wendy_icon.gif unknown7_icon.gif

Scene Title Smoke
Synopsis Surgeon General's Warning: Smoking is hazardous to your health.
Date March 4, 2010

Solstice Condominiums

Wendy's Condo

Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird,

Street lights glow a dirty yellow through curtained blinds and the smell of fresh paint lingers in the air. A canvas stands on an easel, little more than bleached white with a streak of black and gray, only now is she adding the first color; blue. Delicate and long fingers, one of which ends too early in a gnarled stub carry the strokes of a brush in ever thickening lines down the dried canvas. The length of blue is meant to be enticing in the dark, a welcoming color of serene form like water or summertime skies. Behind her easel, Wendy Hunter communicates the desperation of addiction with oil paint.

Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,

Outside, the snow has finally stopped falling. Last night's heavy storm laid over a foot of fresh powder on the roads outside of her condo. There in the jaundiced light of street lamps, the streak of red and white from head and tail lights are minimal distraction. At this hour of night, the only cars on the road belong to the police and public works. Here in her apartment, standing barefoot on the floor with her palette resting against one arm, Wendy is communicating her heart to the world in simply lines and shapes. A dark, empty room and a single tall chair, with a narrow blue vial seated on it in view of a narrow and feminine silhouette.

Lark without song, and messenger of dawn

Addiction is a powerful thing, it can turn a sane mad mad for what is craved and wanted for. Detoxification and withdrawal from Refrain is a painful process, and the destroyed canvases stacked up one by another near her pottery wheel are casualties of that war with herself. But the brush strokes are coming more evenly today than they were before. The shake of her hand mitigated not only by the steaming cup of coffee sitting on the nearby stool, nor the cigarette loosely dangling between her lips and sending twirling coils of smoke up into her bangs; it's that the Refrain is finally starting to leave her system. She's on the road to being clean.

Circling above the hamlets as they nest;

Ash tips down from her lit cigarette, landing on her palette and being mixed into her paint with the brush. It doesn't bother her, it doesn't detract from the painting either. The grains of ash in the oil paint lend to it a certain gritty authenticity and a genuine hand-crafted feel. The smoke from that cigarette winds up through her bangs like delicate fingers, up beyond the top of her head and towards the ceiling fan slowly spinning above. It's dispersed, spread about into invisible carcinogens clinging to the air. But smoke still lingers in the apartment.

Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form

It flows in, not out, snaking against the current of the breeze coming in through the forced-air heating vents. It rolls in thick and billowing clouds, a choking ashen fog that roils along the ground like a night black carpet. Ashen flakes fall from around the edges of the smoke as it slithers between the legs of chairs in her dining room, drifts across the tile floor of her kitchen, and begins making its way into the living room to billow beneath the sofa.

Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;

Brush strokes detail the female silhouette looking in on the lonely room where the vial of Refrain waits. She daubs back into the blue from the black, stroking out darker shades beneath the vial, bringing out the hilighted glow on the seat in the definition of contrasting shadows. The smoke cares not for the works of an artist, it has a hunger all its own as it creeps out from beneath her sofa and rolls across the floor in whisper thin parchment-like sheets. The smoke thickens, passes behind Wendy's ankles and slithers its way beneath the closed door of her bedroom.

By night star-veiling, and by day

Blue lights flash inside the apartment, a siren shrieks, and a police cruiser roars past Solstice Condominiums on its way towards the Bronx and Harlem to the north side of Manhattan. It's the third police cruiser to go by tonight, it's likely curfew is being enforced more regularly with the heavy snow and with the sickness coming to play. Fortunately for Wendy, she doesn't feel sick at all— she feels healthy.

Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;

The black carpet of smoke snakes its way back out from her bedroom, stays low to the ground and moves across her hardwood floor towards the artist's makeshift studio. It clings, sooty, to the ground, leaving flakes of black ashen dander in its wake, sublimation giving way to a voluminous rise as the smoke thickens and fills out, shifting upwards into a charred black column behind her, widening near the top in the form of shoulders, taking on the semblance of a silhouette that belongs to a man.

