The Ghost Of Christmas Future


cardinal3_icon.gif kain_icon.gif

Scene Title The Ghost of Christmas Future
Synopsis Following a harrowing visitation of the Nightmare Man, Kain Zarek is haunted by a ghost of a different stripe…
Date February 11, 2010

Dorchester Towers

Kain's Penthouse

For the first day all week, it's not snowing. The sun hasn't come out, but at least the intermittant snowfal of the last couple of weeks has finally tapered off. Outside the picture windows of Kain Zarek's penthouse apartment at the crown of Dorchester Towers, New York City looks like an ice graeyard, with snow frosted tombstones lining and otherwise white cemetary. It's an appropriate analogy, in a way, especially given that the majority of the view out Kain's window encompasses the deep scar of Midtown and its gutted skyscrapers.

Seated with his back to that vista, Kain himself looks hardly like the man he'd always wanted to be. Dirty hair is tangled and unkempt, hanging down to frame a sunken and tired face. Dark circles beneath blue eyes emphasize the effects of not only a hangover, but depression and sleepless nights. Repossession notices, cancelled credit cards and debt notifications are strewn out across his glass coffee table, interspersed with empty liquor bottles and beer cans, and somewhere in there a loaded revolver.

He hasn't done much since Lola Mayeux left, hasn't done much for the past few weeks, hasn't done much of anything since discovering his one ticket out from under Daniel Linderman's thumb got himself killed. Lifted up to high expectations and possibilities, Kain was dropped lower than he's been yet.

Lower than low.

"You look like hell…" Like hell… an echo whispered hollow and somewhat flat in its intonation from behind the other man, as if that silent vista of shattered dreams draped in the cold, silent embrace of winter had finally had enough and chosen to speak to the one man that seems more morose than the city itself.

There's no-one there, though, if he looks, no mocking figure standing behind him and no speaker set up to taunt the depressed figure of Kain Zarek here in the depths of his misery. Still, the voice speaks.

"…bad week, Zarek?"

Blue eyes immediately burst pen at te sound of a disembodied voice in his apartment. Kain's reaction is like sneaking up on a sleeping dog and slapping it on the snout, he recoils from the sofa, practically trips over the coffee table in front of himself, panicked breathing kicking in as he starts swatting at his own arms as if checking them for something, and then staggers across his livingroom floor and out into the kitchen, ehre he collides with a barstool and sends it flying before his back hits up against the countertop of an island lined with empty beer bottles.

"Not again…" Kain breathes out, waving one hand in the air as he frantically looks around his apartment. "Get outta' mah head!" He screams to the air, fingers grasping at invisible threads around him, "Ah' said get out an' stay out! G— Get out god damnit!" Already rapid breathing hastens, and Kain circles around behind the counter and reaches for a knife out of the wood block by his stove, hand shaking the whole while. "Ah' ain't done nothin'— y— jus' leave me alone!"

Bad week, it seems.

"Jesus Christ… you are in some bad shape, aren't you…" Aren't you…? The whisper rasps through the air despite the man's attempts to brush off a hallucination, its echo seeming to actually hold a twist of concern in contrast to the first time it's heard.

As if someone had spilt a vial of ink, a darkness begins to spread over the floor of his kitchen then, a tattered curtain like black lace, ever-shifting and pulling like a flashlight shone through wet, tearing tissue paper - drawing together to move forward, tendrils reaching out to pull it along. As the shadow notices the blade being reached for, it stills, congealing more before that hollow voice whispers, "…I think you've had a little too much to drink lately, Kain. Maybe it's time for rehab… hmm?" Hmm?

"No." Kain breathes out in a hushed breath, knife rattling around in his hand, "Yer dead— yer dead— Ah' ain't fallin' for it again yer dead!" Blue eyes go wide and Kain is scrambling across his kitchen floor, past a waste basket filled with broken glass from the shattered bottle of nights prior. "Ah' didn't want t'do it! Stop— stop tryin' t'make me think Ah' did! Ah' never wanted t'hurt her, Ah' never wanted to! Ah' didn't know— Ah'— " swallowing raggedly, Kain's hand holding the knife out continues to tremble, his jaw doing much the same.

"Ah'm dreamin' again— s'just a dream— s'just a bad dream— " He keeps hiccuping words out, staring at the shadows with a wide-eyed and terrified look. "Dickie's dead," he finally growls out, fingers tightening around the handle of the knife, "stop it— for the love'a God please just stop…"

"For the love of— put the god damned knife down, Kain!" A snarl of voice stirs from the shadow, the noise of it seeming to almost tear the darksome fabric of its essence apart, spreading Pollock-like across the floor before drawing back together slowly, silent for a few more moments.

Then that rough whisper peels through the air once more, "I'm not dead… not quite, not yet. Pull yourself the fuck together, Zarek. Christ. If I still had hands I'd smack you." You.

Swallowing drly, Kain looks down to the knife in his hand as if only just now realizing he's even been holding on to it. There's a fearful look in his eyes for a moment, before those blues flick out towards the shadow, and Kain is reaching over to his kitchen counter to lay the knife down on the countertop by the sink. With his arm stretched out, Cardinal can see bandages wrapped around one of Kain's arms, held in place with medical tape. A brown-stained piece of gauze on the inside of his wrist seems to indicate that this has been a particularly bad week.

