What Will Be (Peregrine x Day Storm)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Peregrine, Oct 19, 2014.

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  1. Even with the light from the gibbous moon, only partially obscured behind a layer of clouds, the streets were dark. Yellow streetlamps buzzed at the intersections, casting a sickly light over the road, but the alleys remained in deep shadow. People walking this late at night were either so inebriated as to not notice the potential dangers lurking in the shadows, or hurried home as quickly as possible, casting glances over their shoulders and keeping any purses, bags, or backpacks tucked close to their person.

    He lurked in one of these dark alleys, leaning up against a grimy brick wall, eyes trained on the door of the only building for a couple of blocks that had every light turned on. The bar was a haven for the drunk, and the single bouncer on the premises meant that almost anyone could get away with anything without consequence. Those who came here were looking for one of two things, to have the night of their life they’d never remember, or to drown out unimaginable sorrows. For many it was both.

    The hours rolled slowly by, but the man leaning against the wall did not move an inch. His attention was absolute, and the one thug that came close to him, wondering if he’d found an easy target, was immediately chased away at a single bloodcurdling look. But, in the early hours of the morning, something finally changed.

    Another man stumbled his way out of the bar, so drunk it was only by pure luck that he managed to stay upright. But the strange man shifted, and the sudden tilt of his shoulders made it clear he had finally found his target. He crept quietly out of the shadows, drawing up behind the man, who did not notice the approaching threat to his life. The man closed strong hand around the drunk’s shoulder, before bodily hauling him into the alley, one hand clamped over his mouth to muffle any scream.

    The drunk was crying, and as he looked up at the face outlined in shadowed moonlight he let out a broken hearted sob. “You.” There was no surprise in his voice.

    “Me,” the stranger agreed, his pleasant voice at odds with his tight grip on the drunkard.

    “Please,” the drunk man bawled, “I don’t want to die.”

    “You made your deal, and your ten years are now up. You knew what was coming when you signed the contract.”

    The man shook his head wildly, hands clawing at the stranger’s arms. “Please,” he repeated. It was all he could say, over and over again. “Please, please, please.”

    "I know, I know." One of The Collector’s hands let go of the man's jacket and he reached up to cup his face gently, almost like a lover. A brief expression of sorrow flashed across his face, but then his expression went blank again. The man's blubbering slowed under the touch of The Collector, and he took a couple of heaving breaths. "Just close your eyes," The Collector murmured gently in his ear. The man let out one last panicked sob, before his eyes fluttered shut.

    The hand on the man's face dropped down, pressing against the man’s chest. Slowly his hand sunk into the man’s chest, before he pulled it back out. The drunkard went limp, and in the Collector’s fist something unknowably bright flashed between the cracks of his fingers. Carefully he lifted his fist towards his face, before shoving the brightness down his throat.

    A faint scream of pain came from deep within his throat as his eyes briefly flared pure white, and he collapsed limply to the ground. For a moment he lay there, right next to the cooling corpse of the drunk man, quivering in pain.

    Finally the man’s shaking came to an end, and he pushed himself to his feet. He rubbed a tired hand across his face, before pushing some of his black hair back into place. He staggered to one wall, where he leaned, gasping, as the pain subsided.

    Finally he straightened. The night was still young, and there was still so much work to do. Every fulfilled contract needed to be replaced by a new one, as soon as possible. How ironic that the very place that the drunkard had come to try and escape his fate would be the same place where someone else was drawn into it.
    #1 Peregrine, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  2. "So what do you think?"

    "I think you already have something in mind," Lillian sighed, shaking her head at the spread of files before her. Most of the pictures were unremarkable, grainy outtakes from randomized supermarkets, bars and streets. There were missing report records and and a seemingly related stack of possible homicides, but none of them seemed to have any significant correlation. Damn Robert for always making everything harder than it had to be.

    "I do."

    "You mind telling me so we can hustle?" Robert Sawyer was sixty-five and greying, a stern looking, stout fellow with a knack for seeing what he called 'the invisible lines' between events. It was why he was one of the youngest agents to rise to his rank, and why he was looking at her now with grim disapproval. He was positive she had his gift for seeing the line, and he had taken her under his wing to harness that talent, though if she had known what a slave driver he would turn out to be she might have stuck with her old mate. His milky brown eyes held her own and at last she looked away, scowling. "I'm just saying this is a pretty big case Rob. If we waste time trying to get me up to your speed of thinking whoever you're looking for is gonna be sipping tea in Hong Kong for retirement."

