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Scene Title More
Synopsis Hindsight is 20/20.
Date ???

They came in the dead of night.

Her mother answered through the crack in the door. There was an argument, the kind that Emily remembers all too well: hushed voices and short words. She might have even expected to see her father in the living room when she ventured out into the hallway to peek surreptitiously around the corner.

Someone did, after all, use the name Avi.

The digital clock embedded in the kitchen's stove reads 2:31am. Ambient light bleeding into the apartment's windows illuminates her mother's silhouette as stands by a pot of coffee in sullen silence, waiting for it to brew.

She isn't alone. A tall, broad-shouldered man with a clean-shaven face and footballer's build is in the process of assembling some sort of weapon at the table. A lit cigarette dangles from the corner of his mouth.

New York City

Upper East Side

September, 2011

"Do you have to smoke that in here?" Rachel asks him, to which the stranger responds with a flat, humorless grin that shows too many teeth. He runs a hand over his bald head.

"I don't see a sign, love."

"There's cancer patients in here, maybe you should reconsider." Emily says quietly from the kitchen doorway, eyes piercing on the stranger who is not her father. She might be in remission, but it's almost certain the stranger doesn't know that. She doesn't look at her mother to give any tells, either.

She has one hand on the doorway to keep her steady, oversized tee worn with pajama-light cotton khakis. She scratches at the side of her face with her free hand, still glaring the man, and what he's working on, down with suspicion.

A shift in the air is what Emily feels before another man appears at her side. At the table, the cigarette is no longer in the first man's mouth and has been drowned in a half glass of water. "Sorry 'bout tha', kid… ma'am," the newcomer is of similar build to the smoking man, but he is sporting a full head of hair styled into a fashionable fauxhawk. "My partner wouldn' dream of bein' rude in a place we were kindly invited into. Wouldja Ethan?"

He's a little more jovial, kindly even, and when he bends down it’s to get eye level with the girl. In his hand is a pocket candy, held out as a peace offering. It's a Werther's. "I saw some pictures in the livin' room, why don't you an' yer mum tell me about them? Did some'un you know go travellin', izzat yer brother?"

Ethan's attention shifts back to the rifle as he decisively snaps the last piece into place. Rachel, too, seems to take issue with Edgar. The way her eyes narrow at his use of the phrase "kindly invited into" says more than the thin line her lips make. She tosses a nervous glance over her shoulder at the kitchen window and the shape the tree branches cast against the glass.

A large black raven sits perches on the other side, a silver band wrapped around one thorny foot winking in the moonlight.

She knows better than to tell Emily to go back to bed. What she says instead is: "Take Mr. Smythe into the den, honey. He and Mr. Holden are friends of your uncle's."

The young girl in the doorway blinks as she sees the other man at her side, one she hadn't expected. The candy he offers is regarded skeptically, and when her hand falls from her face it's curled palm over stomach rather than left any way that could be interpreted as acceptance. She'd much rather be in the kitchen by her mother than entertaining a mysterious midnight guest, but she doesn't argue about it. "Maybe Uncle Jensen should stop by, too, then." she remarks as she turns. There's a touch of bitterness there, extended toward all absent family members lately. Her hand remains braced against the door, and then the wall as she takes them down the short hall back into the wider living space Mr. Smythe had clearly already been spying on.

When they get to the living room, she heads for an endtable with several photos on it … and instead grabs a cherry-red device that had been charging behind them. Her steps are unsteady for a moment, but she pulls herself up into an armchair and curls up with her 3DS. She glances at Ethan over the top of it, eyes gleaming with the light of the game that's come out of sleep, and informs him frankly, "It's none of your business."

Mister Smythe is clearly uncomfortable, it's either with the grace and kindness that the woman and her daughter have displayed thus far or the room that they're in. It's clearly not the den and he's fairly sure that cancer patients aren't hard of hearing, for the most part. "Lovely den you have here, Miss," he says, his tone still holding the same gentleness that he first greeted the kid with. He picks up the picture that he was remarking about before and pops the unclaimed candy in his mouth. It's best not to let it go to waste.

