Leaving The Twilight


eve2_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Leaving The Twilight
Synopsis Eve goes to visit a wolf, and he invites her for dinner.
Date March 16, 2018

By the time you've walked up the gravel drive, now muddied and almost washed away, and you're off the main road leading from the nearest small town, it would be easy to make the mistake of thinking you're far from civilisation. Here, the sounds of the tide shoving ocean against the shores is a constant hum, as is the wind in the wild trees, and the patter of rain. The dense forest separating cottage from road means that even the occasional vehicle — usually a truck — that rattles its way past goes unheard.

But the cottage is exposed to the ocean, built up on cliffside just high enough to protect it from salt spray. Eve Mas will get a view of the slate-grey expanse of the North Atlantic, and to her other side, the humble two-bedroom cottage surrounded by trees. The workshed is padlocked shut, rattling which the occasional bank of wind strikes it. There is a prominent tree trump in the open backyard in which an axe is buried, and rain runs down its worn handle, dripping.

It seems empty, and the weather has done away with obvious signs of life save for one set of tire tracks, but it doesn't seem abandoned.

Coastal Maine

There's a sniff in the air as Eve breaks through the dense forest to stand before the cottage. Taking in the sight of the axe embedded in the wood. The raindrops sliding down it. The seeress tilts her head as she studied the landscape. She wanted to find him and so an induced vision later involving a wolf with those eyebrows standing besides a sign that read something about the coast of Maine and Eve was off to reunite with a friend.

She briefly wondered on her adventure over if she should have told Teo about where she was going. She left a note for Gillian but the note was designed to be delivered to Gilly if she didn't come back in a suitable time which for Eve could be anything from two hours to two months. And so she stands out in the rain alone. Light gray eyes in concentration as she readjust the cowl over her head. The dark material of her jacket keeping her from the cold.

There's a light hum that comes from her as she makes her way forward, booted feet splashing in the puddles the rain has made. Her messenger bag at her side, she left the car back a couple miles. It might have been more simple to just drive up the whole way but she didn't wanna spook him.

"Come out, come out wherever you are," is said in a singsong voice as Eve lifts a hand to wave, wiggling pale fingers in the air as she comes to stand before the door of the cottage. She leans in with a squint and blows on the door.

It opens.

Probably not from Eve's leaning in, but a gust of wind that lets the door, unlocked and loose, rattling enough on its hinges to fall open an inch, and then ease closed again.

The living room immediately inside is a cold place, with old furniture and an empty stone hearth, and an adjacent kitchen with antiquated fixings, like a stove that looks like it's from 1979, and a squat fridge that can't be much newer. While the scent of dust is in the air, there are other scents missing that would give the air of long neglect — like mustiness, or spoilage, or water damage. In fact, just to the left of where Eve stands at the door, a coat hangs, beaded with recent rain water.

Then, a low growl emanates from the dark corridor, and in the shadows is the shape of, well.

A wolf.

Hackles up, long legged, long nosed, head down, and its eyes gleam in the light coming through from the brighter living area. It doesn't have distinctive eyebrows to speak of, but it certainly seems familiar.

What," Eve bends her knees slowly in a stance her hand at her bag, "Are you doing?" Her eyebrows shoot up and she taps her foot, she looks kind of like a skinny sumo wrestler. Her raven dark mane of hair flying in the wind as her hood flies off.

She sees the coat on the rack nearby and then she's tucking her pale hand into her bag. Her eyes are on the dog as she grins a impish grin and sticks her tongue out at the wolf before a whistle is pulled out slowly. "Now now," The seer taps her foot as she presses the whistle to her lips and blows hard. It's a dog whistle, probably doesn't work on a wolf.

She has other tricks in her bag but this seemed like the one least likely to hurt the animal. She liked them.

As she blows the whistle she leaps across to the kitchen area to grab at the fridge door swinging it open to block if the wolf leaps at her.

"Bring him here!"

Usually, people just leave.

