Take the Knife


sable_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Take the Knife
Synopsis The oracular wisdom granted to Sable is quite simple and straightforward — and more unsettling than she expected to receive.
Date July 15, 2010


The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.

It's cooled down quite a bit overnight, perhaps under the influence of a thick layer of clouds spanning the entire sky; a stiff breeze tastes of salt and sand, while the entire atmosphere smells of water. That's sea level in summer for you. Of course, deep in the Bronx, there's no ocean to be seen — not with metal, glass, and concrete — with a hefty dose of asphalt for good measure — obscuring the view in all directions. Straight up is a possible exception, but between clouds and city smog, there's nothing to see regardless.

It's pretty typical to see a person waiting at a bus stop, even around 7:30 in the morning; it is a workday, and public transportation sometimes necessitates early departure. Although the blonde sitting on the bench inside the lean-to isn't quite wearing work clothes — the sand-colored sundress with variously colored butterflies at neckline and hem is more casual than that. A broad-brimmed hat with blue ribbon is perched, somewhat precariously, atop shoulder-length straight hair; said hair has actually been brushed this morning, probably due to Tasha's influence. Newspaper crinkles under Tamara's hands, today's pages spread in her lap, ink-smudged fingers trailing down the lines in a manner that doesn't quite jive with the presumption that she's reading the thing.

Sable looks maybe a little tousled on the bus, but way calmer than on her ride out from Gun Hill. She looks mostly preoccupied, thoughts burbling around in her head, ideas rising to the surface of the murky stew of her mind, some bobbing at the surface for a while, others sinking from view almost as soon as their shapes become clear. One thing, though, frames this all. She needs advice. And, because it would never do to ask someone normal for advice, she's resolved she must consult the Oracle of Gun Hill, her natural complement as Sage of Gun Hill.

She hasn't felt extra sage lately, though. And sages are not usually wont to show surprise. But when she arrives at her stop, and disembarks, surprise is just what she gets and just what she displays. Sable blinks once, twice. Just who she was looking for? A smile curls the corners of her lips and she saunters up to the lean-to, plopping down next to Tamara.

"Thanks fer makin' it," Sable says, agreeably, as if this were all according to plan, worked out ahead of time between them. "You look lovely, hon." She reaches out to adjust the hat very slightly on the crown of Tamara's head, securing it better, a tiny, fussy, affectionate gesture. "So…" she grins, "What can I do y' f'r?"

Blue eyes angle up to follow Sable's hand as it reaches for her hat, more in a curious manner than a bothered one; her fingers become still on the page. She shakes her head a bit, not enough to disturb the newly-positioned hat, blonde hair dancing above her shoulders. At the query, Tamara leans over against Sable, fingers gripping either side of the large newsprint sheets and shaking them out for easy viewability by the both of them. A fair amount of it has been smudged by her characteristically hands-on method of perusal, but nothing's illegible. "What do you see?" the girl asks, looking sidelong at her companion rather than studying the printed pages herself.

Sable eases back a bit, to give Tamara room to maneuver her newspaper, a hand going out, mostly out of instinct, to touch very lightly at the small of Tamara's back. There you are. Sable squints down the smudgy text being proffered. Are these… personal ads? Sable gives a little snort. "Lemme see… mebbe someone likes PinĂ£ Coladas…" she says, eyes scanning the little boxes. Attention span being what it is, she finds little to hang her hat on. "Gosh, I dunno. How many times a man must look up, before he can see the sky? How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry? All just stuff, blowin' in th' wind, far as it tends t' concern me."

Tamara tilts her head and peers over at Sable upon the younger girl's words, then shrugs nonchalantly. "Okay." She looks at the paper for a moment, then turns it around sideways in a flurry of rustling sound. Folding back the far page, at least to the point where it won't get in her way, the blonde tips her head in the other direction and regards the patterns of black ink. "That one looks like wind," she declares, pointer finger tracing over a series of lines that don't comprise a single ad, but bits of several. "Clouds and dust and all. Have to be dust 'cause wind doesn't really look like much." She smiles brightly at Sable.

Sable tips her head in mimicry of Tamara, trying to see just what she sees. She reaches to trace the same line. "Well, hon," she says, "Y' can tell wind by th' sound it makes. Dust just let's y' see it. Usually, as with words too, they aren't much without hearin' 'em, either through your voice 'r in yer head like." She looks to Tamara, catching that smile, and smiles back, "Want me t' give this here wind some voice?"

To that, Tamara shakes her head, then reaches up to tuck her hair back behind her ears where it isn't obscuring her vision. "No, that's okay." Suiting actions to words, she spreads the newspaper out again only to fold it up, carefully and precisely. First closing the pages, smoothing them out so they lay flat; then folding the bundle in half, as newspapers are routinely packaged; and in half again, methodically pressing the crease down so it'll stay put. Then the blonde sets it in her lap, flopping her hands down on top of the paper, wrists casually crossed and gaze turned attentively towards Sable. "After all, you're here for your words, aren't you?"

