2007-10-16: Captive Audience

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Mandy_icon.gif

Summary: Claire awakens in the basement of an old bomb shelter, and Mandy has some demands.

Date It Happened: 16 OCTOBER 2007

Captive Audience


???!??!

After Claire passed out, Mandy was able to ensure that the girl remained in such a state by constantly burning painful patterns into her skin. She didn't really care if their captive died. After all, Peter died several times and always came back. Are the two of them related to Adam? Is this a family trait, passed on among generations? How amazing - the ability to heal! …And how boring. Obviously, Mandy doesn't have much of an imagination. BASE-jumping without a parachute could, admittedly, be amazing.

Moving on, though.

There are many bomb shelters in New York. This one is in the basement of an old building in a poor area of town, its purpose designated by the bright yellow radiation signs hanging every ten feet or so. The basement is divided into sections… Damp, but meant for a family to live in if it became necessary. Everything is thick cement, discoloured, smelling of mold and rat droppings. But, hey, no one's looking for them down here, which means they've found a nice safe haven where they don't have to remain on the move constantly. The only way in is seemingly collapsed in on itself, so to Claire, it might appear that there's simply no way out. No windows, no way to tell if it's day or night…

She'll be tied to a chair in one of the partitions. There's water dripping from above, leaving large puddles on the grey-brown floor. Not the best conditions, but… At least it's warm.

—-

When Claire finally comes to, clothes tattered from acid burning through, she does so with a loud gasp and her head snapping upwards. Her wide, frantic blue eyes are framed now by dark, haggard circles, and her entire form is coated in the remains of whatever bloody streams dried up some time ago. Even her blonde hair is matted down by blood.

It doesn't do anything for her state of mind to feel that rope cinching her tightly to a seat. She strains for a moment, trying to get loose. When that doesn't work? Yeah, she starts rocking that chair, trying to move it and making tiny little grunts of effort. She has to do something. Anything. Anything but sit here and succumb to the waves of panic that are washing over her.

—-

Noises. Aah, that means she's awake. Good! When Mandy enters, stepping around puddles and who-knows-what on the floor, it becomes clear that Claire did, indeed, end up with the killers who rampaged through Central Park. Was it an hour ago? Last night? A few days ago? There's really no way to tell. The deep gash across the woman's face is gone, though, and there are no bruises or breaks that would have come from bing thrown around as she was.

"We don't have a fridge or anything," Mandy says, "So we're going to have to keep your blood in you 'til we need it. Or until we get a place to store it. But a promise is a promise. I said we'd let you go, and we will." Not just yet, though, it seems.

Stepping up to the chair as Claire attempts to rock herself over, Mandy carefully unties the ropes. They'll have to be used later, but there's no reason to keep her tied up now. In any case, she's not burning through them. "We know where you live. Funny thing, identification. You need it for everything, 'til something like this happens. Anyway, you cooperate, and I won't go see if your family can heal like you do."

—-

It's only a matter of time. Her father is going to find her. He's going to find her and save her from this. She just has to survive long enough for that to happen.

As soon as she's freed, the blonde quickly shoots up onto her feet and runs to put her back up against a wall, pushing a matted mass of hair behind her ear. Her blue eyes are trained very keenly on Mandy, arms crossing defensively over her chest and pulling the remains of her coat more tightly about her. "What does my blood have to do with anything?" Yeah, let's just play dumb about this.

Where the hell are they, anyway? It's so disconcerting, waking up where you didn't watch the world go black.

—-

Mandy steps forward a few steps, holding her arms out to the sides. She's unarmed, but it's not like that matters, considering how she attacked those people in the park. Mandy continues, slowly, as if speaking to a child. "I met a man who could heal. And he could heal people with his blood. You heal the same way — I took a guess, and I was right. Look at my face, Claire. It just took a little bit. You won't ever miss it. And like I said at the park, you're our insurance. If we get hurt, we need you."

They're supposed to be striking back at the Company. Well, they are, in a way, as far as Mandy's concerned. All this time, the Company kept them locked up to protect the public, and now, they're making up for years they missed. In greater quantities than they would have if left free. "Look, I don't really care if your family can heal or not." Reaching into her pocket, she tosses the ID at Claire. It's slightly acid-melted around the edges. "So, what'll it be?"

—-

"For the record? They can't." Claire quickly plunges downward, stooping to take the card, but she never really takes her eyes off of Mandy. Rather, she continues taking steps backwards until finally her back is against the wall once more. It feels safer there. Nothing can sneak up on her and surprise her more than what has already occurred.

Her blood. This woman stole her blood. She feels pretty violated at the moment, but there's not really anything to be done about it. Thus, she just recrosses her arms in a nervous twist over her torso. Her forehead creases as she protests. "Look, you're going to hurt people. You're killing people. Why should I help you do that?"

