The Spiral's Completion, Part I


bai-chan_icon.gif brian_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif stanley_icon.gif

Also featuring:


Scene Title The Spiral's Completion, Part I
Synopsis Except that spirals don't. The Monster finds his way to the Lighthouse. While he goes to find what he came for, his new friends try to reap the benefits of chaos.
Date March 26, 2009

The Lighthouse

Rain was coming down like solid silver sheets not so long ago, but now the sky has dried up above them, a hazy, smoggy cloud covered the eternal black of night. The truck growls and rumbles down a dirt road, rocking to and fro as if it were a boat navigating the choppy seas. Two men sit in the cab of the truck, silent, nondescript Staten Island thug life. They should probably be talking about what they're supposed to be doing. Conspicuously enough, they aren't.

The sky flashes with lightning, turning it, for a moment, an electric, ambiguous grey.

There's a third man, and he sits in the back of the truck, exposed to the elements and seemingly uncaring. His long legs sprawl out in front of him, clad in jeans that have seen better days and boots of the same nature. A sweater reeking of unpleasant scents - cigarette smoke, dirt, sweat, and things even more invasively biological - and a coat over that. His head is bowed, silver hair cropped, face weathered. Breathing comes at a saw-edge rasp.

He rocks a little when the truck comes to a halt in the cover of rural Staten Island greenbelt. The sound of the truck's doors punctuate the new silence, and he lifts his head to regard the two thugs, one defined by the glow of his cigarette and the other not really making eye contact. Then, with more agility than a man of his age should possess, he swings himself out of the back of the truck without a word, and starts his stomping, loping walk downhill. The two thugs glance at each other. They could leave. Take the truck and go and what difference would it make?

Then, the one with the cigarette takes a last drag, and the smoldering item abruptly crumbles into dust between his fingers. "Let's get this over with," Stanley tells his companion, and starts after the being they only know as Monster, companion following suit.

The Lighthouse is towards the bottom of the hill, and it won't take much time to get there at all.

Someone, somewhere, is using taps. In a lighthouse full of fiendish ragamuffins, such is to be expected. Unfortunately, the expectation of a shower that regularly winds from just the right amount of hot to jump into the tiled wall cold doesn't actually make it less irritating, and whoever it is doesn't seem keen on getting to bed any time soon. Deckard's shower is therefore shorter than it might be otherwise, and it isn't long before he's dry, deoderanted, repantsed, and pulling a dark grey t-shirt down over his damp head.

Surrounded by guns, guns, and more guns, muzzles bristling matte black and steel grey at every turn, he hooks a finger through the sprawl of his holster across his cot, tests the weight, and lets it fall again. Does he really need to be armed and dangerous to get a glass of milk before he finishes getting ready and heads out for the night? He gives the question more thought than he should, standing there dumbly at his bedside for a good minute before he scrubs a hand up over his head, standing slow-drying hair up in a bramble of unlikely directions as he turns for the door. A backwards sweep of the same hand forces it down into a more orderly arrangement while he creaks his way up the stairs. Tooo the kitchen

Someone once told Eileen that the best way to learn a new language is to immerse oneself in it, and while she'd like nothing more than to understand the youth sitting beside her in the tower, she's decided that it's more practical to teach him English than it is for her to pick up Mandarin — even if he has difficulty grasping most of the words that come out of her mouth. Ultimately, the words themselves are unimportant. What matters most are the thoughts and feelings, the emotion of what they're meant to convey.

If he's anything like his father, he'll understand.

One slender arm drapes across the back of Bai-Chan's neck and shoulders, the bone-white fingers of her attached hand rolling an cigarette between them. It's the same stick gifted to her by Teodoro Laudani several days prior, yet unused and unlit, degraded considerably by the time spent tumbling around in her coat pocket and abused to the point where the paper has begun to peel and crack, exposing damp flecks of spoilt tobacco.

Her detailed if softly-spoken description of the time Wu-Long taught her how to float eggs is interrupted by the truck's encroaching rumble, tapers off into a prolonged stretch of silence that's as palpable as Eileen is attentive.

