arnold_icon.gif edgar_icon.gif lauren_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif rene_icon.gif rossling_icon.gif samuel2_icon.gif sullivan_icon.gif

Scene Title Run
Synopsis Edgar's past finally catches up to himself…
Date September 3, 2010

We all imagine ourselves the agents of our destiny….

There is a sound of laughter in the air, the whirr of metal and the shriek of the entertained. Colored fabric spreads out in a sea of tents set against a field of packed earth and short grass. Brightly flashing lights of red and yellow, blue and green twinkle like stars. Turning slowly, a great Ferris wheel turns with the slow precision of a clock, the hours and minutes ticking by. Beneath the dingy yellow bulbs, red paint and neon lights, the signage for the Sullivan Bros. Carnival looks old and faded, paint peeling, well-worn without looking old and broken.

…capable of determining our own fate.

Stepping out from behind a half drawn curtain of patterned cloth, a ruddy-cheeked man wth short brown hair and a worried countenance stalks through the crowd of spectators, past a wild-eyed fortune teller in a velvet tophat brandishing tarot cards between gloved fingers, past a large tent where a man in dredlocks beckons passers by into the house of mirrors. Joseph Sullivan is not himself today, the feelings of anxiety and frustration welling up inside of him bundle up like tightly wound spring ready to exert all its force the moment it is released. The impressions of the people around him do little to ease this sense of nervousness.

But have we truly any choice in when we rise or when we fall?

Behind curtains designed to divide the 'back stage' area of the Carnival and its trailers from the fairgrounds, Joseph carries himself with a determined gait, marching across the well-trod dirt past a picnic table illuminated by hanging Christmas lights strewn threw a trellice above it. There, with knives laid across the table and one in his lap, the Carnival's juggler takes notice of Joseph's determined stride and the uncharacteristically frustrated look on his face as he makes his way to his trailer.

Or does a force larger than ourselves bid us our direction?

Focus shifts from the trailer, and it is only when he looks away from Joseph's movement into that trailer that the Carnival's knife-thrower and juggler, Edgar, is able to see that someone else witnessed that same frustrated departure. Standing in the doorway of a red silk tent, the Carnival's painted lady stands with arms crossed over her chest and sandy blonde hair spilled down her shoulders, her eyes too having moved from Joseph to the man across the dirt path.

Is it evolution that takes us by the hand?

There's a stillness in the cloudy sky tonight. Under the glow of flickering colored lights, of paper lanterns and in the distant saturation of neon the painted lady and the knife thrower find themselves at a crossroads, one divided by a span of only some thirty feet and a few words. Sometimes though, even a space that small may as well be a thousand miles and a hundred years.

Does science point our way?

The noise of the Carnival is the backdrop for their eyes meeting, sharing in the sense that something is wrong, but not knowing enough to tell what, or just how bad.

Or is it God who intervenes, keeping us safe?

Or how much worse it is going to get.

A man doesn't need to be an empath to know when something is very wrong with one of his nearest and dearest. Joseph, like a father to him for so many years, is almost as easy to read as the carnival sign itself. The knife thrower's jaw flares out only a fraction of an inch as his teeth clench together tightly, his lips set into a grim line. When the man's azure eyes meet her dark umber ones, his eyebrows twitch downward, just a little.

The noise is unmistakable, the high pitched whistle of extreme velocity hits her ears before she even realizes he's beside her. There's two kukri clenched tightly, one in each of his sinewy hands, something of a safety blanket for him. "Wha' d'you think Lydia? There's somethin' off about him, been off about him all day."

His eyes flick toward her, an imperceptible movement. Unlike most, there's no roll or slow drift to him. Everything is near instantaneous.

It's a noise Lydia's grown accustomed to over the years, but even then, it's an odd near-surprise when he's next to her. Her gaze drifts from the trailer to Edgar and then back again while concern consumes her features — her eyebrows knit together, her arms tighten against her chest, and her lips purse with quiet consideration. Unlike Edgar, her expression, her thoughts, and her actions are evenly paced, but at this moment, easy enough to read.

"He's unsettled," she agrees as her eyes flit back to him. Although in quiet confidence she adds, "Unusually so." Her lips press together as her chin lifts, examining the grounds, although nothing stands out as particularly agitating to her.

"Has he told you anything?"

"No, an' that's what worries me," Edgar's voice is smooth, a contrast to his rugged appearance. One of the knives appears, its point embedded in the old table to the side of her trailer. The hand that had been holding it so tightly is drawn through his patchy beard, creating a rough sandpapery sound as the callouses scrape over the stubble. "'As 'e told you anythin'?"

There aren't many of the carnival folk, though family, privileged enough to actually converse with the juggler. Not because he is distant but because he's always been a man of very few words. Short, like the wild little people, and to the point, like the knives he's so fond of weilding. To get more than a few words or a smile of contentment is troublesome, at least for those who know him. "You'd tell me if there was, wouldn'cheh." It's not a question, it's an affirmation.

A small twitch of lips and eyes accompanied by a shake of her head are all too telling. "He hasn't said a word. Not to me," Lydia's words are even-toned until the last where the inflection changes; one of her few tells rearing it's ugly face. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, leaning towards him to keep their words between them, away from anyone else who would care to hear, "I'm worried too. Something is wrong."

Her features soften at his assertion while her general guardedness and demeanour weaken at the non-question. "Of course I would tell you." Her arms drop slowly from her chest and her tongue runs over her lips before she soothes, "It probably doesn't concern us. A lot of people are weary these days and wearing something else's weariness is too catching for empaths." Her lips twitch into a tightened smile, while it might be small comfort, there's little to be done at this moment.

The confirmation lets his tension ease, his posture relaxing enough to make him seem less hostile. Though there's no curve to his lips, when his face angles in a smooth motion toward her, there's a peace in his eyes. "Weary, wearing weary. Righ'" Those few words are his acceptance of her explanation and with a small nod, he turns his head in the direction of Joseph's disappearance.

