2007-02-09: Shattered


Jane_icon.gif Hailien_icon.gif Desiree_icon.gif

Summary: In Times Square, Jane has a brief encounter with Hailien, then meets Desiree and discovers something verrrrry interesting.

Date It Happened: February 9th, 2007


Times Square

In the evening, a tall woman with dark hair makes her way into the Square. She looks around a bit, as if picking out a place to set up, but not so much that she looks like just another tourist. Jane's apparently been here a time or two. Slung over one shoulder is a backpack, over the other is a Stratocaster guitar. One hand carries a small amp to plug the axe into. Her clothing is jeans and a sweatshirt under a heavy winter coat and a few woolen scarves about her throat.

Hailien is in her topaz blue winter gear; she too has a backpack with her, and she's on her way home from the way she's not even stopping by her favorite memorial; Balto.

Not aware of the teen as she sets up near the square's eastern entrance, Jane plugs her guitar into the amp and begins to play. It's not terribly loud, the sound carries only a few feet away, but those passing close enough by can hear she's playing something by Ann and Nancy Wilson, while singing softly in a rich soprano voice. Her fingers seem expert on the strings and frets, suggesting years spent practicing and studying.

The singing and the guitar is what distract Hailien as she heads out the eastern entrance to Central Park; fascinated and bored, the teen wanders over to listen to Jane for a few minutes, not recognizing the song but commiting it to mind to look up later. "Wow."

She looks up briefly, flashes a smile to the girl, and replies "Thanks." during a break in the lyrics. Her fingers continue playing, it's a fast paced song, one which seems to have originally been written in a touch of anger. "You like Heart?" Moments later, singing resumes. "All that night and all the next, swam without looking back, swam for the western pools. Silly, silly fools!"

Hailien grins. "No problem. You have some real talent, here." She says, watching the woman's fingers on the guitar for a minute, before the girl waves a hand in good-bye to Jane and heading out towards home in the late evening.

Jane, at the eastern entrance to the square in winter clothing, nods in the departing girl's direction and continues on, fingers manipulating strings and frets on her guitar without pause, and the tune passersby might recognize as Barracuda winds down some seconds later. It's then her fingers rest, the brunette thinking for a moment on what to perhaps play next.

A dark-haired woman in a long, green jacket that looks more like a sweater walks toward the Square, easily lost in the NYC crowd. She has a reusable shopping bag in her right hand, swinging at her side, while her left hand is held protectively at her chest - though both are covered in knit gloves. Although Desiree has seen more than one street performer around the city since the beginning of her visit, she finds herself slowing down when she nears the young woman with the guitar. By the time she reaches Jane, however, the girl's song is over - but that gives her room to compliment. "That's real nice," she says, her accent obviously Southern. "I couldn't hear it 'til just a few seconds ago in all this hustle 'n' bustle, but what I caught was real nice."

"Thanks," she replies, in an accent not at all Southern. It doesn't sound like the one commonly associated with New York, though, much more like standard American if there is such a thing. "I always liked Ann and Nancy Wilson's stuff, Nancy plays guitar like few women ever dare." Jane looks up, studying the woman for a moment, and asks "Is there something you'd like to hear?" Her fingers start to move, the tune is soon recognizable as the instrumental part of Freebird.

Completely stopped, now, Desiree turns to fully face the performer. She starts to nod in agreement, but her sentiment quickly turns and she's shaking her head so rapidly that her hair sways. "Oh, no, no, you play whatever you feel like," she says adamantly with a friendly smile to go along with her words. "I don't believe in the whole 'muuusical requests' thing. I think a artist should play whatever they feel like playin' in that moment. I wouldn't dream of tellin' 'em otherwise," Dezi states with a bob of her head to punctuate her opinion. "Freebird's good." Her left hand moves to snake into her pocket, but she winces - and then a fumbling adventure to try to loop her shopping bag over her left arm to use her right hand ensues, et cetera. It's just awkward.

Her head nods by way of reply, Jane choosing for the moment to eschew singing the lyrics and stick entirely to playing the tune. Her play is skillful, it carries the signature of some years spent studying and practicing. "I like the open air, playing like this. It's pure. Just the musician and her audience, no one in the middle." A quiet smile shows, perhaps pleased she was correct in her belief the southern accented woman would enjoy her choice of current material.

