Koshka In Underland


bao-wei2_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif

Scene Title Koshka In Underland
Synopsis Little girls are innocent enough to be spared the trouble of running from monsters.
Date December 6, 2010

Central Park - Underground

Cold lives deep in the bowels of the earth, especially now that winter has a firm grip on the land above. It's a chill that settles into the bones of the unwary, that makes the air feel heavy, that gives silence a tangible presence. And in these lands below the city there is no exception.

Going into the subway itself seemed like a good idea at the time. It was out of the wind and a change from the normal pull and grind. Not to mention the questioning eyes and surprised accusation from some fellow in a long coat. She'd nearly gotten away with his wallet, but someone with keener eyes and called foul and alerted the man to her efforts. That, more than the wind, is what drove Koshka to spirit herself away. Who knew that the subway tunnels went deeper still than just what the average man saw?

The youth had managed to slip away from sight and persuit by running down the stairs to the platform. The sounds of voices following sold her on the idea of following the tracks and taking the next potential exit. The further along Koshka went, however, the more curious she became. Who was she hurting by doing a little exploring? There wasn't anyone who'd be looking for her, except maybe Griffin, and he didn't count anyway. That next exit came, by way of a ladder and a short drop, and wound up in a world that most people never found. Ruins of a time past, built up and covered over as the city grew.

Koshka, in a mix of wonder and wariness, had ventured away from that ladder and follows, now what might have once been a waterway.

Traces of people are always everywhere in the city, even far, far below the surface. A clue here, a hint there, and maybe things that are not so obvious. There are other things down here, too, that do not fit into the categories of men, or women, or even vagabonds. She may have seen someone else on her way down, back nearer the surface; as she goes on, however, there is very little human presence. Faint noises wandering down tunnels, clanks and whirrs of machines, the gurgling of water behind walls and dirt. Unbeknownst to her, little Koshka has been followed.

He has not been tailing her for terribly long, or even very closely, should he accidentally cause the cold around him to warn her. It is not that he wants to hide. Bao-Wei Cong wants to simply- see what she is doing. If she notices him, the game will be up. Amidst the various ambient noise of the underground, sometimes there is a peculiar shuffle of something rough on stone. Perhaps it is rats, to human ears. In truth, it is the mimic.

A great many people look behind them if they feel eyes. He is never behind her, no, he is always keeping back, blackened hide and all tucked in the utmost dark, latched bodily onto the ceiling like a gecko to a tree.

The girl, for the longest time, is far more interested in just looking. Her own footsteps sound hollow and add to the ambience that aids in concealing Bao-Wei's presence. Once she pauses, stooping to touch a stone and trail fingers through dust with a small grin, only to rise again and resume her journey. But as that feeling of being followed manages to sink past the curiosity of what she's happened upon, Koshka does begin to look back.

At first it's just a casual glance over her shoulder. The teen hasn't seen anyone else, and the noises she's heard could be easily passed off as rats or those crocodiles of legend. But the further along she goes, the longer Koshka is looking over her shoulder until finally she's walking backward. She's not looking up, though. Much is the pity, she's expecting to see someone on ground level and not above.

By the time she is walking backwards, looking into her wake, Cong has stopped moving after her. The noises are gone. But only for a second, before something pries itself from the ceiling in the dark. She can see it moving, grinding against the stone, long spines in the dimmer light down the tunnel only outlines, shadows in shadow. The chill is obvious, now, though nothing she cannot handle. It nips at her ears and nose, worse than the weather topside. The figure in the distance hobbles forward, thumping steps carrying it into more light offered by a sickly yellow something, in the next tunnel over.

What it is, is shocking- curved horns knocking dull against the tall ceiling as it moves, a jagged hide, spiny pauldrons on its shoulders- maybe she's heard about it. A monster. There are only so many creatures running around the city. Its face is craggy, vaguely humanoid, with a heavy brow and a hinged jaw full of crocodilian teeth. The only difference is that everything- is ice. Solid ice.

The right eye socket is empty, a black hole. The left socket has in it a disc-shaped golden iris, and a prick of inky pupil. It is looking at her.

Blue eyes flick upward at the movement, then narrow against the dark. Mouth slowly opening, Koshka watches as something large, something definitely not normal comes out of the shadows. The cold forgotten, she actually takes a step forward for a better look. But no matter how interesting coming into this place might have been, she's certainly not prepared for meeting anything like that creature.

Once the light touches the rough exterior, giving detail the the monstrous hide, the teen recovers that step then gains two more. Eyes go wide enough to give thought that they may pop out and the smallest of wordless squeaks frees itself of her throat.

