Speaks of Loss


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Scene Title Speaks of Loss
Synopsis Following Benji's recommendation, Abby consults a 'better telepath'.
Date February 23, 2011

The Greenbelt

Messages can travel fast in the network. Not as fast as if Hana were still in charge of the more technological means, but still fast enough. A promise to Megan and Francois and the others who were working the infirmary that she'd be back soon as possible that business was taking her off-Island again, the brunette was on a boat and gone, and so was the cage.

The bird was going to visit another telepath at Benji's suggestion that he's just not good enough, either that or the thing inside the bird was crazy. It was quite possible that the latter was very true. With the depositing on Staten, the Greenbelt remaining a fairly safe place still to avoid patrols and hide out from the military, She'd parked there even as the knowledge that Kaylee was imminent.

Deja Vu really, waiting for Kaylee to come pick through a mind. The canvas over the cage, a rat freshly tossed in for the Goshawk to consume if it was so inclined, deep in the heart of where they had once parked post Staten-Island Hospital raiding, Abigail's reading her nook again, only this time not outloud. Probably not wise to piss the bird off further than it seemed she had. Hopefully, she could turn it loose tonight, maybe… get some answers.


If there is one thing that Kaylee does well, it's poke in the brain of things.

So when the message was delivered, the telepath didn't hesitated to answer the called to do her job. Well… after informing Joseph where the heck she was going and why. You never know what will happen. There have been a couple of times she's disappeared, but then so has he.

It's a hike through the Greenbelt, but Kaylee enjoys it. She doesn't enjoy the crisp air, mostly wishing for the spring to finally settle in and the warmer weather for tank tops and shorts. Better then the bulky clothing, she got enough of that over a hundred years ago.

It's the crack of a branch under foot that will alert Abby to the blonde's arrival. "Hello." Fingers wiggle a bit in greeting as she approaches. "Sorry for the delay, Abby. Hope I didn't leave you waiting too overly long?"

"Nope, not at all" The cover over the dog crate, the resident can't be seen yet. "I have the nook thing here, reading Charlotte's Web while waiting and I can keep myself warm enough" At least they're inside, safe from the elements, though it's still that crisp quality. "Listen, I tried another telepath but they said they weren't good enough, and they got some really just… it wasn't a bunch, and I'm hoping that you can find out what's the deal, and what I can do to help it. Maybe… get it less pissed at me and find out what it wants since all I know is that it doesn't like me and it wants me to find something"

Which could be just about anything.

Abigail settles the nook down on her back, jacket off and hung up, just in jeans and layers of sweater and shirts, shuffling over to the covered crate. "It's a bird"

"A bird?" Kaylee sounds overly amused, eyes going to the crate. Both brows shift upward, as she states, "I'm not an avian telepath. Why me and not Eileen?" Her head and gaze shift to look at Abby again, an expectant expression on her face as if waiting for the information.

Unzipping her jacket a bit, she moves to follow Abby. Kaylee doesn't quite try to mentally reach for whatever is within, yet. Maybe because it's a bird. It's been a good fives years, so it's not clicking in her head that there might be someone in that feather topped brain.

"Eileen's out of contact right now, She had someone in the dome and I think is dealing with that, and if it was just a bird Kaylee, I'd have waited for her, but it's not just a bird. There's someone in the bird" She leans over, bends knees and crouches down as she gathers the canvas cover in her hands and with a little "I'm taking the cover off" more to bird than Kaylee, ABigail pulls it off carefully so that the beast inside can adjust.

The goshawk adjusts through its pupillary light reflex, eyes becoming pinpoints of black ink floating in a red-orange sea. It wasn't sleeping, but it was resting — there's not much else it can do except bash its wings against the sides of the crate when it gets frustrated and rip apart what it's given, taking out its aggression on the rats Abby tosses it.

It's leaving the last one she deposited in its cage alone, carcass stiff in the corner with only a few tufts of fur picked off around the throat. Some of it is still stuck to the bird's beak like pieces of dandelion fluff.

As the cover comes off the cage, Kaylee crouches down as well, near the other woman, ignoring the pop of one of her knees as she does. "Really? Like Eileen does?" She sounds interested now. Her head tilts sideways to get a better look in the cage, blonde hair becoming a curtain as it slides over her shoulder. "Eileen's talked to me that way before, but I figured she can do that to anyone… Maybe it's not talking to you cause you pissed it off?" She muses.

