2010-07-26: Through The Looking Glass

Starring:

Emily_V5icon.png

Guest Starring

Joseph_V5icon.png

and Damian

Date: July 26th, 2010

Summary:

The Queen: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward." — Through the Looking Glass

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there." — Lewis Carroll


"Through the Looking Glass"

Sullivan Bros. Carnival

True to the fortune teller's word, someone did find Emily in the Carnival — someone whose presence quietly looms now behind her, letting her know he's there. The tall, strong looking man, with his long dreadlocks, scruff of a beard and a carnie wardrobe befitting of a pirate, is imposing — but he has no intent to harm. A heavy hand lays on the young woman's shoulder, and Damian's pale eyes look past her, toward a spot through the flashing lights and food stands. HALL OF MIRRORS, a colourful sign beckons. And he beckons her.

The fortune teller looks on somewhat nervously from her tent nearby, disappearing in a rustle of beaded curtains when she thinks someone looks her way.

The hand that comes down on her shoulder makes Emily jump a bit…and stuff her nose right into the powdered sugar of the funnel cake she was enjoying. "I guess you're the one who runs the Hall of Mirrors? That fortune teller told me I'd have a few questions answered in there." Emily does glance up at the fortune teller's tent, but misses seeing the woman dash back inside.

The sweet treat is discarded in a metal drum waste bin as she's beckoned. Only the midway separates the two from…destiny?

Destiny in the form of a Carnival oddity, the fanciful illusion of mirrors known the world over. It hardly looks like a place one would find the meaning of their past, but indeed, it's to this building that Damian leads Emily. He nods, murmurs something deeply — it could have been "follow me" — and moves to walk in front of her, apparently the strong and silent type. He opens the door of the place, which seems empty… that might have something to do with the other man standing nearby, an equally quiet presence, arms behind his back. He looks concerned, this older man in a brown blazer — Joseph Sullivan — and he watches Emily like he already knows who she is. Maybe that's a Carnival trick.

Damian steps back and holds the door open for the blonde. It's not bright inside, but reflections from slender white neon lights criss-cross the mirrors within.

An eyebrow is raised in the direction of the blazer-wearing enforcer of some time. He's like some sort of stoic, anti-barker for this particular attraction. While the other attractions have lines aplenty - people trying to win small prizes by knocking over milk bottles or have a carnie guess their weight - this one has no line at all. Maybe that's why the inside is strangely silent in comparison to the rest of the midway. It's rather unsettling, in fact. The only sounds inside, apart from the occasional flicker of a fluorescent, are the footsteps of the two people inside the place.

Emily's already tall form is taken and twisted into various shapes, alternating tall and skinny, short and fat, and stretched and warped in strange ways. Rather than the twisty maze-like layout of most houses of mirrors, she's a little shocked to find that, for the most part, the distorting mirrors are arranged in a circular fashion about an open expanse of floor. "This is…certainly not like any house of mirrors I can remember…"

Damian stands to one side, his back to the mirrored surface behind him — leaving Emily's varying reflections all around him. He's quiet, just waiting, it seems; the reason becomes obvious a few moments later, when the man who had been outside makes his way in. Joseph carries a small, squat wooden stool with him — handmade, and well put to use, by the looks of it — and ambles to the center of the peculiar room to put it down.

"My name is Joseph Sullivan," he greets with a lilting accent and deep voice. "And this here is Damian. He's going to show you your memories — your past. Please, have a seat." While pleasant enough, there's an underlying tone of seriousness. And suspicion. "You're getting special treatment here … a special show. Because I think there's a reason you're here, and I want to help you. I hope that what you find… is worth knowing, in the end." Silent sentiment lingers on the end: because if it's not…

At first, Emily starts to look a little frustrated - a real 'let's get on with it' sort of expression - while Damian just stands there and waits. That's before the other man enters and introduces himself. "Lovely to mean you, Mr. Sullivan…you're one of the Sullivan brothers then, from the carnival banner?" She would offer to shake hands but his are currently full with that wooden stool. "You and me both, Mr. Sullivan. You and me both," Emily replies to his final statement, the meaning rather clear. She doesn't need to be asked twice when it comes to taking a seat, and plops her butt down, ready to go, for better or worse.

"Relax and let Damian do his magic."

On that cue from the Sullivan brother, the rough 'n' tumble looking House of Mirrors operator moseys up behind Emily and slowly brings his hands to the sides of her head. His hands are large enough to encompass the woman's skull, but he doesn't impose more than he has to. His surprisingly bright eyes shut, he focuses…

It really is like magic, when it happens.

