Tracks In The Snow


colette_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif sable_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Tracks In The Snow
Synopsis Colette returns to the Lighthouse with news about a missing shipment for the Ferry, and she is forced to make the difficult decision of getting new Ferrymen members involved in a dangerous situation in the worst of the weather.
Date May 5, 2010

The Lighthouse

Colette wasn't supposed to be gone for this long.

It's been almost two hours now since she left the Lighthouse after recieving a phone call in the morning, which she attributed to important Ferry business. The call had her leaving Tasha in charge of things at the Lighthouse, as the only Ferrymen member outside of Eric Doyle present, and Eric isn't an operative, but more of a long-term guest.

By the time early afternoon is rolling around, the noise of her dirtbike coming up the plowed road towards the Lighthouse is a welcome sign of relief. With the roads having been opened out on this stretch of southern Staten Island by the National Guard as of dawn, Colette's return from where she's been is far sooner than it might have been otherwise. But her radio silence has been a puzzling facet, at least to those who are unaware of the collapse of New York City's telecommunications grid.

Clomping up the steps from the shoveled front walkway, Colette emerges into the Lighthouse from the front entrance, shivvering and shaking from head to toe, snow caked on her clothing and covering her legs up to her knees, like she'd been crawling around in it. Her scarf is dappled with crusted ice and clumps of snow in the wool and her hair looks frozen, cheeks red and eyes protected by yellow-tinted skiing goggles.

"Tasha," Colette breathes out the name immediately upon coming in, her teeth chattering and arms wrapped around herself tightly. "T— Tssh— ss— someone." There's children in the livingroom, Hailey and Mala flipping through the television trying to find a channel that isn't showing the emergency broadcast system. Coming down the stairs, Juniper's approach is punctuated by a noise in the back of her throat, blue eyes wide and posture straight.

"C— Colette?" Socked feet thump down the stairs as she starts to get close, then stops on seeing Colette trying to unzip her jackets with one hand, the other shakily moving her goggles up to the top of her head. Something's wrong, and Juniper can see it in Colette's expression.

The sound of the voice too long absent carries through the Lighthouse, and the distress that marks its tone is sure to draw attention. It's only a handful of moment before Sable skids around a corner, gripping the doorframe to steady herself ans she swings halfway into the main room. Her hair is damp with sweat, and her cheeks are flushed from some recent exertion, and she has to take a steadying gasp of air before asking, voice a little rough. "Wha'?"

Wha' is, for the moment, just the image of Colette, chilly and evidently troubled. "Aw hell, what happened?" the yellow eyed girl asks, stepping forward into the room. She looks around, as if maybe something in the room will give a hint. But that's just stupid. Colette just got in, and ill tidings always come from elsewhere. She glances to the kids, then back to Colette, "Should I… get these nubbins somewhere? What the fuck can I do?" Crisis, even uncertain crisis, topples Sable's already weak self censorship buckles.

Magnes was in the kitchen baking a few pies, evident by the smell beginning to rise through the Lighthouse, but he hears Colette as well, and rushes out to see if the kids are alright. Noting them in their safe positions, he quickly walks over to Colette and places a hand on her shoulder, causing the encrusted snow on most of her body to immediately start falling to the ground. "What happened?"

He's in an orange long-sleeved shirt with a logo for 'The Wesley Crushers' on it, a pair of black jeans, and black snow boots.

Tasha is handling a time out in the kitchen, where she's set Paul and Lance for the time being. The two were doing a panty raid on the older girls' rooms — their evil plot to hang the panties outside for all to see, blowing in the snowy wind. She's in the midst of lecturing them on sexual harassment and their lack of chivalry when she hears the dirt bike. "Write 300 times each 'I will not steal underwear. I am not an underwear gnome,'" she directs them, having run out of steam in the lecture due to the welcome sound of Colette's voice in the other room. She hands each of them a memo pad and a pen. "And no talking. Or looking at each other. Or eating."

With that, Tasha hurries into the living room. "Where have you been? I tried to call but the radio's not working and my cell's not working and the freaking TV is all static, are you okay?" she babbles out, already hurrying to Colette to help unbundle the girl from her icy coat and scarf.

"Phones— phones are down," Colette breathes out the words with a chatter, once her puffy winter jacket is unzipped to reveal the second layer of a fleece coat beneath. "I got— I got part of a call from McRae's place," she's just blurting things out, not really thinking about the context. There's a tight swallow, green eyes diverting to the side when she sees Juniper nervously approaching, teeth worrying at her lower lip. "Magnes could— could you get the kids upstairs?" Because Magnes is better with the kids, though a second glance is given to Juniper. "H— Help him," Colette stutters out the order from the cold, using her teeth to try and tug off one of her gloves, looking up to Sable as she does.

"I— need to— to warm up. Get the kids upstairs then— then we can talk." With her hand free of the thick glove, Colette's pawing at her face to try and feel her cheeks, pulling down her scarf that she'd covered her face with. In the silence between her words, the sound of the wind howling against the Lighthouse becomes even more evident than it was earlier. The combination of forty mile an hour winds and freezing temperatures means that it's like an icy hurricane outside.

Tasha gets a smile, and Colette moves shakily over to the brunette, wrapping one snow-covered arm around her and bringing freezing cold cheeks in to brush against Tasha's in search of warmth, and also to relay something very sensitive in whisper. "We have to go out there…" those words alone aren't something Colette wants to admit, even in that whisper. "I'll explain, I promise."

Green eyes look back to Sable, and Colette just quietly shakes her head, giving the implication of stay here.

Sable gives Colette a totally grave look of acknowledgement, and then is tugged in two mental directions by two different orders. Help Magnes herd the foundlings, and stay here. How to reconcile? The yellow eyed girl takes a moment to see where these two directives mesh, going over permutations in her mind, a fairly swift proceeding as it's only a couple seconds before she dip her head into the kitchen and starts doing what she perceives to be her part. "Special occasion, drips. Comon' go with Magnes." What are they doing in there, writing something in notepads? "Less scratch, more scamper. Let's go!" A reprieve from their penance is reason enough to do what Sable says. They comply, relief almost as prominent as curiosity.

Sable starts to rove, trying to find any kids that have snuck off somewhere, and informing them that the Magster is leading the march, and their tiny feet better start stepping in time, post haste. This is actually the metaphor she uses. And the nickname for Magnes.

Magnes first heads into the kitchen to turn the oven off, then starts motioning for all the children to follow, including the punished ones. "Come on, we're all going upstairs." Then he reaches into his pocket and holds up his iPhone. "If we need to make calls, my phone won't be out." he states with as much confidence in it as a sonic screwdriver, then starts heading upstairs after sliding it back into his pocket.

"Come by the fire," Tasha directs, taking both of Colette's hands and tugging her closer to the fireplace in a reversal of roles from a few days' past, when it was she being warmed by fire and cocoa and quilt, and most of all, Colette. "You shouldn't have gone out on your bike, it's too cold for that, Cole," Tasha reprimands quietly, bringing her warm hands up to Colette's cheeks, in an attempt to press warmth in and chase away the cold.

