On Pain And Broken Glass


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Scene Title On Pain and Broken Glass
Synopsis An unlikely savior is sent back in time to rescue a woman he does not know from a monster he cannot understand.
Date April 8, 1984

A lone light flickers, casting dancing shadows from where it rests tipped over on the floor.

Outside broken windows, the world is dark and quiet. Wind whistles through broken glass, mingles with the sound of sparks from a television with its picture tube shattered, leaking smoke out of its mangled facade. Thick brown carpeting is matted down, dark and wet in places where blood has drizzled across the shag and soaked down to the floorboards.

A wet, squelching sound accompanies the pop of bone; a crack and a wet snap.

The air is crisp, cool, stinks of blood.

From his vantage point in a largely untouched kitchen, this is the scene that Luther Bellamy is confronted with upon his transferral through time and space. It happens in the blink of an eye, accompanied by the briefest sensation of falling and landing— here. There is no preface, no explanation, just a sudden cut in surroundings from Redbird Security to a furnished home that looks to have been victim of a break in.

Visible through the kitchen doorway, the grisly display of blood in the living room is not all that Luther can see as his eyes adjust to the dim light. Shadows play on the wall, cast by another unseen light source. A hunched figure with shoulders rolled is bent down over a twitching silhouette. With each motion of his shoulders and arms, there is another gruesome crack and pop, another wet gurgle of dying breath.

On the wall opposite of the kitchen door, a single bloody handprint says as much as the warnings on old sea charts once did.

Here be Dragons.

Odessa, Texas

April 8, 1984

He expects some wrenching motion - the kind that the movies always show of virgin time travelers when they come out the other side of time. Or, lacking that, some flames and 88 mph would be good.

But no.

Luther goes back to the past with nothing but the shirt on his back and a little white paper crane that contains the photograph of a young blonde woman and the phrase, "She will need your help. She has needed your help." But who, the pertinent question is, is she?

The scent of blood and sound of cracking catches against his heightened senses. The man hunches to a conspiratorial bend, stealing away on quiet feet to the nearest wall as he assesses just what, where, and when he is.

The handprint on the wall beside his head gets a disturbed expression, one lost in the dimlit rooms. He suddenly really wishes he had that sword off Hiro's back, or the non-existant gun the little Japanese man mentioned.

First thing's first, though. Information. As horror-movie-stupid as it is to do so, Luther sneaks closer to the light, closer to the dancing shadow that he can see… Closer to the dragon's maw.

A body lays spread out across the floor of the living room, just barely visible to Luther from his vantage point in the threshhold of the kitchen doorway. Whoever it is might have still been alive, judging from the kicking and twitching of his legs and socked feet, or it could have something to do with the man wrist-deep inside of his head. The scene is stomach turning, there is a bloody screwdriver a foot away from a man with graying, curly hair in a flannel shirt and jeans, back to Luther, hunched over a man's corpse.

The top of the man's head has been smashed open, presumably by the screwdriver, pried apart like a coconut. Bloodied hands are presently in the process of extracting a brain from within the man's head, calloused fingers slicked a too bright, too red color. The sound of snapping now sounds more like a celery stalk being twisted.

The living room is demolished, signs of violence everywhere from upturned furniture, a shattered sliding door and a crumpled dent in one of the walls where the sheetrock is cracked by a large impact. Stairs are visible to Luther's right, a white shoe is discarded on the third step, dotted with blood.

It's a woman's shoe.

The door at the top of the stairs is closed.

Someone is crying nearby.

It's all Luther can do to first bite his lip hard. Not to keep from saying anything, but to divert the gag reflex upon seeing, or rather hearing the gruesome torture. He stares at the killer's back, everything tense and his heart quickly beating maybe just a little too loudly for his taste.

After an eternity of a moment, Luther withdraws from the light of the bloodied living room. It's too late to save him. But what about… her? He turns, wrenches, his gaze away to find sanity in the living. Following the steps leads him to the sound of crying. That's where he goes next, trying his damnedest not to be seen or heard doing it. If he's learned anything about being homeless for so long in post-Bomb New York, it's got to be sneaking around under preoccupied minds and eyes. Carefully, Luther picks up the shoe. He studies it for a second, but then makes his way for the sounds of the other inhabitant. And quickly, if he can.

The carpeted stairs help cushion the sound of Luther's ascent, while the murderer downstairs seems gruesomely preoccupied with his task at hand. At the top of the narrow staircase there is but one door, too flimsy to prove an actual deterrent for anyone determined enough to batter it down off its hinges. Beyond the door, there's the muffled sound of sobbing. It sounds muffled by more than just the door and distance, someone actively trying to quiet the sounds of their own emotional report.

Downstairs, Luther can hear the floorboards creak for a moment, then the click-snap-flick of a metal lighter being flipped open and the flint wheel spinning. It's a distinctive sound, and its sharpness helps drive home as reminder of just how short the distance between the top of the stairs and the murderer is.