"Still, it migh' be a good idea for someone to go make certain," and Edgar's eyes are on Lydia again, alternately seeking advise and asking permission to find the head man of the carnival. The other knife appears, much like the first, point embedded in the table and his hands are empty. A silent offer to be the onel

The peace in his eyes yields another smile across her lips, more at ease than the tight one she'd forced before. Again she glances at the trailer, contemplating Joseph inside. "Perhaps," Lydia states quietly before looking back to Edgar. With his hands empty, her eyes linger on them for a moment. Her right hand lifts towards his, her silent desire for contact so often suppressed reaching out, but only for an instant before her hesitation beckons her to use it as a comb through her sandy coloured locks instead. Even as she does so, something nearly imperceptible crosses her eyes, a glimmer of a secret never uttered, even in the carnival's world of mystery, the painted lady remains forever mysterious.

"I'll come," she offers quietly as that hand is returned to her side while her smile becomes tight once again.

Jacksonville, Florida

Three Years Later


It's hard to be the best when being too good draws just too much scrutiny. The tiny shadow of an airborne baseball casts down as it eclipses the sun from the pitcher's perspective, one of his hands shadowing his eyes as he watches a pop fly soar up and over and out into left field to the cry of, "Foul!"

There's a cheer from the crowd gathered at the stadium today under a blazing sun and sweltering heat in the late afternoon. At the pitcher's mound, the first batter up in the day for the St.Augustine Stingrays offers a aquared look at the pitcher on the mount, his head tipping from side to side as he wavers his bat back and forth in a slow swing at the ground, then leans in to the batter's box again with brows furrowed and eyes narrowed.

It feels like a lifetime ago that Edgar Smythe went by his real name, feels like another life before he became Augusto Hernandez. In a way, it was and is. Gone are the lights of the Carnival, replaced by stadium lights and the cheer of a crowd, the light of the hot sun burning down on his cheeks, the chanting of the crowd in the stands stomping their feet. They've come to see the Razorback's star pitcher.

Augusto Hernandez is a good pitcher, great by the standards of the minors, but if he truly gave this job his all, he'd be the best. But doing his best here, being who he really is on the inside? That would mean going back to the way things were, and the hurt in that is too great to even consider.

Years ago, his ability was a gift, something he treasured and drew strength from. Now, nothing but a curse that weighs heavily on him. Standing on the mound, he raises a hand to the cap on his head and gives the brim a quick swipe between his thumb and forefinger. Then that hand comes down to grind the little white ball deep into his glove.

Years ago, the cheering of crowds drew a smile to his face, he appreciated them for appreciating him. Now, there's shame and a fear of being noticed. With television cameras angled toward him, catching his every move, there's no hiding. Being an outfielder was good, he kept a low profile. Not low enough though, because it didn't take the coach and managers long to pick up his talent on review.

"Hernandez is winding up for the pitch…"

"Look at that concentration, Bob… Not hard to see why everyone has eyes on this one…"

"And it's a swing and a miss!! The Razorbacks have won it!!"

"I sure hope the brass in the majors saw this game…

The announcer's commentaries aren't heard by the pitcher, it's everything he doesn't want. As the cheers of the crowd threaten to deafen him, Augusto Hernandez ambles off the mound, starting a slow jog toward the dugout. The entire team is on him, patting his back, smiles, cheers for their win…

With the cheer of the crowd the remainder of the Razorbacks come rushing out from the stands, hats waving around and a few of the young men springing into the air, wheeling around and waving their arms at the cheering crowd. The struck out batter of the Stingrays offers a frown, eyes falling shut and shoulders slacking as he tosses his bat aside and walks away from the batters box, sweeping his hat off of his head so he can rake his hands through short hair frustratedly.

"Hernandez you son've a bitch!" is said with a laugh by one of Hernandez's teammates over the roar of the crowd. It's so quick that arms are around him, slapping palms against his shoulders and back, clapping and cheering. To everyone in those stands, Augusto Hernandez is a hero, but that same man is also a living lie. What of Edgar Smythe? What is he to people?

He's a fugitive.

And eventually, all fugitives have to run.

Sullivan Bros. Carnival

May, 2007

Hunched forward over a formica table, the bottle of Jack Daniels sitting half empty in front of a shotglass is a sign that nothing has gone right. Faded blue curtains hang over the trailer windows, the smell of cigarettes linger in the air, and Joseph Sullivan seems all the beaten for it. Palms flat on the counter, his mouth burns with the alcohol still swishing around in it. By the time he swallows, he can hear the metallic rap of knuckles on the trailer door.

Brows raising, Joseph turns and regards the shadow of a person seen through the small square window of frosted glass on the door's surface. Closing his eyes, Joseph slacks his posture, walking over to the door reluctantly, turning the latch aside to unlock it, then cracks the door open, "Aye?"

The smell of alcohol and cigarettes wafts out the door.

Lydia's hand lowers slowly at the answer to the knock. She tightens the shawl draped around her shoulders. Even with her own muddled conclusion about the man's upset, she's could convince herself. Wrought with concern, her dark eyebrows knit together and her head tilts at the man behind the door. "Joseph?"

Her nose wrinkles involuntarily at the combined scent of booze and cigarettes, adding to her now-growing uneasiness. Her own idea can bring her little comfort at the image of this man she regards as a father.

Her fingers — complete with red painted fingernail polish — clasp the edge of the door, causing her knuckles to whiten, but she doesn't impose more than that. On the short walk to the trailer, she'd planned what to say, but here at the precipice of the trailer, her former questions and words of comfort are useless; they're quickly abandoned for a simple question, quiet, nonjudgmental, and dripping with that still-present concern, "What's going on?"

Though she was alone initially, Edgar ghosts in behind her with nothing but a sharp breeze and a toss of stray trash drifting toward them as an indication of which way he came in from. His eyes are on Lydia to begin with, then quickly flit up to meet Joseph's. "It's alrigh' Joseph, we're alone. Ev'ryone's workin' or workin' the crowds."

