Sharp Teeth


linda_icon.gif young-tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Sharp Teeth
Synopsis Tamara doesn't have any yet, which could be a distinct disadvantage when someone who does comes along — and with the intent to use them.
Date November 3, 2005

Not so long ago, the halls were crowded. Packed full of students set free by the day's final bell, released at last from the confines of classrooms, their daily dose of pedagogy complete. Students who dispersed quickly, this Thursday afternoon, abandoning the corridors within a matter of minutes; the atmosphere has gone from deafeningly mobbed to eerily quiescent, one solitary figure standing at a bank of lockers, backpack propped inside one's open door. Her hands rest on the edges of its gaping, unzipped mouth; reach for the heft of a textbook, draw back. Reach; draw back.

Reluctant to join the throng of departees for reasons she couldn't describe, Tamara made herself the last one out by dint of leafing through notes that… probably made sense when she took them. Hopefully. Hopefully they'll make sense again tomorrow. Sidestepped the teacher's curious, considerate inquiry with a smile and demurred murmur that have become all too well-practiced in the past month. Tried not to hunch her shoulders as she maneuvered through the halls to her locker, skin prickling between her shoulderblades; at least the combination all but entered itself, something still reliable. And now —

She doesn't want to pack books into the bag.

Moved by an impulse too strong to set aside, the girl shoves her backpack into the locker, door slammed shut with an echoing clang. Leaning her forehead against the cool metal of its surface does nothing, nothing at all, for the ache building behind her eyes. "Don't start," Tamara whispers, sliding hands through blonde hair until she can interlace fingers over the back of her skull. "Not again."

The Beacon School, New York City

November 3, 2005

Footsteps echo through the linoleum halls like the distant flutter of wings, imaginary birds startled from their perches by the cacophonous boom created by Tamara's slamming locker. They could be anyone. A parent late to meet with the school's administration. One of the teachers on their way from one classroom to another. Another student who, like Tamara, has decided to linger just a little longer. It might come to a surprise to Tamara — or it might not, all things considered — when a tall, lean woman in a policeman's uniform rounds the corner and stops a few paces away from the nearest water fountain, topaz eyes moving from door to door, gaze skimming over the nameplates affixed to them.

Black hair is tied back into a tight ponytail that doesn't allow even the thinnest, most flyaway strand to escape and tease at her face, which is handsome but also hard. "Excuse me," she says, starting toward Tamara's locker. "Miss Brooks—? Tamara?"

A sliver of blue can be glimpsed around the curve of Tamara's arm, the girl peeking over towards the speaker. The approaching speaker, she is, and something about that — something strikes the girl to the quick, a lance of ice threading deep and cold. Impressions flutter like gauzy drapes across her vision, ripples that don't quite make sense themselves, don't fit in any framework she can grasp or understand, but leave an ominous dread in their wake. Along with a deepening migraine.

Is it real, this feeling, or is she really going insane?

Leaving her right hand braced against the locker, white glinting from the bracelet on her wrist as it changes angle, Tamara pivots to face the policewoman. Her left hand rubs over her eyes, then lowers, but only to the space just beneath her chin, fingers loosely curled. She stands a little too stiffly, which may relate to the slightly pained narrowing of the girl's eyes. "Yes?" she asks, striving for normal… "Can I help you?" …and not quite making it.

The woman slows, lifts her eyes to a point above Tamara's shoulder somewhere behind her, as if making sure that no one is approaching from the other direction. Although she does not reach for the teen, her body language suggests that she might very much like to. "You're not in trouble," she says, voice quiet in an attempt to sound gentle. It isn't entirely succesful, affecting volume rather than tone.

"There's been an accident involving your parents." There's a pause, then. A moment's hesitation to allow Tamara to process this piece of information and study what reaction it inspires — if any. "Kathleen's already at the hospital. We're still trying to find your brother, but you're going to need to come with me."

The girl stares at the woman for the longest moment, silent, failure of comprehension written on her expression. It could be shock, or disbelief; certainly that isn't the sort of thing one expects to hear in the school hall, after last period, when one's thoughts are firmly fixed on the security and comfort of home. She shakes her head a bit, as if to dislodge some irrelevant thought — trying, failing, to silence the insidious whisper in her ear, fragments of speech taken completely out of context.

