ɹǝʇʇᴉsʎqɐq ʇɹosǝɹ ʇsɐ˥


ames_icon.gif marthe_icon.gif barb_icon.gif

Scene Title ɹǝʇʇᴉsʎqɐq ʇɹosǝɹ ʇsɐ˥
Synopsis Ames goes away farther and for longer than her mother expected when she reached out to Ames' grandmother as a last resort.
Date June 29 - July 2, 2021

There's so much happening today. There's no time for anything other than what's supposed to happen.

Save for maybe one thing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 ᛫ 4:45 PM
Hi Barb, I realize it's late and very short notice, but do you think you could take Ames for the night? I need to get to the hospital to help with overflow as soon as possible.
I would greatly appreciate it. I would call but my calls aren't connecting. Her bag is packed and she's ready to go.
Absolutely. I'm glad you reached out, I was worried.
I'll be there in 20.
Thank you so much.
4:48 pm

The whole world slows for Barb when that first message comes through— and she replies immediately, without even thinking. The world, the fire, and everything else with it aren't exactly forgotten, it's just that this opportunity hits her hard. It takes her off-guard, fills her with relief, fills her with purpose. She knows what she needs to do. She snaps down her suitcase closed and pulls it off the bed, sealing off just how much she's leaving behind without even looking back. There's a chance, after all, to keep hold of something even more precious than any of the mementos worth keeping from the life she's lead up until now.

She darkens the doorway of the dining room, suitcase in hand. At the table, her husband has out his gun case — which he is not supposed to still own — and loads up a double-barrel shotgun with ammunition he is not legally permitted to have.

"Greg?" she asks, and at first he doesn't answer. He's listening to a radio set on the table. So she tightens her voice, raises it, and says once more: "Greg, give me the keys."

This time he hears her, and he looks up at her incredulously. The next minute and a half are a blur of an argument in which she fights to assert herself successfully. Now? Of all times? Greg can't talk over her forever, though. When Barb finally gets a word in edgewise, shouting over him to be heard, he quiets quickly.

He doesn't apologize, he only produces the keys to the car and sets them on the table for her to take.

He'll make other plans to leave the city. Though they may not agree on so many things, he agrees with her instantly about the choice needing made now. She places a hand on his cheek to thank him, and grabs the keys likewise without saying a word. Her throat is tight as she leaves the home bought with her money behind for the last time.

She has the grace even in the tension of the day not to slam the door shut behind her.

June 29, 2021 ᛫ 6:20 pm
Hi Martha it's Barb again I just needed to check in and let you know we received evacuation orders here. I'm sure it's temporary but especially since we have Ames here we want to be safe than sorry and are going to go. Thanks from Barb

Barb lowers her phone from having spoken into it, frowns at the way it interpreted Marthe's name, and quickly corrects it to the also incorrect Martha. She tries to be quick, aware of Ames watching her text and drive.

She doesn't want to be a bad example. They're supposed to be the exemplars she can always look to.

"You doing okay, sweetie?" Barb asks, adjusting the rearview to better see Ames. They're almost out of town now. They've been in traffic ever since they left Wright and Marthe's apartment. It's very clearly apparent now that they weren't ever headed back to Barb's home.

When Ames makes a non-committal sound, eyes out the window, Barb tells her, "We'll be out of all this smoke soon enough, but keep your mask on until then, all right?"

Ames does. It helps her hide that she doesn't know why Barb didn't mention the evacuation order earlier, and how uncomfortable it makes her feel.

She doesn't understand why her grandmother used the word 'we' when it was only her here at all.

June 29, 2021 ᛫ 11:45 pm
Thank you for letting me know. It’s getting hectic here and I won’t be able to check my phone regularly but please keep me updated on where you are and how she’s doing.
I really appreciate this.
Sorry for earlier, I used voice text because we were in a rush. We're safe and out of town overnight. Signal is bad here but I will text tomorrow with updates.
12:10 am

Greg still hasn't joined them. Barb stands out on the porch of the cabin they've driven up to an hour outside of town, eyes on the treeline like she could see straight south, all the way to the Safe Zone. Her throat is tight; Ames is asleep inside in a bedroom set aside just for her. She knows this was the right choice, but can't help but feel a terrible apprehension about all this, the strings of her heart as taut as a violin's and each beat like a pluck of them for how it flutters rapidly, even hours later.

She can't tell if her household's history has repeated itself again or not, and doesn't know what to do if it has.

She hopes all will be better tomorrow.

June 30, 2021 ᛫ 6:40 pm
Ames is doing really well. The roads aren't clear yet, so we're going to try again tomorrow.
June 30, 2021 ᛫ 6:55 pm
I tried calling on a break but no calls are getting through. Please tell her I love her.
I'm at the beginning of a second 24-hour shift, things are still really bad here but I appreciate you keeping my baby safe.
Please let me know when you get back into the area.

Barb smiles at Ames after handing off a jar for her granddaughter to go seek out fireflies with. They may not be out in force for a while yet, but the little one swears she saw one already. Today has been quiet, and spending as much time as possible with Ames rather than their hosts has helped her to try and keep her mind off of the gap in her expected world here.

There's a radio in the office off of the dining room. She's kept Ames outside today partially to keep her from hearing the communication to and from it– to keep her from wondering, worrying.

She deserves the chance to be a child, despite the world around her trying to shape her into some political thing at an early age.

Barb's head snaps up when she hears the sound of tire on gravel, her heart in her chest seizing as an older luxury sedan rolls up to the cabin. The woman who steps out from the driver's seat is unfamiliar to her; a young blonde thing dressed well in comparison to the plaid and denim couture of upstate New York. The stranger offers Barb a honeyed smile filled with warmth, one that says both she and Barb belong here, that all's well.

