On the Ledge


kaylee_icon.gif sibyl4_icon.gif

Scene Title On the Ledge
Synopsis Sibyl seeks Kaylee's counsel.
Date May 24, 2018

Sumter Home

“Carl!” Kaylee calls up the stairs. “Hurry up! Get what you’re looking for, your cousins are waiting for you.”

“Yes, momma,” comes the response from upstairs.

Her eyes are focused on a point on the ceiling, right where the hum of her son’s mind hovers. Clearly, not hurrying. The telepath sighs out and shakes her head. She’d give him a few more minutes. They were not in a hurry, yet. Though the less time they linger here the better. The house felt empty without everyone in it. Even the dogs. Everyone had been relocated to a nice family suite that had been built for them long ago, but they had chosen to live outside the walls of Raytech.

Turning away from stairs, Kaylee moves towards the big bay window, folding her arms. Jean covered shins bump against the sheet covered couch, as she looks out at the black SUV that waits to take them back. The security team inside having some sort of discussion, one guy swinging his hands around as he tells some sort of bullshit story. Lips hook to one side in amusement.

What brought her to the window isn’t the men, but a presence she’s been feeling outside. Telepathic, but she can't pinpoint it. It doesn’t stop her from trying. After a moment of listening Kaylee gives a frustrated huff. Twisting a little to glance over her shoulder at the stairs, “Carl! Let’s go! How long does it take to get a stuffed dragon?” He loved dragons after all.

There’s a knock at the door.

Maybe Kaylee hadn’t been listening closely enough.

When she answers it, she perhaps is not surprised to find the girl who warned them of the other telepath’s intentions standing on the other side. Sibyl Black is dressed in clothes very similar to the set Kaylee last saw her in: neutral hues fashioned from mixed textures that neither flatter nor do a disservice to her waifish frame. She wears her ashy blonde hair windswept and loose, curls forming a wild halo around her thin, pale face and the bright blue eyes at its center.

“Hello again,” says the teen. “I hope I’m not interrupting.”

Clearly, her security detail hadn’t noticed either, at least until the door opens. “Miss Black,” Kaylee does seem surprised since she wasn’t pay attention to anyone approaching, only what she was feeling from the other telepath. She might be silently cursing herself for that slip and what could have happened. Looking past the girl, the telepath notices the guards are half out of the car. She waves them off, giving a shake of her head, while opening the door to her house further to Sibyl.

Except for the thump of smaller feet above them, the Sumter home is quiet. Most of the furniture is covered, giving the impression that no one is currently living there. “You have amazing timing,” Kaylee comments with cautious curiosity, a glancing going up to the stairs. It seems fortunate that her son was dragging his feet. She should be worried about the girl showing up at her home, but it wasn’t hard to find out.

“My son forgot one of his favorite toys, we were only here long enough to get it.” The telepath’s attention turns back to the teen. A worried glance goes out the door, before she closes it behind the girl. “What brings you to my door today?”

Sibyl’s eyes roam Kaylee’s home. Her first impression is that it’s nice in the same way that Alister’s penthouse is nice. The furniture the Sumters own looks more comfortable than anything she can remember sitting on in recent memory, and she’s reluctant to impose on the lady of the house more than she already is by invading her personal space.

She makes a point to wipe off her boots at the door.

Her arms loop around her torso, gathering her sweater a little closer to her body in spite of the fact that it isn’t all that cold. Sunshine streams through the bay windows, amplified by the glass. In this bright daytime light, Kaylee can better see the dark circles under the girl’s eyes and the worn expression on her tired face.

Sibyl has not been sleeping well.

“I wanted to talk to you about what you did on the boat,” she says.

That was not something she expected, breath hitching a little in back of her throat. Step back towards their quaint living room, she motions Sibyl in further. “I did a lot on the boats. You might need to get a little more specific.” Moving ahead to pull sheets off a pair of comfortable sitting chairs. “I’d offer you something, but we relocated for a time, I can probably get you some tap water.”