A cursory glance out the window allows her eyes to confirm what her ears thought they heard, and she is immediately grateful that Bai-Chan chose the tower for their roost tonight. Brian didn't tell them to be expecting company.

"Hey hey,"

The cabinet under the sink opens so Brian can toss some trash away. Kameron had to go back and check on something or other at her apartment in Chinatown. So it leaves just him, him, and him to watch the lighthouse. Well, him and Deckard. Who doesn't really count as an adult. So the replicator is playing the role of the single parent, cleaning up everything after everyone has more or less settled down for the evening. Not that Kameron is an ace at cleaning anyway. But she tries, which is very sweet.

"You, you" He sings, the words distorted by the half a cookie being torn to itty bits in his mouth. The towl is rinsed quickly in the sink before the young man starts to scrub away on the kitchen counter. The rest of his cookie is held loosely in his hand is dropped on the ground. And being that the room is fairly dark, it falls to the task for him to get to his knees (after mumbling and interrupting his song,) to find the last half of cookie. "I don't like your girlfriend~."

It smells of water and old wood. And now human presence. The tower is a good place to go, to look, and lately, Bai-Chan's headed up there more and more. He listens with more patience than a child his age should have, possibly due to the late hour, curled up against Eileen as she talks about things he only loosely understands. He might not get the words, or the story itself, but he gets the most important thing.

She speaks of his father. Five conquering dragons. Warrior.

He can feel her glance for the window, the slightest movement registering enough for him to rock his weight away from her. After a moment, he unfolds his long legs out from under him and gets to his feet, moving for the window and pressing his hands against the glass, enough so that clearly defined fingerprints will be left in its wake. The end of his nose even touches the cold surface.

And down below are three shadows, muttering to one another. Or at least, two are hanging back and muttering, the third standing at the door, staring at it as if it were something he's not sure he can conquer. There's a snikt as a pistol in the hands of one of the two thugs is checked, before he's elbowing past his companion towards where the old man stares blindly at the door.

"Here," Stanley says, gruffly, reaching out a hand to place against the surface, just beside the handle. Nothing happens for a moment. before silently, the paint starts to crumble and flake like a desert surface, falling away, and the wood beneath that begins to break down into splinters. He urges his hand through the hole and gently, locates the lock. The slightest of clicks later, and the door pushes open. "There you go, old timer."

"I don't have a girlfriend." A tall, glowy-eyed shadow in the open rectangle of the kitchen doorway, Deckard breaks the silence of his standing there a few seconds after Brian sets to fumbling around on his knees after a wasted cookie. For the second night in a row he's managed to stay sober all day with the promise of a booze break after hours. It shows in the way he holds himself: more upright, more aware. Add in the regular showering and it's almost like he's a human being.

Skeptical of Brian's disapproval of a girlfriend that he doesn't have, he gives the younger man a ghastly version of the fisheye on his way to the refrigerator. Warm light spills across the kitchen floor when he tugs the door open to retrieve one of the cartons inside, then nips off again when he nudges it shut with his elbow. "Is the crap in the dishwasher clean or dirty?"

Fear can either run hot or it can run cold, and Eileen's veins are gradually turning to ice. Her stomach drops, sinks all the way to the floor, though the outward expression she wears on her face remains guarded and neutral except for a flicker of something unidentifiable moving at the corner of her mouth. She takes Bai-Chan's shoulders in both her hands, the cigarette dangling between two of her fingers, and gently removes him from the window. "No," she murmurs, her voice thick in his ear, "wait."

Rising from her seat, she looks back over her shoulder at the stairwell in the yawning doorway behind them, pitch black but for the faintest glow emanating from the first floor below. She should shout. Bleat out a warning. The only problem is that Brian and Deckard wouldn't be the only ones to hear it.

"Stay here," she tells Bai-Chan in the firmest, most somber tone she can muster. All things considered, it isn't very difficult. "I'll be right back."

