Typically Atypical


brynn_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Typically Atypical
Synopsis When you're not the typical young adult or adolescent, you do atypical things. Like discuss the ancient sewers beneath the city.
Date May 14, 2018

The Lair (or that place where the Lighthouse Kids are residing)

It's in Elmhurst, next door to Caspian's place.

It's not your typical late afternoon over at the Lighthouse Lair. Which basically means there are no freaky movies found in long-abandoned tunnels to watch or telepathic monsters lurking. And still no sign of William the Ghost, but it's been a while since anyone has actually gone looking for him. So he might be around.

Since it's a typically atypical afternoon, that means Squeaks is around. She usually is, even if you don't see her she's often somewhere in the house, usually appearing when there's food being prepared or someone mentions something about dinner …somewhere. This evening, she's where she can easily be found.

The sinking sun is casting some brilliant orange-ish light into the front room. It's great reading light, and it's warm. Which is why Squeaks found a corner of it to sit in, cross legged, with a bunch of random papers split between her lap and hands and floor. The ones in her hands are gathered in a haphazard fashion, not all quite lined up right, and those few set out in front of her on the floor all have different markings and look very map-like.

Brynn, in her usual silent fashion, has been moving around the place with a thoughtful air, as if working something out in her own head. Eventually she settled down in the same room as Squeaks without bothering the younger teen. All that could be heard for quite some time was the rustle of Squeaks's own papers and the scratching of Brynn's colored pencils as she draws. The warm afternoon glow is perfect for what she needs, given that Squeaks has taken up residence in a patch of the dust-mote-filled golden light. And for Brynn, people are her fascination. Finally she sets down her sketch pad and climbs to her feet to come over. She brings the pad of paper with her, so she can write on it for Squeaks — the younger girl doesn’t have enough Sign yet to converse easily.

What are you working on? she asks, showing Squeaks the question.

Silence and no conversation might drive anyone else a little crazy, but for Squeaks it's natural to not have anyone to talk with. She did look up when the older girl came into the room and offered a small smile, but she's definitely content to stare at the poorly drawn maps while Brynn draws. A closer look shows that those rough lines and marks are definitely her own hand.

She looks up when Brynn comes over, and blinks up at her. "Making maps of the Underneath," Squeaks answers after reading the note. She sets the papers down, the pile growing even more unruly. But it frees up her hands to piece in those words she does know. "I want to look for William again."

Brynn looks intrigued. No luck, I guess? she writes for Squeaks. Her gray eyes shift to the maps, and she asks, Do you use just your memory, or are there signs along the way that help you remember how to get around down there? she wonders as she looks over the drawings. She starts looking like she is going piece them together like one big one.

"Last time I found the video tape." But no William. Squeaks spreads out some of the topmost papers. All are in her hand, for sure. A good number look like they were traced from some other place. There's plenty of smudging and erased pencil marks interspersed with colors that so far make no sense. There's no key. "Some I copied at the library. And some are places I go through a lot. The subway tunnels are easiest because there's signs and lots of ways out, so you know what street you're at. The older tunnels don't always have signs like that."

Tilting her head slightly to study the maps, Brynn hesitates. I think I remember tunnels. One time, before I went to the Lighthouse, we had to run away from people. She frowns and then writes, For some reason we didn't go into the tunnels, we turned and went back. She'd been so confused at the Beach Street house when things started exploding, she can't really say what actually happened there. Do you want to try making it one big map, or do you like it better in pieces?

"Some tunnels are dangerous." The younger girl looks like she understands the logic of avoiding tunnels. "There's monsters." She lightly touches the last sentence on the sketchbook. One big map isn't something she had considered, and Squeaks looks puzzled when she first reads the suggestion. That expression turns thoughtful when she looks up at Brynn. "If we had one big map, we could mark where we've looked and where someone saw William. Like these marks." She points to some, hands pushing the papers further apart to show similar marks in different places. "Those are where the tunnels are collapsed. Some of them I can still get through though."

Brynn hesitates. You keep saying that, she observes. Have you ever really *seen* a monster? Because to her, monsters are real people out to hurt you.

