Whatever Mind May Comprehend


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Scene Title Whatever Mind May Comprehend
Synopsis Abigail, Eileen and Elias travel to Butte la Rose in search of Francois' bones.
Date November 7, 2009

Butte la Rose, Louisiana

Dean Beauchamp had been warned ahead of time to expect company the next day. No, not by plane, they had alternative modes of transportation. No, she didn't need gas money, it wouldn't cost them much of anything to get to Butte la Rose Louisiana with the help of Elias.

Dean Beauchamp had also been warned that she'd have two friends with her, and that her hair was pink. No, no Dah, don't worry, it was a Halloween thing and she just hadn't changed it back yet. She was going to hell for lying to her dad about it. But with the help of Elias and one stomach turning hop via his own specialized brand of teleportation, the trio had landed in the expansive back yard of the Beauchamp household. A white two story affair, a barn, small fields, wooden swing set in the back that had seen many years. The woods were not far off and there was the sound of running water not far away.

Southern hospitality had reigned supreme, not failing in that respect and introductions made between everyone. They'd been welcomed in, offered tea, a chance to warm up since the weather was different here than back home and not so harsh. Eileen and Elias met the 'Momma' Beauchamp and got an eyefull - and earfull - of what Abigail was destined to be down the line. But they were here for a reason and soon enough, apologies were made, kisses exchanged by the younger Beauchamp and the four had set out in the afternoon air towards the woods and through them. Dean recounted the day long ago that Abigail had come running back and talking about a French man who was dying in the woods and the subsequent discovery of no French man. Just blood at the base of the tree that had signified that it was not the imagination of a five year old scared and alone in the woods.

Abigail's remained silent through it all, hands in her coat pockets, pink hair tucked up under her cap to avoid any not so happy looks from her dad as she tromps through the falling leaves that crunch under foot. Birds sing, some mockingbirds with their retaliatory cry at being disturbed. One rabbit goes running off as both Beauchamp's bear shot gun and rifle respectively lest they come across some not so friendly wildlife.

"Ah don't know what it is you're lookin' for out here," Dean observes with a slow shake of his head, dressed in the pockets of a hunter-orange and forest-green puffy vest jacket, his tan workboots crunching through the crisp fallen leaves underfoot as he walks, "It's been right years since then, an' if we didn't find nothing then, ah don't think we'll be findin' npthin' now. Ag still remember where that ol' tree was, though, we're almost there now." The rifle's leaned up against his shoulder, though he grips it firmly, as if expecting to run into some unpleasant wildlife.

Or perhaps something besides wildlife. His daughter's never been able to fool him that well.

The birds in Louisiana aren't that different from those who make their roosts in New York. Sparrows of all varieties — grasshopper, song, savannah — dart between the trees while underfoot, wood ducks nest in the leafy hollows and stare out at passing boots, riveted in their place by the sound of squelching mulch and snapped twigs. Within a half mile radius, Eileen is intimately aware of them all; unfelt to anyone else, the crisp autumn air around her fills with ripples, each quaver, warble and vibration representative of rustling wings and tiny hearts the size of black-eyed peas pulsating in double time.

They don't want them here.

Dressed in her standard woolen coat, a dark gray cashmere scarf draped around her neck instead of worn over her head, Eileen's drab colours help her to blend in with the woodland's equally drab environment as she trails several paces behind Abigail, studiously examining the other woman's back.

Like Eileen, Elias doesn't look so terribly out of place, having not worn a suit in favor of jeans, a worn leather jacket over a t-shirt, and of course, his 'strap-me-up' tanker boots. Not that he expects he'll need to pilot a tank while they're out in the wilderness. He's not really expecting trouble, either, except perhaps an especially ornery deer if they're really unlucky. "Doesn't hurt to look," he replies casually, walking not behind Abigail, but closer to alongside her father. Let the men get eaten first. "Things sometimes aren't what they seem at first glance." Rest assured that no one in this happy party is a fool; it's very likely that all of them are armed, if not visibly, and while Elias' 9mm handgun may not inspire the same level of intimidation, he might in fact have something better; a fake ID, and a well-made forgery of a goldish badge that will likely convince anyone who's not in the know that the light-haired man in leather is out in the woods representing the FBI. Of course, he doesn't want to have to use them.

What he really wants is sitting on a whole wheat sandwich roll, somewhere out there. "Pretty quiet," he remarks, "Take it there's not usually much commotion out here?"

