No Place For Us


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Scene Title No Place For Us
Synopsis Luke Campbell meets a stranger outside of St.John's Cathedral who knows too much about him…
Date April 8, 2010

Cathedral of St.John the Divine

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
Ephesians 4:25-27

By night the Cathedral of St.John the Divine looks foreboding like no other structure in New York City can, save for the most horrible of ruins at the heart of Midtown. With the power out in upper Manhattan from a blackout, the Cathedral is nothing but stark and shapr lines, somber statues of penetant angels with frozen wings spread, swords held aloft and heads bowed, creatures of fire and wrath and anger incapable of free will.

Behind the jagged spires of the ctahedral, a gray sky is slowly draining of all daylight. Here, east of the main entrance into the cathedral, through a maze of eight foot high snowbanks that creates an icy labyrinth, the rose garden of the Cathedral eventually gives way to the building's service entrance, where the Cathedral's soup kitchen and emergency shelters are located. St.John's is always crowded, but for good reason, their food is excellent, their beds warm and free winter clothing is given out to those woh need it while their supplies remain stocked.

Past the snow-packed wrought iron gates, past a half buried statue of the archangel Gabriel offering an ice crusted hand out in offering, Luke Campbell makes his way in the dar of night towards the singular light at the side of the Cathedral, where diesel generators keep internal lights on and shed a warm golden glow out into the frozen rose garden.

In his way, a ragged looking man sits on the stoop of the entrance, dark hair swept back from his face into a ponytail, chinstrap beard looking scruffily grown in and goatee needing trim. His ragged looking winter clothing has tears on the shoulder, patching on one elbow, and the fingerless gloves her wears barely keep those cold hands folded below his chin warm.

It's hard to tell if he's praying or thinking.

Luke's steps slow as he approaches the man, and he seems to be weighing his options of just going past like normal, or if he should go out of his way past the guy. These days, people get mugged for their jackets. He eyes the man, then decides to give him somewhat of a wide berth. Probably smells, anyway.

A little bit, actually, but only of clove cigarettes. "They turned me away," the dark-haired man states in a rough, coarse voice that projects from where he sits. Something about the tone, something familiar tingles in the back of Luke's mind, not quite in the same stomach-turning familiarity of when he saw old man Gray, but something more subconscious. "The shelter," black eyes meet Luke's as the Asian man turns to look at Luke. "There's no place for us there."

Reaching inside of his jacket, the man produces a slim metal pack of cigarettes, sliding it open with one thumb before withdrawing a single black papered cigarette. Its turned around, tucked between his lips before the case snaps shut. "The same could be said for this city too… no place for us." Regarding the metal cigarette pack, the stranger alights dark eyes back to Luke.

"You don't happen to have a light do you?" Black brows furrow together as he asks that question, and the stranger's stare on Luke is intent, almost in the way someone who knows the answer frames a question to imply rhetoric.

"No." Luke replies, rather rudely actually. "What do you mean, you were turned away? It's a fucking church, they don't care if you're homeless or whatever." he narrows his eyes at the man, brow furrowing slightly, then he shakes his head. "With the freakin' weather, everyone's outwardly feeling charitable to their fellow man while secretly wishing everyone else would drop dead so they could have more. So go ask again, or stay out here and freeze, doesn't matter to me." he starts walking again, though glances back towards him in slight confusion.

"They're full." He states louder as Luke starts to move away, angling a look over his shoulder at the boy. "Hospitality can only go so far, but there are bodies strewn between the aisles and sleeping on pews, Jesus' infinite compassion has found its limit." There's a furrow of the stranger's brows, and he slowly rises up to stand straight, plucking the unlit cigarette from his lips, looking at it ruefully before tucking it behind one ear. "Staten Island has frozen to the core, and a house of God does not have space for people like us." Dark eyes alight towards the arch above the doorway, then back to Luke.

Coming up the steps behind Luke and into the doorway, the dark-haired stranger narrows his eyes when he considers Luke in the light. "I've been meaning to ask you something…" he says as though he's known Luke longer than just the meeting here at the Cathedral. "When she gave you up to them, when your own mother turned you in to the government… when the person that a child should trust most in this world let them down…" reaching into his jacket, the stranger produces a chromed lighter, slipping it open with a tongue of flame coming from a spark inside. He lifts it up, running the flame over the head of the cigarette; it sparks and pops and the smoke smells too sweet.

