Once Upon a Midnight Confusing


jessica_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Once Upon a Midnight Confusing
Synopsis What starts out as a simple enough confrontation in the streets gets a lot more complicated afterwards.
Date August 21, 2008


The hour is… very late. Later than anyone with sense (or a desire to see the next sunrise) should be outside. The sky is dark, the buildings seeming no more than shadows cast against it by orange streetlights. In a way none would have imagined before the bomb, the neighborhood is quiet; no sound of cars moving, even in the distance. Just the slap of shoes against concrete, two girls running down the street, passing in and out of the pools of orange light. It seems to be an older teen leading one slightly younger; by appearance, they're not related.

More footsteps announce the presence of those the girls run from — more a pack than a gang, four boys not so very much older than their quarry. Every one of them looks like they hail from the worst of the refugee camps. It might be expected for them to taunt the girls, who are already slowly losing ground — but they run in quiet fury, perhaps because two of them are visibly bleeding.

And lit by neon, not far in the distance, is Exotica. And coming out of it at this late hour is a blonde, having finished her shift for the night. She's still dressed for work, which is to say a tiny miniskirt, backless white (and tight) top, and crazily high stripper heels. She starts down the sidewalk, in her own thoughts.

That's at least until she hears the slapping of leather against concrete. She looks down the street, and sees the pair of running girls. It's enough to get her attention, and she turns her attention fully that way, taking a couple steps, watching warily.

The second girl, upon seeing Jessica in their path, abruptly slows down and starts frantically looking about for another way to run — but she finds herself dragged along by Tamara's grip on her hand. The older teen doesn't do more than blink at Jessica — that, and shift her course to one side so they won't collide with her.

The pack behind growl at the woman intruding on their path. "Shouldn't be out this late, old woman!" Young and overconfident, all of them — if perhaps a bit breathless from the run. "Get out of the way!"

Jessica might, or might not have gotten involved. Honestly, she's not much on the "good samaritan" viewpoint. That, of course, went out the window when Punk #1 got lippy. Jessica decidedly does -not- get out of the way. Instead, she moves to take position in the middle of the sidewalk, facing the boys. A packa punks are about to get a lesson. She watches them with narrowed eyes as they draw nearer.

When the two girls pass Jessica, it's Tamara's turn to slow, her arm continuing forward to direct her companion on. "Go!" The younger teen stammers, sputters, turns back — but with Tamara having shifted to face their pursuers, stepping out into the street to prevent any of them just going around Jessica, she gets no response. After a last hesitation, the second girl continues on, darkness eventually swallowing both her form and the sounds of her steps. At this proximity, it's evident that Tamara isn't unscathed — one arm sports a long, shallow slice, and there's a bit of dried blood on one side of her mouth. But she doesn't seem to care, either.

The pack slows as chase turns into confrontation, the four fanning out into a loose line. Three switchblades and two butterfly knives come out. "Stupid broad," one sneers. "Guess we'll just have to take a piece of you instead." The two oldest and biggest charge Jessica. The other two go for Tam.

Knife fights suck. You're usually going to get cut no matter what you do. But, knowing what you're doing helps. And superstrength doesn't hurt either. Since the first two are charging her, Jess waits till they're getting close…and then drops low, sweeping out a leg at the two charging punks in a leg sweep. Of course, she's also not pulling the blow at all. If legs get broken…oh, darn.

Knowing what you're doing helps a lot. Tamara can vouch for that. Dark eyes watch the two coming for her, leaving Jessica in her own eminently capable hands. The teen waits until the pair seems altogether too close, then dives for the knees of one, letting the other's blade scrape across her shoulder.

Jessica's move takes the pair by surprise, not having expected anything of the sort from someone who looked like a hooker — much less a sweep that knocks them both over like bowling pins. The snap accompanying the first hit suggests one leg was broken; the second punk, however, makes to scramble back up to his feet.

On Tamara's side, one finds himself driven to the ground, breath knocked from his lungs; the other stumbles when the target he hits isn't what was planned for. Also distracted by the woman who seems to have suddenly become a possibly scary element in the fight, he wastes a precious second in trying to recover his balance and shift direction to charge Jessica from behind.

Jessica isn't going to just wait. In fact, she'd been -planning- to be able to lend a hand to the girls based on what she had gotten here. Given one guy with a broken leg, the blonde grabs Mr. Broken Leg and -heaves- him at the one who, she now finds, was planning to charge her from behind, as she rises to standing.

Of course, that means that for at least the moment, her attention is -not- on her initial #2; the one who got up.

Standing, Tamara stomps on the knife-hand of her downed punk, kicking the subsequently released weapon back behind her. Then she turns to look at the one still standing, a small and crooked smile curving her lips.