"Sit down and get warm first, we're not going anywhere until you warm up," she adds, dropping her hands and pulling Colette to the couch where she wraps the quilt around the other teen. She sits too, pulling Colette's feet up onto her lap to untie boots and make sure all toes are warmed properly. Once the last kid is rounding the stairs toward the landing, she tilts her head. "What's wrong?"

Reaching out as if to snatch Magnes' phone as he passes by, Colette furrows her brows and makes a discontent sound when it's tucked back into his pocket and Magnes herds the kids upstairs. She looks up to Sable, offering a firm nod of her head in approval that the musician stayed downstairs but helped herd, she was able to follow that incomprehensible babble of orders better than Colette even intended. Offering an askance look to Tasha where she's seated down on the sofa, soaking snow through her jeans into the blanket wrapped around her. "Everything's down, all— all the cell towers, it— nothing's going to get service." Of course she isn't aware that Magnes' telephone payment plan is through Rebel.

"Even if we could reach out of the city it— it won't matter." Rubbing a hand over her face, Colette looks anxious, like she's going to burst up from the sofa at any minute. It's only when she settles a look on Sable and offers a thankful smile to her with a scrunch of her brows. It's only once she hears Magnes getting back to the stairs that she starts explaining what's going on.

"I— I got a call from Chuckles at the Sweat Lodge," there's a wrinkle of Colette's nose, "it's a Ferry safehouse, the one we stopped at really briefly on the way to the Lighthouse on Monday? I ah, we— Chuckles said they were supposed to be getting a delivery of food from Grand Central by truck at six in the morning. Delivery guy never showed up, so Chuckles called him to try and figure out what was going on. His cell phone's not responding, and then I got cut off so— I took off to drive out and see what was going on."

Swallowing nervously, Colette shakes her head and breathes in a shaky breath. "There's a search party going on to look for him, McRae, Chuckles, Jericho and Felicity are out looking for the truck and the driver right now, but— but they haven't found him." Looking up to Sable, Colette slowly shakes her head.

"They need us to go out there into the snow and look for the truck and the driver. In this weather he could already be dead right now but— we can't just leave him out there. Those food supplies are totally necessary too. I'd— I'd just say for Magnes to fly out and look around but…" Colette turns to look at one of the windows.

"The wind's insane out there, he'd either freeze to death or get— I— we need to borrow Brian's truck, follow the roads, see if we can find out where he might be stuck." Green eyes flick over to Tasha, and Colette bites down on her lower lip nervously, then looks back to Sable, then over to the stairs where Magnes is coming down. "Going to need you guys to help, and— consider this your first official Ferry assignment. For real."

That's a mission briefing if ever Sable's heard one. Which she hasn't but she sure as hell gets the gist. Her expression is set and stoney, and she wastes no time. She heads to the closet where the winter gear is basically just /packed/ in, and starts to pull things free with large tugs, tossing things into piles. Coat for one, coat for another, mittens on one coat, a balaclava for the first pile… as she works, the piles build into mismatched but complete sets of winter gear. She does this without speaking, just small grunts when a pair of snow pants gets snagged on a coat hanger. She doesn't even curse!

Magnes is grabbing his coat as well, the black leather coat with the thick lining, stopping just above his knees. He listens to what she says about flying and just takes her word for it, since it's been pretty damned cold lately. Then he reaches back into his pocket to switch his phone to a zipped up coat pocket. "Alright, so, who would we call if we needed help? I have someone who's not in the Ferry, but, I don't think super speed would be useful in this weather. Hiro's… I don't know where the hell he is. He doesn't answer his phone."

"All right. Right now?" Tasha says, getting up to go find the keys to the truck. "I can drive. Maybe. Last time didn't go so well." Not that she crashed or anything, but gun shots through windshields put a damper on a novice driver's confidence. "Even if your phone works, Magnes, what about the people who we're calling? Doesn't sound like cell phones are working — neither of mine are. It'd have to be a landline, right? Unless whatever magic mojo your phone has works on the other people's too."

Finding the keys in a drawer, Tasha lifts them. "Any description on the truck so we know what we're looking for? But I guess if we see any stranded cars we should try to help anyone, yeah? I mean… anyone out there…" she glances out the window and shakes her head before heading to the pile of coats to search for hers.

In situations like this, where the children are issues upstairs and the adults as it were are huddled together downstairs arne't par for course. Nothing about today's hasty shuffling of everyone out of the ground floor is normal, and the young girl rising up from the sofa, letting a blanket shed off of her like a second skin soaked in water is the source of the problem at the moment, or at least the bearer of bad news. Colette Nichols has called the Lighthouse home for a long time, and even if she doesn't live at it any longer, the time in which she did made her a familiar face to the residents, though she was often called the blind girl by everyone who lived here, given her lack of traditional eyesight at the time.

Once a white-eyed resident, now healed and seeing with greener irises, Colette's return in recent days is a bit coincidental where one eavesdropper is concerned. It's probably been close to a year since Elaine Darrow last saw her; she's grown up, they both have.

"If they're not in the Ferry you don't call them," Colette states flatly to Magnes, looking across at him nervously. "Ever. It's a security thing, it— we're in a shit spot right now 'cause all the whole goddamned network's phones are down. Most of the safe houses don't have landlines either."

Half out of her winter gear, bootless and without a jacket, Colette moves to hastily find the black boots Tasha had taken off from her, walking them over to the fireplace and changing them out for a pair of dry workboots and a pair of socks that had been drying by the fireplace from yesterday.

"It's a box truck, white," go figure, effectively vehicular camouflage, "four wheeled kind. There's only one driver, Marco Oliveria. I— I ain't met him before so— I dunno what he looks like. Chuckles couldn't tell me either." Sitting by the fire, tugging on her boots, Colette looks from Magnes to Sable and back to Tasha again.

"Magnes can drive, he's like— got special drivey training. Tasha, in my bag," Colette motions with her nose over to the olive-drab courier bag at the kitchen table, "there's a handgun in there. Just take the bag, don't— take it out. Last thing we need is someone seeing a gun. But— we can't go out there alone and I dunno where the key to the basement is, and Gillian told me not to go down there no matter what so— I— I'm gonna' listen."

Sable has begun gearing up, sticking her legs into a pair of snow pants and hop-hopping until they rise to her hips. She buckles up, and starts to don the next layer, a winter fleece.

"Y'sure you don't wanna pry the downstairs open?" she says, deciding to put her gloves on /first/ so that their cuffs'll be insulated by her coat, "There are like, a /fuck/ ton of guns down there, last time I saw. I mean, whatever, I'd rather there be no shootin' at all, but if shootin's to be done, better we be the shooters, eh?" Which is one perspective on the matter.

The yellow eyed girl pulls a balaclava over her head, tugging it down so the mouth-holes match. "Fuckin' hate this. Always gets all icy 'round the mouth. Almost ready. Whaddam I gonna do? Keep watch? White truck in a snowstorm, fuckin' great. Better move before it gets buried and we're totally screwed."

"To be honest, I don't really know." Magnes admits, pulling his phone out again, preparing to dial. "Tell me a number and I'll see if it goes through." He looks around until he finds the corner he dropped a pair of white snow pants in himself, then starts pulling them up over his boots. "I don't really… know how this phone works. Just tell me a number, any number, even if it might be down. It's about time I tested this thing."

