Monkey Shines


emily_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title Monkey Shines
Synopsis It's possibly the worst invitation to go scavenging in the history of the Safe Zone.
Date August 13, 2018


It's morning, the sun is just making it's climb into the sky. Shadows are still long from the night before and dew is covering everything it can in large droplets that will likely evaporate within the hour. Along the fence a young woman, a young man, and a monkey can be seen on the safezone side. On the other? A large roan horse that's carelessly nibbling on the grass.

"I don't care Joe," the young woman is saying in a quieter, yet firm, tone of voice that carries a little further than she means to. "I have to go… NOW. You can either come along or you can run back to Gillian and tattle that I snuck out again."

With that, she crouches and begins to bend away the chain link to reveal a hole in the fence.

"I don't tattle. I've never tattled. And I take offense at your indication otherwise." Joe steps back with a hand over his heart as if wounded by her words. "It's not my fault the adults always trusted me to herd everyone and not you." He then emphasizes his point by sticking his tongue out at Hailey before it relaxes into an easy grin. "Look. You do what you gotta do Hails. I get it. I do plenty of stuff that Lance and Gillian don't want me to do. Lance gives me that disapproval face of his, you know the one I"m talking about, where his features get all super frowny like he's not angry with you just disappointed." Joe's eyes roll before his shoulders pop upwards in a shrug.

"I'm also still not entirely sure what it is that you're saying you need to go do right now. Like… feed the reindeer? Ride the horse? Go back to the zoo? Find the slavers and kneecap them? I mean what are we talking. I need more info so I can make an educated decision on whether I should get involved in shenanigans or just step back and let shenanigans happen. You know… like old times. Just because I was responsible for keeping everyone in line didn't mean I /saw/ everything that happened." His eyes even go shifty at that statement darting right and left.

At this hour of the day, Emily's glad for the long, green cardigan she thought to put on before leaving the apartment. Maybe it's the cold that woke me up, she thinks to herself as she walks down the street, in what she thinks must be the most casual manner in the world. Just a girl, taking an early morning stroll in the sunny dew. Never mind the dilapidated buildings that still cause her to constantly feel out of place, and the morning shadows that still leave too many dark spots to her liking. Everything's perfect right now, aside from waking up at this ungodly hour.

With each step she takes down the street, there's a light tap that echoes off the crumbling walls of the world that's still asleep at this hour. It's consistent, save for a moment she pauses to adjust the grip on one of her forearm crutches, and then continue on.

She figures if she's up at this hour, she'd go to an open space and get a glimpse of whatever sunrise she could see between the buildings. The best place, of course, would be at the edge of civilization, where the buildings are mostly rubble. Would Julie approve? Nah, probably not. But when was the last time Emily had been up early enough to see the sun rise? At least, that was the thought when she first had set out. That was a half hour ago. Now? She'll just settle for seeing what she can see, since she's already out and about.

When she emerges off a street missing its namesign and sees the fence before her, a thrill of victory crawls through her veins and she stops where she is, relishing it for a moment. The sun might be well up by now, but she made it to her destination. She proved she could do it, at least, and that was a damn long walk. Maybe try again another day. Set an alarm or…

Her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of voices nearby, just out of sight, and it almost startles her out of her skin, taking a cautious step back in advance to try and find one of those previously-foreboding shadows to stand in if need be. She's suddenly more aware of how alone she is, questionably on the edge of civilization, and cursing herself for having headed out without any forethought. Pretty naive. she thinks to herself, filing it away for later. The voices continue on down the block, still just in earshot. Uncertainly, Emily takes a cautious step forward out into the light once more, attempting to keep quiet as she peers around the corner. She's made the decision (possibly a poor one) that whoever they are, they're probably not a threat to her. They sound young. After a pause of indecision, she leans into her crutches to begin approaching them, for a lack of anything else around.

At the last second, she notices the horse grazing on the other side of the fence, letting out an audible gasp as she stares in disbelief. She's never seen a horse before. Not a 'real' one. Police horses don't count. How did one even…?

"I need some money, I'm going scavenging." The thing that got her kidnapped and shot in the first place. "Gillian's birthday is coming up in only a couple of months and I want to get something super specia—"

It's the horse that notices Emily first. Raising his head, his ears twitch and fold backward before he lets out a soft nicker, alerting the young woman about to climb through the fence. She pauses and looks in the same direction as the horse then reaches out to tug on the young man's arm.

