Running On Empty


danko_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif

Scene Title Running On Empty
Synopsis Hours after Phoebe introduced Danko to the business end of her shotgun, Huruma catches wind of him in a bad way and sets to seeing juuust how far she can push him while he's off his game.
Date September 12, 2009


It's past curfew, and it's been raining. Just a misting drizzle here and there — enough to slick at concrete and haze fuzzy around the industrial orange glow of sparsely repaired street lamps along a row of cramped shops on the east side of Chelsea. Liquor for sale, a pawn shop, a third-rate pizza parlour.

Only one faded and unlit sign stands out from the rest, and it isn't because of any kind of ingenuity in the design. Freshly shattered glass glitters orange in a swath across the sidewalk, with a dribble of red black still wet against one of the larger slivers. A composite work of unpleasant mental chemistry seethes from the drug store's murky interior. Pain and anger and disorientation, each corner of the triangle fueling itself off another over a canvas that ultimately remains cold blooded as ever while Emile Danko tries to focus past his fuzzy skull's disinclination to stop spinning long enough to read bottle labels in the dark.

The blood clinging to the glass outside hangs on as it lies there, idly threatening to let go and slip off into the sidewalk. Even at a drizzle, water is enough to dilute. The tailing the Emile Danko procures on his struggle through the little by-ways of Chelsea is a silent one; even if he were looking, and not in such a state- he would be hard-pressed to have noticed exactly what was going on.

Though at first he was followed simply because of the metallic singe of his emotions, after a time, Huruma recognized him yet again while pinpointing his location. It was a long time from their last meeting, those many weeks ago in Greenwich Village. This one lacks in the time-consuming recall; she knows now that Danko has been lurking, causing his own brand of mayhem within the so called community, recruiting his own little armies yet again- and in some cases, bringing back the same ones he had, once upon a time.

The swimming feeling in his head stays even through his attempts at reading in the dark while bleeding upon himself and the floor, while his feeling of being entirely alone- certainly does not remain.

Danko's panting breaths break enough for him to swallow against the cotton in his throat. He blinks hard, fumbles one bottle irritably back up onto its shelf with the weakened hand on his wounded side, misses. It clatters and rattles to a tile floor rife with evidence and sets off rolling down a ghostly aisle by itself, side over side. His gun-wielding hand is grasped hard against his side, applying whatever pressure he can muscle in after penetrating pieces of lead shot even if the worst of the bleeding has slowed to an unhealthy seep. Blood glistens dark between his fingers and down the hard lines of his semiautomatic — clings at the black of his vest and the dress shirt underneath, jacket abandoned elsewhere. He looks smaller without it. Slighter.

Respiration is up, blood pressure is down. He should've broken into a clinic.

It takes him a minute to register that something has changed. Recognition creeps into his posture before his brain has time to fumble after why, but in a matter of blurry seconds, he's hunched and forcing his breathing down into a hoarse muffle, eyes veering off in the direction of the shattered door rather than whatever it was he came in here looking for.

Huruma has more sense than to actually use the front door(window)- Danko might be the same if he were not in shock. But as it is, right now is simply not the time to be thinking too heavily. The chitter of pills in a bottle rattles across the floor an aisle away. A shadow seems to pass through the back of his vision, though there is nothing if he were to look. The silence is nigh-unbearable, the air quiet save for Danko's own muffled breathing.

"…You seem worried."

At first, it is unclear where the voice comes from, or who, for that matter- but after he takes a second to get those particular bearings- the voice is more than familiar. Velveteen in tone, and hushed in volume. The short shelving does little to block when Huruma's shadow drapes overhead, the woman's torso leaning over with her hands clutching onto her side of the drugstore shelf. Glistening white eyes peer downward at her quarry, the twinkle of gold at her earlobes.

"Fffffhh — " is Danko's response, air gusted out've his lungs into something that can't quite organize itself into a curse when the brunt of his gun sweeps away from his side to track after — nothing. Nothing and then a pair of eyes when he turns back the other way and trips his thumb twice over the hammer to get it cocked. The sudden movement sends more bottles tumbling, limited grace sacrificed for urgency the instant he has a target to focus on.

He looks terrible. Grey eyes washed pale in cadaverous hollows, face drawn spectral white against what little light there is to see by. Something else he looks is not happy to see her, suddenly very aware of the position she's in and the position he's in. His hold on the blood-stickied gun stiffens out a little, but he stays at a hateful hunch and breathes through his teeth, trying for all he's worth to size up Huruma and Huruma's intent and the likelihood of being able to cover enough ground to escape the cops if someone calls in a shooting.

