Leave It


eileen2_icon.gif eve_icon.gif

Scene Title Leave It
Synopsis Some can, some can't.
Date March 25, 2019

Ruins of Staten Island

The back of her horse is Eileen’s favourite place to be. He represents a sort of freedom she can’t find anywhere else, and without shirking the responsibilities that have her married to role among the Remnant. She thinks she might prefer being married to Gabriel, actually, but Gabriel isn’t here right now.

Only Grindstone.

The stallion plods along a muddied path that flanks what was once a national wildlife refuge. Here, the Pine Barrens meet brackish coastal marshland, opening out into a flat that stretches all the way to the horizon line. On a clear day, you can see what remains of New Jersey from here. Today, however, is overcast and Eileen has to strain to make out the tall, skeletal shapes of bombed-out buildings in the distance — like giants somewhere off in the early morning fog.

Shrill wetland birds scissor and zip through the sky and between the reeds, filling the air with their songs. It’s not yet time for butterflies. They’ll emerge from their hiding places sometime in the afternoon, and by then Eileen will be well on her way back home.

A flicker of red in the distance not too far from Eileen catches her or her birds eye coming from the tree line of the Pine Barrens, not for long though because as a buzz hums in the surrounding area out comes a peculiar sight indeed.

Crimson light lances through the fog though it's brightness is muffled by it still. The sound of lightning crackling joins that hum and a blood red cloud of energy hovers softly from the tree line bobbing slowly in towards the coast. Where lightning strikes it leaves smoke and blackened, burnt ground. That mass of energy rocks backwards and forwards eventually coming to the shore and seeming to settle. The metal filings within the cloud twist and contort.

If Eve's vision was clearer while a cloud she might have not stopped at this shore after seeing Eileen. (Complete lie.) But her vision being so limited left Eve doing exactly what she loves to do on days like this when it's so overcast a bright shining light might go unnoticed or at least be harder to spot. A pop and fizzle as the cloud changes shape, slowly lengthening and extending in some directions. Growing smaller but taller, the shape of a human female becomes apparent though she's bathed in crimson light.

Slowly, pale flesh lays itself over her form and a scream pierces the air but it sounds as if it's being rewound. The end result is a raven haired woman with smoke rising off her body, pain wrecking through her but Eve isn't here to cry or anything. She's here to splash her face with water. A ragged hum sounds from the woman whose naked back is turned towards Eileen and her horse, completely oblivious.

The same cannot be said of Eileen or her horse. Grindstone’s front hooves stamp the earth and the stallion throws back his head with a coarse chuff blown through flared nostrils. The Englishwoman’s gloved hand on the side of his neck steadies him, but only just.

Red is a bad colour. It reminds Eileen of singular eyes that glow in the dark, and eight long limbs feeling hungrily around it.

She cinches her reins between the fingers of her other hand — just in case.

“You might want to put on some clothes,” she suggests, mildly.

"Haven't learned how yet!" Is the cheerful reply to Eileen, called her over shoulder as Eve snickers from the ice cold water hitting her face. "I almost got an old trench coat but it just burn baby burned on me." Turning her head to see whose speaking to her the pale woman doesn't blink. Slowly she tilts her head and squints her crimson glowing eyes at the woman atop of the horse. "Mmmmmmmmmmm."

In this moment there are a number of things that Eve could do, would do maybe if this was another life. Her last run in with Eileen was cordial of sorts, casual. No blood loss, no dried up husks of corpses though the former seer would surely be lying if she said she wasn't curious to see it in action. That feels callous with the thought of Cameron Spaulding and how his life was ended due to the parasite inside of Eileen.

…Eve leans in a fraction of an inch.

…"…I like your hair."

Splash in the water.

Eileen glances past Eve, on the lookout for any signs in the reeds that might indicate they aren’t alone. She finds none, not with her own eyes, and not with any of the eyes belonging to the wetland birds. They’ve all stilled.

The naked woman bathing herself in brackish water resembles Eve Mas, but the Eve Mas she knew could only ever take one shape. A gentle application of pressure nudges Grindstone back into motion as Eileen guides him along the water’s edge in a wide arc that leaves more than fifty feet of distance between them and Eve’s nude silhouette.

