Till Human Voices Wake Us


deckard_icon.gif felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Till Human Voices Wake Us
Synopsis Deckard falls off the map to hunt Special Agent Ivanov down with a rifle and a revolver. Teo notices his absence a few hours before he notices that he recognizes the corpse at the old man's feet.
Date March 27, 2009

Staten Island — Coast

The coast of Staten Island is as much of a presence as its inland, with rivers that invade right into its heart as well as cutting off the circulation of transport from the rest of New York City. The coastal regions reflect a lot of this borough's rural nature, with rough shores and plantlife, broken brick, and general abandonment. The harbors are left to the devices of those that freely come and go, a conspicuous lack of official presence - a number of them notably overrun by the developing crime syndicate, but there are still quite a few, particularly on the coasts nearest to Brooklyn and Manhattan, that are accessible to the lawful public.

It's evening on Staten. It's been a rough night already, what with the shootout in Chinatown. But Fel has put off the paperwork until tomorrow, and gone out for a last futile attempt to track down Colette Demsky. She's supposed to be hanging around the Lighthouse, but he never seems to catch her there….and the same has held true for this evening. So he's trotting back from the childrens' shelter to one of the the less piratical of the harbors, one where you can get an actual ride for just money, without having to pay your fare in kind of one unsavory sort or another.

he Fed's distracted, soon to be fatally so, boots thudding along the path just above the tideline, at oneof the crumbling seawalls, near what used to be a posh neighborhood (relatively speaking). He's in dark, plain clothes, wearing his glasses, face set in an expression of restrained worry.

Deckard sees exceptionally well. Thanks to God or Evolution or some other unknown force acting in the capacity of destiny, he was able to watch Felix's foray into the Lighthouse from his cot in the basement. No sound, no visual indication of his presence left lying around upstairs. His exit was similarly pristine. The door didn't even creak when he closed and locked it after him, gloved hand soft on the handle.

Felix runs exceptionally quickly. This has been a persistent problem through the course of their relationship. With sufficient notice, he could always run away, or strip a weapon out of his hands, or beat him senseless against the brace of a statue with little or no effort.

That's why Deckard is aiming for the ball and socket join of ilium, ishium, and femur.

Some one hundred and twenty yards behind the speedster, he hasn't bothered with a mask tonight. Just the usual set of sunglasses across he bridge of his nose, black overcoat and blue jeans comfortably less descript than the shadows pooled dark in the hollows of his long face. He followed at a longer distance initially, with a little shortcut here and there through familiar alley grime bringing him to his current post. Rifle braced long and black over a rusted length of chain link fence around what might have served as someone's back yard at some point, he thumbs the safety off, exhales, and draws his finger back slowly against the trigger.

It's a beautiful shot. The ghost of Felix's sniper grandfather would have been proud, had he seen. Fel's not speeding, just jogging along with the even lope of a man who has some distance to cover, but doesn't dare waste time. Off just a hair, though. Instead of shattering the joint, the bullet cuts neatly through the mutant's spine, and drops Felix right over the seawall he was trotting along. The tide's out, so there's no splash, just a wet thud as he impacts the packed sand - an instant after the report of the rifle. Nor is there a cry of pain.

To Deckard's vision, it's clear he isn't dead yet - his legs are limp and useless, but the frantic rise and fall of the ribs betray that he's very much alive. And terrified, unable to feel anything below his waist. He's scrambling along the sand, dragging crippled legs, trying to find cover.

Fog lifts thin after a second, more tenuous exhalation. It echoes the shiver of adrenaline through the gunman's rickety system, quivering though teeth bared against the long store and immediate release of tension at its end. All Deckard sees is the tumble of bone white over the edge. All he hears is the shrill ring of the report's aftermath through his increasingly numb ears. He waits a minute, rifle nose lifting just so when he risks looking down long enough to drag the bolt back, right hand snatching the ejected casing neatly out of the air. Into his pocket it goes, freeing the heel of his hand to turn and shove the bolt back up into place, chambering another round.