Her head turns toward the stairs and the sudden appearance of her young son and his stuffed blue dragon toy, his whole attention is on the new arrival. “Have a seat, Sibyl,” Kaylee offers. “I’ll be just a moment.”

The little boy looks up at his mother when she approaches and crouches to his level. “Hey, momma needs to speak to her friend. Okay? Go back up. I know that you were busy coloring,” when your mother is a telepath it is hard to keep secrets… “And I think you wanted to bring more books?” His head nods slowly, eyes blue like his mother’s cut back over to the girl. Without a word he turns and hurries back up the stairs.

That done she is able to focus on the young teen, “Sorry about that.”

“He looks like his father,” is all Sibyl has to say on the subject of Kaylee’s child. She settles in the closest chair and smooths her hands over her skirt, ironing invisible wrinkles from the fabric with the heels of her hands.

“You’re a telepath,” she says, as soon as Carl is out of earshot. “You can get into people’s heads and make them do things they don’t want to.”

While Sibyl might not have been on the deck of the freighter at the time, there’s little doubt about the incident to which she is referring. The fragments of skull and brain matter splashed across the deck’s metal grating and the sailor’s body sprawled ragdoll-like at Kaylee’s feet are still fresh in her memory in a way that his physical remains, by now, are not.

“But you can help people, too, can’t you?” Sibyl asks. “If there’s something wrong with them on the inside, you can fix it?”

There is no denying what happened on the freighter, Kaylee’s head nodding slowly, “Though I don’t make a habit of doing things like that.” She can count on one hand that she’s done that, at least in the way that the teen witnessed.

Stepping around to settle into the other chair, Kaylee considers the question. Taking a deep breath she admits, when it comes to being able to help; “It depends.” Hands fold and rest on her lap. “I have helped a lot of people over the years, in various situations. Still, there are things outside of my… skill set.” However, she does offer Sibyl a gentle smile, “However, I’m always willing to try.” There is a brief pause before she asks, “An odd question. Why?”

Sibyl knits her fingers together and stills her hands.

“I need your help,” she says, “but I also need to know I can trust you.” And it is, perhaps, difficult to trust someone she saw murder a man in cold blood. Her eyes search Kaylee’s face from beneath fair, feathery lashes.

“There’s something wrong with me. I told someone, once, and now he’s gone. You have to promise you won’t go away, too.”

Something was wrong with her. The telepath’s back straightens a little with alarm and concern. Kaylee finds herself having to resist the urge to take a closer look at the young mind sitting just in front of her. Trust is everything for her.

Speaking of…. “I can’t tell you to trust me,” the older woman starts gently, offering a reassuring smile. “I can only take what trust you put in me and do my best not to lose it.” Hands unfold so that she can hold them apart a little; it was all that she could offer Sibyl. “It would feel like too much of a lie to simply say that you can trust me.”

Hands fold again, and Kaylee sighs looking down at them for a moment. “I also can’t say I will always be here, but I can promise to try.” Her head slowly turns towards the window, “Each day, you just never know what it going to happen. What I can say, is that if I do go away, it won’t be by my own will.”

Sibyl lets out the breath she’d been holding. Everything about her body language is abruptly resigned, and there’s a moment where it looks like she might rise from the chair and show herself back out the door, except—

Kaylee becomes aware of the fact that the last time Sibyl placed as much trust in someone as she’s placing in Kaylee now, that person told her he loved her and left her anyway. She knows, intuitively, that this someone’s absence has deeply wounded Sibyl, even if she also knows that probably wasn’t his intention.

Sibyl is sharing.

“You can come in,” she says in a quiet voice, “but please be careful.”

“I understand,” Kaylee offers when she realizes what Sibyl is doing. “A wound like that will always hurts, but… it is a part of living and part of what shapes us.”

The prompting and warning gives the telepath pause, but then hands unfold and she leans over a little, a hand reaching out. “Touch helps,” she offers as an explanation before letting fingertips touch gently against the teen’s temple. Carefully, her ability flares out. Sibyl won’t feel it. The brush of telepathy over her mind. A tentative touch seeking out a way and looking for any triggers and traps. Only then would she allow herself to peek a little deeper.

