2011-02-17: Dangerous Escapes



Date: February 17th, 2011


When Kitty checks in on her new acquaintance, she finds Clara more invested in the darker side of the streets.

"Dangerous Escapes"

New York City

It's remarkable how desolate a street in one of the busiest cities in the world can look when there's no one on it. It's a beautiful day, high noon, and still it looks cold and forlorn. Signs of life nevertheless exist, but only add to the impression that this place is forgotten. A useless, twisted bicycle against a building. Graffiti on alley walls. Below that, a couch, torn to pieces. A forgotten shoe. Trash.

It's only half an illusion. There's life here. Refuge. Help.

The sun shines down again on the old, brick building.

Pigeons loiter on the front steps.

A young woman, unfamiliar, pale, dark-eyed with heavy make-up and dark clothes, opens the door. "Where've you been? You were supposed to whatever, it doesn't matter, just get in before they ask questions and friggin' blame me again…"

A giant coat heads up the steps, heeding this call her hood is down, revealing flat blonde hair; it's Clara. She reaches out to touch the outer wall, where metal numbers and a plaque are affixed to the weathered brick.



The step she takes toward the girl in the door is dizzied. Feather-light fingertips drift off of the plaque and her arms wrap about herself. No answer. No movement.

"Forget it," the younger girl snaps, stepping into the sun — garishly illuminating her pale face and darkly caked make-up — and grabbing Clara's coat sleeve. The two, one marching down the steps, the other staggering to catch up when her pace is much slower and wandering, leave the shelter. The girl leads the way to the alley beside it — a meeting affront the tattered couch, out of sight. Unless someone is looking. Not gently, she extracts herself from Clara's clinging tag-along. "Do you have it or what?"

A rustling can be heard form a nearby dumpster, it could just be a stray cat though.. right? Wrong. Though Clara and her 'friend' probably don't know it what.. or who is really inside. Peeking her head out just a bit so that she can see what's going on, it the face of Kitty Hanner. Mouth open in an giant 'O', she cocks her head to the side, dark brown hair becoming a veil on her face.

She doesn't move to brush the hair away, wanting to draw as small attention to herself as possible. Kitty is dressed today in a dark green dress that falls to her knees, boots up to her knees protect her legs from the trash and such inside of the dumpster.

Her messenger bag hangs from her shoulder as she listens and observes what the two women are doing. Blinking and with eyebrows raised. She trails her fingertips lightly down the inside of the dumpster and frowns at the old Chinese take out she just got on her fingers, wiping it quietly on a discarded napkin.

Shadows are built by the walls of the alley, making the space bleak and hiding it from the sun — a helper to its spy.

Clara's face wracks itself into the innocent, marring lines of confusion — even if she does understand what the girl is asking of her. Perhaps it's the nagging presence of someone nearby, just out of sight, so incongruous to this back-alley meeting, that brings about the woman's distress. Not likely. She certainly shows no sign of realizing they're being watched. Would she care if she did?

Perhaps, then, it's the shaking of her long, cold fingers as they fight to unzip her coat halfway and reach inside. What else but cash is handed dutifully over to the waiting girl— a slew of crumpled bills given without a word. Dutiful; but Clara watches with a growing, desperate expectancy all her own. Transactions always mean she gets something in return.

The girl digs into her pocket, grabs Clara's wrist, and shoves something into her hand. It seems so small, inconsequential; hidden between palms. "I get what I can get, alright? Good thing you're not picky." Her roughness wanes as she glances to the side — right above the dumpster — and lays a hand on Clara's arm. "Look, Clara, this place isn't gonna work out much longer. It's not for people like us. People like you who fucking get lost every five seconds. I gotta jump, but stay here at least for awhile, okay? I think we found a place. And— don't— do not take that all at once. Okay?"

Vested nods from Clara; following along as close as possible while she stays mute. Antsy, the darkly dressed girl pushes off and jogs onto the street — too forceful, Clara topples right onto the couch like a rag doll, clutching her fist closed until her knuckles turn white.

Watching the whole exchange, Kitty frowns and waits for the dark haired girl to leave the alley before she quietly climbs out of the dumpster and lands on her feet, wind playing with her hair as she peers at Clara and is soon right in front of her. "Hey." Is said softly as she sits on the couch next to Clara, legs crossed at the ankles as she stretches them out.

A whimsical look crosses her face as Kitty looks down at Clara's closed hand and peers down closer, taking a little sniff before sitting up straight and staring out the alley.

"Careful." Is spoken in a near whisper to the older blonde.