The reflections on the rigged carnival mirrors rush with colour, movement— nothing that reflects the three figures inside the House of Mirrors. It's as if a movie screen has been switched on, coming to life all around them: a hyper-realistic hi-def journey into Emily's past.

Well, Emily wanted to rediscover the missing parts of her memory. Ask, and the giving folks at the Sullivan Brothers Carnival shall provide…whether for good or bad.

Things start out normal enough. There's a few ritzy dinners. Some high-end shopping. Double-dating with social celebutantes and Congressmen. It's almost laughable. These are the memories she had been struggling to remember? Why had they disappeared in the first place? Nothing about these is bad!

On the stool, hands on her head, Emily sits and watches these with a little smirk on her face that conveys as much to the men in the room. These memories are hardly anything. Dig deeper. Do more. Find the real stuff.

Like all good nightmares, they start out normal, and the bad stuff comes later…

The two men in the room with her both show little signs of their thoughts, or even outward signs that they can even see the vivid pictures. Perhaps it's all in Emily's head. Watching her, however, they seem to know what she wants — or think she wants — to see. More. Deeper.

Damian steps back from Emily; yet, even with his hands no longer touching her head, his eyes remain closed and the memories keep flooding the mirrors.

That's when they really start to playback some of the more vivid stuff. None of it's in any discernible order - not beyond the tiny glimpses into the fragmented memories of a woman who's had them erased once.

There's a raid on a hotel room that winds up with men storming in and the memory ending in a black screen.

There's a shaky sort of darkness that ends with her and a few other orange jumpsuited folks running from a wrecked, armored train.

Escape in the body of another, teleporting clear across the globe.

Out of this sort of capture/evasion/escape bit of memory comes the scarred, sweating face of a sneering, snarling Haitian man about to shoot a girl lying prone. Emily squirms a bit on the stool as she watches herself - it is her, even though she appears to be a similarly built and dressed man - raise a gun and shoot the man in cold blood.
The frenentic pace of the memories only picks up from that point, like cresting the first hill on a roller coaster then picking up mad speed on the downhill.

Emily is left to experience her stolen past for awhile — to accept it, if such a thing is possible in so short a time. Gradually, though, a voice by the entrance interrupts the frenetic memories. Joseph's voice. "That's enough for now, Damian," comes the low rumble of a murmur. He head is turned up at the images as he speaks — he sees what Emily sees, no doubt about it. The images stop — though, surely, there is more to be seen — and the mirrors flash back to normal. Emily's reflection — then Emily — is studied for reaction.

When the images stop, the woman slumps forward on the stool a bit. What hair she has been growing out falls forward, some over her eyes a bit. She's panting rather deeply. "I…that…I killed someone? I can…make people do what I want with them?" It would seem that she even forgot what she can do, but it's beginning to come back. Those pictures were only the tip of the iceberg, however. There's a lot more pain and suffering to be shown, stuff that would likely turn the girl catatonic if she were to witness them all at once. Perhaps Joseph knows this. Perhaps that's why he called off the session for the moment.

"What you saw was the truth," Joseph says, both gentle and stern. The latter progressively wins out, though it is without aggression. "You have a gift, Emily. A gift that you've abused." The man takes a step closer, a rustle of his clothing preceding his hands tucking into pants pockets as he looks down at the woman, his narrow weathered face a picture of study, dark eyes knowing. "Now that you know — you have a responsibility. A responsibility to yourself, and to others like you. Like us."

"A responsibility to do what, exactly? What do you expect me to do with…this power?!" When she mentions a power, she holds her hands out, palms up, staring at them. "I'm just not seeing that I've abused this…ability, but I can't remember why! You're showing me these things, you're saying they're true, but I don't remember why any of it happened! I need to know why! I need to know what to do!" Emily sounds a little panicked for the moment, and in need of some advice.

"A responsibility," Joseph repeats, "to use it well. Any ability can be good; it depends whose hands they're in. It seems to me you have to decide who you are. If you're that person," a look to the mirrors, crookedly off to the side away from the reflection of the here-and-now Emily. His head turns and nods at her then, dark eyes narrow. "Or if you can reconcile the past — and be this person. Damian can show you more; but I don't know it's a good idea."

"I want to see more. I want to know what happened to cause this," Emily says, touching her hair. "And this," she says while holding her thigh with the scar. "I want to know what I did to warrant that," she says, pointing at the mirrors which now only show distorted images of the three individuals in the hall of mirrors presently. "I like who I am, but I want to know who I was…"

Joseph exchanges a look with the quieter man in the mirrored room — a stern look of concern, a warning to be cautious. They've got a potential livewire in here. He steps closer to Emily, his presence innately calming at her side. "Let's have a look, then…"

Damian's eyes close. The fast-paced reel of memories picks up where it left off.

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

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