Shut Out The Darkness



Scene Title Shut Out the Darkness
Synopsis Claire Bennett's journey comes to an end.
Date April 7, 2019

She had to do this last leg alone.

The sky overhead is as dark as black silk. Glittering stars light up the night, visible through the boughs of looming pine trees that swallow up the glow of a flashlight. The air smells fresh here, damp, and the aroma of wet leaves and earth clings to everything. There is no city noise here, no distant lights of civilization, just the wilderness and all that it brings with it; a bounty, freedom, and a chance to start over.

At the end of the day, when all of a life’s accomplishments and milestones are laid out, there’s always a desire to start anew. Maybe it’s because the path not taken is a hard one to forget. Maybe it’s because the path chosen wasn’t — in hindsight — the correct one. But most people don’t get that chance. Most people aren’t Claire Bennet.

And each bullet scar on her body reminds her of how many second chances she’s had.

Snoqualmie Point Park

Snoqualmie, Washington

April 7th

9:43 pm Local Time

The glow of a satellite phone’s screen breaks the natural splendor and adds an artificial glow to everything. As the GPS map loads, Claire’s current location is marked as a red pin. Her destination is a half-mile to the northwest.

She was given a letter to deliver this time too.

It felt like a lifetime ago when she had packed up her things, including the painting given to her by Gabriel, the end of which stuck out of her pack. When she left, Claire said she’d be back, but the further she traveled the less certain she was that she would.

There was a peace out there that she was finding that she was enjoying. She had fallen in love with the quiet nights and star filled skies, when she had traveled out that way. Travelling with Avi, Nick, and Richard. There is a twist of guilt thinking of the trio.

Too late to think about them, now that she was back out in the dead zone.

The blond woman hitches the strap of her bag higher on her shoulder, while she consults the glowing screen. The last letter she had been given had resulted in her coming face to face with her father. Since she started this trip, she had pulled the letter out often when she had stopped and stared at the envelope, as if it would give up it’s secrets.

Turns a bit to re-orient herself, Claire turns off the screen and lets her eyes re-adjust to the night, before continuing.

Claire’s path through the woods eventually empties out onto a desolate street of cracked asphalt. A crooked sign reading Winery Road is barely visible in the starlight. She follows the road under two overpasses choked with rusting and derelict vehicles from the war. Tattered blue tarps and crushed cans litter the precious empty space. These scant communes that were scattered across the Pacific Northwest after the EMP hit eventually formed into communities like Snoqualmie.

On the other side of the overpasses Claire cuts back into the forest, not far now from her ultimate destination. She can see the lights once she’s through the first few feet of trees; ephemeral and distant, a lit lantern on a porch. The old wooden building is much as she remembered it a year ago, the windows illuminated by candlelight. The letter she carries with her feels heavier than the last, perhaps because she knows who it’s going to this time.

Through one of the windows, Claire can see a dark silhouette. He’s home.

There is a nervous twist in her stomach when Claire finally comes into view of the place. Much like last time, Claire pauses once she is there and can see the shadow. Last time, she didn’t know who she was delivering the letter, too. Caution gave her pause, this time it was simply the idea of seeing her father again after a year.

Would he be happy to see her again? Did he know she was coming this time?

Last time he had been set up for her arrival, like he had been informed she’d be coming to see him. How, she didn’t know.

Fishing the letter from the inner pocket of her jacket, Claire looks down at it with a sudden feeling of foreboding. A twist of nervousness. For all their arguments and different world views, he has always been her dad. Family through and through no matter how dysfunctional. She loved him.

Yet, here she was hesitating.

Taking a deep breath, Claire tucks away the letter and moves to close the distance to the home. Each step makes her stomach twist with her nerves, but also she finds herself anticipating seeing him again and being hugged… to feel safe from the world. That was the magic fathers had on their daughters.

With a nervous exhale, Claire knocks on the door.

It takes a moment before she hears movement on the other side. When the door unlocks and opens a crack, Claire sees her father’s face through a thin sliver of the open door that very gradually opens to reveal him the rest of the way. He’s a little rounder in the face these days, flannel has replaced tailored suits, and there’s a certain relaxed nature to his posture. He still answers the door with a loaded gun in one hand, but he’ll always be Noah Bennet.


“Clairebear,” Noah says after just a moment of study. He’d recognize his daughter anywhere, recognize the difference between her and a trick, and she likewise. The gun is put aside, set on a table near the door. Then he steps out and takes her in his arms, resting her head against his chest.

The embrace doesn’t last long. Just enough, before Noah leans back with his hands on Claire’s shoulders and looks down at her with a searching expression. “I… didn’t think I’d ever see you again,” he says with a hushed sense of uncertainty, if now questioning his own grasp on the world around him. Is this real, he is left to wonder.

But it is.

“What are you doing here?” Noah asks.

That hug from her father was exactly as she remembered, safe. When she was younger she took it for granted and a part of her now regretted that. There is an easy smile he hasn’t seen in sometime when they pull away, though it fades a bit at his question. Not because he was asking it, but because she had to think on why. There were so many reasons, ut the one under it all…

“I’m tired, Dad,” Claire answers his question quietly, truthfully, and he might recognize that look the blue eyes that lift to his. Possibly felt that sort of weariness himself. It’s a sense of exhaustion that goes deeper than the physically; it reaches into your soul. “I’m not healing as much either, so I quit Wolfhound. Thought I’d see if there is anything I can do to help April… maybe without combat.” Maybe get to see Levi Walker again too… though she won’t tell her father that. The young man had made quite the impression last time through.

Reaching into her jacket, Claire offers out the letter. “Oh, and this was sent for you as well.”

Bennet looks down to the envelope between them, plain and unmarked as always. A smile tugs at the corners of his mouth, and as he takes it from her he puts a hand on Claire’s shoulder and guides her into the house. “There's always work to be done here,” he says without any presumption or judgement of her retirement. He'd been there before, except Claire had the common sense to retire while she was still on top.

“Come on in and let's get you off of your feet…” Noah says as he starts to close the door behind her and shut out the darkness beyond.

“You're home now.”

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