Koshka's gaze rises, literally taking in the figure from the ground up. Her mouth closes, as slowly as it had opened, by the time she's taken in the whole of Bao-Wei's appearance. When she manages to meet the gaze, a measure of her initial fear has been controlled, though eyes are still wide with uncertainty.
He doesn't look fast. Feet that look like a tortoise's, lumbering, long arms- incidentally tipped with long talons. They fold inward, at rest. It looks like a 'he', the way the brow lowers, the tangled looking, splintery mane of feather ice lending him something to add to that. The rumble sounds all too masculine, too, as the eye zeroes in on the small girl. Jaw grinding, it stares as she squeaks and creeps a step or so closer.

"Boo." Is that what he's supposed to do? Bao-Wei rarely deals with children this young anymore, but a doctor is a doctor, and he is trying to remember how to handle this particular situation.

Koshka's chin lifts slightly as she swallows around a sudden swelling of fear, but she stands her ground. She's just as much right to be down here prowling as the next person. Hands clench into fists at her sides and, while she isn't exactly tall and a bit on the skinny side, the girl tries to make herself appear like she could hold her own.

Of course, the teen wasn't expecting him to speak. Any fighting front she'd built up is broken down with that one word. Koshka tries for a hasty retreat which ends with her on her back, tripped up by her own feet. Pushing up onto her elbows, she looks up at Bao-Wei again, having gained no ground for herself.
The golem is scraping the ceiling, and she's worried about standing her ground? Kids. He doesn't even move his head when she stumbles and slips onto her backside, but there is a choky rumble in his chest, which soon, creaks forth out of his jaw as a laugh. He isn't here to eat children. Stepping forward another pace, the horned head tilts, reptilian, golden eye fixed on her. His voice is grating, and rocky, and to her- a sort of whisper, as if to share a secret.

"If I had wanted to do anything to you, I would have when you came down here." He politely as possible, lets her know that he has been there for awhile, should she be paying attention. One arm lifts up, claws scraping hard against the wall as he shifts forward again. The cold is coming from him, it is obvious.

Surprise and barely reined in terror give way to indignance when the monster begins to laugh at her. Koshka's eyes narrow and her lips press together into a line until he's had his chuckle. Very funny, scaring a kid like that then laughing when she falls. Hmph.

Koshka fixes him with a look, part sullen stubbornness at being laughed at, part wary, worried as the creature begins to speak. Carefully she picks herself up from the ground, still keeping an eye on Bao-Wei. And it's then that she notices the cold again, a shiver running through her. "You… you're… What?"

"You… you tell me." His words take a moment to render, tone thoughtful, despite its unnatural origin. The claws on the wall lift further to swipe idly at the gathered fuzz of ice that seems to crumble as he takes steps, yet reappears when the moisture in the air seeps away. The swipe comes with a slight shake of his hunched posture, tines of ice clacking together. It is almost like going to Jurassic Park, the manner in which he moves.

"And then, you can tell me why you are nosing around. Alone."

Koshka raises a hand to her head. Did she hit it on something? Is this really happening? Hand lowering again, she leans slightly to take a look behind Bao-Wei. She looks sheepish as she returns her attention to the monster himself. "Sorry," the girl tries again, hesitant as eyes catch glints off the ice. "Um… Hi?" Not much better, but at least not terribly rude.

"I found a ladder," the teen offers in explanation. She hunches her shoulders, hands stuffing into the pockets of her jacket. "And.. I just followed it."

Behind him, hovering a few inches off of the ground, a short, spiky tail twitches in and out of view. She can't get too close to him without freezing, despite his attempts to collect his cold to him, instead of around him. It is a little like forcing himself to take small breaths. A little. Bao-Wei suddenly feels like the wet blanket, peering across the tunnel to the girl who probably shouldn't be here at all. She looks too young, this is moronic.

"Just because you find ladders does not mean you need to climb on them." The warning is so very obvious, and sharp. Pointed. "Kids these days, I swear."

Koshka's mouth opens to reply, then closes again. This repeats and a shrug joins in the action. "Yeah, but it's not like it's hurting anything," she counters. She offers a grin, toothy but something that she's obviously used before to get out of trouble. It's cute and states simply 'Don't be mad.'

The girl turns slightly and looks the way she'd been traveling. She even dares to take a couple of steps, like she was considering continuing without regard for the unspoken warnings. But what she asks is nothing of the sort. "Who are you," the query comes as she looks back to the creature.

"The problem, is more about things hurting you." the creature rumbles. You know, Kosh, like giant ice monsters that climb on the ceilings. His eye is steady on her, and his voice no-nonsense, even with her smile. As a monster, or as a man, Bao-Wei is always a hardass, and unimpressed with pretty much everything aside from himself. He is not mad, he just does not want to hear it. Tuning it out is only an option if he has something better to be doing.

