To Kill A Hummingbird I


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Scene Title To Kill a Hummingbird I
Synopsis A dreamwalker provides peace to a lonely little bird caught in a frantic sleep.
Date January 6, 2019

In Dreams

In a darkened room, claws hooked on the lip of a potted plant, a hummingbird drifts in the deepest of slumbers. Anyone observing her might easily make the mistake of believing her to be dead: to the touch, her body is cold. Hypothermic. The heartbeat normally hammering inside her little chest has slowed to a sedate crawl, and her breathing is so minimal as to be completely absent. In this state of torpor, only the movement behind her eyelids betrays clues to life— subtle twitching presenting the suggestion that whatever dreams this bird is enduring, they are not peaceful ones.

Contrary to her gloomy, enclosed reality, the dreamworld she is experiencing is an endlessly vast expanse of illuminated confusion. Geneva (in her own, human form) finds herself doggedly jogging through a mansion walled by blazing illusions, the darkened silhouettes of innumerable, unidentifiable birds staring in colossal mirrors suspended at every possible angle. The one, single constant in front of her is a small, golden-haired child in a burnt parka kneeling on the ground at a fixed point on the horizon, her back turned towards Gene.

No matter how long Gene treks across this wasteland of shifting light towards her intended target, the girl’s profile never draws any closer: it remains as still as though it is but a picture far, far away.

Her breathing is ragged in her ears. Her fists ball with frustration, as her strides take her gliding through large stripes of shadow but she does not go anywhere.

The blue eyes of a small robin follow Geneva through the expansive hallway, whenever she jogs out of sight the mirror is changed to keep its eyes on the young woman. The robin isn't the North American variety but the smaller puffier European kind, and the size of a chickadee.

Its newest mirror hands from a golden ribbon and twirls slowly, around and around, giving those blue eyes an endless amount to look at. The rotation is slow enough that she can see everything but not so slow that she loses site of Geneva, or even the silhouette, for too long. Looking down, the floor doesn't give away any real indication as to why the young woman isn't moving. Usually there's some reason, whether her legs are heavily plowing through water, a moving floor, or just simply stuck with terror. None of that seems to be happening here.

So she sits.

And she waits.

As the mysterious visitor knows well, there does not need to be a logical structure propping up the progression of a dream. In the case of Geneva, it is simply that she is moving her limbs in a way that should be taking her across the terrain, but the background and foreground around her both sit as immovable as a painting, blandly ignoring this dictate of real-world physics. Visions of birds continue to warp in and out of the mirrors like innumerable eyes, twinkling decorations in an otherwise unchanging stage set.
“Fucking pieces of shit birds,” she yells out hoarsely at the newest apparition of a shadowy flock of specks, just before it too melds away; to her, it is as though this is a chase that has already been winding onward for hours. “I’m not playing. Fix this.”

Oh the language. The robin's eyes dart toward the apparition, as the last of it evaporates. Then with a shrill trill of a whistle, she hops out of her frame and glides down. Fluttering just before she lands and spreading her tail feathers, all so she doesn't tumble into the young woman's path. Instead, she elects to grip onto the cloth at her shoulder. Needle-like talons grip the fabric and with a bit of a ruffle and fluff, the little thing makes herself at home.


Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

The voice is smooth, rich, and kind. It reverberates inside Geneva’s head as though it belongs there, or everywhere.

The robin winging its way out of a mirror towards Gene is received with an actual audible snarl, a noise issuing from somewhere deep within her chest: a rather strange hostility, seemingly triggered by merely seeing the form of the bird. The girl does not actively try to knock it off as its comes to rest on her shoulder, though. She seems to be too deep in a state of acceptance to even bother, as irritated as that might be. "My mom died when I was seven," the girl says flatly. “So. No.”

For the moment, her pacing comes to a halt, and she stares straight ahead through the impossible landscape with that same, flat expression. “This is shit, you know. I really don’t care who you think you are, where you are, or why everyone is so weirdly okay with this. Killing a kid is really fucking uncool.”

I’m sorry, the voice replies, my mom died when I was sixteen.

As though that gives the young woman and the robin something in common. Dead mothers. The rest has her puzzled though, indicative of the odd angle of her head as she looks up at her host with striking blue eyes.

I don’t think anyone is okay with killing kids. The statement is slow to form, because the bird is pondering who the child is and where it might be. Finally, she launches off Geneva’s shoulder, not risking a smack it seems, only to land on yet another frame. This time, she doesn’t sink in. Who died?

Besides their mothers.

"Oh," Gene says at last, processing this in a long, loaded pause. The voice isn’t right. None of it is, despite the seeming logical connection. Some of the tension is released from her posture, though not all, and she bears the little form on her shoulder with just a tiny bit less hostility— at least until it flies off again. "You aren't her."

Her expression is still incredibly guarded, but not all of it seems to be aimed at the robin anymore. "She’s got a thing with… birds. That's why I thought… well, never mind.”