Unlike the painted lady, Edgar's eyebrows aren't furrowed. There's an upturn to the inner edges, giving him a countenance of concern and curiosity. Almost like they traded places. The speedster takes a deep breath inward, the intoxicating air putting him at odds with himself and with Joseph's state of mind. He ducks his head a little to the side, angling it for a better view of the interior of the trailer.

"S'quieter in there, Joseph. For talkin'." Like Lydia's assurance back at her tent, Edgar's voice has a soothing and easy gait about it. One can almost hear the gentle persuasion as he attempts to talk their way inside. "If your drinkin', maybe there's somethin' you need to unload. We're your fam'ly."

"You both need t'mind yer own— " A sharp reaction like that is so unlike Joseph that even he realizes when the alcohol is talking. The recognition has his posture slouching and arm lowering from where it was braced on the back of the door. Tired eyes peer past Edgar and Lydia, to the seer's tent, but Joseph only steps back into his trailer with a clunk of his shoes on the linoleum-tiled floor. "Come in…" he reluctantly grouses, seeming far less like the amenable leader that he usually is.

"Honestly, a' don't know if a'should be talking t'you both about this,." Joseph makes a slow progress over to the table where the bottle of alcohol sits, picking up the cap and gently screwing it on with one hand if for no other reason than to keep his hands busy. "Was it tha' obvious?" is asked over Joseph's shoulder as the red-faced man turns, still looking at the floor and not directly at either Lydia or Edgar.

"Was it tha' obvious tha'm upset?" Normally, he's much more adept at hiding his feelings.

Joseph's response earns him a skeptical raise of Lydia's eyebrow, but at the invitation and opening of the door she turns her head to peek at Edgar before shuffling inside, her own ballet flats nearly silent along the linoleum. "You're not yourself," she observes quietly following him further into the trailer. But she doesn't follow him to the table, she stops several feet shy, somewhat unsure. "We know you. We care about you and our family and these people… Joseph, if something is wrong, we want to help."

Quicker steps fill the gap she'd left. "Please. Tell us. What's going on? It's just us. No one else will hear a word of it. Edgar and I — " she casts a glance back to her cohort " — we're not going to tell anyone. But you need to talk about it." Meaningfully her eyes rest on the bottle, "This isn't you…"

Edgar's never really been much for words. Letting Lydia do most of the talking, he stands quietly near the door with one heavy booted foot pressed against it in order to make certain it stays closed. Imperceptible as his movements may be, he keeps a careful watch on the outside my spending most of his time focused on Joseph.

Folding his arms over his chest, he takes a deep breath inward and leans his shoulder close to the little window in the door. His jaw clenches tightly, his eyes flitting between the half empty bottle of whiskey, Joseph, Lydia, and the dirt path outside the small trailer. "If it makes you better Joseph, I don' think many others noticed, bu' they don' know you like we do."

"You don't know me as well as y'think," is Joseph's grumbling answer, one of his hands lifted up to rub over his brow as he brings that bottle of Jack over to the small kitchenette just a few steps away, opening up a cabinet over the sink and putting the bottle on the shelf inside. "M'worried about m'brother…" comes as something of a surprise, "Samuel's… his attitude lately's been botherin' me. He's— have either've you noticed it?"

The question has Joseph looking over to Lydia, then to Edgar with a raise of one brow. "There's a darkness 'bout him, an anger… A'can feel it in m'bones, smell it in th' air. M'worried about him, worried tha' he's going t'do something… something tha'll endanger all've us, endanger th' family."

Guilty eyes avert to the peeling linoleum floor, and Joseoh slouches back against the sink, the heels of his palms resting on the metal edge. "Please tell me s'no just me seein it… feelin' it. Don't— don't tell me tha' I'm th' only one." It's a pleading tone, one that also carries a certain earnest desperation. If there was ever anything that could put Joseph in a foul way, it's Samuel.

Lydia's head tilts as her eyebrows furrow further, her expression knits with concern, but at the question, consideration becomes her mark — quiet consideration of the question. "He is angry," she agrees as her gaze flits between the men. "It doesn't take an empath to see it, but…" The word carries a considerably weight to it. "Everyone is. The world is in a constant state of flux and governmental fear-mongering leaves half of our patrons uneasy and the family just… off."

She sighs, her concern surfacing further with each moment, "Samuel has always yielded to your leadership. We all do. Even if he's angry, you are the father here. I know it's unsettling, but… he will submit to your wisdom." Another silent step shuffles closer towards him as a hand is held out towards his shoulder, "Joseph. Please."

Lydia is wrong, the sharp glance that Edgar treats her is one of furrow brow confusion and the slight twitch of his head might be a disagreement. Not everyone has been angry. While the bomb affected the outside world, the knife thrower hasn't let it bother him too much. Going about his daily life, as unconcerned of the outside as he always has been. "She's righ', ev'ryone's angry. Samuel's just a little hotter under the collar, bu' your 'is brother Joseph. Y've raised 'im like you've raised the rest of us, he'll come 'round."

But Edgar doesn't really feel it. Yes, he's noticed Samuel's rage. He's heard the ranting, but there's never been a day in his recollecton that the younger Sullivan hasn't had something raising the hair on the back of his head. Nodding his head toward the bottle, his gaze is fixed on Joseph. "The question is… What's drinkin' 'elpin'?"

"My conscience," is the dry, sarcastic answer that Joseph gives to Edgar's question, one that he regrets after saying from the dismissive shake of his head and look on his face. "Samuel told me tha' with people knowin' about our kind now… tha' they need t'be shown how t'properly respect us. That they need t'learn that there's a line between the ones who will lay down an' take what comes to'm, and the one who will stand up an' defend themselves. He— he's obsessed with the idea of— "

There's a pop outside, not one of fireworks or a wine cork coming off, but the distinct pop of a gun. Just once, but that's all it takes for a scream to erupt from outside. Joseph straightens up immediately, eyes wide and brows pressed together. More voices join the screaming, then shouting, then two more pops in quick succession.