Elaine's departure from the Lighthouse had led to a very tumultuous period of time in her life that really only ended about five days ago. So, the return to the place out of necessity brings back interesting thoughts and emotions that she'd thought she lost a long time ago. Despite all the chaotic feelings, she's seemed entirely fine. She keeps it all in her head, just how she works.

She had decided to head downstairs, but instead stopped, paused in her pace as soon as she heard the voices. This was Serious Business, and somehow, she got the feeling she wasn't supposed to be there. She can't help herself—the conversation sounded interesting, as well as a bit dangerous. Naturally, this meant she stopped, simply lingering nearby and listening.

Tasha finishes pulling on a coat and moves to the table as Colette indicated. She picks up the courier bag, shouldering it before heading to another drawer and rummaging through. A flashlight, candles and a lighter get shoved into the green bag.

"Here, try mine," Tasha says from the kitchen doorway when she hears Magnes ask for a number. Tasha mutters a string of digits as she pulls out her cash-paid phone, pushing the power button. Next, she heads to a pantry and grabs a box of protein bars to shove into the bag as well — if they get stranded… Well, best to be prepared.

"Flashlight, candles, lighter, some power bars — anything else I should grab just in case?" she asks, before she notices Elaine on the stairwell. "Hi there, Elaine," she says cheerfully enough, though her eyes go to Colette to wait for further instruction.

Tasha's greeting of someone who shouldn't be down here is enough to get Colette to straighten up and stare up at the top of the stairs. There's a blank look on the teen's face, recognition and confusion both playing together. Elaine of all people wasn't someone Colette expected to see at the top of the stairs, let alone at the Lighthouse at all. Lips part, confusedly, and Colette breathes in a slow breath before looking over to Magnes.

He did say he had a guest here.

Nodding her head to the stairs, Colette lets Magnes handle that, because he'll probably do it more delicately than she would. It's only after that distraction is delegated that Colette's green eyes settle on Sable, watching the yellow-eyed girl getting ready. "No, Sable. Orders're orders, Gillian said not to go down into the basement for any reason so I'm doing what I was told. We got a responsibility to listen to superiors n'stuff," Colette's paraphrasing, admittedly, some things Raith told her once.

Looking over to Tasha, boots now on, Colette rises up from where she stands by the fireplace and starts to make her way over to where her jacket had been taken off. Picking it up from the back of the chair it's draped over, she shakes the melted snow off of it and pulls it around herself again, zipping up her fleece first, then the heavy black coat all the way up to the top of the collar, then starts adjusting her scarves she never removed.

"I— I dunno what we're gonna do, just— let's get out on the road and figure it out from there. Guy's probably going to need help and— " Colette snaps fingers on her ungloved hand, looking to Tasha, "First-Aid kit, just in case. It's under the sink." Not that Colette has any idea how to treat frostbite, but it makes her feel more comfortable.

Finding her discarded glove near the door, she starts tugging it on over her bare hand, jittering nervously as she paces by the door, flicking a green-eyed stare back up at Elaine again wordlessly.

Coat donned, there is but one final touch: the goggles. Sable made of point of snagging a particularly lurid pair she found mouldering in the Lighthouse's winter hand-me-downs. Though she must cover her weird eyes, never fear - the goggles she snaps over the eyeholes in the balaclava have holograms on their lenses. When Sable looks at you, it's with multi-colored lizard eyes. Some preteen boy skier likely thought this was the coolest thing of all time. Sable doesn't think it outshines the Fender Stratocaster, but man, it ain't half bad.

Hands clap together, but the gloves turn a usually sharp sound into muffle flap. "Where's the truck? I'll go 'n' scrape the windows or whatever needs doin'." Elaine's appearance draws her attention, and she lifts a gloved paw in greeting, the swishing crunch of gortex on gortex sounding from every move she makes. Why can't she come? Oh right, Ferry stuff. Sable looks to Colette, who is now both officially and effectively their Fearless leader. She salutes. "Understood, cap'n. Awaitin' instructions."

"Says the service is interrupted, guess this thing does have some limits." Magnes puts his not-so-magic phone back into his pocket, then walks up the stairs to place a hand on Elaine's waist. He's already gotten his snow pants all zipped and buttoned. "Hey, sorry, we're about to go do something very important. It'd be too dangerous for you right now, but I promise I'll be back." He leans in, pecking her on the lips. "Keep the kids calm and entertained for me, alright?"

"Sure," Elaine replies. "I'll teach them French or something." She pauses, looking at Magnes for a long moment. "Hey.. be careful out there, okay? I'd rather not have you freeze to death." There's a bit of a reserved smile, then her gaze flickers to Colette, who gets a small nod.

"Here," Tasha says, tossing in a soft underarm pitch the keys to Sable so she can go take care of the truck before Tasha heads to grab the first-aid kit with a wrinkle of her nose. She should have thought of that! This gets tucked into the bag as well and she returns to the living room with a glance down at the cell phone.

"Yeah, this doesn't even have any bars." She turns it off to save the battery and shoves it into her pocket before flopping on the ground to tug on her snow boots, her beloved Doc Martens forgotten in lieu of warmth. Scarf, gloves, hat and the rest of the necessities are grabbed and Tasha hops to her feet.

"Don't let Lance or Paul do anything 'fun' until they write their 300 lines of not stealing underwear. Sorry if they grabbed any of yours," Tasha tells the Scottish girl.

"Shit— I've gotta— Eric's probably asleep still." Ski goggles still pulled up over her knit cap, Colette moves over to the stairs, coming to a stop before reaching them and turning around to look over her shoulder to Sable. "Yeah that— that's a good idea. Go scrape off the truck, Tasha go start it. It's parked right out— " green eyes wander the room as Colette cuts herself off, then spots the keys being tossed by Tasha, and Colette offers the brunette a warm smile of appreciation— two brains are indeed better than one.

Brian's truck isn't easy to miss outside, even through the Lighthouse's front windows, bring the only vehicle in the snow-flooded driveway not buried at the moment. That beat up old forest green pickup may be rusted around the edges, but it's been reliable in this weather, especially with the bright yellow plow on the front.

Heading to the stairs, Colette passes Magnes halfway up, pausing to look at him and then Elaine, then back down to Sable with oen brow raised in query of did they just kiss before looking back to Elaine. "Third door on the left, it's Eric's. Knock and tell him he's in charge until we get back, I dunno if he's asleep or what but— if you could wake him up, I'd appreciate it."

It's something Colette learned when she joined the Ferry, that even the smallest responsibility can feel important. Reaching out to lay a gloved hand on Magnes' shoulder, Colette gives it a squeeze, then nods to Elaine, watching her carefully before making her way back down the few steps she'd ascended.

Sable catches the keys with surprising deftness, considering what real winter gloves do your manual dexterity. She rolls her shoulder, indicating to Tasha that the girl should follow her. Time to get this show on the road. It's only because she casts a quick glance Colette's way, a habit she has had no success in suppressing. The significance of the look is lost on Sable, but she wants to seem assertive and helpful, so she lifts her arm and gives Colette a very firm 'thumbs up'. She can take that as she will.

