The Young And The Restless


isis_icon.gif squeaks3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Young and the Restless
Synopsis Who needs a therapist when you can visit the local library and talk with a young sage and also get lessons on the newest lingo?
Date February 12, 2019

Eric Doyle Memorial Children's Library

Midday at the Eric Doyle Library sometimes sees a slow down in activity. It's when lunch usually is, and kids get hungry. Some of them even need naps — or their parents need them to nap — so classes usually take a break until the afternoon. It means the library is quieter than it normally is, with only the teenager sorts and young adults left to keep the librarians busy.

Two librarians talk quietly at the front counter while sorting through books. Another can be seen wandering the stacks and shelves of books. At a table beneath a window there's a small group, maybe college aged, quietly discussing a lecture and comparing notes. There's a couple of solo readers too, occupying chairs set apart for that purpose.

There's even one table, set near the classrooms, that has the fully occupied look to it. A few textbooks and notebooks are scattered over the surface, with some pencils scattered around too. But only one person sits there, a young red-headed teen with her head propped up with her hands. She's probably reading, since there's a book open in front of her.

A library is a library, and this one is the closest to her home. Isis has meandered some shelves already, occasionally running fingers along bindings, picking up a book to examine the small synopsis on the jacket or lift it to her face to smell the pages. It’s a thing people do. Totally normal. After a time the second-nature tension that comes with the insistent gnawing of anxiety has ebbed away - for the most part. In her perusing, Isis comes across a name on the book spine that inspires a gentle smile. She plucks the selection up carefully and moves away from the stacks.

Her gray jacket is folded over her arm, a pair of supple leather gloves are tucked into the back pocket of her jeans still as she glances around for a place to snuggle in. Given the quiet lull that has settled, there are plenty of options, but… that reflection of red has Isis doing a double take. She can’t see the young girl’s face and so stands there awkwardly across the way for a timespan of several breaths - watching. Whatever thoughts the sight of the studying young lady has inspired are enough to make Isis roll her shoulders, trying to relieve a building tension between then, before she sets out in that direction. “‘Scuse me,” she says, bowing her head in a way to politely try to catch the teen’s eye. “Sorry. Um, redheads unite?” She gives a half-raised little fist by her left shoulder. “Can I sit here?” She motions to a chair at the table on a side adjacent to the teen.

Usually the librarians leave the small-ish red-headed girl alone. She’s there all the time, and probably knows where things are better than a lot of those who work there. So someone coming up to her table, who doesn’t have the same walk as her mom or the employees, has Squeaks looking up from her studying even as Isis talks. The raised fist and motto is given a puzzled look and a quietly confused, “Hi.”

But the request isn’t so strange. People ask to sit nearby all the time, and it’s not like she owns the table anyway. Scooting her chair back a little, the young teen stands so she can drag her belongings closer and make them more managed. School work, it looks like, by the couple of actual textbooks and not simply the research kinds that are on the some of the shelves.

Isis visibly cringes at the bland, short response she gets in return. Ouch. She really is getting old. The again, people don’t generally go to the library to be sociable and the teen does appear to have a lot learning going to on. The older female makes a little gesture of her hand towards the small girl’s efforts to make room. “That’s alright. I don’t need the table space.” She holds up the singular paperback book. Isis lowers into the chair in question and turns to pull up a boot, catching the heel on the edge to bring her knee up and crack open the book resting against her thigh. She manages to read casually for only a moment or two before her curiosity gets the better of her. Hazel eyes turn up, obscured only slightly behind the waves of crimson hair, and try to scan the books strewn out in front of the teen, looking to decipher what topic of study has the woman cramming so hard.

Those hazel eyes find a pair of bright blue ones staring right back. Squeaks hasn’t looked away, for all that she’s done to confine her studying to just a corner of the table instead of the whole table. Sinking back into her chair, she shuffles some of the notebooks into something a little more ordered. But she keeps watching Isis, openly curious. The textbooks are obviously of the school sort, a general science that would probably fit into high school, and a book on world history.

“What are you reading?” The teen’s question comes only after her notebooks are stacked and the texts are sitting side by side.

Blink blink. Isis’s chin comes up a bit in quick surprise, banishing garnet coils away from her gaze when meeting the younger girl’s prying eyes. Hazel starts to melt, trending slowly towards a more vibrant green. She holds up the book, thumb wedged. “The Giver,” her honey, alto reads the title aloud. “Dystopian book before that was cool and then…you know, real.” She feigns a grimace. “Ever read it?” She lofts a plucked, pale brow and takes on an easy smile.

“Where everyone’s destiny is already decided so that they don’t ruin a perfect society.” Squeaks folds her arms over her textbooks and rests her chin on them. That watchfulness remains, unapologetically curious. “It’s not very real. In there, they live in an almost perfect world and have that whole same thing. But that’s not like here at all.” Her tone is very matter of fact. “It’s all exploded outside, and sometimes the electric doesn’t work, but no one’s pretending it’s perfect like the story.”