“Thanks,” she answers, but does not sound particularly grateful. “I’d heard you were dead.”

Now with a wet mane, midnight locks swinging in front of her face the former seer grins and waves her hand, water harmlessly flying off of her limbs. "What is dead?" A light wiggle of her fingers as the woman tries to study her digits. "Three. Three. Three times dead." a rough shake of her head, "It never sticks." Eve doesn't laugh not this time, it's sometimes a sobering thought that she's lost her life this many times. "People thought you were dead too. It's like we have more in common than we ever thought! More than just Jazzhands!"

The woman in a crouch drags her hand through the moist mud, rolling it around like clay in her hands, as dirt and grime decorate her flesh. "Are you," very casually, Eve doesn't look towards Eileen that clay is so interesting.

"The Other Bird or the Crone?" She remembers a mission, a quest to reunite Eileen, the one she knew with a body more suitable.

Not for the first time, Eileen is glad that she prefers to patrol these faraway perimeters alone. If she’d brought Iago or any of the others along with her, this conversation might have a very different ending.

“I ride with the people you call the Horsemen,” she answers, tone neutral and carefully opaque. Her expression gives slightly more away as her eyes hood like a cat’s, and she flattens her mouth so it doesn’t betray her.

Time to change the subject.

“I warned you about what was on the other side of the Looking Glass. You didn’t listen.”

"What a strange last year we had hmm?" Are the first words to leave Eve's lips as Eileen gives her answer and goes neutral. Eve leans in closer trying to search her expression, sealed tight as it is she just nods sagely. "We never quite get what we want." Almost an afterthought but it is even an answer to Eileen's next statement which has Eve erupting into laughter that fills the air. A ripple of blood red lightning scatters down her back and she winces with that laugh turning into a whimper. "Ah ah okay."

Plopping down on the wet ground with no care at all, the reeds she leans into the scratchy surface something for her to focus on.

"Bird, I knew. About Mother and Father. About Them Crossing. The price." Eve let's that stand as she looks up to the sky. "Sometimes it's the cause and the effect-" Eve stops and she too switches subject because admitting all of that is admitting she willfully allowed people to be killed in the process. Everyone, including Eve were pieces.

"Sooooo you still don't want to see Jazzhands? I just ran into Gabriel." A snort because ran isn't the operative word there, Eve cants her head.

This is beginning to feel more and more like a trap. If it is, then Eve has chosen her bait wisely. Eileen hesitates at the fork in the path that leads back into the pines, her body — and Grindstone’s — half-turned in the direction she intends to go. The stallion makes a low, impatient noise that sounds like it originates from the bottom of his chest, accompanied by a snap of his tail.

He likes the situation even less than his rider does.

Wait, Eileen’s guarded posture seems to say. So he waits.

“He’s not my Gabriel,” she lies, “and I’m not his Eileen.” But then: “How was he?”

Bright red eyes flick to the sky again as Eileen asks after her friend. Eve taps her fingertips along the curve of her arm breathing deeply, humming softly. Anything to distract her as Eileen's words do when the other woman speaks. "Prowling around. Being Jazzhands. Hiding but is he ever really! His eyebrows are still fabulous." Plucking at her own absently. "Who cares if he's yours or not." An uptick at the end of the phrase. More mud drawing that's nice, it's cold. That's better.

She'll wait for Eileen to leave to dig into it more.

"You're here, he's here. Is there any reason to delay happiness?" Mud caked onto the back of her hands and now her forearms, eyes glitter in the low light. "Rip the bandaid off." She slowly looks back at Eileen now with a soft expression on her face, mouth halfway open, "You know I love him. Like a brother who tolerates his koo koo Sister. I went to see him in his cabin. Cold place. His heart was colder. You fill up his brain, his everything."

There's no hint of malice, no attempt to wring information from Eileen. Eve has fallen into a rhythm, her mania cut short by concern of her bushy eyebrow'd friend. "I bet your heart would feel warmer with your other piece next to you."