    "One," Robert frowned, bending over so his face was closer to her own. At six-foot two he was somehow more intimidating when he stooped, and Lillian took an involuntary step back. "My speed of thinking and yours are already similar. You just prefer to walk when you can run. Two, I'm almost certain they can't."

    "Huh?" Lillian's brow furrowed as she searched the older detective's face for some stray hint of a meaning. She'd have been better off searching a rock and Robert simply watched her, his eyes twinkling with amusement. She crossed her arms, irritated. "You're the one always saying time is of the essence."

    "And you're the one always saying you plan on grabbing a seat next to me in the ranks," Robert smiled completely at this, raising a heavy eyebrow. Lillian cocked one of her own right back at him.

    "And I am."

    "Not if you insist on slacking. I'm surprised at you for not bringing your own input."

    "I'm trying, but I'm not getting your connection. The succession deaths are strange but a lot of them seem so natural...and the last autopsy got nothing. I have a few files on the guys in question and then a few gaps...gaps..." Lillian's eyes widened as she sifted through the pictures once more. "The pictures here. These are the ones we've already got...so they've got alibi?" Robert remained silent, examining the lapels of his suit jacket. Close but no cigar. "No...there's no alibi. They...they're too....they fit. Too well. But how is that possible?" Robert looked up, his eyes almost glowing with pride.

    "So you noticed. They're clean. We've got too many different IDs but they're also specific."

    "Like they're being set up. The signatures point too directly at everyone...so it's no one. That's one hell of a theory..."

    "I don't think it's deliberate." Lillian frowned again, and looked up. This time the elder man's face was deep in thought as well.

    "I don't get you."

    "Think about the style we're looking at. Or rather, lack of."

    "It's perfectly anonymous...so why would there be an ID? But I don't get it then...that's all that's linking them...because he doesn't know." Robert nodded slowly. Lillian chuckled softly, shaking her head in disbelief.

    "Only the great Robert Sawyer could make a case not only out of no connections, but because of them."

    "If the line is there what's convenient isn't going to work."

    "So who are you thinking then? I know you must have an idea..." Robert gave her that same infuriating smile and she rolled her eyes. "Fine, I'll figure it out and we'll compare notes. Can we call this session over since I am off the clock?" The man gave a hearty laugh of his own and she joined him. They both knew she had been the one demanding real time updates ever since the case opened. She couldn't help it. A string of mysterious deaths in the area, occurring on a daily average, with nothing to connect them but th 'line'? It was the kind of unsolvable case she had been hoping to get her hands on for years.

    Lillian Coffe was a young agent, only twenty nine and already a partner at the side of the famous Sawyer, an agent with over thirty-eight years of experience. But it wasn't as if she didn't deserve her status, no matter what snide remarks came about the office need to fill the female quota or her father's old position, no one could deny Lillian's grit and devotion. She was determined to make her way up on her own talent alone, and she suspected this was the true reason why Robert adopted her. She wasn't even sure about his assessment of her talent, and the case to which he always referred always seemed painfully obvious to her, a fluke. She wanted to live up to his expectations though, so she put in the extra time and research to keep up with his mind.

    "Where did you say you were going?"

    "Visiting dad again. He's been pretty out of it for a few days." Her father had a stroke a week ago, and it seemed he wasn't showing very many signs of improvement. As much as she hated him...she couldn't stand to see the first strong man in her life reduced to a frail body in a hospital gown. Seeing him every day was her penance.

    "Take care of yourself." Robert's eyes were serious, and she nodded once. He was the only person who really knew how strained her relationship with her father was and while she still got embarrassed remembering her tearful confession to him after one particularly unbearable day she was more than grateful for the way he so easily seemed to understand it. In some ways he was more of a father than the one with that weak biological one. Things like this just made that more clear.

    "I will," she smiled, gathering her bags from the wide office and stopping in the doorway just before leaving. "Don't forget to let me in on anything new." Robert shook his head ruefully.

    "As if I could ever forget with you at my heels."

    "Damn straight." Lillian left the room, Robert's hearty laughter echoing behind her.

    From within the room, Robert shook his head, gathering the files and preparing to leave. He had a genuine fondness for the young agent, and he felt better after seeing her at work. He never told her, but he wondered sometimes if she wasn't better than he had been at that age. He smiled. She'd make a fine lead investigator one day. He packed his bag and slung it over his shoulder, flipping off the lights of the office. Now it was time to get to his own investigation.