Someone is shooting inside of the Carnival grounds.

"But Joseph, Samuel's not without reas — " Lydia begins only to be interrupted by that sound. The colour drains from her face as she looks between the men, while something was wrong before, chaos has overturned their world now. The shawl is tightened around her shoulders as staccato'd steps carry her to the door in a pseudo run, but she stops before just shy of it, a hand reaching out to the window, just beyond Edgar.

But she stops midway, turning back to face the man she regards as a father. Everything begins to come into focus, even amid the chaos. "Joseph. What have you done?"

There's a a blur and a whirl of wind that whips up a few loose fliers before the door makes its own pale imitation of that single shot… clapclap


Edgar stands completely still in front of Jospeh, cradling a dead child in his arms. The red stain on her little costume blooms like a morbid rose, spreading out over her chest and from the back, drips down to the floor. "Wh-what have you done? Joseph… What have yeh done…"

Both of the empaths in the room can likely feel the anguish tearing through the speedster. Likely the first time since they've known him, a sparkle of tears can be seen gathering in the corners of his eyes. "You bloody bastard…" he croaks in a whisper, turning to lay the child gently on Joseph's bed. "What've y'done…"

When she's laid to rest, his arms slide from beneath her, stained with crimson streaks. Then he's in front of Lydia, his strong hands gripping her around the tops of her arms. "Stay… wait for me… I'm goin' teh take care of this…" Still, he manages only a whisper.

Leaning down a fraction of an inch, it almost seems as though he's about to kiss her before the door slams again. He's gone.

Joseph's expression is one of abject horror, blood rests in thick droplets on the linoleum floor, tracking all the way to the bed that Edgar laid her on. Julie Bowman, just a child, just a sweet and innocent child that he'd saved. "Not— not this," Joseph croaks, tears welling up in his eyes as he hears another loud pop come from outside of his trailer, "I— I didn't— this isn't wha' a'wanted…" when he turns to look back at Lydia, there is nothing but sorrow in his expression.

"I can still make this right," he breathes out exasperatedly, treading in Julie's blood over to the door to his trailer, pushing it open with a look back over his shoulder to Lydia, "Stay here," is the same order Edgar had given, though both know Lydia too well to presume she'll follow that instruction. "Stay here an' stay down, if this doesn't go well a'know Edgar will come t'protect you…"

Stepping back slowly, Joseph moves down the steps from his trailer and onto the dirt path between the tents.

He has to set this right.

Jacksonville, Florida

Present Day

Back beyond the dugout and towards the locker rooms, the noise of the crowds cheers and applause has ended. The thunder of feet on the bleachers and spectators going home after an evening of fantastic baseball has begun. The sea of players of the Razorbacks are on their way to the showers, most of them still offering congradulatory slaps to the back of their new star pitcher. For a team as low in rankings as the Razorbacks are, there's a turn of the season coming thanks to Augusto Hernandez.

"Augusto!" Is a call from down the hallway, "Augusto Hernandez?" The voice is a familiar one, and when the infielder slips into the locker room, she's revealed fully where she leans one shoulder against the concrete block wall. Long, blonde hair is tied back into a ponetail, brows are ufrrowed together, a black suit jacket covers a loose white blouse with its top buttons undone, dark slacks slim her profile to an inky silhouette.

"Do you sign autographs?" Where this blonde woman's collar is parted, there is a jagged scar running down the side of her throat, over her collarbone and down across the front of her chest. "Because I'm a huge fan of yours."

The Sullivan Bros. Carnival

Three Years Ago

Beyond the tents ont he periphery of the Carnival, it has turned into the verge of a war. Shouts rise up amongst the crowd, somewhere in the sea of Carnival goers, Samuel Sullivan's voice rings out. But on the periphery of the field, there black-clad Homeland Security Counter-Terrorism agents crouch in tall grass — flak jackets stenciled with yellow DHS logos on their backs, helmets and goggles hiding their faces, rifles ready — are wholly unprepared for the mighty wind that is blowing their way.

«Osprey-1 this is Ocelot-2, do you have target in sight?» The voice crackles over a sharpshooter's radio as he levels his Ar-15 up to one shoulder, peering through the red-dot scope, training it up over the crowd to where a man in a purple overcoat with the collar flipped up parades around atop a picnic table, pointing an accusing hand down at agents with their hands raised, a situation trying to be defused.

"Affirmative," the agent calls into his shoulder, training that red dot on his scope at the center of Samuel Sullivan's chest. "Wait— " thorugh the crowd, a smaller and more unassuming man emerges, both his hands held out, expression grieving. "Our COntact just moved into the field. Orders?"

At a distance, it's impossible to hear what Joseph Sullivan is saying, trying to plead between the DHS and Company agents, trying to appeal to his brother as he turns, one hand motioning to each of the groups.

«Take the shot, Ocelot-1.»

The wind that is coming is not just a breeze, but a backdraft from a man faster than a bullet.

When he was a boy, he used to read comic books with a man faster than a speeding bullet. Edgar doesn't have all of his powers but what he does have is a strong desire for vengeance and justice. Having skirted around the carnival in less time than it takes a man to point a remote control at a television, the juggler zips in a staggered line up the path.

The first agent is sliced down by the knees, cutting ligaments and tendons. Before he has a change to scream or fall, the second is circled as the kukri swirls completely around his neck. The first has not yet uttered a sound before the third looks down one last time to see his heart explode out the front of his chest.

In slow motion, Edgar is preforming a ballet. Each movement well timed and precise. A low slice front a windmilling arm cuts through two legs before a few leaps are taken to circle around his next partner. The dancer allows him to smile in 360, from a new mouth gifted to him from someone he will never see. The grande finale in this dance of death is a knife plunged through the back, breaking a hole for a fist to shove a heart through.

Then he is gone. Without being seen. Leaving the first to bleed out as he witnesses the others demise.

«Take the shot, Ocelot-1.»