Past the noise of the hammer, and past the noise of Danko literally seething- Huruma hums loudly. It is a noise exuding thought, drawn out for sheer effect. The soft padding of her heels on tile can only be heard as she carefully moves around the end of the aisle that he is holed up in. Contrary to what he prepares for, Huruma does not pull a gun out of her belt, nor does she whip out a metaphorical blade in the from of crippling Danko with faux panic. Instead, she stands there at the end of the aisle, one arm bent at her side- in the crook of her elbow are the wire handles of a red shopping basket, which bumps against her hip as she comes to a halt. The dark woman watches him, eyes shaded as they flicker from object to face, to body, to wound. At least she remembered to bring her poker face.

"Unhappy t'see me, Emile…?" Huruma's lips curl up into a soft smile, her irises remaining in a harsh observation. "You look …dreadful." Her lips part now to smile out with a sliver of white teeth; one hand reaches out onto the shelf to her right, fingers curling around a large bottle that sloshes as she tugs it free of its dusty seat. Arched eyebrows lift up before Huruma casts her eyes to the bottle. Eventually, Danko is liable to notice that the basket at her side is full. Full of exactly what one needs to temporarily treat a wound such as his.

"Per'aps you shoul'look into th'cookie jar b'fore sticking your hand in."

Not quite cornered, The Hunter might as well be for all the consideration he's sparing the open far end of the aisle he's camped on. He's watching her too close, not blinking enough and hard whenever he does, willing himself to stay focused enough to mark every move she makes fast or slow or not tangible at all. He's hurting, too — pain bled out in waves that ache to the roots of his clenched teeth, wounded arm bent against the shiny cling of fabric to his side.

But he is what he is and she is what she is and even when he can spare enough attention to skim fleetingly over the contents of her red basket, he doesn't budge save to steady his aim when it wavers of its own unsteady accord. Suspicion follows confusion into a muddied knit of brows less sharp to the direction of whim than usual and despite himself he's already breathing loudly again. More loudly than before, anyway. Drip. Pat. Drip. Pat.

"S'this…your idea of a joke?" There might be a ghost of skeptical humor in that lilt at the end, irritated by hopelessness as it is. "Or something else?"

Slosh. The hand holding the dark bottle wags it in her palm, the liquid rolling back and forth inside. "If I wanted t'play a joke on you, I woul'ave shone a light in your face." But things like that are what get people shot in the first place. Huruma watches him from the spot at the end of the shelf, head tilting as she observes his defensive maneuvers.

"You do no'play th'part of wounded well, Emile. It was like following a Spanish bull." In this case, that means it was easy as pie. Her eyes settle on the dark stream originating at his bulletwound, alight in interest. She does not answer his question, entirely.

Alright, well — there's a definite twitch of grey brows down there, annoyance at her assessment of his poor performance thus far managing to insinuate itself onto his sunken face over everything else. Shadows turn against slight touches of reflected light over brow and burr when he angles his attention briefly back to the storefront and the misty street beyond, then they're back to staring at each other again, no friendlier than before.

"A pointed gun's been enough to keep people off me so far." It definitely wasn't his voice, which wavers oddly against the hoarseness in his chest. It's getting harder to string words that make sense together, nevermind entire sentences of them, and there's a slack roll to the way his lifeless eyes laze back open beneath an upward cant at his brows. "My men are coming for me."

"Before you slip too far? 'Ow much faith d'you'ave in them, these days?" Huruma questions, almost casually, taking a slow step forward to peer down at something on the shelf beside her. "A litt'e bird told m'tha'some familiar faces are here with you." A bird, or possibly just her.

And perhaps now the thing he would rather not be hearing- "I could patch you over." Huruma's voice is at a sigh, an exasperated a noise as an elder might use with someone younger and with far less sensibilities.

"Enough." He's solid on that point of faith — at least enough for strength to find some footing in his scaly rasp. His balance tilts enough that he has to widen out his stance, .45 weighing heavy at shoulder. Meanwhile, for all that his breathing has slowed a notch, it hasn't gotten any less haggard.

"You could," is what he opts to reply to after several pat pat pat beats of humid silence, glossing over little birdies and familiar faces entirely. Outside the broken entry, rain falls in two heavy sheets on a bluster of wind, then immediately shrinks back into near nothing.

"I could also kill you an'roast you 'til th'meat slides righ'off th'bone."

Well, when she puts it like that- the alternative seems more promising. "I think you woul'fry up nicely, Emile." though when she continues, it nearly seems like a joke. But as he's gotten out of her already, Huruma is not much for hilarity. Overall, the intent is up in the air, floating there with the damp wind. The woman moves along the aisle, shoulder pointed towards Danko and the basket hanging over her arm swaying at her side. The next time she looks up at him, it is with a mix of interest and something much more predatory. Huruma's nostrils flare, but only just.

Her mouth forms her next smooth words very delicately. "I suspect you may also need one of …these." The hand holding the bottle trades it with something else in the basket. A tote umbrella. (This time it really is a joke.)

"As long as I'm alive and on my feet, you have room to get a rise out of me." Now it's Danko's turn to be patronizing, however weakly. His brows tilt up and in; there's an upturn at the corner of his mouth, smug security creeping in where it has no business being. Maybe he's dying. But not this second, and not this minute. Probably not the next one either.