"Maybe something that will lead to where he might have gone too. They're thinking that maybe he didn't die after all. That no one there meant he made it away" Abby supposits for her father. Why they're looking, she'll fill him in later and let him know when the other two aren't around and she can have some one on one time with her parents.

She lets the menfolk take the front and drops back more to walk with Eileen, concern at the woman's quietness. "Something wrong? Do they see something?" The birds of course, and it's whispered low enough for Eileen to easily hear and not her father.

"Have y'tried the Google?" It's an earnest question from Dean, as he looks back to his daughter, "Ah'm told you can fahnd just about anythin' on it, maybe y'could look him up an' find his current address, if y'know his nahm."

The rifle's lowered a bit, used to gesture forward and ahead, "It's jus' up this way, around th'bend. Wasn't too far from th'road down this way, as ah recall."

Eileen's eyes move from Abigail's back to her face. The expression she wears is relaxed, complacent, though there's something about shape of her mouth that suggests her observation wasn't entirely correct. "I don't think we've any reason to worry," is the reassurance she offers around a rueful smile, her voice low and breathy, air escaping her nose and mouth in a fine white mist. "I'm only tired. It's been a long week."

A road, huh? The plot thickens, and unfortunately, not in a way that Elias likes. True, he doesn't exactly have much stake in what's going on out here, but if they're looking for someone, or what used to be someone, the presence of the road may complicate things; if John Doe, or whoever, in fact, was not dead and made it to the road, he could've gone anywhere. "That road get much traffic? Then or now?" It's a pretty straight forward question, and if dear Daddy Beauchamp isn't looking for a hidden meaning, probably seems as innocent as possible.

Back then? "This is Butte la Rose Elias, there is just really not that many people. Population round about a couple grand if that" Abigail glances away from the teleporter, back to Eileen. "We'll get back to the house and you can get spoiled by Momma. Promise. She'll treat you right and give you leftovers for the others" But, they're right. 15, almost 16 years, it's been. There just might be nothing around there. "Yes dad, I'm sure we'll google it. But i'm confidant that Eileen has already googled. She's more technologically saavy than I am"

"Mnm." Dean sounds dubious, but he leaves his daughter to her words. "They jus' say the Google is good for fahn'dn folks, is all." The leaves crunch under their feet as they walk through the woods, his head shaking, "It's been ah long tahm— heck, ah don't even know if we didn't wash off the blood at the time, in case it was diseased're somethin'."

Technologically savvy is maybe not a term that Eileen would use to describe herself. There are no computers in the Remnant's dispensary or in any of the safehouses she's occupied prior; her experience with the internet starts and ends with the applications installed on the cell phone she carries in her coat pocket. This is a woman who types in lowercase letters and with only the rarest flourish of punctuation. Kazimir only insisted that her handwriting be impeccable — neither he nor any of the other members of the Vanguard taught her anything about home row.

"Um," she says, utterly ineloquent, her face flushed pink by the cold. "Well— yes. I did do something to that effect. Are we there yet?"

Elias gives a simple, short nod as Abby enlightens him as to the demographics of her old home. "Then we'll probably find him out here, if there's anything to find," he says, "If it's as remote as you say, I don't think it's too likely that he found someone driving down the road. Something like that would've been reported in the papers too, you'd think." His voice skips a beat, purposely delayed so his words can catch up with his train of thought. "But that's just me guessing. I'm not exactly familiar with how news moves around out here. Does it show?"

"You are not from here Elias, where everything doesn't move at an English pace" There's a grin on her face. As for technologically saavy, well, she's more technologically saavy than Abigail herself is. But Abigail had her father take her out here when she was last here, so when Elias inquires, Abigail points. Not that, you know, Elias can see her, but Eileen can. The tree was marked by her, a plastic strip of red marking tape in case she ever wanted to go back. 'There"

"There it is." The barrel of Dean's gun is pointed at the tree that comes into view, in the same direction of Abigail's gesture and almost at the same time. "Ah don't know what good it'll do you, ah doubt he scribbled a forwardin' address on that there tree, but ah suppose y'never know."

The red marking tape isn't the only thing on the tree. As Eileen moves around it, naked fingertips trailing along the bark, she traces over a series of shallow etchings in the wood. That her hand should brush what looks like an inscription is purely incidental; her eyes and the eyes of the birds in the trees are on the forest floor, searching the fallen leaves for flashes of sun-bleached bone and other unusual textures that might lead to the discovery of something larger.

