The Country Girl, The Cat, And The Nightingale


daphne_icon.gif else_icon.gif

Scene Title The Country Girl, The Cat, And The Nightingale
Synopsis On Delilah's suggestion, Else decides to ask around about Hiro and recalls a certain someone who used to say his name an awful lot…
Date April 19, 2010

Brick House

Some say stone walls and iron bars make a prison, but for Else Kjelstrom the prison-like interior of the Ferrymen safe house affectionately known as the "Brick House" is more a home than the too sterile hospital on Roosevelt Island ever was. Situated in the very arm-chair in the dimly lit living room that she first exhibited symptoms of the H5N10 virus in, it's not her now missing notepad that she's paying attention to, but rather the cell phone pressed against one ear.

That dented and scraped Motorola may being to Andy Rourke, one of the Brick House's operators, but the call she's on isn't with a member of the Ferrymen, but rather a former resident. "Yeah no I— I just need a minute, yeah?" Else's dark brows furrow as her eyes close tightly. "M'name's Else, a'was at th' Den, think you were there, yeah? A'remember you talkin' 'bout htis fella named Hiro, right? Well— a'just got outta' the hospital, an' my girl Dee said there's a fella there named Hiro Nakamura. He's got the sickness like I did, an' we're worried th' government might be tryin' t' wrangle him up, 'cause they ain't got an idea who he is yet…"

Rolling her tongue over her lips, Else tilts her head to the side and listens to the sound of air rushing on the other side of the cell phone. "'Ey, Daphne, you there girl?" Worried brown eyes wander to the glow of the lantern at her side, "Hey, can you hear— "

This time, her journey to the Brick House is a solo one — it's colder but happier than the boat ride across the river, leaving Roosevelt behind, leaving Corbin behind again — though that felt like she was the one being left. Again. This time, the weather is impossibly, ridiculously colder, and rushing around close to the speed of sound makes for chapped pink cheeks and frozen noses when Daphne makes her way through the underground tunnel and to the cellar, a flash of gray and black and red up the steps before she appears in the main room of the upstairs.

The blur stills into something the eye can decipher, and Daphne stands before Else — both women probably not looking their best but much, much better than the last they saw one another. "I figured it was easier to talk in person, right? Especially as we're all on pre-paid throw away phones," the speedster says brightly. "At least I am. Lost the one at the Den and had to get another. My kingdom for rollover minutes."

She steps closer to Else, pulling off the pom-pom topped ski cap she wears on her platinum locks. "It's good to see you out. Hiro was at the hospital?" Daphne's back to her quick-tongued mode of speech, no time for niceties and small talk.

Startling like a kicked cat that was sleeping in the sun, Else practically jumps off of the arm chair, fumbling the cell phone and sending it down to the floor from her fingers at Daphne's abrupt arrival. As Else figures out what just happened in front of her, she's up on her feet and then— crouching to pick up Andy's phone and close it, looking up from the crouched position at the foot of the chair to Daphne. "You— did you just— " brown eyes dart to the stairs, then back to Daphne. "Wow."

It's a reasonable reaction.

"I mean jus'— wow. I din' know you— I mean— obviously you're special 'cause you got sick, but— not sick bein' why you're special but 'cause you 'ad a power or somethin but holy balls that was fast!" Bubbling with giddy laughter, Else looks from Daphne to the phone in her hands to make sure the call was ended, then starts to slowly stand.

Else's reaction brings an impish grin on the pixyish face of the petite speedster. Daphne loves showing off her power, getting reactions like these, and it's been a long, long time since she gotten to do so. Even prior to the flu, the political climate of prejudice and gestapo tactics had her hiding more than she'd like. One good thing about the snow is that there just aren't that many people out and about, and while it's bitterly cold, there's so much open space.

