Redcrosse In The Cave of Despair


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Scene Title Redcrosse In The Cave of Despair
Synopsis The title's literary reference just means that one Jesse Alexander Knight is found holed up and comatose underground after three days of absence.
Date December 23, 2008

Abandoned Subway Tunnel

Al's literally goneto ground. He's in an old squat off an abandoned subway line, a little chamber with a cot, a heater that runs off stolen electricity, and a flickering battery powered lantern. He's curled on the cot, wrapped in a sleeping bag, more or less on the edge of a coma… certainly not conscious.

Deckard had found a smashed street lamp, an exploded alleyway, scabbed blood mingling with the sanguine brown of rust on the subway vent, pieces of a Glock .9 disassembled and dropped in rough trail between daubs and miniature lakes of frozen blood: a lot of frozen blood. Two sets of shoe-prints stamped and smeared into the chunky accumulation of dirty snow. The first thing they'd done was taken their guns out, looking subtly but profoundly spooked. The second, call Abby. Third, get underground.

Hours later, they've spread out. Deckard's checking another one of Al's known safehouses, whereas the healer and her default companion in most things healing are walking rapidly down the cold bowels of the derelict railway system. There's a flashlight in one of Teo's hands and a .9 gripped in the other, his wrists together, crossed, and his pupils contracting and expanding between extremes every time he shifts his gaze over the guiding beam of light. He looks like he could shoot somebody: an accurate representation. He could.

"Through there." Stopping in the tunnel, he nods his head toward the tiny service passageway, little better than a framed hole in the tunnel wall.

"Oh god, oh god, Teo, that was a rat…" That's been a common complaint of Abby's through this all, albiet quiet one. They're on a mission to find Alexander, the third roomate. Which means, she'll brave the god knows what down here to try and find him. The blonde looks dubiously at the hole in the wall, literally before she nods and crouches to fit herself and her backpack stuffed with fresh clothes, thermos of coffee, chemical heat packs and sandwhiches. Time to stop complaining and just squeeze through.

There were admittedly a lot of rats. Possibly supersized and made poison-fanged by radiation. Wonderfully, said rodents are some of the less terrifying prospective visitors to Midtown's subway system. A rat didn't spill that much blood, or blast in all the walls and windows of an alleyway off the boulevard. Not that Teo overelaborated on that when he spoke to Abby, of course. He just says: "Don't worry, bella, I got it." There's a skitter of pink claws as the rodent scatters away from the noise and scent of people.

He turns and steps sideways into the tiny egress, the corner of his shoulder scraping audibly against concrete, his gun up momentarily to avoid, you know, accidentally plugging Abby's back full of holes. He notices the spasmodic yellow glow of weak, weak electric incandescence long seconds before he'll be able to //start/ recognizing the any of the indistinct shapes and shadows lumped into the cramped space it's meant to illuminate, and he says it even before he thinks it: "Al?"

"Al." That's not good when the man doens't respond. She's careless of where she puts her hands. Gloves will protect her and keep them clean. It only incesences the blond to scurry in faster towards the weak glow, suss out as her eyes adjust to where Al's comatose form is. "teo… Sweet belssed jesus he's nto answering" Mistress of the obvious.

She's smaller than him: it's easier for her to manage the width of the passageway, but it still takes them both too long to hang the sharp right into the tiny concrete room. Not that five or ten seconds is going to make a difference, after over three days of whatever the fuck it is Alexander's been doing in here by himself instead of where his friends are.

"Jesus fucking Christ." Teo sees him, from over the top of Abby's head and the next thing out of his mouth isn't in a language Abby can recognize; he harries her, despite that it's rude, a jostling shove to reach his friend and bring her to him if she'll go, and then he's there, close enough to peer into Al's face, gun on safety, flashlight white on the older man's sealed eyelids.

Al's eyes are sunken, and he's a horrible shade of gray. The room has the iron reek of blood, as well as cold stone. But the light and the heater are on. And while Al is pale, it's not the bloodless, waxen pallor of someone who's been dead for days. He doesn't move, and the room is warm enough that breath doesn't cloud.

