You Won't Feel A Thing


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Scene Title You Won't Feel A Thing
Synopsis Angelina Jackman has an encounter with the Smoke Man.
Date March 24, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

When the weather gets cold enough, everything freezes. Even the moisture in the air can crystallize, creating freezing mist that hangs like the silhouette of a ghost in the air. With temperatures down to sixteen degrees Fahrenheit, it's no surprise that even the concrete walls and rusted metal catwalks of this abandoned warehouse have begun to frost over with a glittering sheet of ice. What little glass is left in the demolished windows of this building have crusted on the outside from the cold, while the rumbling generator and kerosene space heaters struggling to keep even the illusion of warmth in this large, empty space create condensation on cold metal and stone that is quick to refreeze.

Once, Angelina Jackman was able to find solace and seclusion here in this graffiti-sprayed warehouse, beneath the exposed rafters and corrugated metal ceiling, surrounded by old machinery and half torn apart cars, behind broken windows and in a place all her own. When the Library became too noisy, she could retreat here like a sanctuary for a hermit. With the weather so cold, so hungry to devour warmth, and so oppressive, it has become clear that this sanctuary is losing its viability.

Outside, the wind howls through the ruins of Midtown, whistling between the cracks and fissures in skyscrapers and iron girders, blown out windows and crumbling walls, a haunting dirge for a city that has died and those living in its corpse.

While it's not quite the same place that she left, Angelina was unable to resist escaping the library and coming here, before it became too much like a prison and she had to leave or go crazy. She's little different than she was last time she was here. Cleaner, perhaps, but no different beyond that.

She left the kitten in the library, but brought her guitar. The one thing that truly gave her comfort during all her months spent 'living' in this place. And now, while everything outside is more still than usual due to the weather keeping so many in, she sits on an old crate, legs crossed, fingers moving over the strings of her guitar, mingling its voice with her own, playing for herself and the winter.

The notes of the guitar strings being plucked come steadily and echoing through the empty expanse of warehouse, heard out on the snowy streets of vacant ruins beyond the warehouse exterior. Perhaps in a way, almost pier-piper like, the lyrical sound of Angelina's singing and instrumentals have drawn a guest here for the evening, someone looking to get out of the cold, because in temperatures this frigid— even smoke freezes.

Four heavy knocks come in steady rhythm against that of the song on the metal sliding doors that lead from street level into the warehouse, then repeat again a moment later, steady pounding rattles of the metal, someone clearly announcing their presence with the hammer of knuckles. "Hello?" Comes next, a weary and tired man's voice muffled only by the metal that he knocks on, heard somewhat distantly through the empty warehouse floor.

Angelina jumps at the knocks. Few people have ever intruded upon her in this sanctuary, and none of them ever knocked before. Her hand tightens on the neck of the guitar and she frowns a little as she shifts her attention towards the door. "Yeah? What d'ya want?" she calls out, not really afraid, but curious, and startled.

"Just a place to get out of the cold!" Comes back through the door, tired and weary, a rasping voice of someone likely a decade or more Angelina's senior, though from the quavering of his tone, likely also someone freezing out in the cold. "I've got a bottle of Whiskey!" He adds as a peace offering, though there's no knocks to come afterward, just a moment of hopeful silence before, "Please?" is amended on to the end of his plea for help.

Angelina considers for a moment, then she shrugs and sets the guitar down beside her. "Yeah, sure. C'mon in. Though you can keep your whiskey!" she calls back, watching intently to see who will be joining her.

Oh, it was unlocked, the silence practically says. As that large metal door rolls open slowly, the darkness beyond the door tells little of the tall but thin silhouette standing in the entrance. "I appreciate it, miss…" comes the wheezing response of the man on the other side. As he steps in to the dim light of the warehouse, Angelina Jackman's new guest looks much the part of anyone who lives off of the kindness of others, without a home to call their own. He's tall, just over six feet and rail thin. His face is long, pale and wrinkled, high cheekbones and eyes shadowed behind a pair of wire-framed spectacles. A dark navy blue Yankees baseball cap is tucked down over his head, but the bald skin behind his ears indicates his head is shaved or he's simply lost all his hair.

"It's terrble out there…" the old man admits, reaching for the handle on the inside of the door, slowly sliding it shut with a rumbling roar of the runner and a loud metallic clang once it's pulled into place. Over her shoulders, the old man carries a ratty looking backpack and in one wool-gloved hand a bottl wrapped in a paper bag.

"I've some cans of soup too, if you've got heat for them." He admits generously, "I'd feel wrong being offered a place to lay my head for the night without— " On his way in the old man just stops in his tracks, back tenses and chin lifts slightly as he squints in Angelina's direction behind the lenses of his glasses. When his throat works up and down, a noisy swallow comes next, and then a shadowing of the old man's face as he tilts his head down. " — without giving you something in return."

