Reflections Of Darkness


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Scene Title Reflections of Darkness
Synopsis The view from the back side of a mirror is not so great.
Date November 11, 2014

Elisabeth Harrison's Apartment, Brooklyn

It's a dry, cool November evening in New York.

There hasn't been much snow or fog for the month, but that doesn't stop the leaves in Central Park from going through their rainbow of color as they put on their yearly display, shifting from vivid green to gold, yellow, orange and brown. Cassandra's grandfather told her that it was faeries painting the leaves every night, but biology tells her that it's due to the green chlorophyll production stopping as the tree prepares for winter.

Cassie prefers the first explanation to the second. It fits better, believing there's still a little magic in a world of superheroes.

She had been getting ready to settle down to study when she received a call from Felix. Was she busy? No, not particularly. Could she come help with something important? He wouldn't call otherwise. Sure, I can spare some time. An address is given and twenty minutes later, she was heading north on the subway - BRT - toward an uncertain destination, her backpack and drawing supplies in tow. Felix had said he'd meet her at the station and explain more about why she was needed on the way to their destination, leaving much cryptically unsaid.

She had no Idea what she's about to walk into.

None at all. But the look on Fel’s face, or the lack of it….it’s betraying. Perhaps not to Cass, who doesn’t know him like either version of Liz does. It’d be setting off all her alarm bells, were she to see it.

He doesn’t greet her directly in the station, but leads her out. Only once they’re out of the subway system and away from the built-in surveillance of a modern transit system does he fall into step with her. “Cassandra,” he says, and his voice is grimmer than is its wont. “I was hoping to break you into this easily, and I genuinely intended to. But something has happened where your ability will be invaluable.”

He stops and faces her, stepping them to the side and the shelter of the doorway of a closed shop. He takes a deep breath, and continues, “First of all, this is a murder scene we’re going to, and an ugly one. One of the nastiest I’ve seen, and I worked Homicide for the NYPD for years….” Another pause, as he swallows hard….are those tears in his eyes? He takes a shaky breath and continues. “Second, if I get you involved….I strongly suspect this case is going to have implications beyond the usual. Political implications. And it may put you in very grave danger. I wouldn’t even consider bringing you in if I weren’t desperate, because if you do come, it will be unofficial and off the record. You have a choice. You can turn around and walk away now, if you choose. I won’t hound you or coerce you. You have my word you’ll walk away as clean as I can make it.”

The weather has cooled in the time Cassandra was in the grime of the subway. Emerging from the darkness and into the half-twilight that the setting sun had wrought makes shadows seem deeper, people more ghostly, and words - serious ones murmured on the way to an unknown destination, all the more chilling. She pauses near a mailbox, bending to tie her black converse, her backpack, festooned with pink and gold charms as well as a cute character dangling from a keychain on one zipper pull, glinting in the light. Straightening in the privacy of the closed shop’s alcove, she can only nod.

“You said you wouldn't call me unless it was important. And I was hoping that you wouldn't have needed me for a murder my first time out….”. Cassie trails off, thoughtful, before shaking her head in the negative. “No. Whoever it was, they…they need justice. Whoever was the murderer might do it again, and now that you've told me, I'd have any other murders on my conscience. If I can help stop this person, I'll help. Whatever the implications.”

“Just keep me in your back pocket. The less I'm known for stunts like this, the better. “. She rests a hand on his shoulder, patting gently, swallowing, trying to get rid of the lump in her throat. “Let's go and get this horror show over with.”

This is when it starts to take on the aspect of nightmare. It’s an apartment in a lovely brownstone in Brooklyn. Somehow, he’s found the hour or jiggered the schedule so there’s no one on duty guarding the crime scene. A key, so there’s no need to pick the lock….and used only with a doctor’s disposable rubber gloves. Though he’s already been here officially, before. Liz Harrison died an FBI agent, and that gives the Agency jurisdiction over her murder.

It’s clear something terrible happened here, though what is not apparent. Blood spatters and fingerprints marked, the traces and treads of all the investigators. “Don’t touch anything,” Fel specifies, softly, after he shuts and locks the door behind them. “They’ve already dusted for prints, but….”

A deep, shaking breath, and he says, quietly, “Cassandra, I’m so sorry for what you’re about to see. I’ll explain what I can when you’re done.”

Standing outside of the brownstone, the door festooned with crime scene tape, the reality of what she’s about to walk into suddenly hits her. The young woman pauses at the bottom of the steps, her eyes closed tightly, breathing through her nose before she centers herself, letting out a breath and making her way up the stairs while Felix unlocks the door and allows them inside.