It's with a burst of triumph - and a silly, sheepish, half-wince, half-smile to Jane - that Desiree finally retrieves a few crumpled dollar bills from her pocket. She brandishes them in the air as if to say 'tada!' and then crouches down to drop them in the guitar case. "I think I'd be too nervous," she admits in response. Stepping out of the way of other pedestrians to stand beside Jane (apparently Dezi is not in a hurry to get anywhere like the New Yorkers around her), she listens appreciatively for several long moments (and the tune being Freebird, those moments might be /really long/) before she poses a question inflected with curiosity. "You a performer by trade? For a profession?"

"I am now," the woman replies with a grin, "but wasn't always. For now I'm hanging around and hoping to slowly make a name for myself, just enjoying the freedom I've found. A lot of my time these last several years was spent… acquiring other knowledges." When stood beside she looks up at Desiree's face and seems surprised to, well, be looking up at another woman's features. Her five foot eight inch height makes her taller than most of her gender. Silence is kept for the moment as she continues on, soon reaching the end of her unsung Freebird and resting fingers on the instrument.

Jane's answer seems to spark Desiree's interest more than if she had responded with 'yes'. Though her eyes light up with more curiosity yet - something Jane says striking a chord, pun completely intended - she stays silent until the end of Freebird. "Weeoo!" she gives a small squeal. It's a compliment! "I ain't got no more dollars or I'd toss you another bone. So, you gathered all them other knowledges but came but to music, huh? That's nice that you know what you really wanted."

"Well," she chuckles slightly, "I've known for a long time now, there was just the whole dutiful daughter thing I had to pull off, made me split my time up for a group of years, y'know. Seven of them, from the start to the end of studying at Yale." Her fingers slide up and down the strings a few times, sounding out a few random chords, while her expression is briefly contemplative. Maybe she's picking out something else to play, or remembering events in her life. It's in these moments when conditions of past precognitive events might start coming into place for Desiree.

In her guitar case, a few feet away, a pair of people passing by toss coins. They impact the other monies already present and cause them to rearrange, in this the potential for seeing something arises. Details of a potential future event begin to form for the precognitive taller woman, while the guitarist ponders her next choice.

"Yale," Desiree repeats, her brows shooting up fleetingly and she nods with something akin to admiration. She swings her shopping bag once, an idle movement; it brushes past her jacket, swaying for a few moments afterward. She watches it - or so it would seem, but the bag is not actually the subject of her suddenly enwrapt stare. "'Scuse me," she murmurs distractedly to the performer, stepping around her to get a better look at the sundry forms of money in the guitar case. She peeks down at it in the way one might observe fish in a pond, watching them swim; of course, there doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary about the offerings to anyone but Desiree.

"Yeah," the guitarist sighs in answer, "Yale. Had a band there once, but the parents insisted on prepping for law school. It was hard to study music after that, but I managed." Her eyes follow the woman, eyebrows raise, but she doesn't say much. A step or two is taken to one side, increasing room to pass. In the case, among the money, an image forms. It's the guitarist herself seeming to be a in bit of pain. It shows on her face and the way she has hands placed over her ears, as if they're the source of her discomfort. A clock across the square behind her also enters the image, showing a time just five minutes ahead.

It's difficult for Desiree to piece together the shapes into something that makes sense to her mind; hazel eyes squint, and before she knows it, she's leaning down so far, getting her face as close as she can to the guitar case, that her hamstrings protest. Grimacing in frustration, she crouches, perching on her clunky high heeled boots, and goes about moving about a quarter and a dime with two fingers. "9:01." The woman's head whips around to suddenly study the neon clock across Times Square. "8:56." She blinks up at Jane in confusion - as if the younger woman is doing something to be confusing, not the one rummaging around in spare change like it's suddenly fascinating. Right.

