The Eightfold Path, Part III


past-adam_icon.gif past-charles2_icon.gif past-joy2_icon.gif past-thompson_icon.gif

Scene Title The Eightfold Path, Part III
Synopsis On a fated day, worlds collide.
Date June 18, 1982

"I told you, Adam!"

Joy's voice rings through the apartment, and she stares wide-eyed at the shirtless blonde man standing in front of her. The rest of the apartment is dark, save for a light on over the stove in the kitchen. Toes buried in brown shag carpet, Joy stands on the living room side of the kitchen island, cradling a lowball glass of scotch on the rocks in one hand. Her sudden outburst has Adam's posture crumpling, shoulders slacking and back slumping as he covers his mouth with one hand and walks away from her, scrubbing the hand down his chin.

"Then— then we'll find a telepath," Adam says with his back to her, "we need to know." Joy holds her drink at her chest, looking down into the dark surface with halfway lidded eyes. She wants to say something, but chooses not to. "I saw you go down with the cliff, I… I searched for you for weeks." As Adam turns, his eyes are red around the edges, glassy. "I mourned you for decades." Seeing him like this makes Joy withdraw into herself, setting down her drink on the counter and pacing around the living room, fingers wound in her hair.

They're both silent for a while, save for the tick of the clock on the wall. "I don't remember anything before Charles woke me up in New York…" Joy quietly confides, standing by the windows overlooking the street below. "I don't remember the cave. I don't know… I don't know how I got there."

Coming up behind her, Adam rests a hand on either shoulder, then lets one slide down her arm and comes to rest at her waist. "We'll figure it out, then, together." His tone is both desperate and dedicated, in equal measure. "We've survived worse than this."

Joy looks over her shoulder at Adam, tears in her eyes glistening in the glow of street lights outside. "Did we?"

Her question is punctuated by the phone ringing. Adam startles, then curses to himself and offers one lingering look at Joy before snatching the receiver off of the narby phone. "What is your dysfunction?" Then, brows raised. "Oh, Daniel." He and Joy share a wordless look, and Adam focuses his attention down at the top of the phone.

"Daniel, slow down. What happened?" Adam looks back up to Joy, who stares worriedly back at Adam, already gathering up her clothes scattered around the living room. "Okay, it's— Joy and I will be there shortly." He nods, an imperceptible motion to the man on the other end of the phone. "Absolutely, of course. You too."

"What?" Joy asks, clutching an disheveled white shirt to her chest as she watches Adam hang up the phone. Adam stares down at the receiver, eyes flicking from side to side, and then slowly looks up to her.

"What happened?"

University of Kansas Campus

Lawrence, Kansas

June 18th


Lights from police cars flash brightly against the backdrop of brick buildings. Red flashing lights from fire trucks do the same, casting intermittent red, blue, and occasionally purple illumination across the rain-dampened street. It smells like petrichor — the scent of freshly fallen rain — but the sky is now clear of clouds. All that remains in its place is a swirling spiral of green light fading to blue on its curtained edges, an aurora unlike any other.

The center of the spiral looms directly overhead, the whole scene feels like the backlot of a movie set. There are police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, all surrounding a four-story brick building on the campus of Kansas City University. But for all the bystanders on the street; to the crowds of students looking in horror, to the police putting up sawhorse roadblocks, to the Native American truck driver standing by his big rig with tears streaming down his face, no one is moving.

It's like a snapshot in time, except…

“No sign of whoever took the baby,” comes from between emergency workers, and the profile of Eric Thompson looks haggard and exhausted, eyes downcast to the street where a body is covered with a bloody sheet.

“We have more pressing concerns.” Comes another voice walking slowly through the crowd. Charles Deveaux stops by one of the frozen bystanders, pressing a hand to their head and furrowing his brows in concentration. “This is going to take me all night.”

Thompson kicks his brows up and nods slowly, “I'll do another sweep. He can't be far, and if we can catch him before your game of Red Light, Green Light ends it'll save us a lot of—”

“What would have saved us a lot of problems,” Charles interjects, opening his eyes as he moves his hand away from the bystanders head and looking at Thompson, “is if you had followed protocol.

People are frozen as far as the eye can see down any street. There is no noise from the city beyond, there is just an abject silence of a moment trapped in time. Charles and Thompson move like snowflakes through a snowglobe, unrestricted.

