Secrets in the Attic


brian3_icon.gif quinn3_icon.gif samara2_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

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Scene Title Secrets in the Attic
Synopsis The Bay House attic's renovation project leads to one mystery solved for the Ferry.
Date April 2, 2011

Bay House

The Bay House has been "home" now for weeks to a few of the Ferry's wards, and most of the rooms have been cleaned into something livable. Cobwebs and grime have been cleared and scrubbed from walls, nooks and crannies; the furniture is thrift-shop chic and there are still repairs to be made — the toilet doesn't always flush on the first try and there are drafts where cracks may need to be filled or sealed, but for the most part, it's become more and more home rather than just a house.

The last frontier, however, is the attic. The space is large enough to house a playroom or even a school room; at the very least, an office or a study to get away from the hub-bub of the rest of the chaos that a house of children can create. But it's also fallen into ill-repair, as attics often do — perhaps neglected even before the rest of the house was abandoned, the wood floors are rotted and dangerous for children and so it's been locked to keep the kids out, until the "grownups" can make it safer.

Which is the plan today.

Tasha Renard has come with supplies in hand; paint and wood and hardware — it was something that she and Colette had planned on doing on this, her spring break. With Colette missing, it could have been assumed that the plan was off. For the young Ferrywoman, however, this is important — what Colette would want. Scratch that: What Colette wants, because Tasha will not believe she's not okay somewhere.

This is the first day Tasha hasn't spent scouring the city for her lost love.

Eyes swollen and red, she climbs the steps toward the attic, glancing behind at the "crew" who are planning on helping her. "So what do you want to make it into? The paint colors should reflect that, so I'll paint it accordingly," she says before stepping aside to let Samara unlock the door to the attic.

This isn't the first time that Robyn Qiunn has joined fellow Ferrymen in restoring an old and somewhat dilapidated safehouse into good-as-new condition. Or at least, not "total eyesore" condition, as Quinn might secretly term it. And certainly not her first time with Tasha, though thinking back on the last time makes her wince a bit. At least three people were there that time who aren't around this time, all for unfortunate reasons.

But that's not something to dwell not, not at the moment. Nor is the fact taht this is the first she's seen Tasha in a decent amount of time, or really seen Samara in the flesh. Also something she's trying not to think about, with mixed success.

"You think? I think we should just paint it hot pink an' let the room figure itself out from there," is Quinn half joking suggestion. They don't even have hot pink - though she'd run out and get it in an instant if that suggestion was actually taken seriously. Dressed in an old white hoody, jeans with holes in the knee, and an NYU t-shirt that looks too small even on her - it probably wasn't hers, originally - she looks ready to get down and dirty as she needs to today. Hopefully this won't inspire any impromptu paint fights.

Wayward, weary, and with wanton wasps of wispy strands of hair wound into a haphazard bun held together by a sole elastic and two small bobby pins, Samara’s features have taken on a nearly stoic edge. But not stoic in the traditional sense; she smiles, but it’s presence is jaded by paled skin and a dimness to the general light in her eyes. Over the weeks, hard work culminated into callouses along her hands, and, in her oversized t-shirt she’d received in a care package from her mother, the burn she’d earned months ago presents itself as nothing but an odd scar— a vague handprint, born like a being sired by some malicious god in some pernicious creation story.

For a generally chatty woman, she’s found some measure of silence— an oddness within her borne responsibilities. Her fingers work at the lock, twisting solidly in a crisp turn, authoritative, demanding, and not at all within her usual form. The motions are clipped, disjointed like some calculated hip hop dance that somehow lacks rhythm. Or perhaps rhyme.

”Yellow,” she finally answers quietly as she presses against the attic door, her shoulders complaining underneath the little work she puts them to. “It will be yellow.” There’s a small pause as her lips pull into a small flash of teeth, good humour brushed across the canvas of her painted guise. “I want someplace serene. Calming. A place where people can create or rest. Or,” her eyes narrow somewhat as she shrugs, “dance.” It’s reflective of her internal compass. The last actually renews some of the brightness in her eyes as her head tilts to examine each of her cohorts. “I know it seems silly, but I think sometimes all a person can do is turn up the music and dance whether or not anyone is watching— “

"Don't move. I'll get it in your eye, and you'll never be able to see again."

The words come from one of the children's rooms. But they're soft. Nigh inaudible to the 'grownups' making their way towards the attic. "Operation Samara Has To Stop Frowning is in effect." Little Brian announces stoically. The body of Brian in 2011 and the mind of Brian many years ago. The young man is crouched near the door, fingers smeared in shoe polish. His fingers are being drawn across the cheeks of Lance, right under the eyes.

The door to the room creaks open, Joe's little head popping out to peek out at Tasha, Quinn, and Samara. Peering over at them he then pops back in, moving back over to Lance and Brian's side. He smiles happily over at Lance. "You have to be quiet." Joe reminds quietly.