If Jessica had been looking at the one who got up, she'd see 'What the hell…' written all over his face — followed by a figurative light bulb exploding by his head. "Shit, you're one of them!" And he promptly hightails it for the safety of the alleys; so much for the 'pack'. The one who lost his wind follows suit as soon as he's able, leaving behind a pile of two punks in very sorry states.

Jessica briefly debates killing them, but not with witnesses. Then she'd have to kill -all- of them. And that would be too much like work. Not to mention, the other two haven't done anything worth killing. She looks back to Tamara and her friend. "Are you two all right?"

As Jessica contemplates the deaths of the remaining two, Tamara regards her steadily. "It's your shadow," she observes cryptically. Though the 'friend' is long since gone, the teen glances down the street when the woman asks after her, and she answers as though she knows. "She was fine. The wolves gave up the shadows for the ghosts, and she remembered to stay inside." Tamara makes no comment regarding her own injuries, though the back of her tee is slowly being stained black by the more recent slash.

Okay. That would be a firm answer in the "not okay" column. Rather more on the "nutjob" column. But she's a bleeding nutjob, and a bleeding young nutjob. Jessica frowns. "Come on, you're bleeding. Let's see how bad that is." She motions for Tamara to follow her.

Tilting her head, Tamara contemplates Jessica for a moment with her strangely dark eyes — then chuckles, of all things. "It wasn't very," she replies, right hand pressing against the injured shoulder to help slow the bleeding. But she does follow Jessica readily enough, apparently not equating the earlier show of violence with any potential threat to self.


Jessica heads right back to Exotica. She nods to the bouncer as she comes to the door. "She's with me." she says, indicating Tamara. In they go, though Jessica starts to take Tamara through the actual club part, rather than lingering therein. She heads for the back, for the bathrooms and changing rooms.

Tamara doesn't so much as hesitate at the door, though she does give the bouncer a brief smile in passing. Neither does she evidence any interest in the club as they pass through; dark eyes do flick over the people within, but nothing seems to hold her attention. The girl just follows Jessica's lead, for now.

Jessica takes Tamara into the dressing room, and nods to a stool there. "Sit there." She then moves towards the bathroom. One good thing about having bouncers…since bouncers get busted up sometimes, there's a good first aid kit.

The girl almost doesn't seem to need the direction; she moves towards the stool about the same time Jessica indicates it. Perched on the seat, no longer applying pressure to her injured shoulder, Tamara watches Jessica's reflection in the mirrors rather than peering through the door. In the brighter light, her eyes are actually blue, but the pupils are oddly dilated — especially considering the lights.

The blonde woman comes back with the first aid kit. "Okay, where are you cut?" She starts looking over Tamara to see if she has any obvious injuries other than the shoulder.

In response, the teen lifts her right forearm, tilting it to show the slash along the outside. Shallow despite its length, it has already stopped bleeding. "It was well enough," Tamara remarks. She dips her head towards the injured shoulder. "That was the important one." All spoken with a detachment more appropriate to someone else's injuries.

Jessica frowns a little. "You should probably go to a hospital. But let's at least get you cleaned up." She takes out some peroxide. "This is going to hurt some." Gauze, too. Starting with the shoulder, since it's the nastier wound, she tugs Tamara's t-shirt down enough to bare her shoulder, then applies peroxide to the wound.

If Jessica happens to look at Tamara's face, she might notice that her eyes darken further just before the peroxide is poured on; unfocused, they look into the distance. For all the reaction the girl makes, Jessica might as well have been pouring lukewarm water on intact skin; neither sound nor flinch is forthcoming. Just the distracted statement, "No, it shouldn't."

Jessica is actually a bit worried at that. Too her, it sounds like the symptoms of shock. She puts the gauze over the wound, and directs Tamara "Here. Put pressure here." She looks to the phone on the wall. "Is there a reason I shouldn't call an ambulance for you?" she asks. Cause anyone who got cut by a knife, you never know. There might be a reason not to.

Tamara sets her hand on the gauze, turning her head to look down at it; then she begins to wrap it over the wound herself with deliberate care. She makes sure not to move the shoulder in the process, as if to avoid any painful jarring — yet she still doesn't seem to feel it. "You could call," the girl remarks, sounding unconcerned. "It's a shadow. I didn't go." A pause; dark eyes close briefly. "The pieces fell; can't fall there. Too white. Too much white blinds."

Jessica frowns. The girl is either insane or in shock, and neither is good. She picks up the phone and dials 911. "Yes, I'm calling from Exotica in Brooklyn. We have a girl here who looks like she got jumped by someone outside. She has knife cuts to her shoulder and forearm." She gives them the address and phone number, then hangs up, before coming back over. "The ambulance is on the way." The girl keeps mentioning shadows and white. "Where's the shadow?" She starts to give the forearm cut the same treatment.