"I wasn't too far away when you called, and there's no real traffic to contend with. I mean, I can avoid being hit by a car, no problem, but I don't like to freak out people and cause accidents, you know? Been there, done that," Daphne says. "The water makes it easy, too. Just a jaunt down the river, really. Lickety split. I've been lacking a little on the lickety but it's back now." There's a head tilt as Daphne surveys the other woman. "They said you're a pre-cog? You didn't see me coming? And you remember me hollering about Hiro? I hope I didn't disturb you. I guess I kept trying to chase him around the house when he wasn't there." There's a glance downward at that — she's not sure if Else knows the story of why she was hallucinating about Hiro needing help.

"My uh," Else shakes her head, "doesn't work like tha'. God, if it was actually helpful like that I probably wouldn't resent havin' it so much. Na' all I do is write down crazy things, started out as songs, but it's been gettin' better, mostly jus' words now but it— it gets weird. Nothin' really straightforward, like a crazy person writin' stuff, yeah?" Grimacing slightly, Else shifts her weight to one foot and looks down at the floor, then back up to Daphne again.

"I dunno who that Hiro fella is, Dee said he was like, some sorta' time travelin' guy. I didn't believe her but she seemed t'be straight with me. But— I dunno, he's really sick, love. He's hallucinatin all sorts'a things, an' he's been bedridden for a few days now. I overheard the nurses' sayin' that e'might not make it…"

Reaching up to rub one hand at her cheek, Else furrows her brows and hangs her head. "A'probably shouldn't say it like that, right? S'bad form've me… Gd sorry I— my head's still a bit buggered."

The layers of irony are not lost on the speedster. Daphne had thought she was being punished, perhaps for nearly killing Hiro so many months ago — she could have killed him, really; she never knew what happened to him — when she herself was hallucinating and sick. And now he's bedridden. Hallucinating and sick. Daphne's hand comes to her mouth, as if to chew her nails if it weren't for the gloves on her fingers. She shakes her head and gives a distract wave, as if to erase Else's apology. "I don't — I'm not close to him. I … he saved me once, and I keep trying to save him back in my dreams, is the best I can explain it."

Her dark eyes are full of a worry that suggests he is important to her, if not someone she knows well. "You think it's better if he gets out of there? I mean… they let you go, after you got better. Do you think they helped you? Was it better you went there? But I guess time travel, that's… wow… If they're trying to … do they know what he can do?" The volley of questions comes quickly. "If you think I should get him out, I will."

"They got'm registered under John Doe. He didn't have any identification on'm I guess, so they ain't got an idea who'e is. Problem is they said they ran his fingerprints, but it hasn't come back yet. Dee says he's wanted for all sorts'a stuff, but you know how that goes…" Else shrugs one shoulder with a non-comittal motion, sways from side to side idly, then opts to drop herself down into the recliner with a creaking protest of the springs. "S'only gonna' be a matter've time before they figure out who'e is an' then it's the klink for 'em."

Furrowing her brows, Else lifts up a hand to chew on her thumbnail, motion somewhat mimicking Daphne's motion. When her dark eyes divert from the blonde speedster to the coffee table nearby, her eyes seem more distantly focused. "Problem is, the hospital was great fer me. All I went through was bein' registered… which's kind've a pain in'na ass, but I lied through my teeth 'bout what I could do. Dee an' I got better fast there though, treated us right well they did. We— prolly' wouldn't have made it in Ferry care. I dunno…"

Chewing on her bottom lip, Else looks back up to Daphne. "We can't jus' bust him out, not without havin' a good enough way t'treat 'em. It ain't like there's a cure for the five-ten, so… I… I just figured you might know what t'do 'cause you seemed t'know 'em…"

"I'm not good at making these kinds of decisions!" Daphne says, a little bit of a whine entering her voice as her eyes grow wide with the information Else tells her. "I - I mean, I was okay but you were so far gone, and if the nurses think he might die I sure as hell don't wanna run him through the fucking polar ice caps." Her hands rake through her hair, the gloves crackling a touch with built-up static electricity from the friction of her run across town.

