[companion piece to this]
Part of her--and it is, perhaps, a very large part--wants nothing more than to run screaming from the house.
It's one thing to hear that she's special. To see awful things in her dreams. To be told that those awful things are, in fact, memories--not hers, but memories of people like her.
It's one thing to be told that the monsters in her dreams are real. It's quite another to have a group of people...her friends...carry a decapitated head into the kitchen and toss it into a bowl. And while everyone else is far from calm, no one's freaking out quite as much as she wants to. It's too much. It's too damn much. This is the thing she went looking for. This is the thing that did this to her.
This is the life she's been trying so hard to remember.
Her teeth cut hard into her knuckle as she fights off the urge to...something. Scream. Cry. Run. Throw up. Curl up in the corner and cover her head and with her hands and wait until it all goes away.
Instead she watches Tatiana pick up a heavy leather book and cradle it in one arm while picking up some sort of crystal in the other hand. She begins speaking in a fluid language that Baileigh doesn't recognize. It's beautiful but also frightening. She can feel something moving through the air, and it's terrifying.
The head in the bowl begins to smoke. She bites her lower lip to keep from whimpering. She wonders if she's the only one in the room having trouble breathing.
Tatiana stops speaking, and nothing happens.
( Oh God. It didn't work. )
Baileigh's Watcher has done a post here, feel free to pelt him with questions. He's kind of off kilter from lack of sleep but he knows his demon stuff. Just don't ask him for addresses, I suck with that kind of stuff. Pretend it went out in an email and that you got it, pretty please. ;D
Your International Spy Name is Madame Harley
Your Code Name: The Dancer
You Reside in: Las Vegas
Why You're a Good Spy: You a master at disguise
I just noticed I did a lot of them, I thought...
I don't know. I don't see the fun.
This is a list of assumptions Baileigh has made about herself over the last few days
- I'm very strong.
- I have a temper.
- I don't sleep much.
- I like scrambled eggs with Swiss and Colby cheese in them.
- I watch a lot of crime dramas and forensic shows.
- I like to read.
- I don't take very good care of my books.
- I own an ungodly amount of shoes.
- A really, really ridiculous amount of shoes.
- I'm shallow.
- I'm messy.
- I have a very bad temper.
- I'm fond of the color red.
- I think I'm in love.
This girl I know needs some shelter
She don't believe anyone can help her
She's doing so much harm, doing so much damage
But you don't want to get involved
You tell her she can manage
And you can't change the way she feels
But you could put your arms around her
Maybe it was just time for it. She'd dealt with the emptiness, and the fear of never filling it again, but she hadn't felt the sting of sorrow and anger. There'd been no room for it. Maybe there was now, that the bleakness was...not filling or lightening, but less terrifying, now that there was hope of putting things back together, the way they should be. It's that word again, hope, and if enough people promise you that something can be done, even at your darkest--no, especially at your darkest--you start to believe it.
Whatever the reason for the sudden influx of overwhelming emotions, it hurt, and she was angry, not for herself but at herself, because she was hurting other people. People that cared about her. People that couldn't help but look wounded when she had to ask them their names, people that hovered at a distance where they would normally touch or embrace, people that tried to smile but still looked crestfallen when they did cross that space and attempted to lend comfort only to find her unsure of how to react. And she couldn't stop hurting them. She couldn't change it, she couldn't just flip a switch and suddenly know exactly how she should feel towards them. She was...helpless. And of all of the things that she was slowly rediscovering about herself, the most blaring and painful lesson so far was that she did not like feeling helpless, and that she reacted to things that she did not like and couldn't control very, very violently. Further, any lingering doubts she might've had regarding the things she'd been told of the more unusual traits about herself were wiped away cleanly at seeing the holes that her fist had made in the guest room wall.
It didn't burn off all of the hurt and the rage, but it took enough off of the top that the tears and the angry, muffled sobs could begin to pour out the rest.
Lean on me, lean on me >> Give it a try, it won't hurt --You Am I – ‘Doug Sahm’
She’s been hiding. Not meaning to, per se, but shut up in the room that is not the room that she shares with the man downstairs but a guest bedroom, which is precisely what she feels like, a guest, a stranger passing through. She ducked into that bedroom, briefly, to look around, to rifle curiously through a few drawers. That was where she found the pictures.
Shoeboxes and albums full of them, all of perfect strangers, the strangest of all being the very face that looks back at her from the mirror, staring up at her through the gloss of photographs, smiling, happy. She scooped them up and rushed back to the guest room with them, curled up in the corner of the sparsely furnished room and gazed at each one almost greedily. Some of them are landmarks and places, but she tosses them back into the boxes impatiently, uncaring of some monument or casino or fountain. It's the faces and the smiles that she can't look away from, pieces of warmth that she clings to almost too tightly as though hoping she can absorb just the slightest bit. They’re split second snapshots of everything that she’s lost, but they’re tangible, they're something. They’re people that she knows. Friends. Acquaintances. Family, maybe. Some have names and dates or locations written on the back in a looping hand that she traces with her fingertips and wonders if it’s hers. Claire and Sylar, Christmas ‘08. Adam, Peter, Mohinder and Julian, Rockefeller Center. Rico & Me. Val and Hank outside of Caesar’s. Tucker and Church @ GAMESTOP posing w/ Master Chief.
