2010-01-17: Looking For Blue Skies



Date: January 17th, 2010


It's not a very nice day, but are there blue skies ahead?

"Looking for Blue Skies"

New York

The frozen lake used to be so pristine. Now, under the increasingly bright light of morning, it's marred a gaping hole in the melting, unsound ice. And by footprints. Only one pair, from one side, near the walking bridge — as if someone took a casual stroll and fell through.

The truth couldn't be more distant. This was no accident.

The water was churning, but it's grown still.

Moments pass and pass and pass before a figure bursts up out of the freezing water. Maggie, her winter hat long gone, hair clinging to her too pale, too cold skin, sucks in a ragged, terrified, panicked gasp of air; it's only needles to her lungs, and it's all she has left. She tries so desperately to claw at the remaining ice with her leather gloves. Like before, they only slide. She falls back, becoming a blur of white, blonde waves and red coat beneath the surface of the lake.

They're all doomed in some way. Me? I just speed the process along. Make it quicker. Put them out of their misery as fast as I can. It's for their own good - they just don't know it. Of course, destroying them is so much easier when you hate them all. They never got me, and I don't expect them to.

Mandy apparently left the area pretty quickly after letting Maggie fall through the ice. She can't just vacate, though - after all, there's something thrilling about each time the woman comes up for air. Will there be a next time? When will her heart grow SO COLD that it gives up?

The air is wrapped around her like a warm cloak as she sits up in the lowest branches of a tree. She can see the lake from here, and smiles every single time the detective surfaces. Tenacious! Perhaps she would have been the one. Oh, well.

Maybe someone will pop up to take her place.

She taps the microphone near her ear. "Hey. You're not dead yet, are you?" There's a pause, and then, "Good."

There's been no tell-tale rumble of a car engine this whole time, making it seem as though the scene will go by with only the cold, unsympathetic lake as witness to the events occurring on it. But then, car or no, it becomes increasingly more obvious that there's movement near the bridge — a figure. The obvious part has to do with how he's running, steps landing nearly on-top of the distressed detective's footprints, smearing the impression with both weight and speed.

Laurie makes it to the edge of the ice before there's even a vague notion of slowing the pace, and then there's not even much of that. In what is undoubtedly a far more reckless move than trained rescuers would appreciate, he barrels right out onto the surface. The move of rolling his shoulders back to start tugging off his long black winter coat does slow him some, as well as the beginnings of what would be a slide the rest of the way.

He's yet only halfway there, but he's ten steps ahead of himself, the full spectrum of concentration on where that bobbing shape of blond and red has disappeared this last time.

That blur that is the detective has become even more shapeless. Now that she's not fighting anymore, the choppy water starts to slow once again. Her hand reaches up but it's only at the behest of the water; it's no attempt to escape — she tried, and she failed.

Oh. Wonderful. Someone new to play with.

Mandy steps off the tree branch. Normally, when someone does that, they would just fall like a stone! Gravity is rather unforgiving. However, Mandy just walks right down to the ground, as if standing on an invisible staircase.

So they try to save each other. Keep their peers alive. Some say it's the right thing to do, but I say to hell with that. Human beings are so vain, they think they deserve to live, when half of them don't ever realise that their pathetic eighty-year lifespan isn't even a blink of an eye to the universe.

I'm tired of living in it. I'm one of those pathetic humans. More godlike than most, sure, but I just won't be able to go one forever. There's someone out there worthy to end me. I'm going to find them.

Once on the ground, she approaches the newly-arrived Laurie. She could have fun with him, or help him, or just melt the ice around his feet so he falls through, too. Instead, she walks out onto the ice without any concern for falling through, and stands at a point between the man and the quickly-freezing woman. "Hey. How's it goin'? Nice day, huh?"

Thick tennis shoes come up short as Laurie aborts his previous motion, needing instead to come to a jogging stop to avoid the obstacle Mandy has made of herself. He wavers to the side briefly before balance is regained. That grim focus is hard to detach, and he stares over the woman's shoulder at that spot — the one Detective Powers is no longer disturbing with any visible attempts to surface. But with a smooth exhale that puffs out visibly from his mouth, his eyes lock on Mandy.