Lance gives a somewhat irritated look to Joe. Not really wanting to remind the other boy of who he is.

Brian however drags his two fingers over Lance's other cheek. The shoe polish is then wiped onto a little towel. Smirking a little bit he gives a nod. "Okay. So you have to get the key from Samara without her noticing, okay? Then phase two will be initiated. So.. You ready?"

Lance gives a wordless nod, the boy is dressed in all black. "This would be easier with Paul." He gives a shake of his head. They'll have to make due. Sliding over to the door, Lance takes a deep breathe. "Okay. Here I go."

"Yellow's a good color," Tasha says quietly, though she does smirk a little at the joke Quinn makes. The two younger women make for a somber pair, but the work should be good for them. At least, that's what Tasha's telling herself.

When the door opens into the attic, there's the stale smell of dust and a touch of mildew that wrinkles the teenager's nose as she peers in to look at the mostly vacant room. Some old furniture is shoved into corners, draped with white sheets gone yellow from the triangular window under the A-line roof. Dust motes (and probably mites) sparkle in the air like pixiedust, and it's easy to imagine that they are in another time — the time when the tunnels underground were used for their intended purpose.

There is a squeak of something definitely non-human and rodent in nature, a scurry of something tiny and four legged moving beneath a sheet. The floor shows signs of rot though it is salvageable, and in places the walls have cracked, showing pink insulation within. It'll be a Job.

One floor board near the door sits unevenly, the plank raised as if it's been pried up, and a tiny bit of pale blue fabric can be seen caught on the corner.

"Yellow's good!" Quinn enthuses, nodding. She's trying to be a bright spirit to counterbalance the rest - they have their reasons, and Quinn, for what she knows, can guess they're good ones. But someone has to stay a bit perky. Particularly once all that dust comes wafting out at the opening of the attick door, forcing Quinn to reel back a bit.

"Getting this fiurniture out of here is going t' be a bitch," is a markedly less enthusiastic comment from the musician as she looks around the attic, letting out some breath in a bit of a huff. No conveniant window to toss it out of this time, ugh. Her free hand slipping into her pocket. Looks like it's time to really get working. "Come on. We can make this fun. I at least brought some music."

Quinn’s enthusiasm and Tasha’s agreement are meant with an easier smile, relaxed somewhat, as Sam cautiously eases into the attic only to sneeze in a mouse-y way— like a squeak. Her paces are slow— one foot lining with the other calculatingly. No reason to fall through the floor when she doesn’t intend to. Of course, such a fall could just bring on her incorporeality.

Her eyes scan the room carefully, watching that little bit of dust through widened eyes, a silent appreciation for the odd beauty— that lovely sparkle that dances within the light. “Do you think Tinkerbell’s fairy dust would be so— ooof“ she trips over that pried up plank. Evidently, in her wide-eyed wonderment, she stopped paying attention to the rotting boards and found herself drawn to the little sparkles instead.

Of course, in tripping over the board, she takes notice. Her knees buckle underneath her, but with a slide of her second foot, she catches herself before collapsing entirely. Her head turns to face the plank as she crouches beside it to run her fingers over the little space created by the plank. “What— “ she begins only to give the board a tug. Hopefully it’s not instrumental in holding things up…

Lance moves cleanly out of his room, Joe and Brian left in his wake peeking out at his back. He half turns to give them a confident smile. He is then moving on light toes towards the attic. He doesn't really need to sneak. But sometimes when nervousness sinks in, he defaults to moving on his tip toes. Creeping up to the backs of the three young women, Lance lowers his body weight. Legs bent as he moves forward. Completely inaudible, Lance dances to the side when Samara sneezes.

Lance swallows hard, moving backwards to slink behind one of the old pieces of furniture. Tucking himself behind an arm chair his eyes remain just above the arm rest for a moment peering at Samara. Then he slinks down. The all black clad boy with his warrior marks shifts his weight to crawl around the other side of the chair. A silent breath taken as he starts to crawl towards the backs of the women. No need to worry about noise, vision is the enemy here. And the smaller he can make himself, the better.

"Bless you," Tasha says, turning to look at Samara just as the other woman trips on the board. "Hey, what's that?" she asks, crouching down beside Samara as the phaser begins to pry at the board.

The board is not too hard to pull up — especially blocked from sliding back into place by the blue fabric — which isn't as old as everything else in the room. It's polar fleece material, and has navy blue teddy bears and red and white beach balls printed upon it, the edges dirty and ragged. It's a baby blanket.

Tasha's dark eyes knit with confusion as she reaches to touch it, before her hand comes back with a snap. "It's wrapped around something," she whispers. And indeed it is; the fabric is wrapped around something, making it a lumpy little parcel in a shallow grave created by the loose floor board.