Barb only believes it after the passenger doors all open to reveal other faces, most of them younger than the driver. Greg's slouched form emerges heads above them, even with posture worn down from tire and hours in the car. The vice around her heart eases when she sees him well, and she smiles her relief as she steps off the porch to head toward the cars. The embrace she receives from her husband is firm but short, ended with a murmur that he needs to finish what they're out here for.

evran_icon.gif gregory_icon.gif roman_icon.gif sahara_icon.gif

Barb continues to stand outside rather than go in with them, looking to see where Ames has bounded off to in the tall grass. For a moment, she watches and considers joining the group inside after all, but she weighs it against the duty she feels to making this as smooth a transition as possible for Ames.

She opts to help with the bug search for now.

July 1, 2021 ᛫ 4:00 pm
We heard up here there are some issues around our place, so we ended up staying here another day. All the better since it still seems like you're busy.
Ames spent a lot of time outside today. I think this all has been good for her, rather than being in the middle of all that down there. Greg and I are really glad she's here with us. It's been a lot less to worry about.

"You really should just rip the bandaid off," Sahara tells Barb kindly as they both sit together at the dining room table, Barb's phone on the placemat between them. The elder of the two has her arms folded against the side of the table, head downturned. "Won't the truth just feel better? That you're gonna look out for Ames' wellbeing since her parents are too busy to look after her?"

Barb utters in a quiet, displeased tone, "That is… a vast oversimplification based on the last two days only." She unfolds her arms so she can frame one hand on the side of her face, fingertips digging into temple. "No matter what I tell her, she'll not understand. Her and Wright both let Ames go to that mutant school. They don't see the dangers of that like we do. They don't…"

When Barb lets out a sigh, Sahara reaches out a hand to her shoulder to provide a reassuring squeeze. She's not had to deal with this herself– all her family are on the right side of things– but she can sympathize with the struggle anyway.

Sahara looks up when someone steps out of the radio room and looks her way. It's one of their hosts, the man with sharp features and long bangs who wears a thin scarf printed with the American flag. He nods his head into the room, looking to Sahara rather than Barb.


None of them can feel how her stomach sinks at being called in closer to the kinds of things being discussed behind that closed door, but she just smiles warmly and looks back to Barb. "You know what you gotta do, hon," Sahara murmurs, and she slips into the radio room, shutting the door behind her again to give both that room and Barb both the privacy needed to do what they all must.

Despite the time it takes her to compose the two texts separately, they both finally get picked up by the distant cell tower at the same time.

July 1, 2021 ᛫ 9:41 pm
I'm glad she's been able to see the outdoors, I have not.
At this point it looks like I'll be here until sometime tomorrow.
Ames's bag has to be exhausted by now. Are you on your way back into the Safe Zone?

When the phone buzzes on their nightstand, Greg turns to the sound of it like he's heard a gunshot. "What was that?"

Barb's already swiping it up to look at it. "It's Marthe, probably," she answers, unlocking it to verify that.

Greg looks at her with such intensity his eyes look like they might bug out of his head. His voice raises without meaning to. "You're talking to her?"

"Yes!" Barb snaps in return, looking down to where he's sat on the bed in the pajamas she'd packed for him in their suitcase, both of them having been getting ready for bed. "Yes, I picked up Ames because she texted me and I've been texting her since."

"Well, fucking stop," Greg scoffs at her incredulously.

Barb looks down at her phone again, the time reading 9:42pm, and then back up at Greg. Her internal frustration mounts, her need to smooth everything over and pretend that nothing's amiss for as long as possible conflicting with the risk continued contact poses. When he sees this, Greg stresses, "Ames is with us now. She's starting her new life with us, and there's no reason to talk with … any of them anymore."

"What about Wright?" Barb asks in a quieter voice, the only one of them concerned about being overheard.

"Wright made her choice," Greg insists just as harshly, his brow furrowed. He hates it has to be this way, too. "All we can do now is protect Ames from it."

Barb has to bite her tongue. She is convinced there's a way for their daughter to be brought over to the right line of thinking. She finally closes her hand around the phone and states, "I'm getting a drink," as she turns for the door.

"Yeah," Greg drawls from his seat, voice heavy with sarcasm. He doesn't chase her as he once might've to drive his opinion home. He merely tells her, "You do that."

Barb sees the light out under Ames' door as she passes, and feels relieved rather than wondering if she might still be awake– if she might have been awoken by the raised voices. She heads down the stairs of the many-bedroomed cabin and finds an unopened bottle of port that doesn't remain that way for long. At least it supports her while she pens what she knows will be her final response.

July 1, 2021 ᛫ 9:50 pm
We're picking up some new clothes for her. Don't worry, she's in good hands.

Barb happens to feel a text come through entirely by happenstance. She missed the first two, but somehow, she felt the third. She looks away from watching Evran teach Ames how to carefully hold a whittling knife, her self-appointed duty as safety supervisor from afar suspended as she reads the most recent messages from Marthe.

July 2, 2021 ᛫ 2:25 pm
I’m done here within the hour, can you bring Ames to me at Elmhurst?
July 2, 2021 ᛫ 2:32 pm
Done here, I will come to you if that’s easier.
July 2, 2021 ᛫ 2:49 pm
Where the fuck are you, Barb?

Her jaw tenses so badly she shakes, like the words on the tiny screen have leapt off the pixels and come screaming at her. A moment later, she flips the phone over decisively, pries the back of it off, and pulls out the battery to slip out the SIM card. She keeps the card apart from the rest as she puts the phone back together.

Barb looks up again at her granddaughter and unconsciously begins to smile, thinking of the future they have planned for her.

The SIM card is pressed together between two fingers, and snaps in two before she closes her fist around it.

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