2010-12-01: Trains



Date: December 1st, 2010


Two unusual individuals, two subway platforms.

"The fool wanders; a wise man travels."


Canal Street Station

New York City

The Canal Street Station is a constant pulse. From the colorful Canal Street near Chinatown, people flow down the narrow, worn steps; people flow out. Every walk of life, every nationality, every status, every kind of person from every part of the world.

The day is bright and cold. Underground, the sun dissipates from natural to dim, man-made, sallow light. Knocked this way and that, one figure of many goes with the flow into the heart of the station, the heart of the city's metro system. A giant coat eats her up, army green and five times her size, its hood making her completely anonymous.

Feet in grey-and-white Converse shoes descend step by indolent step, out of rhythm with the city's hypertensive, pounding pulsation of go, go, go. They're scrawled all over in every colour of marker and pen. 221, 236, 568, 15, 92, all crossed out but 221. Down the stairs, into the corridor, Fingers, belonging to the figure with the written-upon shoes, trail along the wall, over mosaic and murals and graffiti, until she trickles from the crowd into the station full of barricades impassable without a Metro Card.

The echoes of someone's boots can be heard as another figure comes to stand next to the woman in the oversized coat. Her dark brown hair falls free to the middle of her back, doe brown eyes scan ahead of her before giving the other woman a mischievous glance as she holds up the card in question.

While the hooded woman is wearing Converse. The darker haired woman wears black cowboy boots. Also dressed in a long flowing white top and tight dark blue jeans that are tucked into her boots. A black leather jacket tops it all off. Head tilted to the side, she regards the other figure with a furrow of her eyebrows. "Multipass." She speaks softly before inserting it into the machine and walking slowly through to the other side.

As she turns her head and looks back towards the other woman. Her eyes light up, "Come on." She says in a singsong voice, swaying side to side. A hand on her hip, she waits. They do have a train to catch, don't they?

For a moment, they're two unmoving points in the midst of the bustle. The only people standing still here are those standing at the Metro Card machines, and even they have an impatient energy about them; never remaining completely at rest.

But this figure seems impervious to everything, and without purpose, until, that is, the other woman acknowledges her — tells her to come. It's the singsong voice that draws her head up. The face that stares at Kitty is that of a young woman, framed by limp blonde hair. She stares unsurely at Kitty, childlike, across the subway gate; her eyes are distant — like she can't quite focus. She shuffles; stands still again. The coat, a secondhand anorak, faded by years of someone else's use, rustles all the way down to her knees. She's a twig inside it. Slowly, she walks toward Kitty like she's being slowly drawn by a leash. Which means — she'll just keep following.

The younger woman, Kitty looks back at the blonde and crooks her finger, like she's drawing her in. When she's satisfied that they are together, she begins walking again. Whistling softly, as people dodge out of their way and behind them since the pair is going at their own pace.

Kitty's eyes are alight, unlike the blonde's. Looking here and there, a lazy grin crosses her lips as she twirls around and stops at a nearby platform. Edging away from where other people are. She comes to a spot where the two can be in peace. At least until the trains come roaring by.

"Pay attention, you can't wander without looking." She should know, it's pretty dangerous. Kitty's face comes inches from the blonde's and then she's pulling her hand to place her against a stone pillar. Relax, the train isn't coming for a while. "They get you that way." She says as if Clara should know who she is speaking of. "They always do.." she sighs.

The quieter woman's gaze comes into more focus for an instant as Kitty closes in, a pinprick of alertness in the dark green eyes— but as Kitty drifts off and starts to talk, her attention seems to drift off into the subway tunnel. "Mmmnn…" she hums quietly under her breath as if unsure about Kitty's brand of wisdom. Or maybe she's just humming. She kicks her feet against the dirty platform and her long coat sleeves flop about. "I like— " her voice, distant, is deeper than one might assume for a frail little blonde thing, and has a particular accent to it— Australian. " —wandering. I look the other way."

