See No Evil, Speak No Evil


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title See No Evil, Speak No Evil
Synopsis In the aftermath of the convoy ambush, Eve confronts Else.
Date July 6, 2021

“No, no, no!”

Sneakers scuff and squeak against a concrete floor. Else Kjelstrom kicks and struggles, twisting and bucking against the restraints of the two men dragging her down the hall. “C’mon, stop! Stop!” She pleads, but neither Norton Trask nor West Rosen will listen to her. Else’s protests turn to strangled, frustrated growls as she’s dragged into the lab where rivulets of seawater trickle down rusted walls onto a damp floor.

The station’s communications hub is spooled with new wires and cables, some tracking through shallow puddles of standing water. On the opposite end of the lab is the machine, humming even when powered down. Else takes one look at it and tenses, but when she sees the chair with restraints on it in front of the comm’s station she screams and kicks her legs again.

“No! NO!

Trask and West wrestle Else into the chair, forcing her down and binding her arms and legs with leather straps and tightly cinched buckles. She violently rocks against the back of the chair, struggling as West places a strap in her mouth between her teeth and ties it off at the back of her head. It’s only then that she notices the man lingering in the back of the room, bearded and sullen, haunted eyes not seeing Else at all.

Donald Kenner lurches from the shadows, face drawn long and weathered from age and stress. He approaches the comms station, stepping up onto the platform. “I’m sorry it’s gotta be like this,” he says with a shake of his head while Trask pulls out a set of large over-ear headphones.

“I’m really sorry.” Don whispers, eyes narrowed. “But you forced my fucking hand!” He suddenly bellows, snapping from calm to a thunderous roar in an instant. Else flinches away from Don as his scream rings off the walls. “You tried to call the fucking mainland!” He yells, arms flailing wildly. West, holding the headphones, waits in uncertainty. “You—You tried to bring every gun-toting fucking lunatic here, didn’t you? Trying to fucking kill me?” He leans in close to Else, who is sobbing and shaking her head. “You stupid bitch!” He yells, slapping her across the face.

“Now I have to do this.” Don says in a shaky whisper, momentarily looking regretful of his actions as he backs away from her. “Now I’ve just—I’ve gotta accelerate things.” He nods to Trask who jogs across the floor over to the machine. Else follows him with wide eyes, and when Don nods to West and he puts those headphones over Else’s ears she screams against her gag, muffled pleading falling on deaf ears.

West pulls out a roll of duct tape, wrapping a long strip around Else’s head, affixing it straight to her hair and forehead, binding the headphones to her.

“Fucking do it!” Don shouts at Trask, who hesitantly flips the power breaker for the machine. The whole thing begins to violently hum, rattle, and shake as arcs of electricity snap at the top where a ring of lasers begin to spin up. The triangular aperture on the face of the device starts to glow brightly as particles swirl within, light bending toward the middle to form a spiral.

Don leans over, hand hovering over a switch that reads receive. He looks Else dead in the eyes as she sobs and shakes her head.

Tell me what she says to do.” He growls at her, and slams his fist down on the sw

Three Years Later

Broadway Street
Ruins of Toledo

July 6th
6:55 am

Else Kjelstrom sits on the roof of the boarded up building at the corner of Broadway and Logan, legs crossed and shoulders hunched forward. In her hands she cradles the ashen skull of Jonas Regan, brushing her fingers through the gray dust, tracing whorl patterns that reveal bleached bone.

The rest of the roof is damp from the rain that fell last night. The fire escape glistens with droplets of dew, and the city outskirts are shrouded in a thick blanket of fog. Elsewhere, questions are soon to be asked, accusations to be made. But here, there is just silence.

It had been some time since the meeting and Eve had felt compelled to seek out her sister seer instead of staying away like the both of them have seemed to do so far. It doesn't take long flying around the area in her crimson cloud until she spots the blonde and the skull of a boy destined to lose himself in every reality. Lightly she lands, the nimbus of blood red energy swirling around itself, shifting like tiny pieces of sand in the wind. Eve steps out of the cloud barefoot but clothed in her black dress and raven dark hair partially hanging over her face, the cloud recedes into her back and she tilts her head at the dirty blonde in front of her. "Talkin' to myself and feelin' old, Sometimes I'd like to quit. Nothin' ever seems to fit, Hangin' around. Nothin' to do but frown. Rainy days and Mondays always get me down," Eve's rasp hitches and catches as she sings and sways from side to side, shambling to Else's side.

