Take A Look At Yourself



Scene Title Take A Look At Yourself
Synopsis Luke Campbell dreams of where his life has taken him, and discovers much to his horror where it's headed…
Date February 13, 2010

Homeland Security Holding Facility

Newark, New Jersey

January 20, 2009

Mary Campbell never wanted to have a son.

It's the cold, painful truth of an ugly reality that everyone has to live in. Standing on the opposite side of a two-way mirror, the dark-haired woman in her late forties is wiping tears from her eyes with an exasperated exhalation of breath. It isn't some sense of paternal anguish that's causing her mascara to run, or the bags under her eyes to look more pronounced today than they did yesterday, it's simple embarrassment and disappointment.

Why did her son have to turn out to be one of them?

On the other side of that mirrored glass, a single metal table serves something as an interrogation room. Concrete block walls are painted a matte battleship gray, and a single fluorescent light strip overhead shines down with bleaching saturation to the room. Seated on one side of that metal table, with a single glass of water in front of him, the broad shoulders and dour expression on the face of Homeland Security agent Kent Harper is a serious one, but one tempered by the notion of a good cop routine.

"Hey there, Lucas…" No one calls him Lucas, not even his mother. "So, do you know why we're down here?" Both of his dark brows come up, folded hands coming apart as he offers the question to the young man seated in the metal chair across from him.

Mary Campbell never wanted to have a son.

Yet here he is.

The overall aura that exudes from Luke is one of sullen resentment and betrayal as he sits stiffly in the chair. "Well gee, I don't know. maybe it's because I've been ratted out?" cynically, he leans back in his chair. "What, not going to offer me some coffee or a donut?" he turns to stare pointedly at the mirror. Of course, he has no idea if someone's actually there, but it's likely.

"Now there's no reason to take that tone, Lucas." Agent Harper explains in a tone of feigned sincerity. "Your mother's just concerned about you is all, and wants to make sure that you're following the law, and not getting into any trouble. We see lots of kids your age come through here, day after day, usually brought in by their folks— because they're concerned— or sometimes coming in on their own 'cause they know it's the right thing to do."

Harper tilts his head to the side, pushing the glass of water across the table slowly. "Now your mom tells me she saw you melt an action figure on the kitchen counter, when you got upset. Think you can show me how you did that, Lucas? To the cup of water, there…" he motions a hand out towards the glass, mild smile pretending to be too much of a friend.

"Bullshit. As soon as she found out she ran to you guys, terrified for her life like I'd do something bad to her. What kind of mother would do that?" Luke sneers, then watches the glass of water being pushed across to him. "And what if I said no? Gonna bring in Mr. Bad Cop to rough me up?" yes, he's making this very difficult.

There's a flash of something like frustration that briefly crosses Harper's face. "Your mother has every right to be scared, Lucas. You've got a potentially dangerous ability, and all we're doing here is getting an idea of what it is you do, so we can help." His brows go up, eyes indicating the glass again. "We could be sitting in here for a really long time if you don't decide to show us. Now I can go, take my lunch break, and come back and see if you've cooperated… but right now I'd rather if you just helped me help you. I'm not the bad guy here, Lucas, I'm just here to help."

On the other side of the mirror, still wiping at her eyes, Mary Campbell offers a look over to the agent observing the demonstration with her. "Is he gonna' be alright? I— I can't catch it from him can I? What he's got? What makes him— " she motions a hand towards the glass, and the agent's eyes angle down to the woman with a furrow of brows and a confused look.

Luke frowns, staring at the glass. "Well if it's so dangerous, then what's to stop me from, oh…" he lifts a hand palm first towards the mirror. "…melting through that thing and whoever's behind it? Or busting out of here? What, you want me to melt a… glass of water? Fine. But only because I'd rather not waste my time in here." the hand is turned towards it, and he concentrates. At first, nothing happens, but then the water starts boiling. "Can I go now? Notch my ear or tattoo my arm or whatever."

The reaction actually makes Agent Harper flinch, leaning back and away from Luke as if half expecting him to fulfill that threat. It's clear, right there, that people are afraid of him. As the taunting demonstration goes on, and Luke motions towards the glass of water, Agent Harper's expression is transfixed on the glass, and his posture is so much more tense now than it was before, as if he's afraid to chastise the young man for his threats.

When that glass of water starts boiling, bubbles rising up from the bottom and the top begins to undulate, Agent Harper slowly rises up from his chair and pushes his seat back. "Lucas could— " his dark eyes remain settled on the cup, only very slowly lifted to look at the young man. "Could— you wait here a moment, I just have to confer something with one of my colleagues." There's a tense swallow, and awkward expression as he starts to make a step back for the door.

Luke doesn't try to hide the contempt he has for the man when he leaves, and he stands up when he does. However, he doesn't make any move to follow him, and instead he moves to the mirror. He can't see through it, of course, so he can't meet anyone's eye, but maybe he can scare 'em a little. With a look towards the glass, which is settling down to normal, he smirks and turns towards the mirror, holding out his hand like he did with the glass. What, you want to see his power so badly? He doesn't actually do anything though but that should get their attention. And maybe if he's lucky he'd be able to hear a panicked evacuation.

It's exactly what Luke gets, in a way, once Agent Harper is out of the room. He can't hear the panicked shriek his mother makes when the outstretched hand is turned towards her, but on the other side of that glass it rings out soundly. She backs away from the mirror, and the agent standing beside her practically throws himself towards the door, slamming a panic button next to the glass window, eliciting a silent alarm throughout the building.

For all Luke can see of himself in that mirror, it's that image of himself with his hand held out, eyes trained on his own image, mirror reflecting just how empty he looks to himself that he remembers most about that day. It's the day his family left him, the day he left his family. It's strange, transfixed by the mirror as he is, the sound of the door being kicked open on the other side of the room seems muffled, for those brief few moments when it first happens.