But of course that's not what happens. A whistle, and then she disappears into the kitchen, and calls out. The wolf, last she glimpsed, had begun to move on her fast, that canine trot that starts almost innocuous before it builds momentum, aggression in the roll of its gait, disappearing from sight as she dives into the kitchen, grabbing the fridge door, opening it with a very weak rush of cold air—

And nothing happens.

(The fridge, for its part, seems empty. A fresh carton of milk, a few bottles of beers, a tub if butter. Clean. No raw steaks she might use as a distraction, for instance.)

But the wolf never charges around the corner. Instead, a man steps out into the open space, his hand trailing the exposed brick corner. His hair — black, save for shocks of silver-grey — is still slick from rainwater, finger-combed back from his face. His clothing is wet only where the water had gotten past his coat, and he still has his boots on. Dark bristle is starting to become thick down his jaw, peppered with grey in places. His eyes, though, unchanged from their deep amber brown, and now squint at her as if unsure of what he is seeing.

"Eve," Gabriel says, like he's plucking the name from the fog of a dream.

A blink.

Aw no wolf as a pet. She’s very briefly disappointed but then there’s..


Eve hops up from behind the fridge door and hurls herself into Gabriel’s arms hugging him tight. “Wow, what an entrance. You should teach me,” as if she doesn’t make.. Loud entrances herself. “I’ve missed you so much! Oooh.” She closes her eyes as she hugs her former serial killer friend. “You’ve been away! Healing?” Eve looks concerned as she stares up at Gabriel noting his hair and that scruff. “You’ve taken to the wilderness Jazzhands I am impressed.” There’s that wicked grin of hers. The dog whistle now swings on it’s chain on her neck. Eve is prepared for all things, mostly. There’s a moment as she studies Gabriel more.

“I’m sorry I didn’t see you after.. I had to zip around. Lots to do, otters to save and the like. You understand.” He just might. Understand that is. “But you’ve been on my brain, knock knock! Whose there? Gabriel Jazzhands Gray!”

She smells like weed.

Gabriel stands still as he's embraced, an immediate tension arresting up his spine, enduring both intimacy and the gunfire prattle of enthusiasm like a man who has long since gotten used to an absence of either. Up close, he smells a little the ocean outside, and of earth, and of ordinary human scents of when you're sweating into your thick winter garments against the coarse post-winter chill that hasn't released the eastern seaboard from its grasp just yet.

"Eve," he says again, somewhere in there, and his hands find her arms, and help lever her away. Not harshly, but it would take some effort to loosen his grasp immediately. "Did you tell anyone where you were going?"

There's no point in asking how she came to be here.

The oracle is stopped and she looks up at the man and grins again. “Oh course not silly!” The note she left legit said:

Back soon, there’s a wolf! - Love Eve

That was for Gillian and Eimi in case they got worried. This was a journey. She didn’t need unnecessary distractions. “I did thing,” she looks sheepish as she peers at Gabriel, “I did some Refrain with this girl Des and then we time traveled like zinging up and down the river, I got all dirty!” The oracle is vibrating with excitement though she twitches a bit at the memories, “It’s made my brain a little more soupy than usual BUT,” she holds up a finger and leans in close to the wolf.

“I died, again.” She says it like aha her gaze wild, the howling of the wind causes for an eerie effect. Not that Gabriel is easily freaked out. “Do you remember that crazy Adam Monroe? He sliced my head off back in fedeual Japan! But before that in 2011, I died in a car crash then ” She sounds serious? “Then then the lady with the gold eyes, she put my head back on straight! It might have jostled my brain a bit.”

“So what have you been up to?”

Gabriel lets her go.

It would be inaccurate to say that he isn't reacting or thinking about or even listening to the things Eve is saying — he is — but if the space around them communicates anything, it's that he's lived an incredibly simple, straightforward life up until this moment. He moves around her to reach into the open fridge and take out one— and then two bottles of beer, placing one on the countertop, and then uses the rough of his palmer to open his drink. All the while, he is quiet, his expression a little empty. Unpracticed.

Thinking. He shakes his head at that question, a subtle movement, as if denying the idea that he's been up to anything. "I've been dead," he says, his voice and delivery a little coarse.