And out the door she goes. She holds the door for Tasha, even saving a little bow for her when she passes, before plodding out through the quickly increasing snow, swaying slightly before she can compensate for the force of the wind. She thumps against the side of the pickup truck, curling her shoulders to shield her hands as she tugs the key into place between thumb and forefinger. The grooved metal slides into the lock, turns, and a there's a click, more felt than heard, with her arm pressed to the vehicle and the wind howling like it is. She hauls the door open and pulls herself in, pulling one leg over the stick shift and turning, reaching out to offer Tasha a hand up.

"Don't worry about me, I've survived colder and slightly more radioactive places." Magnes offers a reassuring smile, then heads back down the stairs to go after Sable. "Oh, and start reading Harley Quinn volume 1 to them! But skip over the more mature parts, and make sure you do the voices!"

"No worries, I'll take care of them all." Elaine smiles a bit. She's amused at the suggestion of the reading but she does take a moment to contemplate the voices she'd be able to do. Yeah, that'd be amusing.

In an afterthought, Tasha grabs from the sofa a couple of the extra quilts the Ferry kids have taken to huddling under — if they find someone in the snow, they're going to be cold. She waves to Elaine, trailing after Sable as the other indicates, leaving Colette and Magnes to bring up the rear. She throws the quilts in the backseat of the truck, then tucks the courier bag in the front seat for easy access. Popping the glove compartment, she searches around until she finds an ice scraper which she uses to start chipping off the ice from the windshield, climbing up on the rugged snow-chained tire so she can reach to the center of the glass.

Hustling out the front door and into the freezing wind, Colette slams the front door shut and seals up the Lighthouse from the cold. Squinting against that arctic chill blowing across the stoop, Colette reaches up and pulls down her yellow goggles, then trudges down the shoveled path already laden with windblown snow towards the truck. "We need to head west!" Colette shouts, pointing to her left with one gloved hand, shouting over the howling wind.

"Once we get out on to Hylan Boulevard, we need to keep an eye out for the truck, that's the road it was on!" Trudging up to the truck, Colette stands by the driver's side door, gloved hands tucked under her arms. "If we don't see it by the time we reach Arden Ave, we go up that street towards the Interstate! Chuckles said the truck got off the Rickmond Parkway, so we know he got on to the island!"

While Tasha's scraping the windshield, Colette puts a boot up on the running board at the side of the truck, then boosts herself up to grab Sable's hand and get pulled in, climbing over the driver's seat before slipping into the back on the narrow bench. "Sable, check the glove box. There should be a flare gun inside there. Keep it in case we get stuck, Chuckles and everybody else are out right now, they might see it. If not I'll— make sure they do."

Sable is momentarily thrown for a loop as Tasha grabs the scraper. That's what /she/ was going to do. And now… that means she has to start the car. Oh shit. She's never owned one. Okay, it can't be hard. Even if it's manual transmission. She shoves the key into the ignition and turns. The engine gives a revving growl, sputters, stops. "Fuckin' come on…" Sable mutters, turning the key again, "Come on you motherfucker!" she barks as it growls, sputters, growls… the needles above the wheel rise into life as the headlights glow.

Sable whoops, "That's right!" she growls. She leans back into the passenger seat, "All yours, Magnes!" she calls out at him from inside the truck. She leans forward, paws through the glove compartment, finds what /must/ be the flare gun. She lifts it into view, points, looking at Colette, "This whatcher talkin' about?"

Magnes nods to Sable in thanks for the truck. He slips in behind the wheel, getting comfortable. "I'll be knocking the crap out of snow and ice on the road while I drive." He waits for everyone, starting to hum the Zelda theme when Colette says Hylan Boulevard.

"Good job, you show this beast who's boss, Sable!" Tasha calls from outside as she moves from the windshield to the side window, chipping away there too before giving up. Time is of the essence, and it's not like there is going to be a lot of traffic out there that they need to see. "Good enough for government work," she mutters, more to herself.

Finally, she climbs in to the truck, scrambles over the front seat to huddle next to Colette in the back. Her gloved hand reaches for the others to squeeze reassuringly. "We'll find him," she whispers, leaning her head against the other's.

Grimacing, Colette nods her head and leans forward, reaching for the neon orange plastic gun and slides it out of Sable's hands. "Okay, just— pop it open like this," she pushes down a little slide and splits the barrel open, "and take one of the flares," there's a motion to the box in the glove compartment, leaning to stretch across Sable, fingers wiggling, finally getting purchase on one before leaning back, rolling the red shell around in her fingers before tapping a gloved thumb on top of the brass cap, "pop it inside, close the gun," she snaps it closed — loaded — as part of the demonstration, "point to the sky and shoot."

Turning it around and carefully handing it to Sable, handle first, Colette lifts her brows and offers the brunette a nod of her head. "Just be careful with it, those flares are super hot, you could kill somebody if you aren't careful." Moving her hand away from the flare, Colette leans back into the rear seat again beside Tasha, looking side-long at the brunette and squeezing her hand gently in return. There's no acknowledgement of the hopeful words, because it's largely true, they will find him…

As the truck's rumbling to life and backing up out of the parking lot, Colette's just hoping that they find him before the thaw.

Thirty Minutes Later

Southern Staten Island

Finding anything in this blizzard has proven to be a monumental undertaking. With the winds blowing over dunes of snow in shifting clouds like a pure white sandstorm in a desert, visibility has been reduced to almost nothing. From the back seat of the truck, Colette has been focusing her efforts on trying to use non-visual forms of sight to pick up the missing truck, but the distortion in light reflection caused by the blizzard and that so much is registering as the color white is leaving her helpless.

Slowly rolling down the last few lengths of residential house lined street, Colette offers a worried shake of her head, teeth tugging at her lower lip as she sits forward between the driver's and passenger's seat, a hand on the back of each, watching either side of the road. Cars are buried under drifts of snow, ones that have been parked since winter began what feels like forever ago. Some houses themselves are swallowed by twenty foot high drifts that blow over the roofs on one side, revealing half a house on the other.

While the street is plowed, the further west this old truck travels west the more obvious it is that the government plows haven't been through in a good, long while. Drifting snow makes approach down the street perilous, though thankfully if they get stuck, Magnes doubles as a human fork-life.

"There's Arden ave…" Colette disappointedly notes, motioning to the crooked street sign poking out from the snowbank, "um, turn— turn right here. See if we can get down the road." Every minute that goes by, Colette's hope diminishes.

Sable holds the flare gun in gloved hands with a steely grip. Armed - so to speak - she undergoes a transformation into a flinty eyed watchman, gaze moving from irregularity to irregularity in the snow, more like she's looking for an ambush than for someone to rescue from an icy fate. This act can only keep up for so long, due to sore hands and strained eyes. All this white is bad on /anyone/. The eyes, straining to find the slightest useful detail, tire themselves out. Still, losing the badass-guard pastiche frees her up to perform a somewhat more useful task once and a while, as she wheels open the window and leans out to clean the windshield whenever the snow gets cakes up too much.

When Arden Ave comes into view, Sable snuffs from inside her balaclava, "There some point we should, like, get out and start pokin' at things? I mean, I guess if we see a truck sized lump or somethin' we'll know what it is. 'nless the shit has really hit the fan, and we've got, like, multiple truck-sized lumps to deal with." She glances over at Colette, who hangs not that far away, "I volunteer to go trompin' around, if it comes to it."

