Punishment In The Form Of Karma





Scene Title Punishment In The Form Of Karma
Synopsis On a sticky New York summer night, Huruma comes full circle in a way, and unwittingly becomes the guardian for a lonely soul.
Date June 26, 2010


Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on the western portion of Long Island, Queens managed to avoid much of the physical ruin attributed to the Bomb. However, Queens on whole suffered from something far more significant in the wake of the explosion that tore apart New York — Economic crisis. With much of Queens relying on industrial productivity for its commerce, it was the mass exodus of many businesses from the New York area following the bomb that crippled the borough.

With refugees pouring in from the western portions of New York following the destruction of Midtown, Queens was inundated with homeless of all walks of life. Food shortages, coupled with the collapse of Queens business centers and the strain put on local police only furthered what would become one of the most embarrassing mishandling of a crisis situation the city had ever seen. Weeks after the bomb hit, riots swept through New York by the panicked populace, this was felt most hard in Queens, where food riots ravaged the businesses that dared remain open. Shea Stadium was used as temporary shelter for bomb refugees, and the riots that swept through Queens enveloped the stadium as well, resulting in a remarkable loss of life in the chaos.

Ever since, Queens has settled down from the turbulent weeks following the nuclear explosion. But while its scars may not be as physical as Midtowns are, Queens suffers just as the rest of New York does, under the shadow of that broken skyline to the west and the collapse of its social and economic centers. Queens is now a ghost of its former self, slowly struggling to recover from the damage done.

The streets of New York City tend to be a buffet for Huruma with her ability. The emotions of all so easily manipulated at the whims and fancy of the dark woman in her day to day wanderings. Fear mingled with frustration, an ambulance going by bleeding out anxiousness along with worry. Passing by a church relays a religious fervor not unlike what the woman has felt off Abigail a time or two on her watchful duties over her employer. Playgrounds elicit joy, delight, unabashed happiness from the pigtailed and tow headed children who populate it. Envy, relaxation, worry bathe the parents who watch from afar.

But evening approaches and on this particular stretch of the city with the stench of humanity in the back alley's and the curfew gone into effect which doesn't hinder the woman, it's quiet. People sleeping, more dormant and quiet emotions that simmer quietly in the background. Sticking to the shadow, a cop car goes by, an eye out for those who shouldn't be out and about, the bright white light that streak on by slowly, illuminating a rat that scampers off and ruffles the feathers of a roost of pigeons. The city at night. Huruma's City.

Whatever it may be that Huruma is apt to do during the dark of night, such activities are best left unrecalled. One day she may end up in some indie documentary for this; for now, however, she is so very free of hidden cameras, prying eyes, or otherwise interested figures. While she may be sought at some points, Huruma's devices are largely and luckily left alone. If someone happens to see her darting around a corner, passing shadow over roof, or glimmering below a window like a shark in dark water- they let her be. Even if someone were to blow a whistle, Huruma would be long gone by the time anyone of not arrived.

As long as she is not a threat to them, nobody worries.

Many times, unfortunately, she is a threat to someone, somewhere. Why she finds herself in Queens tonight is only partly a mystery; the mysterious half is countered by the practical fact that there are simply worse things to be up in arms about than a purposeful stride and a dark silhouette.

Unbeknown to the police vehicle wandering past, Huruma is keeping her eyes open on this domain from a lofty perch. The pigeons flap noisily from their drowsiness, only to alight on another part of the building. One hops down dangerously near Huruma; it starts when it turns and spots her sitting in the dark on the fire escape, panicked in finding its nestmates again.

Somewhere near, on the periphery of Huruma's extra sense, euphoria spikes sharp, giddy happiness like a siren call cutting through the darkness even as the bird quickly shuffles his way back to those of his own kind, leaving a few splotches of dingy white in it's wake that Huruma would be wise to avoid.

She is not new to scaring the crap out of things. Literally, in some cases.

Huruma takes little difficulty in honing in on that mental wail of joy; she takes her time in stepping her way up over the edge of the metal rungs, avoiding dingy white and climbing around into the direction of the spike. This is not terribly unlike a playground for her- escapes for monkey bars, rooftops, walls, and alleyways are forts and tiered plastic, comparatively.

The emotional beacon stronger the closer she gets, it's not one that she hasn't felt before. The mental call out of a druggie who's scoring, taken a hit of something they so deeply enjoy, crave, desire and want. Down a dead end alley, no light piercing into it's depths to provide illumination to the senses other than the few that apply. Stink of garbage that has yet to be picked up that the summer heat is starting to curdle. The sound of the myriad of cretin and creature that inhabits the night and comes out seeking foot. The sound of someone laughing, a byproduct of their hit and definitively female.

But under that euphoria is another, a separate sense that is quiet, neutral, a silent soothing individual that seems so polar to what's adjacent. But even as Huruma can sense it, the euphoria that falls from the female, takes a sharp turn. Horror and terror fight in the forefront of the black woman's mind even as a choking sound and scream works to crowd her ears and make competition for the nights.

A dead end, from the view at the peaked corner of the building ahead of it. Nose to the wind, so to speak, she lifts her chin and cocks her head towards the dark of the alley. First checking the shadows below the walls, she spies little else past the wall besides garbage and sound. Once she fixates, she fixates. The tall woman descends the last few rungs into the mouth of the alleyway, the worn soles of her boots bringing her movements quietly to the asphalt.

Both hands still wrapped amongst the rusty bolts and piping, Huruma waits.

