|Alexandria Rose Nash | Urðr (urdr) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2011-02-21 15:25:00
|Entry tags:||jormungandr, urdr|
Who: Alex and Adam
What: Alex needs an EMT... FOR HER HEART! No, just kidding. She's freaked out and needs to talk to her BFF who also happens to be an EMT.
Where: Just outside, in front of the lobby; then probably one of their apartments
When: February 20, 2011 - evening time!
Warnings: Maybe some bloody footprints?
Notes: This is just a placeholder for a GDoc! Also, this happens right after this which happens right after this.
Alex stood in front of Pax shivering slightly. The air had cooled significantly as the sun had set, and now she stood outside, blood on her feet and on her hand. The woman who’d lent her her cell phone had been eager enough to leave at Alex’s insistence, and Alex couldn’t blame her a bit. She wasn’t convinced that Philip’s warning that whoever had done this might still be out there was groundless. She shivered again. She wanted to rub her arms, but she was ever conscious of the sticky red that was on her right hand, and the thought nauseated her. She just wanted the stuff off, she wanted this whole evening to have never happened. But memory - of the body, but also of the images it had seemed to set off - bombarded her, and she felt everything she’d ever eaten lodged in her throat.
And so she waited.
Adam did not keep her waiting long. He burst through the building’s front door scant minutes after having hung up his mobile, black eyes seeking her out. In his hand was his first-aid kit, a heavy bag stocked well enough to get them through almost anything short of amputation. Two towels were draped over his shoulder, worn measures of cloth he kept for occasions such as these; they were soft enough, but would easily soak up whatever mess they had on their hands, and could be thrown away without remorse. Even his clothing had been changed to attend to her, his dark jeans and black tee threadbare and faded with age. His brow furrowed as he drew near to her, taking in her uncharacteristic attire. “The pool?” he asked, reaching out to her. Dropping his bag, he took her bloodied hand in his, searching it over for any signs of injury. He drew a deep breath, forcing himself to keep from bombarding her with questions. Only the necessities must be asked of her now; once she was seen to, they could deal with the rest. “If this isn’t yours,” he said, uncertain what answer to hope for, “are you cut anywhere?” He acted before she could speak, seeing no particular wounds during his rather thorough search. He leaned down, plucking antiseptic wipes from his bag, cleaning her hand off one slow stroke at a time. “Take a deep breath and tell me what happened.”
She shook her head, and took the breath he recommended. Adam’s presence alone would have gone a long way to calming her, but having him tend to her visibly soothed her. “I -- it’s not mine,” she answered late, trying to be thorough and methodical. “I -- I came down for a swim. There was someone at the pool this morning, and normally no one’s around this time of day, so. I met this guy from the building at the pool -- Philip.” With her clean hand, she pushed her hair back from her face. “He found a wallet floating in the pool -- then, he went looking and --” she shuddered, running her hand through her hair again, more harshly this time. She was quiet for a moment as she took another deep breath and forced her voice into a calmer register. “The concierge, Adam. He’s dead.” The memory of the ashen face, the symbols carved in his skin, and the sun-bright images of how it happened were all too vivid, and she felt ill. “It was... it was very bad.” She closed her eyes and squeezed his hand, trying to focus on the fact that Adam was here now, and that it would be all right.
“It’s okay,” he said, squeezing her hand, wiping off the last of the blood – what he could see of it, at least. He did not let go of her as he leaned down to his kit, discarding the bloodied cloth in a plastic bag, pushing it farther down into the otherwise empty pocket. From this new angle he better saw the extent of the mess; her feet were limned in blood, her unsteady footprints tracking all the way back to the pool. “Here.” He tapped one slender ankle, guiding her to lift her foot. She did as he bid, balancing with one hand on his shoulder. With a fresh wipe from his bag he cleaned the rest of the blood from her skin. “We’re going to clean you up, and then we’re going to call the police. The coroner will take care of the body, but the police will want to ask you some questions.” He glanced up, concern further darkening his black eyes. “I’ll stay with you if you want.”
“I want,” she said, nodding. As he cleaned her foot, she carefully unwrapped the bloody-hemmed towel from around her waist and held it away from them.
A thought occurred to him, deepening the furrow in his brow. He looked away from her at last, turning his gaze to the streets and sidewalks that surrounded them. “Where’s the guy you met? Philip?”
A frown creased her face, her jaw tight. “He left,” she said. “Ran away.” She looked off toward the pool, then back at Adam. “I mean, I guess I can’t really blame him. There was no way of knowing if whoever’d done it was still around.” she said, though something subtle in her tone indicated a disparity between her thoughts and her words. Once Adam was standing again, his kit hanging over one shoulder, she gave in for just a moment to the urge to lean on him, pressing her forehead to his shoulder, before she stood up straight again. “Could I -” she bit her the inside of her cheek, then pressed her lips together. “Do you maybe want to come over for a while? Or hang out at your place? After we - after I talk to the police?”