"Of course you don't." Brian says, that was never in question. Eyeing the fallen cookie Brian takes a deep breath that goes straight into a pout then a obligatory four second silence for the wasting of half a cookie. Pushing himself up to his feet the young man lets out a loud obnoxious yawn. Going back to the trash, Brian reluctantly tosses the remnants of the cookie before straightning. "Clean, wait no, dirty." His brows draw down as he considers the dishwasher. "Maybe clean actually.." He turns his head, looking over at Deckard. "Look at them, can't you see little specks with your special eyeballs."

Taking a few steps out of the kitchen and towards the family room and front door, Brian takes a look at all the couches and bean bags. Perfect. "Kameron would be proud of me if she could see how awesomely I made this all look." The man states as he goes to turn, though his eyes catch on the door through the darkness.

"I-" Hm. Didn't he close that door? A step is taken forward…

Bai-Chan turns towards Eileen as she stands up, gives her clear instructions that even he can understand. His eyes are wide, forehead creased into worry, before he only nods and makes to sit down, cross legged, on the floor that needs some cleaning.

That lasts about three seconds after Eileen has left to give her warning. She might hear, above her, the faintest of creaks, and then the more definite slamming of the hatch being neglected to close on its own. Should she investigate, the room will be empty, Bai-Chan off to give a warning of his own. Should she continue, well, then they both have jobs to do.


There's the sound of footsteps, quite suddenly, to Brian's left. The flap of a coat, the harsh draw of breath, and out his periphery, a shadow the shape of a man suddenly launches himself out of the corner he was hiding in and disappears around the corner.

Around the corner that leads to the dormitories upstairs.

There's a click as a hammer on a gun is pulled back, this time from Brian's right. An unshaven man in a leather jacket casually points a gun at the caretaker, lifting an eyebrow. Don't move.

No argument as to the necessity of the 'of course.' Deckard's expression flattens a little, mouth slanted thin beneath the level of his brows while he reaches up to draw a fresh glass out of the nearest cabinet. Of course he doesn't have a girlfriend. Blunt annoyance exhaled in a sigh, he thumbs the carton open and tips it over the glass, only to hesitate before the stuff actually starts pouring.

Rapid movement beyond the kitchen, a blur of bone through studs and nails. The resident crook's pupils contract, focus adjusting to pierce the wall, all the way to the gun pointing itself at Brian, and the man pointing the gun. "You're shitting me." But no. Nobody is. Milk set aside, he braces both hands against the counter to frown down at the various utensiles roosting in drawers beneath it. Eeny meeny miny moe.

Eileen moves with the swiftness of a jungle cat, though dread has robbed her body of all grace and poise. Her flat-clad feet fly down the stairs in ungainly leaps and bounds, which would be considerably louder if she wasn't the smallest adult in the building and several inches shorter than some of the Lighthouse's teenage charges. When she reaches the halfway point, however, she slows, caution taking hold.

She has two available weapons in her arsenal. The first: Ethan's pistol, nestled against her breast on the inside of her coat. The second: her ability. Utilizing the tangible one first, her fingers close around the pistol's grip, frees it of the leather holster she wears.

The birds are trickier and will expend more time and effort. Her eyes hood, consciousness reaching out to every feathered presence she can feel for a quarter-mile, not yet rallying. Eileen told Bai-Chan to wait — she'd be wise to take her own advice until she can get a handle on what's going on at the bottom of the stairs.

Brian's brow goes wide. Damnit. Someone's in the house, as he starts to spring in the action, that universal click suggests he pause. Fuck. Damnit. How could this happen?! Not only was he weaponless, he was copyless. His lips pull down in annoyance as his hands go up in compliance. "Alright." He concedes, his hands stretching out. "Listen, you can take what you want. I'll even get it for you okay? We can give you money, just call down your man from upstairs. We have kids up there, okay? Bring your man back down and I'll give you all you want, alright?" He tries to sound soothing and reasonable. Though it might not be working.

His eyes slide over to Deckard slowly then back to the man with the gun. Out of Brian's back, a hand slithers out. One of the more creepier aspects of Brian's ability. Flesh sliding out of flesh, the backhand points clearly at Deckard then distinctly and urgently points at the stairwell going up to the kids. Twice. And then the hand is reabsorbed back into Brian's body. "Let's talk about this."

