2010-02-09: Sleep Baby, Sleep (Phantasm)



Posting Date: February 9, 2010


Two of the McCarty sisters meet under terrible circumstances.

"Sleep Baby, Sleep"

Building 27 — Governor's Island

Whistling 'Would You be My Neighbour' (as made famous by Mr. Rogers of Mr. Roger's Neighbourhood Fame) as she walks down the echo hall of Building 27, Janet is in an unusually good mood. She turns to the accompanying guard while beaming, "I bet you anything I can make every patient smile today!" Her white lab coat and teal scrubs are bright coloured compared to everything else in this place — the rest is dark, grey, and cold in nature.

The guard, Janet's escort shakes his head, "You know the rules, Doctor McCarty —"

"I know! I know!" She scrunches her nose and tries to impersonate her superior as best she can in stance, expression, and tone while sticking a single pointer finger into his face, "Nooo talking to the terrrorists! It's for your own protection." Her lips quirk into a smile once again as she pads over to the cell door and waits for it to be opened, her little black bag of doctory things in tow.

As the door opens, she only has one question before she even looks at her patient — the same question she asks them all, "What seems to be the problem today?"

Locked in a cell, her ability suppressed, Erin couldn't be more miserable. Her cage is bare, without any furniture or comfort, outfitted as if she really is some sort of terrorist. Her bed is the rock-hard floor and a thin blanket that never keeps out the cold entirely.

Of course, without her ability, Erin's gotten pretty sick. Opening pale eyes as she hears voices on the other side of the door, she sucks in a raspy breath, and only ends up with a painful cough to punctuate it. The dark circles under her eyes have been there for weeks.

One of the voices sounds familiar. Curious, Erin sits up, blinking away the bright light as the door opens.

She thinks she's hallucinating for a moment. It wouldn't be the first time.

It's gotta be someone else. Someone that just looks like— "Janny?" Erin asks, her voice cracking. God, it is Janet. "What're you doing here?"

Speechlessly the doctor stares at Erin. "Uh —" Janet turns to face the guard who shoots her a warning look, but then has Dr. McCarty ever taken these warnings seriously? "WHAT THE HELL?! ERIN! I KNEW SOMETHING WAS SERIOUSLY EFFED UP WITH YOU AND NOW HERE YOU ARE A TERRORIST! WHAT WOULD MOM AND DAD SAY?!" Not quite the calm and rational self that she normally puts forward, but then this is her estranged sister. The guard shakes his head and shushes the good doctor before she scowls openly at him and once again decides to ignore the warning.

Lowering her voice she stoops down to the floor and draws on a pair of blue disposable gloves (non-latex, she's allergic). She bends down to touch Erin's forehead. "You… look awful."

Yeah. That's definitely Janet.

"Hey— hey— " she attempts as her younger sister's voice pounds in her ears. Her head hurts so bad, and this whole twisted-fate-meetup is just making things worse. She looks at the guard, her expression dull, since there's not a lot she can say without facing punishment later. But really, she's a lot like her sister. Erin often ignores warnings.

"I'm not a terrorist," she croaks, closing her eyes and leaning back against the wall. She's told the story before, though, to countless people. It's becoming too tiring to bother with anymore, even for someone who could potentially help her.

Unfortunately, the last time they spoke, they both made it pretty clear that they would never speak to each other again. Why would Janet help?

Her forehead is warm to the touch. Very warm. In fact, to Erin, Janet feels cold, and that is absolutely wonderful. "Don't feel too good, either," she admits bitterly, eying the other woman's nice clothes (even if they ARE scrubs) and obvious health.

The hot forehead is met with a frown as Janet turns to the guard, "I need you to get me my other bag. This woman needs tylenol at the very least if you won't let me give her anything else."

The guard shakes his head, "I can't do that Dr. McCarty. You know that she's not to have any intervention for the terror she's caused."

In one fluid movement, Janet turns from her spot and is in the guard's face, "Then tell me why the hell I work here! I can't handle losing another patient and if you know what's good for you and your job you will get me my effing bag." She stares at the guard and eventually he reaches down to his radio and asks for the woman's other bag.

She comes back down to the floor, "Erin. Erin, you have to answer some questions. Where does it hurt? I need to know." She's reaching into her current bag and extracts her stethoscope. "I need to listen to your heart." Erin's so hot to the touch, she turns back to the guard, "While you're at it radio to get some ice. I need the ice." Or Erin does. Whatever.

If it's possible, Erin's eyes dull even more at the mention of the terror she's caused. In fact, she hasn't. She didn't do anything wrong! Maybe she should have, since they locked her up here anyway. "I could make myself better…" she mutters, trying unsuccessfully to pull away from her sister's touch. The guard probably doesn't even know why Erin's here, or how many people she could cure with just a simple touch. The world is damning itself.

After the guard leaves, Erin whispers, "Janny, I don't want to see it happen. I don't want to see anymore of this. I don't want to be here." It takes a second to draw up the courage to ask what she does next. "They're not going to let me out of here. Just gimme something to end it, okay? The other doctors won't, but you're my sister. Please."

"Erin, I'm not an average Dr. Kevorkian! I can't just — I've never… I couldn't… I'm a good doctor. I'm good at my job, you're going to get better if it kills me," Janet whispers back. "How did you get here? What are you doing here?! I thought you were still acting or something…" Not that anyone really watches much television these days. "What's wrong? What hurts?" The real question is does anything not hurt. "Erin, what did they do to you… I haven't seen anyone in this rough shape in…" She bites her bottom lip. "I'm going to help you." Just not the way she's requested. For now.