"Hey!" She calls out to their onlooker, the expression on her face challenging. "Take a picture, it'll last longer. Never seen a horse before or something?" Then she looks up at the nickering animal and reaches out to calm it. "He's never seen anyone on crutches before either, you're making him nervous."

"Hailey. You're family. I will totally help you buy a gift for Gillian. You can work it off by actually coming around the apartment to say hi to your family. And like… help us with cleaning up the place at Caspian's that we're kind of turning into a new Lighthouse slash Ferry hideout for the inevitable cluster bomb of crazy. I mean with the man eating electric rats in the sewers. Gabriel's father apparently running loose and… helping people. And the golden eyed demon trying to breach the walls of reality? Things is gonna get nuts yah know? So you can help us. And I can help you out with the money bit. Lance and I have steady work these days. And you're our sister."

Joe can be quite oblivious sometimes. He doesn't notice that Hailey stopped talking, or that the horse has noticed someone new. Nor does he notice someone new. Joe's situational awareness when he doesn't think danger is close can be pretty bad at times. But then he notices a lack of talking on Hailey's part and stops to look around when she calls out. Joe sees an Emily and blinks a couple of times. "Oh. New people!" He starts walking in that direction. "Hailey stop being rude. Just because you live in a zoo doesn't mean you need to behave like you do." He approaches a little closer to Emily. "Hi. I'm Joe. That's Hailey. And that…" He gestures out at the horse. "Is Hailey's friend. He's an awesome horse." He looks over his shoulder. "Hailey is the horse a he?" Then Joe's head swings back with a wide grin as he holds a hand out towards Emily. "Nice to meetcha." Cuz Joe walks up to strangers and introduces himself. No really. He does.

All the overheard words that pour from the boy so freely sound exactly like the sort of thing that Emily should have nothing to do with, but she's exposed to them nonetheless, and the words that sound oddly familiar tug at the back of her attention. Between the mention of the Ferry, and something as wild as 'electric rats'… what's not to grow curious about?

The shout from the girl takes Emily by surprise, a blank expression on her face as she turns to be more properly scolded. She goes quickly from startled to exasperated at the tone the other girl takes, a half-formed scoffed response cut short as the boy immediately tries to make up for the bad matters of the other one. At that point, Emily decides it's probably best not to yell, but doesn't quite know what to make of 'Joe' either, or his friendliness. She straightens her posture, standing upright, even though she'd much rather not place too much trust in her numbed right foot.

"Um… Yeah." she says, clearing her thoughts and looking to make eye contact with Joe, looking past him for a moment to Hailey, and then back to Joe again. "… Emily. I'm Emily." she says, lifting her right hand up to shake while her crutch still clings to her forearm. Hopefully he takes the hand without too much fuss. The thing'll fall off on its own eventually.

Quickly enough does her attention segue back to the horse in the field. "That's YOUR horse?" she asks incredulously in Hailey's general direction, looking him over with a childlike wonder. "He's gorgeous."

Joe's offer is poo-pooed with a wave of Hailey's hand. Instead, she focuses on Emily. "Joe's real name is Chicken-shit Knight of the Quivering Table. I'm Hailey, the horse is Dayton," a feral shriek is an introduction to the last of their ragtag group. Through the long grass, a golden monkey leaps toward Emily. Coming a little too close, he launches himself out of the grass and nearly catches the crutches but instead lands on Joe's outstretched hand, swinging off of it and onto his back. "…and that's Jim."

Turning, she clicks her tongue and the horse obediently trots close to the fence. "He's not exactly MY horse," she says, becoming a little more congenial when the focus is turned to the animals. "I take care of him and he takes care of me." Pointing to the monkey on Joe's back, "That one is my best friend. So, not really mine either, but more mine than Joe's."

She bends down again, tearing away at the fence to widen the hole. "I'm heading out into the Bronx, you guys can stay here but if Gillian finds out about this.." She draws a finger across her neck as she delivers a pointed look at Joe.

"I'm a lot. I know. I've been told. Plenty and frequently. It's okay. It's just me." Joe flashes a wide smile at Emily. "Sorry for my sister's rudeness." He stands there a moment as Emily shifts around on her crutches and stands up straight and what not, waiting to see if his hand is going to get shaken. Wouldn't be the first time it hadn't. Won't be the last time either. But then his hand gets taken! Or well her hand gets reached out to his. He reaches his forward to take hers and gives it a gentle shake not wanting to hurt her, or dislodge the crutch or anything. "No, not her horse. He's her friend. It's complicated."