"He never stands a fucking chance, in any world I've found him in. Maybe in the next life dear Jonas, maybe in the next life." She is sad to lose an Expressive any time. A moment later the darker haired woman takes a seat next to Else, knees touching as she peers at the skull. A breeze lifts strands of midnight toned hair out of her face, crimson glowing eyes peer at the skull and then Else's hands.

"Hello my old friend."

“Don’t know many clouds,” Else admits, rolling the skull in her hand like one might a piece of fruit to gauge its weight and ripeness. “Are you a friendly cloud or one’f them stormy ones?” She wonders, glancing sidelong to Eve. Then, lifting the skull, she turns it like a puppet’s head to look at her, then back to Eve as if it too was wondering the same question.

“We ain’t friends,” Else admits, gently setting the skull down on the rooftop. “Not you, you anyway. But then again I didn’t know the wrinklier you much better. So how’re you sure we’re friends?”

Eve considers the first question with a tapping of her chin, "I used to be real stormy, all crackling lighting, brimstone like! It was fun… I miss it." Forcing herself through most barriers proved very on brand.

"Sister Seers gotta stick together, I'm a friend to all of them." Eve shrugs and looks deeply into the skull's eye sockets, imagining the young man in there but it was as empty as the mainland. "In my world I helped save you from ending up like poor Jonas in your hands. Peter couldn't control himself. It's nasty business sometimes with those conduits, we got close though! Sister Seers gotta stick together." She repeats and looks now at Else, deeply. "Hm." Is all she says for a moment, watching the other woman with a broad grin on her face.

"You look like her… but you are not the same." Else from her world probably wouldn't be caught dead handling skulls so cavalierly. "You're different."

Izzat so?” Else opines, rolling the skull around in her palms. “Guess two bad pennies recognize each other. You used’ta be different too. Now you moisturize.” She emphasizes, setting the skull down.

“An’ for the record I ain’t a seer anymore.” Else explains, dusting off her hands and scrubbing them clean on the knees of her jeans. “Burnt out like an old lightbulb back when Donny Screams-a-lot decided I needed a Clockwork Orange live show.” She says, leaning forward and rising to stand. “‘Spose you aren’t anymore, neither, yeah? What with being Miss Billowy these days?”

"Every morning after I shower! Gilly says it's best and that I'll thank her later for the tip when my skin is soft forever, honestly everyone should have a Gilly in their lives." But that's a tangent for a different day and Eve could talk about Gilly forever, hell she could talk about a lot of things forever.

It might not seem so to Else but Eve views what is happening as a myriad of games being smushed together meaning the rules were never clear and the winner was never absolute. It was a fluid chaotic game. The rules they currently seem to be loosely following is: Two Truths and a Lie.

Eve is delighted and she smiles, first sadly at the thought of what this Don had done. "I hope you gave him a piece of lead for it dear, sorry you were forced to see beyond your means. I knew a girl like that once…" Something Eve could understand though she had been actively throwing herself deeper into her visions and the nature of prophecy.

Now she grins that devilish grin that this Else would remember from even Mad Eve, her most known trait outside of blowing things up. "We are similar in so many ways.." Remarking softly, "I don't just become a big cloud of farts my dear! I die! I come back! Over and over! It's so wonderful… so interesting… I think I stole it from her heh. Oh no, I have a secret," standing as well and dancing lightly in circles on the roof. She kicks her leg out and bends her other knee before twisting again in the same spot, the movements are not graceful but they have a beauty to them. "No freebies though. I deal in exchanges, trades and favors. Hmm?" Eve snickers now behind her hand as if she just passed the blonde woman a naughty note during class.

"Should I tell you my secret and you give me one?"

Else picks at some ash under her nail, glancing sidelong at Eve. It’s hard to tell just what got her to look over, with how much Eve is talking and how much Else is just reflecting on the things Eve says.