The first thing that hits her is the smell.

No-one really ever tells you this, but murder scenes have their own scent - a cloying metallic hint thick with hints of blood, sweat, and fear. She tucks her hands into her pockets to be sure and not leave a trace of her passing, looking down, following the taped outline that the forensics team left on the floor to show where evidence was not, and therefore was safe to tread. She looks back as the door is locked behind her, then forward, at the grisly crime scene, the evidence of a brutal homicide soaked into the carpet, a shape outlined in white tape, a positively massive pool of now dried blood dark against the cream background. She tries to not look for signs of life - family photos, magazine subscriptions. Children’s toys, books, or even names. She pointedly avoids the stack of mail next to the door that’s haphazardly placed on a chair in the moments before it all went so horribly wrong..

As she moves around the apartment, the little seer starts to prepare herself. It’s an automatic movement, Cassie swinging her backpack around, plucking the bandanna from its pocket, and it takes her a few moments to find an out-of-the-way spot without too much blood or marks of evidence that’s close enough for her ability to interact. Right at the edge of the pool of blood, the tips of her shoes just over the edge of it.

The time that Felix saw Cassie used her ability, it was with eagerness. Now, as she ties the bandanna around her eyes, it’s with obvious trepidation.

“Get ready.” Whether or not this is said to Felix or herself isn’t entirely clear. “And take notes. I’m probably only going to want to do this this once.”

She’s right.

Keys rattle in the door, a lock overturns, and a door opens to the street. It had been weeks since anyone had been inside the brownstone apartment in downtown Brooklyn, the looming silhouette of the Brooklyn Bridge black against the midnight blue evening sky. Streaks of purple clouds tear across the heavens, hiding stars behind them. The flashing red points of light aren't stars, though, they're the nearer lights on the bridge, flashing softly like the winking eyes of many devils.

Silhouette by the glow of street lamps, Elisabeth Harrison steps into her apartment with a tired sigh. A bottle of wine is carried under one arm in a paper bag, a treat for herself for a long week yet to get longer. Two pair of keys are set down on the tall shelf by the door, badge and gun next. She pads through the darkened apartment, wine bottle in hand and her other raking fingers through blonde locks, unwinding them as much as she prepares to unwind from a long day.

"Hello Elisabeth."

The voice elicits an immediate fight or flight reaction, and even in the dark Elisabeth has no trouble navigating her apartment. But when she goes to move, she finds herself frozen in place by the tension of unwilling muscles. A noise emits in the darkness, a high-pitched whistle that has a paralytic effect on Elisabeth's body, causes her to tense and clench her hands closed into fists. She can see a man moving in the dark, she can smell the scent of a cigarette in the air, put out some time ago.

Lifting up off of her feet, Elisabeth is moved by telekinetic force closer to her home invader. On the counter, her cell phone screen lights up and the phone vibrates.

Elisabeth’s phone wasn’t found at the crime scene, nor was it turned on and able to be traced. Its last pinged location was here, however.

"I'm sorry to interrupt your day's affairs," the man in the dark says in a hushed tone of voice, "but there's… something that needs to happen. I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure it out, but… you see, in order for people like your son to live in safety, there have to be sacrifices." Stepping into the dim light spilling in from outside is a slender old man with wild gray hair and a beard, dressed in a three-piece suit.

Felix Ivanov recognizes the old man almost immediately, Samson Gray, a serial killer and Gabriel Gray’s biological father. He is the man that was “proven” to be the perpetrator behind a string of serial killings originally pinned on his son by the Company. Samson was the subject of a worldwide manhunt, tracked down and killed during his attempted arrest.

Yet… here he is, alive.

"I've got an infestation," Samson admits in a hushed, intimate voice. "I need to shake the bushes, so to speak. See what comes crawling out." There's a misguided look of regret in Samson's eyes, tempered by something more along the lines of raw megalomania. "The sacrifice is you, if that wasn't clear." Her heart is racing, hands trembling, throat tight and trying to evoke her ability but finding herself negated by Samson’s mere presence.

Moving his hand to the left, he throws Elisabeth up against the wall hard enough to send the painting beside her crashing to the floor. "Normally, I'd want something like this done discreetly, quietly, and painlessly." Which is to imply what is about to happen will be none of the above. "But I need this to be messy, and I need this visible. It's a calculated move."

Samson closes in on Elisabeth, looking up at her elevated form as he holds her in place. "I need to invoke an old boogeyman, and in order to do that I need you to make one more sacrifice to your country." As he raises his other hand, Samson points two fingers toward Elisabeth's forehead.