"Your Uncle visit often?" Even though he knows the answer ahead of time, he asks anyway. He's not stupid, he caught on to the bitterness in the teen's voice and he knows her uncle. "Y'know, if he happens to comes over fer breakfast one day, I know one of his personal favorites. Boiled eggs, sliced tomato, pickled herring, and toast, y'can't go wrong with it." He doesn't exactly mean to cause the girl grief with the odd menu, but revenge doesn't have to be a dish served cold. It can be as warm and welcoming as family breakfast.

Although Rachel is still within earshot and can probably speak to the frequency of Jensen Raith’s visits, she lets Emily handle Edgar’s line of questioning. Her focus is on Ethan; the two of them are speaking in hushed tones once more, and at a certain point she punctuates the end of a particularly clipped sentence with a bark of what sounds like hollow laughter. It might just be Emily’s imagination, but she thinks she hears her father’s name mentioned again.

A radio left near the end table by the photographs crackles with activity. “Edgar?” asks a woman’s voice on the other end. British, just like the other strangers. “Is the flat secured?”

"He visits as about many pictures there are of him." Emily provides helpfully, leaving him to navigate in the dark to see for himself, if he so desires. It might buy her some time 'alone', and maybe might get him to stop asking her questions. She looks back up again as he suggests a true breakfast of champions, taking in the information with a deadpan expression…

That breaks. "That sounds disgusting." It's clipped and she laughs for a moment, at least until the radio emits a voice. Then she's silent again, the amusement in her eyes vanished back in that same arms-length wariness.

“Tha’s the point,” the speedster answers with a wink, “ever wanna get revenge, y’serve ‘em up tha’ for breakfast an’ act stupid proud of yer cookin’. Bein’ family they won’ be able teh say they hates it.”

He picks up the radio and as quickly as Emily can blink, he’s at the window, peeking carefully through the curtains. “As secure as she’s gonna get, Miss,” Edgar answers the voice, not using the woman’s name… just in case. She is more of a wanted criminal than he is, after all. “Ethan’s in the kitchen, all set up like yeh said. Emily an’ I are talkin’ ‘bout the lovely breakfast yeh made this mornin’.”

“You’re the only one who ever compliments my cooking, Edgar,” the voice on the other end of the radio says, tone dry, but not without humour. “I have eyes on our target. Ethan’s two o’clock. Be ready at the door if he misses his shot.”

What she means is: Don’t forget you’re our last line of defense.

Through the curtains, Edgar can see an unmarked black van idling on the opposite side of the street in the empty space where the street lamps don’t reach. As Ethan is bracing the rifle against his shoulder, Rachel is doing the same thing at the kitchen window, giving him an unobstructed view the van through the rifle’s scope.

She practices what she preaches, too. She’d warned Emily to stay away from the window, and so does she, body tucked against the far side of the frame.

The van’s door opens. Shuts. In the absence of any other noise, it could even be mistaken for a gunshot itself — or the crack of a motorcycle backfiring.

Emily's eyes widen as Edgar moves unnaturally fast, shutting the screen of the Nintendo with a click and a slow blink. Her legs slowly unfold, toes sweeping for the floor as she watches Edgar, and then follows his eyes out the window without standing from her seat. Target? she asks herself silently. She can hear the sound of the door opening and closing outside, and slides the closed electronic between the cushions.

"Is it happening?" she asks quietly, mentally preparing herself for something terrible. She'd seen the news — as much as her mother had tried to keep her from being too tuned in. Awful things were happening to people, to Evolved people in particular. "Is it the people from TV?" Humanis First.

“Right, I won’t let’em down.”

Edgar’s face turns stony and dangerous. His jaw flares and when he looks back at Emily he shakes his head, then he’s crouched in front of her with a hand at his back. “I’m not gonna lie to yeh, Poppet,” he says in a low voice, stowing the walking talkie. “It ain’t the people from the tele, no’ the nice ones at any rate. But I ain’t gonna let nuthin’ happen, right? Me ‘an tha’ smokin’ arsehole in the kitchen ‘re gonna keep you an’ yer mum safe as kittens.”