Ghostly birds continue to stream across the surface of the mirror that the robin has chosen to land upon: for all the world, the visitor in that stance seems like a 3D ornament perched atop a television set.

Her. She’s not dead. Yet. But it’s not for lack of trying, probably.” The observation is laced with bitterness. The word ‘her’ is punctuated by a nod towards the distant figure ahead of them: the specter of the little blonde girl, kneeling on the horizon with her back to them both.

Like a Dali painting, the frame, the birds inside of it, and especially the robin herself melt to the floor in a puddle of colors. They swirl together, forming something like a tornadic waterspout that rises up and slowly forms into the shape of a red haired woman. She's dressed in an old white summer dress with a frayed hem, her skin is covered in minute scars that glint in the light.

As she looks in the direction Geneva indicates, toward the girl, her face takes on an expression of fear and horror. She reaches out and grips the young woman, pulling her close. Both of her arms wrap around Geneva protectively, like a mother would a child when faced against a rabid dog.

"No…" she whispers, and Geneva can feel Delia freezing around her. "We need to leave, now."

When all the elements of the mirror dissolve together in a whorl of colors, Geneva watches the phenomenon— and the lady that forms out of it— impassively, simply accepting it in the nonchalant fashion that accompanies dreaming. This is a completely normal thing. It is not until she is grasped by the arm that she blinks, hard.

"What? What is it?" she murmurs sharply but more quietly than normal, alarmed by the reaction taking place. She spares a nervous glance at the expression of apparent fear on the older woman’s face, then looks back towards their surroundings for whatever may be the cause of this fear. It can’t be the child, can it?

Not answering for the moment, the woman slowly draws a hissing breath inward as she squints toward the figure. Then, she relaxes a some and her arms slip away from Geneva to drop at her sides. “She’s not really here,” is breathed as a sigh of relief and the woman almost collapses against the wall of the corridor. Closing her eyes, Delia continues to slowly draw in and expel air that’s not there. An effort in futility, but reactionary and not impossible to understand.

“Why is she there? Why are you dreaming about her?” Rapid fire questions are laced with accusation and worry. The explanation is all too quick to follow. “She’s dangerous, she’ll make you do things, horrible things.”

All of this prompts an uneasy blink from Geneva, who stands quite still and unmoving as she is released from Delia's arms, trying to parse out exactly what is happening. A mild shock pulses through her at the proclamation that that is a dream; she cranes her neck around at the fantastic landscape, as though this will help her to confirm the truth that she is being told.

She is dreaming?

In the meantime, light drapes across the two women, elongating their shadows in strange ways.

"I'm trying to save her," she answers as if this is the most obvious thing in the world, her eyes settling on the girl's back through a particularly darkened line of shadow. "There's someone trying to kill her, and she's just a little kid, and— well. What do you mean, she's dangerous?"

Geneva can feel herself stir, somewhere on the outside of unconsciousness. The realization of the dream causes a shift and the edges of her landscape blur like the sun rising but it sinks again when Delia’s hands are placed on her shoulders in a tight hold.

“Stay with me,” she says calmly, and the scent of mint and lavender fill Geneva’s senses, lulling her into the security of their surroundings again. Now, it’s not a nightmare. The girl is still over there, out of reach, but it’s not as dark and foreboding as before. “She doesn’t like intruders, so it’s good she’s not here.”

A beat.

“What do you mean someone is trying to kill her?” Though there’s no love lost for the figure in the distance, the older woman’s expression returns to worry, not for Geneva and not for herself but for Sibyl Black. For her sin against the dreamwalker, no one was hurt and the girl certainly didn’t deserve to die for it.

The surge of consciousness causes the edges of Geneva's vision to blacken as her mind momentarily loses grip on the dream, but the presence of her mysterious companion steadies her within it. She inhales deeply, letting the pleasing fragrance fill her senses; as Delia grips onto her shoulder, she reaches to place one of her own hands atop Delia's in turn.

"How do I even fucking explain?" she continues on once she feels centered enough within the environment to do so comfortably; the sentiment is a bleary one. "Somebody’s…. trapped inside the girl—" Gene nods towards the strangely brightened figure on the horizon. "But another version of her wants to get rid of them both."

Her eyes do not leave the sight of Sibyl, but they narrow now. “You haven’t answered my question, though. What do you know about her? Also, who are you?”

“Delia,” is the response to the last question. “Delia Ryans.” It’s a name that’s not unknown in the Safe Zone, a member of the citizen patrol and the owner of the gardens at the edge of Queens. She turns to the figure at the end of the hallway and narrows her eyes slightly as she draws it closer to them. Finally allowing Geneva within reaching distance of the girl that’s just a soulless apparition in the dreamscape.

“I had an accident once,” Delia explains with a sigh, “I have nightmares when I’m not travelling. I pulled her in.”