He wiped his damp hands on the ragged fabric of his jeans. Nodding, he said, “Wherever’s most comfortable for you.” This Philip’s idea of a killer on the loose was not a comforting one, but Adam realized there was some merit to it; getting indoors would not be the worst idea they could indulge in. Now clean and thoroughly dry, Adam shifted his slender hands - one around his friend, the other into his pocket, withdrawing his mobile phone. “Why don’t we go in the lobby to call the cops? They won’t mind you getting out of the wind, I’m sure.”
She nodded. “Yeah,” she said, shivering close to him. Despite the diminishing but still-present daylight, she suddenly felt very cold.
He led her inside, their steps slow and small. Adam’s black eyes stayed firmly on Alex, watching her every motion, every shift of her expression as it crossed her delicate features. He found he was worried about her, truly worried, for what might have been the first time in their many years together. She had come through a great deal, but there was nothing quite like seeing one’s first corpse, especially one who had met such a grisly, untimely end. He paused at Pax’s front door, holding it open for her.
“Alex,” he said, his voice even and calm. “If they ask you things you don’t want to answer, you don’t have to, okay? Take your time and tell them what you can. Just facts, okay, like you’re writing a paper.” He squeezed her hand, guiding her to sit on one of the lobby’s wide benches. His thumb twitched over the keys, pressing one small button for speed dial. He held the phone to his ear, listening to the brief ring as the call connected. “I’ll be here the whole time, so if the officer pisses you off or bothers you, just talk to me instead.”
She nodded. “I’m fine, Adam, honestly,” she said quietly, though she sat where he led her and shifted closer to him. “I’ll be fine.” She felt so cold; as he talked to the police, she gently tugged one of the towels over his shoulder away from him and pulled it loosely around herself. The interview with the police went - that was the most she could say about it. She answered their questions as succinctly as possible, even if she felt a bit dissociated at the time. There were moments when it might have seemed like she wasn’t listening, and Adam squeezed her hand. And maybe she hadn’t been. She kept thinking of how impossible it was that she’d seen what she had - not just the dead body, but how he’d died. So many details. So much blood.
She couldn’t have said if the detective who’d spoken to her had been kind or curt, supportive or callous. Adam had been there, and that had been enough. In the elevator, her hands had begun to shake, and so she’d taken his and squeezed it to remind herself that he was real, that this was real, and by the time they were in her apartment, she couldn’t hold it in anymore.
“Adam,” she whispered. “I saw him die.”
A deep furrow creased his brow, his eyes flicking to hers. He had been distracted, intent upon finding fresh, warm clothes for her, drawing a hot bath, fetching from her freezer a small measure of liquid courage - attending to the needs she had forgotten in the thick of things. Certain he had heard her incorrectly, he moved closer, abandoning his self appointed tasks before they were even begun. His hand fell soft against the curve of her hip. “Alex... I heard what you saw,” he said, picking a delicate path through a minefield of potential responses. “You were upset. And maybe he wasn’t entirely gone when you two showed up. Or there were a few...” His lips thinned, his head shaking, evidence of his distaste for foisting such gruesome possibilities upon her. “Twitches. Involuntary reflexes from failing systems. But that doesn’t mean-”
“No,” she told him, “not like that.” She swallowed. She held his hand tightly, squeezing, then loosened her hold. She took a deep breath to steady herself and said, “When I touched him - I checked his pulse - I got, like...” she shook her head, her own skepticism cutting her off. She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. It was ridiculous, it was unbelievable, but it kept repeating in her head over and over again. “I think it was some kind of... vision or something.” She dragged a hand through her hair, pulling it a bit too hard in the process. “I don’t even know,” she told him. “But I saw it. I damn near felt it.”
As Adam watched her fitful gestures, his own expression softened. He trusted her as he trusted no-one else; she had always been a touchstone of logic and reason, the litmus test by which all things were judged. For her to make such a claim as this, even recognizing how it must sound, meant something they both had no choice but to consider. He thought of their excursion to their building’s top floors, the strangeness they had seen in their mirrors, their walls, in themselves and one another. A flash of intuition would hardly be the oddest thing to have occurred within their building’s grounds. “Let’s sit down, okay?” He guided her to her couch, deciding for the moment that a change of clothes could wait. “What did you see?”
