2008-02-17: Fox Meets Puddle


Fox_icon.gif Jamie_icon.gif

Summary: Fox meets Jamie. Hijinks ensue.

Date It Happened: February 17, 2008

Fox Meets Puddle

Midtown, NYC - Give 'Em Hell Kid Arcade

It's early in the afternoon, and the local schools are all out of session. Fox is dancing by herself on the DDR rig, her knapsack and shoes sitting off to the side. She's gotten pretty good at this particular game, and is keeping up with the fast-paced rhythm and flashing lights on the floor, but working up a sweat in the process. Every once in a while the tempo speeds up, and her score continues climbing higher and higher. She breathes heavily and occasionally wipes the sweat from her forehead, oblivious to any spectators that she might have.

Jamie comes into the arcade, pulling off her coat and carrying it with her as she makes her way straight for the DDR machine. She goes to get in line, but pauses as she sees the girl playing now, moving to stand in the crowd watching her, and grins.

Fox hears the chimes sound as her score passes some large round number, but the game is going so fast now that she starts to struggle to keep up. And then…she mis-steps and loses her balance. Falling to the illuminated floor, she scrunches up her eyes and bites her lip for a moment, having sprained her ankle. "Owwwwww," she says in protest, just as the machine declares the game to be over as she's missed too many steps now.

Jamie ducks under the rope that separates the play area from the audience and runs over to Fox. "You ok?" Not that the girl seems to have any clue what to do to help. "You were amazing!"

"If tripping is amazing," Fox jokes as she sits up and grimaces at her left foot. "I think I sprained my ankle or something," she laments, before folding her legs and pulling off the corresponding sock to inspect the damage, slowly rotating the ankle joint. "Yeah, it's all sore." She sighs.

Jamie bites her lip, and looks around, at the other kids waiting to play. "Um… want help? I dunno what to do. I can help ya walk, maybe? Or… um.. want me to get a adult?" Of course, probably someone is already doing that.

Fox shakes her head. "No, I'll be fine. I'll just rest a while and put ice on it when I get home." She replaces her sock and scoots herself to the edge of the DDR platform so she can let her lower legs dangle over the edge. She then looks up to Jamie's face, not having paid much attention to the girl until now. "Do you play DDR much?", she asks. "A friend of mine plays it, and I came her hoping to bump into her, but I guess she's off doing something else."

Jamie relaxes a little at that and says, "Oh, ok." She smiles again then at the question and nods quickly, sitting beside Fox. "All the time! It's the best game they got here. Not as fun as acrobatics but lots warmer than outside in here." Then she adds, "I'm Jamie."

"Hi, my name's Fox," the older girl replies. "I know it's kindof strange," she adds. "I probably get more exercise playing this than doing anything else," she admits. "This is the first time I've tripped though, honest." She stretches her arms straight and takes hold of the edge of the platform, then leans forward and looks down at her foot again, dangling in mid-air. "I hope I'll be able to walk home like this."

Jamie shrugs and smiles, and says, "'Least it's fun." Then she giggles and says, "I do too sometimes. When it gets going really fast like that." To the last she looks down at Fox's foot and asks, "I can help ya? Can lean on me 'steada that foot. Where do ya live?"

"My apartment's not that far, maybe five or six blocks from here," Fox says. She glances up to Jamie and briefly judges her smaller frame, looking a bit skeptical. "Are you really willing…?"

Jamie nods quickly and grins, "Sure! I'm little, but I'm strong. Really. I'm an acrobat, you gotta be strong to do that." She stands up and smiles, "C'mon." Of course, to be an acrobat, one only has to be strong enough for one's own weight. With her size, that's still probably not very strong at all.

Fox smiles. "All right, then. Thanks." She reaches for her shoes and puts them on, the left one more carefully than the right, and grabs her knapsack as well, which is fortunately relatively empty. She experimentally slips off the edge of the platform and stands up, putting most of her weight on her good foot. Then, looking up to Jamie, she drapes her left forearm over the younger girl's shoulders.

Jamie smiles and says, "Ok, let's try walking." She isn't, really, as much help as she'd like to think. She really isn't that strong at all. Still, she's stubborn. She wants to be of help, so she's not giving up.

Fox takes her first few awkward steps as she tries to judge a reasonable compromise between putting weight on Jamie's shoulders and on her left foot, not wanting to burden the younger girl more than necessary. She winces a bit, but the pain seems manageable. "Let me know if you get worn out walking like this, okay?"