Uh oh.

It's all fun and games until flicks on a Zippo. Luther stops at the top of the stairs, listening to the and freezes again at the creak and the sound of that lighter. Come to think of it, was there any scent of gas? Too late to ponder that now.

He tries the doorknob only to find it locked. Of course they'd lock it. There's a psycho downstairs who is doing mad things to a man's brain, so they're not exactly looking to invite Hannibal Lecter's real life cousin up.

What to do, what to do… Caught between a psychokiller and a not-so-hard place, there's one way out then! Luther grabs the door handle, leans back a moment, and shoulder rams the door in hopes of it opening.

There's no distinctive scent of gasoline in the air in those moments before the door bursts open and out of the doorframe, taking a chunk of wooden molding with it as it swings inward and crashes into a dresser, toppling picture frames down onto the hardwood floor. There's a shriek the moment that Luther comes through the door, followed by the audible report of a handgun firing and bright muzzle flash just a few feet away.

Plaster clatters down from the ceiling where the panicked gunshot struck home, raining lightly down atop Luther's head. Standing behind a queen-sized bed and in the far corner of the small bedroom by a closed window is a horrified looking blonde woman, holding a matte black revolver in both hands, arms trembling, blue eyes wide. Blood is dried on one side of her face and across the oversized t-shirt she is wearing that does nothing to hide one very horrifying fact.

She is extremely pregnant.

"Stay the fuck away from me!" She screams, squeezing the trigger again and shattering a picture frame on the wall beside Luther. Mascara stains her cheeks black, eyes are reddened, puffy.

Everything comes into focus though.

Now he knows who he's saving.

Crashing through to the other side of the flimsy wooden threshold, Luther calls out, "Hey! We gotta — Holy — ! …Shit." His hands are up to shield him from the shower of plaster above and the picture frame smashes to pieces.

A pregnant woman? … Oh. Oh.

Realization strikes him like lightning. "Look, lady, I'm here to save you. From that psycho down the stairs who's probably heard us both now. Now we gotta go. Now. Ok?"

Gun still held out, hands trembling, the pregnant woman's jaw trembles and her breath hitches in the back of her throat. Swallowing tightly, she slides her tongue over her lips, fat tears welling up in her eyes and dribbling down her cheeks. Luther looks nothing like the monster that attacked her family, not blood-soaked enough or wild-eyed enough.

"Oh— oh God. You— you— " As the pregnant woman stammers, a shadow begins to creep from behind Luther. It spreads from between his feet on the floor, tall and long, casting itself against the opposite wall from the doorway in thick black patterning. It is the silhouette of a man, yes, but Luther isn't casting a shadow in that direction at all.

"He's— he's downstairs… we can't— we can't— " Hands still trembling, she drops the gun entirely down onto the middle of the bed, not noticing the inky black shape slithering its way into the room and up one moonlit wall.

Something about it is familiar.

Luther shakes his head. "I'm not about to go jumping out of the window with you pregnant," he hisses exasperatedly. Women and their hysterics. Really! "Which means, the only way out of here is down those st—" He cuts off mid-frustrated and by all means fearful argument, staring at that ominous looking shadow. The hell? Spotting that shadow causes a bit of a chain reaction in Luther and his course of action.

"Hey! Cover your eyes!" is the first thing he shouts as a warning alarm to the woman. But, he doesn't wait for more than a second. The next moment, he focuses on that unoft used ability of his, and his most recent trick: The Silent Flashbang. All his focus pours into the shift of that adrenaline rush energy into one brilliant light to spark up the room. He does close his eyes for it, too.

The room floods with light.

And then fire.

It is almost like an explosion going off when a scream tears out of the shadow, first like a hollow echo spoken across a great canyon, then a more corporeal howl of a man of flesh and blood backed by the roar of flames. A woman's scream joins in the moment that flash burns so brightly that nothing else can be seen. As the glow begins to fade from around Luther in scintilating waves, there is a man with scraggly brown hair turning gray — the one from downstairs — falling away from the wall as if he had fallen through it.

Flames follow his motion, rolling waves of heat and fire that billow up to the ceiling and blacken bubbling paint. A scream turns into a growl, and with his eyes reddened, pupils pinpoints and a vacant stare in his blinded gaze, Samson Gray lets loose the howl of a hungry animal as fire explodes off of his back and shoulders, reaching out across the bed like a pair of spreading wings, catching sheets and bedspread ablaze, blackening the floorboards.

Luther can feel the heat rolling off of him from the pyrokinetics. But how— how can this man be both shadow and fire at the same timne?

Recoiling from both light and heat, the pregnant woman throws herself to the floor, langing on her back as she continues to shield her face, severe burns across her forearms from the heat, flesh wet and glistening where fire scored it.