Go thou my incense upward from this hearth…

Smoke peels away, eyes stare silently at the back of Wendy's head, a navy blue baseball cap is pulled down low on the tall man's head, shadowing his face from the light coming in through the windows from the street lamps outside. Wetting his lips with his tongue, he breathes in, taking a breath of the smoke that had been his body up until a moment prior, letting his tongue flick out like a snake towards that sensation of sooty texture. He can smell Wendy's cigarette— but that's not what he wants…

…And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.

She had told Peyton that she hadn't felt like painting or sculpting since the kidnapping a deux by Humanis first. Couldn't get it in her head how to hold the palette anymore with her stunted fingers, couldn't get into the mindset no matter how many vials of refrain she injected into her thighs and hips. It took something to bring about the creativity in her. Immersion into a situation, a place, a particular moment could bring it about.

Last time it was Peyton's activation, her first bout of clairvoyance that had brought it about, that particular piece of bronze parked in the corner the size of a man, the few hands grasping inwards from a semicircle, and the many on the outside with widespread fingers and belonging to that of a person in panic. Manifestation she had called it. A political piece on society's view of a person first time. She hadn't ended up giving it to the Suresh Center, nor shopping it around to any galleries. It had stayed in her studio surrounded by the oils and clays, the base of what Wendy really was and did.

She had woken up from her sleep feeling the energy, and feeling very much a woman possessed. Fuck her stunted fingers, fuck her ear, fuck the world and everything in it. Wendy felt like painting. John would laugh to see her have stalked from the couch in her charcoal leggings and men's button down. Hair up in a ponytail, a music player firmly lodged in both ears to blare away at some mournful music. It helped. It also kept the neighbors from bitching if she played it too loud especially in light of the time of the night.

It was this artists fury that drove her to be unaware of her surroundings, the world narrowed down to the paints that littered the large plank before her that worked as her palette and table. Brushes of varying sizes and styles strewn, oil tubes half squeezed with puddles of color mixed in with each other to give her just the shade she wants. Wendy at her best. Wendy for once oblivious the evolved in behind her till he fully coalesced.

A wave of a hand doubles as both a greeting and a farewell, bony knuckles raised and two fingers pointed that send Wendy Hunter flying off of her feet. She lifts up as a tightness grips her chest as though a man had a fist-full of her sternum and was hauling her skyward. Her legs crash against the canvas, sending the painting tipping over to smash down on the floor. Her palette clatters to the ground and the errant paintbrush leaves blue-black daubs on the floor where it falls.

Wendy's body smashes with a firm crash into the ceiling back first, then with a curl of his two raised fingers downward, she sails towards the floor, cheek and jaw crashing into the hardwood before a twist of the silhouetted man's fingers turns her body right-side up and throws her against the near wall back first, lifted up off of her feet by that tightness in her chest. "It's exhilarating…" rasps the tall figure standing in the gloom of the darkened apartment, lips whetted by a tongue sliding across them. "…this moment."

Taking slow steps forward, old work boots smudge through paint, leaving tracks across the floor as he walks, keeping those two fingers lifted. Smoke wafts out from his mouth as he talks, thin wisps of it lifting up from his tongue and out with each breath, tiny gray coils of sooty char rising up off of his clothes as if he were smoldering. Wendy's attacker, in the dim light, looks like he was in a fire from the way his leather jacket is cracked and blackened down one sleeve, zippered shut as it is. Maybe his face is burned, maybe not— all she can see is the shadow surrounding it and the navy blue baseball cap shrouding his eyes.

"I've been looking for a woman like you," the smoking man rasps out, "all my life. Never would've imagined…" a dry laugh escapes parched lips, and a tongue of smoke coils in the air from the exhalation. "…she'd be so young."