Ooooookay… Her eyebrows raise a bit further as the change is studied so intently and the clock is commented upon, but Jane doesn't spend much time dwelling on it. Odd things are done by people sometimes, for all she knows the woman was just reminded of something connected to those mentioned times. She shrugs slightly and fingers start up again, across strings and frets, producing chords once played by Eric Clapton. "In a white room, with black curtains…"

As Desiree stands up, she watches the clock turn to 8:57, announcing it for all of Times Square to see in garish colour. "I'm sorry I … I just thought I saw somethin'. I'm just… I'm gonna go get a coffee," she gestures to the nearest place she can see that looks like they might serve coffee, her shopping bag swinging. "I'll be back in four minutes." The woman then scurries through the Square to the indicated shop - where she doesn't so much as glance around for signs of coffee. She stands just inside the door, peeking out and chewing on her lower lip anxiously.

Watching Desiree scurry, Jane arches her eyebrows again, but doesn't slow or stop in her working of the guitar's parts. White Room continues, and a few passersby toss coins into the case. Time passes from there, the song seems nearly over, when the clock reaches 9:01. It takes a few more seconds, but as the money indicated Jane stops playing and shifts into a discomforted expression, hands going to her ears as if trying to block something out. She looks around, almost as if she were trying to locate the source of something.

When the clock turns to 9:00, Desiree bites down particularly hard on her lip. She starts to bounce in place so restlessly that someone on their way out of the coffee shop tries to point her to the washrooms. Instead, she starts to rush toward Jane; as the clock strikes 9:01, so to speak, she comes to a halt, watching the woman's distress between people coming and going in front of her. She runs to and fro around them until she practically collides with Jane, but only to wrap a comforting arm around the stranger. "What? What is it?! Are you alright?"

"Don't you hear it?" Jane asks, as she continues to look around the square. "It's so loud and annoying, that high pitched hum." She doesn't move away from the arm wrapped about her, it's clear she's making an effort to focus and tune out whatever she's hearing. The odd thing is she's the only one who seems able to. Everyone else is entirely unaffected. "Ohmygod it's happening again, damnit. I… I have to get out of here. Now." The woman moves to pack away her guitar and close the case, preparing to make a quick exit from the square.

Desiree stares up at the bright time, squinting against all of the neon and flashy digital signage. Her mouth pinching into a frown, she looks back to Jane, concern in her eyes. "I don't know, I don't hear anythin' but traffic and someone yellin' words I ain't gonna repeat down that street." She doesn't make any move to stop Jane initially, just letting her arm drop in a sort of daze.

Once her guitar is packed up and the case slung over a shoulder, with her backpack going over the other and she's ready to depart, Jane turns back toward Desiree with a pained expression. "I know," she softly states. "It was like this before, earlier. A man's dog got away, he blew a whistle to call it back, and, and… it really hurt. So sudden, sharp and piercing. Just like now, no one else heard it. Only me." Her eyes take another scan of the square as her mouth opens, it looks like she might be screaming, but no sound emerges. Somewhere ahead of her, however, a street lamp bulb shatters. Glass fragments flutter to the pavement, a few people scurrying to avoid the fallout.

The look Desiree gives Jane is confused, sure, but not judgmental - it is not the kind of look someone gives another when they suspect them of having the crazies. If there's one thing Dezi sympathizes with lately is experiencing things no one else does. Before she manages to respond, she flinches and instinctively clutches the collar of her jacket, whirling about at the loud sound. "Well I heard that," she says, watching the people scurrying from the glass. "…Maybe you got a ear problem. Real like… sensitive."

"I don't know," she says, while beginning to make her way out of the square, to get clear of whatever is troubling her. "I made an appointment to see a doctor tomorrow, get checked out, but I came here tonight, thinking maybe it was isolated, y'know, and wouldn't happen again. But here I am, hearing stuff nobody else can, and… did you see how that lamp shattered when I screamed?" Jane's feet are moving quickly, carrying her toward comfort, wanting to get clear of the noise soon as she possibly can.

It's easy to recall for someone who'd been so close to her, how Jane's mouth had been open in a silent scream just before the lamp shattered.
Desiree stands there for a moment or two before she realizes Jane is starting to walk away. She jogs behind her, if a bit belatedly, her boots making a *clomp*-ing staccato on the pavement. "I didn't hear you scream," she points out. "But you did look in an awful fit. Maybe I need to go to the doctor too, check my own hearin'. Are you— you're okay now though?"