She shrugs and shakes her head, looking away from the image in front of them. “They say that revenge is a dish best served cold,” the cryptic words are meant as an answer to some of Geneva’s queries but it’s not the whole of it. Not really. “They lied about that, Sybil’s revenge is hot as fire and destructive.”

"Delia," echoes Geneva, and the name feels oddly comforting on her tongue. Meeting a stranger who had somehow carved a way straight into her dream should probably be a cause of greater alarm, but for some reason, the other woman's presence makes it difficult to get worked up about this. There is something about her that feels non-threatening. That almost invites trust.

"I can't imagine her taking revenge." Gene watches intensely as the likeness of Sybil is inexplicably pulled closer to them both. At the culmination of the path, dream-Sybil finally stands from the position she had been kneeling in the entire dream, drawing herself to her full height. Very, very slowly, with her back still turned towards the pair

"She seemed— well, weird. But nice? I mean, she's just a kid. She got hurt because of me, and I just want to make things right."

By not letting her die.

“What happened when you… pulled her in?”

“I was having a nightmare,” the words are thick almost as though they should be accompanied by tears. “The war.” Behind her a projection, like a silent black and white film, begins to play on the wall. Images of buildings crumbling under fire and near the floor bodies of children burnt and crumpled like refuse disappear as she scrubs the hand down her face. It’s a small glimpse of what goes on inside the dreamwalker’s mind, but it’s disturbing enough that she doesn’t want to play it too long for the younger woman.

“She panicked,” is followed by a small frown in Sibyl’s direction. “She panicked and we… my friend and I… followed her. It was stupid, but sometimes troublemakers get adventurous. I didn’t think I was hurting anything. I was wrong and when I woke up..”

A feeling creeps up on Geneva, as though something is watching her, stalking her. A sinking feeling of dread.


This all seems so eerily familiar, right on down to the appalling visions. Perhaps unexpectedly, Geneva does not flinch away from the reel of violent images that plays out before her eyes, though the unexpectedly solemn timbre of Delia's voice makes her glance at the other woman's face for a solid moment. She seems on the verge of offering an apology for the dreamwalker’s experience, but then—

"What is it?" she prompts as soon Delia stops, even as an uninvited chill runs through her stomach and she is enveloped by an aura of fear. Nervously, she shifts, quashing the urge to recoil. "What happened?"

In answer to Geneva’s question, Delia simple shakes her head and stays silent on the subject. The feelings imposed on the young woman’s dream lift like a heavy weight off of a heart and the dreamwalker gives her a sad smile.


As in, she’s not going to say.

“Nothing good…. Opposite of good.”

Taking a deep breath, she glances around their stark surroundings and frowns a little in annoyance. “We should go somewhere better, what’s your favorite place?” She lifts a hand, snaps her fingers, and suddenly they’re in a vast field. The grass is tall, almost waist height, and swaying in the soft breeze. “Is it here?”

There is a chuff of clear irritation from Geneva at Delia's refusal to say more, but she does not press the issue, much as it looks like she is longing to. And in another moment, all of her attention is redirected by the two of them being whisked away into another environment entirely.

Gone is the interplay of harsh light and shadow. Gone are the giant, angular mirrors full of shadow-birds. Now they are waist-deep in… a grassland?

"Can you take us anywhere?" she ventures cautiously. Appraisingly. Dream manipulation is not a talent that she had witnessed firsthand before. With some trepidation, she reaches out a hand towards the stalks of grass all around them, tantalizingly close.

"Anywhere I can imagine," Delia replies as the scene shifts just slightly. Off in the distance, a sparkling mountain appears solitary on the horizon. From it, the field of green turns gold, as the grass goes to seed and ripens before their eyes. When the color changes on the last blade of grass in Geneva's hand, the dreamwalker jumps up and hovers weightless in the air.

"This is a dream I had a long long time ago," she says, looking up at the pink and purple painted sky. The sun is dipping down, getting ready to rest for the night. As the shadows grow longer, Geneva spies white shapes off in the distance moving into the field. Equine shapes, each with one pink opalescent horn sprouting from the middle of their foreheads. The soft breeze kisses her cheek picking up just a bit as the moon becomes brighter in the sky. The smell of mint and lavender wraps around Geneva one more time, lulling her into a sense of security and calm, at least for now.

"You'll be safe here," the young woman hears a whisper in her thoughts, just like before the bird first appeared.

And for a time, this is exactly that Geneva feels. There is an odd calm stirring within her, and she is not alarmed when she becomes aware of the fact that she cannot see Delia anymore. Lucid dreaming is not something that she had the pleasure of experiencing often— and this twilit world is almost dolorously beautiful. The girl takes a single step forward into an endless, surreal field of gold, that particular scent of comforting spices lingering in her nostrils long after the last echoes of the whisper has faded from her mind.

In the waking world, a solitary hummingbird settles even more deeply into deathlike sleep.

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