The sling of the rifle over his back is nearly mechanical, as is the unholstering of the revolver parked snug beneath the lapel of his jacket. The grip is warm, but does little to stave off the chemical jitter of his bony fingers around it when he starts after the fallen feeb. From Felix's position, the click and clack of the rifle is soon replaced by the sound of quiet footsteps and the more melodramatic coil of a hammer being cocked.

It's also clear, since solid matter is no barrier, that Fel's armed. He's pulled his pistol - a cheap Glock, and tucked himself into the relative shelter of the seawall. It's only a matter of time, really, the way he's bleeding, before he's too weak even to hold it up. There's some attempt at quiet, but there's no stealth to be had when you have to haul yourself along like a half-smashed cockroach, even with the cover of the waves lapping down the beach. Not to mention that he's leaving a blood trail as wide as his body.

He rolls onto his back, shoulder tucked against the concrete of the retaining wall, pistol held in a shaky two-handed grip. All of his senses are painfully sharp, now - the scent of polluted seawater, the few stars visible past the haze that the city casts even on a clear night, the sound of the waves and those approaching feet. His breath comes in a shaking hiss.

"Sucks, doesn't it?" It's an earnest question, Flint Deckard's familiar voice falling flat over the concrete barrier of the wall once his footfalls have scuffed to a halt. For all that he's out of sight, a few feet above and one or two behind the wall's lip, he looks better than he did when Felix saw him last. He has both eyes, now. His clothes fit. They're clean. He smells nice.

He's thin, granted. Thinner than he should be, but well-rested. The untidy grey of his hair has been shorn and colored, now more brown than slate. The bristle around his narrow jaw is shaved down close. With the right paperwork, the right suit and a good interview, he could probably get a job somewhere downtown without too much of a struggle.

"The sudden, utterly unfair realization that your life is no longer in your hands. No happy ending. No heroics. Just a bunch of fishy sand and you bleeding out of your asshole."

There's no threats. Felix's in no position to argue, or bluster. If he groped, maybe he could come up with something witty, something poignant. Something memorable.

But it's all remote, now. Because Deckard is right, and he can't muster up anything beyond resignation, vague irritation at what'll have to be left undone. Suddenly just terribly tired, that this is where it ends. "Deckard," he says, calmly, as the Glock sags down to rest on his breastbone.

Deckard watches. Arguably it's what he was made to do. Behind black sunglasses, his eyes follow the touch of Glock to sternum, pupils black pins in a field of hyperalert bioluminecent blue. His laugh is quiet, derisive; taking pleasure in such a ready show of acceptance. Felix Ivanov is dying.

With little care for forty year old knees and a certain uncharacteristic heedlessness for the fact that the fed is armed, he drops himself down off the side of the sea wall. Down into the sand, sunglasses torn away to expose the unholy light in his eyes once he's absorbed the whumph of impact.

Call it literal Russian fatalism, or the inevitable result of an adult life spent shouldering depression. But he's got strength enough to pull the trigger - the dying echo of the rifle report is replaced with a couple of sharp *cracks* from the Glock. His aim is execrable, though, leaving it more of a token gesture….and that's apparently the last of his strength, as his arm falls to one side and the pistol buries half its muzzle in the sand.. He's begun the fish-out-of-water gasping for air that betrays too much blood loss, in keeping with the dark stain spreading from beneath him. Remarkably, his own glasses are still on, even as a convulsion lets him roll onto his side, face cuddled too hard into the sand.

The first crack skates off unbroken into eternity. Eternity until its arc sends it plunging inevitably down into the sea, anyway. The second plows into and through Deckard's left shoulder, splintering bone and ripping through wiry muscle with all the destructive force that's to be expected. The blowout from behind is messy. And Brian just bought this jacket for him yesterday.

Insert sad face here.

The pain is incredible. He gasps, hazy breath forced out in a wheeze when his shoulder recoils away from the blow. But there's no stagger, or falter, or fumble. He's still alive. A glance down at himself reveals no punctured lungs, no sheared through organs. His heart is still pumping away.