"No." There's no hesitation in her answer, because Squeaks has never seen any monsters. She also hasn't gone looking for them, but she has heard the stories. "People who live in the Underneath tell you not to go to the dark below, the old tunnels." She thinks about those stories, gaze dropping to the maps spread out without any rhyme or reason. "They're just stories. I never saw monsters, just sometimes some rats that run away from the light."

Her posture had been a little more tense until Squeaks confirms she's never seen anything that she'd classify as a monster. Brynn is still thoughtful though. I wonder kinds of things people call "monsters" down there, she writes on the paper. Or is like the stories of ghosts in the woods that will kill you if you wander off after dark? That's the kind of thing that they used to tell each other to keep everyone close to camp at night. Of course…. back then, it wasn't really *ghosts* anyone was scared of. It was real people. But she's heard of ghost stories! How can you not learn of such things with people like Joe around?

"Not ghosts." Squeaks' hands go still as she considers. She knows what ghost stories are, but what's told in the Underneath sounds much more real than any ghost story. Maybe she just hasn't heard the right one. "These stories," she slowly begins again, "are about people that disappear when they go into the dark below. The old tunnels. No one goes there anymore." Not the Underneath that she's most familiar with. "But also there's stories about rats. And monsters that eat people and leave their bones."

Both of Brynn's eyebrows hike their way up her forehead. So…. it's all just rumors and whispers? she asks. Hrm. Well, that rather just sounds like the kind of thing that anyone would tell other people if they were trying to hide stuff or keep someplace private or whatever. Where are the old tunnels on these maps? Can you show me? Were they steam tunnels or something? I read about those in a book about older cities.

"Not here." Squeaks leafs through the papers again. They're getting pretty spread out now, with still no order to them. Anyone with general knowledge of the subway system can tell where lines should meet up, but don't, according to her roughly drawn maps. She looks up at Brynn again. "Not these ones. Some books have them, the old sewers, from when the city was new. I think I can find how to get into those tunnels. Do you think William is in those tunnels?"

Brynn tilts her head and frowns, studying the maps. Her hands sign, I don't know, little mouse. And then she remembers to write. I don't know, honestly. But what I'm thinking here is that… I wonder if we can get hold of the originals of your maps so that we can make the lines all match up properly. To get a sense of scale, you know? How much room is actually down there? Like miles and miles, I bet.

While Squeaks is grateful for the writing, she does light up a little with signing. She knows it's easier for Brynn, which is why she began to work on learning it. And she is picking up on things, so when it's used to converse with her, she gets excited. "Miles and miles," she agrees. "From the airport to the ocean and the ocean to the river. And all the places in between." And that's just the subway tunnels. "We can go to the library. That's where some books are that talk about the old tunnels."

Grinning at the younger girl, Brynn still writes, but then she signs after writing it to let Squeaks see the words. Is there a library here that's still able to be gotten to? She seems excited about that prospect now that it's been brought up. She loves books. They are a fantastic escape from the here and now.

"The new one. It's not a long ways away." Squeaks turns slightly, looking at the walls and trying to picture where the streets are. Of course, she could always go to the window and get her bearings that way. Eventually she points in the general direction of the Doyle library and looks back at Brynn. "That way. We can go. Tomorrow?"

Brynn nods energetically. She thought Squeaks meant another one, honestly. The new one will have all the maps and historical stuff we want? That seems like maybe it wasn't what she expected. But then again, not much in the city is exactly what she expected. So, this is just one more. Let's do it! Tomorrow to the library!

Her answer comes first with a shrug, then Squeaks' face scrunches a little. "Maybe not all. But some. Or one? We can find the way in and go then find the way out again." Which, the way she says it — and her body language probably implies a little bit — is perfectly logical. And not at all a terrible idea. "That's how I do it."

Brynn quirks an eyebrow at Squeaks and signs, You really should have been one of us. That's exactly what Joe would do. And she grins and hugs the younger girl without explaining exactly what she said. Then she signs, Library. Tomorrow. Let's go eat. Because those words should be familiar.

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