Isis’s smile tilted up just a bit more on the left, matching the one brow on that side that remains curiously quirked. She slides her thumb out of the book and rests it on the corner of the freshly cleared table. “That’s what you saw in there?” She looks down at the cover as if she could will it to make her see from perspective of the younger redhead. “That part - their position or ‘destiny’ being chosen for them - never even bothered me.” Pale brows lower, forming a soft wrinkle between them. “What bothered me most was the hoarding of knowledge and the memories - all those people left ignorant.” She shudders visibly and continues to look at the book a moment still before a flicker of green denotes her gaze returned to the intriguing, small teen.

“I’m sure that says a lot about me,” she tips her head, “but I wonder what it says about you, too, hm?” Isis smiles, then chuckles and shakes her head. “Sorry. I’ve just been looking for answers… I’m always looking for answers… “ She draws a hand through her hair and then rubs her eyes. “Always digging too deep and then…” Blink. “Rambling to friendly teens in libraries. It’s been a rough week. Do you, need me to go?” She hooks a thumb over her shoulder towards the exit. She is chuckling at herself still now.

“It doesn’t say anything about me,” Squeaks points out, pragmatic and with a side-eye look at the book. “It’s not a story about me and it’s not even real.” Lifting her head from her arms, she turns that side-eyeing kind of look at Isis again. “What kinds of answers? Usually I find them by asking questions but… “ Confusion creeps in when now the older red-head is talking about leaving. “No,” is her slow response that sounds a lot more like a question than an answer.

Now the two redhead, different by age, are both giving each other a very similar expression - confused, curious, maybe a little apprehensive and yet…. still staying, still talking. “What’re you, like some teenage sage?” is the first question, with crinkled hazel eyes of scrutiny.Isis pulls the book back to her, hugging it against her chest protectively. And then, the crinkle is gone in a fuckit-kind of way, one shoulder lifts and her lips purse in an additional ‘you asked for it’ gesture before she rests her forearms on the table and spills.

“So, I have this thing, where I’m constantly afraid of dying. It’s weird. Whatever. But, the other night I… met a dead chick. A woman. Er, a cloud?” Her left eyes scrunches and she sighs.”But, she existed. She’s died like three fucki-” She stops abruptly. “Sorry. I mean- three times. And then she’s going on about all these cosmic forces.” She lets out a little puff of surprise. “I gave up most of my beliefs when science proved the reasons behind the Evolved. And then, I gave up the rest when I got this stupid fear of death thinking that it was a cop-out to subscribe to any one religion. Self interest vs true blind faith and whatnot. And now…” She blinks. “So, what’s my question… right? Well, I have all the questions…” Her shoulders slump. “But mostly, I want to help this woman, and figure out what the Thing chasing her really wants. I think that Thing - it’s like the answer to it all.” Isis slumps back, physically deflated by her rambling. All the awkwardness, all the twitches and confusion, it’s all gone. Now she bends the book with her thumb and idly watches the paper flip when released from the tension, before turning her blank, spent expression up to the teen.

Squeaks doesn't appear surprised by anything that Isis says. She's maybe a lot more curious, but not surprised. The part about the dead chick in a cloud is puzzling and gets a murmured, “Dead people can't be clouds.” But she doesn't say anything else while the woman talks. She only listens.

“There's no questions in what you just said,” is the first thing the young teen points out. And it's said with a searching quality, like maybe she missed the question in all the words. “Why are you afraid of dying? And what's science got to do with slice? Are you afraid that being slice makes you die faster? Or that you won't die because you are slice? Or already dead because you have powers?” The girl pauses, thinking about her own questions before going on. “Are you slice? I am, it's primal. But I'm not dead. Not even close.”

“Like I said - I’ve got all the questions…” But, the teen is going on. Lips parted only a sliver, that left brow slowly climbs anew. What language is this kid speaking? The book is abandoned on Isis’s lap so she can bring both hands up. “Hold hold hold. Wait.” She casts are suspicious look at the teen. “Are you pulling my leg? Trying to make me feel old? Is this some new lingo I dunno? What’s slice? And what’s primal? Maybe then I can explain…”

“I can’t be pulling your leg.” Squeaks holds her hands up, even though they’ve been on the table the whole time. “I never touched you, and I can’t reach anyway. And you can’t have all the questions. Nobody can, it’s impossible.” And besides, there’s no questions that were asked before.

The girl huffs quietly, just a short breath that’s exhaled through her nose while she looks over her shoulder. She checks on those librarians that usually stay close to the counter where people check out books, and then twists around to peek between a couple of bookshelves to an office door that’s closed. “Suresh Linkage Complex Expressive is S-L-C-E which means slice. And primal is just… like… it’s primal.” That part is said slowly and is paired with a slow thumbs up also.

Isis’s head slowly but surely cants off to the left of the teen first comments on her leg, then schools her in the lingo of current day. She closes her eyes slowly - either mentally pained or just simply soaking it all in, her expression does not elaborate which. With a deep breath she lingers long enough to loop her thoughts back to the slew of questions the teen posed previously then.