"Francois doesn't have enough stuff and I don't think we've seen the Doc … I … " Her speedy ponderings slow, still, and stop. Her brow knits. "You can't like, go into a little trance and start scribbling down your words and we could see what would happen if we go one way or the other? Like if I go and get him and bring him here, would he die?" Daphne tugs off her gloves and shoves them in her coat pocket. "Francois has Teo home… doesn't that mean that it's better to be out than in?"

Furrowing her brows, Else looks down to the coffee table and the yellow legal pad there with Joseph's shopping list for the week. The precog bites down on her lip and tkes a few steps forward, bending down to take the notepad up and the pen clipped to it. "I— dunnoa ctually. I can give it a try… Been workin' on gettin' it better'n what I used to do, so— I mean— I nailed a baby name for Delilah yes'erday so it might not be that hard…" Baby name?

"Here lemme… uh, lemme give it a shot." Pulling off the pen cap with her teeth and switching over to the sofa, Else shifts around to get comfortable, runs her tongue over her lips and presses the tip of the pen to the paper. Closing her eyes, she breathes in deeply, and when she exhales her eyes open to reveal a milky-white cloudiness like cataracts. Immediately, Else's hand begins feverishly scribbling on the paper, scrawling out words and squiggled lines that might be illegible writing.

After a moment of this trance-like state, Else's eyes clear and she sucks in a breath that she'd been holding the entire time, brows lifted and shoulders heaving as she tries to catch her breath. Furrowing her brows, Else looks down at the paper and stares.

"Fuck me that's retarded…" Licking her lips and looking up to Daphne, Else turns the note pad around and reveals what it reads:

He steals it away without even a look, erases the unwritten without needing paper, but where you look isn't where he is.

All of us are coming down. Three against one, our odds are high… but we can't find the way out, no not on our own.

Texas to New York a trip out to Cali and up into Washington State. Nebraska, Missouri to Delaware I hear Florida's great. But you can't find the girl you're looking for there, up come Saskatchewan o'er to Ontario or even in the USSR.

There's no need to say, not a single thing to ask, it all comes together in its time. All it takes is the simplest question and not one to sing, a sibylant answer, she leads us all to the way.

All of us are coming down. Three against one, our odds are high… but we can't find the way out, no not on our own.

Once from the ice and now walking behind she keeps to herself, all bundled mystery her success is our history, but no one knows her name. Out in the corner she watches static snowflakes suspended in the air like a tiny prisoner in her own snow globe.

Backwards forwards and somewhere in between, the lady of the corn-field home and the girl behind the glass meets with the snow-globe sister and they follow, him, down. All it's gonna' take is one way, all it's gonna' take is one name.

All of us are coming down. Three against one, our odds are high… but we can't find the way out.

No we can't find the way out.

No not on our own.

Furrowing her brows and hissing out a sigh, Else looks from the notepad to Daphne, then bites down on her lower lip. "Sorry."

Eyebrows shoot up and lips purse when Daphne sees the creepy milk-eyed gaze of Else as she scribbles. The speedster tilts her head to catch a word here or there, but really the few syllables she gets don't help — like having the whole piece really helps once it's handed to her. She takes a seat finally and takes the notepad to read it, head turning to follow the scrawl when she needs to. "I … wow. Three against one and we can't find the way out… that sounds fucking ominous." She keeps reading, shaking her head, not understanding. "Some girl - but we're not looking for a girl, we're looking for Hiro… what question? The sibilant answer would be yes — but what's the //question…" Daphne muses.

"Once from the ice — static snowflakes — the girl we need comes from the ice? It mentions like Canada and USSR … those are cold places…" Daphne continues, then shakes her head. "Lady of the corn-field home and the girl behind the glass meets with the snow-globe sister and they follow, him, down…" Her eyes widen. "I'm from a corn farm. Am I supposed to find these two girls? How am I going to find them? And even then, even with three of us, it says we can't find our way out."

Never one of much patience, Daphne pushes the notepad back and jumps to her feet, dark eyes actually sparkling with tears for a moment. "I don't understand and I don't know what to do. Do you have a freakin' clue what any of that means? What happens if you focus on what happens if I don't help him? Dark hole forever, right?"