"You're a horrible doctor," Erin says, before being taken by another coughing fit. It's painful, and she doesn't bother covering her mouth. The answer to 'what hurts will be pretty clear when Erin pulls an expression of pure agony before settling back down. "You want to know why I'm here? You really don't know?"

It makes her feel a little better. Whether or not Janet's telling the truth doesn't matter. The very idea that there could be people out there who just don't know what's going on gives her hope. "My immune system's pretty much shot. I'm what they call 'Evolved.' There's some gene that makes certain people different— I used to be able to cure anything, cure myself." She'll leave out the fact that she could make people deathly ill. "Guess my immune system just got lazy. I catch just about everything now."

As for what she did… "I… Had the ability to make people sick, too. I didn't do it. Just… the idea that I could. That's why I'm here. I know it sounds crazy…"

Tilting her head and wrinkling her nose, Janet twitches, just a little. "N-no. That's… that's not… that doesn't make sense." And as usual, logic rules the day. "The government wouldn't do that, they protect people from bad things; they don't put innocent people in prison. They don't. It's not their job! It's their job to make sure everything works and keep us all safe in our beds. And I was hired here to make sure all of you are treated humanely." Although nothing about this room is particularly humane. In actuality, Janet has more of legal function than a medical one.

Erin laughs. It's hopeless-sounding, pained, and maybe just a tad crazy. Erin's not insane, though… Just fed up and tired of all of this. It's the same crap everyone else tells her - the government can't be the bad guy. They're locking up people by the hundreds just to keep the rest of the world safe.

Humane? This is just about as far from humane as anyone can get! All Erin wants to do is cry, but she'll be damned if she's going to let anyone see her do it - especially her little sister. "So what does make sense, Janet? A thousand people ripped from their homes for being terrorists? Fine. Believe what you want. If you aren't gonna help me, though, just get out and lemme sleep." 'Help,' of course, is subjective. Erin's made it clear what kind of help she wants.

Petulently, she turns away from Janet, pulling the thin blanket around her shoulders.

Janet's eyes drift from her sister to the room and then to the door where the guard is now standing with her second doctor-bag — this one loitered with drugs. She frowns as she rifles through the bag and swallows as she reads each of the bottles. She'd intended on only giving her sister tylenol, but… it's not fair. After all of those years of not speaking, this isn't fair. How can she do this? How can Erin ask her to do this?! Her lips twitch as her gaze flits to the guard at the door for a moment who she calls to, "I'll be done in a minute. There's nothing worth watching… just dosing out the drugs. As always."

The guard steps into the hall and lingers at the door. At that moment she extracts the vial of morphine from her bag and sighs, as she prepares the syringe. Carefully she measures out the drug, or she pretends to. She mentally does a few calculations. "I'm giving you three. It's probably overkill, but I know three will do the trick," her tone is empty. Completely empty.

She inserts the first syringe carefully, peering at the door and then back to Erin she preps the second syringe.

After all that begging and pleading, this is it. And Erin doesn't regret is - not her request, and not what Janet's doing. Neither of them should have any regrets. "I'm sorry," Erin says. For what? Everything. For that fight they had years ago, for the fact that Janet's really the only one who can end the suffering, for allowing it to come to this - but no regrets. No holding back the syringe full of morphine.

After a moment, she reaches out to put her hand on the other woman's shoulder. Her touch is weak, fingers cold despite the fever. "Will you stay? I don't want to— " She pauses, reconsiders her words. "I don't want to be alone right now."

Janet's lips twitch as she fills the second syringe. She swallows hard before she glances at the door again, her eyes well with tears that she fights with her always-present-smile. Swallowing, she chokes them back, holding them in from the surface. "I am too," she whispers quietly. "I didn't know," her chin quivers as she inserts the second syringe followed by the third. "Erin, I'm so sorry." She chokes back the tears. "I'm so sorry. Please forgive me…" She can't even remember why they fought.

Lowering herself completely to the ground, she sidles next to her sister and strokes her hair, the tears forming on her cheeks as she quietly sings a lullaby their mother had sung to them as children when they were particularly despondent:

"Sleep, baby, sleep
Thy father tends his sheep
Thy mother shakes the dreamland tree
And softly dreams do fall for thee
Sleep, baby, sleep

Sleep, baby sleep,
Heaven sends us sheep,
The little stars are lambkins white,
The moon she tends them all the night…"

Erin's still stubbornly refusing to cry. This is what she wanted, right? She's getting out of this hell hole, and even if she ends up in another… Well, who knows what kind of afterlife is waiting for her?
Whatever. She can take it.

"Hey." She smiles, her hand going to Janet's cheek. "I really did try to take care of you, you know? Just… didn't work out how I… How I wanted." She shakes off the encroaching darkness long enough to say one very important thing. "Janny, Caleb's out there. He's like me. You have to — You— Find him before…"

This is kind of comforting. The song, the sleepy feeling she hasn't felt since she was thrown into the cell. It's nice. Except now that she's finally made up with her sister, neither of them will get to enjoy it.
Her eyes finally glaze over, the smile fades, and the pain stops.

Janet sobs as Erin falls into a dreamy sleep-state — one that Janet knows she won't wake up from. Her chest heaves with her near-silent sobs, but she forces her way through the song amidst her tears:

"Sleep, baby,sleep.
Sleep, baby, sleep,
And you shall have a sheep,
And he shall have a golden bell,
And play with baby in the dell;
Sleep, baby, sleep."

She reaches up to Erin's eyes, closing them manually, but she doesn't let go of her sister. Not yet. She'll need some time.

She just killed her sister.

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