«What am I looking for, Sibyl?» The hollow and tinny words sound like the could be whispered next to the teen’s ear. Even as she waits, Kaylee listens carefully.

Kaylee feels a pull. Gentle. Persistent. Like wind being drawn down a long tunnel, or a moth’s orbit dragging it closer and closer toward a source of muted white light.

She follows it, leaving the familiar comforts of her home behind for the starker geography of Sibyl’s mindscape. Her feet find the lip of a stone well twenty feet in diameter with no way across, only around, on a narrow ledge that is barely wide enough for her to stand on. There are no doors here, only mirrors, so old and faded that their surfaces have become cracked and opaque with age. A filmy green patina covers the glass, obscuring Kaylee’s own reflection and the reflections of anything else in the chamber.

When she tips a glance down the well, she sees nothing except a yawning expanse of darkness that opens up below, leading to nowhere.

It is an abyss.

On the opposite side of the well, Sibyl stands with her back to the mirrored wall, hands flat against its surface in order to create as much distance between herself and the edge of the well’s narrow rim. A silk slip clings to the teen’s small frame, soaked through with water and sweat.

She breathes deep, and heavy.

The suddenness of finding herself on the edge of this ledge, it causes her breath to catch. Instinct has Kaylee’s back pressed tight against the wall behind her. She might be mirroring the young girl across from her, hands flat to each side of her. Eyes close against the sight of it, reminded of the yawning dark when she almost died years back. It sends a trill of fear through her stomach, awakening something in her own mind.

However, she also remembers what came from that. Kaylee focuses on that and calms herself and the whisper at the back of her mind; she needed subtly here, not what temptation offered her. Finally opening her eyes again to look at the girl across from her. She needed to reach her.

Rolling her head to the side, Kaylee looks at the tiny ledge. God, what did she get herself into. Slowly, the telepath toes at the ledge carefully, making sure that the ledge was secure enough to put her weight on, so that she can slowly shuffle her way around to Sibyl.

Sibyl reaches out, extending her arm to Kaylee once the telepath is within reach. Her fingers curl at their tips, and she closes her smaller, colder hand around Kaylee’s larger, warmer one. The girl’s grip is tight like her life depends on it, and maybe it does.

“There’s no bottom,” she tells Kaylee, and in this place her voice echoes, glancing off the walls and whatever expanse exists below, out of sight. What little light there is inside the chamber seems to be emanating from behind the mirrors and flickers like guttering candlelight in the dead of winter.

“And no way out.”

«There is always a way out.» Kaylee does her best to assure the girl, her hand holding tight to the little girls.

Her head turns this way and that, looking along the curve of the mirrors, free hand feeling the texture of it; even tracing a light crack. Attention, is eventually, turned back at the teenager next to her, offering her a as reassuring of a smile as she can muster before letting her eyes unfocus. In the back of her mind a voice hisses and scales sliding over each other. It doesn’t like this. It wants out.

Closing her eyes, the telepath presses her hand to the mirrored glass and lets her ability wash over the surface, tendrils seeking out a weakness, something that it can exploit.

The glass presses back.

“Sometimes you can see things in it,” Sibyl says, turning her face so her cheek rests against the grimy surface. Her reflection appears faded, matte, shapeless, and without any identifying features. “Or parts of things.”

At this, a shadow passes behind the glass, and although Kaylee can’t make out the details, she’s sure that she’s looking into a room with tall European architecture and what might be wood floors. Someone is talking but their voice is so muffled that it might as well be coming from an entire world away.

She can’t pick out the individual words, only the tone belonging to an older male speaker. He sounds disappointed.

And angry.

“I used to be able to see everything so clearly,” Sibyl confides in the other telepath, watching the shadow pace the room on the other side of the glass. An ordinary gray moth alights on the girl’s shoulder, paper-thin wings aflutter. “Something changed. Maybe I did.”