Jamie nods quickly and says, "Yep, I will." She then asks, "How old are you?" A question that among adults would be rude, but with kids is common. "I'm ten," she adds. She makes it as far as outside, but then pauses, "Um, hold on." She makes sure Fox has her weight on her good leg, and then pulls her coat back on. Then she's back in position for Fox to lean on her again. "This is gonna take a while," she admits. Then adds quickly, "It's ok, don't gotta be home 'til ten."

Fox gently shifts some of her weight to Jamie's shoulders again. "I'm almost twelve," she answers, then gestures toward the direction she wants after a crowd of mall-rats pass by. "Let's use that exit over there." After a moment she asks, "So you're in fourth grade, then?"

Jamie shakes her head as they walk along towards the direction Fox indicated, "Nope. I don't go to school. Joe says I never gotta study again, not if I don't want to."

Fox arches her eyebrows and glances down at Jamie dubiously. "Uhm…oh-kayyyy…" Just who is this kid?, she wonders. When they reach the outside doors, she holds one open long enough for her friend to slip through, then passes through herself. "Head toward the cineplex," she instructs, as she lets the door shut behind her.

Jamie nods quickly and starts to walk in that direction, "Ok." She walks along still, starting to tire a little it seems but not complaining at all. "I live just a few blocks the other way, in Hell's Kitchen. Right above Curly Joe's bar. Gotta go through the bar to get up there, but it's ok, Joe looks after me. Kinda my dad, just… not."

"You're serious, then? About not going to school?", Fox asks. The idea is hard to accept. "Doesn't anyone ever get suspicious and try to report you or something?" She winces a bit as she bends her ankle too far, but keeps up the pace all the same.

Jamie nods quickly, "Uh-huh. I've never been to school. Before it was 'cause we were travelling all the time, but after my mom and dad died I was on my own, 'til Joe said I could stay with him. I worked for Joe first, but guess he liked me, now he looks after me." Then to the last question she shrugs, "I dunno. Most people probably don't wanna get Joe mad at 'em. He gets mean when he's mad."

"I'm sorry about your parents," Fox says after a moment of thought. "You're lucky to have someone to look out for you. But don't you think life will be hard if you don't learn to read, and do math, and…" she trails off, unsure what to say. "Going to school is a burden, I'll admit, but not going to school will hurt you more in the end, I think."

Jamie shrugs a little, or tries anyway with Fox's weight on her shoulders, "I know how to read. Good enough anyway. And I can add and subtract ok! Mom and dad taught me all that. All I gotta know. I'm gonna be an acrobat again someday. I'm a runner and 'entry specialist' now… that's what Joe calls me anyway. Know enough for that too."

Fox squints. "'Entry specialist'? What's that?" She gestures toward her apartment building as they approach it. "This is it." She reaches her free hand down her sweatshirt and lifts a lanyard over her head, with a couple keys hanging from it. She uses one of them to unlatch the foyer door, and holds it open for Jamie to slip inside.

Jamie steps inside as the door's held open and then waits so Fox can lean on her again once they're through. "Don't tell anybody… it's supposed to be a secret." Yeah, right. The way she's talked so far, she probably can't keep any secrets anyway. "But he has me go with a guy who works for him, Switch. He takes me to houses and I open doors for him."

Fox punches the button for the elevator and glances down to Jamie again, alarm bells going off in her head. "You…pick locks for him, then?", she ventures to guess. It's the only logical explanation. "That does sound like a cool skill…", she admits as the elevator doors open and she steps inside. After punching the button corresponding to her floor, she leans back against the elevator wall and holds on to the railing with both hands.

Jamie shakes her head quickly and says, "Nope. I just go inside and open it from inside." As if that made perfect sense. She's tired too, from the walk, and leans against the wall as well. Or maybe she's just imitating the older girl.

"You go inside and open it from inside? You mean you break in some way other than the door, then?", Fox asks, playing along for now. The elevator doors slide open again, and she hobbles toward the corridor.

Jamie steps into place again so Fox can lean on her, and then whispers, "I turn into water. Go up the pipes." She seems perfectly serious about it too. She adds quickly, "Don't be scared. Know it's weird, but I'm no alien or anything."

Fox has half a mind to tell the younger girl that she's either a liar, on drugs, has an active imagination, or simply doesn't know the difference between fantasy and reality. But with all the bIzArRe things she's witnessed over the last few weeks, she pauses and studies Jamie once more, contorting her mouth to one side as she considers something, then moves to the side of the hallway and uses the second key to unlock the door to her apartment. "Want to come in and show me?," she asks, as she puts her weight on the door handle and steps across the threshold.

Jamie nods quickly to that request with a smile, "Sure." Once the door's opened, she steps inside, pausing just inside again in case Fox still needs someone to lean on. And then she's looking around curiously a moment.