"Yeah let's talk about this," Stanley says, keeping his distance from Brian and keeping that gun trained on him. Deckard in the kitchen and Eileen in the stairwell seem to escape his notice, pale eyes trained on Brian and a slightly manic, adrenaline-junky smile pulling at his mouth. "We're gonna work together, because if we wait any longer, your little ones upstairs are gonna be the ones that suffer, alright?"

A step forward is taken, but keeping out of range. The gun never leaves its aim at Brian's chest. "You're gonna get me money. And if you don't have enough to keep me interested, you're gonna think really fast. Because the longer we're down here— "

The sound of a door slamming up above them makes Stanley glance up and give a rasping chuckle. "The longer you don't get to save your kids. You think I can control the motherfucker up there? No way man, he's your problem now."

A hand just came out of Brian's back. Deckard saw it. It pointed at him. Then it pointed to the stairs. Chilly eyes lifted up through the ceiling, he finishes wrapping bony fingers around the wooden handle of a kitchen knife and leaves the rest of the drawer open. His eyes go dark, falling blank into the shadow that defines most everything downstairs at the moment.

It'd be really, really easy to just lock himself in the basement. Except then Brian might set it on fire or pump gas under the crack or any of one thousand other terrible things. He kind of owes him a few favors besides. So it is that 6'2" of Deckard goes creeping out of the kitchen and along the wall for the upstairs, drab taste in clothing coloration potentially working to his advantage for once in his life.

The sound of a hammer being pulled back penetrates the stillness in the air. A moment later, Eileen's shape comes into view at the bottom of the tower stairwell. As usual, she doesn't cut a very intimidating figure — the pistol she has leveled with the back of Stanley's head is the most ominous thing about her, though the narrowed slits of her gray-green eyes gleaming faintly in the dim light come close second.

She counts only one, and there were three in the truck. Judging from the broken fragments of conversation that drifted up to her on the way down the stairs, punctuated by the slam of a door, one of them has already sequestered himself in the dormitories. That leaves the third still unaccounted for.

"Drop it."

"What?" Brian asks blankly, peering at Stanley through the darkness. "You brought some crazy axe murderer to an orphanage?!" The young man stares daggers at the man with the gun. Though his eyes go through the darkness as Deckard vanishes from where he was a second ago. Either he went back into the basement and Brian will be stabbitystabbing his stupid x-ray vision out later, or he's gone upstairs. Brian chooses to believe the latter, so he has some time. If Deckard's doing what he's supposed to, then Brian shouldn't have to do a naked kamikaze to get rid of this guy. "Okay. The safe is in my room. Follow me."

As Brian turns, his hands still up he walks directly to the counter, once again an extra hand shooting out of his front whilst his back is to gunman. The hand quickly scrabbles for the rolling pin resting on the counter, tucking it into the front of Brian's pants it is reabsorbed as the replicator makes his slow stroll for the room. Come on Deckard.

Oh hey! It's Eileen. Hey Eileen. Brian stops as the second hammer is pulled, looking over his shoulder to watch and see if the man will actually obey. If not, it's about to be rolling pin justice…

Stanley takes steps after Brian, holding that gun still level for the expanse of the man's back. Cal it luck, call it angles, but Deckard's escape for the stairwell goes completely unnoticed— especially when that feminine voice gives him that firm instruction. His head turns just enough to see the blurred figure of someone pointing a gun, a language he can understand, and he gives another smoker's chuckle.

Miraculously, he obeys, first holding his hands up above his shoulders where she can see them, before letting the weapon fall with a heavy thunk on the ground. "You really wanna waste time down here, little girl?" he says, even if his gaze is trained on Brian.

Suddenly, a scream sounds out from upstairs, and the unmistakable cry of "Brian! Brian!"

But a more immediate sound, far more present and far louder. A gun fires, not from Eileen's and certainly not from Stanley's dropped weapon, but from the shadowed figured of the third man at the door way. The bullet punctures the wall where Deckard was before the wiry crook had fled upstairs, and without regard to those in the room, Stanley's silent companion points his gun at Eileen as if in warning, even as he's running to pursue Deckard up the staircase.