—-

Mandy shrugs. "You shouldn't, really. I mean, honestly, Claire, I'm not crazy. I have no delusions that what I do isn't terrible. But they deserve what they get. You think I wanted to be locked away for that long? Really, what did they think I'd do when I got out?"

Before… She would have killed if she needed to. One, maybe two people if they happened to get in her way. A month. Now she'll cut her way through as many people as she can before she goes down. And with Claire… Well. "Eventually, they're going to catch up to me— to us. And I seriously doubt they're going to lock me up again after what I've been doing, but I'd really rather die than be stuck in a cage for the rest of my life. You're going to help me achieve that. If it weren't for people like you, and Adam… I would have been found a long time ago, and they would have put me right back in that cell. Now? They'll shoot first, ask questions later."

She smiles, putting her hands in her pockets. "So, no, you shouldn't help. But if I promise that I won't go after your family, you will. Bennet, is it? I know your father, Claire. And to be honest, I'd like to destroy him more than any other person on this planet. Funny how everything's tied together like this, huh? But I won't, if you cooperate."

—-

"Why would you care about an accountant from Brooklyn?" It's a lie, and Claire sucks at lies. Her face is contorted a little too much in faux confusion. Her arms pull visibly tighter about herself. She twists the ball of her foot lightly against the floor. She glances towards the door. Yeah, okay, let's pretend this chick has the Wrong Bennet. There is another question, however, that she means every ounce of. "And who's Adam?" Might as well get some intelligence while she's here.

—-

"Hm," Mandy says, smiling. Well, whatever the story is, they have what they need. Worse comes to worse, Mandy can simply check the address and see if she's got the right Bennet. Turning the chair around so that she can sit in it, Mandy leans back, crossing her legs. "Let's talk for awhile, Claire," she says, holding out her hand. "I'm Mandy. I don't think we've really been properly introduced."

Doesn't seem like she's the type to spill all her information right away. All Claire needs to know is that there are more people like her out there. Perhaps that makes her expendable. Perhaps that means she should do her best to do what she's asked to do. "Oh, just a guy. I meet people."

—-

Claire just looks at the hand, keeping her arms folded tightly against her. She doesn't care who this psycho is. She just cares about getting out. Her eyes lift back up after a moment, eyebrows lifting in her feigned attempt to communicate 'unimpressed'. "How long are you going to keep me here?"

—-

Withdrawing her hand, Mandy says, "Well, you're smart, I'll give you that." Would Mandy have melted Claire's hand? Possibly. It's fun to do, and she's got someone here with her who can do it over and over. Obviously, she's not up to talking at the moment, though. "Right. Well, you have free reign around this dump. You could leave any time, but you won't. That'd require finding the exit, and I'd also kill the hell out of your family." Mandy shrugs. "Might bring you all here and do it right in front of you, I'm not picky. You'll stay here as long as we're alive. Don't worry. I like you, so I'll make sure you aren't stuck down here forever."

—-

Her family. Noah could take care of himself, but Lyle and Sandra need her to do her part to protect them. To keep them safe. And for now, that means submitting herself to this horrific waiting. To pretending that she somehow condones being treated like a possession, their magic cure. Claire's tone is bitter when she speaks next, blue eyes narrowing into a glare. "Forgive me if I don't believe you."

—-

Ah, Mandy wouldn't dare think Claire condones this. After all, the fact of the matter is, Mandy intends to kill people. She intends to ruin things, landmarks, possessions, whatever she can get her hands on. She can't speak for the other two… Jeremiah wants his drugs, and who knows what Lukas is after - but Mandy just wants to thin out the population before she's taken down. Not too much to ask, right? "You don't have to believe me. You just have to do what I say."

—-

Well, that gets all of that out of the way. Now all that's left is to… sit and hope for the best, really. "Fine," Claire allows at last, a petulant tone to her voice. For now. In a move that might remind some of Nathan if they knew of the bond, she lifts and readjusts her arms before settling them back against her stomach. "Is there anything else I should know? And do I get a change of clothes, or am I stuck here looking like I got attacked by a car battery?" Yeah, that'd be a dig, thanks.

—-

Mandy has no idea about that bond, though who knows? She has Peter's license! Nah, that's a bit of a stretch, and Mandy just isn't that smart. Brutal, yes! Intelligent… Well, if she had a computer, she'd be able to figure it out, but that's about as far as that goes. "Nothing else at the moment. Just sit tight, and maybe I'll bring you some colouring books or something." No change of clothes is mentioned, but Mandy does give Claire a once-over as if considering it. "I'll bring you food and water in a while. I dunno if people like you can starve, but I'm not about to take the chance."

—-

Claire nods once before sliding down the wall and into a sit. "How thoughtful." Her arms fold over her knees and then her chin rests on top, dirty blond hair spilling over her shoulders. "That's just awesome."

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