"Well that's unnecessary. And inaccurate. I protest." Joe remarks back to Hailey. "And I already introduced you Hailey. Twice kinda." He makes a face at her before he turns to look back through the OHGODTHAT'S A JIM! Joe blinks and freezes in place. One never knows what a Jim is going to do. He might attack Joe, or he might be super friendly. "Hiiii Jim. Please don't attack me. Please be friendly today. I've never had a problem with you. I know I've threatened to eat you a time or two but those were totally in jest I swear. The animals are Hailey's friends. But Hailey is my sister. So I have to put up with them by association. And shovel reindeer poop. Which is not as glamorous as it sounds. And it doesn't sound glamorous to begin with so… take that into account." Joe watches Hailey duck under the fence and snorts. "You'll what? Hack at my neck with a saw all night while I sleep peacefully? Have your horse step on me all day while I relax for the horse massage?" He pffts loudly and waves a hand at the girl.

It's a zoo. Hailey's got a whole goddamned zoo with her. There's a monkey that's charging her, now that it's done screaming at everyone. "What the f—" is naturally the first thing that comes from Emily, her hand jerking back away from Joe's. A narrow thing, or the monkey probably would have gone swinging off of her support. Completely bewildered by the second animal, she takes a step back and gets her feet and her crutches properly under her, looking to Joe to determine just how normal this craziness is. It's all but confirmed already - this is just a walk in the park for these two.

Between the walking circus and Joe's nonchalant dares to attempt to hurt him, it suddenly clicks that there's something off about these two. Something decidedly special. Her brow slowly arches up with an 'ah' under her breath as she turns from Joe to Hailey, absent-mindedly watching her widen the hole in the fence while trying to process the newest bits of information. What takes only a moment for her to pick out feels like an eternity in the whirlwind currently unfolding, but light flashes in Emily's eyes as she realizes Hailey is deadly serious about wandering outside the Safe Zone, apparently with nothing but her pet — no, friend horse.

"That's insane." she interjects, unmoving from her spot. "You should listen to your brother before you get yourself killed heading out there. It sounds like he cares about you, and wouldn't want anything to happen to you. So does this Gillian, apparently." A brief pause, as she starts to wonder how nice it must be to have a sibling relationship, and then quickly dashes the thought away. "… Just what are you looking to get as a gift, anyway?"

With a snicker, Hailey shakes her head. "Noooo…" she replies mysteriously, but Jim wraps himself around Joe's neck, his bare buns pressed against the young man's cheek. "But you're not immune to smell." Reaching out, she pokes the monkey's belly and in turn, he squeezes out a puff of air… against Joe's cheek.

And Hailey darts through the fence before her brother can do anything about it.

From the other side, she gives Emily a little uptick of a nod. "So are you going to hang with Chicken Little or do you want to come and see the outside world in all of it's glory?" She doesn't seem concerned about the crutches and before asked, she gives the side of the horse's neck a firm pat. "He'll probably let you on, you just need to hang on."

Crazy is absolutely the Lighthouse Kids way of life. Day to day crazy. "Oh. Yeah no. She's fine. She once summoned a moose to attack some soldiers that were trying to kill us when we were little. It was totally primal. And now that she's healed up from her gunshot wound? She'll be okay. I hope." He turns his head to look over at Hailey. "You'll be careful right Hails?" Because despite the banter, and despite the lack of actual blood ties between them… Joe is quite firm in his belief that she's his sister.

Then there is… monkey… gas… and… Joe squawks. There's no other word for it. He squawks and attempts to throw Jim off of him, grabbing at the Monkey and trying to throw him. Literally throw him. He's a monkey he'll live. "What in the actual hell Hailey?!? I am never helping you shovel reindeer poop again! GET OFF OF ME YOU DISGUSTING MONSTER!!!" He yells as he wrestles with Jim to get the stupid primate off of him.

A lot to take in doesn't accurately describe these two. Already, they're more than the 'little' adventure that Emily was hoping to seize from the day, and for a moment she actively doesn't know which one of them to respond to. Unfortunately for Joe, she opts to take a step away from him and the madness about to unfold with the monkey. It's for the best. Unfortunately, this puts her face-to-face with the fence, and the untamed land beyond the border of the Safe Zone.