After a few prolonged moments of horrified silence, Kain looks back to the tattered shadow lingering in his kitchen. "What th'hell are you?" Not who, what. "A little bird told me Richard Cardinal got his dumb-ass killed up in some jungle or somethin'…" his hands are still shaking, "tell me Ah' get t'choke a bitch fer lyin' to me… tell me you ain't— ain't whatever it was that was in mah head the other night…"

Nightmares. There's silence from the broken shadows, watching Kain, seeing his symptoms, his injuries, his shaking fears before speaking again. And then it does. "She was only half right… but I'm not dead yet, Zarek… and I'm not all in your head. I thought you were smarter than John was…" Than John was…

The darkness licks upwards along the counter, tendrils of shadow seemingly lifting off the ground briefly as he stirs himself up the cabinets, spilling onto the counter proper so he doesn't need to be looked down at. "…what the hell happened to you?"

"You happened to me you son of a bitch!" Kain hollars across his apartment, bare feet tracking where once there was broken glass a few days ago, shouting accusingly at somethign that ammounts to little more than scraps of shredded black cloth. "You— You fuckin' showed up and put all these ideas in mah head, and then disappear to go get shot up in some ass-crack country! You got people tellin' me yer dead! Ah've got fuckin people drainin' mah bank accounts t'fund their little charity grab out in some po-dunk development, an' Ah'm stuck in this dead end goddamned life!"

The fury in Kain's eyes is abundant, mostly directed inwardly as he draws his sleeve up to show the bandaged wounds on his arms. "Ah' get so drunk one night, Ah've mah'self a bad dream an' wind up sleep-walkin and cuttin' mah own goddamned wrists 'cause it seems like a better idea'n livin'!"

Breathing in and out heavily, face red and shoulders heaving, Kain sputters out final words to the shadow. "That's what happened t'me, Dickie."

"I'm sorry."

A few moments of silence pass, before the shadow splinters once more with a serpent's hiss, "I'm sorry I was dragged across the god-damned face of the planet by the government to save all your ungrateful asses by stopping global armafuckinggeddon! I'm sorry I had to absorb a goddamned nuclear bomb!" Bomb!

"I was ripped into a thousand bloody pieces and pulled myself back together to get back here, Zarek, and pick up where I left off… because none of this would mean shit if we were all dead, now would it? Grow a set of balls and a spine and be a man, damn it," the tattered shadow ripples as if in a strong wind as it spreads across the counter and the wall, "Or are you telling me I picked the wrong son of a bitch to take the world by the throat?"

There's a snort from Kain, head shaking slowly as it's ejected from his nostrils. "Right…" is the single incredulous word Kain uses to dismiss the believability of Cardinal's story. Maybe he should add in the part about the man possessed by the Nazi ghost? "You don' wanna tell me, whatever, Ah' deal with that sort'a shit all'a time. But don't come up in here pretendin' like Ah'm some sorta' trick Willie who can make all'a world's problems go away you sack'a shit."

Moving back to the living room across the hardwood floor, Kain's back is afforded to the shadow, shoulders slouched and posture more like a whipped dog now than before. "Get'cher ghost ass outta' mah apartment, Dickie. Ah… ain't got time f'your games no more." He comes to stand by one of the huge picture windows, resting his arm on the glass as his head clunks down next to it.

There was a Nazi ghost! Also, there were robotic dinosaurs. None of those things would probably help the believability of his story one bit, sadly, no matter how they were phrased. Perhaps the girl that was only there when you weren't looking at—

No, no, probably not.

As the man departs the kitchen, the shadows follow him, trailing in an uneven slither across the floor towards the window and crawling up the face of it. A strange, living pattern of dark on glass, as if a great shadowy hand were stretching out over midtown's ruins.

"Yes, you do," he whispers more quietly again, "You need me, Zarek. We're in this together."

"We ain't in shit together!" Kain shouts as he turns around, flapping one hand wildly in the air to emphasize his point. "You fed me all'a this bullshit about some crazy future where Ah'm in charge of the Linderman Group? Maybe Ah' was drunk enough to believe you then, but there ain't never gonna be no future like that, there ain't never gonna' be no future for me!" Blue eyes narrow as Kain scowls down at Richard. "There ain't no way Ah'm followin' your hair brain whatever the hell you done and had planned."

Kain sighs, heavily, sliding one hand up to his forehead, letting fingers rake back dirty blonde hair. "Richard, Ah' wanted t'believe you, Ah' really did. But you fool me once, well that's mah own goddamned fault. You fool me twice, guess' only Danny's ever pulled that one off. Unless you got yourself a golden goose that's gonna squat out a shint future for me, Ah' ain't interested."

"You'd rather sit here and drink yourself unconscious… and maybe next time you'll bleed to death on your floor?" Your floor?

The shadow sighs, a hiss like sifting sand, patters of shadow moving over the glass, "It wasn't bullshit, Kain. And you know damn well I'm your only chance to get out of this ahead, or you wouldn't have murdered your entire god-damn liquor cabinet…"

"Prove it." Kain snarls back at the shadow— he's arguing with a goddamned shadow— "Prove one goddamned word of anything you're saying. Gimme one good reason why Ah' should trust your spook ass more than mah liquir cabinet? At least mah booze ain't lied to me about what it wants, it knocks me on mah ass and Ah' know what Ah'm gettin' mah'self into." The low grumbling quality of Kain's voice accompanies his stalking across the floor again towards that tattered black mass of shadows.

"Gimmie one thing, one single piece a'goddamned proof, Richard. Then maybe— just maybe Ah'll know you ain't full'a shit."

"Very well." Very well.

That said, the shadows writhe downwards from the window, tattered darkness beginning to spill through the cracks that divide Kain Zarek's penthouse from the outside world.

There's a blink from Kain, mouth hanging open slightly as he looks around his apartment. Silence sae for the humming of his refrigerator causes him to look around at the dark corners of the room. "Rr— Richard?" Kain turns to look over his shoulder, to one window, then over to the frosted glass of his front doors, then back to the kitchen. "Richard?"

He didn't expect him to agree.

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