Fox sits down on a bench in the foyer area and lets her knapsack slide down her arm to the floor before removing her shoes and socks. Then she bounces on her good leg into the kitchen, and pulls a blue ice pack from the freezer. After that she slips into the living room and eases herself down on the sofa. "Oh, crud, I forgot to grab a towel. Can you grab the hand-towel hanging in the bathroom for me?", she asks. "…So I can wrap it around the ice-pack."

Jamie nods quickly to that and says, "Sure!" It takes her a few moments to find the bathroom, but once she does she ducks in and then runs back to Fox, handing her the towel. Then she asks, though waiting while fox wraps her ice-pack to her leg, "Want me to show ya here, so ya don't gotta get up again?"

"Thanks." Fox wraps the towel around the ice pack, and then props her foot up on the coffee table and leans forward to wrap the pack around her ankle. "Yikes, it's sooo cold," she complains. Then, easing back into the sofa cushions, she looks up to Jamie once more, still not believing the girl, but there's no harm in asking for a demonstration. "Sure, go for it," she says.

Jamie smiles and says, "Ok." And with that, in a blink, she's water. In another blink, she's falling and splashing down to the ground, splashed out, her clothes lying on the floor. It takes just a moment for her to reform from the spread-out splash into a puddle, and then the puddle slithers up onto the couch next to Fox.

Fox's jaw drops. "No way!" She stares at the puddle as it approaches her, completely dumbfounded. After a moment, she experimentally reaches her hand forward to touch the puddle as if to confirm that it's real. "You…I thought you were just making that up. But you're just…like…me…" She swallows. "I don't believe this. It's so cool!"

The puddle is indeed water… or, at least, liquid. Fox's finger even comes away wet. So does the couch, though, as she slips back off it. (Damp, anyway.) On the floor, she puddles around her clothes and starts to raise up, retaking human form. Her shirt and pants rise with her, and are in the approximate right position when she's human again. Her shirt's backwards and her pants slightly twisted. She makes a face, pulling her arms out of her sleeves and turning the shirt back around straight, then plopping down beside Fox. Then she smiles and asks, "I'm like you? What can you do?"

"That was amazing!", Fox says excitedly, before looking at the drop on her finger and commenting, "You left a bit of you behind." She looks at Jamie again. "Do you get smaller or something if you don't collect all the…water…when you change back to human form?", she asks, intensely curious. "And…there's apparently a lot of people who can do superhuman things, but I've only met a few so far." She bites her lower lip and glances over to a notepad and pen on the other end of the coffee table. "Hand me that paper and pen, and I'll show you what I can do."

Jamie looks to Fox's finger and shrugs, "Always leave a bit behind. Dunno where it comes from… maybe my hair gets a bit shorter or something?" Shrugging, she nods quickly and hops to her feet again, her bare feet making little sound as she does. She has a light step. She brings back the paper and pen, handing them to the older girl and sitting beside her again. "I met a few others too. Well, a couple anyway."

Fox shakes her head in disbelief as she accepts the paper pad and pen. "Your power is so cool. Ok, I'll show you what I can do…name an object…it can be anything. Well, anything light enough for me to hold."

Jamie smiles brightly at the compliment, "Thanks." Then she looks at the paper a moment, thinking, and says, "A flute?" She looks very curious now, bringing up her feet so she's sitting kneeling on the couch, facing Fox.

Fox props her good foot on the edge of the coffee table so her knee is raised, rests the pad against her thigh, and draws a flute. She caps the pen and sets it aside, then stares into the drawing for a few seconds. Finally she touches the drawing, and her hand seems to disappear into the pad of paper. She leans forward, until most of her arm is no longer visible. She looks up toward the ceiling, seemingly rummaging around for something she can't see. "Ah, there it is," she says, before pulling her arm out of the paper. In her hand is a flute that looks almost exactly like the one she drew. She offers it to Jamie and smirks.

Jamie's eyes widen as Fox's arm disappears into the picture, and she says softly, "Wow." When she pulls out the flute, she looks even more amazed. "That's… cool!" Unable to quickly find a better word for it. She takes the flute, looking it over, "Wow." Then she asks, "Can you make food like that? You'd never have to be hungry!"

"It doesn't really work like that," Fox explains. "I don't make things out of nothing…the flute already existed, but I don't know where it came from. It works with food too, though. Want something to eat?"

Jamie ohs, but then brightens at the last question, nodding quickly. "A chocolate bar, please?" Then she asks, "If it's somewhere, how do you know how to draw it so right? Is it just… ya do it? Like I turn into water? Still dunno *how* I do that, I just do."