"Get down on the ground! Get down on the ground now!" Two men in dark suits emerge through the door, large, boxy stun guns held in their hands, barking orders at Luke with that pompous tone of authority he's come to expect from an adult, from the police, from his own mother. He can see Agent Harper outside on a cell phone, pacing back and forth in the hall.

It's like everything is going in slow motion, and his life is just falling apart piece by piece.

Luke stares at the mirror and frowns, avoiding his own gaze as he slowly lowers his hand, a faint expression of… regret? crossing his face. At first he doesn't notice when the two men come in, but then he comes back to the present and whirls around, both hands coming up automatically in a defensive position which could be misconstrued as a threat. "Don't shoot or… or…" he backs up until he's against the wall, but some part of him still rebels against authority because he's still not doing what they ask.

"Get down on the ground now!" Comes the scream from one of the suited agents, marching forward with taser in one hand and a bare hand reaching out, manhandling Luke's shoulder as he slams him up against the wall and then starts dragging him to the ground. All he can hear is their shouting, muffling in his ears, pounding behind his eyes, their barked orders and voices just blurring together with the adrenaline pumping in his veins.

Dangerous, they said he is.

"Hands behind your head! Put your hands behind your head!" Luke can feel his legs go out from under him, feel the cool tile of the floor slam against the side of his cheek as he's pressed down to the ground. A knee comes to plant against the small of his back, and from his perspective on the floor, dark shoes are scuffing and squeaking on the tile.

They're afraid, or everything he is.

Through the legs of the table he now lays below, Luke can see his mother standing in the hallway, see the look of overwrought horror on her face, one hand clasped over her mouth and mascara running in two thick, dark lines down her face, filling the wrinkles in her skin. She's not crying because of what they're doing to her little boy, she's crying because she has to be here to deal with it.

What will all the other mothers think?

Luke gasps as he's slammed into the wall and dragged down. As he ends in a position facing his mother, he can't really do much of anything at this point but glare hurt at her, which quickly turns to hate. Is this really what you want? He struggles fruitlessly against the guards even though he knows his chances of fighting his way free are slim to none. But there's still always the hope that he can, and then could melt his way through the walls or something and make a run for it. Dangerous, hah! Let him go and he'll show them dangerous!

He'll show them dangerous…

Crackling sparks of electricity cause immediate pain, tighten muscles, elicit a scream, each snapping pop another sound of betrayal when she looks away, unable to watch her son she never wanted any longer.

He'll show them dangerous…

Luke Campbell can remember that moment like it was yesterday, remember the pain of the taser, remember the way the leg of the table started to warp and bend when he focused his ability on it, how the guards screamed. Luke never wanted to believe he was dangerous, never wanted to assume as much, never wanted to—

Staten Island

Present Day

Drawing in a sharp breath, the cold brick wall behind Luke's back feels like pins and needles. His arms and legs ache, fingertips are numb from a sensation like that of a sleeping limb. The world is cold around him, his head is swimming, sinuses ache and there's pressure behind his eyes. A horrible odor fills his senses once taste and smell join sight in returning to him.

He's in an alleyway, old strings of Christmas lights crossing a clothesline above his head, every single light-bulb blown in the row. Something's steaming in the alleyway, something in front of him that looks like a heap of damp laundry and garbage. It smells like the inside of an out-house and a boiled pot-roast at the same time.

It's snowing, lightly, the sky's dark overhead and it's snowing. He's not at the shelter where he fell asleep, his shoes are on, he's wearing his jacket— oh God it happened again. Luke's blurry vision focuses on the molten heap in front of him, and he can see the cadaverous face of a human skull in the lump of smoldering cloth and overcooked reddened flesh, molten eyes running like clear gel out of boiled sockets.

Oh God, what did he do?

Immediately shutting his eyes, Luke lifts his hands to rubs them, not wanting to see it. Shakily, he gets to his feet, using the wall as a brace to pull himself up as he leans against it. He opens his eyes, and it's still there, and no matter how many times he looks away, his gaze is drawn to it like iron filings to a magnet. He turns and starts stumbling for the alley entrance, his only thoughts being that he doesn't want to be here when the cops find out. The last thing he wants is to be sent there again.

Near the entrance, he suddenly leans over and throws up as an errant breeze brings the smell after him. Maybe it'd make him feel better if he knew the guy deserved it, but… he doesn't know! Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he leaves the alley, disoriented and looking around for any familiar landmarks. Where is he?

His head is pounding, a rhythm like war drums behind his eyes, a pained expression of the headache and the throbbing pulse of his own heightened blood pressure. As Luke navigates his way out of the alleyway, giving a wide berth to that slag pile that was once a man spots appear before his eyes, unintelligible dazed lights from his own hyperventilation, he's breathing so fast, his hands are shaking, he feels like he just ran for a mile flat out.

Where the alley opens out onto a snowy street, there's no cars or working street lights, just the distant sound of lapping water over the edge of a frosted guard rail. Each shaky footstep crunches snow beneath his foot, and Luke can see the darkened horizons of Staten Island, a run down and dirty hole of a home he's familiar enough with— but on the other side of New York City from where he'd fallen asleep in Brooklyn. More importantly, on the other side of the river.

Staring out to the north, he can see the distant lights of Brooklyn, and the monolithic ruins of the Verazanno Narrows bridge, shattered in the middle to have dropped its sagging girth down into the freezing waters of the Hudson.

He can still smell the death on his clothes, smell the sickening stench of cooked meat.

He said, back then, that he'd show them how dangerous he could be.

Now, it's a case of being careful what you wish for…

…because you might just get it.

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