"Nice?" He parrots, with a whimsical lack of seriousness that hardly makes him sound as cemented in the dangerous reality of the now as he previously looked. There's even an exaggerated scrunching of the nose to indicate comical distaste. "Nice is a terrible word. It's what people use when they can't think of anything else. You seem like a fairly creative individual to me; I think you can pull off something better than 'nice'. Besides," and he spares a look at the sky, "the day isn't all that great. Actually, it's really kind of average." Confirmation with a glance for all the rest of their surroundings, every detail. "And who wants to be average, anyway."

He ends back on Mandy, his coat still over one shoulder so that he gives a last pull and has it in his arms and only a light blue button-up with a stylish white collar between him and the weather. "Think about it. Excuse me a moment?"

And he side-steps around her, just once.

Mandy's soles are still … well. melted. As she walks just above the surface of the ice on that wonderful cushion of air, she feels no cold, though.

Dragging her toe across the lake, she creates another crack in it, right in Laurie's path. "Whoops! Can't go that way. Looks like there's a problem. You might wanna try over there." She nods her head in another direction, while dragging her foot that way, too. "Oh, dear. This ice is just breaking all over the place. You're right, this isn't a nice day. "It's a fucking, terrible, no-good, very bad day!"

Pause. Beat. "So, wanna go for a swim? We could both strip down to our underwear and jump right in. That'd be fun. You go first.

Laurie's shoed toe nudges that cracked line to the side of him before he steps right back to where he started. He doesn't bait so far as to try the other direction, only watching her as she declares it as condemned as the other. "From nice to fucking very bad… do you always change your mind so fast, or were you just dying to use that reference today?" Something to think about during that pause.

As for the swim, he raises an eyebrow, uses a gesture at her to somewhat disguise the step he also takes forward. "I've already gotten ahead of you," he declares, shifting that coat on his arm, "I'm down an article, and you're wrapped like a burrito. So if you want me to keep playing, you go first."

Huh, well that's kind of odd. Mandy didn't really want to go for a swim before, but now that she thinks about it… Why not? She eyes the hole in the ice where Maggie recently fell through as she takes off her gloves. As soon as the chill of the winter hits them, she's having second thoughts.

She takes her scarf off, too. What could a little swim in sub-zero temperatures hurt? Something tells her that's not such a good idea.

Shrugging her coat off, she tosses it on the ice. "Hey, are you gonna get her out of that hole before she freezes to death?" Mandy asks offhandedly, one side of her lips turning up in a smirk as she pulls her hat off. It's kind of cold now. Maybe she should just stop—

Crouching down, she puts her fingers in the water, shivers, and says, "Maybe another time," which ends that endeavour for the moment.

There's some lessening to that whimsy as Laurie looks lightly skeptical, even a touch bemused as the woman gives no rehearsed retort. He clearly expected at least a movie-style retort while she was going about disrobing like that. But he wastes no time other than to stare intently at her newly exposed face before he strides right up to that hole as well. There's no suspicious cracks here to mar his way… so, it's right back to business. They wasted time with that back and forth, and any chance that Powers is still bobbing at the surface is ruined.

Picking right back up where that intensity of before left off, he drops down at the last moment, homerun-sliding the last feet to the edge of the open hole in the ice. His arm reaches out across the ice quickly, then he's tossing his own coat there for safe-keeping.

One giant breath taken then halfway let out and he plunges right into that unforgiving water, sinking into the depths of chill and black that pummels at his body with its sheer temperature. But, shocked lungs prepped for the dive, he stays on the strict path of spotting that bit of redness that would be his partner.

There she is: no longer a blur, the detective's coat is a red flag. She's not far, all told. It's hard to say if she's falling or if she's floating; she seems suspended, though it's probably an illusion. She's pale, in the freezing water, eyes shut, and given the new tinge that has just begun to touch her lips in a shade of bloodless blue, Maggie could easily be lifeless.