"Did you hate her for failing you?" Smoke issues out of the stranger's nostrils at that question, and the lighter is flipped closed.

Luke freezes when the man speaks, and he turns to glare at him with quite a bit of hostility. "Who the hell are you, and why do you know that?" he snaps instead of asking the question, hands forming into fists. "And why did you ask me for a light if you had one?" this smells like a setup to Luke.

Sucking on the cigarette, the stranger causes the ember at the end to glow brightly. He holds in his breath this time, coal black eyes watching Luke silently before an exhalation of peppery smoke issues out both nostrils, like the vented steam of some great dragon's breath. "You and I aren't that much different," he offers in a stilted accent, Japanese strong in his inflection, "we're creatures of vengeance, damned souls who'se whole purpose on this world is to exact punishment on others."

Breathing out a mouthful of smoke that wafts weightlessly on the freezing but still wind, the stranger pinches the clove cigarette between forefingers and thumb, plucking it from his lips. "I just want to know… do you hate your mother for failing you?" One black brow lifts, and that dark-eyed man watches Luke carefully, inspectingly.

"Well if I wanted her dead it would've happened a while ago." Luke replies guardedly, still not knowing who this guy is. "But if she were gunned down I wouldn't shed a tear for the bitch." he shifts in place, eying the man. "Now who the hell are you and what do you want with me?" he demands again.

The corners of the stranger's mouth downturns into a frown at the notion, his dark eyes lower and the cigarette in his hand is left to hang at his side. Staring down and away from Luke, he is silent and still, then nods his head slowly and lets those dark eyes come back up to settle on the teenager. "I just wanted to know, how my little girl probably felt about me."

Turning away from Luke, the stranger comes partway down the concrete steps, only to pause and furrow his brows, then look back up to Luke with dark eyes settled squarely on the boy. "Oh and—

It's cold, the snow is thick and cold all around where Luke Campbell lays on his face. Frost and ice clings to his jacket and in the hood of his coat, his cheek is numb and there's a flickering orange glow all around him. Muscles freak out on reflex from suddenly waking up face first in a snow bank, and Luke's heart begins to race when the acrid smell of melting plastic fills the air around him. Scrambling up and looking behind himself towards the source of the orange glow, there is a trailer completely engulfed in flames. Smoke rises hundreds of feet up into the air, along with the roaring tongues of this raging inferno. Neighboring trailers have been caught in the blaze and their fiery glow sheds a brilliant light around where horrified trailer park residents are gathered.

Heart pounding in his chest and fingertips tingling, Luke feels as though he'd just run a mile flat out and the adrenaline pumping in his system is very real. So is the palpable sense of bile in his mouth when he realizes where he is; Thomas Jefferson Trailer Park.

That was his mother's trailer.

Luke shivers and tries to swallow down the bile as he realizes what he's looking at, since he had been there once before. It's even still in the same spot. With a twinge that might be called regret, he turns and starts trotting away quickly before people notice him. What the hell… was it that guy who's making him do stuff?

Once he's a good distance away, he turns and watches, steeling himself. She deserved it. She deserved to be cooked like a potato in tin foil. She had it coming. People like that don't deserve to live in relative comfort.

Having fled from the fire far enough to get into the forested treeline surrounding the trailer park, Luke is able to watch that inferno from a distance, watch the thick column of black smoke rise up from within, twisting and churning up and up into the darkened heavens to mingle with the tips of licking tongues of flame. The smoke evokes memories of just a few nights ago, of the collapsing shelter and the man from his past that was nothing more than a living cloud of it.

He'd saved Luke from the collapse, and Luke repayed it in kind by microwaving him. In a way, looking at this unholy conflagration that was his mother's home, it's hard not to wonder if everyone in his life will wind up that way, killed or hurt by his own hands. Eventually, Luke's going to run out of places to hide.

Eventually he's going to have nowhere else to run.

At least the fire will keep them warm tonight.

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