Angelina studies him for a moment, then her lips curve slightly. "Yeah, it is. Surprised anyone else was out." She cocks her head. "You don't gotta give me anything though. This…" She hesitates, looking around the familiar building, the place that was her home. "It's not really my place anymore. So you can stay here as long as you like."

"Well…" The old man breathes out, "that's mighty kind've you, miss." Moving over towards a tattered old sofa angled in the middle of the warehouse near the kerosene heater and the crate Angelina is seated atop of, her new guest unshoulders his backpack and settles it down on the floor, wearily easing himself down onto the couch in the way a tired old man with creaking bones might. He sets the bottle down near the heater, then unzips the top of the bag and takes out that dented can of soup, laying it with a clunk down on a small box in front of the battered old couch that serves as a makeshift table.

"What's your name?" He asks up to the brunette, gray brows lifted and hazel eyes settled on her with a grandfatherly smile. "I'm going to warm this up on your space heater here if you don't much mind. It's a cold night and I could use something to eat… but I don't mind sharing." He reaches into the bag, "I've even got two spoons," he admits, lifting them both up in one hand with a yellowed smile.

Angelina shrugs. "I don't mind. Go for it. You really don't gotta share though." She knows how it feels to scrounge for food, and since she's not having to do that anymore, she doesn't want to take food from someone she believes to be as unfortunate as she was. "But I'm Angelina," she says with a smile. "What's your name?"

"Samson," the old man states with a broad smile, settling down the spoons next to the bottle before reaching inside the bag and pulling out a Swiss army knife, sliding out one of the metal inserts and punching two large holes in the top of the can, "Samson Gray." There's an earnest quality to his smile, wide and amused as he holds out his hand, and gestures towards the space heater, causing the can he was holding to lift up off of his palm, float through the air and then settle down atop the kerosene heater with a soft clink.

Samson's hazel eyes direct themselves back to Angelina after that, still smiling. "I hope you don't mind and old man with a few new tricks," he adds with a wheezing laugh, reaching down to rummage through his bag again, pulling out a pair of binoculars and setting them at his side, then pulling out a ratty old paperback novel Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting.

The telekinesis has Angelina's head tilting and her brows lifting. "That's handy. Haven't seen that particular trick before. Plenty of others though," she murmurs. "But nah, I don't mind. I've got a trick of my own. It's just not as…practical…as yours," she explains with a faint smile.

"No?" Samson queries with a raise of one brow, watching the can out of the corner of his eye before beginning to page open the book slowly, turning to where hes' left a dog-eared portion of paper, likely where he stopped reading last. "Every power I've ever seen has a practical use, they just… often get used by impractical people." Peering down through his glasses att he book, Samson seems to consider reading before wrinkling his nose and closing the book with his thumb between the pages, eyes up towards Angelina and brows furrowed.

"What is it you do?" Comes the next question, gray brows lifted and hazel eyes somewhat wide, attentive. For the barest of moments it looked as though Samson was trying to ignore the topic, but morbid curiosity — or something like it at least — has him pressing the issue, tongue running over his lips slowly.

Angelina hesitates at the question, picking her guitar up again, fingers moving lightly over the strings, so the sounds don't interrupt the conversation. "You're not like…secretly a member of the government or anything, right? Looking for people to haul in?"

"What if I was?" Samson queries right back, laying his book down in his lap and slouching back against the couch. "But no…" he admits after a moment of the teasing, "no, I'm not…" The book gets set aside, and Samson is soon to rest his elbows on his knees, brows furrowed and hazel eyes firmly angled over at Angelina in intrigue. "Let's try another topic then, if you don't…" his eyes wander to the heater, "want to talk about powers how about something else to pass the time for the evening. Do… you have any family left in the city?" There's a constant tapping of one of Samson's booted feet that Angelina notices, a nervous tic that wasn't there before she mentioned her ability.

"I find it hard to believe a young woman like yourself," he motions ofer to her with one gloved hand, "has any good reason to live out here, out in this mess, all alone." Licking his lips again, Samson seems to notice the tapping of his foot and tries to still it, only to have one of his fingers begin tapping at the side of his jaw.

Angelina frowns as he continues speaking, studying him a bit more intently than she did the first time around. "You're pretty damn nosy for someone who just wanted a place to warm up and eat," she says after a long moment. Then, as if to prove that she isn't as helpless as she looks, she says, "My power is blowing stuff up." See, she has a weapon. Don't mess with her, Samson!

