Pepper Spray and Switchblades


anna_icon.gif evan_icon.gif

Scene Title Pepper Spray and Switchblades
Synopsis Anna's latest anti-Evolved tirade prompts different responses from two people who were there for it in person.
Date November 16, 2010

The Bronx

The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.

It's almost dinner time as Sam's Comics clientele is ushered out so the store can close up. The store has been relatively untouched by the recent riots, and runs as smoothly as can be expected of any store these days.

After the customers have gone, the first of the employees leaves the store behind, having done her duties for the day, the fifteen year old Anna James walks out and gets out her pack of cigarettes, flipping out a smoke and lighting it.

As she starts to walk towards her home, she smokes that cigarette, inhaling and exhaling like it's some sort of ritual meant to help with some sort of stress. She sure looks unhappy, anyway.

A lot of people are out on the streets at this hour, especially with the curfew - and fear that it'll be enforced with, well, brute force - if they don't go out now, then they won't be able to until morning.

Many of them are strangers, and pay each other no more heed than they ever have. But then there's that couple over there, a few kids of their own in tow, who slow down and stare as they approach Anna. "That's that girl from the bookstore," the woman says to her husband, a little too loudly.

"Yes, it is, got a problem?" Anna bites to the woman, also loudly. The girl stares at the woman, and her hand reaches for something inside her jacket. "I suggest that if you have a problem, you take it to the police."

That hand doesn't come out, but it's clearly holding on to something. "Just turn around, and leave me alone, okay? I've done nothing to you, and unlikely will." She pauses, "Unless you start something, perhaps then I'' do something to you. Understood?"

While it's obvioys that Anna is trying to be brave and intimidating, she's not feeling very brave, and fifteen year old girls just aren't that intimidating.

The husband maintains an uncomfortable silence, and the kids are too busy talking to each other about homework and video games to pay attention. The wife, on the other hand? Is not impressed. "We were there that day," she explains, stepping forward as she fishes for something of her own: a can of pepper spray, which she points right at the teenager. "We could have been hurt, all because you were too busy being thoughtless!"

Oh, good. This evening really needed two angry hotheads to fire each other up.

Anna is… impressed, but she tries to hide it. Especially when the pepperspray comes out, she mutters a quick, "Fuck." To herself as that right hand of hers leaves that jacket and presses a button on the small object it holds.

Turns out it is a switchblade, and it's rapidly going towards the woman with the pepperspray. As she does this, Anna ducks down, and closes her eyes, trying to prevent the pepperspray from reaching her eyes.

No matter whether she hits or misses, Anna drops the knife and turns around, ready to run the fuck away. She doesn't wish to stay around, no sir.

Both the spray and the blade go wide of their targets. The woman kneels down to grab the blade after it clatters to the sidewalk, handing it off to her husband, steely gaze making her intent obvious - close this up before anyone else can get their hands on it - and then she turns and runs the other direction, hauling the kids along with her. "Help, police!" she yells, not bothering to check whether any are within sight.

Meanwhile, around the next corner - right in the middle of Anna's flight path - Evan walks along, the shout in the distance providing the only clue that something's just gone down. "Ah!" he says as she runs closer, unable to get out her way in time. There's about to be a knockdown, unless she stops on her own first in a damn hurry.

Well, Anna bumps into Evan, she can't help it. "Sorry, sir." She tells him as she tries to get up fast enough to continue running. She's easily grabbed if Evan bothers to, however. The girl's not yet exhausted or anything, but neither is she very strong, so taking hold of her should be quite easy.

Evan at least gets far enough out of the way that they only bump into each other, instead of full-on crashing or tripping. He's about to continue on his way— and then he has time enough to process the woman shouting nearby, and what it entails. Well, crap, he thinks. Soon there'll be a larger group of angry people gathering, and it'll all go downhill from there.

Outwardly, he meets Anna's gaze, gesturing with one hand. "C'mon, this way!" he says, pointing toward a nearby alley. "Before they start busting out torches and pitchforks." It's all happened so quickly that he hasn't had time himself yet to recognize just who he's run into.

