2007-02-17: The Darkness That Lurks In Our Minds


Sarah_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: An attempted murder is thwarted, Tamara prevents Jack from getting HIV, and the dead rise from their graves.

Date It Happened: February 17th, 2007

The Darkness That Lurks In Our Minds

Central Park

Run. Running. RUN!

Emily Reed knew she shouldn't have taken a shortcut through the park. But she was already late to get home, and she thought that if she was fast, didn't make eyecontact with anyone, and kept aware of her surroundings, she could keep out of trouble. But then a man came out from behind a tree she hadn't seen anyone near, and had grabbed for her. She'd begun running, after hitting him with her purse. She had mace in there, and when she thought she was a safe distance away, she ducked behind a tree to search through her purse for the pepper spray. That was all the time needed for her pursuer to catch up with her, and grab her. She screams in fear, as she sees the glitter of a knife, from one of the park lights by a pathway about fifty feet away. Too far away to give her any safety.

Sarah Kain should not be out right now. She should be at home. But she snuck out, and made her way downtown, knowing that Central Park was a place where bad people liked to gather after dark. And she had been craving the opportunity to punish bad people for awhile now. The thirteen year old, walks boldly through the park, showing no sign of fear, apprehension, or any care for the possibility of something happening to her. She also shows perfect awareness of everyone else in the park, whether they be a normal park goer hurrying home, or someone more dastardly, waiting in the shadows. The teenager hears the scream of Emily, and pauses, looking in that direction. A smirk slips onto her face as she begins walking across the grass, in the direction of a scuffle she can barely make out next to a tree. She hugs her stuffed rabbit closer under one arm, and picks up the pace a bit.

Having finally found a place to stash the painting he aquired last night, Jack is making his way back toward Eliana's apartment as the sun rides low in the sky, then disappears. He's wearing black jeans and boots, a white hooded sweatshirt, and a black denim jacket. Despite a myriad of burs, bruises, and lacerations, Jack shows no fear at being alone in the park at this hour. Then he hears the scream and a soft "Sonofabitch," slips out from between his lips. With a resigned sigh, he takes off in the direction of the disturbance as fast as he's able.

Another figure - neither a parkgoer hurrying home nor a dastardly evildoer, but a teen not much older than Sarah - seems equally undaunted by the area's nighttime reputation. Tamara stands just outside the pool of lamplight, dark green sweater made murky by darkness and the bit of orange light that does reach her. She's not /too/ difficult to make out, even with the gloom - but she seems only to be waiting for something, her hands curled loosely at her sides. Head tipped just slightly to one side, the precog watches Emily (and her attacker) patiently, without sign of either concern or fear even though the scuffle isn't so very far away.