"I'm afraid of dying because I've seen it. Seen it from something as simply as a misstep on a set of carpeted stairs. I've seen the hours of surgery and bleeding and pain that comes before it. And the days just keep going on after it and the sun just keeps shining and it's like … like the life never mattered." She sneers subtly but the vehemence of her next quiet, whispered statement is there in her emerald eyes. "I want mine to matter. I don't want to be wasted." She shakes her head, red ringlets bobbing on her shoulders.

She laces her fingers together, knuckles turning white as she digs her short nails into the back of each opposite hand. "I mean, slice used to be comic book and fantasy right?I mean, now it's real, it's science, it took all the magic outta of it. Maybe that’s before your time. Maybe it’s always been around for you. And yeah, I'm fucking-… Shit. Crap. Sorry," she briefly goes down a diminishing line of cusses trying to correct foul mouth in front of the teen. "Yes. I'm afraid being slice is going to get me killed. Aren't you? My thing isn't going to save me, certainly doesn't make me immortal li-…" Isis blinks and her head slowly starts to tip to the other side instead, weights balancing but then sliding far off course. Her mouth opens, then shuts tight under the pressure of her teeth coming down on her lower lip.

Blink blink. "Hm? What were we talking-?" Her tone is distractedly pleasant now. "Oh, right, my questions. Well, I mean - what's the point of it all - life I mean? Is it wasted, when we die? All that effort and pain and energy and learning? And how did that cloud-girl survive? And why did that Thing make us - us slice-es? Slice-people?, I mean?" She doesn't deflate this time, but sits forward and puts her forearms back on the table, waiting to see what the very literal minded young teen has in store for her now.

“I’ve seen dying.” Squeaks doesn’t go into detail, but offers the statement as shared experience. She’s already explained about living in the Underneath, sort of, so her seeing dying and dead people probably isn’t that unbelievable. “You can’t waste death. It’s a thing that happens not like… it isn’t things that can be wasted. It’s not like food or …or water or anything.”

The girl’s face scrunches a little bit as she tries to make sense of Isis’ ramblings. “But… you just said you could fall down stairs and be dead, so what does being slice matter then? A monster could come out of the Underneath and eat you or you could leave until you’re two hundred and eighty-three. When you die doesn’t matter because you’re dead. You can’t do anything being dead, so make what you do being alive matter instead?”

Isis watches the girl as she admits just that death is not exactly foreign to her either. The elder of the two scratches behind her right ear and nods solemnly. War does that. She finds herself watching this younger redhead for longer than casual etiquette would deem appropriate - losing herself briefly in a time where she wonders how vastly different this teen’s young years have been from her own. She herself was 18 when the first blast rang out the call of Evo-Evo-Evo! Did this teen even remember the shockwaves both literal and metaphorical… or a time before them? The time of blissful ignorance.

The woman seems to remember herself by show of a little scowl on her pale visage. “That’s right - I’m not worried about wasting death. I’m worried about wasting life,” she agrees with the overall summation. “But, wouldn’t it be nice to know why we went through it all? Or, hell, manage to cheat death like that girl-cloud and never worry about wasting it to begin with?” She shrugs and leans back. “There’s a lot out there I feel like I’m only scratching at, kid - you know what I mean?” She takes up her book and pushes to her feet. “The girl - the cloud - she says it’s all connected. We’re all connected.” Isis motions between herself and Squeaks, giving a tilted and ambiguous smile and even more enigmatic comment. “I think she’s right.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Squeaks admits honestly. “Clouds can’t talk, they’re not alive. And girls being clouds…” She trails off to wonder about that part. “Maybe it’s a slice thing? But connected.” She looks from where Isis is standing, to where she’s sitting at the table. There’s no connection that she can see, so she shrugs and looks up at the older redhead again. “Why do you wonder about knowing why we lived at all? We lived to do things, like the things we do while we’re living.”

“Probably a slice thing,” Isis agrees. There’s something calmer in her honey, alto tones now. Her body doesn’t crawl with unrest and unease. Her hazel eyes have cooled to the tones of azure with flecks of aquamarine. “If I see her again, I’ll be sure to ask,” she adds with a bemused, quiet chuckle. Her gaze flits up and down the teen’s smallish form. “I envy the way you see it.” A little puff of disbelief. “You know, across the room it was like looking at myself. But, all this doubt and wonder and questions - I don’t know if I ever had all the literal sense that you do, kid. I hope your mind doesn’t get all foggy and gnarled like mine.” She squints briefly, “Don’t break, kid. One little crack and it can all come flooding in, you hear me?” She taps the spine of her book on the table to punctuate her statement before scooping up her gloves and carefully tugging them on just so. The jacket is taken up with less care and a little nod. “See you around, kiddo.”

The taller redhead pulls on her jacket and turns away, knee-high boots moving her with quiet passes and empty hands across the library and out the doors. The Giver remains on the table in front of Squeaks.

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