Nodding, she did as he suggested, sitting on the slightly worn couch one of her sisters had bequeathed to her when she’d moved back to California. She took a breath and sat closer to Adam than she normally might have, curling her legs under her and spreading the towel over herself so that she was covered from her neck to ankles, her feet folded one over the other as she looked at them. “I saw... it was...” she shuddered. “It was ritualistic. They -- they cut him -- marked him.” She shook her head. “It was --” she was quiet for a moment. “Then I saw him run away. Or stumble, really.” She pressed her forehead to Adam’s shoulder. “It was... it was real, it was so real, Adam.”
His arm slipped around her, pulling her near. For all its brevity her story gave him plenty to think on. She was not a woman prone to flights of fancy, even to a macabre kind such as this; and though it sounded like something out of the countless horror films the two of them had seen, her tone and bearing made it impossible to believe this was merely some fictional memory, dredged up after all this time. His hand rubbed softly at her arm, warming her skin beneath the towel’s thick cloth. “I believe you,” he said, immediately knowing it was true. There was no other option here; only a new, disturbing truth with which they had to deal. He thought for a moment, his teeth nipping idly at his tongue. “I’ll keep a watch on the news. At some point they’ll have to see a connection to what you saw.” His black eyes flicked down to her, searching the tense lines of her body, hidden from view. “Have you ever seen anything like that before? Not anything that bad, necessarily, but similar in the way you saw or felt them.”
The topic made her shift uncomfortably, but she tucked herself more tightly against him, in her mind blaming the chill. She tried to pull her feet under the towel, too, but the towel wasn’t quite long enough, and it slipped down her shoulders a bit - though Adam’s hand held it mostly in place.
“I guess,” she said, not quite looking at him. “Most of the things I touch on a given day, not really, but sometimes.” She bit the inside of her cheek, quiet for a second. “You know, my necklace. When I took it out of the box, I saw you picking it out. And -” she clenched her fists under the towel. “When I was at the hospital - when I was little. I mean, there was plenty of reason to hate it there already, right?” she laughed hollowly. “But sometimes, the equipment - it didn’t matter if it was sterilized or had had a little plastic cover on it or whatever. I’d see.” She looked down at the towel where it was draped over her hands. “I’d see other kids. Kids that were sick. Kids that were dying. Kids that had died.” She turned her head to look toward the window. “I remember asking my mom why, why. But then she’d hold my hand, and I’d see her at home, crying about me.
“It wasn’t all bad. Sometimes it was something really sweet, like some grandma baking some cookies for a bake sale or something. But I didn’t like it. It didn’t make any sense, you know?” She glanced at him, not sure how she was even managing to talk about all this. But she continued. “I just learned to ignore it - block it out, I guess. The more time I spent alone, though, the better it was, you know? I love my sibs, but it seemed like I saw things more often with them around.” She shrugged. “Going to Penn was nice. I barely saw anything there.”
For a moment he felt the slightest twinge of pain, followed closely by embarrassment. So long she had kept this from him, bearing it alone as he carried on, oblivious. He had never noticed anything was amiss; he could not recall a single time he had even suspected something could be so wrong, so off, to distress her this much. But as initial emotion gave way to reason, Adam realized neither of them were at fault. She had done what she’d thought she must, and precisely what he likely would have done in her place. There was logic in it, and it was sound, even if it made him feel useless in hindsight. And until now, her ignoring this gift - if it could be called such - had caused her no harm. The question now was where to go from here.
“Can I...” He paused, still feeling the faint pangs of inadequacy. He made a small noise, frustrated with his own ineptitude. “Do anything? You know you can always talk to me about this stuff, right?” He looked down to her, concern clear in that black gaze. “A lot of weird shit has happened, since we got here and apparently before. You don’t have to deal with it alone.”
Shifting under the towel, she slid her arm around him, nestling closer. “I don’t know what there is to do, really,” she said. “Other than forgive me for being an infant and stay with me a while.” He made a quiet sound, just shy of a laugh, and drew his arm tighter around her. For a moment, she was quiet, listening to the sound of their breathing. Finally she said, “It wasn’t really ever something I wanted to talk about. I barely wanted to acknowledge it myself, let alone give it more weight by telling somebody else.” She sighed. “I guess, though, that there might be something to it all. Maybe.” She didn’t like it. She didn’t like it because if it wasn’t just a hyperactive imagination, or even a hallucination, then they were talking about things she had always considered as outside the realm of possibility.
She pulled back from him enough to look at him, then said, “Damnit, does this mean I’m some kind of psychic?”
The smile tugged at his lips before he could stop it, his natural gravitas for once giving way under the pressure of this new reality. “Well if you are...” His black nails pinched the edge of her blanket, lifting it up as if he meant to steal a peek. Her bathing suit was well hidden from view, but he could not resist the opportunity to at least attempt to diffuse some of this tension with a laugh. “Promise you won’t read my mind right now.”