One of the man's hands clutches at Emily's throat, while the other tries to force the short blade of his knife between her ribs. Emily, however, struggles with hysterical strength, fighting to keep living. Her choked screams manage to continue even with the hand at her throat, which seems to enrage her attacker into growls, inbetween harsh breaths.
Then Sarah clears her throat. The man jerk's his head towards the girl, and nearly loses his hold on Emily as she screams, "HELP!" and almost breaks free. The man turns his attention back to Emily for a moment, long enough to regain his hold, before looking back to the girl. The light from the park lamp is far beyond Sarah, back by the path, leaving her features in darkness. The man says harshly, "Get out of here, kid. Or you're next!" as he fights to retain his hold. Then two red pinprinks of light appear where Sarah's eyes should be, lighting up her features somewhat, and revealing she has empty black pits for eyes. The light grows brighter, entrancing the man, as his eyes widen in confusion and… Fear? Yes, it is fear that he feels, when Sarah's mouth splits open in a wide smile… Revealing that in place of teeth, she has razor blades shoved into her black and purple gums. The man feels an itching sensation on his arm, which he at first ignores, until he becomes aware of movement on the back of his hand. He glances down briefly, and notices… A turantula on his hand. Creepy girls, and potential murder victims are one thing. Spiders are quite another. He immediately releases Emily and brushes frantically at his hand as he lets out a cry of fear of his own. He is an arachnophobe, to be sure.
He backs away from where he thought he saw the huge spider fall, only to feel another itching sensation up his left sleeve. He scrabbles frantically at the sleeve, trying to pull it up, as he lets out panicked noises. Then movement erupts all over him, under his clothes, in his hair, and he can clearly envision, from the sensations, the huge mass of spiders clustered on his back, due to the weight there. He screams in absolute, hysterical terror, running around, clawing at himself, trying to cleanse himself of the horrible, tickling, itchiness. A spider runs across his face and he freaks out completely, falling to the ground, and rolling around to try to crush the arachnids.
Emily stares as her attacker spazzes, apparently at nothing, screaming about spiders, and demanding someone get them off of him. She backs up quickly, until she nearly bumps into Sarah. The teenager looks up at the woman, her features normal, and says, "Go home. Quickly." Emily does as she is told, and starts running. Because she looked back at the man on the ground, and for a moment, thought she saw spiders.
Meanwhile, Sarah turns her attention back on the man, and grins, before she hears the sound of approaching footsteps, and turns her head in that direction. She hisses slightly between her teeth. She wasn't done! She doesn't want to be found yet! Sarah shows no awareness of Tamara quite yet.

When he arrives on the scene, Jack is nothing so much as exasperated. The sight of the knife-wielding man menacing a young girl causes him to narrows his eyes dangerously. "That's it!" he roars. He gestures wildly with his right hand, relocating the heavy, black automatic pistol from the dresser drawer in his apartment to his grasp. Then Sarah appears on the scene, and the attacker begins his wildly spasming dance of terror. Eyes and mouth agape, he watches, agasht as the man thrashes around against the earth.

Watching the scene unfold, Tamara studies the frantic man with a puzzled air. Not surprised - rarely ever that - just… curious. Stepping into the light proper, she lifts a hand to Jack, although without looking his way at all. Wait, the gesture directs. Without any apparent concern for the situation, she crouches just above the flailing thug, where stray movements aren't likely to reach her. And picks up the knife he's dropped, remarking calmly, "It didn't stop that easy." Whatever 'it' is.

Sarah doesn't take a step back when she notices the gun in Jack's hand, though she does turn to face him, her eyes tinted slightly red. "I am now the master of this one's life. He is mine to save, or mine to dispose of. Leave him, and go about your business," she orders cryptically. When Tamara joins the scene, she spins to face her as well, looking back and forth between the now knife-carrying girl, and the man with the gun, while the attacker lies panting on the ground, his frenzy of movements ceasing for the time being, as he apparently is no longer suffering from Sarah's ability influencing him.
"Are you friends of this scum?" she inquires with a bit of a hiss, as she finally backs up, to put some distance between herself and the two armed people. With a tree at her back, she stands and waits for the other two to act, while she places her free hand on the head of her stuffed rabbit.

"I don't think anybody wants any trouble here," Jack rumbles. His voice is hoarse from last night's bout of smoke inhalation, but he's still stern and firm. "I don't know what you're on about, young lady, but why don't you both go about your merry way, yes?" He flicks the tip of the pistol briefly, indicating that both creepy young girl and thug should begone.

Rising, Tamara turns her back on the caught man without hesitation, walking a distance away before turning back to face Sarah. She crouches and sinks the knifeblade into the ground, then stands up again with both hands empty, gaze remaining on the younger teen throughout. Save for one brief, dismissive glance at the thug. "His shadow never crossed mine again. It only matters for you," is her own cryptic answer, tone clearly unconcerned about the man's fate.