Anna nods and heads to follow Evan into that alley, "Thanks.." She whispers. "Sorry for bumping into you, sir." One glance back before she heads deep into that alley, she has a pretty good idea of what he's thinking happened… but doesn't have any inclination of changing those ideas.

She is sweating, and pulls her sweater's hoody over her head in an attempt to make it less obvious who she is… she saw Evan at the book reading, and by now, has definitely recognised him.

Evan isn't all that fast a runner, but neither is Pepper Spray Woman thanks to having the kids to haul around with her. Soon, the family and a couple other bystanders run past the edge of the alley and keep going, clearly expecting the target of their anger to still be somewhere up ahead.

Even with her face partly concealed, Evan has recognized Anna as well— her voice has that same edge to it, and her build fits the picture as well. Hmm, this could be an opportunity to undermine her prejudices… or maybe set them even further in stone, he's not a psych major. But just in case, he keeps his annoyance to himself. "The girl from the book signing, right? Lost your parents a while back?"

Anna gives a nod, even if she's not all that happy about being recognised. "Yeah, that's me…" She whispers, and lowers the hood again. She sits down on the ground and looks up at Evan while leaning against a building, "So now what?"

Anna sighs, "She pulled pepper spray on me… I was just trying to defend myself." She explains, without the question evening being asked. "Apparently she was angry about the whole bookstore thing." Geez, really?

"I think just about everyone's angry about something these days," offers Evan. It's true of him, too, not that he's copping to it. "Where were you going before they got all in your face? I think you'll be okay if you just wait a few more minutes, they looked like they were running off in the wrong direction."

"Home." Anna answers, "Well, the closest I got anyway…" She stretches and looks at her watch, "Six, I hope they're not worried." Wait, does she care about her foster parents all of a sudden? "I'd hate to get grounded…" Okay, apparently not.

"I'm Anna, by the way… who're you?" She smiles weakly, and gets another cigarette out of her pack… she lost the previous one while running away. After lighting the smoke, she starts to smoke again. "Yeah, I know… kids shouldn't smoke and all, I don't care about that."

Apparently not? Definitely not. But hey, she tried to light a fire in a building full of paper products, her tobacco habit is the least of his worries. Maybe if it was something other than tobacco— "Evan," he introduces himself in turn. "And they shouldn't be too upset with you, I mean there's a hundred different things will slow you down that aren't your fault or anything."

"Nice to meet you, Evan." Anna answers, unaware that she's talking to one of them, "Thanks for pointing this alley out to me…" A few puffs of smoke are in- and exhaled. "Can I repay you somehow?"

Okay, if she had any clue Evan was an Evolved, she wouldn't have asked that. But she doesn't, so she did. "I owe you one, for sure."

"Yeah, you too," Evan mostly-lies. Well, okay, it's nice to meet her when she isn't proudly declaring a whole group of people to be inhuman freaks. "I don't know, I guess you can owe me one?" Nothing comes to mind right away, but the way things have been going the past few years, something's bound to come up sooner or later.

"Okay." Anna finishes her smoke and gets up, stretching a little. "I'd better go home soon…" She says, slipping Evan a business card, "Here's my foster father's business card, just call the home number and ask for me if you want to collect that favor."

So apparently she really does intend to repay Evan, "I'm not sure how much help I can be… but I'll try to help if you need anything, even if it's just moving boxes or something like that."

Evan nods, slipping the card into his wallet and offering one of his own in return. Not being a big corporate executive who does ten meetings a day, he's nowhere near running out of the things. "Yeah, I figure I can come up with something. I'll let you know."

More to the point, he'll come up with an excuse to have her over, so he can keep an eye on her. Maybe if he'd kept a closer eye on that brainwashed co-ed earlier in the year, he might have gotten lucky and stumbled across that asshole behind last week's rioting. Or not— but even outside chances are worth pursuing.

"Seeya later, then!" Anna says as she starts to walk away, "Thanks again for helping me, Evan!" And soon, the by now somewhat infamous anti-evolved girl is on her way again, disappearing out of Evan's sight once she goes around a corner.

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