This isn't to say that someone else won't notice what appears to be three lines of text carved expertly into the tree's trunk by a practiced hand, however.

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek (forgetting find)

- for a.b. & e.r.

A brief look around doesn't show Elias anything immediately out of place. A slightly more focused look around doesn't shed that much more light on the subject, save that there are no skeletons or zombies immediately visible around them. A more in-depth search than that is impossible; it doesn't work that way.

The next step is to look at the terrain itself; if Elias de Luca were a dying man, and he were to crawl or stumble away, he'd go in the direction that would prove to be easiest to traverse. More to the point, if he were a dying man in what was basically someone's back yard, he'd probably have come from the road. No help there. "And to think we left Scooby back in the van," the teleporter remarks flatly, "You remember anything else from back then, Abbs? Anything he maybe said?"

"I was five Elias, I'm twenty now" For that, she looks to her father. "I'm sorry, you're not the first person to ask me what I remember from then. I only know what I do know because of Hiro Nakamura and you know.. the… thing.. inside Flint" yeah, that thing that she's jealous of and trying to come to terms with.

But her gaze lingers on what Eileen found and the blonde looks at the carved words with raised brows. A.B. and E.R. Co-incidence? Maybe, if it had been anyone else who'd been at this tree, if it had been a more popular part of the town and not some out in the backwoods, and a good distance from the road and even more from the farmhouse they'd walked from.

"Well" Her fingers trace the words with a furrowed blonde brow. "What do you make of that?"

"Huh. Well, ah don't remember that…"

Dean scratches one hand against the side of his neck, frowning as he looks at the carving before returning his gaze to Abigail and Elias, giving his head a tight shake, "We searched the whole area, there wasn't no poem then. 'e was just gone. No blood on th'grass leadin' off, either, so we didn't know where e'd gone."

And what's this? Everyone's taken a sudden interest in one of the trees, and Elias ambles over to see why. And while it doesn't seem immediately obvious to him what it means, it doesn't stop him from bringing out his smartphone and snapping a few pictures of it for posterity. "Just in case," he says, as if he needed to explain what he was doing. Not exactly an inexpensive phone either. No doubt the thieving business is good, wherever he is.

"It's uhh, a poem. Something to do with daffodil's…" That's as much as Abby can remember. "But the initials. AB and ER." She looks over at Elias. "I mean, really, co-incidence. But why this and what meaning does it have" Blonde brows furrow again and Abigail steps back to let the menfolk look at it while she herself looks around. "Dah, if you never saw it then, and surely you and the cops and the ambulance and the searchers would have seen it, it means that.." There's a blue eye'd glance to Eileen. "Means maybe he came back and carved it. maybe, nothing was found because he stopped the bleeding, or maybe, I dunno, maybe I healed him? But he's.. alive. Maybe" Unless at some point, it surfaced in her while she was the host and it did this.

A pen is scratching against a pad of paper small enough to fit in the palm of Eileen's hand. Of all the things in her coat pockets — pocket watch, cell phone, emergency contact information that isn't too sensitive to be recorded — it's this that's gotten the most use these past few weeks. She copies the text of the poem onto the topmost sheet, complete with initials, and snaps the pad closed with a deft flick of her wrist. It's slid back into her jacket's silk-lined interior in the moments that follow, her gray eyes dark with a strange emotion that's impossible to identify in the forest's dappled half-light.

"Abigail Beauchamp, Eileen Ruskin," she agrees. "Someone left us a message."

"Y'know, it could jus' be a coincidence," Dean mentions, although even he seems dubious about that. At the mention of daffodils, a frown creases his weathered features, and he steps along over to investigate the carefully-carven text into the tree. "Huh. Cummings. That E E guy, as ah recall."

He's carrying a rifle. Nobody say anything about him knowing poetry.

"Don't look to me for answers," Elias says as he checks over the pictures on his phone. Satisfied, it goes back to where he pulled it from. "Poetry's not really my strong suit. However…" He takes a moment to think about what all this means. "Let's think about this for a second. It could be a coincidence, sure. But what are the odds that someone would come out here, to the exact spot, and leave something that we'd find. More to the point, 'A.B.' and E.R' could refer to anyone. But, you know what? Let's assume it was intentional. What's it mean?"