Grabbing for the other beer and opening it with her teeth she puts the cap in her pocket for later use and takes a drink of the beer. Ah, she was thirsty. She is always thirsty. “You look pretty alive to me,” she squints as she sits up on the countertop, swinging her legs a little with a tilt of her head. Those light gray eyes flick from the beer to Gabriel, maybe he means a drunk dead. “But nonetheless, you look woodsman like! It’s quite studly,” you go boy! Waving her hand in front of her face she takes another sip of her beer and then digs in her messenger bag that she has sat next to her, pulling out a metallic cigarette case the dark haired woman procures a freshly rolled spliff in her hands.

“I think if you take some hits of this magic missile and drink up a little more, you can hear the story. It’s a great one.” There were just so many stories to have. It had been so long for them. It’s unannounced company yes, but she’s always exciting company. She leans forward with a look and says between the joint being in her lips, “You haver somue flashy fiyah, lighty.”

"Gabriel Jazzhands Gray died when Peter Petrelli flew him over the city of New York City," Gabriel says, like it's taken him this long to shift gears to engage in conversation of any kind. "Together, they caused another radioactive explosion that destroyed whole blocks. No one's seen Sylar since."

Not to put too fine a point on it, Eve.

But her manner, such as it is, familiar and inexplicable, is enough to wear away some of the icy crust of his own demeanour. His expression changes at this last thing she says, and a disbelieving huff of air funnels through his nose. He moves away from her, then, ostensibly refusing — until he takes the ten inch gas lighter off the mantle above the hearth. He's certain she has her own lighter, but she did ask—


"They say war changes people," is very sarcastic, and then offers to light the joint, protecting her face from the heat with his cupped hand.

"Well what shall I call you?" She's not gonna call him His Lordship so. As the man makes his point. Eve drinks more of her beer and then he's producing a match, she gives him a look. She wanted a finger turned into flame or something but Gabriel's generosity and letting her smoke in his depression cottage was deeply appreciated.

"I'm not sure if it changed me, you would know better than I Yea?" Theres that devilish grin and Eve is taking deep puffs of her spliff, blowing the smoke away from him. She passes it over to him.

"And Mister Gray's body has been decaying in this cottage ever since? No Teo? No.." Well did he have other friends?

He takes the spliff, finding a corner of the kitchen to lean in, a dark presence in all the old fashioned mustard yellow, off-white, grey iron. The window is cranked open, the sound and smell of rain winding its way in. The look she got in return of her look, regarding fire-fingers or similar, is flat and unyielding. But he hasn't kicked her out, and now he breathes in a lungful of smoke. Gabriel was never someone who partook in anything like this, or even beer, save when he was on Staten Island, pretending to be another person in the fog of amnesia. He doesn't request her to call him Tavisha, though.

Gabriel passes it back to her. "I don't know about Teo," he says, sighing out smoke. "You shouldn't be calling me anything. You shouldn't be here." But he isn't doing anything to prevent her from being here. Of course, there's always the danger that he won't let her leave.

"You seem the same," he confirms.

There are times when it seems like Eve is entirely in the wrong place or that she's just unaware that she's in the right place or she's all too aware. This time is a mystery. Does she know how close she is to the cage swung open? It might scare Gabriel if he knew she would be fine with it. Because there are favors to be asked and trust to be gained.

She watches him smoke and takes in his demeanor. He has changed. But he's also the same. Still that glint in his eyes. "That's a compliment," taking the smoke back and taking a long drag, she coughs a little and blows the smoke out in a couple rings. "This is the good shit I tell you," She comments softly and takes another swig of her beer.

"Theres an otter,"

"And he's trapped in another river," another pause, "There is also some woman.. she wants out." Eve pounds her fist into her hands. "There's something in the air. On the way here fast. Des might have pinged her, it, I'm not sure what it is."

She fixes Gabriel with a stare.

"Are you content with wasting away here with your wolf? With you?" She stares into his arms.