"If it comes to it, I'm looking around. I'm in the least danger to get trapped in this, and I'll be able to tell if someone's in the truck without digging through the snow." Magnes points out, carefully turning and making sure to crack ice out of the way in the middle of it. "I really need to buy those infrared goggles, but no one's delivering to New York right now."

Tasha's eyes are strained as well, tear streaking down the corner of one or the other now and then to run down her cheeks — not from emotion but simply from trying to find something in the blinding whiteness of the entire landscape. The lack of sunshine is for once a boon — it would be rather literally blinding if the sun were to show its proverbial face.

A gloved hand reaches up to wipe her eyes, the other hand tightening on Colette's. She shakes her head. "I can't even distinguish the sky from the land anymore. It's so … void. And cold." An involuntary shiver runs through her body as she stares out her window, now and then reaching up to wipe away the condensation of her breath that blurs the already blinding view.

"I— I dunno," Colette sheepishly mumbles, looking away from the windshield for a moment, down to her lap, "God I— I dunno I— I figured we'd see— tracks or— or sid marks or something. I'm not— " there's a tightness in Colette's throat, a nervous sound of fretting as she wrings gloved hands together. Nothing she can do in this situation has proven helpful; not light, not her sight, and now she's wondering if her direction has even been accurate. "Maybe— maybe we should go back," green eyes alight to Magnes, "maybe we missed the truck, I— I wasn't— " her eyes avert down to her lap again, and when Colette leans forward, she misses something on the street.

Propped up at an angle and stuck in a drift of snow, there's a dark brown cardboard box with its top open and a few red and white soup cans dislodged from it up ahead, but now immediate sign of the truck they should've been in. "God I— I'm sorry," Colette lifts a gloved hand up to rub at her cheek slowly, "I should've— I don't know." With houses on the right side of Arden ave and a gradual slope on the left there's few places the truck could be, but with the wind the way it is, no tracks in the snow last too long.

"Nothin' to be sorry for, hon," Sable says, tugging her goggles up onto her forehead, her yellow eyes now ringed with the red marks of indentation. Her gaze turns to Colette, the slight squint in them suggestion a serious expression beneath the weave of her headgear. "Don't you be hard on yourself. I won't abide anyone treating you ill, not even yourself, y'hear?" She actually sounds a little stern.

And so occupied is she in that moment, that Sable fails to spot the tell-tale box. Whoops! There are two more pairs of eyes, though, one that /has/ to stay on the road, the other already pressed to the window. There are chances yet.

Magnes has been keeping his eyes peeled, since he doesn't have to worry about the ice too much. He doesn't notice the cans at first, though he does see the box. It's when they've almost passed it entirely that it registers, and he stops the truck. "The truck, it was a shipment truck, right?" he asks, as if an epiphany is dawning, and he's already opening the door to step out. "Colette, can you tell polish reflections from snow reflections even if they're the same color? I have an idea."

"You aren't responsible for everything, okay, Colette? We're all in this together, and you have nothing to be sorry for," Tasha murmurs to Colette, reaching to ruffle the other's hair through her hat with a gloved hand, though her eyes remain on the window.

Tasha's mouth parts to say stop! when Magnes does stop — the flash of red and white cans — it's an Andy Warhol painting on a white MoMA wall, like a beacon in a fog bank. She's already opening her door as well, despite Magnes' prior discussion. She hops down to double back in the snow, eager to find the truck.

When the cab is exposed to the cold on Tasha's wrenching of the door open, Colette lets out a frigid hiss, wrapping her arms around herself and curling inward like a bug shriveling under pesticide. The cold breeze steals away her breath and her words, and Colette sits forward, rising up between the front seats again to get a better look at the cans and the box. "Jesus, Jesus yes it was a food shipment!" Colette leans back and slides towards the side door that's open, but hesitates when she realizes Magnes' question is still ringing in her ears and she hadn't answered it/

Somewhat dumbly she looks back, eyes wide behind the yellow visor of her snow goggles. "Wh— polish? I um— I can't. I don't— I mean I don't think so. I can't see textures when I do that— that thing." There's a wave of her hand abstractly in the air, "it's hard to explain. I um— I don't know, maybe? Let's— let's see what we can see."

Sliding across the rear seat and then out of the truck and onto the street behind Magnes, Colette's boots crunch down into the snow. It's like something from the end of the world out here, just drifts of ice, patches of pavement where the wind has blown all but a fine dusting of the snow away, and then shifting dunes of white snow that bristle with chimneys and tops of telephone poles.

Stepping in Tasha's footprints, Colette calls out over the howl of the wind, "Don't get out of sight of each other!" The last thing she wants to be responsible for is the death of anyone here, and too long out in this cold would be a death sentence for anyone, unsheltered.

The cans in the street are Campbell's chicken noodle, three of them having fallen out of the open top of a box packed with several rows of them. It evokes memories of steaming hot soup on a winter day, the exact kind of thing that'll be needed after something like this.

Colette's spinning around behind Tasha, trying to see anything on either side of the street. Houses buried in snow on one side, a downward slope on the other, no tracks, no signs of a vehicle having spun off the road, but with the wind so strong and the snow still falling… Colette can hardly even see their tire tracks, and they just got here.

"Where is it!?" Colette shouts, her arms held out to her side as she paces around in a circle again, head shaking from side to side.

Sable snaps her goggles back into place, and the force of the release makes her give a small yelp of pain. That was sort of stupid. But luckily no ones looking at her, and no one can hear her. Close one. She unzips a pocket and shoves the flare gun in, along with a few extra cartridges, just to be safe. She zips the pocket back up and piles out, bringing the scraper/brush with her, using her elbow and then her back to slam the car door shut.

The scraper makes for a decent ad hoc walking stick, and Sable uses it as such to navigate across the veritable dunes of snow, catching up with her fellows, breath puffing in thin white clouds, composed of what little moisture that doesn't immediately freeze into the fabric of the balaclava. They converge on the cans, and Sable stoops down to pick one up, as if it might somehow aid them in their search. Her head swivels, a strange black blob with lizard eyes atop a padded mass with arms. She lifts the scraper and points the blade towards the steep incline. "If it's anywhere, it's down there, eh?" she calls, voice lifting to rise over the sibilant shriek of the wind. She sets out in that direction and, when she gets within about ten feet the road's edge, she starts testing the ground ahead with sharp jabs of the scraper.

"The cans, we have to see if they're frozen yet. It's around minus forty degrees, right? If the truck's crashed, we just have to see how frozen what's in the cans are, then we can estimate the radius we need to search for the survivor in. He won't exactly be Wally West out here." Magnes heads over and grabs a can, then points at the top as gravity rips the top off and tosses it away, then he gently wobbles the can a bit, to see how frozen it is and estimate how long it took to get in its current state. "Check for bent poles too!"

Tasha turns back to plow her way through the snow back to the truck, grabbing the bag from the front seat and then grabbing some nylon rope from the back seat, no doubt used to tie up cargo in the cab of the truck now and then. She loops it around a belt buckle and then tosses the end to Sable to do the same, then Colette and likewise.