Dazed, lashing out and blind, Samson covers his eyes with one hand and lets out another pained scream.

Luther won't get another opportunity like that again.

See no evil, but hear the evil. Feel the evil. Luther's ability lasts for but a moment - he never expected that kind of response out of the other Evolved - and when he looks around again it's to the tune of hungry flames in a room set on fire. It's like a bad rewind, or perhaps ominous omen, of his Flash Forward to come. The heat is intense and just getting worse once it's to the point Luther recovers from the initial angry reaction of the other man.

And at the same time, his mind urges his ability out with the renewed kick of heat pressing into the room. He has to do something with it. It's too intense.

It has to change.

Since light worked so well before, he uses that. Luther presses forth through the flames, his body glowing bright as the moon outside, to grab for the gun dropped on the bed and to search out the woman on the floor. No breath is wasted on words, no sardonic observation of the crazed man melded with the walls. He just grabs what he can and goes.

If he's sweating, it's more because of the focus than it is in the heat of the conflagration surrounding them.

She's there, screaming, in pain. Scrambling away on her heels and burned palms from where Samson smolders, the pregnant woman looks up to Luther with horror in her eyes, tracking blood from her burned palms across the floor. There's something like recognition in her eyes, you're like me it says with all the sympathy of someone who knows the burden of this kind of gift.

Moreover, those tear-filled blue eyes also scream help me.

Recoiling from Luther's radiant form like Nosferatu from sunlight, Samson shields his eyes with one hand, scrambling away and towards the wall, letting fire roll off like a curtain from his body. Bathed in flames that do not burn him or his clothing, the walls and floor begin to vibrate all together. Unattended objects on the shelves begin to clatter and tremble. Not an earthquake— nothing quite so mundane or terrestrial— but rather the impending outburst of an individual possessed of telekinetic gift.

Reaching out with burned arms for Luther, he notices something else about the pregnant woman trying to save her child.

Her water has broken all over the floor.

Well shit. Or rather, water. Despite the chaos that happens all around, Luther can only focus on the two most prominent thoughts in mind - one, focus on the fire and turn it around to light, two… save the woman. Okay three - leaving the vicinity immediately.

He tries to support the woman in her screaming hysteria, dragging her if he has to towards the door that he'd smashed open earlier.

He tempts fate with a glance back at the wall from which Samson spreads his terrifying power.

With roiling waves of flames converted to light, Samson is pinning himself by merit of his own pyrokinetic ability. By the time Luther has scraped the grieving mother up off of her back and onto her feet, he is carrying much of her weight himself. Her thin frame does not help when compounded by the additional girth and weight that her pregnant frame affords.

Scrambling to the doorway, there's a crash a lamp collides with the wall in front of Luther, then a dresser topples over, a window shatters, a door to an adjacent bathroom slams shut. Blinded by the radiant conversion of energy Luther had unleashed, Samson lashes out at everything around him as he pulls himself to his feet.

Moving through the doorway and down the stairs, Luther's shoes slick and slide down several carpeted steps at a time due to the writhin and screaming woman he's practically dragging with him. Up above, Samson's rage reaches a plateau as something heavy crashes in the room, followed by an unsettling silence. Downstairs, Luther's charge skids to a halt on bloody bare feet as she sees her husband's body on the floor of the living room, head torn open and empty skull cavity showing where his brain should have rested.

The front door is a long way away from the stairs, thorugh the dining room and beyond the kitchen. Closer, though also closer to the corpse, a sliding glass door partly ajar looks to lead out to the back yard and streetlights.

Without the heat of the flames to draw from, Luther has but himself, his weary muscles and the thick air of desperation around him and the woman to pull them through. The silence in the room above following that heavy crash immensely unnerves the man. He readjusts his grip on her arm around his shoulders, the area and his hands slick with the pus and blood from her burns and his sweat mixed.

But that's nothing, nothing, compared to the sight of the man's cracked open, empty skull. Luther's gaze widens maybe almost as much as the wife's, both staring for too-long moments at the brainless body before them. And then the time for staring is over, and it's Luther who lurches for glass door seen just beyond the cadaver. "We have to go, Miss. Please," he utters to the woman.

Crying replaces screaming, dry heaving and retching as Luther drags her on shaky legs towards the back door. Shattered glass from Samson's break in cut the bottoms of her bare feet, leave her yelping in pain as she tracks bloody footprints across the floor. Blonde hair is tangled and hanging in front of her face by the time she moves through the open door ahead of Luther, her expression distant and vacant, trembling ass he's led out into the back yard holding her stomach with whimpering, pained noises.

The back yard hits Luther with cool, desert air. Lights from other houses can be seen around the cul-de-sac that this now smoke-bellowing building rests in. Through the open back yard Luther can see an adjacent street and approaching headlights in the dark of night. The pregnant woman at his side buckles at the knees, letting out a whine of pain as tears roll down her cheeks.