"Xuan Wu." Unmistakably Asian name, insert here. It is Chinese, which in itself, may be very telling. Origins are everything.

Oh right. The other things. Koshka doesn't seem too worried about being below the city, in a place she obviously shouldn't be. She'd survived the streets alone for the last few months, surely she can survive an encounter with this giant ice monster and a lot of dusty old ruins. Maybe? His words do cause the grin to falter and she turns to look up at Bao-Wei again, attempting to keep the sudden pang of unsureness hidden.

"Shoo-ahn Woo," the girl repeats slowly, phonetically. If she recognizes it as Chinese, she doesn't show it. "Why'd you be worried about someone down here? You're down here."

If phonetics bothered him, he would never have lasted. She's mostly got it, that's good enough. "Exactly." Bao-Wei's jaw clacks shut, and creaks open with his words again. The eye on her swivels around, the disc pointing upward, then down, and back to Koshka. The rest of him doesn't move. "There are people that I would rather not find me."

"For every monster, there is a monster hunter." Truer words were never spoken.

Koshka's head dips into a nod, expression sobering further. Seems she can understand that sentiment. Running, hiding. "Won't say nothing about you being here," she says with a small shrug. Least she can offer for coming into the place, though it's not likely she'd tell anyone about the adventure anyway.

"I know what you mean," the girl continues. "I kind of ran away once. And.." Now she's hiding, too. "That's it."

"The street is no place for a little girl." Even Bao-Wei knows that much, and can impress that much upon her. If she doesn't want to listen to the sentient sculpture, that's her problem, not his. "Did you do something?" In this day and age, one can never tell. Even the most innocent of faces can hide behind it a perfect storm. A loud thunk fills the tunnel, icy hindquarters sitting down hard on the stone. He has nowhere to be. Just here, his cyclopean eye on the girl.

"You should find somewhere safer. You are fortunate that I do not devour children."

"I manage," Koshka says in defense of her living situation. It isn't the best, with nothing she's gained so far a certainty. She hesitates in answering, fear again creeping into her expression. Maybe she should go back to the surface. Questions are easier to dodge up there. A flinch replies to the thunk of hind end dropping onto stone, saving her from answering right away.

"Yeah," the girl answers slowly, shuffling backward a couple of steps. "But I ran away. Trying to …stay. Away."

"I didn't say go back, did I?" One craggy brow lifts in question. "I said find somewhere safer." Cong is smart enough to make a difference visible to a child, that is certain. "These tunnels lead under midtown. Nobody goes there. If you remember how to get in and out…" Midtown? Safe?

"The library is mostly intact." Yes, he may be trying to lead her to somewhere- normal people are so much better equipped to help other normal people.

Koshka looks at Bao-Wei, a measure of guardedness to her expression. And didn't he just say that the tunnels weren't safe? "But you didn't say stay either," she points out. "Besides, I'm looking for a safer place. It's just.." The girl looks up at Bao-Wei, once again meeting his gaze.

"..How's midtown, anywhere around there, safer than here?" That's just crazy.

"I just told you. Nobody goes there, really." How sane can an ice monster be? Do not put too much faith into his being able to keep his story straight- or maybe he figures that if she's going to not listen anyway..

"Most people that you might find there may be able to help you more than I can. What am I? The beast, in his tower." Bao-Wei's eye roams again, darting across the wall and following something that is not there. When his jaw opens again, a plume of cold air clouds out and over his face. "The caterpillar."

A small frown pulls at the girl's brows, and she looks rather unsure. Normally, under less unusual circumstances, she'd grin and roll her eyes. She is, after all, immortal in her own mind and immune to the horrors of the world. "I don't know," Koshka says slowly. "That.. It's pretty neat down here, but.."

The girl looks over her shoulder, once again considering the path she'd been on. "What kinds of people might I find," she asks in quiet tones. There's all sorts, and some are more dangerous than others.

"Better ones than me." Bao-Wei offers her look back with the same old stare, then, a lift of his hand, a twitch of his claws. Shoo. "Keep going for about…fifteen minutes. You will find a waterway that goes to the other side of the park. You'll get away from… whatever it is that you are hiding from." He assumes that it is something right now, maybe, maybe not.

"You need to leave."

The frown remains as Koshka turns to look back at the giant, retreating a step at his waving of claws. She still looks unsure, wary and maybe wondering if it's a trap. Well, whatever it is, she'll handle it. "Hope you're right," she says as she turns to go. She'll proceed far more cautiously now. "…Man, do I hope you're right."

Bao-Wei is not going to watch her go, but he is going to stay here for a while to make sure that she doesn't come back this way. The least he can do is make sure she heads somewhere better- it is up to her to listen or not. Though, if he sees her again, he may not be so nice about shooing her away. He is a fickle thing. Good luck, Koshka.

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