Furious now for altogether different reasons, he raises the revolver, takes aim, and fires once, directly into Ivanov's worthless heart.

Fel was busily really trying to move. To what end or point isn't apparent, but he'd put a hand out, pressed down, rolled onto his belly. His back was already covered in blood. Deckard pulls the trigger, the shot echoes off the concrete wall and down the beach, and Felix spasms once, drops, and is still. His eyes are half-open, and his expression is faintly puzzled, lips parted as if to ask a final question. His glasses have fallen off, and lie upended in the sand by his head.

Inhale. Deckard keeps the gun out and level, spectral glare glaciatic beneath hooded brows. Back to watching, this time for signs of life more developed than an occasional spasmodic twitch. Dimly it occurs to him that the warm tickle down his back is blood. That sticky stuff that generally works better when it's on the inside.

Exhale. He paces closer, pistol lowering to keep pace with the angle of his approach. The sifting churn of his shoes through blood-darkened sand is quiet. Somewhere further along the wall, a nocturnal bird ruffles its feathers and resettles on its perch, then takes flight. She'll come back later — presumably when there's less competition for leftovers.

Wet sand scatters under the quick tread of Teo's shoes, mortaring in the grooves in his soles with packed particle matter that flashes and winks incessantly with particle glass.

He's been out here looking for awhile now, left the neons and paved walks of Staten Island's 'civilized parts' after the GPS unit in Flint Deckard's cellphone yielded up stationary between reeking, dissolving layers of decay in a dumpster, no bloated, cyanotic blue corpse accompanying. It's cold. The cuffs of his pants are damp, despite that he's crept across and around enough notions to have avoided the undulating water-line. Brian had said he was close. Staying at the Lighthouse, 'slipped out.' Brian's words.

Made Flint sound like an eel or some shit.

Gunshots, however, leave something of stealth to be desired, even from downwind and enough distance to cut Teodoro down to a small, jogging figure. Shouting. Gun out, of course, in hand. "Deckard?" It's farcical, isn't it? The question: "You okay?"

Serious questions deserve serious answers. Shouted questions generally provoke prompt replies. Deckard's response is neither. It's clear in the fire-eyed turn of his head that he's heard, twin sparks of blue striking after Teo only briefly before they turn back down onto Felix. He just — takes his time, plying a toe in under the feeb's sand-mashed face to tip the skull up for a better look into empty sockets. Laudani's timing is cinematically poor.

His shoe withdraws. He steps back, breathes again and swallows, maybe for the first time in a while. His throat is dry. "I'm fine."

To Teo's ears, the answer rasped at him sounds rote and doesn't fit with the muddy crater that he can see in the old man's shoulder, even from a distance, even in the dark. Deckard sees his hands contract around his gun, finger-bones corkscrewing tighter, squeezing the padding of skin, muscle, and compressed callus.

"Je-sus fucking Christ, vecchio," he says, while he's still out of conversational distance. He skids to a stop, peeling a layer of sand off under the rims of his shoes. Shouldn't take his name in vain, his conscience chides the next moment, but for once he favors the cold and eight years of American secular deprogramming, ignores it, stares down at the twisted stick-figure corpse ditched in the sand.

Stupid and deliberately obtuse by turns, Teo nevertheless notices that there's blood coming out of the wrong place for defensive injuries, like a burning house excused by a tot who was 'just bored.' Words stall on his lips, emerge indistinct and fuzzy when they do, more like mould than speech. Something about seeing Abby.

Deckard has made a mess. And now that Teo is here, it seem kind of unwise to go after any bits of bullet that might be stuck in there with the pliers he brought with him. He's bled all over the place anyway, DNA scattered in congealing globs across the beach at his back. The rifle slung over his opposite shoulder hasn't been spared either.

For lack of anything better or more productive to do, he just stands there and watches Teo react. His invasive gaze peruses muscle and bone, seeking the instant of recognition at a muzzy-headed remove. At some point he tucks his revolver back into its holster, gloved hand free to touch at the entry wound at his shoulder.