"I… I think so, now," she replies once she's gotten a block or so away. "I still hear that sound, but it's further away, doesn't hurt so much anymore." Jane slows and stops, turning to face Desiree again, her eyes puzzled. "You didn't hear me scream? I… I heard myself. It was the only thing that gave me a bit of relief from the piercing sound." She takes a seat next to a building, sliding down slowly onto her rump and letting the gear across her shoulders rest to either side. Her head goes into her hands and is supported there as she frets. "Dear God, what's wrong with me? I'm only twenty-five."

Desiree stops when Jane stops; she can't bring herself to disregard the young woman when she's clearly going through something. She's too much of a kind soul. Thus, she crouches down beside the building with the musician, frowning but lending her a conversely optimistic look in those warm hazel eyes of hers. "Aw, now, you don't know it's that bad," she says in her accented voice. "Everyone's got problems. I got problems. That lady who almost got hit with a street lamp got problems. That fella over by the bustop with that really… silly reindeer hat got problems, prob'ly more'n both of us. I bet yours ain't so terrible. Just gotta figure 'em out first."

"Figure them out," she repeats, her head slowly lifting. Eyes scan the street, as if looking for something. "I need, need glass. An empty bottle or something. Would… you you think I'm nuts if I thought my own voice made the glass break, when I was screaming but nobody heard me?" Jane's eyes are rimming with tears, the whole thing having freaked her out so. "I've got to try, if only to probe to myself I'm not crazy, starting to hear things, find out if the broken lamp was just a coincidence, y'know?"

"I been seein' things shouldn't be there and then they turn out to be real things that happen, so I ain't gonna think you're crazy 'cause you think you broke some glass," Desiree finds herself admitting, even though she didn't exactly intend to. She just wants to relate, you know? Giving the younger woman a squeeze on the arm with her slightly stiff-wristed hand, she reaches into her bag. "I got this empty bottle of cran-apple juice. Should I be standin' back"

The words register only briefly, acknowledged in a question, Jane asking "You see things before they happen?" It's not dwelt on, a second later her gaze is directed toward a spot a few yards down the block ahead of them. "Maybe put it there," she suggests, "I think we might be far enough away. I… I'm going to try it slow, go up one octave at a time, see if I can make it break. Or, maybe… maybe we can test this another way at the same time. Put your hand on my throat, feel it, tell me if there's vibration even if you can't hear me?" Her eyes seek to make contact with Desiree's, a mix of disquiet and hopefulness in them.

Disquiet and hopefulness summarize Desiree's expression pretty well too, if you throw in some extra 'uncomfortable'. Still, crazy as this sounds, she sincerely wants to help. Catching Jane's eyes, she nods once, a slow dip. "Okay" she strolls down the sidewalk several yards, looks over her shoulder unsurely for confirmation, then sets the empty bottle down. She trots backwards all the way back to Jane and pulls off a green glove. "You ready?" She'll tentatively feel the woman's throat on cue - once she touches, she knows exactly where to look, however, to find the right spot.

"I'm ready," Jane confirms, drawing in a deep breath. "Thanks for doing this, and you don't even know my name. It's Jane. M. Jane Forrest, Juris Doctor. I know it's all really weird, just imagine it from this end. I have to… work this out." From there she begins, her voice coming out in musical tones at a medium soprano pitch, entirely audible, as she faces the bottle and aims her voice toward it.

"My name's Desiree, nice to meet you Jane," the woman answers, keeping it short to let the musical experiment begin. Her gaze flickers between Jane and the test subject that is the juice bottle, watching, waiting, expectant and … a little impatient, but she's just eager to see what happens.

Her voice raises in pitch steadily, after the fourth octave increase it's extremely high and still audible, a level which might well be painful to hear so close up, then her lips move and no sound emerges. Jane's eyes watch the bottle, the note is held and drawn out. A few seconds pass and nothing happens. She glances sidewards a bit, her eyes asking for the contact at her throat, to learn if her voice can still be felt, as she prepares to go up still another octave. If touched, her throat can be felt to vibrate with the note she hears herself emitting, indeed just by watching her neck it's possible to see movement there, the rapid vibration of Jane's vocal chords. As the next octave is reached the bottle begins to rock a bit, indicating her voice is having some effect upon it.