The signs of life in alley are relegated to a pair of feet and legs that twitch at the far end, a makeshift hovel that likely houses someone homeless. No one besides that which she sense. Two people - emotional senses say so, visually there's only one - in the alley with ever changing emotions. The first starting to silence, drifting away in as much as the guttural screams start to dissipate and the feet that she can barely see in the darkness of the alley cease in their twitching. The second though, calm and contentment giving way to agitation and fear. It's the sound that Huruma recognizes and understands.

The bleating of a baby, scared and confused in it's limited understanding of the world, startled awake by the dying screams of the woman beside it.

Huruma is rewarded- perhaps punished- with the sound that comes next. Just maybe, there was that inkling of familiarity that she did not wish to realize- which drives solid in the next few seconds of her waiting, watching.

The woman lets out a guttural noise, low and suspicious in its own threatening notion.

The bouncing around of her empathy like so much a ball of raw nerves, Huruma moves forward, stalking swiftly and carefully down the side of the dead end street.

Les sand less, till out like a flame of a candle wick that has hit it's last few seconds before flaring up and disappearing. Gone is one person on her emotional radar, the closer she makes it to the re-enforced hovel that serves it seems, as the home for the woman and an infant. The paraphernalia of user strewn about her, the tourniquet still around her upper arm and used needle discarded where she lay, enjoying the high that has summarily ended her life. A woman no more older than probably Abigail when it boils down to it, though it may be slightly hard to discern given the dirt and clothing that she seems swallowed in.

Tucked away, in a corner of the hovel though, a bundle of cloth, towels and hidden from sight, the offended yell cranks up a notch, the ragged shriek of a newborn who's only way to communicate is thusly as it moves it's arms and legs as much as it can in the nest of fabric.

If Huruma were of lesser grits, she may decide now is a lovely time to antsy-foot away looking for someone else to point along. But as it stands, she is not like that. Who else would even show up back here? Really? The fussing of blankety mound, and the rough cries of neediness strike her now, far more than it ever has. Punishment indeed. She looks back for a few seconds, after observing and trying her due best to blot out the wailing of babe. There is no soul out at this hour, unwilling or not; it is because of people like Huruma that she has no other body to turn to.

This is her own problem.

The dark woman looks back, finding a surprising wariness in herself as she tentatively approaches the virtually abdicated self and hovel of the dead woman. A potentially terrible moment for the ignorant newborn, and a potentially auspicious moment all the same. Were it a year back in time, Huruma may have decided to leave it lie.

Punishment in the form of Karma tells her that it is no longer an option. One long searches out, avoiding of discarded drug objects as her fingers clasp around as much of the babe's blanket as she can manage, in order to pull the bundle up and out of there.

What in the world is she doing? This goes against all practical sense, to take it. What is she even going to do with it? No time to ponder, frankly.

The wail cuts off abruptly, startled by the movement of itself in it's nest, surprise registering by the infant before it starts up again. Hungry? Wet bottom? Scared? Who knows? It's been years since Huruma had to deal with a newborn and discern it's needs and even then, she dropped her own children off with people more capable and able to care for them, even if she thought that they would die or had died.

Madagascar had proven that to be false.

Inside the bundle, a little dirt smudged from living conditions, mouth wide, lips thin, it's toothless gum showing while little fists ball up in outrage and virtually shaking in fear and discomfort, the bald wrinkled baby is indeed, a baby.

Huruma's kneejerk reaction is to try and shut it up- but even after niggling at the little brain with a dose of comfort, she cannot seem to keep it up. She relocates the bundle in her hands a few times before settling on awkwardly holding it along her forearms in front of her, fingers cupped around as if she were about to offer it to someone else. Possibly ready to play a game of Hot Potato.

"Bah." Huruma's snipping voice startles her as much as it might startle tiny ears, her lips clamping hard shut after the fact.

"Damnation." As long as she does have the baby wrangled, she decides to inspect it.

Not so shrill a cry is the reward for the use of her ability, and the unfamiliar voice, the dark woman in it's range of seeing, enough to even quiet that, relegating the baby to the sounds that a newborn elicits. Pushing aside cloth that smells, dirty clothing gives way to a rag that doubles it's duty as a diaper and the smell of ammonia that dictates the need for a fresh diaper. Not stump at its' belly, it's not a fresh newborn at least. It's only when a peek beneath the wet cloth that betrays the baby's gender. A little girl in Huruma's arms, blinking owlishly up at her, lips and tongue moving and a tiny fist deposited in it's mouth, for lack of anything else to suck on. No more than a month or so old.

It knows exactly what is going on, contrary to undeveloped brain. Hello! I have a dirty bum. You have empty hands, I'll just suck on my fingers while you do the work.

Huruma can last against a good little baby and her mess- just not as much against the fact it is a little girl. She was gifted in finding Dajan. She was not so lucky as per his twin sister, who she has yet to encounter. From what Huruma had been told, Juwariya has never gotten past the mental capacity of a kindergartner. A first grader, on good days. Huruma will never be able to exchange with her daughter in the same way she does with Dajan. Ever.

It is the little girl that reminds her so abruptly.

"…I ought t'clean you first, hm?" Her voice filters out with a great hesitance, fingers tucking the blanket in around the girl before her arm moves to cradle her into what she knows to be a better grip. One last glance is paid to the corpse at the ground before Huruma slinks off, her aura of calm residual on the infant.

Cooling body on the ground, small warm one tucked into her arms. The cold of night, the darkness of New York and drugs claims another of it's lowest denizens and there but for the grace of god and one unlikely savior, one more might rise from the alley's and have a fighting chance.

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