The Way Things Were, Part III


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Scene Title The Way Things Were, Part III
Synopsis Edward Ray finds himself more alone than ever.
Date August 12, 2018

Deep Below

The Ark

A bloody tooth lays on a cracked tile floor. A few drops of blood are spattered around it, swirling with saliva.

Coughing, Edward Ray stares past the tooth toward his broken glasses laying twisted on the floor in front of him. His skin has started weeping blood at his cheek and beside his eye, purple and red bruising blistering beneath broken skin. The lamp hanging from the ceiling overhead sways left and right like a pendulum, making Edward's shadow flow beneath his body. "I told you, I don't know!"

Edward's response is met with a boot to the jaw, flipping him onto his back and sending his limbs into a twisting contortion of agony. Eyes wrenched shut, Edward gasps a breathless cry of pain, and his attacker slowly steps beside him and rests one booted foot gently on his chest, toe pointing up toward Edward's chin. "I want to believe you, Ed," sounds weary and fatigued, "but I don't have a reason to right now."

Donald Kenner's ragged silhouette looms over Edward's prone form, his scraggly beard unkempt, wild hair hidden behind a dirty toque hat. Kenner's eyes are deep set and shadowed, creases in his face making him look a decade older than he really is. He hasn't been sleeping well, or perhaps at all. "I know you and Michelle go way back, I've seen you two conspiring together, whispering when you don't think I can hear you." Kenner's booted toe gently touches the bottom of Edward's chin. "I'm going to ask you one more time…" Kenner moves his foot back. "Where is she?"

Blue eyes wide, Edward is frozen in fear on the flat of his back, staring up at Kenner's backlit silhouette as the lamp swings back and forth to either side of his head. He's without an answer. Cracked lips part, hands tremble, and Edward can't imagine how long he can survive a beating like this. He wonders, in that terrifying moment, if this is where and how he dies.

"Loyal," Kenner says in a strangled whisper, "like a dog." He winds his foot back further and twists his shoulders, swinging—


A woman's voice behind him gives pause, and Don stops short of kicking Edward's jaw in. He wobbles his arms to maintain balance, then steps to straddle either side of Edward's cowering form. Pivoting, Don looks back to the blonde woman standing in the doorway of the rust-streaked interrogation room. "Else," he says with a hint of surprise, "I'm busy, if you have something to tell the investigators talk to West."

She doesn't. Instead, Else chooses to walk into the interrogation room, cradling her thick journal to her chest. Brown eyes flick down to Edward, who spits up a little blood and stares at the ceiling. Then, as she looks back up to Don her dark brows crease together. "He doesn't know," she says in a gently pleading, sympathetic voice. Don watches Else with momentary silence, then looks down to Edward's prone form and steps over him to meet her by the doorway.

"Do you?" Don asks suspiciously, coming to stand too close to Else. She looks down to the floor, shakes her head, then looks up to defiantly meet Don's gaze.

"Yes," Else says in contradiction to the motion of her head, and a brief flicker of betrayal crosses Don's expression. "She turned herself in," is her immediate follow up, "up in A-Ring. West has her right now." For a moment Don is frozen in place, breathing in sharply before pushing Else aside to storm out of the room. He pauses, just past the threshold and turns back to her, pointing a finger at her.

"Give him his last rites," Don instructs, "and then get the fuck out." Else's response is a subtle nod, eyes averted to the floor. Don then turns to a guard by the door, jabbing a finger into his sternum. "Lock the door when she leaves. He gets nothing. Let him piss in a corner."

As Don hastily departs, the guard briefly leans to look into the room, then goes back to standing on the other side of the wall. Rolling onto his side, Edward briefly looks up at Else, then lays the side of his face against the cool floor and closes his eyes. "He's going to kill her," Edward whispers as Else kneels down at his side, resting one hand against his shoulder as she looks him up and down.

"He won't," Else says in a hushed voice, "not yet anyway." Briefly, she looks to the open door to the interrogation room, then back to Edward. "She damaged the machine. She's the only one who can repair it. He'll hurt her… but he needs her." Edward rasps a rueful laugh, slowly opening his eyes and looking up to Else. He tries to sit up, but lets out a keening sound and collapses back down onto his shoulder. "Please listen," Else says, as she begins to deliver Edward's last rites as Don instructed.

"You expired, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and theocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty yourself out upon us. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from your heart as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in you…"

At the same time, in sotto voice, Else speaks between the verses to Edward. "Rianna is safe, she can hide from the guards indefinitely. Destiny is hiding, but… I'm going to find a way out for her. We're going to escape, find help, and return." Everything Else says brings a look of confusion to Edward, because it sounds like he isn't included in that escape plan.

"Oh mother, full of grace, blessed are you among women and Blessed are the fruit of your spirit. Holy mother, mother of all, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour Of our death."

Exasperatedly, Edward looks to the door, then back to Else. She quickly moves a hand from his arm, presses a pale finger to his bloody lips, and continues. "You'll endure," she insists, confidently. "I've read as much. You're clever, you're a survivor, and even if you don't possess a Gift, you're a genius." She moves her hand to gently cup Edward's cheek, reassuringly. "I won't abandon you here."

"I believe in our Creator, the almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in all their creations, who were conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Mother, suffered, died, and was buried. They who descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead. They who will come to judge the living and the dead."

Edward nods, slowly, and Else gently makes the sign of the cross over Edward's brow with her thumb and the blood from his lip. Slowly Else stands up and mouths, be brave, then turns toward the door as the guard leans back in to see how the rites are progressing. Else merely inclines her head in a nod to him, dark eyes shadowed by a fringe of black lashes.


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