The Monster Inside


samson_icon.gif sibyl4_icon.gif

Scene Title The Monster Inside
Synopsis After sealing Eve Mas in an abandoned well outside the old Farm Colony, Samson drags Sibyl back to his lair for questioning and makes his plans for Walter Trafford clear.
Date April 3, 2018

The Ruins of Staten Island

Legs kicking, hands clawing at a grasp that is intangible, Sibyl Black is hauled through the thickets of Staten Island away from the Farm Colony. The dilapidated buildings give way to the overgrown wilderness of the Greenbelt. Leaves and dirt collect in her hair and clothes as she is hauled behind an ambulatory cloud of black and gray smoke that leaves her streaked with ashes as much as she is nature. Branches snap and crack as she moves, skidding and occasionally bouncing off of smaller pieces of debris; deadfallen trees and felled pine branches.

At one point Sibyl’s captor crosses a road, with fissures in the asphalt where grass grows up, tall and leafless trees bare for winter and few pines interspersed between them. Their dark branches contrast against the slate gray of the sky overhead, as clouds have consumed the morning clarity. They cross the road, from one woodline to the next, and Sibyl is once again dragged through the forest. This rapid path of sometimes dragging sometimes levitation only ends after several minute of rapid flight away from where Eve had been sealed in the well.

It ends at a dilapidated house with partly collapsed roof and blue tarp covering the doors and windows. Sibyl isn’t dragged to the rotting porch, but rather dragged around the side of the house where smoke begins to funnel through an open basement window. As the smoke slithers in through the opening it begins to draw her in toward that pitch black basement.

Sibyl’s fingers leave deep grooves in the earth where she hooks her claws in, desperately trying to find an anchor to latch onto even if her hands come away with fistfuls of mud, torn ferns, and last year’s leaves instead. At some point she stopped screaming, either because she’s realized that the only person who can hear her is trapped at the bottom of the well, or because her throat is too raw to produce anything except for a low keening sound that rises in pitch as she’s swallowed up by the basement window.

Her nails catch on its frame in one last attempt to cling on to the outside world. Predictably, the wood crumbles. She disappears into the basement with a breathless gasp.

Below, her shoulder connects with the concrete before her head does, cushioning her skull from the fall. Darkness crowds her vision, and she can’t be sure whether she’s losing consciousness or if it’s simply the absence of light. Residue from the negation gas still clings to her exposed skin and the wild tangle of her ashy blonde hair, which doesn’t look blonde anymore. Blood and filth streak it black and leave greasy smudges on her face, making her blue eyes stand out like twin moons in the dark.

The basement smells dangerously of gasoline and cigarettes, of mold and rotting wood. The only light, a thin shaft coming through the broken basement window, shines down on a bare patch of concrete beside Sibyl. A single piece of clover grows up between fissures in the stone.

She can see hints of something moving beyond the edge of sight, clouds of smoke and ash swirling stationary like a slowly churning hurricane. But that too fades, leaving only the faint suggestion of a man. “What are you?” Asks a wheezing voice in the darkness.

I don’t know.” Sibyl’s voice is small, hoarse, bleating, and Samson can feel the cause of this uncertainty. Under the influence of the chemicals coursing like venom through her bloodstream, psychic energy roils and gutters inside of her like a flame on the verge of being extinguished. It licks out at him in search of weakness, testing to see whether he presses back or shrinks away, but whatever it discovers there has it recede back into itself rather than attack.

He hasn’t seen an ability ever interact with negation drugs like that before.

It’s growing weaker, rapidly losing its intensity with every moment until it’s reduced to the equivalent of a single coal glowing in the pit of her chest, behind her eyes, or wherever souls are supposed to reside. Sibyl doesn’t know the answer to that, either. Tears carve tracks down her cheeks and expose the more pale, freckled skin beneath the grime.

“I could find out,” Samson admits as he steps into the light, ashes drifting off of his tattered sweater and button down shirt. His beard looks dusty for it all. “But then you’d never know the answer.” He is lean in the way stray animals are, weary how someone who has been hospitalized is, sick in the way people who are dying are.

Looming over her, his eyes are narrowed in scrutiny. “The drugs will wear off,” is as much of an assurance as he's willing to make. “The only reason you're finding that out, here, instead of” he motions to the window, “at the bottom of a well is I want to know something.”

“Something I need you alive to know.” Samson slowly looks down at Sibyl, rather than regarding her down the bridge of his nose. “You said her name.” Reddened eyes narrow, and he wonders to himself a mystery. Then, one weary hand raised to his beard his voice cracks as he asks one question of Sibyl.

“Is— is my Natalie still alive?” Gone is the monster, and all that remains is a dying old man on the verge of tears, talking to a child about a delusion.

Sibyl draws her limbs into herself, knees fit snug against her chest. Pain deepens the lines on her face and intensifies the shadows in the hollows under her eyes and the troughs of her cheekbones — that the drugs will wear off soon is of little consolation. Her entire frame is wracked by violent tremors. She looks like she might wretch.

“You killed her,” should sound like an accusation, but it isn’t. It just bubbles out on the end of a hiccuping sob, abrupt and wet. “I don’t know,” she says again, “I don’t know if anybody taught her how to go to pieces.”

She’s interrupted by an involuntary shudder that pinches her eyes shut and has her doubling over in pain, bent at the middle like a collapsed marionette. Her shoulders spasm with each breath, the next which she must struggle to find. “There were so many.” Tears and maybe a little saliva spatter the concrete floor. “So many pieces. Too birds, too many pieces.”