Sarah narrows her eyes when the gun is used to indicate she should leave. Tamara is given an odd look, as she watches the knife put into the ground, and then the girl says, "I am not through here. I will leave when I am prepared to do so. You are not in authority over me, and I recommend rather urgently that you put away your gun and let me finish. This man attempted to kill someone. He has probably killed others in the past. He needs to be punished. And I am Judge…" She looks to Tamara again, her eyes having moved to Jack during her speech. "Jury…" The attempted murderer is getting up onto his hands and knees, fumbling in one of the pockets of his ragged jeans. "And Executioner." Sarah steps towards the man, just as the thug's hand tightens around something in his pocket.

Jack can hardly believe what he's hearing come out of this little girl's mouth. Executioner? He shakes his head incredulously at both her antics and her speech. Then the thug starts to stagger to his feet. Jack drops his aim and snaps off a shot at the man's left knee. Previous experience leads him to believe that Tamara isn't a threat, so he directs his attention to the other girl. "Who /ARE/ you?" he queries.

Tamara waits until Jack takes his shot before she moves, not even jumping at the loud report. Giving the thug a wide-enough berth, Tamara steps around and intercepts Sarah, one hand lifted. Back to the guy, she looks at Sarah, her gaze piercingly intent. "Judge as you would, but you forgot, yours isn't the only voice, the only path. He'll forget, also. Wait a moment. Those who forget, fall from the wire."

The thug is shot in the knee, and cries out as blood sprays from the wound. He falls onto his side and clutches at the knee, but continues to scratch at his flesh until he leaves bloody trails from his fingernails… The itching of grass on his flesh is too reminiscent of hairy spider feet for his comfort.
Sarah pauses as she is intercepted, looks towards Jack, and then to Tamara, right in front of her. She arches an eyebrow and says, "So you are like me. I knew there were others out there. That was evident enough from the news reports…" She considers her goal of making it known she is superior to all other special people. To become their master, and ensure they follow her, and only her. They are the elite, but even among equals, some are more equal than others.
She considers this, and then decides this is not the right time, or place. If it was just her and Tamara, MAYBE she could influence her… But she seems to be seeing things or be aware of things that Sarah is not. That is not acceptable. She would find out what this other girl knows, before she makes any hasty decisions.
Smiling she says to Jack, "No one. No one at all." She then turns to face towards Jack, bows her head, so that her long black hair hangs in her face… And then when she whips her head up, her eyes are those black pits with red dots of light at the center, and her teeth are razor blades again. She grins widely and says, "…Just the Devil!" Then the ground all around begins to tremble, and move, not like an earthquake, but like there is something underground, trying to get to the surface. A moldy hand tears free of the grass and dirt, reaching for the night-time sky. Then more hands erupt from the soil, as a low moaning, in numerous voices, begins to grow and carry, echoing hauntingly off the trees, as the leaves of those same trees seem to cluster together, growing to block out all light from above or around, turning the clearing murky as muddy water.
Sarah turns and starts to run away, giggling girlishly, as the hands begin to pull their owners out of the ground, corpses with rotting flesh, and exposed bone, rising from the dirt like Night of the Living Dead in real life. A haggard old woman with long strands of white hair, and her lower jar missing, lets out a groan as she staggers towards Jack, hunched over, one leg twisted and broken. More are coming up behind her, and all around, surrounding Tamara and Jack. The thug doesn't seem to be aware of the undead at first, trying to crawl away, until he looks up and sees them. Then he stares in horror, and pulls a syringe out of his pocket, as though the needle could be used to fight back the army of corpses.
Sarah isn't quite out of sight yet, and could be stopped if someone ran after her. She hasn't even made it back to the path yet.

The series of events is far too much for Jack to take in all at once. He does what any reasonably sane person would do, and screams like a small, frightened child. Gaping, he watches the tiny, devil-girl scamper away. Then, as the abominations begin to drag themselves from the earth, he snaps into action. Transferring the pistol to a one-handed grip, he takes a few well-placed shots at the emerging hands and faces as he grabs the man he shot by the collar. Not cruel by nature, as Jack begins to drag the wounded man backward and away from the perceived danger he screams to Tamara, "Get out of here!"