She laughed into his shoulder -- maybe blushing a little -- and smacked his chest. “You’re a dork.”
Chuckling quietly, he leaned down to her, pressing his lips to her pale forehead. “And what if you are... psychic?” he mused, hesitating at the word. Alexandria made a face at it. “Ignoring it won’t keep it at bay forever. You can talk to me about it. Maybe put that analytical mind of yours to it and try to figure out how to control it. Between the two of us, maybe we can make some sense of it.”
“That’s fair,” she said, her thumb stroking the fabric of his shirt. “I guess if anything else comes up, I will. For right now,” she sighed. “I’m cold. And my bath’s probably getting cold.” Despite her words, she was loath to get up from her comfortable perch cuddled up with Adam. She looked up at him and asked, “Will you stay? We can watch a movie. I’ll be quick; just clean up and get into my pyjamas.”
He was nodding well before she had finished giving voice to her request, his hand tightening to get her arm a squeeze. “Not cold,” he said. “I didn’t get to the bath. It seemed like there were more important things to take care of at the time.”
Though he had precious little desire to move from her side, he rose all the same, nudging her up from the couch as he did. “How about this. You tell me what you want for dinner, and I’ll make it, or order it. I’ll also take movie suggestions.” He cast an eye toward her DVD collection, wondering what might be suitable entertainment for an evening in which a mutilated body was found. After a moment’s perusal he turned back to her, one hand extended to help her up from her place. “Whatever you need.”
“All right,” she said, taking his hand and getting up, letting the towel fall over her arm. “I’m not really that hungry... maybe some tortilla soup or something from Rosalita’s.” She gave a shiver. “Maybe a few tacos. I don’t know. I feel like I should eat something; I haven’t since lunch. But I’m kind of nauseated.” She squeezed his hand for a moment before releasing it. “Let’s watch something funny. Light.” She shivered again. “Nothing with dead bodies, please.” As she started making her way down the hall, she said, “Help yourself to anything in the fridge; I might have some wine or beer. Maybe both.” Then she disappeared into the bathroom and started the shower.
The moment she had gone, Adam realized he was more concerned for her than he dared admit in her presence. Even for someone who had been through as much as Alexandria, to see a marred corpse would be a tremendous jolt; to watch the last moments that once-living individual had experienced was something else entirely. As he shuffled into the kitchen, his mind only half devoted to the task of procuring food, he wondered to whom he might direct her, who might be able to shed some light on the strange resurgence of her ‘gift.’ Understandably, no-one immediately came to mind. With a heavy sigh he bent down to rummage through the refrigerator, searching out a chilled bottle of Riesling, then glasses for them both.
Wine procured, tacos and tortilla soup ordered, Adam took up his post at the DVD cabinet, after much contemplation choosing a copy of Eddie Izzard: Dressed to Kill he had left among her things.
In the bathroom she finally threw up. There wasn’t much - it had been a while since she’d eaten - but she took care of it quietly and discreetly, and cleaned the toilet afterward while the shower ran.
After that, she felt a little better, and her shower went without incident. She forced herself not to stand too long under the hot water, to wash herself briskly but thoroughly, even to wash her heavy hair and condition it in a timely fashion. When she finished, she applied lotion with the same economy of movement and time, wrapped herself in a towel, then went to her room, where she dressed in a pair of sweats imprinted with the UPenn logo across the thigh and a plain white t-shirt. As she emerged into the living room and moved toward the couch, she said, “Hey. Thanks for doing all this, Adam.”
He looked back to her, black eyes passing over her in well intentioned appraisal. She looked better than she had: Some of her color had returned, and the fog seemed to have lifted from her own distracted gaze. Adam breathed a little easier upon seeing this, even managing an off kilter smile as he gestured to the vacant cushion beside him. “Dinner will be served in about thirty minutes,” he said. He leaned up to the coffee table, lifting her still cool glass from its surface. “Appetizers are ready, though.”
As she settled in beside him he considered asking how she felt, if she wanted to talk. But it seemed unwise in light of her newfound calm - largely feigned though he thought it might be - and so for the time he let it go, glossing over the point as best he could. “Alex, if you need anything else... you’ll tell me, hm?”
Alexandria took her glass from him with a little smile and nodded. “Yeah, I’ll tell you,” she said softly. “I’m OK, though. Promise.” She nestled closer to him, then moved to kiss his cheek. “Thank you, though. Honestly.” With that, she reached for his hand with her free one, squeezed it, and took a sip of her wine as the DVD began to play.