Looking progressively more disappointed as Daphne puzzles through the writing, Else just shakes her head and furrows her brows. "I— I don't… m'sorry." Laying down the legal pad on the coffee table, Else pushes it with one hand towards Daphne, then slowly shakes her head again, threading stringy blonde hair behind one ear. "I'dunno it— I don't remember even writin' it. I never really know what'm gonna' put down or how's gonna look. Before I got sick I think I wrote some stuff too, but— I dunno where that pad even went."

Shifting awkwardly on the sofa, Else draws her legs up to fold beneath herself, eyes averted down to her lap. "Ferry's pretty big, if'n you think there's somethin' in there that'll help, or if you recognize somethin'…" There's a noise in the back of Else's throat and she shakes her head slowly.

"Take it with you, see if somebody else can make heads're tails of it." There's a crack of a smile, not quite an honest one, and Else slouches back against the couch. "M'sorry that— that I can't be that much more help, y'know? I… M'still workin' on figurin' out how this all works."

"It's not your fault," Daphne says immediately, feeling bad for making the other woman feel bad. "At least you probably never almost killed someone with your power, right?" she adds, a humorless cockeyed smirk punctuating the question. She reaches down to pull off the sheet of paper, glancing at it again and shaking her head. It doesn't make much more sense to her a second time. Folding it carefully, she slips it into a pocket inside her coat.

"Tell Dee what it said, maybe, maybe she can piece some of it together. Maybe she knows some of it that I can't figure it out. I'm not Ferry. I don't know anything. I'll … I'll ask Francois I guess, if he thinks we should get Hiro out, if his risks are worse outside than in… I'll get him if I can but I don't want to… I don't want to almost kill him again." Or finish the job. She swallows audibly and looks away.

"Jus' ask." Else says with a hesitant smile, "I'll mention it t'Dee an' see if she thinks've anything… af'er that, well…" There'a a shrug of Else's shoulders and a tired sigh. "I dunno, maybe I'll see if'n I can write somethin' else a bit more helpful. Then we won't have t'worry so much about, yeah?" Wrinkling her nose, Else tilts her head to the side.

"I didn't write the title down, usually I do…" There's a squint, and the blonde woman takes the pad that the page was torn off of and furrows her brows. "Maybe— maybe that'll… help…" there's a squint and then a clouding of her eyes in white quality, and with a sharp intake of breath she begins writing. There's a visible striggle for Else to try and keep the writing legible, to only write something small and simple. In the end, she comes up with eight words.

Swallowing noisily as her eyes clear again, Else hangs her head, dark brows furrowed together and blonde bangs hiding her face. Her hand trembles as she sets the pen down, then tears off the strip at the bottom of the page with the title, holding it out to Daphne.

"There…" Else breathes out the word. "That shoul' help a little. I'll see'f I can figure anythin' out on my end. But… if Hiro's one'a us," Else doesn't seem to make any distinction between Daphne and the rest of the Ferry, "then we need'ta help him."

Smiling, weakly, Else lifts up a hand and rubs at her forehead slowly. "A'think m'gonna lay down an' stop this here headache now. You can stay or go, don't bother me none." Else's eyes open partly, watching Daphne with a weary expression.

When the blonde speedster turns that offered aper over to look at the title, the eight words aren't much help: The Country Girl, The Cat, and the Nightengale.

Yep, that makes it crystal clear. Daphne's brow wrinkles as she reads the eight words. "Sounds like some crazy Irish ballad or something," she says wryly. "Thanks, though. I appreciate … well. Thanks for letting me know." She needs to help Hiro, to amend for the pain and near death she already dealt him accidentally, but the prospect of failing is almost staggeringly unbearable to think about. She wants to run away and forget these people and what she owes them — it would be so easy

"Feel better. You have my number now," Daphne adds, before the sheets of the notepad begin to rustle and Else's blond hair wafts back in the draft caused by Daphne's fleeing form.

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