Clara gives a start when Kitty appears, rocking back against the couch, one palm — that which does not clutch so securely to her newest prize — bracing against the cold, damp cushion. Her eyes are wide on Kitty, this woman who has seemingly appeared out of nowhere like an apparition. Those unsettled lines never leave her brow, or her eyes, as they travel from Kitty to the dumpster as if trying, desperately, to piece together where she came from. Then, suddenly, it doesn't matter. "That's what everyone says." Absentminded, the quiet voice — louder than the whisper — barely sounds like it's addressing the same thing as Kitty, let alone heeding her advice.

She makes no move to get up again. Clara makes the disintegrating furniture her resting spot— so to speak. There's no restfulness to be found. She pulls her knees up, wrapping her arms around them, slippery jacket material rustling too loudly in the quiet space against the denim of her close-fitted jeans. She makes a small, frightened-looking ball of herself, trying to preserve heat and stop the shuddering of her body. Her prize-holding hand swipes knuckles under her nose, cold, troubled.

"Does it help? With visiting?" Kitty asks as she stares at Clara's face and leans back into the damp cushions. Her dark eyes searching the alley wall across from them, reading the numerous graffiti writings and such on the wall. Her eyes widen as she shakes her head, "They always say that because you have to be." Careful that is.

The dark haired woman's hands hang limply at her sides as they sit together in the alley. "Sorry, no cocoa." An apologetic tone and a weary look given to Clara, who she now also gives the title drug user too in her head of course. "It won't matter anyway." She says with a light shrug, "Nothing will." A gentle smile is what becomes of her lips as she hums a sweet little song. "They're making me see doctors.." Kitty waves a hand in the air dismissively.

A nod is eventually drawn out of Clara. Her head dips down afterward, forcing her chin all the way to her collarbone just visible above the grey of her sweater. Easily, a guilty pose; in her case, just intent on looking at her closed fist. Her tense posture eases for a moment, at the humming, then seizes up violently, her head swinging around to Kitty with suddenly wider eyes, panicked.

"Doctors— say— " the halting Aussie voice stops as she looks around the alley with unsettling clarity. There's a sharpness in her eyes that wasn't there during her last two encounters with the other woman, going hand-in-hand with the prickly unease and pangs of fear that grab at her. She extends her free hand out in the air toward Kitty, flattening nothing, gesturing, shaky fingers curling unevenly here and there. It seems to help her get her words out. "Doctors say… they say to be careful, well… they don't know. What it's like. Who someone else is. How can they when you don't even know." And a doctor might say she's using a bit of transference now; not talking about Kitty at all. She shuffles around on the couch, her back to the other presence.

The younger woman takes Clara's explanation in stride, nodding her head along. "Doctors say a lot of things." She sighs and rubs her forehead, tilting her head at the Aussie she lays a hand on her back and whispers, "How many doctors have you seen?" just like before, a secret shared on the playground. Kitty looks worried and she bites her lip.

"I.. I just want to see.. clearly." it comes out in a rough voice and she coughs a bit before looking at Clara, "Don't you want to see clearly?" her eyes flicking from Clara to the exit of the alley and back. Her leg is shaking as she moves her heel up and down nervously, dark hair falling to cover a bit of her face as she kicks an empty can away from her.

Clara's spine curves away, hunching over the touch. Doctors aren't secrets she wants to share, and this dirty, cold alley is only a playground for rats. She looks over her shoulder, her brows knitting toward one another as though in pain, but also bewilderment— "Do you count them?" she asks with perfect naivet√© before turning away again and shaking her head. First, it's gentle. The gesture quickly turns adamant: no. Slightly unbrushed — but smooth, and clean — hair hangs around her face, hiding it, as there's a quiet crinkle of plastic in her hands.

"Not yet." Kitty admits as Clara moves away from her and then she's jumping up from the couch and walking towards the opposite wall. "You don't need it." She says with a folding of her arms and a look back over at the plaque that reads 221. "Never will." Is said in a singsong voice and then her eyes catch the light just right as she stares up at the sky. Twinkling in the sunlight, she grins up towards the sky.

"Waste of money too." Though with Kitty's resources, people would expect that she be the one buying drugs with her money. She never was really into drugs, alcohol.. yes. Drugs.. not so much.

While Clara, this homeless, drifting woman who certainly can't come by any money easily, let alone the amounts Kitty has at her fingertips, clings to them. She looks over at the other woman, tracking her down where she's moved to, blinking acutely troubled green eyes, about as confused as she is argumentative. "Why are you here," she wonders aloud, not blaming but simply mystified, her head falling back down as she rocks ahead, unsteady fingers fumbling with that crinkling plastic; that little packet.