It's this second mention of Des that has him backtrack. Suspicion setting like cement over his bones. The early calmness induced by smoke sponged into his lungs isn't enough to cloud his mind, and Gabriel frowns after these little pieces of prophecy, or whatever they are, being set out like puzzle pieces. Like bait. This last part gains his eye contact.

It unfocuses into thought.

"Yes," he says, after a moment. Quietly, honestly. "I was. It just takes time."

To waste, apparently.

Still— "What woman?"

At his words Eve grins and slides off the counter top. Rummaging in her messenger bag to lay out pieces of paper, sketches pages some of them, white copy paper with copies of some of her paintings spill out on the counter top.

"I've been piecing together the pieces. One by one, sometimes they're stacked. But she," she jabs a finger at the sketch of herself, nude and walking on water with the half helix symbol on her chest. Eyes burning like hot molten lava. "She's trying to get in here!" She waves a hand around them all, "I don't want to believe she is like Kazimir but my funny bone is twitching. I think she's timeless," like Kazimir was.

The next sketches depict various scenarios, the paintings of Tamara and Richard Cardinal pounding on the triangle of light, trying to get out. There's a flutter of paper as a sketch of two otters rushing down a river, one dead heading down one forked path and another, alive heading into a different timeline.

There's a slight rustle as Eve continues to rearrange the sketches and copies of her paintings. A photocopy of a painting done back in 2011, the one with the firefly almost being swallowed by the black hole. In a corner a photocopy of her most recent painting of the aged Odessa with Grey in her hair and wrinkles. With Erica Kravid looming in the doorway and the nervous shadow of Bruce Maddox cowering in her wake.

"There are multiple women at the center. The future.. is female." This gold eye deity that possesses Eve, Des and.. Kravid.

She takes another puff of her joint and then passes it over as she noddles over the artwork. "It's something huh?"

Gabriel accepts the joint— not eagerly, but certainly without hesitation, as he stands over these drawings on his countertop. It embers between his fingers as his gaze lands on familiar faces — Tamara is one, and Odessa is another — before he remembers it and takes a hit, offering it back after only one inhale, which he stores in his chest for long seconds.

"It's something," he agrees. Sketches of the future, of lateral presents, of ghosts of the pasts depicted in prophecy. He closes his eyes for a second, and when he opens them, it's to look sideways at Eve, fierce and direct. "Why are you showing it to me?"

"The world keeps spinning while you stay stuck," Eve twirls a pale, long finger around in a circle as she speaks using her free hand to take the passed joint, smoking more of it. She gives the man a direct look to match his, "I think.." she grows worried in her expression. "I think you'll be drawn there anyway. Whether it's today or not. Why put it off?" It's an innocent question.

"Also, I really really miss you, we haven't danced in years.." she pauses as she gets ready to call him Gabriel. No no, that won't do. "If these things come to past, your oasis of darkness will explode along with the rest of the world," Maybe that's what he wants?

"I think you can help me. I think.. I can help you."

There's the sound of wet fabric shifting as the seeress moves and a thought strikes her, "I just have so many fun ideas. You have any shapeshifting going on in that brain of yours?" There's a raise of an eyebrow and Eve grins widely in excitement. "If you're gonna be around the Safe Zone you need a good disguise!" And Eve loves a good disguise.

At first, Gabriel is silent. Then he smiles, thin, closed lipped, before teeth showing, and he laughs — a dry, breathy sound, smokey. Maybe it's the pot. Maybe it's madness. Maybe it's all just a lot, in the moment.

He moves past her out of the kitchen, headed for the living room. It all seems just a little small for him, tall as he is and as big a presence as he tends to make when you know how much there is to him. Taking his beer with him, he rounds towards the armchair, something an older man than he would prize, and sits down with a heavy collapse of bone and meat. The mirth has gone out of him, and he leans his head back, watching the ceiling.

"My parents lived here," he says, apropos of maybe nothing. "My father gutted animals in the shed and my mother peeled potatoes over the sink. Natalie and Samson and baby makes three. Can you imagine just living here forever, while the whole world spins?"