He won't, the gun is kicked out of his hands before the wind pauses to show him a face. For the first time, Edgar slows enough to give a menacing curl of his lip and allow the agent to see what he truly faces when DHS dares invade a tight knit family. Then, the kurki is driven up through the man's lower jaw, the wind dies as he falls, unable to name his killer. Turning slowly, Edgar narrows his eyes toward the field, seeing Joseph with his new enemy.

Then he's gone.

"Ocelot-1 do you hear me, I said take the shot…" Backing up from the crowd of shouting carnies, a blonde woman in a sleek black suit is whispering into a microphone in her sleeve. Suited agents with distinctive handguns readied aim at the crowd. At the moment it's a stalemate, powers haven't yet come into play, abilities haven't been called upon. Amidst the crowd of agents, a white-haired old man in a pale tan suit keep shis gun trained. Albert Rossling narrows his eyes, looking to one of the agents beside him.

"Steady, don't fire unless you absolutely have to," comes in a clipped British accent, "remember, we're here to take them in to custody, not kill them." Of the agents, another opposite of Rossling stands with both dark hands out, his bald head shaved clean of hair, a necklace glinting at his collar in the shape of half a helix. His silence is steady, as is his posture.

"Ocelot-1 do you read me," a badge flaps around at the blonde agent's chest, showing a photograph of her smiling face, along with the header Department of Homeland Security and beneath that, her name in italics: Gilmore, Lauren. "Ocelot-1 take the shot."

From the back of the crowd of Carnies, shouting fills the air. "They took from us a sacred life! They say they're here to help us, to integrate us into society!" Wheeling around, Samuel Sullivan stares over the frames of his rectangular sunglasses, brandishing a hand down at the agents. "They're here to take us in! To take our lives! To take our homes!"

"Samuel, stop!" Joseph screams as he turns his back to the agents, both his hands up in the air, "Samuel, please, listen t'reason… we can stop this. It was an accident, it was a terrible accident. Please… everyone," Joseph turns, looking back to the agents, "Everyone please… calm down an' listen t'reason."

"Reason," Samuel sneers with eyes narrowed, "Reason t'what? Hmm? Reasons why you've turned on us, Joseph? Why you've turned on y'only brother?" That makes Joseph turn around with a sharp snap of his head, eyes wide and focused up on where Samuel stands on a picnic table, head and shoulders higher than the rest of the carnies. "I know what you were up to, Joseph. I know. D'you think tha' y'really could keep it a secret from yer own brother? I know you were meetin' with the agents, I was just…" the theatricality is a power play, "Joseph, I'd hoped you'd come t'your senses."

The wind is blowing again.

"Be careful, I lo — " but he's already gone and the words get consumed by the speed with which he exits, it's useless, really — even in her own acknowledgment of those emotions she pushes beneath the surface; she finishes the thought anyways, her voice a croaky whisper veiled in tears, "…you." They're both gone, leaving Lydia to her own devices. Her lips press together, the instructions of both men considered among her sobs. Instructions she heeds for only a few moments to plant a soft kiss on Jenny's forehead.

Stray tears are sopped up by the shawl around her shoulders before she exits the trailer, refusing to stay put as they would have her do, giving her just enough time to witness the argument between the brothers.

A horrible sinking feeling grows in the pit of her stomach as she edges a little closer. Just a stitch; it's almost like a car crash, and Lydia can't look away as yet one more tear rolls down her cheek.

"They're here to take us in!"

"To take our lives!"

"To take our homes!"

Samuel's words ring clearly across the field as Edgar watches from the corpse of Ocelot. Samuel speaks the truth, they've all seen it. They've all witnessed Joseph's treachery. He and that blonde woman. The kukri are flicked, little drops of blood and other forms of human goo slide from the blades before his form on the horizon is nothing but fading haze.

The speedster, having spotted his next mark, runs another zig-zag course to get to her. His velocity makes the blur nothing but an artistic swish of a black paintbrush across the lush green canvas of the field. Dual blades held ready at the side, his eyes are stuck to the blonde like a fly on sh— leftovers.

As Joseph and Samuel argue, the eyes of the crowd are drawn to another sight. The agent that shot little Jennie, is yelling for Ocelot to take the shot. A shot is taken but it's not the one she wants. "Y'don't kill mah fam'ly. Y'don't come t'my home." Those are the words the wind whispers as her hair flies up around her head.

With the flash of a blade, a long slice is pulled up from the woman's chest and across her neck.

Blood sprays from the cleaving wound as Lauren's collarbone is split by the force of the kukri's hack across her neck and chest. She screams, a yelping howl as blood sprays from the wound and she flies backwards from the momentum, hair swinging up in the same momentum of the blood droplets hanging in the air.

Rossling has hardly a moment to react as he turns his gun on Edgar, "Lauren!" is screamed as he opens fire, muzzle flash and bullets ripping through the air, but Edgar is gone from their path like a fly away from a frog's flicked tongue. Where Edgar was however is now open space and Rossling's gunfire instead peppers the crowd. The tophat wearing fortune teller is sent off of her feet with a scream of pain, blood spraying across the face of a tall and buely man standing at her side. He in turn picks up an empty steel drum over his head and hurls it at the closest agent, crashing into the darkly dressed man and sending him down to the grass with a scream.

Another agent fires into the crowd, someone in the middle of the pack screams, and everyone begins to scatter from the gunfire. A moment later there's a crackling bolt of electricity shooting out from one of the Carnies, a teenage girl with spiky purple hair, one fishnet-gloved hand held out and eyes surging with blue light.

The DHS teams sweep in, popping up from the low grass, the strike squad that Edgar didn't eviscerate. Automatic gunfire enters the crowd and the electrokinetic teen goes with with a spray of red mist, a bullet whizzes past Lydia through the crowd, clips her in the shoulder and sends her spinning off of her feet and down onto her side. A flesh wound, but painful never the less.