Just because Mandy allowed Laurie to dive into the frigid water after Maggie doesn't mean she's going to make it easy for them to get back out of the ice.

They even risk their lives for each other. What did they do to me? Locked me in a cell for years. No caring hand was extended for me to grab onto. Not that I would have anyway… For God's sake, I have these people under my thumb. Being in power is wonderful. Boring, after awhile, but wonderful. And I have to admit, jumping into a frozen pond on purpose really takes some stones. Huh. Well, I'll just add this guy to the List if he makes it.

Crouching down, she touches her fingers to the ice, rapidly tracing a line around where the hole in the ice swallowed both people. The ice weakens further. Cracks. Breaks apart in places and just melts in others. The clear water around the surface of the lake becomes cloudy as acid leaks into it.

Despite the fact that Mandy is standing right over the ice as it breaks apart, she doesn't fall in. Her coat does. Her gloves and hat do; her scarf has somehow become suspended on a lucky bit of ice that hasn't melted just yet. She reaches for it, tying it back around her now-cold face.

"Get out of that one, you little bitches," she says, before stepping back to watch the show.

Working muscles against the freeze already beginning to set in, Laurie heads right to that brilliant red beacon with powerful sweeping motions to try and keep the rest of her time in the cold to a minimum. For now, it hardly seems to matter whether she's blue-tinged or rainbow colored, the process is still the same. Getting an arm under her, he twists about to head them towards the elusive surface, maneuvering in the meanwhile to pull the heavy coat off her. No time for modesty, Maggie. Anything that's adding extra water weight is discarded in the swim back to the hole.

Even if it is a corrupted hole now, with the acid melting the ice, the solution is at least dilute in these portions and not boiling over. Not yet. Besides, he's both unaware and out of options.

So the calm of the growing cloudy water is once again broken, this time by Laurie. As best to his knowledge, from where he left Mandy, he's put Maggie on the opposite side, his body between her and the killer. This makes his next movement somewhat awkward in switching hands, but no less quick.

It takes some extra movements to get to the new edge of the ice but the integrity in this section has been at least enough to save his coat. Heaving himself up as best he can, he reaches immediately under the article, whips his arm around to the side and fires the gun he's now holding at the exact angle Mandy was previously standing at to him.

Maggie is a lot heavier than she normally might be — even without the heavy coat. She's dead weight. There is no energy in her muscles, no movement to help Laurie in the slightest. Her face seems frozen in an expression of distress, her eyes closed; otherwise, she's slack. Minus the beacon of a coat, she's made dull — dull blue blouse, blue jeans, both made darker by the water. Even with what should be a sudden influx of air, there's no movement from Detective Powers; she sprawls where Laurie left her.

There's not a whole lot Mandy can do while waiting to see the outcome of this little soap opera playing out before her. They should both be dead. She hopes they are, 'cuz that's two fewer people who are going to have to remain on the List. Really, she's not keeping an exact score, but even when these two are D-E-D dead, she'll remember them fondly.

"Holy shit. He did it," she whispers, touching the microphone next to her ear again. This even draws a grin from the killer. "Wonder if the blonde's alive. Guess I'll find out in a sec, eh? Shoulda brought popcor— "

The good news for Mandy is that she moved in order to melt the ice. The good news for Laurie is that the woman ended up in almost the same spot she was in when he went under the water.

The bullet rips into her shoulder, and draws a sharp, shrill scream as Mandy falls heavily onto the ice. "You fucking whore!" she shrieks, gripping her arm where blood is already leaking out between her fingers. "Shit, shit. You son of a bitch."

They're all resourceful little assholes, though. I have to admit. I didn't see that coming.

Sliding back on the ice, Mandy uses the invisible cushion of air to pull herself up. It's a struggle. "You gonna save your fuck-buddy, or come after me?" she calls, staggering backward. "You can try to do both, but you know— Fish gotta swim, bitches gotta breathe." With that, she takes off. Fairly agile on the ice, despite the fact that it's ice.