She's having a heart attack, that's her first thought at the gripping in her chest. The thoughts turn towards telekinesis or whatever it is that Doyle has when she looses control of her body, and pain reverberates up her spine and down her legs when contact with the ceiling is made. Nothing breaks but that's just a matter of time as her attacker keeps at it and despite wanting and trying to move her hands to soften the blow of the trip to meet the floor, she lets out a scream at the impact. Delicate nose having just finished healing from Summer Meadows breaks again, blood dripping out of it, then down the back of her throat as just like that, she's sprawled on her back and dazed.

The studio flickers in her sight, one minute staring up at the ceiling and the next she's blinking at her attacker and pinned to the wall by the use of a power. "Please. Please stop hurting me" It's a pitiful sound, wide set mouth thinned, and tears falling as her head spins. "Please, I'll give you whatever you want, I have money, you can have it" She mewls between pained laden breaths. "Please… please don't do this"

A coil of blue-black smoke slithers around the outstretched hand, and as Wendy's attacker takes time to consider her offer he takes a few more steps forward. When he moves, the man's legs break apart in gusts of broken, ashen smoke before reforming. He is in much ways like a ghost or a phantom, some sort of wrathful spirit drawn out to this world from another. Even his voice sounds like it belongs more in a corpse than a living being, dry and cracked, rasping and breathy.

"You will…" He agrees with a slow tilt of his head to the side on gradual approach to Wendy, "you will give me what I want. But it's not money— it's not even you, really." When he swallows, it's an exasperated sounding thing that makes the wheezing quality of his breath at close distance. He smells like a fire, he smells of soot and ash and burned up flames long since doused.

"I want what you have." He's close enough that she can see the creases in his face, see the motions of his eyes through the blurred quality of her vision from tears. Wendy watches as he raises one hand, brushing his palm over her cheek, and it smells of nicotine and wet wood. A thumb brushes across her lips, tugging them to the side with a touch of his cracked thumbnail on her front teeth. At the touch, Wendy can feel what's wrong, feel that same sensation through her skin, feel the same power she'd felt only once before on the rooftop of the Corinthian.

"I want your power…" The smoking man breathes out with an exhalation of sooty fumes, yellowed teeth visible in his smile. "…so I can feel whole again."

Eyes clamp shut when he draws close, a shudder rippling through her at the touch from both what she feels and the intimacy and possessiveness that he takes with her. Turning to smoke, Telekinesis, that strange sensation that traverses under her skin like it did on the roof of the Corinthian. "You can't have it. You can't take pow-" Wendy's words falter, soggy with fear. "Borrow, someone borrowed it, please, please if you want to borrow it, take it and leave. Just please, leave me alone. I'm begging you. My power can't heal" The words drag out in a whine that ends in more sobs and plea's.

Calloused fingers stroke gently across Wendy's tear-stained cheeks, tracking up to the side of her temple. "No…" He breathes out, voice cracking like an old burning fire, "no I'm sorry. It doesn't work that way…" Sliding a dry tongue over his lips, the smouldering figure moves his hand away from Wendy's brow, eyes meeting hers with a furrow of his brows. "There's no taking this back…" He admits in a hush of deep breath, then traces his fingers along the young artist's jaw.

"You may not be able to heal me…" dryness permeates in his voice, "…but you'll show me the way." Like a butterfly pinned to a corkboard, Wendy is left on display against the wall as the smoke-shrouded man takes a step backward, ephemeral waves of ashen soot rolling off of his moving legs. He lifts his hand again, two fingers raised and pointed to her brow.

Silence comes at first, narrowed eyes focused on the dark-haired young woman. "You'll live forever now…" he grumbles out with a throaty rasp as a whining shear sound suddenly rises into being. Skin splits and bone begins to grind apart as the smoking man reaches with his free hand inside of his jacket, removing a scalpel glinting in the light flooding in through the windows at either side of Wendy Hunter's pinned form.

"You'll live forever, in me."

Much like she was born, Wendy leaves the world screaming.

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