It takes her a moment to identify the pangs in her chest as more than an aching sadness and confusion and longing. There’s hope there as well.
The sun’s setting by the time she creeps downstairs with the boxes and albums in her arms. She shouldn’t feel so guilty for sneaking around a house that’s supposed to be hers, but there’s still a bit of sheepishness in her expression, in the way she bites her lip and hesitates to even approach the man she’s told she’s to marry. She believes it now, though. That she loves him, even if she can’t find the emotion in her. She’s seen the way she smiles at him in those frozen snapshots of time, and the way he looks back at her.
“I found these,” she admits, which sounds better than ‘I went snooping,’ and she sets the boxes and albums down on the coffee table and withdraws the top stack, the ones that had jumped out at her the most, the brightest smiles, what seemed the happiest times. “Tell me about them,“ she requests, almost pleads as she hands him the stack, and for the first time since the lights went out in her mind, there’s something there besides a vacant confusion in her eyes.
There’s hope. Wild and uncertain, but hope, nonetheless.
after this, this, this, this, this, and this
She was exhausted. Physically aching all over and craving sleep, mentally stretched as far as she can go without breaking. After the awkward moment when she has to ask where she can sleep, after she takes clothing and the toiletries that she's told are hers into a scantily furnished guest bedroom, she drifts off almost the moment her head nestles into the pillow.
She sleeps. For a while it's peaceful, warm, blessed sleep. And then she dreams.
Only they're not dreams.
Of blood and violence and creatures with yellow eyes and warped faces. Monsters that kill and bite into flesh and feed. A girl that fights, and fights, and fights until she dies. Flashes of graveyards, crosses and stone angels.
She wakes up sobbing because it's too much and it doesn't make sense. She locks herself in the bathroom, hides in the shower until the water goes icy. Wipes the fog from the mirror and stares at her blurred reflection and tries to make some sense of it. She doesn't know why, what compels her to pin up her hair and examine her body, but she does. She has freckles, tiny moles, one on her jaw, one between her breasts. She has scars. Most of them are old, pale and faded. There's a mark on her chin, barely visible, one on her knee with the clearly marks of stitches. There is one on her palm that is raised and oddly shaped. There are two on the back of her neck, just below her hairline. Two vertical lines, intersecting with a curved crescent. She lays a hand over them and remembers the monsters of her dreams. The ones with the warped faces and vicious yellow eyes, the ones that bite, and feed. She trembles, chilled from the cold water, confused, lost, because it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make sense.
She re-wraps the towel around her and curls up on the bed, afraid to sleep, afraid to dream. Most of all, afraid that the reality she's forgotten may be too much to face.
after this, this, this, this, and this
It’s a coffee pot. She knows it’s a coffee pot. If someone put a can of grounds in her hand she could make coffee. But she doesn’t remember what cabinet the grounds are in. She doesn’t remember ever making coffee in that coffee pot before.
And the dish towel is blue, and surely she’s used it before, but has no memory of ever having touched it or the dishes that it matches. There’s a CD case in the living room. She likes Prince, and Neko Case, and Tori Amos, but she comes up blank when she tries to recall their voices, the songs. There are books in another room, some that have obviously been read over and over again, the spines worn with white creases so that the title and the author’s name are all but obliterated. They’re hers, he tells her. She must not have taken very much care with them…she is beginning to think that she is not a careful person by nature, judging by how battered her CDs and books are. But she must have loved the words on those pages very much, to have read them repeatedly. She traces over the creases with her fingertips and can’t recall a single paragraph in any of them. There are more shoes in the closet than a person should be able to wear in a lifetime. They’re also hers. Apparently she loves shoes. She doesn’t recall ever purchasing a single pair. It…seems pretty ridiculous to her, but there was this hint of expectation in his expression--like he was hoping for something, showing her the closet, her clothing, her things, all of those shoes. Hoping to wake something up in her.
She doesn’t remember this table or that counter, this kitchen, that living room, the dog and the puppy that hover constantly confused by her lack of attentiveness to them, but it’s her home, he tells her, this is her home. That should mean something to her. It doesn’t. It doesn’t help that so many of the rooms are empty, that the furnishings are scattered and minimal, that it smells so new and feels so unlived in. It doesn’t inspire her to believe him when he tells her--hesitantly, carefully, not wanting to overwhelm her--that this is their home, together. That they’re…in love.