Excessive swearing must be some kind of cue, because Laurie uses it to ditch the gun back on the ice. All his efforts become pressed into getting himself from his awkward half-on, half-off position — and swiftly sliding back down — towards the thicker surface beyond. For all he's gotten this far, his arms shake a bit with the cold, body protesting. The melting ice blends right to the wetness of a shirt now sticking to him and, for a moment, he's heading right back in after all this…

But a glance at Powers, dull and unmoving, and with a spike of adrenaline, palms to the ice, he heaves himself sideways all the way onto the bank. Looping cold hands around both his coat and her arm, he drags all of them away from the weakened edges until he knows he just can't wait anymore. It's right to Maggie's side, with a brisk run of knuckles against the front of her ribcage to see if she reacts at all. She doesn't. At least not immediately, which means not fast enough.

Tilting her head back and lifting her chin, he bends to put an ear to her mouth. Lacking any sign of breath, the next step is clearly rescue breathing for her.

Hopefully, Laurie's in for the long haul and has enough air in his own lungs. It'll take some time and effort. But eventually, it'll pay off.

Movement comes without warning, in a shuddering spasm. Maggie chokes on air — maybe water? — very suddenly, life sparking on her face in the form of distress although it isn't any less pale and cold. Her eyes open, a shock of bright blue, unfocused despite her immediate best efforts to understand what's going on. It doesn't work; confusion is too thick. Still, some part of her recognizes the face that is unexpectedly right there. "M— " She goes into a fit of coughing, trying to breathe on her own. "M— Mi— Miles?"

The administrations are not going to let up from Laurie's end until he gets that reaction — any reaction — it's going to work. So, when that shudder happens, the surge of relief and the tight trap his own lungs have become in the cold combine to make an almost manic bubble of laughter when she then opens her eyes. Vague seriousness shadows over as she coughs, but a firm hand helps her up and to the side to let out anything she may need to get out of that drowned throat.

As soon as she's up, though, he's down. Flopping onto the ice with a final release of all the tension the situation created, he absorbs the blue mask of the sky; he smiles.

But a beat after that and it's business again. His hand seeks out the coat nearby and he pushes himself back up onto elbows to toss the one dry article left over her shoulders to start the warmth in. "Good morning, Detective Mermaid," he announces, patting her on the shoulder and staggering to his feet first incase she needs help to hers.

She does need help. In fact, after her fit of watery coughing ends, Maggie forgets how to move for a moment. She stares up at the blue of the sky — it might be a nice day after all. "Mermaids don't drown." Did she drown? Everything is a very cold and sluggish blur. "Where'd you come from," she slurs, her words merging together thickly, as though intoxicated — and, as if intoxicated, a touch disconnected from reality, carefree and unconcerned, certainly, for her own life. She reaches up; her hand shakes before she latches on to Laurie's with cold fingers. She's not in good shape after her impromptu dive to the icy depths and standing might not be the best idea, but she tries. It's a tough journey to get to her feet even with help; she feels like a thousand pounds. It's only then that a panic strikes her bleary gaze. "Th— that wo— woman, where…"

He's there for all of it, although he's probably dripping freezing droplets as much as her, she had a bit more time under than he did. Just a bit. "Don't be silly. Mermaids aren't real." While she's remembering what it's like to be a person, he leans over her, hands on his knees, and studies the horizon back towards the bridge. There's a thoughtful sniff from him and then he points sort of vaguely in front of them and to the right, "From… right about there." So having informed her, he straightens and lets her use his hand as a lever up. He's patient through her struggle to rise, standing there like an immovable pillar of support until just the moment when she's fully risen. Some stammering about a woman— meanwhile, Laurie's casually and deftly bending to get an arm under her knees to match the one bracing her back. "How can I be useful, of what service can I be? Use the coat, Powers. I went ice-fishing right before this so I'm not exactly the heat source you need right now." The trek back to the shore is started before he bothers to answer flatly, "I shot her."


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