"ER would be.. I don't know how he'd know to write that. AB, I could see cause" There's a glance to her dad. "I was uhh, well no, no was. I'm a very.. outgoing person…." So she could imagine that she'd introduced herself. "That and it's not that hard to figure out who lives nearby, and the names of the people there. I mean, really, how many five year olds find hurt french men in the woods. There is an option." They could talk to Flint or Abby could have flint over and at some point, like say maybe in the morning, Francois, or the gift would surface and they could ask him.

Buttt lets not tell Dad about that park mmmkay? No. "He was a doctor. We know that, from the journals. If he's anything like I am, he would have.. tried to find some way to still heal" Maybe. She can hope. "Maybe he set up practice nearby? He did use variations of his name"

"If Francois is still alive," and Eileen uses the word if very tentatively, "then I doubt he'd stay here in Louisana. He liked to travel. Extensively. We have a journal to support that." The pen is pocketed shortly after the pad, followed by her pale hands. While the weather might not be cold enough to require gloves, it still nips at her knuckles and the tips of her long, white fingers.

"Edward Estlin," she supplies. "I have a book of his work back home. Assuming this isn't a coincidence, whoever left this here chose these words for a reason. We're meant to glean something from it."

"As ah recall, teaching you not t'talk to strangers was th'hardest lesson we had t'teach you," Dean admits with a rough little chuckle at Abigail's glance and her words, his hand clapping to her shoulder in a brief, warm squeeze. "You always did like meetin' people. Drove your ma t'distraction."

Heat rush's to Abby's cheeks at the words from her father, and if she were any other person, she might be muttering about not embarrassing her. But instead she just accepts the quasi compliment. She takes out her own phone, so she can snap off a few pictures of the tree and it's carving before she sighs. "Are we stopping here, or do we want to look around other tree's, see if there was any other message? Did you manage to find any bones?" Via the birds, unspokenly tacked on.

Eileen spares a glance up at her eyes in the trees, some in plain sight and others unseen. A waxwing with eyes like solidified drops of bright red sealing wax trills a greeting at her from its perch in the branches above her head. What this translates to is anybody's guess, but the dark-haired Briton is already moving away from the inscription with a cursory perusal of nearby trunks — none of which are marked with anything except flaking green lichen and fat beads of gummy sap. "I don't think we're going to find anything else," she says. "Better to head back."

"It's been too many years for there to've been any bones, an' we would've found 'im if he'd wandered off," Dean says with a shake of his head, turning at Eileen's words to look back down the rough game trail they followed out here, "I think that's all we're going t'find out here, yea. Maybe that there poem you found'll lead you to another clue once you have all've it in front've you…"

"That's the way these things work," Elias says as if this were an established scientific fact. Regarding the rest of the group, he even takes a moment to explain exactly how he knows this. "It's true. I read it in a magazine."

"Head back then. Stay for dinner? Or do we need to head back right away?" Inwardly, Abigail's praying that they can stay for dinner. "I'm sure that you know, it'd be nice for you both to have a good.. meal, and my momma makes a damn fine one." Probably been planning since she called to say she was bringing folks over.

Call it women's intuition, call it a hunch, call it whatever you'd like — Eileen gets the distinct impression that Abigail would appreciate sitting down for dinner with Mama and Papa Beauchamp, and although her family consists of five grown men who act like children when they gather around the table, she understands the desire to have a peaceful meal in the company of the people she loves. "I'd like that very much," she says. It isn't a lie. "We can stay the night if your mother will have us and you'd rather sleep in your own bed. I doubt we'll be missed before morning."

"You are darned well stayin' for dinner," Dean observes in rather firm tones, "Ah'll never heard th'end of it from your ma if you came an' left so quick without even a dinner t'speak for it. Ah'm sure she'll love t'get to know your friends here, too."

"Can't wait." Already, Elias is running through various lies in his head, working out a plausible backstory he will doubtlessly be asked about. "Haven't had a good opportunity to sit down with my pals for a conversation since, last December, I think." Has it really been that long? It has been. Oh my.

Broad smile. To be able to introduce people more than Victor to her family. "More than enough rooms at the house, and I have some clothes you can sleep in and we can easily get back home in the morning. momma and Dah get up with the birds and make breakfast" And Abigail. She won't be able to stay for church, but she can at least spend the night. "Lets head on back. Don't need to worry about any Alligator's, it's too cold for them. Don't need to worry about Francois having been eaten by them either. They don't much care for eating people believe it or not. Not in the least" She'd offer her arm to walk back with Eileen, that happy that they can stay to eat. "Welcome to my home Eileen. I hope. I hope we find him"

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