"Be careful … the snow might give way… Magnes should float and take a look, see if the guy's down in a ditch," says Tasha from the back of the group now that her mind has caught up with her feet. She doesn't know what this area of Staten's geography is like in good weather, let alone when it's covered with snow.

Ahead of Sable the snow is soft and powdery, given that almost a foot of fresh snow has fallen since yesterday the ice that once crusted over everything is probably a good distance down. While Sable's using the scraper to check for stability and Tasha is being the sensible one to grab the supplies, Colette is trying to make heads or tails out of a sloshing can of chicken slushie. "How— How fast does a can of chicken soup freeze?" Colette asks as she creeps up beside Magnes, her dark brows furrowed as she considers the contents of the can, green eyes flicking side to side from can to Magnes and back again.

It's Sable's inspection of the slope and keen instinct on which way the truck may have gone that is the ultimate payoff. Down the embankment and tipped on its side, a white box truck is barely visible in the snow some fifteen feet down from where Sable stands. It's buried halfway in the snow, two wheels visible and the truck's back doors open. The headlights are still on, only one visible, muted in illumination by the snow collecting on the lamp.

A few more hours and it wouldn't even be visible at alll.

Well, it's a simple physics problem. Volume of can multiplied by specific heat of chicken noodle soup minus the heat of fusion, um… then taking into account surface area, temperature of the air, air flow… a little differential calculus with time as the x variable… uh…

Okay, so probably they'd need a polymath to figure it out, but who wants one of /those/ obnoxiously literal know-it-alls around?

Sable's grin is invisible to the world, though combined with those lizard eyes it'd made a ghastly sight. Grim, macabre triumph is written on her lips. But it's safely hidden behind fabric and frozen breath. She lifts the scraper high into the air, then turns towards the rest. "Found the bastard!" she declares. The rope Tasha throws is spotted only after the victorious proclamation, and Sable feels it's a touch anti-climactic to have to retrace her steps and grab it… but she does it anyways, looping it in and joining the rest as one end of a human (and rope) chain. She points at Magnes with the scraper. She's having fun with that thing. "You wanna float down there 'n' check it out? Tasha," she turns towards the woman by that name, "Give 'em the first aid kit. For, like, first aid. Guy's gonna need it, the damn truck is half buried!" She bites back a comment that rises in her mind, something about frozen dinners. Even she does not possess /that/ little tact.

"Normally water freezes at 32 fahrenheit, however, when you introduce salt, not to mention all the other chemicals and the noodles and chicken, there's a lot of variables to consider. But in this extreme weather, and the fact that it's still slushy, suggests that even if the truck did crash, the driver is likely still alive." Magnes pulls the soup from the can with his ability, causing a floating sphere of slushy chicken noodle soup to hover above his palm. "In this weather, the soup would freeze faster than a person could die. And considering the amount of snow, the actual chances of death from a crash are actually less, barring anymore unknown variables."

"Normally water freezes at 32 fahrenheit, however, when you introduce salt, not to mention all the other chemicals and the noodles and chicken, there's a lot of variables to consider. But in this extreme weather, and the fact that it's still slushy, suggests that even if the truck did crash, the driver is likely still alive." Magnes pulls the soup from the can with his ability, causing a floating sphere of slushy chicken noodle soup to hover above his palm. "In this weather, the soup would freeze faster than a person could die. And considering the amount of snow, the actual chances of death from a crash are actually less, barring anymore unknown variables."

Then he quickly points in Sable's direction when she announces that she's found him. "See? Soup never lies." he states with a firm nod, holding his hand out for the first aid kit as he heads in the direction of the truck. The floating soup is bitten into, no point in wasting food.

"O.M.G. Enough about the physics, by the time you figure out the math…" Tasha says with exasperation, but then Sable has made her victory shout. She trudges to where Sable stands, then pulls out the first-aid kit to hand to the other. She stares down at the vehicle and swallows. "I hope he didn't try to … go anywhere…" she murmurs, noting the open doors and turning her eyes one way and then the other to see if there is anything visible besides white, white, and more white. "Be careful, and if some guy shows up to help you, don't attack him, okay?" she offers with a nervous smile to Magnes.

Colette's jaw drops open in horror as Magnes starts picking at the slushed soup out of the can, like he'd just grabbed a squirrel off the ground and cracked into it. She sucks in a lungful of cold air trying to sigh and coughs noisily instead, covering her mouth with one hand until there's a tug at her waist when Tasha moves far enough away. Reaching down for the guide line, Colette starts shuffling over to the edge of the embankment, boots crunching in the snow and head tilting left and right to try and scan either side of the embankment for signs of the driver.

"Man…" Colette shakes her head, "man that looks bad." There's a nervous swallow, and with mumbling she's getting on with, Colette can hardly be heard. Though perhaps he worried grousing needn't be so openly voiced. Shifting her footing carefully beneath herself, she creeps to the edge of the slops and peers down at the truck. "It's— not too far down. I can't see crap, though. Be careful down there," she offers to Magnes with an askance look, "okay?"

Sable crouches in the snow, rubbing at her goggles to clear them of the snow that has fallen onto the lenses. She taps the rope that joins them, "Think Magnes should unfasten himself," she says, half question, half assertion, "Man, you want the flare gun?" she unzips the relevant pocket, so Magnes can extract it if he cares to, "Or this?" She proffers her precious scraper, a real gesture of friendship, giving it up. Now she'll have to point at people with her finger, like any other joker with hands.

As she awaits Magnes' descent Sable begins to sing, low, mostly to herself, "Sucker tried to drive a truck/Hope he ain't completely fucked…" to the tune of 'Drive My Car'. Top notch stuff. Someone call Mr. Yankovich.

Magnes takes the flare, leaving Sable with her precious scraper, then he jumps down to the truck and starts causing snow to fly into the air from around it, essentially attempting to dig the whole thing out both so they'll have an easier time unloading the truck, and in case the guy may be buried near. He walks around to take a look into the front to see if the man's behind the wheel, and calls back. "Want me to fire the flare?"

"No! No save it! We might not need to use it!" Colette calls down before flinging her arms up and covering her face. Magnes effectively creates his own mini-whiteout by blowing the snow up into the air as he is, when the wind takes control and swirls it around in what's already blowing. Colette splutters and takes a step back from the edge, nose wrinkling and brows furrowing frustratedly.

Circling around the front of the truck, light enough that he isn't sinking into the snow, Magnes crouches down and brushes away snow from the windshield, looking for any sign of the driver. There, notably, isn't any. The cab of the truck is empty, and looking up at the door not buried by the snow, it's not closed all the way, just settled down on the doorframe, occasionally offering a clunk when the wind catches it just right. Looks like the driver tried to walk.

Unable to see the girls' atop the rise from the whirling snow and ice created by both the storm and his own ability, Magnes' inspection instead moves to the ground around the truck, trying to see if he can find any sign of the driver nearby, though it isn't the driver he needs to be looking for, coincidentially. Magnes has no way to know this, however.

None of them had heard the approach, soft steps in snow against the backdrop of howling wind masked the approach. But their noise — shouting, rumbling truck engines, conversation — that carries, that carries far enough to matter today. While Magnes is inspecting the truck and discovering the driver missing, something else is discovering the three young women.