“If I hadn't…” Thompson starts to defend himself, then paces around and runs one hand through his hair, seeming full of nervous energy. He looks back at the corpse under the sheet, then closes his eyes and looks away. “Christ,” he whispers to himself.

As Charles moves to the next bystander, placing a hand on their brow and closing his eyes, he's interrupted by the sudden and unexpected arrival of two people in a dimpling distortion of the air. A woman emerges from a rippling heat-mirage haze, young and dark-haired, dark eyes. Beside her is blonde-haired man with crisp blue eyes and feigned amusement in the crook of his lips.

“Well this is a fine fucking mess. Isn't it, chaps?” Adam Monroe.

Charles turns to Adam, brows furrowed and lips downturned into a frown. “Joy, Adam.” He briefly looks to Thompson, as the woman identified as Joy walks among the frozen people, gently touching their faces with the tips of her fingers. “Thompson, go… look for that one who got away.” Thompson glances at the trio, then slips off out of sight into the crowd.

“He's fun,” Adam quips, then notices Joy and gently pushes her hand away from fondling the faces of anymore mind-trapped people. “Don't, you never know where they've been.” She rankles her nose in response, then turns to Charles.

“I've determined sixteen overlays,” Joy explains as she straightens the collar of her black business suit, looking practically Company-chic. “They're in a spiral pattern, moving out from this locus point.” Charles eyes widen.

Sixteen?” The words fall like lead from Charles’ mouth. “I'm going to need you to take me to each site. Get a message to Arthur, too, let him know we’re going to need to pull an all-nighter.” Joy nods, then glances to Adam who is staring up at the sky with a distant expression. Charles notices that look and steps away from the bystander and moves toward Adam, following his sight-line to the aurora.

“What do you make of it?” Charles asks in confidence, slowly turning his gaze to meet Adam’s as his eyes also lower. “Ever see anything like it?” Adam remains, surprisingly, silent for a moment. Then his answer comes in the shake his head.

“It's beautiful,” Adam notes, brows furrowed. Then, with a look to Charles, seems agitated. “Stay out of my head.

“Try speaking your mind more,” Charles retorts, “and I won't have to.” But he lets the issue drop, noticing Joy trying to get his attention. The silent raise of his brows requests her to chime in.

Joy chooses not to, at least not immediately. She takes a momentary look at the aurora, then Adam, then finally shares her thoughts. “Some of the overlays are… there were accidents. I think we should go to one near Yonkers. There was a car accident.” Charles closes his eyes at Joy’s description, then punches the bridge of his nose and nods.

“Of course there was a car accident,” Charles offers quietly, exhaustedly. “Okay,” he eyes the crowd, “I'm going to lay on a low-intensity hypnosis on these people for now, suggest that they don't see anything unusual. I'll come back to clean up after.” He turns to Joy, one brow raised. “Yonkers?”

Joy nods, though she looks over to Adam after, as if trying to ascertain something. Adam, in turn, looks at Joy with a difficult to read expression. “It's fine,” is the most subdued thing Adam has ever said. “I'll keep an eye on the blokes here, make sure nobody cartwheels off a cliff or something.” He looks in the direction Thompson had run off in, then back to Charles. “Go on, play hero.”

Charles smiles, though it doesn't reach his eyes. “That cute attitude worked on me when I was twenty, Adam. Now I just see your glibness for what it is.” He places a hand on Joy’s shoulder. “A mask.”

Joy looks worriedly at Charles, then over to Adam who closes his eyes and throws his hands up into a shrug. Joy, sensing the awkwardness, folds in on herself like she was vapor, taking Charles with her into an infinitely small fold in space.

"A mask," Adam spits back in a nasally, mocking tone of voice with a curl of his upper lip. Then, with a roll of his eyes he turns around as the scene suddenly springs to life and the noise of everything comes slowly fading back in. Adam looks around, weaving through the bystanders and emergency responders, then looks back up at the aurora with a more honest fear in his eyes.

Quickly, Adam hustles to the side of the street and picks up the receiver of a pay phone bolted to the brick wall of an adjacent building. He pops a dime in the slot and dials a number from memory, looking back to the aurora. "Hi, Hello, yes." Adam says cheerfully into the phone, fishing a wallet out of his jacket pocket.

"Yes— Yes, mnhmm… I'd— " He doesn't care what the person on the other end of the line is saying."I'd like to book the next available flight from New York to Japan?" Adam's brows raise slowly, stare never moving away from the spiral. "Adam," he says into the receiver, "Sanders."

"Yes, I'll hold."

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