What comes from Abby's lips isn't swear words, in a foreign or even domestic language. Jsut religious words, whispered prayers again it's her ripping off her gloves, digging into her pack for one fo the chemical heat packs. She crumnches it in her hands and slips it in against the other mans chest, digging in under the blanket. She's seeking for his chest as well and to put her hands to his bare flesh, satisfied when the telltale drain starts up, crowded beside Teo. Her other hand joins too, warm, tingling, seeking out the injuries Al's endured so she can tell Teo roughly where it all is.

For a protracted moment, Teo is deeply uncertain that his friend's even alive. There's no smell, a good sign; there's no movement in the cloth covering his frame, a bad sign. Gray isn't a good color for the redhead. During that protracted moment, Teo does a reasonably good job pretending he's sure Al's alive, though.

Cooperating with Abby's healing effort, sticking the flashlight handle in his teeth, yankking cloth aside to expose skin, a hand on the side of Al's face as if to offer reassurance amid troubled dreams before he leans over to listen for breathing, which would have been the practical thing, a mechanical stoop of shoulders and his features blank, like a puppet with his strings cut or at the hand of a talentless handler; pretending he's sure. Clutched between his jaws, the flashlight basks Abby's hands in bright white.

There is a pulse, thready and weak, but there. That close, Al's breath stirs against Teo's skin, barely perceptible. His skin is clammy, but without the icy chill of death. And color begins to creep back, slowly, as Abby does her work. Once the girl has spent a few moments, he twitches a little. It's the restless jerking of a sleeper caught in a bad dream. There's abullet wound low on his side, but Abby'll be able to tell there are strange internal injuries - that's what has him hovering so close to death.

"He got shot." Abby's breath is careful, both hands now to Al's chest and despite who she is and that Al's a male, her fingers work their way lower, looking for the rent skin and to get her one hand closer to the internal injuries. Her brows pull down, the young blonde frowning. "I can do it. He won't pass. Wr got here in time, Teo." Her voice is very hushed. "Move your head please?" More skin to skin might be better in this. "Don't touch him, He needs it all and it'll go to you too." She gives up trying to reach the bullet wound. Instead, she pulls her hands away, starts peeling off her jacket and push her sleeves up. Pulling back the blanket and crawling over him then trying to wedge herself behind and spoon against Al. A hand slides back up his shirt, press against his back, parallell, clutching him to against her. Her other hand does the same though it's her palm splayed across his abdomen. She settles her cheek atop his head, pressed to his cheek. She sings then, very quietly, silent night, holy night, since it's the first thing that comes to mind. More healing, coming from three various places, reach what's injured.

Quick as the rebuked child too young to know to resent the empty palm or closed fist, Teo withdraws, reassured but understandably alarmed, still. No touching: he can do that. Has for a long time enough. The flashlight beam fades as he peels backward, reaches up to pull it from his teeth. Turns the lens up toward the ceiling and, carefully, he stretches his arm out to his side to balance it on the butt of its handle on the floor. The light diffuses toward the ceiling, a makeshift lamp to supplement the erratic flicker of the real one. Teo sits on his heels and watches.


"The allegorical narrative The Faerie Queen is a story following Knight Red Crosse on his path to finding Christian sanctification; Roy Mayndard points out that this is distinct from salvation."

"Though with Spenser the reader knows he is backing a winner, the protagonist cannot always be sure. Red Cross thrice falls into despair, for the Renaissance the most horrorific of sins. In its simplest form it is simply loss of faith in God's power to forgive; at worst, and most guilty, it is the acceptance and wish for death as a result of loss of faith in God's willingness or ability to forgive."

"Where faith and despair produce the same debilitating consciousness of guilt there is something missing, or there is no justification of faith."

— From Various

December 23rd: What I Can Do For You
December 23rd: Blood Loss
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