Not What You Expect


libby_icon.gif samson_icon.gif tyler_icon.gif tyler2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not What You Expect
Synopsis Tyler Case has had a long day.
Date April 1, 2018

This land is a long stretch of nothing. Just subtle hills the color of rust with tiny scrub growths in brown and gray between the occasional, lonely tree. A road with faded lines painted on it splits the desert down the middle, fading on its edges into dust, sand, and scrubby grass. The pickup truck roaring down that road is hitting nearly 90 miles per hour, kicks up an awful cloud of dust behind it as it moves. There's nothing on the horizon in any direction, just a heat-haze ripple where rocky hills meet sky. Overhead, everything is crystal clear in a disorienting field of blue without even a suggestion of a cloud. The sun hangs there, angry and glaring like a disapproving parent scolding the planet.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck…" Inside the truck, Tyler Case repeatedly drums one hand on the cracked steering wheel. There's a little dried red coloration around his fingertips, stains from something. Wind whips through the truck's open windows, and the shotgun wedged between the passenger seat and the center console rattles against the molded plastic. Tyler reaches down, clicking on the radio, but there's just static. He slaps the knob, turning the noise off, and returns to anxiously drumming his hands on the wheel. "Come on, come on…."

The truck roars off into the distance, disappearing into a white and brown speck along that dusty stretch of desert road.

Marfa Outskirts


A lone white-painted ranch with a terracotta roof sits by itself along the side of US-90, bordered from the freeway by a low post and wire fence. The gate to the driveway has a politely black and orange No Trespassing sign on it, though the driver of the rust-eaten 1967 Ford Fairlane parked on the side of the road seems to have ignored it. The car looks like it barely made it out this far, smoke issuing up in thin streams from under the hood, tired worn bald, chassis rusted through in several places and windshield marred by a lightning-bolt crack that runs from corner to corner. The gate to the driveway just past the car is open, swinging slightly, and the dusky gray silhouette of a lone man approaches the house's front steps. He pauses, leaning over to the old sedan parked in the driveway, hands cupped as he peers in the passenger side window. Then, the figure moves up along the dusty drive to his originally-intended target. Each step is taken slowly, tiredly, and the drab-dressed stranger knocks three times on the door.

Squinting against the heat, Samson Gray slouches into the minimal shadow provided by the home's awning against the late afternoon sun. Swallowing dryly, he looks around to the small shed just past the driveway, then to the expanse of empty scrub vegetation and dust beyond. His lips curl distastefully and he tugs at his collar, unable to get the feeling of grit out from where his shirt meets his neck. Finally, footsteps approach the front door, and as it opens Samson turns a slow smile on and clears his throat — nearly breaking into a fitful cough.

Libby Case stands in the doorway, head tilted to the side and eyes slipping past Samson's shoulder to look at the smoking car, and then back to the old man. He isn't saying anything, just watching her with a vacant look and a slowly downward-curling twitch of his lips. "Did… you need help with your car?" Libby steps out just a bit further, eyeing Samson with a worried but also concerned stare. Samson raises one hand to his face, exhaling a wheezing sigh and slowly drags those fingers down along his beard. The sigh turns into a groan.

"Could I trouble you for a glass of water?" Samson asks with a dry swallow, and Libby looks over her shoulder into the house. She hesitates, looking at the smoking car again, and finally steps back into the building and offers the weary looking old man a sweeping motion to invite him in. Samson obliges with an inscrutable expression, shuffling past Libby as she looks outside and scans the horizon, then slowly shuts the door.

Two Hours Later

The sun isn't much more than a dull orange glow in the west by the time headlights streak down the road and tires skid across asphalt and dusty earth. A white and brown pickup truck nearly collides with the driveway gate when it stops, parking diagonal in front of the dusty old Fairlane parked on the side of the road. Tyler flings the driver's side door open, dropping down out of the truck with shotgun in hand. He looks at the car, sucking in a sharp breath. "Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, no, no, no!" Hurrying across the driveway, Tyler slams into the gate and knocks it open. His jog breaks into a run, and he hurries past Libby's car and up the front steps. There's light on inside, but it's quiet. He waits for a second by the door, looking down at the shotgun before clack-chack locking a round into the chamber.

Tyler throws the door open, shotgun coming up and eyes wide. As he bursts into the living room his gaze sweeps across a bookshelf, a brown leather couch and two armchairs around a glass-topped coffee table. The spike of adrenaline tremors at his chest when he spots Libby sitting comfortable — though awkwardly — in one of the recliners with a coffee cup in and hand a slice of birthday cake. The rest of the cake is set out on the table, a few unlit candles on it, and across from her on the sofa is a wiry old man with a scraggly beard and dusty, nearly threadbare clothes holding a slice of birthday cake. Tyler looks at Samson, looks at Libby, and then looks at another Tyler sitting in the other armchair, also eating cake.

"Ty," Libby eyes the shotgun, "uh, we should really talk."

The other Tyler, mouth full of cake, motions to it with his fork. "Sorry," he mumbles, and the shotgun wielding Tyler in the doorway draws in a deep breath and rubs one hand over his face. Samson, motionless like a cat caught doing something it shouldn't, slowly chews his cake and slants a look over to Libby and Tyler with one gray brow raised. There is an awkward silence lingering in the room, and it takes several long moments for the Tyler in the doorway with the shotgun to realign to his current situation. He looks at Samson, then to Libby with a stare. No one says anything for a good long while, until finally, Tyler lowers his shotgun and closes the front door. He looks one last time at Samson, and then turns his attention to his clone and Libby.

"Libby," Tyler's brows furrow, worry visible in his eyes. "I've gotta go find Richard." He eyes Samson and his clone for a moment, then back again.

"Luis is dead."

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