A moment hits where Desiree can't help but scrunch her face up at the pitch. She peeks out between one set of squinted lids to eye the bottle. She very nearly takes her hand off of Jane's throat, adjusting a few times, but keeps it positioned above those vibrating vocal chords. Jane is given an encouraging nod-nod-nod, an intentionally goofy thumbs-up from around Dezi's shopping bag, and an /un/intentionally goofy smile.

Her vocal chords still for a second, then resume, the unheard pitch of it quite possibly beginning to have an effect upon Desiree after the extended ultrasonic exposure. The next higher level is hit, her chords vibrate palpably again, and the bottle splinters. Her note is extended, and after a few seconds the glass shatters. Shards come forward a few feet, stopping well ahead of the experimenting pair. Jane drops the note and stands there staring at the result, her eyes wide and face reflecting astonishment.

Desiree blinks hard a few times, but attempts to ignore the oncoming headache she feels. Letting her hand fall from Jane and fumble with her glove, she steps back, staring at the shards of glass. "Well that's… some kinda funny opera you got goin' on, Ms. Jane. I think you got some kinda answer, don't you? At least you ain't crazy."

"I… I know," she answers in a hushed voice, her face and eyes still incredulous. "Definitely not crazy, but… am I a freak now? Is some government agency going to come snatch me up, keep me in a lab for life?" Worry returns to her features with that thought, and others she doesn't voice. "It's like… maybe because I can reach that level, my brain can handle the info, I hear it? That, when the glass broke, was two octaves above high C." Her eyes remain fixed on the broken glass, as if mesmerized.

"I don't know anythin' about the government or high Cs, I thought that was orange juice, but I'm startin' to learn a thing or two about feelin' like a freak. And… yeah. Well, I can't explain it." And that seems to trouble Desiree; it's written all across her features. "But labs… well, I'd rather not think about it. 'Cept I can't stop." For Jane's sake, she gives a little shrug of her shoulders. "I— I gotta get goin', my friend's gonna think I was in another bus crash I don't get there soon, but… you okay?"

"I… I am now, I think, or I will be," Jane softly assures. "I have to go too, got things to think over, trying to wrap my head around all this… this," she trails off for a moment to gesture at the broken bottle. "Equipment to buy, tests to do on myself… Desiree, were, were you serious when you said you see things that happen later, or were you just trying to make me feel less nuts? You, you can deny it if you want. I get it, don't really want anyone else to know about what we just learned." She tries to make eye contact, something in her expression showing she hopes, needs, to be understood. Mixed in with it all is the evidence of a strong practical streak, suggestion of how focused she can get when faced with a challenge. "I trust you, completely."

'What did we just learn?' is Desiree's unspoken question, because now she's more confused than she was to begin with. She presses her lips together in consideration, worry lines worming their way into her features as she regards Jane. "I wasn't lyin' to you," she says honestly. "I even saw the clock, right up there, say 9:01, and you coverin' your ears. So I waited to see if it came true and then 9:01 came around and it did. But I couldn't tell I was gonna get in a bus crash today so I don't know what kinda cheap-ass psychic /I/ am."

A pen comes out of her pocket, and a slip of paper, she takes a moment to write a series of ten digits on it, then offers the number. It appears to be in Connecticut, by the area code. "I… I'm going to figure all this out, maybe I can help you figure things out too. Books. Study. There have to be answers. I'll find them, I have to. Thank you, thank you so much for helping and trusting me, Desiree."

Desiree takes the paper without hesitation, looking down at the string of numbers that make up the address. She has no idea what a Connecticut area code looks like. "Yeah…" she says unsurely, trailing off. The paper is tucked it into her pocket. "All I did was stay and talk, like any good person should. I probably talked too much," she says with a smile, humble. "Good luck, Jane!" It doesn't seem like enough, given the weird encounter, but at a loss of what else to do, she just waves and turns about to head on her way, likely to find a willing taxi.

"Good night," Jane replies to the departing woman. The guitarista remains there some minutes longer, staring at the broken glass, and trying to calm her racing thoughts before she too flags down a taxi and departs the area, headed back to her hotel room to think and plot strategy.

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