"Rally my brothers and sisters!" Samuel shouts as the ground rumbles and he leaps off of the picnic table, holding out one hand towards the group of agents as the earth swells at his feet, "Rally!" Stepping in front of his brother, Joseph throws his arms out to the side, trying to block Samuel's way from making this worse.

"Samuel!" is screamed over the sounds of panic, "Samuel— stop this! This isn't how it's supposed t'be, you can't— " blood erupts from Joseph's shoulder as he falls forward, a stray gunshot hitting him in the back. As Samuel's brother collapses, Samuel doesn't kneel to help him, but instead looks down with brows furrowed and lips cast into a scowl.

"We can do this!" Samuel shouts as he takes a step forward, a group of carnies that have not yet fled at his back, but the moment the rumbling stops Samuel realizes his folly. Standing opposite to the terrakinetic, the Haitian slowly tilts his head to the side, and for once, Samuel Sullivan feels powerless.

It is a similar feeling to what Edgar Smythe feels in his bones, as the Carnival erupts into chaos around him.

Jacksonville, Florida

Present Day

The scar is an unmistakable signature that Augusto Hernandez left on Lauren Gilmore indelibly three years ago. Now, trapped in a concrete block hallway with her, Hernandez' present-day life is confronted by a banshee from his past. "I'd like to ask you to come with my quietly, mister Smythe, otherwise I can make this very noisy, and very painful."

Her suit jacket is pulled open with one hand, revealing a gun holstered under her arm.

Behind Edgar, a tall and darkly dressed man steps out from behind lockers, his bald shaved head reflecting the fluorescent hall lights, the same illumination glinting off of his half-helix necklace. The Haitian is a force that Edgar recognizes the presence of well as he feels a sluggishness come into ihs steps.

Now he only has his cunning to rely on.

Edgar turns his head to regard the Haitian with a languid gaze, "Well… Looks like yeh got me." He twists around toward Lauren, the spike cleats on his feet making a scriiiiiitch sound on the concrete as he faces her fully. "I know when I'm caugh', I gave it a good run though."

Both hands, one with the glove still on raise slowly in surrender style as he stares directly into Lauren's eyes. "I' was the pitchin' tha' did it, wasn' it?" His hands move together in front of his face as he pulls the glove off and holds it in his opposite hand. "So where'r you goin'ta put me this time? Moab isn' there no more, s'pose you got another place then?"

As he speaks Edgar moves toward Lauren, hands held in the air and his head tilted down. His shoulders are hunched forward, giving him a complete countenance of defeat. He's only a few steps away from the blonde now, his blue eyes pointed toward the floor. His eyes are on her feet as she moves forward holding a pair of handcuffs between her sleder fingers.

Two steps…

One step…

Though he's not as fast as lightning, when Lauren gets within arm's reach, the glove in his opposite hand is thrown with as much force as he can toward the Haitian's face. And then… Edgar preforms his dance.

One leg flies out and catches Lauren in the side of the knee, embedding his cleats in a powerful kick. Before she has the chance to fall, he's caught her up and dipping his hand into her side, flipping the snap that fastens the gun in place and pulling it from her. His opposite arm grabs her by the shoulder and wheels her around to pull her back against him. The gun is held at her temple as the two of them stand facing the Haitian. "Turn it off… Turn it off before I blow 'er head clean t'the dugout. I ain't afraid've killin' her. I tried once, this time before I go, she'll go too."

Delayed that fraction of a second from the glove hurled at him, the Haitian recovers his equilibrium and focus in time to see Agent Gilmore trapped with a gun to her head. Blood darkens the knee of her slacks where cleats tore thorugh skin, adding pockmarked scars in new collection to her. Lauren chokes an attempt at speech with the arm around her throat, green eyes wide and focused on the Haitian.

Rene is stoic and silent, dark hands lifting as he takes a step back, but hesitates on relinquishing his negation. "Do you think they care— about me?" is Lauren's play to Edgar, her voice hoarse against the pressure of the forearm at her throat, "go ahead and shoot and see where that gets you, Smythe." Shouting has erupted in the hallway, baseball players rushing away from what is quickly becoming a hostage situation.

A couple of the Razorback players, lingering in the doorway to the locker room, stare wid-eeyed at Edgar, uncertain of what to make of this change, uncertain of what to make of what he's doing. "It's over Edgar," Lauren grunts noisily against the hold, "you don't have anywhere else to run now. Give up."

It's a stalling tactic, not traditional negotiation. When the Haitian continues his backwards departure away from Lauren, there's the sound of booted feet approaching from behind Edgar. Double doors at the end of the hallway swing open, revealing white-clad men in sealed suits, black respirator masks hiding their faces, assault rifles held at the ready with shoulder straps slacked around their bodies. One of them is carrying a metal gas canister.

"How many more bodies is it going to take?" Lauren hisses between her clenched teeth, "How many more corpses will weigh the balance of that little girl's death?" A bead of sweat trickles down Lauren's brow. "I didn't shoot her, Edgar."

Lauren's drawn firearm from that day begs to differ in Edgar's memory.

A pained sigh is let loose from the lips of the not-so-speedster as Lauren poses her agruements about her own worth. "You're righ'… You're right… I'm sorry, I dunno what I was thinkin'." The hand is always quicker than the eye when it comes to magic, but to Lauren it likely moves in slow motion as the barrel is taken away from her temple and pointed directly at the Haitian.


The echo of gunfire reverberates through the concrete hallway as a bullet blows out the back of the Haitian's leg. "One life… Yours." Edgar whispers before he feels the sluggishness evaporate.

The blonde agent is smashed into the ground at high speed before there's nothing but a trail of wind and the swinging of the doors behind the white suited men. Elvis has left the building.

The Haitian lands with a crash on the white tile, clutching at his leg and letting out a yelp of pain. Eyes clench shut, his head rolls back to touch the cold floor and the white-clad Retrievers of the Institute are rushing in to close the distance between themselves and Agent Gilmore. Laid out on the floor, it takes several moments and the urging of the white-clad retrievers to rouse Lauren, blood at her hairline from where she impacted the floor, eyes unfocused. She moves a hand to rub at her throat, still sore from the relinquished chokehold, eyes wide and hands shaking.