Also, face-to-face with the girl who clearly didn't hear a WORD she just said about a) not leaving or b) the question about just what she was looking to find out there. Emily's initial, obvious reaction is to decline firmly but she stops just before getting out the intended 'are you crazy?' to look to the horse whose neck Hailey pats. It's definitely the first time in her life she's been freely invited into doing something like this. (Read: wilfully dangerous.) And though she's interested in the horse, she's not interested in trouble. Instead of responding vocally to the surely well-meant offer, she starts to take a step back again, hoping somewhere in the back of her mind that the monkey isn't thrown directly at HER. She stammers out, "I asked you a question. Just what do you think you'll find out there? And what are you hoping to trade it for?"

It’s true… Hailey didn’t hear a word the other woman was saying, mostly due to too busy plotting and then laughing hysterically at Joe. Doubled over, and laughing so hard that no sound is coming out, she simply points toward him.

For his part, Jim is hanging on for dear life. Every time Joe switches appendages to try to shake the monkey, four limbs wrap tightly around the new one and resume iron grip. Jim isn’t about to allow himself to be thrown. Survivable or not. It wasn’t his fault, all he did was give Joe a face hug..

It stops being that funny after a minute and soon Hailey’s laugh is down to a few reminiscent chuckles and the sighs of remembering good times. It’s only then that she can really focus on the answer to the two questions. Questions that seem completely absurd to her in this post-apocalyptic world they live in now… and for kids growing up in the lighthouse, nearly their entire lives. She gives Emily a blank look, like she doesn’t quite understand the questions (she does). “That’s two, actually,” she replies, risking a glance at Joe, only to widen her smile again. “Out there is pretty much anything you can dream of. It’s like digging for treasure, you never know what you’ll find… and I might not trade it for anything. I might find the frikkin’ Mona Lisa in an abandoned house and if I do, I’m giving it to Gillian for her birthday.”

Joe eventually gives up on shaking the stupid monkey loose, his shoulders slumping and letting the monkey just do as it pleases. He grumbles plenty though at the antics and what happened, shooting Hailey more than a few glaring looks before he huhs and looks over at Emily. "Oh you can find all sorts of stuff out there. Electronics. Food. Maybe precious works of art." He waves a hand in Hailey's direction at her comment about the Mona Lisa. "That. Lots of cool stuff to be found out there. Nifty adventures to be had. Hailey almost got taken by slavers at one point, was crazy. She got shot, but she's fine now." He flashes a big grin at Emily before turning to squint over at Hailey.

"We go out there all the time. That's where I met He Who Knows Too Much. And that's where we ran into the Fear Monger. And almost got killed by our friend Eimi emergency teleporting too many people out of there. Also where some of our family almost got killed by electric man eating rats and found Sylar's dad. Lots of cool stuff to do out there. We went and visited our old Lighthouse the other day. That was a lot of fun. Saw Uncle Flint. He's still old and crabby. Lots and lots of stuff to do out there. I mean a fair amount of it is dangerous but any fun worth having has some risk to it right?”

Joe’s shoulders pop upwards in a shrug. “If you want to come with and explore we’d be happy to take you with us. Since I’m going too apparently. I don’t have work today. Or any other plans. And I apparently have to go and keep Hailey safe.” He turns and sticks his tongue out at Hailey again, though it settles into an easy and wide grin.

The first comment Emily has to bite back is urge to correct Hailey about there being ANY chance of finding the Mona Lisa in the ruins of New York. That's just stupid talk. The Mona Lisa's should still be in the Louvre. Then again, they lived in a weird broken world, so maybe the strange girl knew something she didn't. These two certainly seemed to have … connections, judging by the long list of names being dropped by her 'brother'.

And Joe's off running his mouth again, painting just the best picture of the allure of outside the Safe Zone. Slavers, getting shot at, three to five different ways of guaranteed near-death. And those are just the offhand references! His challenge that anything fun has to be dangerous falls on stubborn ears as Emily at this point has to resist the urge to tell them both flat out that they're crazy. She's not interested in adventure days where the return trip isn't guaranteed. A pity they just couldn't find a stoop to sit on and chat for a bit, but that's apparently too mundane for these crazy kids.

"Hard pass." she has to tell them, a slight edge the polite tone she tries to take. She's dealing with two scavengers VERY comfortable in their own skin after all, who could still flip a switch and turn into complete jackasses themselves, so she tries to keep most of her thoughts to herself. She needed to come up with an excuse at least. "I've got plans later this morning, clear back in town." She half turns to look back the way she came, a sinking feeling hitting her. Man, that was going to be a long walk back. And she was hungry. Her stomach decides to loudly agree with a stranged growl.