“If you told me, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.” Else finally replies. “Then it wouldn’t be special, yeah?” She uncrosses her legs and pushes against her knees, slowly rising to her feet. The wind catches Else’s hair, blowing it from over her shoulder, a few pale strands crossing her throat before she reaches up and threads her fingers between them, moving the errant locks to rejoin the others. “I don’t have much use for secrets anyway.” She admits, looking at the gray horizon.

“Why’re you here, Eve?” Else asks, looking over her shoulder to the other woman.

The other woman rolls her eyes at Else and puts her fingertips on her temples, closing her eyes. "Goddess sake did he kill you too? No sense of fun but you're playing with skulls, what a paradox." Eve cackles and rubs the back of her hair making it even more of a mess.

Waving her hand off, "I've been needing to unburden myself, to you. Be my priestess dear, I'm in need of confession." Eve wraps one arm around her middle and sways, "I have been communing with a spirit, one older than all of us. The First. She is our maker." Shrugging before she looks at Else directly. "She's given me visions before, pushing us in certain ways like a queen bee of the hive, signals, buzzing bzzzt. So much buzzing."

"I wanted to know if you had experienced the same tingling. She is everywhere." The look in Eve's eyes is a mixture of reverence and glee, she will never be able to dissuade herself from the feelings of joy the Ninbanda brings as well as the pain.

“Not playin’.” Else says, looking at the skull in front of her. She slowly blinks her attention over to Eve. “An’ I ain’t unsurprised. You turn on the radio, you’re gonna hear static, right? Voices, songs, ad-ver-tisements.” Else sits back, resting her palms on the rooftop, tilting her head back as she regards Eve.

“I think we’re talkin’ about the same someone.” Else agrees. “But I don’t think she’s our maker. Or older than us. Or the first.” Her brows come up slowly. “You saw, I heard. We’re like two of them monkeys…” and she pantomimes covering her eyes, then her ears, then her mouth. “Maybe she looks older, but I ain’t never got the impression she’s a Nana.”

Else looks Eve up and down. “What’s the confession, though? That’s juice.”

"She feels older than dirt I keep seeing her as a wee little thing in ancient times, golden eyes, parting shimmering skies, the eclipse that we are born from." Everybody thinks Eve is wrong on the fact that Ninbanda is their "maker". "First she has a name, Ninbanda." But that's not the true secret.

"Then where is our third?" Eve covers her eyes and appears to be taking the stance permanently of the see no evil monkey.

It's here that Eve's world starts to tilt and she sways as she tries to anchor herself to the physical world, she can feel Else near her but she's covered her eyes good, it's almost as if she's prepping for hide and seek. "My secret is I'm supposed to be dead! Ninbanda… she said my time was over. She was shocked I was alive, but I didn't just sneak away with my life hehe." Eve's grin drips with an impish energy, "I stole some sight, I can see the echoes again. Only when I'm dead though. I'm no true seer."

There's a tense, long pause and Eve ponders aloud, "Why do we lie Sister Seer? Is it in our nature?"

Slowly Eve removes her hands from covering her eyes, "Why do you lie Sister Seer? About your new songs?"

“Yer makin’ a lot of ass-umptions, Eve.” Else says, unfolding her legs from beneath herself as she slowly rises up to stand. “‘Bout the things y’see, ‘bout me. I ain’t sung a new song since Don put me in that chair.” There’s not even a hint of deception in her tone, not even self-deception. Eve’s known Else a long time, and she knows Else never had much of a poker-face. Which makes this all the more confusing.

Blowing a lock of blonde hair out of her face, Else looks over at Eve with furrowed brows. “I used t’write down a lot of songs that had meanings in them. But they ain’t never what I thought they were. ‘Cause that’s the rub on what people like me used t’be, and what people like… I guess you are. We ain’t our own best critics.”

Else scuffs a sneakered heel across the roof, moving to the fire escape ladder. She doesn’t move to descend, yet. Just turns around and rests against the low brick wall beside it. “We’re too close t’the art. Y’know? Because what you do ain’t like being a musician, you ain’t putting your own thoughts and ideas into it, so you don’t know the meaning behind the lyrics. Your guess is as good as everybody else’s, y’just feel closer to it ‘cause it came out of your head.”