"Go after him!" The blonde agent finally shrieks, pointing down the hallway towards the baseball field where Edgar had run. As she barks that order and the retrievers move to follow a likely impossible request, Lauren limps over to where Rene lays on the floor, blood further darkening her own pantleg where the cleats had dug into her skin.

"Rene," she hisses, taking a knee. Lauren isn't checking to see if he's in fine condition, no, Lauren is checking his watch. The digital faceplate doesn't show the time, however, but it does show a spinning digital compass needle along with a series of numbers on the side.

Green eyes narrow as she watches the needle stop spinning, then her teeth clench together and Lauren lets out a throaty growl as she slams one clenched fist down onto the tile floor.

He's gone.

Sullivan Bros. Carnival

Three Years Ago

Blood pulses from Lauren's neck and collar where she's been attacked by Edgar's knife, that dark blood throbs up between Albert Rossling's fingers as he tries to apply pressure to the gunshot wound, looking around frantically as the Department of Homeland Security Counter Terrorism operatives swarm in towards the carnival from the field. Muzzle flash, gunpowder and flying bullets break up the crowd and at the back of those black-clad and helmeted Homeland Security agents, the Haitian stands glowering, focused on Samuel with all of his concentration, spreading a blanket field of negation across the fringe of the carnival, making the superhuman human.

Deprived of his ability, Samuel Sullivan is just a man. Just a man watching his brother Joseph writhing in the dirt, clutching a gunshot wound at his shoulder, even as blood darkens the back of his vest where the round entered his body.

Pandemonium reigns.

A sharp gasp at the night air has Lydia clinging to her chest. Jennie Bowman is dead. Joseph is shot. And there's little anyone can do, even in Samuel's cry for rally. Her eyes well with tears as she slides forward bending down to retrieve a rock. She hasn't Edgar's accuracy or strength, but with the deaths of so many she cares for, there is some semblance of fight left within her, and she isn't without any aim. She throws the rock as hard as she can towards the centre, aimed at one of the armed agents, with a mixture of anger, hatred, and hurt all her own.

In doing, so, however, her gaze is moved from the bleeding man she'd let become her own parent to a body on the opposite side of the spectacle — one of her adopted kin, Helen who'd operated the popcorn machine. Kneeling over her? Helen's four year old son Martin, blonde haired and sobbing. His hands tug desperately on her patchworked orange skirt in a futile attempt to wake this woman he referred to as Mama.

Without further thought, reacting only on behalf of her dead friend and her son, Lydia sinks towards the back of the crowd. Quick staccato'd steps carry her to the body and the child. Her hand grasps Martin's as she literally drags him away from his mother, his sobs and confusion only make her work faster as she bends down to wrap her arms around him, sinking further away from the gathered crowd into the dark night.

If there's any temptation to stoop and lay his hands on his dying brother, it certainly is not visible in the rigid posture that Samuel stands with, or the strange expression that possesses his face, a coldness that is only seen in the black depths of his temper. There is assurance for those that know him when it's instead redirected to the oncoming threat, white teeth showing when his lips pull back in a dog's sneer at the blanketing feeling of negation laying on his system, connections severed, the feeling of his intuition bound with the earth under his feet, currently rippled with prior power use.

Cool air hisses as steam out his mouth as he glances back towards the faces of his quickly dwindling family, and it's a good enough poison to vanquish the clawing animal of cowardice raking claws down his insides, although not enough to mimic Lydia's instincts to pummel the enemy with the earth Samuel knows so well.

"To me! Don't run!" he barks towards those that do. "Don't be cowards or they'll hunt you down! Look what they do to us, what they'll do t'all of you!"

He shakes loose a sleeve, something sharp and dark sliding into his palm, needle edged to break skin in simple puncture, strong enough to do more. There is hope in a surge of chaos, that maybe those around him might take bullets more readily than Samuel, but there's something he needs that the dark man standing opposite is denying him. Ignoring the snag of Joseph's hand at the tail of his trailing coat, the ringleader of the Carnival surges forward himself, an arm coming up to thread sharp implement through the yielding skin of the Haitian's neck.

The slice to the blonde agent was ever so satisfying and Edgar was off to Joseph's trailer to find Lydia before the negation took effect. His movements slow a few steps from the doorway and he takes the rest of the distance at a normal man's sprint. With a large clap, it's thrown against the side of the tiny metal box and knife thrower is left looking at an empty husk. The only inhabitant is Jennie's lifeless body on the bed, still laying exactly as he left her.

He turns away and closes his eyes as the screams of the rest of the carnies overtake every nerve in his body. Edgar may not be fast anymore, but he's still deadly. As Samuel makes his call for the family to gather, the juggler is finishing off another armed agent. He doesn't hesitate to rise from the corpse and take the steps toward the younger Sullivan. "I'm with you, Samuel," he intones in a low growl.

The armed agents on either side of the Haitian receive a knife in each of their chests before they're able to pull the trigger against Edgar's new chosen leader. With his knives otherwise indesposed, the juggler is left with the same crude weaponry that Lydia resorted to. Rocks. They're picked up and thrown with almost deadly accuracy at as many threats to Samuel as he can manage.

It always comes down to poorly armed civilians throwing rocks versus military hardware in the end of most civil combat situations.

Fortune favors the firearms..

Somewhere in the chaos Samuel closed the distance like a hungry predator to the Haitian, amidst the people fleeing from the flash of gunfire, Samuel's thin needle-like blade presses up under Rene's jaw, catching the Haitian off-guard. As blood begins to be drawn as flesh is first pierced, there's a crack of gunfire and a reflexive hiccup from Samuel.

