The Incident


finney_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title The Incident
Synopsis An ordinary night in Harlem turns into a terrifying event when an unexplained phenomenon causes a disaster.
Date July 14, 2010

Hamilton Heights Apartments

In the brightly lit streets of Harlem, the brick-faced tenement buildings all seem to blend together after a while. Street after street of black wrought-iron fire escapes, tall, narrow windows and sidewalk access doors all seem to be one cookie-cutter facade after another. Hamilton Heights is just one among many of these kinds of apartment buildings, and from the outside it could be mistaken for any number of other residential apartment buildings up and down the island of Manhattan.

Four stories above street level, the dimly lit confines of apartment 503 shows little signs of residency. Minimal furniture pushed back against the walls, a few older issues of newspapers draped over coffee tables, and a cobweb draped tall lamp sitting in the corner of the apartment by the door. The residence of Lawson Finney is a quiet one, its blinds drawn down over the windows, chain locked on the door and twin deadblots slid into the frame.

Only the distant sound of the shower running adjacent to the living room disturbs the sedate silence.

One floor up in apartment 603, Michael and Lisa Parker are sound asleep, the apartment lights darkened and only the distant thumping of a neighbor's radio breaking the stillness of their home. A single radio clock in the living room sheds pale blue light over their leather sofa and glass topped coffee table, a copy of the New York Times spread out across its surface.

Through the wall, past old wiring and dusty insulation, apartment 602 is a brightly lit counterpart. Two lamps glow against the brick faced walls and city lights shine through the tall windows onto the hardwood floors. Monica Dawson is a day sleeper, a night owl, whatever the common nomenclature is these days. In the light spilling through one of the windows, her cell phone remains a distant reminder of a phone call she just had a few hours prior with a relative she'd long thought dead and gone.

She was half right.

Sweeping through the wall dividing Apartment 603 from Apartment 604, where the thumping bass from a small stereo carries through the walls to Monica's apartment. Here, Shelly Winbrook bounces on socked feet across the hardwood floor through her small kitcheneyye, red hair wound up in a ponytail and skillet sizzling with an extremely late dinner.

The raucous noise of her radiod rowns out all other sounds in the apartment, even her off-key singing that she gladly belts out over the sizzle and pop of her stove and the droning noise of her air conditioner humming away in the window. Oblivious to the outside world, to the street below and the noise of the elevator chiming in the hall, Shelly Winbrook even fails to notice the shadow of feet passing in front of her apartment door.

In all other ways, it just seems like any other night in Harlem.

scrape scrape scrape

Finney walks back and forth across the floor of his sparse abode. Every few seconds or so, a twitch, head pulling to the right just as quick as he relaxes, chewing on a thumbnail as he stares at his wall and the conglomeration of pictures and pieces of paper, this and that taped and pinned there. There's very little nail that he can chew on, but he does and if anyone could see him now, they might be more afraid of him than Melissa had been when she was in the ring with him.

He's oblivious to the possible ongoings upstairs, annoyed with his neighbour who seems to have the shower on FOREVER and it almost has him desirous of squeezing under their door and giving them a piece of his mind as to who in the fuck showers at 2am.

But he gets distracted again, stepping in towards his wall, tapping some spot on a map that's taped up there and mumbling to himself.

Normally, this is about the time when Monica would be roof hopping or the like (she's too ninja to care about curfew >.>), but tonight, she sits on her bed, perfectly still but for the drum of her fingers against the covers. It's been an eventful summer so far. D.L. isn't dead, Micah's… disembodied, but alive. Next thing you know, Elvis will end up living next door and Jimmy Hoffa will be her landlord. The music doesn't seem to bother her, not tonight anyway, she too distracted with her own thoughts.

To think that this year was only going to get weirder probably might be a surprise to Monica.

Over the sound of the radio's muffled bass beat coming through her wall, Monica is oblivious to the events transpiring in the adjacent apartment, much in the same way that Finney one floor down is unaware of what may very well be happening just one floor up from him as the Parkers sleep soundly in their beds, heedless of the immediate danger they've all been placed in.