"If it makes this any easier, Cameron will want for nothing for his whole life." Samson smiles, as if that makes everything suddenly better. Elisabeth exhales a muffled scream as a gash begins to form on her brow under the incising force of some unseen scalpel of telekinetic force. "I hate the idea of separating a mother from her child, but sometimes…"

Samson draws the line slowly across Elisabeth's skull.

"Sometimes these things happen."

What happens next is a gruesome atrocity, a violation of the sanctity of life in its most visceral sense. It ends with what was on display the moment the NYPD cracked open the door to Elisabeth Harrison’s apartment, he brain removed from her skull and absconded with by a nightmare that the world thought was dead.

Felix Ivanov has a lot of nightmares. Kazimir Volken and his utter unkillability, for one. Sylar in his purest form….though at least this iteration of him did not spend a month in the hands of Humanis First.

This has catapulted to the very front of the pack, however. For the projection… living through the last terrible moments of his lover’s life, a bad and brutal death at the hands of a monster, and him unable to do anything but watch. Part of his brain is running even as the vision plays out, observing, questioning, that cold and detached segment of it that let him function as a homicide detective. This doesn’t make sense. Samson is dead.

The rest of his mind, however, is momentarily frozen. Unwiped and unheeded, there are tears streaming down his cheeks.

Cassie truly, truly tries to maintain professionalism through this whole ordeal.

It’s not everyday that you see your best friend murdered in front of you, in living color.

As the keys rattle in the door and Elisabeth’s familiar face appears through the door, albeit with longer hair, it’s all she can do to not just end the scene right there and bolt for the exit. She knows what is going to happen. She wouldn’t have been brought here otherwise. The evidence is all around her, soaked into the carpet, spattered on the walls.

An example. A messy one. To shake the bushes and bring people out of hiding.

She takes a small step back, bumping against a low table with a lamp against the wall, a book sliding to the floor in the real, but remaining in place in the vision. A place in perfect view of the murder.

The small mousy-haired woman watches as the gray-haired man stalks Elisabeth, playing with her like a cat would a mouse, pinning her against the wall with telekinetic force. Cassie jumps at the impact against the wall, cringing at the tinkling of glass from the frame, Elisabeth pinned there, a butterfly held down with invisible pins.

When the screaming starts, Cassie can’t watch anymore. She just can’t. She turns away and looks at the wall, covering her ears with her hands in an attempt to blot out the animalistic scream from the woman. It muffles the sound, true, but it doesn’t block it entirely. The scream that is cut off a few seconds later, involuntary kicks and struggles slowing, frantic breathing catching in her throat and stopping, a death rattle echoing in the apartment will haunt Cassandra for the foreseeable future.

The scene continues, leaving Samson to finish his grisly work. Once the deed is done, Cassandra, who managed to hold on to the meager contents of her stomach, turns, and lets the scene continue.

A heavy silence seeps into everything in the room.

When did Cassandra start crying?

Fell, still unthinking, reaches for her and drags her into the circle of his arms. He’s probably the last person in the world she wants hugging her right now, but….

He lets her cry as long as it pleases her. There’s no one else here to see them. And while she never knew this Liz…it’s still got to be wrenching to witness.

It takes Cassie several minutes to stop crying, dark tears soaking through the bandanna and probably putting a nice stain on Felix’s jacket. She pushes away from Felix after a second or two, sniffling. “C…check her phone.” she whispers, lifting a hand to stop the scene, the carnage going still and silent, and then reversing - mercifully without sound - to the moment that the phone buzzed on the counter. She can’t bring herself to look at this woman in her final moments before her gruesome end.

“This isn’t Liz, though. It can't be her…but it really looks like her. We…we had dinner last night.” With Rory wearing more of her potatoes than made it inside - still a success. “And who’s Cameron? Felix…what’s going on?” There’s the little scientist at work, putting two and two together and seeing it most certainly does not equal four. It keeps her from thinking about what she just saw.

His voice is very low. “This is going to sound insane, Cass, but this is the truth. The woman who died here is Liz Harrison. Was Liz Harrison - Cameron is her son, now in my care. But she was born in another timeline, and brought here. The Liz who was born in this world died young, if I remember right. The Liz you know, Rosie’s mother… from yet another world. Timelines lie beside one another, like threads in a tapestry. And with the right tech, it’s possible to go from one to another.”