Deckard is pretty familiar with the procedure of running the fuck away from a bad situation. Sometimes into an even worse one. Kind of like right now.

His creep eases into a faster-paced creep, and then an all-out bolt when Eileen makes her appearance, gun and all. By the time the third corner of the triangle has made his presence known, the grave robber is boogying his way up the stairs two at a time, eyes ablaze. "Fuck fuck fuck fuck…"

The crack of a gunshot causes Eileen's entire body to tense — including the finger she has around the trigger of her own weapon. Fortunately, it doesn't apply enough pressure to discharge, or else Stanley would have a gaping hole in the back of his head right now.

She holds her fire as his companion slashes a path toward the stairs leading up to the dorms in pursuit of Deckard, but the instant his foot hits the first step the young woman swings her weapon around and fires off two quick shots at his torso. Given that her aim isn't very good to begin with, she isn't likely to land her mark — the best she can hope for is to extend Deckard's head start by a few seconds.

His helpful third hand pops up again this time yanking the rolling pin up and tossing it to one of his normal hands. The baking utensil/deadly weapon is gripped solidly as Brian spins and with all he has swings his weapon down hard at the man's face. In the same instant, a copy of Brian slides out of him, as naked as the day he was born.

The copy is instantly on his knees as he slides out, his hand clambering for the gun that the man dropped. As soon as he has it, he is imitating Eileen. Raising up at the man rushing up the stairs, three shots are snapped off in haste.

The silent thug pursuing Deckard only stumbles, ducks, when Eileen's and Brian's shots go off, but no blood spatter. They missed, but did as needed - the crook headed upstairs has bought himself some time. The sound of the two men rushing upstairs is like thunder between the two floors, Deckard's swearing drowned out by the thud of footsteps— and the sounds of screaming upstairs.

"— !!" is all Stanley has to say when the rolling pin cracks across his face, shattering cheek bone and breaking teeth, sending him staggering. "SONFEBISH!" is probably meant to be son of a bitch, but comes slurred and wet sounding.

Another gunshot fires from the staircase. Hopefully it only shoots wall and concrete and not flesh and blood.

Stanley is moving, a knife in his hand — the hell did that come from — towards the man who stole his gun. He'd like it back now, please. An arm whips out to grab him, pull him perhaps between himself and Eileen, knife flashing and finding flesh to cut. But he's out numbered and not even all the fancy, gutter-fight moves the Rookery has taught him can save him now.

Stanley is not the only one who realizes he's outmatched. Eileen, too, has become keenly aware of the fact he isn't likely to get out of this alive — confidence bolstered by the fact that there are three of them and only one of him, she takes her eyes off Stanley just long enough to meet the other Brian's gaze and jerk her head in the direction that Deckard and the man tailing him disappeared. She bites off a terse, "Go."

Your kids need you.

With Stanley using Brian's replicant as a shield, Eileen is hesitant to open fire. Her chances of hitting her friend are greater than her chances of neutralizing the threat that he's wrestling with. Instead, she focuses on the arduous task of reeling back in the thread of consciousness she previously cast out, drawing the costal birds to the Lighthouse like iron filings to a magnet.

The call goes out. Come.

"Ah!" Brian yelps as he's separated from the man by his own copy. Knife digging into his flesh in a different body, both Brians grimace though the clothed one is already nodding and running towards the stairs. Dipping past Eileen, the man rushes after the criminal who took after the other criminal who took after the other criminal. As he runs, he turns part way and flings a hand out.

Letting out a fiercer yelp the naked Brian flings his arm out in a wild arc. More of a 'get the fuck away' from me rather than a trained strike. In that movement he stumbles backwards, one hand flinging to the fresh blood pouring out of his side. But he has a job to do, in a desperate motion the gun he has is flung up and over at his counterpart making for the stairs. And then he collapses on the kitchen floor, naked and unarmed, just him and Eileen.

Reaching out, his fingers just barely close around the barrel of the weapon, an excited breath let out in the same instant as he charges up the stairs, holding the gun the wrong way.