There is something about seeings something that's normally living wild, caged like that. "Wow. Look at that, that's a beautiful bird." There is awe in the telepath's tone as she catches that first glimpse.

"So…" Kaylee keeps her focus on the bird. Who do we have in here? Her ability reaching out tentatively to try and touch whatever mind is in there… if there is. "So Abby here says she wants to help you…" She looks away from the hawk, giving Abby an amused look. "I feel a bit silly talking to a bird."

"Wait, Eileen can talk to you when she's in a bird?" She knew that Eileen could jump into a bird, but talk via the bird. That's new. Well, new to her. Abigail stays crouched, unsuprised that the last rat has been touched so little. She has been trying to compensate for it caged by overfeeding it like the southern woman that she is.

Depressed? Stuff em full of food. Happy? Stuff em full of food! Run em over or cage them up? STuff em full of food.

"Very beautiful, you already hurt me once already" Hard to see hidden under her hat, but she slips that off, and there's the march of stitches back into her hair a few inches above her left ear. "I brought someone else, I thought maybe she might be able to better tell me what it is that you want me to do, what I've done to you, other than… the cage, which I'm really sorry about but… I like my body with all the holes that it already has that the lord done gave me" This to the bird, waiting for something anything to be relayed by Kaylee.

It isn't the mind of an animal that Kaylee can feel. Its texture is distinctly human — fractured, like running the tips of her fingers across of pane of glass with cracks it that have either not split fully apart and fallen into pieces or a pane that already has but was not destroyed so thoroughly in the process that it couldn't be reconstructed based on memory and where the shards look like they should fit together.

Kaylee pushes against it, and the presence vibrates with a sound that belongs to singing crystal only the telepath can hear.

That hurts.

Leaning forward til she goes from the balls of her feet to her knees, Kaylee turns her head a little as if listening to something. "You're right." Her own voice seems distant to her, barely above a whisper as she slowly sinks into the mind in that tiny head.

This… Shards are touched, nudged… brushed in an attempt to pull they closer to fit them together, listening to the crystalline hum. The touch is delicate, gentle. Timid as if this mind was delicate china. Let's see what we have here. Like trying to piece together a puzzle, she works to make sense of what she has before her.

The more Kaylee works, the more aware she becomes of other intimate details — the mind has a temperature as well as a texture, cool and smooth to the touch where there aren't cracks, and in this way it's a little like the ice that's formed on the Hudson River, too. She can sense that there's a person trapped on the other side, a cold, dead hand pressed against the frozen barrier, pale and blue.

She has to decide whether or not she wants to smash through.

There are people in the world who probably deserve to be drowned. Or trapped in a bird.

Her hand reaches out to touch the cool surface about where the hand pressing against the other side of the surface. So many questions now flicker through Kaylee's mind, but the one that settles to the forefront:

Why is this person here?

Curiosity tickles at the telepath's mind, drives her forward. It's call almost the same silky smoothness as the black snake that inhabits her dreams and temps her to do things. Kaylee could free whoever this is, she can feel it. Get Abby her answers. It really doesn't occur to her that this person was there for a reason, to her this was a victim.

They need help.

Hold on… Kaylee's hand slowly increases the pressure against the icy barrier, ignoring the burning prickle of the chill. Her hand starts to sink into the surface, fingers seeking to twine with dead looking thing, her ability roping around it and then try and tug them out.

Abigail's crouched down beside the blonde, no answer forthcoming leaving a bit of concern on her face. She doesn't reach out to touch her or otherwise disturb her. Kaylee's confirmed it at least, like Benji did. Someone in there. But who and for that matter… where's the woman's original body?

So Abigail waits quietly, silently, watching both bird and telepath.

The dead hand curls slim fingers around Kaylee's wrist, and the last thing the telepath will remember happening before nails bite into skin and strong arms drag her under is being able to feel their jealousy bleeding through the contact like a poison. Something about Kaylee still having a pulse, and then—

She wakes up, her clothes soaked through with icewater and dripping, strings of blonde hair plastered to a face flushed pink. So fine is the mind's attention to detail, Kaylee's first thought is that Abigail and the hawk were the dream, and that the wooden floorboards she finds herself sprawled and vomiting onto are the reality.