She was really hoping for an explanation that made sense, not alternate universes. Something like a twin sister, a person who looked like liz, or some kind of psychic anomaly that made her best friend appear in two places at once. It's almost enough to make her forget she's standing in the middle of a crime scene.


“That does sound crazy.” Cassie says, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, moving to take off her blindfold, but hesitating, instead going to look at the phone on the counter. 1 missed call.

“You know I'm going to talk to her about it, right? To get her story. To have her tell me what the FUCK is going on. Why I just watched her skull get carved open, and why she didn't think to bring this whole timeline thing up in the time we’ve known each other…”

She's starting to babble. To panic.

The phone Cassandra spoke of is merely a part of the memory. Never logged into NYPD evidence, because as the horrible phantasm of the past shows, there was no phone left to recover.

As Samson Gray stalks through the kitchen, hands bloodied up to his elbows, sleeves rolled up past them, he makes his way to the front door where the phone lays. One hand reaches out, calling it forward to his palm. He turns it over, the call log clearly visible as he looks at the name. 1 Missed Call: Norton Trask.

Another dead man.

Samson smiles, yellowed teeth and all, and squeezes the phone tightly in his grasp. The device cracks, crumbles, and then dissolves into so much plastic and metal dust. The disintegrated particles scatter on the wind, and Samson looks to the door of the apartment. Satisfied with his work, he collapses into a rolling carpet of ashen smoke and slithers up into the air vents and disappears, leaving nary a trace behind.

“To keep you safe, is part of it. Now that you know timeline-hopping is possible, you’re at risk. For those who developed that technology, and those who use it….we’re not talking good people here. They aren’t a bunch of Tony Starks trying to create tech for the betterment of mankind,” Fel’s tone is flat, sickened.

The young woman gives Felix a look, asking wordlessly ‘who are you kidding?’ She even says as much. “Who would I tell this fantastic story to that would believe me? I mean….” Cassie trails off as the vision of Samson crushes the phone into nothingness and then sublimes directly into a dark vapor, vanishing into the air vents. “AND WHAT THE HELL IS THAT, WITH THE DISSOLVING PLASTIC AND SMOKE AND MURDER FINGERS?”

Oh yeah, Cassie is full-on panicking right now.

He’s all but gray around the lips - the goatee does nothing to hide it at all - or the way the skin of his face is tight with strain. “I’m not sure what that is. But I’ve met it before, in another body, in another form. IF it’s what I think. It’s not merely an Evolved. It’s something beyond that.” And he gives her a flat look. “There are plenty who know about the other timelines. And a lot of them are very, very bad people. Speaking of which - I have a request for you. Consider giving up that Pinehearst internship….or at the very least, don’t pursue further contact with the company. If you need another job….my husband and I could use an au pair for Cameron. He’s a cop, I’m a Fed, we both work full-time.”

That image….the form that dissolves into smoke….Felix, veteran of many a battle, has begun to tremble. Not yet hard enough to chatter his teeth, but it’s visible. Might be fear.

Might be eagerness for the hunt.

Cassandra snatches off her blindfold once Felix gets the phone number, the overlay of Elisabeth’s body fading into nothingness, blowing away like dead leaves on the wind, the reality of the world reasserting itself within seconds. The evidence of Cassie’s tears are evident on her skin - she probably needs a better blindfold at some point - the ink-black stains streaking down her cheeks and along the curve of her jaw. Her mouth opens and then closes, the girl really unable to say anything right now. She just lifts a hand with index finger extended, taking a few steps down an unfamiliar hall to just not look at the bloodstains and the like, the smell of death clinging to her like a wet towel.

“I… we…” she finally manages to stammer, fixing him with barely restrained hysteria. “We need to get out of here.”

Quitting Pinehearst won’t be easy. He should know that. And with her ability? You think they’d just let her go?

She needs some time to think.

She needs to talk to someone.

Cassandra makes for the door.

He lets her go, without protest. No attempt to stop or catch her. Fel’s silent, regarding the room for a few still moments. Letting it sink in. His Liz’s last moments, and all the more of a spur to get the remaining one out of this universe, out of Petrelli’s line of fire.

He finally remembers himself enough to pull a handkerchief out of his pocket, brusquely wipe his face clean, and stuff it, rumpled, back into his pocket. Then he addresses the empty air….or the creature made of smoke and ash that’s here no longer.

“I don’t care who or what you are, if you’re a Gray or a Petrelli or the fucking Ghost of Christmas Past. I’m going to find you, and I’m going to kill you.”

With that, he turns on his heel, and heads after Cassandra.

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