It begins just as the clock in Monica's apartment clicks over to 2:13am, a low vibration like a passing elevated subway. There's a route that runs right through Harlem and the shaking those elevated cars cause is familiar by now, familiar enough that the beginnings of the tremor go unnoticed. Before the clock can even strike a furhter minute, though, the shaking jumps from a low vibration fo a full on rumbling that rattles pictures off of Monica's shelves, sends her phone skittering off of the table and onto the floor and rattles her windows noisily in their frames.

One floor down, Lawson Finney's apartment shakes like an earthquake, pictures and photographs rustle on the cork-board they've been pinned to, and the nail the board hangs on rattles right out of the wall. There's a noise that comes with the vibrations though, a loud crackling snap, an electrical discharge that sounds like a blown electrical transformer on a power line, except that it seems to be coming from all the windows of the apartment, where flashing lights shine from somewhere one floor above.

"Oh god, oh god it's another earthquake!" Lisa screams as she jolts out of her bed one floor above Finney's, her bare feet hitting down on the hardwood floor, hustling in the dark towards the doorway to her bedroom. Michael rolls out of bed, half awake and stumbling towards the sound of his wife's voice.

"Easy— easy, calm down it— " Michael's attention turns to his bedroom window, eyes going wide as he watches an unearthly purple-white glow flickering past the windows, and what he sees next has a hoarse sound sucking back wind into his throat as he breathily voices, "Oh, my God."

Brilliant, scintillating shades of purple and white light are banding through Monica's apartment along with that humming snap of electricity as the building shakes and quakes, cracks forming in the brick walls of her apartment and a hazy distortion seen out her apartment window. There's— something— there's something outside of her apartment window…

Paranoia. It has Finney twitching uncontrollably as his cork board hits the ground, the building shaking and things being not as they should be. THe light by the windows draws him, shuffle running over towards it, fingers gripping his window and attempting to lever it open even as sunken eye's with their naturally dark under eye's try to peer up and out.

It isn't until that shaking intensifies that Monica's attention lifts from her own lap. Whoa. She moves toward the center of the bed, to avoid all the junk falling off the walls. But then, there's this light. Shading her eyes, she looks out her window, her brows furrowing as she catches that distortion. Crawling off the bed, she reaches under the bed for a baseball bat she just happens to keep close by, and then she moves toward the window for a closer look at… whatever it is.

The Washington Monument

For the barest of moments, visible through a curtain of luminous haze out of both Monica Dawson and Lawson Finney's windows. They can clearly see the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool, the silhouette of the Capitol Building and the Washington D.C. skyline super-imposed over Harlem. Then, a moment later, there's a thunderous shake that jostles the floor so hard it nearly sends Monica onto her backside, were it not for catlike reflexes and an athletic physique.

Bracing herself from the shaking, there's another loud cracking noise as brickwork on her apartment wall cracks ande crumples, then splits open to reveal a fissue in the wall where pipes break and wiring tears in sparking pops. Brilliant bands of purple and white light surge through the crack in her wall, and for the barest of moments she can hear a woman screaming.

A floor below, in Finney's apartment, there's a splitting sound as plaster falls down on his head by the window. Up on the ceiling of the apartment, the plaster is cracking, wood is flexing and snapping and it looks like the entire apartment building is being torn apart at the seams. The low electric buzzing becomes louder, deeper in bass tone as the apartment building continues to shimmy and shake and pull apart.

As the ceiling breaks open, water showers down into Finney's apartment from ruptured pipes, and he is left staring up into the Parker's living room. Screaming from Lisa Parker and her husband are clearly heard now, and Finney can see them both standing terrified in the doorway of their bedroom, Michael's arms wrapped around his wife, that purple-white light shining brightly through their apartment windows.