"But you two have fun." Emily says, complete disinterest emanating from her. "Evading the fifteen million things that want to and could kill you out there."

“I know I will!” Hailey grins as she turns her back on Emily. A sharp whistle has Jim bounding off of Joe’s shoulder, over the fence, and onto the blonde empath’s shoulder. None of the trio seem concerned about the mess of danger that awaits outside the fence: The young woman, the monkey, or the horse. Having lived more outside than in, she’s never been comfortable under the watchful eye of Big Brother.. even if Big Brother claims to be Evo friendly now. “You have fun too… being caged up like a pet… or a science experiment.” With that, she swings up on the horse’s back and gathers up a fistful of mane.

The tap of her heel sets the horse to prance a little closer to the opening. “Joe, are you going to walk or get on? I want to be back before noon, before Gillian gets back from the library.” Turning her head, she shades her eyes from the sun and wrinkles her nose a little, “I want to hit the World’s Fair… or Met Stadium maybe.” Those are close-ish.

Joe hears the stomach growl and fishes into his left pocket. It comes out with some prepackaged jerky steak type stuff. Maybe Jack Links and he turns offering it out towards Emily. "Here. Shouldn't go hungry. Especially with a long walk back into town. Kinda cool that. Like living on a frontier. Like the old west or something. Or maybe a post apocalyptic video game. The city is safe, but ranging beyond it isn't, but it's full of adventure and crazy fun. The whole… back in town type of deal. I dunno." He'll continue to offer Emily the jerky strip, sealed in it's package, until she takes it. And yes, he is stubborn enough to follow her all the way back in the city with the jerky held out in one hand for her to take. "Nah. Not many things out there that can kill me. Hailey yeah, though she has tons and tons of friends out there to warn her of danger. But me? Nah. I'm pretty safe out there."

"Take care of yourself Hails. I'm gonna make sure she gets back into the city okay.” Joe ever trying to save everyone. “We went and saw the lighthouse the other day. You should come with us next time we go. We had a nerf war. It was fun." He flashes his sister a smile. Because no amount of arguing that there's no blood connection will ever convince him otherwise as to her sibling status. Same with Brynn, and Lance. "Say hi to Gillian for me when you see her? I haven't seen her since we took her that tape." Which has been pretty much entirely by his own choice, even if he does miss her.

Emily would be more irritated with Hailey's attitude if she didn't sound like a conspiracy theorist treating the Safe Zone boundaries like a cage. Pssht. The hell was wrong with wanting to live in and STAY in a structurally sound area? Hailey is a picture of wild hopelessness though, sitting barebacked on that horse, so she doesn't bother wasting her breath on trying to tell the other girl how reckless it is to head out there. It sounds like she knows and just doesn't care, anyway.

Joe, on the other hand, just keeps talking. He's thankfully monkey-less now, so that's one less worry from him. He quickly goes from being overly friendly to awkwardly friendly as he offers to walk her back into town. She'd really rather rough it on her own. She's also not keen on the food. She shakes her head politely at him to indicate as much, but he might miss it in the middle of saying his farewell to Hailey.

Aaaaaaand there goes her opportunity to send him off with her. 'I'll be fine, it's her you really should probably worry about' is a less compelling argument when they're both so cavalier about the dangers of the crumbling city beyond the edge of the Safe Zone.

"Right, then." Emily says to no one in particular, nodding at Joe and turning away from the fence. Sounded like she had a walking buddy for a bit, and it was a long walk, after all. "Westward it is. Nice meeting you, Hailey."

Being abandoned in her hour of need isn’t exactly a new thing for Hailey, not many of the people she grew up with like to venture outside the walls as much as she does, even after being shot and kidnapped. So she shrugs off Joe’s excuses and wheels the horse so that only its rear and flicking tail are visible to the pair on the other side of the fence. Jim, on the other hand, does take offense and lets his displeasure known with a shriek and by baring his fangs to them. Then he flicks his tail and climbs up onto his best friend’s shoulder, hugging her around the neck and head in preparation for the ride.

“It was meeting you too,” absently because Hailey is already thinking about which way to head for treasure hunting. Carefully, she maneuvers the monkey down to her back and guides his little paws around her neck to give him something to hang on to. Two quick clicks of her tongue has the horse trotting off toward the road before he leans his head forward and breaks into a full gallop, leaving a cloud of dust in his wake.

He doesn’t stop until they’ve cleared the horizon.

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