When Shadows Come Calling


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title When Shadows Come Calling
Synopsis The news has hit that cops are killing kids, and one freedom fighter is specifically pissed.
Date March 25/26, 2009

Elisabeth's Apartment

The witching hour passed a few notches on the clock ago, the city buried in the peaceful oblivion of night and slumber's call. A shadow slips through the hallways of the apartment building, flitting along the hallways like a stalking butler. A familiar door's found, and that shadow spills beneath the edge.

The last time he was here, it was on far better terms. Now? Cardinal's angry.

Elisabeth is going through her nighttime routine. The apartment is mostly dark, and she's just rinsing her face off after washing it. She grabs a hand towel from the towel rod next to the bathroom sink and breathes into it, wiping her face dry. She reaches up to yank the elastic band out of her hair and then picks up the hairbrush to pull her brush through the blonde strands. She's wearing a pair of loose shorts and a cotton spaghetti-stringed tanktop and seems pretty much like she's heading for bed momentarily.

If she looks into the mirror, she'll see a great shadow spreading across the wall — roiling and ever-changing, with two empty holes for eyes at the heart of it, just waiting for her to notice it, or turn around. Take your time. He'll wait.

When she turns around, he gets the best horror movie reaction ever. Elisabeth literally drops the hairbrush and screams. The only good part about it? She's so startled, there isn't any focus of power — the mirror behind her shatters, as does the glass on the sink, but that's about it. She backpedals, but there's nowhere to go.

"Harrison." The voice is hollow, echoing and raspy — but the amusement that usually threads beneath the surface is gone, cold, flat, "Sorry to surprise you like this, but I figured you wouldn't want me just waltzing up to your door…"

"Jesus fucking Christ, Cardinal!!" Elisabeth chokes on her terror, the adrenaline surge making her heart race. "Get corporeal this instant!" she orders him, still plastered up against the counter.

"I'd really rather not." There's silence for a moment — the shadow vaguely humanoid, but vaguely not, those empty eyes starting at her from the wall, "Who was it, Harrison? Who pulled the fucking trigger?"

Storming through the bathroom door into her bedroom, scooping up the brush as she goes, Elisabeth growls, "Who pulled what trigger? I'm not talking to you until you're not looming over me, scaring ten years off my life! What the hell are we talking about?"

"You fucking cops and your hair fucking triggers, that's what I'm talking about. More blood on the ground, and this time you can't chalk it up to Homeland Security. This was your people, god damn it!" The shadow spills down the wall, swirling into hers. Unseen, but not unheard as she stalks into the bedroom.

Elisabeth turns, though she can't see him in the dark now. Her demeanor's a little different. Not so much puzzled as… confused. "Fucking cops and our fucking hair triggers…. the riots? Are you talking about what happened the other day?"

"Jesus Christ, Elisabeth, do you even watch the news?" A snarl reverberates through the shadows of the darkened room, seemingly ambient as it echoes about her, "One of your fucking fascist pigs shot a twelve year old kid!"

Elisabeth shoves a hand through her hair. "No, Cardinal, I don't watch the fucking news, I fucking live it. I was on the streets." She sighs heavily. "But yes, I know the situation. And why don't you get your fucking facts straight before you come at me like a rabid dog!"

"I only need one fact, Liz," replies the shadows in a dangerous hiss, "A name."

"I will not!" Elisabeth yells at the shadows. "You ever been in a riot, Cardinal? You ever been out there risking your ass while Evo and non-Evo alike take potshots at your ass? I was out there in the middle of that shit! I'm not giving you a name so you can go torment some poor officer who, as best I can figure out, made a clean shoot — a regrettable, shitty clean shoot."

"Clean?" A very soft, very quiet word. "Clean."

Silence, for a few moments.

"A clean shot. What about that was clean, Liz?"

"God damn it," Elisabeth says softly. She walks to the edge of her bed and sits down, her shoulders slumping. She looks weary and sounds sad. "I saw the report…. unless something more comes of that particular scenario, Richard, …. they were in the middle of the riot, people were throwing lighting and all kinds of shit, and the kid came at the cop right in the middle of the fracas. IAB is looking into it — the cop's on administrative leave pending possible charges. But… based on the report, I don't think any will be filed. It's one of the shittiest parts of this job. When you step into the mob and you have a split second to make a choice. Just like facing off with a kid who just robbed a store with a fake gun, and you have a split second to decide if the gun he's pointing at you is real."

"The kid didn't have a fake gun, god damn it," Cardinal snarls back at her, the voice echoing through the darkened room, "He was probably scared as hell and going towards the nearest authority figure to protect him, and he blew the kid's brains out. No charges filed. No justice for him, just like there wasn't any justice for the thirty-five. Must be nice on the other side of that line."

A sharp hiss, "Fuck you and your excuses."

"Right back at you, you sanctimonious prick!" Elisabeth fires back. "You want excuses? What exactly are you out there doing to change it, Richard? You decided because 35 kids are dead — 35 kids that I had to stand and watch be put in body bags, thank you very fucking much! — that suddenly changing it all is important to you? Where were you two months ago? Where were you when Volken and your girlfriend were working together to send out a virus that was going to kill 90 percent of the fucking world??"

She shakes her head. "You can kiss my ass. It must be nice to live in a black-and-white world where there's always a right and a wrong answer. You gonna tell yourself that killing that one particular cop is the right thing to do? What about the ones shooting into the crowd at the food riot? You gonna kill them too? Or the ones who beat up a woman during that riot? What about the Evo telepath who was driving a seventeen year old to commit suicide because they liked the same girl? Or the Evo cop who arrested your aforementioned girlfriend? You wanna kill her too?"

"There's only one person here talking about killing anyone, Harrison," replies the shadow, coldly, "That'd be you."

Then there's silence. Perhaps he's gone. It's really never very easy to tell.

The hairbrush she still has in her hand is hurled at the wall, where it leaves a dent in the sheetrock. "You're an asshole, Richard Cardinal," Elisabeth says quietly. She doesn't even know if he's there. But she says aloud, "Don't fucking come at me like that again, or I swear to God, I will slap you into the next decade."

The worst part is? He's right. She's the one who assumed he was going to go after the cop and kill people. What the hell does that make her? It's a question she'll continue to struggle with, she's sure.

"I never claimed I was anything else," comes the reply from the shadows, quiet, flat, stirring through the darkness of the bedroom, "But at least I'm honest."

Then he is gone, in truth, although again — it's always hard to tell. Seeking his answers elsewhere, perhaps.

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