Unfortunately for Lance, being silent doesn't mean he is lightfooted enough to escape danger. When one knee moves onto on a rotted spot in the attic's flooring, he suddenly finds that leg silently crashing through the wood that splinters and breaks around it. Luckily for him, his other leg and two hands is still on relatively firm footing. Oops.

"Bless you," is also offered from Quinn, who kind of has blinders as she looks arund the room, enough so that it's only when Tasha moves that Quinn notices that Samara's fallen. Her head snapping back and eyes wide, she grimaces as she watches her and Tasha for a moment. A slow movement has her turning back, the paint materials in her one hand set to the ground along with her bag. "You okay, Samara?" Both hands now slipped into her pocket, the photokinetc plods back with a bit of a frown, eyeing the board as it's pulled up. "Stupid pain in the ass boards," is muttered,a shake of her head accompying it.

But as the baby blanket is revealed, and the announcement that something is wrapped inside has Quinn practically freezing in place, eyeing the other two pensively. The first thing she thinks of when one speaks of something wrapped in a baby blanket - she feel sick for a moment when she considers what they may have just found.

Hopefully it's nothing that bad.

"Yeah. I'm… I'm okay," the words are nearly coughed around the dust and dryness forming within her throat. Sami's lips press together tightly as she cants her head to face each of the women in turn before fixing her gaze on the blanket. Her lips twitch into a solemn frown. Her throat strainsA slow sharp breath has her hands reaching down to grasp the package.

Her hands find their way around the package and carefully, slowly pull it out of the boards.

Lance's mouth twists in a 'FUCK' motion. Before his mouth goes into a sharp snarl down at his leg. Grimacing, his hands are pushed down onto the planks quickly. Features twisting into pained. Leg hanging through the boards, Lance tilts his head back in pain. Normally this would be the time to shut the ability off, to scream out to Samara that 'OWWWW'. But then he'll be in trouble. He's fairly certain he just broke the roof. Whoops. Staring over at Samara and the other women he refuses to call out. To draw attention to himself. He pushes against the boards, slowly pulling his leg out of the hole.

His eyes begin to well up as his leg fully exits the hole he had made. Pushing out he rolls over to sit beside it. A deep breath is taken. The women are pretty invested in what they're looking at. All he has to do is stumble forward and pull the key out. He crawls forward quietly, lurking directly behind Samara. Tiny hand reaching up for her pocket.

"It doesn't smell," says Tasha helpfully, though she watches warily, hands holding the rubber toes of her Converse nervously.

As the blanket is carefully pulled through, Samara can tell it is nothing as grotesque as she might fear — there is the crinkle of something paper inside, and small items of various sizes and harness can be felt through the fabric. One end of the blanket gets caught on a rough split in the wood plank, unraveling the bundle despite Samara's care even as she still holds the bulk of it.

A small plastic card falls onto the rotten wood; the three adults assembled will recognize it as it tumbles as a Registration card before it lands face down. The rest of the blanket still in Samara's hands holds a letter and a well-loved and thread-bare blue-furred teddy bear as well as a picture book of Disney's Aladdin.

There is mroe than a bit of relief that washes over Quinn at Tasha's statement. Still standing, she watches as the blanket unfold in Samara's hands. Her worst fear abated, she leans over a bit so that she can get a better look at the contents within, and to aid in that task, there's a flick of her wrist before a stream of light pours out from her hand, illuminating the blanket, it's contents, and the hole where the floorboard had been plunked up.

Inobservent as ever, she completely fails to notice Lance. Oops.

"Wait, what the hell…" Not bothering to bend over yet, Quinn squints at the registration card that falls out, along with something other various little things. "…Are we sure about when the last time is this place was in use?" she asks, a bit of a frown forming on her face. The registration card says at least the fast years. And seeing the Teddy bear makes her heart sink a little. Some poor child is without their cuddly bear, and all the reasons for that are enough tow eigh on her mind - none of them any good at all.

"There's a kid— " Sam begins as she reaches for the card. "We've seen him or her a few times. He or she has an ability of some kind and is scared or something— " this actually has her frowning. The small hand in her pocket actually is unnoticed as she stares at the contents of the package; some things just eat more of her attention than others.

"The kid was here when we came the first time, disappeared through the maze outside the cellar," her tone is distracted, particularly as she tugs at the letter peeking out of the blankets folds.