He sits across from her and she stares at him and tries so hard to remember. Remember his voice, and the blonde hair and the blue eyes and the crooked lips and the fair skin dusted with freckles. Tries to remember falling in love with him. Or just meeting him. Anything, she’ll take anything at this point.
after this and this and this
They keep saying names like she should recognize them. And she probably should. Tommy and Carbone Karras. Cain and Henrietta Callahan. Julian Sark. People they tell her she knows, loves, cares deeply for, people that they tell her love her very much in return.
But they’re just names to her. Just names.
“That’s a beautiful ring, sweetheart.”
She blinks up at the kind-faced woman who steered her to the kitchen earlier and insisted that she eat. “…What?”
The woman--the mother of the man that found her in the street--she smiles, and wipes her hand on a dishtowel, reaches down to take her left hand lightly in her right, turning it this way and that to make the stone sparkle. It startles her, a little; she didn’t notice it there before. She’s…never seen it, before. “Oh,” she remarks quietly, tugging her hand back and folding her arms, suddenly uncomfortable. “It is…pretty.”
The woman makes a soft noise…sympathy, perhaps. She turns back to the stove and silence descends for a time…uneasy at first, but as the pleasant scents of food cooking fill the tiny room, the tension eases. Now that its presence has been pointed out to her, she can’t leave the piece of jewelry alone, constantly turning it on her finger, touching the stone with her fingertips. She wonders if someone gave it to her, and who, and when, and why she didn’t notice it before.
She’s afraid. If just one thing, just one thing would look or sound familiar, she’s so sure the rest would come back to her. There are people that know her, that care about her, but they‘re all gone from her mind. What happened to her?
“It’s all right, sweetheart.” Baileigh jumps a little, startled out of her thoughts as the round-faced woman sets a plate in front of her. “You’re safe with us.”
And she wants so badly to believe it. To feel safe, cared for. To feel anything but lost and confused and frightened.
She wants to. But she can’t.
“That’s all right, too,” she could swear she hears the lady murmur, almost sadly, as she sweeps across the kitchen to begin preparing even more food.
She never said nothin', there was nothin' she wrote
She's gone with the man in the long black coat
[continued from here]
Her breath fogs the air. It’s a struggle to keep walking. It’s so bright. And so loud. And her head hurts. And everything in her wants to sink to the sidewalk and clutch at her head and cover her ears and wait for the hurting to stop. But she keeps walking, palm flat against the brick building to her left for constant support, forcing herself to stay upright.
Nothing looks familiar. Nothing sounds or smells or feels familiar. She doesn’t remember walking this street or turning this corner or every laying eyes on this stretch of concrete sidewalk before. Her insides twist and she has to stop walking so that her stomach doesn’t heave, so that the pain doesn’t explode behind her eyes again. She pushes through it and propels herself forward. Something will have to look familiar eventually. She had to have gotten here somehow.
She follows the sidewalks when the pain subsides and she can function. She wanders. No one looks at her twice, and she’s too dazed to even think to ask for help. Eventually someone calls her name. She doesn’t turn because she doesn’t recognize it as hers.
A hand touches her arm. She doesn’t jerk away or scream, merely turns and looks into the wholly unfamiliar face of the its owner. Shock of red through dark hair. Dark eyes. Fair skin. Black coat. “Bee,” he keeps saying. “Bee. Baileigh. Bee.”
She shakes her head slowly. Tears gather along her eyelids, like some part of her realizes that she’s broken, but she doesn‘t feel the sting of them. “I don’t…know.”
But he must know her…right? Why else would be have chased her down a crowded street? Why else would he still be talking, why else would he hold out his hand to take hers?
She takes it without thinking, without knowing to think, to mistrust, to even wonder who he is, and how he knows her name.
Baileigh. He tells her that her name is Baileigh, and when he speaks it, yes…yes, that’s her name. She knows it. And yet…
And yet even in knowing that, her name, her name…she doesn’t really remember who she is.
How can she know her name with such clarity, such certainty, and not know who she is?
Her head hurts.
Pounds. Every heartbeat like a hammer to her temples. Boom boom. Boom boom. Boom boom.
She tries to stand. That’s a mistake. The ensuing bout of nausea and vomiting only intensifies the pain, which then intensifies the nausea and makes her stomach heave again and again. The vicious cycle continues until there’s nothing left to purge.
Her arms shake, but she manages to push herself back, away from the puddle of stomach contents before she collapses. The jagged concrete isn’t comfortable, jabbing into her skin, but it’s cold. It soothes the feverish heat racing across her forehead.
( She doesn't know where she is. )
[How does the world function? Seriously. People keep showing up at the hospital with highly specific forms of amnesia, all attacked by some dark mysterious figure in the same general area and no one suspects a thing? No one says "Oh, huh, isn't that WEIRD?" And okay, sure, there was trauma involved, but it was minimal at best. Honestly. Things like this just don't happen every day.
NYC has a demon about. It is soooooo demon ass kicking time.]