A equally confused look crosses over Kitty's features as she squats, back against the wall regarding Clara. "I don't know." She admits softly and then she's brushing a strand of hair out of her eyes. Her messenger bag sits lightly on the ground next to her. Then she's tapping her chin and nodding her head to an unasked question.

"We're friends, Clara." They rarely use each other's name.. ever.

The statement only serves to make deeper the signs of confusion Clara possesses. Her shoulders raise in a shrug, barely perceptible save for the noise of her jacket. A twinge at her mouth could be a smile, but it's gone so fast. "What does that … what does it mean?" she forces out. A hand drifts up, fingers dancing slowly, chapped lips opening as if to try to say something further on the matter — friendship, why Kitty is here in this alley with her, because of her — but nothing is said. She dips her head back down, hidden by a curtain of pale hair, dismissively barricading herself into her own little world. Rustle, rustle. She leans down; there's a harsh inhale.

She takes the moment to ponder Clara's question before moving forward and then she's sitting on the ground right in front of Clara. "It means.. we're.." she sighs and closes her eyes. "It means we're there for each other." Her own moment of clarity dawning on her, brown eyes on Clara's face before she taps her on the shoulder.


"Ahh— …" The exhilarated murmur is not for Kitty, but Clara does slowly lift her head up to see her there. The languid roll upward of her head is unmatched to the sudden dilation of her eyes, seeing more sharply — too sharply — too clear; she runs the back of her hand under her nose, across her mouth, sniffing. Heavy eyelids blink over newly alive eyes. "You have a home," she states, remembering. A house.

Clara turns to the side and rolls her legs out, shoving the packet — there it is, in a flash; white powder — into her pants pocket. Unsettled, restless in her new energy, she wraps her arms around herself again— but then her head falls back, eyes fluttering as she rides some kind of rush and— she's not paying attention to the well-meaning woman in the alley with her at all.

The well meaning woman glares briefly at Clara's behavior but then she's nodding her head. "Duh." Is said with a light sigh as she gets to her feet, "You're gonna come visit with me there?" she asks with a bit of nervous energy. She's not willing to leave her friend right now, not in this state. Kitty bends down to peer at Clara.

"It's dangerous.. it's always so dangerous." She warns with a sad look down at the blonde.

"Mmh…" Yes? No? Nothing. Clara's head rolls toward Kitty along the back of the outdoor couch, pale hair sprawling over the dull old fabric. Her eyes are vibrant upon the brunette, looking right at her with comprehension until her eyelids again flutter and she takes a deep, all-encompassing breath in; it carries her body backward, her shoulders pressing back before her body completely relaxes, sliding down until the small of her back's hit the seat, her head lolling to her shoulder by Kitty, her legs jutting out lengthily along the icy pavement. Her gaze hazes out, glassy and dreamy — and very much absent the alley. Wherever Clara has gone, it's not here.

With a quick look over her shoulder, Kitty takes Clara's arm to lift up the woman, she'll get them a cab and get them home. "Come on, Clar." She speaks softly and tries to pull the woman up, her breathing heavy in the cold air. Her dress flying behind her in the wind.

"You can't.." she says as she moves Clara an inch.. "Stay here."

If Clara's unresponsive body has anything to say about it, it is to stay here. She might as well be unconscious, or, if it weren't for the quickened rise and fall of her chest and flush of warmth in her skin despite the cold, dead. Moved an inch, her dead weight simply leans against Kitty, her eyes staring upward like glass doll eyes: there's nothing behind them.

With a sigh, Kitty picks out her phone from her messenger bag, Arnie is dialed and as he picks up, Kitty sits with Clara's hand in hers. "Need you.. 221.." she says the street and that they are in a alley. Then she hangs up the phone and peers down into Clara's face. Nose touching nose. "Boo." She says softly with a snap of her fingers. Her hand goes into Clara's pocket and she takes the drugs out, examining them for a moment, head tilted to the side.

"STUPID STUPID!" Kitty yells before she's tugging the couch out, first shoving Clara to the ground, she pulls the couch out far enough and then she's picking Clara up by her legs and pulling her around to the small space behind the couch. Looking down on the blonde, she pulls her in and climbs over, pushing the couch over close. Clara might be a little wedged in there when she comes too senses, serves her right.

Kitty reaches into her bag and pulls out a candy bar, Milky Way and sets it on Clara's nose before taking a nearby pile of newspaper and scattering them over Clara's face and body, then she's drags a nearby trashbin to hide her feet. With a deep breath, she surveys her work and nods to herself. "Bye."

Is said as she exits the alley and is then waiting somewhere for Arnie and the car to pick her up.

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