Not the kind of kittens found in bags at the bottom of the river. Probably. But he doesn’t say that bit.

Then he’s back at the window and what he’s pulled from his back is a dangerous looking knife. It’s used to peel the curtain back only enough to see down to a sliver of the road. To see what’s in the van.

The radio pops again. Static seesaws. There’s another voice, one the sounds like it should be coming through the speaker, though neither Edgar nor Ethan seems to hear it. Rachel doesn’t either, and Emily knows her mother’s ears are like a bat’s.

Some things really are
just a sum of their parts.
But you
are more.

A high pitched whine emanates from the radio like a dog whistle that only Emily is attuned to. Her hands want to rise to her ears, movements reflexive.

A memory is one of those
other things
only senses embroidered on a larger tapestry.
But you
are more.

are more
than your memories.


Edgar's attempt to reassure Emily is met with mixed results, her eyes darting between him and the window. The flash of the knife as it tugs back the curtain keeps her from saying anything else, her hands tightening into fists in her lap.

She blinks a few times at the different voice that starts to come through, doesn't understand why Edgar is ignoring it. How can he be? When the sound starts to intensify, she flinches, one hand flying up to cover the side of her head almost like she's had a painful spasm. Emily forces herself to not cover her other ear, because then she'd miss out on the message.

She wants to ask, but now is a time for quiet. Did no one else really hear that alluring voice inside the screech?

Down on the street, the figure that emerged from the van approaches the front of the building on decisive feet.

The static is distracting. With a twist, the noise is terminated, cutting him off not only from the noise but the woman giving him instructions as well.

Emily's fidgeting and cowering are attributed to the immediate danger she is in, there isn't very much Edgar can say to reassure her not without taking his attention from the street. He squints ever so slightly, trying to make out a face or distinguishable features that he might recall later. In a moment. If Ethan fails. Edgar tenses and waits, and waits, and waits.

Time passes much too slowly in instances like this, especially when you are able to go through life in a state of fast forward. His head blurs as he chances a look toward Emily, Rachel, and Ethan.

Take the shot, he's right there. He wants to shout it, to shake Ethan, to race down and make a mess of the neatly dressed man taking such purposeful strides toward the apartment.

Emily shifts in the armchair, hand slowly lowering from the side of her head. Her heart pounds, and she's certain she'll hear it any second now. A knock at the door, or a gunshot.

Ethan’s finger contracts around the trigger.

The sound his rifle makes is like what Emily imagines time and space collapsing must be like. Everything seems to slow down as the bullet exits the barrel and penetrates the kitchen window, sending a mushroom cloud of broken glass billowing open across the room. The largest shards catch the light and reflect it back at Emily, suspended, twinkling in midair. The raven’s wings pump, pump, pump with the rhythm of her still-beating heart.

Edgar, frozen in time.

Her mother, frozen in time.

The radio’s screech only rises in intensity and pitch.

are more
than your memories.

are more
than your father’s name.

entire life has been
around moments like this one
moments of importance
you were never meant to understand
because the truth was kept from you.

are more.

It is time to
let me
show you.

Wake up, Emily.

So Emily wakes up.

New York Safe Zone


December 6, 2018

It's the dead of night, moonlight casting between the curtains in slivers on the floor. She stares up at the ceiling, listening for that sound. Her ears are still ringing with it, the beat of her heart a slow, but powerful thump in her chest. Blindly, she looks back and forth in the dark to recall the scene to mind, not understanding.

She'd had her fill of dreams that felt like more than dreams lately. Cautiously, a routine she's grudgingly become accustomed to, she pushes herself up into a sitting position and lays her hand on the wall to let the cold seep in.


She was here. Emily was awake now.

But what was that dream? And what was she meant to see?

She sees her hand on the wall, her fingers splayed. Gooseflesh spreading up the length of her arm.

It’s quiet. Still.

She thinks she can hear Julie shifting in the other room, the subtle whisper of blankets against skin.

Something feels different.

Something has changed.

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