Tamara watches Sarah throughout her antics, and continues to look after the younger teen as she darts off, shoulders sinking in what looks to be a quiet sigh. "Trouble," is her resigned remark, spoken only for those still nearby to hear. "Don't -" Eyes gone dark, pupils dilated fully despite the nearby lamp, she turns back to Jack - paying no heed whatsoever to the zombies as they shuffle, stumble, and reach. "Watch what you hold. Only the shadows matter, and those weren't good ones."

The man with the needle reacts to being grabbed by the collar by freaking out and trying to stab at the hand holding him with the needle, probably thinking he's been seized by a zombie. Of course, with Tamara's warning to watch what he's holding, it would only take a moment to glance down, see the man preparing to stab with the used drug needle, and evade, or grab his wrist. Regardless of what action is taken, if he is still dragged, the man will realize he's being helped, and stop resisting, trying to help by shoving himself onto his working leg. If he is let go, he'll try to get onto his stomach and push himself onto his feet that way, to follow after Jack, towards the seemingly distant light of the park lamp… Perhaps safety, or perhaps only the illusion thereof. After all, why would that circle of yellow light stop the living dead?
Sarah herself reaches that light and turns to watch for a moment, stroking her rabbit's head, features returned to normal. She isn't done with the formerly knife-wielding man. But she doesn't want to stick around any longer either. What to do, what to do… Ah. She smirks, and a woman in a red dress steps out of the shadows near the path, running towards Jack and the injured man. She calls out, "Quickly! I will take him!" to Jack, and holds out her arms as she races to meet the two. The woman is odd in that she is indistinct… She has features, they're just… Undefined. Hair… Eyes… Nose… Mouth… Nothing certain can be determined about them, though they ARE there.
Sarah, starting to sweat, and to have a vein pulse in her forehead, steps backwards, out of the light, and into the darkness.
Oh, yes, and the gunshots have a predictable effect on the zombies, tearing decayed flesh, and causing swarms of maggots to spill out of the resulting holes. Yum.

Jack turns his head to the side at vomits at the sight of the torn-open, rotten flesh and what it contains. He recovers just in time to see the needle coming. His grey eyes already wide wide terror, he reacts in the most expeditious way he can think of. He deflects the blow with his pistol, then raps the weapon smartly across the thug's head. Then Jack tucks his firearm into his waistband and resumes dragging the other man away as fast as his battered body is able. When the woman in red approaches, he looks up at her incredulously. What?

That's one possibility averted. Tamara nods slightly, just a faint dip of her chin, lips pressed together into a thin line. Choices, choices, choices. With the man unconscious and the gun put away, Tamara begins walking forward, towards Jack, in spite of the zombies. She doesn't even look at them. The teen lifts her hands, extending them partway forward, palms facing upwards. Not to take, like the woman in the red dress, but something just shy of entreaty. "Let him go. Let her go and be done with it."