Blue eyes watch and don’t watch what is going on in the reflection of the mirror. Twisting carefully, Kaylee reaches over to scrub at the surface, even as she strains to reach what is on the other side. Finally, she lets out a huff of frustration and turns her back to the wall again. Her head softly, thumps against the mirror glass. «Dammit.» The telepath sighs and then starts to think, turning her face against the cool surface again watching and listening.

«We all change. It’s a part of growing up.» Not that this was completely the same. «It is the nature of memories to fade.» Looking at Sibyl, it’s then that she notices the girl’s companion. Eyes narrow suspiciously, leaning a little to look. Fingers gently let go of the girls, so that she can try to coax the thing onto her finger, her ability tentatively testing it. Like the barely noticable flicker of a snake’s tongue against one’s cheek.

You often find the oddest things in the weirdest symbolism within someone’s head.

«But someone or something might not want you to see these memories, either.» It wouldn’t be the first time she’s encountered a block, just not one like this.

“We learned about them at Saint Margaret’s,” Sibyl says of the moth as it creeps its way along Kaylee’s outstretched finger and takes up residence upon her knuckle. Like the mirrors that surround them, it too is an extension of the girl’s psyche.

“When it’s trapped inside the cocoon, it breaks itself all the way down, one cell at a time, and builds itself back up again into something new.” She smiles, sort of, hesitant and rueful. “It has to change to survive. People are like that too, I think.”

There’s a loud bang from the other side of the glass, drawing Sibyl’s focus back into the room reflected in its surface. “It’s a memory,” she tells Kaylee. “I go back to this one a lot, whenever I’m feeling lonely.” Whenever she’s feeling trapped. “There’s a man, and a woman. You can only see the two shapes but there’s really three people in that room.”

If Kaylee focuses, her nose picks up the smells of fresh linen and new rain. Perfume. Blood. Something else.

Sibyl must be able to detect it too. It’s sweaty, musky, both familiar and terrifying at the same time to the point that it both attracts and repels her.

Her heart beats a little bit faster. “It was important. It was an end, but it was also a beginning.” Tears snake down Sibyl’s cheeks and bared throat, soaked up by the fabric of her sheer slip. She reaches up and smudges them away from her jaw with the back of her hand. “I don’t ever want to forget.”

The telepath listens thoughtfully to the girl, watches the moth while Sibyl speaks.. At least until the loud sound on the other side of the mirror startles her. Her head turns back to the mirror watching it for a long moment thoughtfully.

It was important…. Kaylee takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. «Are you certain you want to remember this?» She isn’t talking the girl out of it, simply making sure. Reaching over, the moth is deposited on the pale shoulder again. Eyes and ability shifting over to the the mirror again. «I do this, Sibyl. I help you. Know that I can’t take it back. My ability doesn’t quite work that way. I can fuzzy it again, but it’ll be back.» Her head dips a bit as she tries the catch the girl’s eyes to be sure this is what she wants, that she understands how serious the telepath’s echoed words are.

One take away, Sibyl can get from all that… Kaylee is clearly saying she can give that memory to her… that the telepath feels confident she can help her remember this memory. One special to her.

Sibyl’s wet eyes tell Kaylee yes.

And so she pushes, using her ability to filter out the grit collected on the mirror’s surface, to enhance her senses of sound and smell. For an instant, but only an instant, the words being spoken on the other side of the glass cut through clear — if intermittent.

—let you live!” the man is snarling, and Kaylee thinks she recognizes his voice even if the room itself is too dark to identify his face. He’s tall, with broad shoulders and a proud, aquiline nose. His eyes flash a pale colour in the shadows as he stoops over a young woman who is not Sibyl Black and hauls her off the floor. The vast difference in their sizes allows him to raise her up by the throat so that his gaze levels with hers.

He shouts something else that’s lost to the crash of the woman’s body as he swings her across the room with enough force to send her sprawling. There’s a sleek knife in his hand that wasn’t there before, covered in blood, which he hurls at the floor where she lands. “After all we’ve done for you,” he barks, voice hoarse, “you spit at me! You’d have been savaged and murdered by whatever trash you associated with if it weren’t for us. And this is how I’m repaid?”

