Scene Title Passacaglia
Synopsis It's a long ride back to New York City. Vignette.
Date April 14, 2009


One week.

Seven days.

One hundred and sixty-eight hours, give or take a few.

What is that? Ten thousand seconds? Ten thousand and eighty?

Ten thousand and eighty-one. Use a word enough and it ceases to have meaning. Time should work the same way, Eileen imagines. Count it out, stop the world from turning. Or the room from spinning. The former is preferable to the latter but she’d settle for either, really. You can’t always get what you want—

Ten thousand and eighty-two. Eighty-three. Eighty-four.

The boxcar’s interior drips shadows from the ceiling down to the floor in lieu of rain, though the moisture in the air is still so thick as to be palpable and causes breath to leave the noses and mouths of its inhabitants in the form of a fine, roiling vapor. She’d dressed for Utah, for clear blue skies over her head and sand blistering under her feet, and while she’s better off than most of the other passengers in her secondhand fatigues and the flack jacket worn under her coat, this isn’t Utah. Hasn’t been for a long time.


Eyes open. Lids peel back. Lashes give the customary drowsy flutter upon waking. Eileen inhales sharply, rubs her hand over her face, stalling for time as she attempts to find a mental foothold and put a name to the voice. It isn’t Julian, isn’t Luke or Alice or Alex or any of the others she’s been struggling to memorize since they all set foot on the freight train together all those hours ago.

If she could summon the energy, she might be genuinely embarrassed. Instead, all she can muster is a sheepish smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes, bleary from lack of sleep. “Yeah?” she asks, and her voice sounds foreign even to her own ears. Raw. Rough.

The woman leans forward on her hands, because it is a woman, and lowers her head, hair falling in thinning curls against the salmon orange material of her jumpsuit. In the dim half-light of the boxcar, she could be anywhere from thirteen to thirty, but the gaunt lines of her face and the dark circles under her eyes make her look so much older. For Eileen, it’s something like gazing into a mirror — brown eyes in place of green, blonde hair instead of black, and yet all the lines and creases are the same. Exhaustion pinches her features, renders her a sketchy caricature of herself. They’re all so tired.

“Just a few more stops,” the other woman says after a prolonged pause in which she pointedly studies Eileen’s face rather than the dark fluid soaking through the front of her jacket. “Can you hang on ‘til then?”

Yeah.” It comes out in the form of a long exhalation, lungs rattling with the effort. She isn’t lying, either — Eileen is alive, which is more than can be said for all the people they left behind, their bodies twisted and broken, crushed beneath fallen debris and perforated with bullet holes. The laws of chance dictate there are people she knows among them, people she cares about in spite of all the time she’s since spent decrying their mere existence. Lucrezia Bennati. Teodoro Laudani. Sylar—

No, she automatically corrects herself. Gabriel Wilkins. Gray. What the fuck ever he’s going by these days.

Ten thousand and eight-five. Eighty-six. Eighty—



“The ferry people. They’ll really help us? Give us a place to stay?”

For the first time in a week, seven days, one hundred and sixty-eight hours, ten thousand and eighty-seven seconds, Eileen can feel herself starting to slip. Darkness creeps into the corners of her vision and blinds her to the eager face sitting across from her. They’re all so tired

This time, her mouth forms the word without sound, lips clumsy and numb. Yeah.

They will.

Ten thousand and eighty-eight.

Ten thousand and eighty-nine.

Ten thousand and—

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