Natalie loved her birds.

That Sibyl knows what happened haunts Samson in ways he hadn't expected it to. He recoils from her as if struck by something, a hand going to his head as he jerks away into the darkness. The gesture is followed by the disembodied sounds of wheezing, hacking coughs and fitful gasps of breath. He’d forgotten his oxygen tank back in the farm colony in all of the rage.

Samson appears back from the darkness with hunched shoulders and wide eyes. That his lips are pink with blood isn't a concern of his at the moment. “She's gone,” he admits in a ragged voice. “Just like my boy’s love. Gone. Gone.” Running fingers through his hair, Samson slowly crouches down on the floor and buries his head against his knees, and makes an anguished and nearly animalistic cry to the ground.

Sibyl’s eyes rise to meet Samson’s now that they’re on the same level. She swallows hard and focuses on the shape of his face: proud nose and high, masculine cheekbones. What she sees there softens her own grim expression and encourages her to wrest control back over her own breathing.

It slows. Her shoulders rise, fall, the tremors gradually stretching further and further apart like contractions in reverse. “I’m sorry,” she says, and although her voice still sounds choked and raw, it possesses a resolve that wasn’t there before. “I can help you. I can help—”

Her fingers clench, clutching at her sides. She leans further forward into her legs. “You have to put them back. Pieces fit— Pieces fit together.”

Samson misunderstands. He slowly lifts his head, dragging his hands down his face, eyes puffy and red and grime from the floor streaked across his cheeks and into his beard. In a crouch her creeps over to her, moving fully into the light. His movements are like a jerky marionette, with his long and thin limbs and emancipated torso.

“I'm sick,” Samson explains, but not in the way he really is. “Cancer. It was in remission, but…” now it's back. “I'm dying. I need… a healer, someone who regenerates. I need those pieces, and all…” a momentarily manic smile flashes across Samson’s lips as he reaches out with grimy fingers toward Sibyl’s face. “All I need is a name. That's all. Just one.” She can smell the cigarette sickness on his breath again.

“I have to get better. Or I won't be strong enough when the boy is ready.” Nothing Samson says now makes any sense. “I can't stop myself if I'm not strong enough to get the boy.” His smile turns into a battle against crying. “I have to stop myself.

Sibyl allows Samson’s hand to touch her face. Mud comes away on the tips of his fingers. The wetness of her tears, too, and the heat of her cheek beneath. She does not flinch away in the practiced way people are taught to when staring down a hungry animal in the wild.

No sudden movements.

When she lifts her hand, it’s with sluggish deliberation. Her palm settles on the backs of his knuckles. “What are you going to do to him?” she asks, blinking away tears. Her blue eyes are bright but puffy, swollen around their rims. “What are you going to do with the boy?”

It's a question no one has ever asked Samson, mostly because no one had ever heard that pipe dream. “I'll go back to when it all went wrong,” is Samson’s start, but thinking on that makes him wander, makes his words slur into nostalgia. “I used to be… terrifying.” Past tense. “Young, strong. I could chase a man down through the woods like he was a stag and that was before I had my abilities…”

Samson’s eyes wander, brows furrowed. “I was so clever, so clean. No one knew what I was. Not… not until…” his eyes search some middle distance, and he remembers where he was going with all of this. “I'm going to go back… back to when it all went wrong. I'm going to stop myself and— and save her…”

Then, Samson’s eyes grow wide. “I'll bring her back here, so he can finally— so he can have his mother. Then— then maybe he’ll forgive me.”

Sibyl’s fingers curl around Samson’s hand. His eyes may wander, but hers remain fixed and attentive. She listens intently to what he’s saying and lets his words be the anchor that everything she’d attempted to grab onto on the way here could not. It keeps her focused.

It keeps her present.

Samson.” His name sounds worn and familiar. “You can’t take a child from his mother.” She removes his hand from her cheek and cradles it between hers. “Not even so your son— not even so he can have his.”

Her grip on Samson’s hand goes slack. “It doesn’t work like that.”

There's silence, first, then regret and something darker. The stark light spreading from the window makes Samson’s face look like a bearded skull, eye sockets deep and dark. “I'd venture to say that's precisely how the world works,” comes as bitter opinion. “It rips people apart, uses them, and throws their husk aside to be forgotten when it's done.”

Samson’s lips pull back into a yellow smile. “The world’s a cruel and awful place, girl. Look where you're at right now and tell me this is how it's supposed to work.” One of his hands lifts up, two fingers slowly pointed toward her. “What world would let me do what I do? If it had any say in the matter.”

But the pain does not come, and Samson’s threat merely bluster. He lowers that hand and the two fingers aimed at Sibyl’s brow, slinking back into the basement’s darkness. “My boy is all I have left,” his voice echoes from the darkness. “Who would you kill for the people you love?”

Sibyl tries to summon their faces. There’s Epstein, of course, run down and haggard like an old hunting dog with drooping ears, limping toward his retirement on a farm somewhere. She can’t decide whether the affection she feels for John Logan is love or something else.

The rest is a haze, but within reach in a way she hasn’t felt for a long time. If she closes her eyes, and she does, she can almost see what’s on the other side of it. Under the effects of the negation gas, which last roughly eight minutes and are rapidly ticking away, she might even be able to break the rest of the way apart and—

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