2007-03-26: Whats Left in the Box?


Mara_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: What was in the bottom of Pandora's box after all the fears and the terrors had descended upon the world?

Date It Happened: March 26, 2007

What's Left in the Box?

Mount Sinai Hospital

The morning soap operas couldn't entertain her. The paperback book in her lap couldn't distract her. A copy of Cosmopolitan and its ridiculous articles on how women are supposed to look and behave couldn't even rile her enough to take her mind off of her fears.

Clock's ticking.

Mara Damaris lays back on the pillows of her semi-reclined bed, staring up numbly at the ceiling. How do you cheat fate?

Mara is alone. And then she isn't. Tamara doesn't linger at the doorway, but ducks into the room - not quite as if she's hiding, but with the air of someone who would prefer not to be noticed by anyone out there. She keeps her arms close to her body, uneasy, uncomfortable, poised as if she might glance warily over her shoulder at any moment. But her gaze is level upon Mara, if dark, the blue of her eyes barely discernible between black and white. She doesn't fidget, not even a little; the teen just looks at Mara with a small smile from where she's stopped.

It's a long moment before Mara realises she's not alone. She turns her head slowly and stares wide-eyed when she recognises the girl. "Tamara Brooks? What in the world are you…?" Everything's connected, Mara. Consider your suspicions confirmed. "C'mere, honey." She pats an empty spot on the left side of her bed, the side opposite her injured leg.

Tamara has enough time to wait for Mara to notice her, and so she waits, still and quiet. She dips her head at the invitation and makes her way around the bed to sit down beside Mara. The teen seems to relax a bit once she's settled, dark gaze contemplating the doorway for a few moments. She nods as if affirming something to herself, then looks back to the woman. "What am I?" Tamara echoes with a smile. Knowing it wasn't the full question. "What are you?" Turning it back around on Mara anyway.

Mara considers the question for a moment. A month or two ago, it would have seemed so odd. But now? "You're… Like me. Or you were. Or… I was like you." She pauses. "But now, I am a ghost." Speaking the words doesn't really make it any more or less real. It just simply /is/. "The river is… time?" But the mirror? That's the one she hasn't been able to figure out.

Tamara cants her head as she listens to Mara, interpreting the statements as best she can. The girl shakes her head slightly. "No. You have ghosts." She lays a hand over one of Mara's, presses down slightly as if to emphasize the contact. "You are not a ghost. Maybe were. Maybe not. But no, not here, not now."

"Not now. But soon." Mara's grim as she takes Tamara's hand in her own. "What are you doing here? I… Honestly, I didn't expect to see you again." She just prayed she wouldn't be hearing about the girl's body turning up somewhere. "How did you…? No, that's a silly question."

"Maybe," Tamara states again. "Maybe not." She grins at the question, and shrugs one shoulder. "Here is where the shadows went." Her expression sobers a moment later, as the girl considers Mara. "You're drawing the box and setting the chain. Can't you see the paper?"

"I don't understand." Mara doesn't even try. "The box… and the chain?" And the paper? What? "I don't understand," she repeats.

Tamara sighs softly and falls quiet again. She closes her eyes for a moment, then draws in a deep breath and makes another attempt. "Shadows are… touchy." The fingers of her free hand tap the side of her forehead, just behind and above her left eye. "Sometimes just a thought casts ripples. Sometimes it's the difference. Sometimes it makes them fail. And you never know they were. Because you know what you know, and close your eyes."

"Can the future be changed, then?" Mara peers critically at the Brooks girl. "Or does it happen anyway, regardless? I mean… Do the same ends get achieved, heedless of the means?"

"Is there an end?" is Tamara's counter-query. She smiles ruefully. "A beginning? Maybe. Ghosts are few. Shadows are many, and what you make of them." A beat. "Everything changes," the girl says, tone touched with weariness. "Everything /always/ changes. Shadows shifting, spinning, rising, falling. Here and gone again."

"The shadows… The clock." Mara shakes her head, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. "Everything… changes." She nods slowly. And then she smiles. "Did you come here just tell me that, Tamara?"

Tamara studies Mara for a while in silence, rather than answering her question immediately. "I don't know," is the girl's eventual answer. "There's nothing but words, and words slip through the mirror's cracks, even with the shadows. Especially with the shadows." She shakes her head a bit, and in the end offers Mara a melancholy smile. "Sometimes they were enough. Sometimes they weren't."

"What do you mean… enough?" Mara looks down at the blankets in her lap. "It's alternatives, isn't it? You see… The cracks in the mirror are different possibilities?" Come on, some of this has to make sense.

"Shadows," Tamara corrects absently, her gaze drawn to the door. "The mirror sees." The girl's eyes narrow, and she sighs faintly. "It will have to be enough," she concludes, offering Mara a slightly crooked smile even as she slides off the bed to stand up.

Yeah… Yeah, it will. Mara nods numbly, letting Tamara's hand slip from her own. "Thank you." She means it. "Whatever you've been doing, it's been working. Keep it up."

Tamara nods to Mara. She gives another glance to the door, then leans down by Mara's ear. After a moment, the girl straightens. "Tomorrow?" she says, but she doesn't wait for a response even though it's mostly a question. She just offers the woman a smile and makes her way out of the room.

Mara watches the girl leave and looks down at her hands. They aren't shaking anymore. Could it be that she's actually got… hope? "Keep running, sweetie."

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