As Jessica moves to the phone, Tamara quietly slides off the stool, the blue all but gone from her eyes. And while the woman is talking to the dispatcher, she bolts past out the dressing room door. There's people in the club who are very likely to get in her way, and so the teen runs the other way down the hall, towards the emergency exit. "…notyetnotyetnotyet…"

Jessica blinks. "HEY!!" she shouts. She hangs up with the 911 dispatcher, and immediately takes off down the hall, pursuing Tamara towards the emergency exit. "Wait!" she calls to her.

Hand on the bar, Tamara turns and sets her back against it, a breath away from pushing it down and opening the door — not to mention sounding the alarm. Dark eyes look at Jessica, past her, through her. "Can't. Can't-can't-can't." Huh. Four punks with malicious intent, plus Jessica, and the teen didn't so much as bat an eyelash — but the threat of an ambulance trip evokes an awful lot of fear.

Jessica holds up a hand in the classic "calm down" gesture. "Whoa, whoa. Calm down. What's the matter?" she asks her. She looks just a little frustrated. She's not exactly the queen of compassion here.

Dark eyes flick occasionally to one side or the other as Tamara considers the possibilities. The hand that isn't on the bar rubs at her face; the girl licks her lips, and makes a distinct effort to speak in sentences. "Falling. The pendulum swings. Glass in the river; mirror shattered. White, white, white; all the same, lost in the blizzard. Buries the pieces in snow." Okay, they're more or less sentences.

Jessica looks frustrated. "Look, kid. I don't speak babblese. I—" Wait a second. Mirror? Mirrors do mean something to Jessica, and now she looks at Tamara more carefully. "Come here." She offers out a hand. "I'll have the bouncers tell the paramedics you ran."

The possibilities shift with Jessica's decision; Tamara waits a beat to make sure they don't flip again on her before she steps away from the door, fatigue quickly replacing fear. She nods to the woman, accepting the offered hand.

Jessica takes her hand, and moves to lead Tamara back to the dressing room. Once there, she picks up the phone again, this time dialing an internal extension. "Mitch? It's Jessica. EMTs are going to show up looking for a girl. Tell them she ran." And then she hangs up, looking back at Tamara. "Let me get your bandages finished." She moves back, and unless Tamara stops her, she'll proceed to do just that.

So long as the hospital isn't on the figurative horizon, Tamara is perfectly willing to be led back to the dressing room and Jessica's ministrations. A complete 180 from her previous state, with no apparent lingering suspicions. Maybe she just takes the woman's word at face value.

Jessica finally stops once the bandages are in place. She pulls up another stool and sits down, facing Tamara. "My name is Jessica. What's your name?" She gives an annoyed look at the mirror in the room, for some reason.

The girl shakes her head a bit, running her right hand through tangled blonde hair. "Can't hunt ghosts now." Her gaze flicks to the mirror, and a ghost of a smile curves her lips. Tamara slides off the stool again, with less grace than before but no mishap, snagging a pad of post-its and a pen from where someone left them on the counter. She leaves them idle for a moment, leaning heavily on the counter's edge, blue eyes directed at the glass.

Jessica looks at Tamara, confused, and looks to the mirror herself. She sees what she expects to see. What she's seen ever since the night in Kirby Plaza. Niki's "mirror-self" is there, but not up against the class, like normal. Instead, she's in the back of the room, as far as one can get from the glass, curled up tightly, eyes open and unblinking. Staring. Jessica's expression hardens a moment, and she pulls her attention back to Tamara. "What are you doing?"

Blue eyes close. "Falling," she says quietly. The teen then picks up the pen with the same precision as if she were looking right at it, dropping the cap to clatter on the counter. "…not yet…" Dark eyes open, staring unfocused into the mirror, the blue all but gone. Seven numerals are scrawled on the pad with all the grace of a child half her age — and then Tamara folds. She lands on her less-injured side, apparently unconscious.

The woman looks back frustrated. "Wonderful. Just wonderful." She looks over at the mirror, and snaps angrily. "YOU should be the one handling this. This is not my problem!" She stalks over to where Tamara has fallen, and picks her up as if she were no heavier than a feather. The post-it pad is next, and then she slings the girl over one shoulder, and starts out the back. Hell, alarm already went off once. Once outside, she heads back to her car, and puts Tamara in the passenger seat, coming around and getting in herself. She starts to drive home.

August 18th: Consequences Over Coffee
August 21st: What the Mirror Holds
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