It's winter in a small Victorian house with the kind of architecture that belongs back in a time Kaylee left behind to be with Joseph Sumter again, but furniture and accents more modern than anything she encountered during her exile in the past. There is a radio on fireplace's mantle, though no fire is burning in the black, cold hearth, and when she twists her neck to look around she sees a rifle hanging by its leather strap from the banister attached to a spiral staircase leading up to the second floor.

The people who live here are either poor or choose to live very modestly — most likely, a combination of both is responsible for the worn Persian carpet rolled out to cover the floorboards in front of the fire place. At one point, its colours might have been a deep indigo blue, blood red and lion's gold, but age and excessive foot traffic make it impossible for her to determine what they are now.

A series of pictures hang above the fireplace, framed in painted wood, and look as though they were drawn by an inexperienced hand. One is a portrait, and there's something wrong about the face that Kaylee can't quite identify, but also something familiar, too — a man with dark eyes and a stern mouth. Another is a tree, its branches positioned exactly the way they should be, and with uncomfortably lifelike leaves that don't just seem to ripple in a breeze but actually quiver with anticipation beneath Kaylee's gaze like some kind of terrible magic.

There are few other explanations.

Once she's on her feet, Kaylee moves towards the pictures, teeth chattering slightly against the cold, arms wrapped around her to trying and hold in the warmth she has left in her body. Hands rub up and down her arms in an attempt at returning warmth to them, even as her eyes look over the pictures.

Long fingers reach out to touch the picture of the man, even as she tried to figure out why he seems to familiar. It's like something fluttering at the edge of her mind and when she grasps at it, it flits away and teases her from a distance.

Her gaze is slowly drawn to the tree, her head tilting ever so slight as she tries to catch the movement she knows should be there. It makes her think of Kendall and his ability to bring what he draws to life. That thought makes her smile with amusement.

"Where am I?" Kaylee finally thinks to ask, saying it out loud as if expecting an answer.

She receives an answer regardless, in the shape of a woman coming into view at the top of the stairs. Like the picture of the man, her face has features that are recognizable to Kaylee insofar as they evoke a particular response — a memory that escapes her in the haze. Sharp, predatory eyes study the telepath in front of the fireplace, and the woman's small mouth pinches into an expression of obvious displeasure as she descends the stairs, one hand on the banister.

Her fingers leave an ugly red smear on the wood, and as she moves into the pale light leaking in through the house's windows piled high with snow and ice, Kaylee sees that the woman's throat has been cut, which accounts for the blood on her hands and staining the flimsy nightgown she wears, a tear in the fabric above one of her breasts that looks like it could have been made by a knife as well, and a thin line that scissors across the dead flesh the gap exposes.

Bare feet leave sticky prints in her wake.

Turning slowly, Kaylee catches sight of the woman. Blue eyes widen a little and breath is inhaled sharply in response to her appearance. The telepath takes an involuntary step back, her shoulder blades bumping against the mantle. "Who?" The question is automatic, instinctive and spoken without thought.

Her fingers touch her own neck, able to sympathize with the other woman. While the memory is dimmed, it's still sharp enough to remember when her own throat had gaped like that. "I'm… sorry," she murmurs softly, suddenly scared. "For… for intruding. You seemed to need help." She glances around her looking for a way out. The instinct to flee churning in her stomach.

Side stepping a little, Kaylee decides that keeping her back to the fireplace isn't a good idea. "What happened to you?" Gaze dropping to the gash again.

Something mirthless shapes the corners of the woman's mouth — rather than speak, she directs Kaylee's direction to an armchair by the fire with a jutting lift of her chin where she can see the vague impression of another person curled beneath what might be a blanket. The more Kaylee looks at it, though, the less she can actually see. Like the specter now standing at the bottom of the stairs, it is a she — a younger version of the mind inhabiting the goshawk — her hair swept back and head bowed to murmur something soundless in the ear of an infant she holds in her arms, a dark little creature with a hand curled at her breast and eyes closed in sleep. There is a man, too — a man who seems like he could be the subject of the portrait above the fireplace, and he leans down to place his own hand on the back of her head.