Ceiling hitting you does cause pain, and he certainly feels it. What he's seeing though, is wholly… unusual. When his home starts breaking apart, the upstairs very much visible through his ceiling and sees his upstairs neighbours who are huddled against each other, he's already going up up up, stretching an arm then the other in search of a handhold so he can poke his own head up through the ceiling and look towards their window.

Monica jumps back, crouching low to the ground as she watches the crack form in the apartment building. And the Washington Monument. Funny… she doesn't remember getting high. The scream lifts her attention and she backs up to make a running leap across the crack to get out the door. To find whoever that came from, of course.

When Monica bursts out of her apartment and into the hall, there's a crack running down the middle of the hallway, up one wall and across the ceiling where it looks like the building is being pulled apart at the seams. The door to apartment 604 is closed, but there's flashes of purple and white light shining through the space beneath the door, and from apartment 603 there's more screaming, both Michael and Lisa Parker's terrified howls.

Their screaming is not just from the situation, but from watching their downstairs neighbor's distended muscles sliding beneath rubbery skin as his twelve foot long arms pull up through the crack in the floor, long bony joints lifting him up like some sort of hairless spider. Lisa's face is one of abject terror as she watches Finney rise up through the crack in the floor where their apartment is tearing in half.

A moment later, there is a noisy, rumbling pulse of that electrical energy, followed by a flash so bright that it is blinding in both the hallway and the Parkers' apartment.

All the noise stops.

Everything is white.

As vision comes back, fading slowly from the flash, Monica and Finney both can smell the scent of burning. There's no fire though, not here in Hamilton heights, but the breeze blowing through the open sky certainly has something to do with matters. Three feet away from where Finney has pulled himself up through the floor, an entire corner of the apartment building is missing, sheared away like butter cut with a knife, leaving a blackened, charred edge glowing with hot embers.

It's all Monica can see as well, with her back pressed up against the sixth floor hallway, staring out and the street. Her apartment is gone as is both of her neighbor's apartments. Loose papers flutter in the air, one of them on fire, drifting on the warm summer breeze. A smooth cut along the floor of the hallway is blackened on the edge, glowing orange on the inside and hot. It looks like an entire spherical section of the sixth floor of Hamilton Heights just… disappeared into thin air.

That both Monica and Finney can hear police sirens isn't surprising. All things considered.


Finney turns his head in the direction to where the sirens come from. Cops are not good. Not in the least. Down he hops through where he just came, still blinking from what he saw, seeing spots. Through the rubble that's falling into his place, he's digging up the cork board, ripping off the papers, pictures, map, everything he needs from the board. He's not sticking around, he can't risk sticking around. Just a glance up, towards the apartment that used to be there, then back to his own belongings.

"What the hell New York! Seriously!" Monica seems to be shouting this to the universe in general as she presses into that wall. It's only six floors down… she could probably Jackie Chan that. And since her whole apartment is gone… well, she doesn't have to stop to pick anything up. Slipping down, she starts swinging herself downward from floor to floor.

They're gone, the Parkers that is; they and the lion's share of their apartment. That's Finney's first assessment before he starts to slink back down into the apartment, only to find something catch his eyes.


Two pair of legs, still partly sheathed in cotton pajama bottoms, cauterized at mid thigh and smoking where they fell. The Parkers are gone, or at least most of them are. Whatever it is that took them was indiscriminate about the remainder that was left behind.

As Finney slithers back down through the crack in the floor like some disjointed monster into his damp and plaster-strewn apartment, Monica Dawson climbs down the open face of the apartment ubilding where 604 once was, using a cauterized water pipe as a brace, swinging down to a window ledge, then bouncing onto an awning before leaping across to a tree planted in the sidewalk, then drops down from the branch onto street level.

Only once her sneakers hit the sidewalk does she notice people just onw beginning to come out of neighboring apartment buildings, cars stopping on the street and people looking up att he corner of the building taken out like a spherical cookie cutter.

There won't be any hiding this incident from the local papers.

But right now, there's no telling what the headline will be.

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