Fox hmms. "I don't have to draw it, I could look at any picture and reach into it. I think my reach just goes to the nearest thing that matches what I'm concentrating on." She tears off the top sheet of the paper pad and grabs the pen again and draws a Hershey bar wrapper. Then, like last time, she sets the pen aside and concentrates on the image for a few seconds before pressing her fingertips against the page…after a moment they begin to sink in, and she reaches her whole arm in and feels around. "Jackpot," she says as she retracts her hand, bringing with it a whole box of Hershey bars. "I think this came from a grocery store," she explains, setting the box down between them.

Jamie smiles and says, "Thanks!" Then her eyes widen as she sees Fox has a whole box, "Oh, wow!" She grins again and reaches to take one, saying again, "That's great!" She looks thoughtful after unwrapping and taking a bite of the chooclate bar, and asks, "Wherever you're reaching, do they see your hand comin' out of nowhere?"

Fox nods. "Yeah. Hey—want to pull a prank with someone on live TV?" She smirks mischevously, gesturing with her head toward the TV in front of the coffee table. "Want to have some fun with the shopping channel?"

Jamie looks to the TV and then grins, nodding quickly, with a bit of a giggle, "Yeah! That'd be fun." The idea of keeping things secret doesn't seem to cross her mind.

Fox smirks and leans forward for the TV remote and turns on the TV, and quickly scrolls through the channels, finally finding a local shopping channel featuring a digital camera. She leans forward to take off the ice pack, and scoots around the coffee table on her knees, until she's right in front of the TV. "Watch this," she says as she concentrates on the image, and reaches into the image. But, oddly, her hand doesn't appear in the broadcast at all. "That's funny," she says, as she retracts her arm, empty-handed.

Jamie blinks, watching this. "Maybe it's not a live show? Or maybe the power just didn't work right. Sometimes when I try I don't change. Usually do, but just sometimes don't."

"Sometimes I don't reach what I want to. I'll try again," Fox says. She waits for the TV camera angle to change back to the digital camera, and stares at the image once more. Pressing her finger tips against the TV screen, they finally sink in, and they're just visible in the broadcast. "Look, look!", she says as she reaches her arm in further and picks up the camera, and retracts her arm from the TV, camera in hand. On the screen one of the hosts screams: "Did you see that! Oh my—did you see that hand?!" Fox giggles and sets the camera down on the coffee table. The shopping channel cuts to a "Technical Difficulties" screen.

Jamie bursts into giggles as well at the reaction of the hosts, and says, "Great! Bet they'll *never* figure out what that was!" Still giggling, she steps over closer to look at the camera.

Fox turns around to face Jamie. "I've done that a few times before. It's always fun." She then looks more serious. "Jamie, you have to be careful to tell people that we have powers, unless they have one too. Can you imagine if we were found out, and sent to some laboratory to be examined?"

Jamie blinks at that and asks, "Why would someone do that?" She bites her lip and then nods a little, "Swear, won't tell anybody about you. Don't worry 'bout me, though. *Nobody* can grab me. I'll just turn to water and get away. All they'd get is my clothes."

"I…suppose. You do have an advantage there." She hears speaking on the TV again and turns around. They've unboxed another camera and have continued their normal broadcast. She turns off the TV and crawls back to the sofa and curls up on one end of it, before reaching for the box of chocolate bars and unwrapping one.

Jamie nods quickly to that and smiles again, "Yeah." She goes back to the couch and says, "I guess I should go home. Ok if I take a couple of those chocolate bars? And can I come back and visit ya again?" This last seems to be the most hopeful part.

Fox smiles. "Take the whole box if you like. And of course…" She grabs the pad of paper once more and writes down a phone number. "My cell phone. The letters spell FOX-FIRE," she smirks as she tears off the sheet and offers it to Jamie.

Jamie smiles brightly at that and says, "Thanks!" Still, she only takes a handful of the bars, and then the paper with the number. "Thanks! I'll call ya, promise." She smiles brightly and then turns to slip out.

"See ya! And thanks again for helping me," Fox calls out to her new friend as she departs.

================================== IC News ===================================
Message: 4/14 Posted Author
Disembodied hand on live TV Wed Feb 18 Mass Media

A news anchorman shakes his head. You're not going to believe this, folks…earlier today, during a live broadcast from one of New York City's own shopping channels, a…get this…a small 'disembodied hand' appeared and snatched a digital camera that was being featured. *cut to video clip* One of the hosts can be heard screaming upon spotting the 'hand', before the channel cut to a 'technical difficulties' screen. The clip was prompty uploaded to YouTube, where most viewers are commenting that it must be an elaborate stunt to promote the camera…

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