The shadow memory fades, then. Too painful for the woman to allow Kaylee more than a glimpse, or maybe she simply lacks the ability to communicate in anything more than vignettes, though she must realize this doesn't tell Kaylee all that she's asking to know.

Her focus shifts to the stairs next, and this time she tells the story through sound instead of images. Boots thunder up the steps, filling the house with a dull roar, and upstairs a door explodes open. A woman is screaming.

The scene has Kaylee pressing a hand to her chest, sympathy fluttering there beneath her breast bone. It's touching and speaks to her in a way it would to most woman. It's something she desires to know one day herself. Family, motherhood… the cycle of life and the instinct of all creatures.

But it also speaks of loss.

Kaylee opens her mouth to offer her sympathies for something lost, but the noise starts up the stairs. It draws her like a moth to flame. She finds herself at bottom of the stairs, looking up, without having really moved her feet to get there.

There is a bit of hesitation, a glance going to the woman.

She still feels uneasy, but this woman seems like a victim to her. Having lost something important. Kaylee can't help, but to want to know what. One foot in front of the other, Kay starts up the stairs. She has to see what happened.

As Kaylee climbs the stairs, the scream builds, rising sharply in intensity until the telepath reaches the topmost step and the cry its earsplitting crescendo—

There's the rub of Abby's knuckles across Kaylee's sternum, the woman's jack undone enough to get access, knuckles running ragged over the bumps of the sternum, the motion designed to elicit a response from a body whether a person is unconcious or not, and if they are unconscious, to bring them back to conciousness.

"Oh lord, Kaylee, come on, don't you dare done just peter out on me here, I do not want joseph's boot up my arse. I don't wanna explain what we were doing out here"

She rubs again, her own jacket under the blonde's head as a pillow the moment she'd collapsed, and there's a glance to the bird in it's utter and eery stillness. "Come on kay"

All of a sudden, blue eyes snap open, gasping with either the quick pain of what the paramedic is doing… or whatever it was she witnessed. Kaylee sits up suddenly, only to wince and press hands to a throbbing skull. "Ow…" she whines, with eyes tightly closed.

"Remind me never to do something like that again?" Kaylee comments when she can finally uncurl, the dull aching throb a reminder of what she's done. She squints at Abby through the migraine. "There was definitely someone in there… and not willingly."

The telepath gives a frustrated sound and adds, "I need some ibprofin."

"Oh thank the lord above" Abby mutters, helping Kaylee up, checking the woman over. She has ibuprofen in her bag, she can certainly supply that and a drink to chase it all down with. 'What on earth did you do? What happened Kaylee? One moment you were like 'yeah there's something in there/ and then.. you just crumpled"

"I… don't know exactly…" Kaylee offers sheepishly. "I'm still new to this stuff. Why does it always hurt worse when you stand up?" This asked after she gets her feet under her and steady, a hand pressing to her temple. "Lord does that hurt."

She looks at the hawk again curiously, Kaylee doesn't crouch down again. She doesn't know if she'll be able to get up again. "I… this there is the mind of a woman trapped there. She pulled me into her… prison?" Kaylee sighs heavily, "I… just am not sure I understand it all.

"It's… like the mind of a dead woman," Kaylee finally explains looking to Abby again. "It seems like she lost everything. Her family… as well as her life." The image of that cut throat burned into Kaylee's mind. "She must be awefully lonely like that."

Abby turns to regard the bird as Kaylee relays some of what the bird is, what she thinks the bird is. She rises from her own crouch, a grim line to her face. "I would be too, if I was her" Stuck in a bird, or so it seems. "I don't think… she has a body to go back to then. Hokuto roams dreams, her body is gone, maybe… this woman's body is gone?"

Maybe, maybe not. It's not like Abby can talk with it and she looks over to Kaylee, debating whether to ask the other woman to try getting some answers from it. But Kaylee's been unconcious and Abigail's not comfortable. "Come on, we'll get it loaded up and you can tell me what happened and we'll get you dosed up"

She looks back to the bird again, worried. She'll wait. For Eileen. For an answer from god what to do. She leans down, grabbing the canvas. "I'm sorry. I'll figure it out soon, I promise" whispered to the bird, sliding the canvas over, closing the bird back into relative darkness.

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