The gun is gone even as the knife finds skin and muscle to slice, but dizzied and seeing white at the corners of his vision, the wounded Brian easily shoves Stanley away, who crumples with a groan. Upstairs… well. It just keeps going and going, the sound of fights, thuds, crashing, screams, and now the sound of a clothed Brian running up the stairs. It's all a lot of background noise for Stanley who touches his hand to his mouth, then turns his gaze towards Eileen. Just watching, waiting, before his gaze flickers towards the door.

It's started to rain, and when Bai-Chan moves inside, appearing at the gaping doorway, he's shivering violently, previously in floods of tears although choking sobs have since died to give way to an almost stoic expression. Then, his hands lift, and in the exact same mimic of yesterday, when Brian had pointed an invisible gun towards the forests, Bai-Chan does the same thing at the crumpled thief on the ground.

At the heart of every man and woman is a violent nature, primordial and base, stemming from an age when life was as brutish as it was short, defined by the taking of it. Eileen likes to think she's a peacekeeper, even if her methods are unorthodox by her own standards. She isn't.

When she sees Bai-Chan standing there, his small body soaked through and wracked with tremors, she feels something change inside of her. It happens fast, so fast that she isn't able to pinpoint where or when — only respond instinctively and without hesitation when it does.

As Bai-Chan points his imaginary gun at Stanley, Eileen mirrors the motion, her pistol trained on the man's face. You don't have to be a very good shot to hit your target when you're staring it down at point blank.

She pulls the trigger.

Naked Brian groans and winces at the gunshot, grasping at his wound he slowly clambers up. Looking over at Eileen then to the doorway at Bai-Chan. Grasping at the counter he pulls himself up and grabs at a rag there. Taking it he goes to press against the wound. Just got to keep himself alive until his copy can come back down and reabsorb him. Slumping against the kitchen counter he looks blankly at the body then up at Eileen.

"Nihao…" He says weakly, stretching out his free hand towards the door where the boy is. He makes a beckoning gesture with his hand. It's safe now. Almost.

Bai-Chan's hands lower when the gunshot cracks through the room, and bone, flesh, blood and matter spatter gruesome against the wall, Stanley's body slumping still. Breathing though his nose in restrained, near-panicked intakes of air, the little boy looks blankly over at Brian. Perhaps he's adopted his mother's disgust of injury because he stays away, but does manage a small, "Nihao."

Then, three long strides carry him over towards Eileen, arms wrapping around her and burrowing against her. He's not going to cry, not again, but he clings like he might, shaking like a leaf.

Outside, the acrobatic swallows plying the sky find roosts in nearby trees, settling in on budding branches with the wrens and warblers, blackbirds and woodcocks that arrived before them. Gulls cover the exterior of the Lighthouse itself, hulking gargoyles of white and gray by night, narrow faces with pinpricks of light for eyes and wickedly hooked beaks.

Eileen has lost her concentration, which is why they aren't streaming in through the windows in a furious whorl of thundering wings and slashing feet. None of the blood on her face is hers, and it definitely doesn't belong to Brian either. It takes her a few moments to realize Bai-Chan has closed the distance between them and is encircling his arms around her tiny waist — when she does, she allows her own arms to grow slack, pistol falling harmlessly to her side. Her free hand drifts to the small of the boy's back, holds him to her.

"Are you all right?" she asks, and the question is meant for Brian as much as it is Bai-Chan.

Bai-Chan tilts his head up at her, large, dark eyes glinting like black glass in the half-light. As the storm outside kicks up, as the rain falls silver and turns dirt to mud, the broken door bangs on its hinges with gusts of wind. For a moment, a shadow darts across the frame of the doorway, out in the silver wet, a man running by, and disappearing again.

Some kids need their parents to make a show of checking for the bogeyman in the closet. Some kids need a bedtime story. Bai-Chan is content with a bullet in the face of his monsters. He doesn't know English but he can at least communicate one thing with silence as he regards the woman.

He's okay now.

<date>: previous log
<date>: next log
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License