Before Colette even notices anything has gone wrong, she can feel the impact of something hitting her at the back of her legs. It's like being tackled, by something low enough to the ground to fold her over backwards and send her slim frame crashing to the snow and ice. The moment she falls, long legs are tangled in the rope and a feral snarl fills the air. Flashing white teeth, mottled gray, brown and white fur with a thick, shaggy coat and gold eyes. The dog is massive and angry. It lashes out at Colette, grabbing her by the arm with a pressure nearly hard enough to break the bones in her arm, saw-like teeth slashing through one layer of her coat and then another, barely scraping the flesh of her arm as it yanks her back.

When Colette is dragged, Tasha and Sable are yanked by their ropes. With Colette on the end, Sable's pulled first, feet yanked out from under her as she's thrown down to the ground, and Tasha too is pulled off balance, sent forward and down onto the snow as Colette's screams ring out through the street.

There's no hesitation at all as it drags Colette bacjk by the arm, head shaking from side to side, ears folded back and puffy tail down. White padding and stuffing of the coat matches the snow as it's shredded from the coat and teeth finally find purchase on something more edible than nylon and rayon. Colette can feel the teeth scrape at her forearm and she screams, a panicked, terrified scream, hot breath and flashing teeth trying to find flesh beneath that bundle of clothing.

Even sitting ducks are rarely so conveniently linked. Three birds with one dog. A real achievement.

Sable yelps as she topples over, the impact causing her to sink into the snow, then carve a furrow in the powder as she is dragged after Colette. The force of the pull, her face against the snow, tears off Sable's goggles and temporary blinds her as ice crystals grind into her eye sockets. The diminutive rocker yowls in dismay and pain as she yanks off her balaclava, trying to rub her eyes free of the stinging cold that assaults them. Its yet /more/ animalistic sounds that draw her attention, though, the moment the shock ebbs. A furry mass is /savaging/ Colette. Sable doesn't think, she just /charges/, scraper upraised, which turns out to be a really bad idea because Tasha is still attached to her.

The rope between them snaps taut, and there is a crack as Sable's plastic snow-pants buckle breaks - that she thought it was a safe link in the first place is just ridiculous. This sends her into a second tumble, though this time her arms flail to better effect and she stops herself from doing a full faceplant. The downside is that her scraper slips from her fingers, skidding off to one side. No weapon for her. Panting, red-faced, eyes looking /crazy/, Sable makes another mad dash, making a flat-out leap, arms reaching to grab the dog in a tackle, the full force of her body weight, such as it is, transformed temporarily into a projectile.

As she falls down with a startled cry, Tasha tries to dig her boots into the snow, reaching to grab at the rope to try to stop the dog from making off with Colette. Unfortunately, she only has two hands, and the other is fumbling in the courier bag bumping along at her side, finally coming up with the gun stowed inside.

Fingers fumbling at the safety, Tasha tries to aim at the dog but it's too dangerous — her aim simply isn't that good, not with the dog attacking Colette and Sable tackling the dog added to the fact that her own hands are shaking from fear. Instead she aims away from the dog, hoping to startle it by, shooting with a gasp at the deafening crack of bullet into white sky. Meanwhile, her other hand drops the rope and reaches into the bag for a power bar, bringing it to her mouth and ripping it open with her chattering teeth before flinging it at the dog's snarling mouth — "Eat //that/, fucker!" she cries out, her voice ragged.

For a while it seems as if Magnes isn't coming any time soon after his little investigation, but seemingly out of no where in the midst of the snow, a hand grabs Colette's arm, and a gloved fist slams into the dog's face, trying to break its jaw and send it flying away with gravity at the same time. "Get off of her!" he exclaims in time with the punch.

When struck by Sable's tackle, the bulky dog only scrambles to the side, ears folded back and salivating jaws snapping at the air before turning towards the young woman who had pulled it off of its meal. The dog circles back around, jaws opening and black lips curling back and away from teeth right until the gunshot rings out.

The huge dog scrambles back from the gunshot and then is notably distracted by the wrapper of the power bar whacking across its nose before landing in the snow. Colette starts to drag herself away, eyes wide and strangled noises of fear and raw emotion coursing through her as the dog hops back and away from Sable and Tasha, growling viciously, gold eyes focused up on the two young women as—

There's a meaty snap followed by a whining yelp as the feral dog is send flying from where it stands by Magnes' punch, head cracking to the side legs up in the air and just flops up and over and down the embankment, rolling bloodily in the snow from the force of the impact. Colette is cradling her shredded sleeve to her chest, green eyes wide and one arm held up by Magnes where shed' been dragged aside like she were as light as a feather by the gravitokinetic.

There's no sound from the dog over the embankment, no sounds from Colette aside from panicked sobbing, and portions of the teen's body are disappearing from sight in vertical strips, like someone poured the cartoon-variety disappearing ink down her body. Steips of invisiblity show the world behind her and through her, and she's an entirely black and white, grayscale depiction in what isn't invisibility; Fear having overcome her control.

Sable in on her hands and knees, making spitting sounds. Wiry hairs fall from her mouth onto the snow below, not Sable's own. Yes, apparently she /bit/ the dog.

With a single /push/ she force herself into a stand, her eyelashes and eyebrows already thoroughly frosted, her vision badly blurred. She looks around, trying to spot Colette, or the dog, or anything really that she needs to be immediately concerned with. Magnes gets a woozy look which is about as close to gratitude as she currently get up the energy for. Colette she finally spots, about where she last saw her, though at first she doesn't recognized the striped figure, pulled from pre-technicolor cinema. She shambles over and falls to her knees next to the young woman. Gloved hands reach out to press against her. "Fucker's gone," she rasps, her voice ragged to the point of tatters, "Y'hurt? Magnes has got the whatsit." She looks up and around, eyes unfocused, breath coming in short-lived white puffs as she sucks in frozen air.

"Colette…" Tasha murmurs, putting the safety on the gun once more and shoving it back in the bag before crawling on the snow toward the injured woman. "Come on… we need to get you out of the snow, back to the truck…" she whispers, fingers sliding around the other's waist, black and white and striated with there/not there like some strange Tim Burton concept. "Come on, Cole, let's get back to the truck and we'll look at your arm there, you're okay. We're okay. They took care of it." Her voice cracks despite the encouraging words and brown eyes fill with tears as she looks away from Colette's form to first Sable and then Magnes with gratitude. There is something else — shame at her own fear: both of them attacked the dog; she simply tried to distract it. Tasha swallows hard and moves to stand.

"Hold on to me, Colie," Tasha murmurs, before she glances back at the ditch. "Once she's out of the cold, Magnes, you can grab the food after we get her to the truck — if that guy went walking, I… he's probably done for. It's too cold…"

"Get her back to the truck, but give me the gun. I'll be with you in a minute." Magnes holds his hand out for the gun, having taken note of the vague direction the dog flew in. "I need to shoot the dog." he states with no particular feeling in his voice, trying to hold it all back, possibly save it for later. "It'll only take a minute. And there's no one in the truck… dog probably got him, but I'll know that in a minute too."