"Of course you do." Kitty says absently as she peeks her head down the subway tunnel too. That accent reminds her of someone.. an old friend. A frown crosses her face briefly before she blinks and looks over to Clara again.

"If you keep looking the other way. You'll never see it coming." She smacks her hands together on the last syllable, to emphasize her point to the frail blonde. "You can't hide forever." She says in that singsong voice again. Her fingers dance on the wall next to her as she stares at Clara. "I look that way." She says to the other woman as she stares ahead and nods in front of her. "Sometimes it's better that way. Just as confusing." She admits with a hand drawn up to her hair that she fusses with for a moment.

The pair are a strange one, many of the people that are running short on time barely notice them. But the ones whose gaze's do fall on them.. blink and quickly look away.

Speaking of confusing, the blonde's face is a mess of confusion over Kitty's advice. At first she seems uncomprehending; then her features scrunch up, stormy trouble taking over them. A pull in of her brows, a stretch of her mouth. "No," she bemoans in a murmur that almost sounds panicked. She shuffles to the pillar and crouches down in front of the side around the corner from Kitty and leans against it, her hood falling ahead and hiding her away. Her ease onto the ground is normal as anything: this is a person used to taking shelter anywhere at all, including but not limited to subway stations. "You don't knoow," she stresses.

Alarmed the young woman walks slowly towards Clara and sits down in front of her. Fingertips graze the dirty platform as she tilts her head towards the blonde. "Sorry muffin." She does look sorry, she didn't mean to make the other woman upset. "It's cold at night." She gives Clara a pointed stare and an eyebrow arches. "With me.. it's warmer." She nods her head slowly as she stares at the woman. She lives in a manor for crying out loud.. though her brother might look at her funny for bringing a stranger home. Oh well, she's done stranger things.

Her eye catches the light of something and then she grins, excited as she stands and looks over her shoulder towards the blonde on the floor. Hair flying in the wind generated as the subway train roars into the station and people jam towards the door. Reading to file in. "It's waiting for us." She holds a hand out to Clara with a gentle smile.

The homeless woman takes a long moment to look up and realize there's a hand in front of her; never mind that the train is here. "Who are you," she says, a whimsical, confused lilt to her voice — she could, just as easily, be asking where am I? Not knowing Kitty's identity or intentions doesn't stop her from reaching up and taking her hand, her own cold fingertips just peeking out of her sleeve. She wraps her hand in Kitty's like a child and pushes up to her feet. Her army green hood falls back, lifeless blonde hair everywhere, her pale skin more pale in the artificial underground lighting. "Two-twenty-one," she murmurs distantly, some memorized number she repeats, "two-twenty-one. Two— two-twenty-one. I'm supposed to sleep at two-twenty-one."

The question of who she is makes Kitty blink and she looks confused for a moment. Then she's pulling Clara gently onto the subway train with her, grabbing them a pair of seats in the back of the train. "Not sure sometimes." She answers honestly, a pondering expression on her face.

"Kitty." She finally says with a faint smile, not looking at Clara but out of the window of the subway train into the darkness. Her hand closes squeezes Clara's in comfort and she then looks over to the pale woman. Eyes squint at the woman's words. "Not time yet." Is all she says, they could very well be speaking of two very different things. Doesn't mean that they both aren't important. "Promise."

Clara wanders along until she can curl up on the seat, bringing her knees up just like she did on the ground moments ago. Her hand stays in Kitty's, but her gaze wanders this way and that, not focusing on any of the people in the subway car with her; it ultimately just drifts off, her head turned far away from the other woman. "Oh," she says easily as that. "Oh-kay." How easy would it have been for anyone at all to take her hand and lead her along to some unknown destination?

A few moments pass— suddenly she snorts, unladylike but completely childlike. She turns to face Kitty, a silly, ridiculous smile on her face, lighting up her eyes through their clouds, "Kitty." This is apparently very amusing! "That's a funny name."

