hon. This is personal. Two birds, one stone an' all that. Because if you're out? I'm a shoe in t' win that thing, and I get the satisfaction of wreckin' things for you too."

"God, where- where's my phone," Royce breathes out, suddenly looking around the room as he begins to better understand the situation he's in. He's desperate to even at least dial 911, or text someone.

One gloved hand rises from her side, holding up his cheap looking LG. She shakes it side to side once, before sliding it back into her pocket. Royce looks at it, and feels a lump in the back of his throat as he swallows. "Look, I- don't put this on me. I don't know what's happened to you, but don't put this on me! You're the one who wouldn't ever slow down a moment and listen or think! You're still not!"

She points a finger at him, gaze tilting askew slightly. "Funny story, that," she says flatly. "Y' wanna know what happened? You fuckin' ghosted on me, Royce. I sold most a' my stuff, enough for another couple a' months rent, yeah? But it wasn't enough! The bookstore didn't want me back, an' nothin' else was comin'."

A rueful laugh escapes her lips, tone sardonic as she start to approach Royce. "I've been basically homeless f'r the last year Royce! Sleepin' on couches when I could, an' when I couldn't, well…" She leaves him to fill in the blanks. "I haven't had a good night's sleep in a year, a good meal in a month. An' you! Y' just walked away, ignored me! My texts, calls!"

He begins to back away as she gets closer, until his heel catches on a stray cord. He plummets backwards, landing hard on his side. She continues to advance until she stands over him, a stare that could melt metal. There's a bit of a gleam in her eyes as she stops head of him, looking down at him.

"Y' wanna see the real me?"

It isn't a real choice. Just like earlier, the light around her begins to waver and ripple, but rather than vanish, this time she changes. Well kept, short and cropped hair becomes long, stringy, dirty, and matted. Her fashionable top become a slightly loose, plain white t-shirt, ripped and stained. There are rings around her eyes from lack of sleep, half lidded as she wipes dirt from her cheek.


Royce stares, mouth agape at the vastly different looking woman in front of him. "H-holy shit. W-When did you-"

"Hell of a thing, yeah?" She walks up beside him, kneeling down. "Stole some old books on light an' physics from the bookstore, y' see. Studied 'em when I had the chance, which was a lot. Turns out y' can do a hell of a lot with light besides just changin' colours an' makin' pretty displays."

"Look, I-I'm sorry, okay? I just- I needed some time, y-you should have come to see me, I would've helped you out if I'd known,I-"

She gives him a tired look, lips thinning. "Or, y' know. Just answer y'r goddamn phone, arsehole." He head cocks slightly to the side, and she looks him in the eye. "But, see, we have a little problem here. Y'weren't supposed t' come back, Royce. You an' your lot were supposed t' come in on this t'morrow. But nah, y' just had t' come back." Her eyes narrow, watching him intently. "An' I know y', Royce, y' ain't gonna let this go."

"Look, just- help me up Quinn, and we-"

And after midnight we're all the same
No glass shoe to bring us fame
Nobody to take the blame
We're falling apart

He doesn't finish. He doesn't see it coming - he actually doesn't see it coming. All he feels is the sudden strike of something cold and metallic against his face, splitting skin and dislodging a tooth as it hits with surprising force. He falls fully to the ground. As a dribble of blood slips from his lip, he swings his gaze back up to her, watching as horror as the microphone she'd reached for earlier materialises in her hand. He cries out, and her eyes widen, wild and full of rage.

Every story's a waiting game
A flower for every name
Their colors are paling
In the falling rain

"DON'T!" She swings again, the crack of bone breaking audible as the microphone collides with his cheek. "CALL!" Another swing, this time flat against his nose, more forceful and savage that the preceding two, blood beginning to flow before she can fully pull black. "ME!" Adjusting her grip, she slams the microphone into his ocular cavity, splitting skin across his brow, rocking his vision as everything turns fuzzy. "THAT!" Two hands grip it this time, as she brings it down on his forehead, a crunching sound echoing as she does.

We kill the lights and put on a show
It's all a lie but you'd never know
Your star will shine and then it will fall
And you will forget it all

Royce groans, face bruised, broken, and bloody. In a haze, he tries to speak, but no sound other than a strained weeze issues forth. As the microphone rises again, something stays her hand, staring down at him. Her whole body trembles, full of kinetic energy waiting to be released. And suddenly- suddenly she starts to laugh.

"Look at that! Asked an' answered!" she proclaims in an uneven voice. "Problem-" The microphone swings down again and into Royce's jaw, shattering it as she puts everything she has behind the blow. "Solved!"

Now you know it's so much better to pretend
There's something waiting for you here
Every letter that you wrote
Has found its way to me, my dear

Another blow, this time to the temple. Royce chokes out a cough, weakly trying to push back against her. More follow, as she vacillates between hysterical laughter and crying over Royce, continued blows against his forehead, temple, cheek, and anywhere else she can reach. Blood soaks her gloves, running up her arm every time she raises it to strike again. It's only when she strikes hard and repeatedly enough to collapse his right ocular cavity - and eye with it - that she cackles outloud and lets her arm fall limp back to her side. He's long since stopped moving or breathing.

You can make believe that
What you say is what I want to hear
I'll keep dancing through this beautiful
Delusional career

She looks down at her handiwork for a moment, intensely thankful for the thickly soundproof walls. She pulls the phone out of her pocket, and slips it into his limp fingers. A giggle filters out, unable to keep it back. It gives away to another hysterical fit of laughter. Microphone still in hand, she leans down to his bashed ear and taps it against his forehead. "This is Robyn, tellin' you it's time t' #killthehouselights," she whispers into his ear, something she'd been intending to text him tomorrow after she would "discover" that they'd been force to drop from the competition. He can't hear it, but it feels just as satisfying.

He probably would've figured it out then, but with no proof or certainty. This was so much better, revenge served up close and personal, with him knowing why this fate had befallen him. It was karma, really.

Faking every tear
Looking like a compromised suicide
Keeping all my dreams alive

She grins, leaning in a slight bit closer. "This was fun," she breathes out. "We should do it again sometime! But I've got t' get some sleep. I've got a competition t' win tomorrow." She reaches a hand over to his cheek, tapping it twice with the back of two fingers. "Later, tater!" As she rises back to her feet, the illusion of a clean cut, well kept woman begins to waver and reemerge as she keeps the microphone clutched tight in hand. As her hand lands on the door knob, the air shimmers and Robyn Quinn fades away, a ghost who was never even here.

Her work is done for tonight.

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