2010-01-19: Unfolding (Phantasm)



Posting Date: January 19, 2010


Dreams. Dreams. Dreams. Make no sense.



The dull, dark sky is streaked with charcoal and a hazy orange glow rises from the east, where the docks are burning. Ash drifts down on the warehouses like rain. Some are still standing but most are broken heaps of girders and twisted metal, with the occasional immense chunk of graffitied concrete thrown in for contrast. The pop of gunfire can be heard in the distance, or occasionally the howl of a dog.

A bedraggled figure cuts through the wreckage at a fast clip, hunched over and moving awkwardly to favor the left leg. A wide berth is given to the intact warehouses; their doors are marked with spraypainted symbols indicating that they are occupied or considered owned by one gang or another. Instead, the person begins to scramble over one pile of wreckage until they can shimmy through a gap. Part of the fallen roof creates a lean-to against a concrete slab and it's into this space that they squeeze themself.

Once inside, camo-clad back pressed to the false rock, the figure reaches up to unwind the black cloths wrapped about its head. Her shaggy hair is as dark as that makeshift turban and once she's lifted the goggles up from her eyes, leaving them to rest against her forehead, her eyes are revealed to be a tired blue. Lena is soot-smeared, flecked with old blood, and her cheeks are hollowed with hunger. But she's smiling grimly as she begins to search through her pockets. A single clip is found and slammed into the pistol the young woman carries in her right hand.

The slide is pulled back to chamber a round before she goes so still, so quiet, eyes gleaming like a cat's in the gloom while watching the tiny space she'd come through for the first glimpse of her pursuer.

And her pursuer isn't human. Although most would expect that, her pursuer is less than human, and few would call him evolved. Logan hasn't been helping his kind (or any kind) for some time now. Or anyone for that matter. Like Lena, he's holding onto a gun of his own — a rather large gun of his own. He flies around his prey like a tiger encircling it. More than anything he wants to take her out. Why? Blood lust. Pure, simple blood lust.

The industrial park might have once had lights, tall lamps that held the gloom at bay, but they've long been broken or toppled. Where Logan goes, though, darkness follows. It eats the world until only that little island of desolation and rubble is left.

And in its center, sheltered by rippled sheet steel and concrete, Lena ignores the fire lancing up her injured leg, holds her breath to keep from panting, and takes careful aim at her pursuer. She's a good shot. She's had to be. There is a split-second window, and in that time, the trigger is squeezed.

The roar of the pistol is loud in the confined space, the flash of the discharge enough to light a face that has grown very, very old. That smile has become a crone's grin, victorious. But it is youth that allows her to scramble out of the hole in search of her fallen prey, a curl of smoke coming from the gun's muzzle.

And as Lena comes out from her hole, she's met by another man who looks the same as the first, although dressed quite differently. "Nice shot," Brayden — dressed in red and green plaid — quips as he kicks a limp Logan in the stomach, smirking all the while. Yes, he's satisfied his look-alike is down for the count. He reaches into the air and draws to thick dark brown cigars from nowhere in particular, tossing one towards Lena.

"They're Cuban! Completely illegal and I don't give a damn. We're outlaws anyways." Smirking, he puts the cigar into his mouth and from nowhere a lighter appears in his hands. Lighting the cigar he puffs it for several seconds, but slowly the cigar transforms, turning red, unbeknownst to its smoker. The end flickers. Brayden is smoking dynamite.

"We're too pretty to be outlaws," Lena returns, the gun in her hand disappearing to leave it free for catching the cigar. "Well, me anyway. Your head is fucking huge." The other hand curls as if it holds a lighter, waving in front of the cigar's tip; she puffs, the smoke from hers adding to his and filling the air until it becomes difficult to see. Difficult to breathe. Difficult even to hear…


A girl stumbles forward, face powdered white with dust that makes her lips look unnaturally red and her eyes a vibrant blue. She's petite, willowy, and coughing as if on the verge of losing a lung. "Mom? M-mom! Where…where are you?"

Dressed in his black leather crop jacket, the freedom fighter with curly dark hair and dark skin, stands from his hole in the ground, burns cover half of his face. He too, is coughing, and he too is looking for his mother, "MOM!" No matter how loud he calls, Niki doesn't come. But he does hear the girl he runs up to her, his pistol in its holster.

"Did you see the missile?!" He reaches out for the little girl. "You're okay! We'll find our moms… I promise…"

Beth recoils from Micah, or seems to. Her face is an actor's mask, twisted in fear or loathing. But it isn't the boy that her hand swings up to point at. It's the armor-clad soldiers who pour like ants from the buildings that flicker into view behind the young people. "They're coming!" she screams, and suddenly her fine hair puffs with electricity and her hands are filled with blue light. A cage of lightning springs from the ground, a fine and dancing web that keeps the men at bay— and traps the children inside.

Micah's eyes widen at the soldiers and widen more at the lightening that springs from the ground. And with the men at bay, the teen takes his cell out of his pocket, focusing on the electrical poles. Several of these surge with an electrical outbursts. "Are you okay?" he finally turns his attention back to the girl, his hand trailing up to his blackened cheek — the burn is bad…

"No!" But now is not the time to discuss it. The light and power go from Beth's hands, and she seizes Micah's to pull him behind her as she runs. The electricity parts like a curtain for the pair to dash through. Her hair is a flag of gold streaming behind her, gradually darkening to a burnished cinnamon. By the time they dodge around the corner, away from soldiers and wreckage, Beth has become Anais, and Anais is out of breath.

The hand she's gripping is released, leaving her free to bend at the waist and grip her knees while sucking in fresh lungfuls of air. And then, incredibly, the woman looks up with a smile. When she speaks, there's laughter carried on that tone. "I haven't played hide and seek since I was…four, maybe?"

"Four? That long?" Sydney asks with her notepad in hand. "Did you play primarily with your peers or your parents? and was this rooted in some kind of psychosexual fantasy from your past?" The therapist tilts her blonde head of hair at the woman. She reaches to her belt and clutches for a dagger that's fastened to her belt. She reaches for the other woman's hand, pulling the arm towards her, aiming to cut deeply.

Then an arm drops around Sydney's throat and draws tight, pinning her in place for the hand that presses over her mouth. They're standing in a motel room, dingy and drag, lighted by a lamp in the corner. The curtains are drawn. The two women are alone; no redhead, just Lena, whispering into Sydney's ear.

"I am not a murderer," she hisses.

The therapist's head lolls against the brunette's arm before she drops the limp body to the carpet. Then turns immediately to press her face against the chest of the man standing behind her. Her shoulders shake as they draw up around her ears. She's crying. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

And the body of Sydney lays on the floor, limp, lifeless, breathless. There's no heart beat. No flickers of life. Nothing. Sydney is dead.

"You made this take easy, Miss Grey." The brunette smiles distantly, coolly at her target. The weight of the gun is held comfortably in her grip before she fires.

Before the bullet can connect, Jo fades from view and Nathan swoops down to catch Lena.

The city unfolds below, parts of it dark and impossible to see. Other parts are burning, and still others ringed in harsh lights and tall fences. There's no end to it. The wind pushing past their faces smells of smoke. But they're above, and the danger is below. Lena wraps her arms tightly around Nathan's neck and closes her eyes.

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