A hand comes out and swats Clara on the arm. "No fun." She frowns before chuckling and shaking her head. Staring into Clara's eyes, "Who are you?" she asks with a bit of a grin. Her legs stretched out in front of her, she crosses her boots at the ankle and leans in to whisper to Clara.

"Do you know?" her gaze inquisitive. Kitty whistles softly as she leaves Clara to ponder that question. Her eyes looking there and oh look, a man in a wig. Hello there.

Does she know… it seems like a good question, if the way the pale woman's expression starts to disintegrate out of silly and into something a great deal more foggy. Just like that, though, she smiles again. Her head bobs as she announces, a sparkle in her eye: "Clara." Clah-rah, by her accent. Suddenly she remembers: "I have to go to— two-twenty-one."

Kitty takes a moment to think about what Clara is saying and she wrinkles her nose in thought. A beat another, she nods her head and throws her hand in the air. "Lead the way!" she says and then at the moment the train stops and the door opens, people milling in and out. "Two- Twenty-One." Kitty says with a light in her eyes.

Her gaze goes far away as a woman passes her by and she whispers. "Wilbur." She snickers and looks at the woman who notices Kitty laughing at he.. "How.. how do you know my husband's name?" To which Kitty jumps to her feet and pulls Clara along. "Not your husband, your son's." She says with a light wink and she's rushing out the doors before they close on them. Okay, maybe the woman didn't know she was pregnant.

Clara is, indeed, pulled along — right out onto the new platform. Kitty's mischievous fortune-telling seems to go right over her head. She sticks close, coming to a stop immediately against the other woman with a rustle of her anorak. She wraps herself up in it, folding the arm not attached to her new acquaintance across herself. She looks smaller, suddenly, as she peers this way and that. It hardly looks any different from where they just were one stop ago, and she seems troubled. "I can't."

Giving Clara the look that a teacher would give her student she asks, "Are you trying?" her gaze searching Clara's face as they both halt thanks to Clara. "I bet you can." She says in a singsong voice, "Just concentrate." She places a finger each over Clara's eyelids and slowly brings them over the blonde's eyes. "Eyes closed.. breathe."

It's suppose to work like that.. right? Kitty looks expectantly towards Clara as she waits for the woman's reaction.

"I don't rem— " Clara's vision is suddenly obscured by fingertips and her own eyelids curtain her from the chaotic sights of the platform. She does as Kitty says: she breathes. Slowly, one, two, three. All the while, her brows knit together; no signs of relaxation there. "Noo!" she wails suddenly, drawing the very fleeting attention of passers-by. She wrenches away from Kitty and flings both hands up in front of her face as if batting away so many flies.

Backing up, bumping harmlessly into a mother and her toddler without so much as noticing, Clara blinks desperately at Kitty, fighting to say: "Trains take you— " she starts to state slowly, nodding her head after every word as if reciting someone else's words, "wherever you want to go." That should solve everything, right?

Blinking, the younger woman sighs and shakes her head. "Not ready yet." She says in a knowing tone and then she's beckoning Clara to her. "Come on, home." She points up the subway stairs. At least, Kitty's home. Not Clara's.. they haven't found hers yet.

"You have to see the lights then, real pretty." She assures Clara and waves over to her as she keeps walking. A more urgent expression on her face as she walks ahead a bit. They have to get out of here! Kitty puts one hand in her pocket, the other swinging freely.

"Lights?" the lilt of innocent excitement in Clara's voice goes hand-in-hand with her hurrying steps after Kitty. Easily distracted, she follows just like a child promised pretty things, weaving between subway goers with practiced ease now that she has a purpose. But yet a few steps behind, a swarm of bundled-up New Yorkers passes between the two women: like a blink, she's gone, replaced by an anonymous crowd. Easily distracted.

Without looking back, Kitty keeps walking and when she gets to the stairs she calls behind her. "See you." Before she disappears from sight. Back to the Hanner Manor, which is covered in Christmas lights. Knowing Kitty.. that statement is more true than most people think.

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