You need to see Abby. Also, rifle. There's a fucking rifle. Teo stares at the rifle for a moment, then at its wearer, then back down at the back of the corpse's head and the crater in its back. Like an idiot dog, he tracks a lopsided polygon around to stand next to Flint, stares some more. The instant of recognition comes late, postponed by some mix of naivete, optimism, fatigue, and the usual overabundance of faith in Felix Ivanov to escape by the skin of his teeth.

There. A twitch, fragile muscle strings pulling eyelids open so hard the skin of his whole scalp rolls back with it. Teo's eyes almost pop out.

Decisively, he drops into a crouch over the agent's head, sticks his gun back in underneath the back of his sweater. Grasping the corpse by the shoulders, he flips him over, fails somehow to manifest an ecastatically hysterical reaction at the glimpse of Felix's face. He fumbles around in the dark, gets blood on his pointless gloves, until Saint Michael's medallion emerges in the grasp of his fingers, translucent blood film imbued with bright saturation by the reflective burnish of silver underneath.

Ding ding ding. There it is. The rise and fall of his own rib cage accelerating against his will to keep up with weakening blood pressure, Deckard voyeurs on through shock and crouch until finger bones lift under the medallion. Determining then that his work here is done, he turns his head to peer down the length of the murky beach. Nothing to do, nothing to say. No apology.

A vague glance Teo and Felix-wards later, the rest of him turns to follow the lead of his gaze. He starts off down the beach in private silence, deaf to the furl of foam and pull of the tide scraping in over dirty sand. About twenty or thirty feet down the line, he falls forward. Flump. There's a little toss of grit that accompanies the collapse. This feels familiar.

To Teodoro, also. These two men keeling over, bullets exchanged, bloodspatter everywhere, empty corner of New York state. Same conundrum now that there was then: there's not enough of him around to carry everybody to a safe place. It isn't in him to rage and kick and throw tantrum this time, though, and there's no one to call.

Relieved of his medallion, wallet, phone, gun and watch, Felix Ivanov isn't very heavy. He gets to keep his cufflinks, as some obscure courtesy.

Maybe it dignifies the final departure of his thin, still-warm body — body — summarily dumped in the sea that sops cold weight up Teo's pants between wading in and wading back out. Decay and fishy appetites are as much as he can think to do against psychometers with what's at hand. Maybe he should be thinking about something else. There's blood, injuries, and he can't have been the only one who heard that gunfire.

When he gets over to where Flint is, Teo kicks him. He does this irrespective of whether or not the part of the old man that remains is upright or available to respond.

Nnnno. No response past a nudge of movement with the kick. Deckard's out cold face down in the sand, which. Considering what he did and the kind of awkward, emotional, damn you et cetera conversation such an act begs, is lucky for him. Less lucky because he's not really a small guy and he's bleeding from a gun shot wound on a beach somewhere randomly out on the fringes of Staten island.

The second kick is delivered with more zeal than the first. The Sicilian drops into the sand after, granules go crunch under his weight. He shrugs his jacket off, locates his knife before it tumbles out and disappears into the obscurity of darkness and jumbled limbs. The folded cuff of his sleeve gives way to the machined edge of steel alloy and his teeth, ripping clean along the grain of the canvas. It's a clumsy bandage at best, but either better than nothing or merely more painful.

Either works.

Deckard hangs off his shoulder in long, bowed limbs, flopping cloth, fingers, guns, and other extremities sagging into the lassitude of gravity like sandbags. Heap of junk, the old man. Bones digging into Teo's shoulders. Like carrying the clanking, stringy, half-folded parts of an especially small and hairy hot air balloon around.

The Lighthouse and its impressionable children shrink away in the distance behind him, and the yellow glitter of city lights comes nearer, segmented, winking, until liquid saline blurs it all into one crooked light smear and and cards his breathing with a strangely rhythmic rasp.

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown

— TS Eliot, The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

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