    Lillian was right when she'd said he had an idea, though it was more than an idea. He was almost certain, though he had nothing solid to work on. He'd been tailing a strange man for weeks now, one who seemed to avoid any form of public scrutiny. His records were few and vague, and on the surface he seemed unremarkable. And yet Robert had monitored his daily patterns. Random, but for their circles around the 'hot spots'. He stood directly on the line of events, and Robert was determined to nail his position.

    Robert Sawyer left his office, taking a moment to look into the night sky from the building window. Somewhere out there was the anonymous killer that had eluded them all. Until now.
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  3. There was very little that could be called pleasant about waking up with the smell of old rubbish in your nose. He had fallen asleep that night under an old bridge, curled up in the small space between an old black man who was missing half his teeth and a woman so thin it almost hurt to look at her. The small rubbish fire that had been built up in an old oil drum had been barely warm enough to chase away the chill.

    He sat up slowly, carefully extracting himself from his two sleeping fellows, before making his way over to the trash can. He huddled himself close to the small flame, stretching out his hands, and his eyes began to radiate a faint, white light. Under his gaze the tongues of flame leaped brightly, releasing a wave of heat in the small space, and highlighting his dark hair.

    He did not truly belong in that space, the man standing before the fire. He was too healthy, too clean, and far, far too pretty to belong in this penniless world. The vagabonds who lived there had watched him with a skeptical eye when he had entered last night, but he had simply sat down, closing his eyes in the uncomfortable silence.

    He was not unfamiliar with having to spend the night in places like this. It was something that occasionally had to happen when he spent every day in a different city, somewhere in the world. It would have been preferable to sleep somewhere warm and soft, but by the time he had finished his collection and subsequent bargaining it had been late in the night, and he tired. Sleeping outside one night would never do him any harm. It was simply another experience.

    Eventually one of the men had shuffled up to him, gruffly questioning his reasons for being there. He had shook off the man with vague, dissatisfying answers that gave no true hints to his real reasoning.

    “Who are ya, at least?” The man had asked.

    Over the years he had been known by many names. He had once, a long time ago, been known as Colius Runne. But that name had become sacrifice to the flow of time and duty. He had been called the Bargainer, the Contract Writer, the Man Without a Name. He had even been called the Devil himself. Most now called him the Collector, for that was the part of his job that those who knew of him feared the most.

    None of those titles, though, truly spoke to who he was. Who he was still linked most closely to that old, long abandoned name.


    Now the people under the bridge did not worry about him. They left him be, and he left them be. None of them would ever see him again.

    The Collector had written contracts with the homeless once. They had nothing, and the thought that they could spend ten years in luxury rather than an uncertain time in fear and poverty was too tempting for any to resist. They never realized until the last moment what exactly they had traded away so willingly. Eventually Cole simply gave up on all of the homeless. They would never change. Not in 600 years had one refused the contract.

    But the Contract Writer hadn’t spoken to any of them. None of them would be seeing him again in ten years.

    But someone was going to be seeing him again today. The face formed slowly in his mind as he sat around that impossibly bright fire. He didn’t recognize it. How could he, after all they years, all the faces? But that person would recognize him. They always would. Apparently it was impossible to forget the face of the man who would one day be coming to collect your soul and leave you for dead.

    As he stood up and moved away from the fire its head ebbed. Several of the people shivered unconsciously, rolling closer to the makeshift stove in their sleep. Just outside the bridge, a second face began to form in his mind. There were two today, a man and a woman. He hated the days when there were two, even though they came just as frequently as days when there were only one.

    He had 24 hours to collect both of their souls, or there would be consequences. There were always consequences. But he was used to it. Cole had been doing his job for a very long time. There was no one else to do it for him, and he hadn’t failed once in over six hundred years.

    At least these two had stayed close to each other over the ten years. He always made same day contracts in the same city, but people tended to scatter, both across the country, and across the world.

    With a sigh he moved away from the bridge, making sure that he was out of sight of everyone else. Once more his eyes flared white, this time much brighter than before, and a hazy outline formed in the open air. At the very least, one perk of his job was that he didn’t have to use conventional methods of travel to get to where he needed to go. A very, very small portion of the energy in every soul got to stay with him, and he was allowed to use it as he would.

    The Collector stepped through the portal, and it closed behind him. There were more souls to collect.
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