Sniffing, Else rubs a thumb at the side of her nose leaving a smudge of ash there. “That’s what I got.”

"Well good thing for us my ass is firm and round."

On the subject of being to close to what they experience or experienced as seers: "Well what else do you do, ignore it? Go and live a happy life while the echoes rage in the far reaches of our brainpans. While the people we love burn out to a tiny ember barely holding onto the oxygen left in the room that's shrinking. Shrinking." Eve thinks not but she knows what Else says is true. It's what everyone's been saying to Eve, she's too close to this to see things clearly but that doesn't mean the forthright trickster won't die trying (over and over).

"Bah but you are singing new songs my dear. The others have heard them." Waving her arms in the air in that animated fashion she usually does, "Something about the ticking of the clock and the block being hot on the trail of the bones of our auntie. Girl you're agreeing with me on the nature of this spirit even if you don't think you agree!" Eve thinks about how Else never remembers what she writes but this felt different.

"I have a fear my dear…" Turning her head to look Else squarely in her eyes. "I think you're being hijacked. And dear ol Donny's Betrayal just blew the doors right open for you." Channeling. Eve almost asks for the exact procedure that was done to Else but feels that might be rude but what a psychic boost!

Else huffs at the air, threading a lock of blonde hair behind one ear. She shrugs one shoulder in a half-hearted reaction to a theory that might break other people. “We’re all a little possessed,” she dismisses the concern.

“So I’m what, sleep-walking?” Else asks, though she doesn’t wait for an answer. It’s rhetorical. “When it comes t’prophecy, the prophet’s the last person that needs t’hear it, yeah? You can’t ever change your own future, you just hope other people who listen get to.”

As she puts a hand on the railing for the fire escape, Else pauses and regards Eve with a half-lidded stare. “They’re the third monkey, Eve. Hear no evil.” She smiles, faintly. “Whatever it is you say, whatever it is I say if I’m sayin’ it… the message ain’t for us. It’s for the home audience. We’re just the ones playin’ the game.”

Else swings around, climbing up onto the fire escape, but not fully descending yet. The warm breeze plays at her hair, and she regards Eve not with curiosity or concern, but uncertainty. “What other job does a prophet have other than the speak?”

"We are heralds." Eve agrees with Else, nodding her head and sending raven black hair flying. So that's why this time was different. Else was innocent, just as she was in every life Eve had known her. "Maybe I center myself too much, I used to be okay sitting on the side. Smoking my joints and throwing the occasional bomb." The fond memories that threaten to overtake Eve are stopped by the seriousness of their conversation.

"If she is the third, that's a triangle." Offhand and not meaning anything at all to Eve, not in this moment anyway.

She doesn't like how Else is looking at her. It's how a lot of people have been looking at her lately. Ever since the First Death. Was Eve different? Going too far? Who defined the limit on a woman who refused to be bound by even death. "I'm stubborn as fuck." Wringing her hands together and grinning madly down at them. So much chaos had been spewed from those ghostly pale fingertips.

"I think we've played a role given to us but there are other options, we don't need to uphold the status quo. I believe we speak because there is no other way to relay the Word! But I also believe that we are not just the heralds of the times that come in whatever form." Eve disperses into the blood red mist and collects herself on top of the fire escape near Else, peering at the crown of her head. "We can be weavers. We can be anything we want to be."

Else tilts her head to the side, regarding Eve with a thoughtful expression. Her gaze drifts down to the rooftop, to the skull that was once a young man named Jonas, and then back up to Eve. There’s something haunted in her eyes, but also something unfocused, like she’s teetering on the edge of a memory or a recollection. Something from the endless nights of being force-fed time and space in a drugged haze.

When Else comes out of the moment of reverie, there’s no revelation to be had, just a lingering sense of dread and an uncertainty for the future.

Can we?” Is how she chooses to end the conversation. Not a challenge, but an admission of fear. Maybe there’s some things that can’t be avoided. Maybe in Else’s forgetting, she’s trying to be just that. Something else.

Or maybe there’s some things that, once heard, can never be forgotten.

No matter how hard we try.

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