Trying to shed the discomfiting impression of a voice, screaming. But she didn't —

Tamara backpedals two short steps, abruptly finding her spine flush against the wall of lockers; that doesn't seem… right… and she shuffles away from them as many steps again, at an angle that widens the distance between her and the policewoman that little bit more. "I don't… believe you," is said quietly, with the hesitance of one still feeling her way into the answer.

The woman holds very still. "Okay," she says, reaching into the pocket of her jacket, which she wears over the rest of her uniform to stave off the blustery November cold outside. When her hand comes out again, there's a cellphone cupped in her palm. Her movements are slow, precise, the measured motions of someone who doesn't want to frighten a wounded animal or compel it to bite.

Not that Tamara's teeth are very sharp. "I've got no reason to lie to you, kiddo," she says. "We can call ahead. Ask them to put your sister on the phone. How about that? Would you feel better if you could talk to your sister?" Arm outstreched, she offers the cell to Tamara, taking a solitary step forward with the intention of narrowing that distance, however slightly.

Blue eyes widening as the woman steps closer, Tamara takes an equal step back, apparently not willing to have the gap between them closed even a little bit. She looks at the phone as if it were a scorpion offered out on the flat of the woman's hand, tail poised to sting. Or… perhaps it's the hand itself which is the object of study. "Who are you?" she asks, breathlessly soft, knowing that if she reaches for that phone…

…well, knowing that she really truly doesn't want to take it, at any rate. She can't think, doesn't really hear the words over the migraine beating at the inside of her skull; doesn't even quite see the woman for the water welling in her eyes.

"Go away," Tamara says, not much more strongly — but it's she who bolts for the cross-corridor.

The cellphone goes clattering to the floor, discarded the instant that Tamara shows the woman her back. She surges forward in a blur of motion, lioness streaking from the tall grass, and propels herself after the teen. Her legs are longer, her muscles more developed, honed, but Linda Tavara — because the stranger is Linda Tavara — doesn't have to rely on her physique.

She has other ways of sinking claws into her prey. One moment, she's lunging toward Tamara. The next, she seems to flicker out of existence and then reappear again directly in her path, the hand that had been holding the cellphone outstretched and sparking with electricity. Bolts arc off her fingers and crackle hot through the air. Overhead, the hallway's florescent lights are caught by a stray bolt and explode into thousands of tiny shards of glass that rain down on Tamara's head, catching in her hair, glancing off her skin and clinging to the clothes on her back.

Linda wanted to do this quietly, but a preference is just that: preference.

The girl doesn't have to think, to hear — even to see — to know that there is a particular bit of space she must not be in. Must not. Somewhere so far away from rational, coherent thought it might keep company with basest instinct, so deep it's beyond question, she knows.

The solution is simple: Tamara isn't there.

Barely isn't, electricity scorching the teal three-quarter sleeve of her shirt as she throws herself to the side, tendrils striking a prickling zap that burns into numbness down her left arm. The girl stumbles, manages not to fall even as she pushes on, right hand hooking over a red plastic lever, fragments of glass skittering off to bounce across the floor. Piercingly white lights begin to strobe at points near the ceiling, flashing in time with the klaxon that now blares through the building; the students are gone, but the teachers are still here, and obedient to their training (or maybe curiosity) their doors can be seen opening down the length of the hall.

Another door opens out of it, bar creaking under the impact of Tamara's weight; the landing outside is inconveniently small given its purpose, but the girl isn't about to linger within its bounds either, clearing the doorway at the absolute earliest possible moment.

Linda's hand drops, curls long fingers into a white-knuckled fist that balls at her side. Broken glass creates a symphony beneath her feet as her boots crunch and tinkle through it. She passes the biology lab, does not so much as glance at the young teacher suddenly filling its frame, eyes wide behind the lenses of glasses that are too large for his face.

The sprinklers haven't kicked in yet, so that's something.

She pursues Tamara at a leisurely pace, and the hand not biting fingernails into her palm unclips the radio at her hip. Her thumb clamps down on the transmission button. "Dispatch," she says as the door is swinging shut behind Tamara, "this is Officer Ortiz. I'm at Beacon School, responding to reports of an electrical fire. Please notify the department."

Her shoulder connects with the door a moment later and the heel of her hand cracks against the bar. Squinting, she steps out into the pale afternoon light, but sees no sign of Tamara: only the glare of November sun peeking out from between clouds that have gone bruised and dark. The weather promises rain.

Wordlessly, Linda clips the radio back onto her belt and heads down the steps at an easy lope. Her target may have eluded her this time, but that's all right.

She has all the time in the world.

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