Almost as soon as the memory starts to clear, Kaylee regrets it. A girl Sibyl’s age shouldn’t be remembering such things. She even goes so far as to lift a hand to smear across it and blur the memory, but pauses at the voice…. Stills, as she sees the silhouette he cuts. So familiar and it is on the tip of her tongue. She feel she should know it, but doubt colors her opinion.

So instead she watches the scene play out, flinching as the woman is tossed. Kaylee can’t help but feel a touch glad that he seems to be pulling out a knife, but without the whole story…. The woman might be the bad guy… so to speak.

Looking at her girl, with her hand pressed to the glass, Kaylee asks gently, «You say this is an end and a beginning.» She prompts gently.

“Yes,” Sibyl says, her breath fogging the glass. She’s only half-listening to Kaylee now, distracted, eyes on the floor of the hotel room where the same man that had thrown the woman back to the ground is suddenly tending to her there. The woman’s fingers rake through his hair and pull his face close enough to hers that Kaylee can only guess at the whispered words that are being exchanged between the pair.

Sibyl mouths them, though, making no sound except for the thin rasp of air trembling like a reed as it exits her lungs. The woman is crying, as Sibyl is crying, and gathers the man to her breast as she hisses reassurances into his ear and wipes tears from his face with her long, pale fingers — because he is crying, too. His hands clutch at her arms and rock her against him.

“She told him she’d come back for him,” Sibyl says. “He’ll come back for her someday, too. I just have to wait.”

Hand covering her mouth, Kaylee watches it all and fights the emotions it provokes. Dealing with the memories of others, it is a hazard… and did once get her slapped. It was heartbreaking to watch it unfold. Taking a deep breath she lets her hand drop slowly, swallowing her knot of emotions at the back of her own throat.

She turns her head away from a rather intimate moment, it only them occurs to her that something in what Sibyl said shifted. The wording used changed. The teenager gets a confused look, brows furrowing and then lifting a little. Her attention turns back to the figures again. «You just have to wait?» She asks softly, looking at the pair embracing. «Your end and…» She looks at the girl next to her. «and your… beginning?» Is a hazarded guess.

«Who…» Kaylee looks at the pair again, but doesn’t finish that thought, falling silent.

Without warning, the man shoves the woman away from him, leaving her to curl into a fetal position on the floor as he rises to his feet in a smooth, languid motion. He’s all grace and raw power, regal in the same way that large predators are.

And let there be no mistake: He is a large predator.

Footsteps carry him across the hotel room, toward the door. Ambient light from the New York cityscape outside bounces off his face. Strong jaw. A swoop of brown-black hair. The corner of his mouth pulls up into a smug, self-satisfied smirk that only belongs to—

Gabriel Gray.

He hefts the door open, effortlessly.

“Tell Bennati I said hello,” Gabriel says.

The door slams behind him, abandoning the woman on the floor to her own sobbing.

There is no holding back the gasp when Kaylee sees the face of Gabriel, turning a little more to make sure she saw that right. «Gabriel..» Ssssylar. Two names spoken by two different voices at the same time. Something was off about him, she couldn’t place it yet; but, it would nag at the back of her mind now.

But that would mean… Kaylee turns her attention to the woman on the floor. It didn’t add up though… Before she can stop herself, the telepath asks, «Do you remember when this happened to you?» It’s obvious she wants to say … wants to ask more, but her jaw clenches against the words.

There’s a jolt.

Kaylee is back in her armchair, bathed in sunshine and the welcoming light of her living room. Sibyl is there, too, although she’s broken the physical contact between them and retreated deeper into her cushion, legs drawn into her chest.

She shakes her head no.

She doesn’t remember.

“He’s dead— he’s dead in all the— the books,” she rasps out, voice thinning into a shrill, keening whimper, “and on the tel— the television, but that’s not true. It can’t be true. Kaylee.”

Sibyl swallows, hard, unable to stop her shoulders from convulsing as she weeps, or her hands from trembling. The most she can do is raise her eyes to Kaylee’s, pleading, and try to hold her gaze when the older woman meets it.

Help me find him.

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