Eileen can name many reasons to delay happiness, but the most obvious of them goes without saying. Or at least she assumed it did.

You miss the warmth, the conduit sympathizes, soft and sibilant, somewhere at the back of her mind. She turns her head just so, focusing her attention beyond Eve’s shoulder and to her right like a cat whose ears have been pricked and alerted to danger lurking in the reeds.

From Eve’s perspective, it’s as though Eileen has heard something that only she can.

“Would it?” she asks her. “Unable to hold or be held? This body used to be soft and inviting. I was his balm, but I can’t be that for him, or for anyone anymore.”

The woman opposite of Eileen looks down at her own hands as the British woman speaks, another ripple of crimson energy and Eve nods slowly, "I relate to this now, your body works against you. Against the ones you love." Sad, true but maybe because Eve is relatively new to this situation she has hope, "Soulmate love though, your other piece. That goes beyond the physical. Even beyond the River or that Garden."

There's a far-away look in her eyes as she remembers something from before. "I had a friend once. Jerome. College days, finding yourself. He was gay in the closet. He found himself and the love of his life," How this can relate to either of them is anyone's guess presently until Eve goes on, "Before he found those two things he found HIV. It was a sad time, Jerome was heartbroken. We all were. You'd think his partner would leave him hmm?"

"Becker stayed, held on tight. Wouldn't let go. I think they were married before the Bomb, that's love," it's not the same exact situation but, "Jerome is different than you. Different than me but there's a common thread there. Something worth exploring. Tiptoe that line Bird…" Eve sounds thoughtful as she twists a thick strand of raven hair around a pale skinny finger, eyes alight with that glow but not with excitement. She's contemplative now, unsure. Worried. Hurting. Thinking back always does that to her.

"You could ask him what he wants, how he wants to be loved. Might not need to lift a finger."

Eileen sees the pain in Eve’s fraught expression, hears it threaded through her voice when she shares her story. Everything before the Bomb feels like it happened a lifetime ago, but she isn’t so insensitive as to dismiss the experience Eve describes on the basis of being different from what their normal is now.

“I’m sorry for your friend,” she says. The hesitation that follows implies there’s a however, even if she doesn’t use that word to bridge her thoughts. “If Gabriel wanted to be close to me, he would. Sometimes it’s better to love someone from far away.”

Which seems like a good way to leave this conversation and say goodbye.

She steers Grindstone between the trees, weaving out of Eve’s direct line-of-sight. “You should see SESA,” she calls back over her shoulder without raising her voice any more than is necessary to be heard. “Get a proper handle on that ability before the thing that cursed you with it comes back to finish what you started.”

Goodbye now is probably for the best, the memories of her time in The Well have been bubbling onto the surface but Eve in a rare moment of self restraint keeps the tone where it lies, there will be other times to snip about that. Before someday over dinner with Gabriel, with all their friends. "Loving from afar, so painful. So necessary at times." She concedes, "Keep all your eyes peeled and try to feel him. He's gotta be out there." Because people didn't just leave their other pieces, not truly. Not when they were meant to be together.

Eve waves softly in the direction of Eileen and Grindstone's retreating back, "Oh yes yes. Mother and Father will come back, always were coming back. We should have tea I must pick your brain on an- oh!" Slapping herself on the arm and gripping it with her nails biting into her pale flesh."I forgot to ask!" Climbing to her feet staring ahead with wide eyes, "What happened to that meat suit, the child known as Sibyl Black?" Whether Eve is looking because she believes Eileen's ruse or not is unclear at first. "Poor thing. Never stood a chance. Has she been destroyed?"

Sibyl Black winds tension through Eileen’s neck and shoulders. She turns her head to frame Eve’s figure in the corner of her eye. It’s an instinctive reaction, wholly involuntary, the sort of response some people have to hearing their own name called.

“Leave it alone, Eve,” she suggests, and the darkness crowding into her tone is outside her control, too. Then: “Please.

It’s the closest thing to an admission that the other woman is going to walk away with today. Eileen regrets it immediately. She hisses a command through her teeth, urging her horse on, and is gone.

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