Again her lips press together and her throat clears. "There weren't any adults. Not at all and no sign of use. And when the kid came back— the few times that happened— covered in mud. Cut. Bleeding." Her cheeks flush as her head shakes. "I tried to help. I swear I tried to help! It was really hard to convince the kid that we're friends, you know? That we wouldn't leave. That we are sticking around…"


Lance smiles through his pain as the key is retrieved from Samara's pocket. MISSION SUCCESS. Lance can practically hear Brian and Joe's glee from downstairs. But the registration card has him pausing. He can't run away just yet. They're talking about that 'kid'. Joe and Lance know that that kid is actually a dragon ghost zombie killer. Lance's lips twist in indecision as he lingers just behind Quinn and Samara. Attention flicking over to Tasha momentarily. He slips back a step or two. He would love to see the true identity of the Dragon Ghost. Lowering himself, Lance looks down tentatively at the planks. He has to be scareful or there's going to be more cuts.

Instinctually, he's grasping at his inner thigh. Ow. Lance takes a few stutter steps back towards the hatch. Lance watches carefully, crouching some.

The card has a picture of a solemn and pale face with dark hair and pale blue eyes; he's chubbier cheeked and his hair is shorter than the little child that Samara has seen, but it's the same child.

Salem Mayhew, age ten. Evolved Ability: Empathy.

The letter is written in a shaky hand, ink blots here and there where someone's tears smeared the ink; it's been folded and unfolded many many times by grubby hands, the edges of the folds now gray, the paper threatening to fall into threes where it's been trifolded.

To Whom It May Concern, begins the letter, dated October 2010,

Please have mercy and take in this child into your care. I'm no longer able to. I am pregnant, and I can't allow him to do to us what he did to his father. I can't stand to tell him that his father killed himself because of what he is, because of what he does.

I can't let the government have him either, though. I'm his mother, and I'm supposed to protect him. I can't. I can't do it anymore, but I hope that you're more capable of taking care of him than me. Maybe someone with a stronger temperament — his father was always nervous, quick to anger, passionate to a fault. I can't take care of a baby and worry about him and what he's capable of. I hope you don't judge me too harshly for what I had to do… no one can know what it's like unless they've been with us. No one can know the hell we've been through. I only hope that God can understand and forgive me for doing this, and I hope that one day he can forgive me, too.

Naomi Mayhew,
Salem's mother

Quinn is silent as she looks down at the registration card for a moment longer, before her eyes drift over to the unfolded paper, light from her hand still washing over the immediate area. She can't quite make it all out from her height an angle, but enough to make her frown pretty deeply.

"This poor kid…" she says quietly, looking back towards the stairway for a moment. "We need to find him," she says, looking to Samara. "I know you said you've tried t' get him to listen, before? Where'd you see him?"

Sam bites her lip nervously before she passes the letter on to the other women. Her cheeks flush a brighter hue as she lowers her hands, her own emotions and guilt build in the pit of her stomach as she bites her lip a little tighter.

"The first time we'd seen him" now definitively male, "was at the trapdoor to the cellar. And then once in the cellar. And then another time in the bathroom when he was caked in mud, convinced that we'd leave him if he let us in," this draws the smallest frown as her head shakes. "I tried to help him. I did! I was worried for him— I didn't want… I mean all I wanted…" she sighs quietly while her head shakes again. "Sorry. I just want him to be okay, you know?" Her eyes narrow slightly as her shoulders shrug.

"At least if he comes back I know his name— " It's a start and that's al she has.

Lance peers long and hard at the card. "Salem." He murmurs to himself, completely soundlessly. With that he starts to slink away. When Quinn looks back to the stairs, Lance has slid himself behind a couch. Lance slowly pushes himself up over the edge of the couch. Peering at the women. He swallows hard before quickly crossing the distance from the old furniture to the exit back to the rest of the Bay House.

Lingering for a moment, he tucks the key into his pocket. Giving a triumphant smile. He may have cuts and splinters, but he snuck up on them and got away. Little Brian will be so proud. Creeping down slowly, he glances up at the group before going to disappear down to the rest of the house.

Tasha shivers a little as a draft of air seems to blow by them — not knowing it's Lance creeping around, the air displaced by his small form moving past. The teenager pats Samara's shoulder and she shakes her head. "It's not your fault," she murmurs. "He's scared and he's angry… it looks like he has a good reason to be. And you can't keep someone around if they don't… if they d-don't…"

If they don't want to be.

The tacit doubt that Tasha has yet to speak — that Colette left rather than was taken, which is somehow, paradoxically both better and worse than the alternative — wells up, and she shakes her head, unable to finish.

"We'll help him, if we can find him," Tasha murmurs a moment later, her hand rising to scuff at her eyes with the sleeve of her hoodie.

The rest of the blanket yields little else of help. Salem Mayhew lived nearby, but the odds are his mother is no longer at the address listed if she dared to leave her name on this note. The father's name is listed as Gilbert Mayhew, but they already know he's deceased. Why the letter is here, if anyone besides Salem or the three women present (and Lance) have read it, is not known.

What is known is that there's a very young boy with a very dangerous ability out there, abandoned by the one person who was meant to love him most.

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