Both of Samson's brows lift, hazel eyes settles squarely on Angelina before there's a slow nod from the old man's head. "That… must be quite the impressive sight. I knew someone, a long time ago, who could set things on fire…" there's a grumbling tone to Samson's voice, eyes unfocusing and going distant as he stares down at the book he'd left on his side, lips downturning into a frown and one hand coming up to take his glasses off the bridge of his nose. "Angelina, I came here tonight… just to find a place to lay my head down." There's a crease of the old man's brows, lips pursed and head shaking slowly as he turns to look back up to her, glasses folded in one hand.

"But that's not going to happen now," Samson admits in a low, wheezing tone of voice. "You and I both know it, feel it in the air, taste the blood in the water like sharks." Hazel eyes raise again towards the young woman, his frown has not faded. "But I can't ignore you any more than I can ignore the beating of my heart or the cold outside…" Samson grouses with a sneer, "so— why don't we get to the part where you run."

Angelina's brow furrows and she slowly slides off of the crate she was using for a chair, setting the guitar down. "What? You got a thing against other evolved? Hate to break it to you, Samson, but I have not survived this long to be taken out by you. You want to leave this warehouse alive, then I'd suggest you go. NOW," she says in a cold tone.

"A fighter…" Samson notes in a whispery tone, reaching up to take off his baseball cap, smoothing one gloved hand over his skin bald head, then slowly begins tugging his gloves off. "No, no Angelina, I don't have a thing against the Evolved at all." The admittance comes with a toothy, yellow smile as his eyes wander up towards the brunette, and slowly the old man comes to stand up and square his shoulders, watching her silently. "I have a thing for them." Two fingers is all it takes to knock Angelina up off of her feet, send her careening through the air and smashing into one of the concrete posts that holds up the ceiling.

With the wind knocked out of her lungs, Angelina can still see in blurred double-vision as the bald old man keeps those fingers pointed at her, and the tightness she feels in her chest is likely from being pressed up against the wall. "Your ability isn't impractical, Angelina. You just don't have an imagination."

Angelina lets out a soft grunt when she hits the post, and there's a wince from the pain of it. "I have imagination, you prick. I'm just not sadistic," she wheezes out, before her gaze drops to the space heater. It takes her a moment to properly focus on it with her vision blurred, but then she focuses her power at it. It's a good thing for Samson she never learned how to make people go boom, so this is the best she can do under the circumstances.

All it takes is that instate of concentration for the molecules in the space heater to agitate and heat up, and when the container holding the kerosene erupts in a fiery explosion containing additional concussive force brought on by the use of Angelina's power, Samson seems to react a split second before the actual explosion comes. His body breaks apart, discorporating into a swirling cloud of smoke as the telekinesis releases her from the wall, dropping Angelina onto her feet.

Samson swirls around, a low harmonic rumbling coming from the living pillar of swirling black smoke he's become, rising up into the air and then settling back down on the ground near where the flames from the heater have gathered up, where the sofa ignites and bursts alight and where Samson's copy of Trainspotting starts to smoke and burn from the sprayed kerosene.

When Angelina falls she goes down into a crouch, her hands on the ground to keep her from face planting. "How's that for impractical?" she gasps out. It's then she notices the smoke that had nothing to do with her explosion, and her eyes widen. "Oh shit," she whispers. And this is where she starts to run, ignoring her aching body and darting for the door.

They always run.

Samson's coiling smoke form begins to rise up slowly, moving in a herky-jerky languid fashion over the sofa once it's away from the heat of flames. The air is cold enough inside the warehouse to seemingly slow down his incorporeal form, and when he settles back to the ground, smoke begins to coalesce into a more material form and the silhouette of a man forms within the black and swirling ash, followed by a low and droning sound of growling and humming, a back-of-the-throat noise that seems to sink in behind Angelina's eyes in the same was medicine that causes drowsiness does. That state of induced torpor causes Angelina's feet to mis-step, her knees to give and the brunette to tumble to the floor, landing on her shoulder.

Slowly, Samson's figure moves out of the swirling smoke, and it seems to trail off of him as if he were smoldering. Thin waves of sooty ash and gray-black smoke wafts off of his bare head, issues out of his mouth and nostrils and trails behind his hand as he reaches into his jacket pocket and produces a scalpel that gleams in the firelight behind him.

The old man lifts his hand again, eyes partway lidded and body little more than a dark silhouette with the flames at his back, and Angelina feels herself flipped around onto her back, spun in a full circle on the floor and then with a lift of his hands hoisted up by her ankles to hang upside down, her eyelids trying to shut, the dull sensation of sleep setting in, making her vision blur again and focus slip away like a dream come morning.

"Don't worry…" Samson states as he quietly approaches the sedated woman, two fingers pointing towards her brow as one of his raise upwards.

"You won't feel a thing."

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