The woman in red says urgently, "There's no time! He's slowing you down! You have to hurry! One bite, one scratch, and…" The indistinct woman looks towards where Tamara is, walking right through the ranks of zombies, until they close in around her. One of them reaches out with a hand slashes down her cheek, rending flesh, and causing blood to spill, another latches onto her from the side, with its teeth, biting into the side of her neck, and pulling muscle out of flesh with sharp wrenching motions of its head. Tamara continues to walk forward, occasionally shoving zombies aside when she pushes into them, and… To her, she would not feel the pain, or the touch of the undead, necessarily. She might experience it, but her unique perception will likely allow her to ignore the phantasms, no matter how solid or realistic or foul they may appear to be.
Jack, the thug, and the lady in red, may not be so lucky, and would get to watch Tamara torn apart, essentially, leaving great gashes in her skin, and parts of her ripped off, and so forth. Evidently, this is what is in store, if they stick around.
The woman says, "You see? We must get away from here! She reaches down to the woozy, frightened man, who had the needle he was holding knocked from his hand by the gun. He looks up at her, not recognizing her at first, due to the fear, until he whispers in awe, "…Sam?" The whisper is almost lost admist the moans of the dead approaching slowly. Then 'Sam' smiles, and says, "Yes, dearest…" The man trembles as tears swell in his eyes and spill down his cheeks. "But… You're… Dead!" Then Sam says, "I've come back, dearest…" She leans her head in as she crouches down to be eye-level with the man. Then she says, "I've come back for YOU!"
Then she presses her lips to his, and his eyes bulge, as Sam's throat does likewise, distorting and moving as a lot of somethings start moving up her esophagus, into her now-bulging cheeks, and then into the mouth held open by the kiss. The man starts screaming in a muffled tone as his own cheeks bulge, and the thin legs of spiders can occasionally be seen poking out between the few openings between their two mouths. They force their way down his throat, and then he begins choking and retching, as Sam pulls her head back, and laughs. There are spiders visibly stuffed full in the man's mouth, crawling out of the opening and all over his face as his head is thrown back in a silent scream, his eyes clenched shut in disgust and horror.

These are the first coherent words that Tamara has ever said to Jack. Startled, he drops the man and looks into her wild, intense eyes. "Ok, lass… You win." Gulping, he retreats farther from the shambling, rotting dead.

Tamara watches Jack retreat into the night, then turns to face Sarah. She says nothing, doesn't even look at the hapless spider-plagued man. She knows she can't help him, after all, even if the girl was inclined to. Tamara just waits for the not-real things to go away, as they might.

Sarah tilts her head as she stands in the shadows, watching the man run, and Tamara apparently ignoring the Nightmare she has constructed. Interesting. A moment later, the zombies likewise slump to their knees, and fall on their faces, losing their animation. They slowly sink into the grass and dirt, swallowed up by the earth and then there is no sign they were ever there. The injuries inflicted on Tamara vanish, but the man is left to suffocate, his own mind telling him he cannot breathe. Eventually, he will pass out, and his mind will no longer be consciously perceiving the Nightmare, and he will resume breathing. But that won't be for another few minutes yet. Sarah says, "So you are not vulnerable to my power." She steps forward into the circle of light again. "I could test the extents of your immunity, but that would be… Inconsiderate." 'Sam' vanishes into thin air. Sarah takes another step forward. "Someone strong of mind like yourself, would be most useful in my endeavous to punish the wicked. You know things that others do not… I can tell. How do you feel about working together?" She pauses. "You do not have to answer right now. You can come visit me at my house, and we can discuss it over cookies, or dinner, or whatever you desire."

Tamara tips her head to one side, studying Sarah with those dark, fey eyes. "The course wasn't always the same." Her tone is more that of one thinking aloud, or as if looking at something and reading off what it says. After a moment more, the older teen blinks once, her gaze refocusing on her companion. "Always? The shadows are thin. Sometimes? The choice fell to you." She lifts a hand in a motion akin to a shrug. "Yours to trust the reflection."

Sarah hmms and says. "I see. You… See possibilities?" She runs this over in her mind, trying to figure out how that lets Tamara get around her Nightmares, but when she hears sirens coming (because apparently someone called the cops when the gun shots were heard), she sighs. "It is unfortunate that we must cut this meeting short… The first meeting between myself and another with powers beyond that of the low-born, but we will be interrupted shortly, I believe, and I should return home before my absence is discovered. Perhaps we will meet again. If you are interested in speaking further, you can find me at—" and she gives the address of the Kain Household, in Uptown. "Good evening." Then she turns around and walks off. The man has passed out by now, and is breathing again, by reflex. He will probably be traumatized, and possibly insane, or even catatonic, when he wakes up.

Tamara simply listens as Sarah speaks, a faintly wry smile lifting the very corners of her lips. She waits until the younger teen sets off, then turns and departs as well, walking away on her own, different, path. To go sleep off the aftereffects of tonight's events.

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