Inside the house, there's a crash and a clatter, a smash of wood and shatter of glass. Samson is downstairs, but Luther can see him stalking forward, sniffing at the air like a dog that has caught a scent. Choking smoke, however, duls even a superhuman sense of smell— leading Samson to paw blindly towards the front door.
Survival dictates the necessary course of the living, and for his immediate survival Luther is forced to bend to his knees to hang on to the woman. They can't go much further on pain and broken glass. With them being stopped, however, it's likely just a matter of time before the crazed killer catches up - or the neighbors catch on.

"We've got to get you to a hospital," he tells the woman. Luther looks towards the burning home with an expression full of weariness and worry. "Do you… do you know where we are?" Because hell if he knows!

The scream that the woman gives is not an answer in any language Luther knows, or any language at all. Laying down on her back at the edge of the grass near the sidewalk, the pregnant woman he does not even know the name of clutches her stomach and wrenches her eyes shut. Those headlights approaching on the road are drawing closer, but also slowing down. Tears welling in her eyes, she keeps repeating a name. Maybe it's where they are, maybe it's someone she wishes were here, maybe it's not quite either.

"Odessa— Odessa, Odessa." Choking back a lump in her throat, the pregnant young mother looks up to the headlights as they wash over her and the car comes to a full stop. Smoke is billowing out of the roof of the burning building, noises of Samson's rampage nearby are too close for comfort.

But in that chaos, Luther somehow finds peace in the blue eyes of that woman. One arm raised to try and wrap around his shoulders, she freezes in place with a thankful look in her eyes, lips parted as if to whisper something. But no sound comes.


"He found her on the side of the road…" is the voice of Hiro Nakamura standing silhouette in the headlights of the car, frozen in time just as much as the blonde is. "The newspaper says that there was a house fire, a man driving by found her on the side of the road, brought her to a hospital." Narrow, dark eyes loojk up to Luther as Hiro slowly approaches on the grass.

"You need to go now," comes with a pinch of Hiro's brows into a furrow. "To safety, not here," where it seems as though Hiro is implying it is not yet safe. "Her daughter lives," is cold comfort.

Because he doesn't say that the mother does.
Odessa? Luther can only blink down at the woman, confusion writ into the small furrow of his own brow. He tries to say more, but the look in her eyes halts anything that might come. When she freezes without saying those last words, when the smell of the smoke and the crackling of the flaming house sit in stillness, he gets even more confused.

The explanation appears not before long, though, and Luther looks up from where he kneels to the time traveler. "What the hell was all that back there?" he asks, a frown turning down the corners of his mouth. "Who was that nutjob who could do all that crazy— Where am I supposed to go?"

"He was the monster," Hiro says with regret in his voice, "but he is not your battle," has an even heavier sense of regret to it. "I am sorry I had to send you so… Ill prepared. Things are not as they should be, and I am running out of time." When a man who can manipulate time and space says he is running out of time, perhaps in that there is cause for alarm.

Lifting up one hand to Luther, offering to help him up off of his feet, Hiro's expression is one of solemn resignation. "I need to take you home, before you step on more butterflies. Without Kaylee… it is dangerous to be in the past. Things can change, people can be endangered…"

That hand is kept out, even as the world around them remains frozen in time. "I am sorry for making you suffer this, but you were the only one who could, and live."

"If he's as bad as the guy who blew up New York, you should walk right back in there and stab the hell out of him with that sword you got," Luther grunts in an unmerciful manner seemingly out of place with the man's usual character. Hiro's apology softens the gruff exterior though, and Luther looks to the offered hand. "Hiro. I've just got one thing more to say to you while we get on back to 2010."

The man clasps on to the offered hand tightly. But instead of saying that something more, Luther looks up to Hiro, gathers the fingers on his other free hand into a fist and takes a swing at the Japanese man's face. Whether he connects before they blink out though…

Distracted by offering a guilty look towards the burning house at the question of worse than the man who blew up New York, a tremor runs through Hiro. "No," the swordsman murmurs as he turns to look back at Luther, "he's— " The meaty smack of fist against eye socket comes in the same moment that both Hiro and Luther disappear in a rush of displaced air from the time stream.

The moment they are gone, screams return, smoke twists in thick plumes up into the sky and the driver's side door of the car that had been approaching skids to a halt. Looking back on it, history would remember less about this event than even Hiro had claimed. Less about the mysterious pregnant woman who showed up at he ER, her child that was born that night, or the circumstances surrounding the fire.

In their formal investigation, the Company would profess to never know who rescued that woman from the inferno and from the clutches of the serial killer who had invaded her home and murdered her husband. They would cover up what truth they knew, they would take the child that was born that night, and they would give her a name.


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