In reply to his laugh Eve follows his lead, starting off slow in the beginning before she's outright cackling. "I've been living here for years," she taps her head while padding over into the living room area after him "While the rest of the world spins beneath my feet." Eve does know that feeling, the maelstrom of whispers and echoes in her head were hard to keep up with totally. She was often left spinning.

The dark haired woman rubs a hand through her wet hair. "My parents are dead, the bomb." She presumes that but what else are you supposed to say when you haven't seen them since the bomb.

"I'm sorry to hear that," says the Midtown Man, without shifting his gaze from the ceiling.

He has his own inner voices and shadows to live with too. There are nights, days, where this house is full of them: Wu-Long watching from the corner, black shadow and white smile, and Jenny Childs in the mirror, red hair matted with red blood, and Gillian, smoke and red lips, and Kazimir, ashy words and disapproval, and Eileen. And Eileen. In a way, Eve might as well be just another one of these phantoms, poking at old wounds, except she wants him to leave this place.

He's still not sure if she's gonna make it out of here, let alone himself. "Everything's already come to pass," he says. "We're living in a twilight."

"Thanks," She says that softly and takes another puff of her joint before passing it again. And while she might love to be a phantom one day, she is not and she does want him to leave this place. There comes a time and this may just be Gabriel's. Eve stares at the wall listening to the sounds of rain, wind and Gabriel's breathing before turning her head up towards the ceiling as well.

There's a look of sadness that washes over her face. She bites the corner of her lip and closes her eyes briefly. He's saying cryptic things like her and she likes it, "Sometimes twilight is too dim though, sometimes you gotta go bright," she does love using that word huh.

"Do you dream of her? I have.. not those kind of dreams though," though she wishes because then Young Falcon would be alive and she could find her. Find her for Gabriel.

"I'm sorry." She says again.

It might have been his next question, until she answers it, and he can feel his own response like he's felt it a billion times before this moment — like his heart is calcifying, squeezing. Gabriel turns his face away to look at some other corner of the room, riding out that inner-wave of dark grief. He's gotten good at that, instead of fighting it, or drowning in it. It comes and it goes, and he just nods, then. "All the time." He shifts enough to pass the joint back to Eve's outstretched hand. "I dream about her all the time."

Breathing out. The smoke has harshened up the back of his throat, and he coughs mildly, complaint pulling through his brow before relaxing again.

"We," and he means a broader we than just himself and Eve, or himself and Eileen, "kept trying to change things. Make a better future, or stop the end of the world. I wanted to change things, so much that I didn't care how as long as I did it. And with her, you know, it didn't matter. Nothing needed to be changed, when we were in the same room. Could be any room. Any future."

He's thought about it before, what makes him different than a hero. You know, besides all the people he's killed for trivial and selfish gain.

"Your perfect fit, the other piece," Eve comments silently with a dab at her eyes as tears well at the corners, she was not close to Eileen and the woman didn't always listen to her but she was fond of her and her strict behavior. "I tried to warn her, tried to deliver the message in a less.. Im fucking bonkers. I'm sorry I couldn't get through to her." If maybe she had just for once in her life delivered a message with no added strings. Maybe Eileen would have heeded her words. It's just not in Eve's makeup. And it's selfish to wallow in her loss of a maybe friend when her true soulmate was sitting next to her.

She takes another puff of the joint and holds the smoke in her chest while she gathers her emotions. Light gray eyes stare intently up at the ceiling blowing the smoke out.

"They say you can find another piece but who wants too?" Go through all that trouble.

"I like to believe we haven't completely crossed the universe's wires and hopefully we've done some good."

She stops again and looks over at Gabriel, "I hope to find my other piece one day."

Gabriel smiles grimly to himself, unmoving where he sits. "A few weeks before the military dismantled the Ferry," he says, "she almost gave it up. We almost left forever. I asked her if she was running away." He recounts this like a man who has absolutely replayed these moments in his mind, frame by frame. "And she couldn't do it. Couldn't leave it all behind just like that. It wasn't in her nature. I don't think there was anything anyone could have done to save her like that. Part of why I loved her was because she's that person."

So, you know. It's easy to blame the dead.