Crimson spills down the front of his buttoned vest beneath his jacket, the ice-pick thin knife tumbles from Samuel's trembling hand, falls down to the grass as the Haitian backs away, reaching up to reflexively grab at his throat. Rossling turns his focus on Samuel, seeing two DHS agents laying on their backs in the grass, his gun up and shots fired at the negated speedster, one hitting Edgar in the thigh and sending him crumpling down to the ground, another hits him in the shoulder and spins him down onto his back.

"This is Albert Rossling!" The white-haired agnt shouts into his radio, "We have agents down out here, where are the helicopters!?" On the edges of the Carnival, headlights shine and tires rumble. Black vans stop at the exits, gun-toting DHS agents leaping out of the back, circling around members of the carnival to try and corrall them.

From Edgar's point of view on the ground, laying flat on his back, all he can see are feet and legs running past him, people shouting, people screaming, gunfire. Lydia is nowhere in sight, she could be in any of those vans by now, snatched up and arrested. Samuel's been shot, Edgar can see the blood drooling between his fingers where his hand clutches his abdomen.

A compass falls out of Samuel's other hand, lands down in the grass of the field softly, feet stagger and carry him in lurching steps away from where the Haitian is swarmed by fleeing bodies, divided from Samuel's path of escape. Edgar can feel the sharp pain of his injuries, feel the blood welling up over his shoulder wound.

Everything is falling apart at the seams.

When cornered, Samuel is presented with two options. One is to fight. The other is to tunnel through the walls themselves as opposed to simply lay down arms, and it has more to do with some rabid streak of rebellion than it does bravery. In some instances, like these, it's difficult to split the difference. Rocking back on his heels, his eyes swim their gaze up towards the sky as if searching for those helicopters, coming to take them away, his hands gripping his torso as if he were keeping his insides in.

There's a second where his eyes find Edgar's gaze in all the chaos, and it's the speedster that is witness to the decision made.

Samuel runs.

It's more of a loping stagger, but it's what happens, fleeing for the dark edge of the forest, leaving behind knife, compass, errant droplets of blood and more importantly, his clan of brothers and sisters, by blood and by water baptism. His eyes are wild as he flees, as if it were most important that if anything, he die alone in the woods as opposed to with metal circling his wrists. The ground tears into plumes of dust as gunfire chases him.

In constrast, someone is closing in. Arnold's tottering frame sees unwieldy in its aged delicacy, uncertain steps and a slight sway making him seem like a frail leaf caught up in whirling wind. "Joseph!" his wavery voice barely makes it through the sound of gunfire and cries, falling too hard beside the dying man and reaching his weathered hands out to grip the bloodied from of Joseph's waistcoat, exit wound leaking the stuff at a rapid rate. Breath wheezes through Arnold's parted mouth, the silver of his moustache in contrast to that dark, silent gap of anguish. This is no way he can help everyone, even if he wanted to, and he so does.

The air around them ripples like heat off tarmac, and space seems to close around them, folds inwards, before both men disappear into another place and time. Wherever it is, it has to be better than this.

Grunting, Edgar tries his best to ignore the pain and blackening vision. He rolls over onto his side and then flops over onto his stomach like a fish. "Samuel no… Lydia…" Using his good arm, he tries pushing himself to a stand, wincing as his injured body burns with sharp pain. He's never been hurt this badly before, still the thought that Lydia might be in one of those vans drives him forward.

Unlike Samuel's decision to flee to the forest, Edgar's drives him closer to the vans. An agent that runs up to the speedster in an attempt to force him to submit is met with a fist to the face. His teeth grind audibly as he fights the black tunnels that are closing his sight. Everything goes out of focus for a brief moment, drifting into double vision before it all slides back into place. Another sharp bite of pain and he's down on one knee. "Lydia… no…"

He failed them all, Jennie, Samuel, especially Lydia. He just wasn't fast enough.

Jacksonville, Florida

Present Day

There's a screech of brakes and a hiss comes as a bus rolls to a stop. Dust blows across old, cracked asphalt and an open-toed sandal is the first thing to touch down on the outskirts of the parking lot, followed by the brush of brown fabric from a dress rustling at femenine ankles. The idiling engine of the Greyhound bus masks the sound of her footsteps scuffing along the ground as she moves, walking in front of the parked vehicle, letting the panorama of Wolfson Park come into view. The backs of stadium lights look dark in silhouette with the sun dipping down as if to set inside the baseball stadium itself.

To survive in this world, we hold close to us those people on whom we depend.

Yellow tape between sawhorses is the next thing that she sees, POLICE LINE — DO NOT CROSS, it's a garish warning before she spots uniformed officers, police vans, hears the chop of a helicopter's rotors overhead. Men in suits with plastic badges clipped on their lapels are swarming around the back of an ambulance, watching a man on a stretcher being loaded in to the back.

We trust in them our hopes, our fears.

Blue lights flash from a sea of police cruisers. As the warm afternoon breeze blows through Lydia's hair, sending sandy locks across her face and gently curling around the delicate column of her throat there is only one truth to be realized.

But what happens when trust is lost?

She was too late.

Where do we run when things we believe in vanish before our eyes?

Hundreds of miles away, shoes scrape across asphalt noisily, metal cleats practically worn down to nubs clicking on the street as Edgar Smythe comes to a grinding halt, hunching forward with his hands on his knees, shoulders heaving and short of breath. The sun is setting to the west, casting long shadows across an empty stretch of freeway. A single bead of sweat rolls down Edgar's forehead, drips off the tip of his nose and falls down to the pavement. Before it ever hits, he disappears in a blue of his red and white baseball uniform, stirring up newspaper scraps and paper garbage from the side of the road.

When all seems lost, the future unknowable, our very existence in peril…

Hanging overhead from that stretch of highway, a green and white road sign with bold lettering indicates this stretch of road as I-95. The sun sets nearly directly behidn the sign, casting it in a depth of shadow, goldenrod clouds dappling the horizon behind it. There's an important measure of distance though, written on that sign. The furthest Edgar could run from himself, a city so dense with people that he could disappear into the crowd. New York City, 45 Miles.

…all we can do is run.

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