Cradling her arm to her chest and letting out frantic little shallow breaths of panic, Colette stares vacantly at Sable with tear-filled eyes, lower lip trembling and her body rocking back and forth slowly. Her eyes dart about fearfully, her invisibility splotchy and incomplete right up until Tasha comes over and slides an arm around her. A lesson both young women have learned is that Colette is a tactile person, touch significant and important in grounding with and communicating to her.

Sable's touch against Colette's side elicits an immediate look, snapping her out of her fugue and causing some of that colorless appearance to change and bleed with color. When Tasha makes that comforting gesture of an arm around her waist, the color begins to return like a technicolor retouching. Eventually her appearance normalizes and the vertical banding of invisibility fades back to normality as she's shakily up on her feet. Colette lurches, just once, as if she were about to vomit, but manages to retain that last shred of dignity in the face of life-threatening fear as she's escorted towards the truck.

The freezing wind blows across the street, sending gusts of snow and ice up into the air, swirling around and billowing like frozen clouds. Colette doesn't answer about whether she's hurt, she's too afraid to look at her arm, too afraid to see whether or not that thing tore her apart. She imagines it would hurt more, but she imagined getting hit by a car would hurt more too.

Magnes is not the only one with murderous thoughts, and Sable does not bother to ask. She lunges straight for Tasha's bag, shoving her hand inside until she finds gunmetal and pulling it out, clutching it in a gloved hand. She casts a glare in Magnes' direction. Mine, it says, and not in a way that suggest reasonable argument will do much good. Does she even know how to use that thing?

As the movement of Tasha bearing Colette towards the truck flickers in her periphery, Sable's monomania is momentarily disturbed. Her eyes cut over to one small young woman carrying another. She hisses, white venting through her teeth, then slaps the gun into Magnes' hand. "Bring me the fucker's tail, dig?" is her only instruction before she turns and runs to catch up with the other women, catching up to them pretty much as they reach the truck. One shoulder is offered to Colette, just in case, while her other arm reaches out, hand pawing at the door handle and yanking it open.

Tears are freezing already on Tasha's cheeks and eyelashes. She jumps a little as Sable lunges into the bag at her side, her eyes widening and then closing for a moment, heart pounding as she presses Colette to her and helps the other girl to the truck. Once there, she helps Colette in after Sable opens the door, then bundles a quilt around the other quickly, then puts reaches for the other's arm with shaking hands.

Pressing a kiss against the other's cheek, she whispers, "I don't want to hurt you, but we have to put pressure on it if you're bleeding… And you need to take antibiotics once we get home so it doesn't get infected." Her gloved fingers clumsily push up tattered coat to inspect the wounds, pressing her lips together to keep the lower one from trembling.

Magnes takes a walk that seems forever, but is only a few minutes before he finds the dying dog. He cocks the gun again, standing there for a while, white breathes escaping his lips. He stares at the gun, then the dog, then the gun again.

Finally, he extends his arm, aiming the barrel at the dog's head where he can take a fatal shot, taking one last deep breath. "Everybody's got something to hide…" Then the loud bang can be heard ringing all the way back to the truck. "But you were just cold and hungry…"

There's a flinch at the sound of the gunshot, and Colette tenses up as a hiccup of a sob manages to bubble out from her lips. She looks out of the truck, past Tasha to Sable, teeth toying with her lower lip, tears staining her cheeks and jaw shaking as she stares at the brunette. She tries to smile though, tries to express gratitude for having her life saved, which unfortunately for Colette is a seemingly regular occurance.

Were it not for the cold and for Colette's propensity to layer clothing even in inappropriate temperatures, she might have lost her arm. When Colette reluctantly offers out her arm to Tasha, her own eyes avert from the sight. There's blood, that much is evident, but there's not much. Scrapes made by canine teeth track deep and red down Colette's arm, breaking the skin enough to bleed but not to cause serious harm. There's a few other cuts made by the snapping of front teeth at where two coats were tore into, but nothing that she'll need serious medical treatment for.

The only problem is, it was teeth that made the marks on her arms, teeth that tore into her, teeth that broke her skin and ultimately the animal's teeth that will require her to have the precaution of a rabies shot; a necessary precaution, they'll say later when she complains about it.

Colette leans over to Tasha, resting her head on the brunette's shoulder and closes her eyes, sliding an arm behind the only subtly younger woman before just breaking down entirely. There's a tolerance she has for things upsetting her these days, but what she experienced here was wholly strange and new, one of those primal terrors embedded into the human psyche— fear of being eaten by predators. It only makes sense that she spends some time bawling her eyes out.

The sound of the gunshot is followed by a momentary upward twitch at the corner of Sable's mouth. Magnes better do what the fuck she told him to do. She's already checking to see if there's an antenna on this truck.

These grisly thoughts occupy her as she mounts the step into the truck and closes the door behind her, locking in the precious heat generated by the still-running engine. She leans over, just to make sure the heat's cranked to maximum. Of course it already is. She runs a hand through her hair, sending a shower of snow down her back. Her balaclava is a dark spot in the stretching white of the road, but her goggles are secure around her neck, though at the cost of a scrape on the bridge of her nose.

Which is peanuts - not worth mentioning; Sable turns in her seat to get a better look at Colette's condition. Her mouth is a line, tugged downwards slightly at each end. She looks to Tasha, and arches a brow, a tacit question: 'something I can do?'

Seeing the wounds are not going to result in fatal blood loss, Tasha's attentions shift to seeing to Colette's emotional trauma and she lets go of the arm, wrapping her arms instead around the sobbing teen. She pulls the other into her lap, cradling her in the backseat, Tasha's dark brown head leaning on top of Colette's. She murmurs reassurances to the other, then lifts her eyes, still tearful, to Sable and she gives a slight shrug.

"Can you grab the first aid kit from Magnes when he gets back? We may as well clean it as well as we can on the ride back since it'll take a long time to get home. And see if there's something for pain," she murmurs softly, kissing Colette's head again. "Thank you," she whispers to Sable — for more than just the silent offer to help.

Magnes, after giving the dog's stomach a once over with gravity to check for the familiar weight of human bones, heads back to the truck. When he finally makes it there, he hands Sable the flare, and Tasha the first-aid kit. He's apparently not giving the gun up, and there is no tail for Sable. He doesn't seem to be in a very good mood, not saying a word, but as soon as he starts the engine, all the snow and ice in a ten foot radius around them goes flying violently away from the truck. Silent temper tantrum.

It's a long while before anyone leaves this spot, before this one green truck in a sea of white moves from where it's parked to go on the remainder of it's mission. By and large that is because there's still a job to do, crates of food to be moved and delivered to the Sweat Lodge and bad news to be left on their doorstep. It's less time before Colette calms down in the back of the truck, even less before Tasha is doing the best she can to clean Colette's wound out and get it wrapped up, all in the back seat of the pickup.

But there's time enough for licking wounds, considering losses, and gathering lost supplies. There's no quick way to inform anyone, so there's just time in the snow globe that is New York. Pure white snow drifts across the street, curling into dunes and blowing over devoured buildings, hiding the tracks of two dogs not brave enough to go for the people that were there.

They don't find the driver's body that night.

They won't find it come spring either.

Some things just disappear in this city.

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