He looks over at Eve, and it's not like he hadn't noticed the change in atmosphere, but seeing her own sense of loss reflected back at him in her eyes is different. He averts his gaze a little, swallows around whatever he might say next. Something like: pieces don't have to be lovers. Pieces don't even have to be people. But he thinks she knows. Like maybe it's a part of what draws them back to New York City.

Instead, he says: "Do you want to stay for dinner?"

At that revelation Eve blinks and she nods. It is easy to blame the dead. She swallows back some more beer and hands the joint over again and she smiles with him, "She was fierce," that is one of the most honest things Eve has said about the woman. She sits in silence again before tapping her leg.

The smile she gives the man next to her is friendly and not the usual feral grin that can be interpreted in many different ways, usually that grin means mischief. But Eve seems subdued, the mood is heavy. And she feels weighed down into that chair.

"I am always on the run, go go go. Dinner sounds fantastic.. can you give me a new name to call you?" Usually, Eve picks the nicknames whether the person likes them or not isn't really a concern for her. But with Gabriel, she has always respected his names. Sylar, Tavisha..

"Do we hunt our dinner?" And there's that feral grin again.

"I've done the hunting already."

Frozen meat, butchered and stored over the winter, some already set aside for thawing. Gabriel now rises to his feet, smoke trailing from his hand, studying the little twist of burned paper between his fingers and breathing in one last hit before it's all gone. The fog at the edges of his mind is of a different kind than the kind of stupors this place encourages, and at least, he's now hungry alongside whatever else he is. "Here, I'm Gabriel," he says, like the idea of more names is tiring. New York is where he grew up, even if he was born up here, and walking its streets means he can never be Gabriel.

The spent joint is dropped into his sink. It's still the afternoon, but preparing food out here is always a process, and he doesn't all the time pay attention to things like clocks and the rotation of the sun. In fact, should Eve look around, there isn't a single clock to tell the time by, and his wrist is free of watches.

"You can make yourself at home," he says.

"You are always prepared."

The comment is said with a chuckle and she stretches as she watches him walk towards the kitchen to prepare dinner. She lifts a leg and dangles it over the arm of the chair to turn her body towards him. She kicks her boots off and wiggles her toes, water had gotten on her socks and she peels them out wiggling them freely.

"Much better." Her coat is shrugged of and she glides over to the coat rack to hang her coat. The dress today a deep sea blue, her thick mane of hair hangs around her like a curtain.

"You cook and I'll roll more! I'm useful!" And she takes more of a swig of her beer. "Thanks for the company Gabriel, the echoes aren't my favorite kind." Even though they tell her things, show her things.

And so a window is opened into what kind of life Gabriel has been leading up until this point. A phonograph from decades ago plays rusty sounding music, quietly, underneath the sounds of birds and ocean. The oven warms the kitchen quickly, and the smell of baking venison permeates the air. Vegetable is the sturdy kind that survives over winter — parsnips, leeks, purple broccoli — all roughly cloven and set to roast. Gabriel is generous with his remaining beer, content to drink it down until there is none left, but he does so slowly. With a solitary pattern, Eve may find herself confined to the edges without much to do but watch and listen and wander and roll her joints, of which Gabriel imbibes at maybe half the rate as she.

They eat their meal in the kitchen, as its growing darker. Conservative with his generator, its by candle light and hovering discs of illumination that he created with his own two hands, floating in the air. His table manners are wolfish at best, minimal eye contact maintained, and his food tastes like rosemary, sea salt, and the earth it came from. The air smells of the same, and smoke from hearth.

Of what Eve might have to say, to lure him back, he listens, but doesn't appear to bite down on any one offer. As if to avoid persuasion, his input, minimal though it is, is agreeable, prompting for more. He asks about Raytech. He asks about her life. He doesn't ask about the people he knew.

He cleans his own dishes. Sleeping arrangements are thus: he offers his bed, to sleep on the couch. He is not so polite as to turn down refusal.