"Hey gal," Sable says, lifting both her arms behind her, hands lacing behind her head, "Looks t' me like you were waitin' f'r me, so don't go actin' like it's me hung up on you, dig?" She gives Tamara a sidelong grin, "'s arright. I have that effect on people. Y' ain't th' first." She lets the jibe hang for a moment, before, at length, adding, "Though I figure mebbe y' c'n help me with somethin', seein' as we're both here 'n', as I figure y' know, likely t' stay here f'r a little while longer 'nless y' up 'n' leave me on my lonesome."

The blonde tips her head at Sable's jibe, regarding the younger girl with a mildly curious bemusement. Whatever she isn't processing, however, clearly seems to be considered less than noteworthy: she doesn't comment. Tamara glances away, watching a jogger beat past with headphones in his ears; follows the cars that roll to a stop on the street at the cue of a red light, evidently losing interest in them once they aren't moving any more. Tapping her fingers once on the bundle of paper, she looks back at Sable. "I can listen," the seeress affirms, nodding decisively.

Sable nods, "Thanks," she says. She takes a deep breath. The pause that spans between this breath and its release and her speech to follow reached into various futures, variant in length each. What does happen is one of the briefest. She wastes no time in the here and now. "I dunno if I've got it in me t' kill a man. I know I've got it in me t' wish one dead, right? Ain't claimin' no purity of thought, here. But I'm wonderin' if… down th' line… if I've got a choice comin' on 'bout whether or not t' kill a man." Not a small matter, apparently, despite the small pause.

Tamara waits until Sable's said what she needs to say, patient as her wont is with such matters. Considers the young woman in silence for a long moment, blue eyes tracing incuriously up her figure to the crown of her head and down to the shoes on her feet, returning in the end to meet Sable's own yellow gaze. She leans forward just a little, lips curving slowly in a crookedly rueful smile, reaching forward to brush curled fingers down the edge of the other girl's face. "Take the knife," the seeress states, softly but clearly; not an answer itself, but an answer in its implications.

This is a chilling reply, and it chills Sable appropriately. The touch alone would have thrown her a bit for a loop, her interpretive mechanisms whirring and smoking as she tried to make sense of it on her own terms. But the words make this all quite moot, sending whole other sections of her brain into furious turning and spinning. Sable's lips part, but no sound comes out. And then she nods. Okay. She'll do that.

Tamara lets her hand fall, sitting back and studying the younger girl for a moment. As easily as if they'd been discussing such superficial subjects as the weather, she nods once, then smiles warmly. "Good." Tucking the bundled paper under her arm, the seeress rises to her feet, stepping to the entrance of the lean-to and idly leaning one shoulder against it to look back at Sable. "Are you ready to go?" she asks — so very casually.

Sable regards Tamara with what looks like wariness. Wheels continue to spin in her mind, ones kicked into motion by the combined efforts of the other two sets working in temporary unison. "Somethin' to y'," she says, "'n' you'd best beware, hon, 'cause I'm curious as th' first woman." Which would make her either Lilith or Eve.

At length she gets to her feet and saunters over to Tamara, yellow eyes still appraising. "Yer gonna see me comin'. But I'll give y' 's little warnin' as possible, dig?" She nods, "Ready as I'll ever, y'know?"

Tamara smiles again at Sable, not bright and cheerfully bold in expression, but the lopsidedly rueful smile of the seer. Waiting for the younger girl to join her, she nods once and sets out on the concrete, carefully in step with Sable — for precisely nine paces. Then, fingers clinging tightly to the folded paper in her hand, the girl reasserts herself with a giggle and the sudden slap of rubber against concrete. "Race you to the tree!" Of course she has a head start; but then, seer, play fair?

"Aw, hell no!" Sable says, starting to pelt after Tamara as soon as the seer is off, a blur of blonde hair. Maybe that hat will create some drag? Sable sprints, always a sucker for spontaneous contest, especially when initiated in pretty, girlish fashion, her none-too-long legs working for all they are worth.

It's Sable's hand that hits the tree first, if only just. Tamara grins cheerfully at her nonetheless, breathing labored from the sudden exertion but refusing to let that dictate her posture and actions. She reaches up to straighten the hat on her head, looks sidelong at the younger girl, then walks over to set the newspaper on a nearby building's front stairs. Shaking her hair back behind her shoulders, there's a momentary glimpse of another smile before she sets off walking again, unerring in her course for Gun Hill as the seeress walks home.

Sable's not out of shape, but going from zero to ten can kick the wind from you a bit. She gets to the tree first, and crows victory, but then has to turn around and support her back against the trunk, leaning down to grip her knees and catch her breath. Her eyes lift to find Tamara, find that smile, and Sable offers a crooked smile in return. Gotta wonder if she knew who would win, or if it was a toss up 'til the last moment. If the latter, maybe for an instant they were thinking along the same lines.

"Catch y' later, hon," Sable promises, breath returning to her, "You watch out now."

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