Unwittingly demonstrating his own point, he stiffens at the reach of her hand for the basket for something dark and compact and — shaped like a tote umbrella. Christ. All progress with his breathing is lost. He's panting again at full tilt, chest rising and falling with all the calculating discretion of a panicked rat even as his face pinches with frustrated resignation.

Huruma laughs. The sound is low, but throaty. He is more than familiar with it. "Oh, come now…" Her face is spread wide with a smile, eyes half-lidded and chin up. "You really think tha'I woul'be that predictable?" That's just amazing. You should know better than that. She takes a few steps along again, though turns to him when she comes parallel, her shadow looming overhead in the dull light. White eyes downturn to meet his physically harrowed ones.

Blood loss is such that body is ever increasingly less inclined to yield to the desires of mind. Danko continues to breathe the way he's breathing. Has to if he wants to keep oxygen in his brain and in red cells gelling clumpy on the floor at his boots. It doesn't really mesh with the leaden absence of fear he knifes back at her with, his glare across the shelfing glaciatic with upward angled resentment in the shadow of hooded brows.

Huruma meanders around the shelves now- the feeling is coming off as a vulture circling in the sky. She wanders back to his aisle again, the silence in the interim all that shows for it. Her eyes coast along his trail of blood, and up again to his wound. "You know tha'drives m'crazy." She stares this time, moving closer still. Where she stops, it is perhaps simply a lunge away from him, at what may be a clear chance for her to move on him.

Why is she sticking around? It's a mystery. As always. The only obvious thing is that Danko's wound is attracting her like a spider to something fluttering inches away from its web.

Danko is quiet save for the sound of stale air dragging in and out. Through his sinuses, then through is teeth. Back again. He is well, well aware, but isn't until she's within leaping distance that he finally moves more decisively. His aching shoulder jolts a few critical degrees up and locks, gun aimed directly at her head where it was drifting more permissively around her torso before. Rasp in, rasp out, nostrils flared and eyes shards of dirty ice set deep in his skull.

"Is this a game worth getting yourself shot in the face over?"

It's an earnest inquiry. He's interested in her answer. There's enough subtle mobility left in the lines around his face to tilt and question and dare, even as his eyes threaten to roll white again and there's a voice faint out there on the street that sounds a whole lot like it's shouting MARCO.

"If not, I suggest you set that basket down and get the hell away from me."

"I suppose tha'you woul'ave t'answer some veeerrrry difficult questions, hmm? If I were still'ere when they came…?" Huruma responds, slipping the wire handles into her hand, and dropping the basket with a resounding clack at Danko's boots. The voice in the distance lights up her eyes even further, and she smiles down at him again.


"Polo!" Huruma's single step backwards is lost in the reverberation of her voice throughout the small drugstore, the shout ringing out into the street, as clear as a Sunday bell.

Throw a lever, push a button, and something's bound to happen. Cause and effect. This time, Danko pulls the trigger. Not at her head. Not directly. Close enough she'll feel the air stirring in her ear if she doesn't feel the bullet itself graze through. Somewhere, Butch is tilting his head. In here, so is Danko — slacker than he might like, with the way it turns over towards the brunt of his shoulder as if suspended on a loose hinge. "Fewer for me to answer if they're about a dead body."

Huruma is smart enough to know that pushing one too many buttons will get Danko to move- and so by the time he pulls the trigger on her, the whirr in her ear does not fade quickly. Nor does her knowing smile, delightfully impish even after the bullet's noise is long gone. "Not necessarily, Emile." Her hand is now hovering near her shoulder, arm folded. The ring finger belonging to it gathers under her thumb, and Danko is fixed with yet another pale stare. "Say hello t'th'boys f'me, will you?" She purrs, hips bobbing gracefully with her newest, slow steps backwards, then to the side, across the dark rear of the store- though her eyes never leave him, and at this pace, it almost seems as if she may not leave before Butch comes to Danko.

The lash of the gun lingers longer and louder in Danko's ears than it should. So does the skitter and tinkle of the spent casing dawdling off under a shelf somewhere at half speed while he watches her go one deliberate step at a time.

Butch is quick on his feet. He's there in a matter of a minutes — a crew-cut shape in the frame of the glass display window with an assault rifle already nosing in past the jagged edges. "Sergeant?" Chewing gum smacks in the pocket of his cheek — a bit of loose breakage clinks down away from the gun to join the rest. "You in there? There's a jelly two blocks over makin' his rounds — we gotta move."

"Yeah." If Huruma's still there, she's faded into the static mottled haze of his peripheral vision. He leans carefully — carefully — over for the basket, gun holstered and exchanged for the handles on his way out. "I'm here."

"S'there someone in there with y — Jesus you're full've fuckin' holes!"

"We can talk about it later."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License