Occupying her time isn't something she's ever been that hard at doing and so while Gabriel prepares she rolls, she smokes, sings along to the music while swaying in the middle of the cottage. Her raspy voice echoing in the room at times, she loses herself at times but always comes back for another beer. It would seem that Eve is way more into sedating herself then she use to be. It doesn't always stop the dreams but at times it helps her just be.

She is excitable as dinner is had. Clapping as the lights float above them. Something about it being prime or primal. She relays details of her life. Her two deaths, the battles she assisted and caused the start of during the war, the loss of friends that she failed to save. That admission bringing her to silence for a bit of the meal. Eve's gray eyes stare into the flames of the candle as she munches not the food. The substance helping ground her amongst the herbs and booze.

She tells him of the recent events, more so bouncing off all ideas she has. Of finding Adam Monroe, tracking down the woman with the Golden eerie eyes, the need to see more clearly so she can truly understand. Her dreams, the time she's spent in the Oracle Room. She tries to entice him to join her a few times. Always with that devilish grin, dangling a fresh piece of meat for the wolf. Never in the effort to control him. He isn't a pawn and she isn't a chess player. He is a friend. And the piece of meat leads to the outside, back to some light. Leaving the Twilight can be difficult when you've become so accustomed to the silent and peace there and she respects that while also nudging him gently. She rambles briefly on the fact that there is Karaoke Thursday's at her place, she says more than once that there's room for him there. Just a visit, no commitment. A trial. New Yorker to New Yorker. Eve can be enticing when she wants to be and she makes sure to keep a somewhat firm grip on her more outrageous antics.

A story about a tuba is told through with great excitement. Something about that Fournier girl, Julie being cross with her. Eve wants to bring her a gift in apology.

She muses on these for a moment, she details her visit to Mexico to see a Otter that was instead a man. She seems fond of this man. 'Otter Eyes', she comments that she thinks they would get along. If Gabriel would be nice, and her friend is nice. Or to her he is. She talks his ear off, it's to be expected. As the meal winds down she refuses the bed but pushes him into one more beer, one more joint. It's fun is her reasoning.

She shows him more of her sketches if not just for shit and giggles. He sees sketches of people he knows. Gillian, her daughter Jolene, a painting of the Safe Zone done from a rooftop is shown. There's a picture of a bird that she saves for last. She tells him it's for him to keep and him alone. A lone wolf stands in the woods beneath the bird's flight pattern.

There is sleep and then there is a scream as the woman wakes up with a start. Her cry was sharp and quick but Gabriel would have heard. She sits up on the couch with a wide eyed look, drenched in sweat.

Around her, the cottage is very still. In the window, wind chimes hang silent. The last of that day's rain has passed, giving way to early hours with dawn slowly creeping its way over the horizon, painting the ocean — a slice of which she can see from the couch — a stunning copper.

The air still smells like stale marijuana, of last night's roast, of the hearth, now cold. She can still feel her scream in her throat, the sound like a razor on her vocal chords, but there's no thudding foot steps, no wolf in the corridor. Slowly, her heart rate calms down, and the cool of the pre-morning clings to her damp skin. Morning birds are starting to whistle in the trees outside, and it's likely that Eve will understand without having to get to her feet and look around that she is now alone.

But what she does see right away is a piece of canvas, on which paint has been applied and is still drying. It leans a little carelessly on the armchair, the emerging sun showing up colours of deep blue and rust orange and grey. Blinking out the last of sleep from her eyes, Eve makes out the details — the bottom half of the painting is desert landscape, and the upper half is roiling storm. Connecting the two are blue zithers of lightning. A vanishing point in the heart of the landscape shows a building in the far distance, and it's hard to make out much detail save that it is grey, squat, foreboding.

A woman's face hovers over it. She is older, gaunt, and her eyes are white, and so is her hair. One hand, presumably hers, hovers over the distant building protectively, and lightning from the sky veins her pointed fingers.

A gift, of kinds.

On the coffee table are Eve's drawings, and it's clear someone's been sifting through them since they last went over them over beer and pot. She will note that on a few of them, evidence of paint smudges mark up the edges. Greys, browns, blues. Missing is the drawing of the wolf and the bird.

Missing, too, is Gabriel's coat by the door.

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