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Posted: Nov 4 2011, 06:20 PM
nothing but [zealous]
Group: Cannon fodder
Member No.: 744
Joined: 27-October 11
He had nearly choked on his breakfast sandwich.
Sitting at the breakfast bar in his kitchen, reading the paper, Edward had become victim to a series of a events that proved a specific and incredibly important point: someone up there had it in for him. Whether he had been distracted or had simply swallowed the wrong way remained uncertain. But, whatever the cause, it resulted in a coughing fit that had then led his elbow to introduce itself to his glass of juice, which in turn introduced itself to his favourite pair of slacks. Needless to say, his oh-so-fantastic breakfast set the tone for the entire rest of his day.
By noon, his patience had dwindled to a small flicker. He tugged at his necktie like a child, fidgeting in his desk chair and generally huffing and puffing without accomplishing much of anything at all. By four o’clock p.m., after meeting with two new clients and making very little leeway on his ever-growing mounds of work, Edward was ready to run out the door. This he very nearly did, stopping only to throw his crumpled tie in his desk drawer and don his jacket before offering Mitch a hurried explanation that he was off to do some fieldwork.
Whether fieldwork or a lamely excused escape, he was glad to be out in the open air, with a chilling late-fall breeze biting at his neck. It was the sort of day that he had loved as a child, a day that had once called for bundling up from head to toe like a large, human marshmallow ready to be thrown into a mug of hot chocolate. He walked quickly but carefully, skirting around his fellow passer-bys with the expertise of a man born and raised in the city. On this particular day, his business took him to what was, by far, his least favourite city sector. The East Side was positively crawling with crime and filth; the depravity of man echoed through the alleys like a shout in a wide canyon. Then again, Edward supposed that this proved that the East Side needed help more than any other part of the city. He was up to the job, even if it wasn’t a particularly desirable one.
He wished that the city would come together around something of worth, rather than injustices and indulgences. The world would never change if everyone simply looked out for number one. However, that was the nature of man; no one was quite interested in sacrificing self for the sake of another. Sighing, Edward tugged the collar of his jacket closer around his chin—though he’d been fond of bundling as a child, he seemed to have lost his common sense in his old age—and continued to trudge through the wind. If he had his way, nothing further would keep him from being productive today. He had work to do, and he intended to do it.
Fate, however, was a fan of mind games.
Standing on a crowded corner with a dirty homeless man to one side and a group of teenage hooligans on the other, Edward saw what could have only been an optical illusion, a trick of his eyes, which were teary from the now swiftly blowing wind. He could not possibly have seen his younger brother walking alongside gang members, much less following them into the building that Edward knew was a less-than-desirable place for a naïve, boyish doctor from the South End. Illusion or not, he couldn’t simply walk on, knowing that his brother may very well be inside said building, most likely against his will. His heart pounded insistently in his ribcage, his pulse deafening in his ears as he stood, dumbfounded, and fumbled for something to hold onto, something reassuring and comfortable. Something like hope.
It was a long time before Samuel exited the building. By this time, the light had faded from the sky and the street had long been lit by dingy streetlamps that cast an eerie glow across the street. By this time, he had said a number of prayers—three at least, which would have been disconcerting itself if he had not otherwise been preoccupied—and had contemplated both busting down the door— a decidedly bad idea—or calling the police. As it was, he had forced himself to retire to a run-down, filthy café in order to avoid both frostbite and suspicion. Hands hugging the mug of coffee he’d ordered but been too revolted to actually drink, he spotted Sam and darted from his chair, leaving a five dollar bill and a hurried thanks in his wake.
He waited until Samuel was alone, for he seemed well and quite happy. Relieved as he was, he had the sudden compulsion abandon the relieved hug he had planned to backhand his brother as he drew nearer. He surely hadn’t gone in there willingly, had he? If the evidence had given him any reason to doubt, Edward surely would have. As it was, he was torn in two when he met Samuel on the sidewalk. As grateful as he was for his brother’s safety, he was fully and completely pissed for the worry he’d been forced to go through.
“What the hell” he spat, “just happened?”
Posted: Nov 28 2011, 09:37 PM
` doctor feelgood }}
Group: South Ender (admin)
Member No.: 7
Joined: 29-September 07
On his day off, a decadent lie-in had been an absolute necessity. Of course, in Sam's life, 'a decadent lie-in' meant that he woke up at eight and stubbornly stayed firmly planted in his bed until nine AM, at which time he, with a resigned sigh, had to admit defeat, get up and go hunting for coffee in the creaking old house he called his home. There was no one home when he'd made his way downstairs, clad only in pyjama-bottoms and feeling utterly blessed for this uninhibited state, and almost drunk on freedom, he set about his daily doings at a pace that could only be described as 'drugged snail-pace'. It took him a good fifteen minutes to even get the coffee filter placed in the machine, him having gotten distracted by the TV he switched on as he made his way to the kitchen, and which immediately (and unfortunately for a little thing called efficiency) displayed a morning cavalcade of Animaniacs. After the filter was in place, he'd returned to this, abandoning his efforts to make coffee for another twenty minutes as he sat planted in front of the television set with eyes fixed and lips shaping a childish grin, now and then returning again to make the coffee, get the finished coffee, grab some food, wander around aimlessly... But some time after noon, he was rudely plucked out of his enjoyably slow morning - and it wasn't by the pressing urge to make more coffee.
A phone call. One of those phone calls he'd slink out of the room and behind closed doors to answer. One of those phone calls where he whispered in response whenever there were other people in the house. Near the docks, in one of the buildings housing associates of his (least) favourite gang in the city, they needed the help of a physician. (Sam had expenses. Sam had bills to pay. Sam had repairs that needed to be done on a rickety house. Sam couldn't afford to turn down even the most illicit of job opportunities.) Efficiency awakened, he set about the day at a fresher pace; within ten minutes, he was out the door (and his hair was a messy mop atop his head; he was oblivious to this fact) and on his way, walking a block away from his house before he encountered the dark vehicle that would take him where he needed to go.
The driver filled him in on the specifics on the way, detailing the wound they needed him to mend, but not mentioning any details about the circumstances of how it had been acquired; it was exactly as Sam preferred it. The less he knew, the better; as far as he knew, the wound below the ribs of the man he was on his way to tend to was a curious shaving accident. (And it was easy to convince yourself of these things when you had a lifelong history of convincing yourself of absurdities that made life seem more pleasant.)
Finally, he had arrived, protectively carrying his medical bag in both arms as he was shuffled through the entrance of the worn and dirty building that today served as his office. (What he didn't notice was the pair of eyes that saw him enter; a familiar pair of eyes that should never have seen him at all.)
Patching up a gang member took time, dedication and patience. Today, Sam was blessed with all three; he could listen attentively and understandingly to the man's babbled uncertainties about letting the doctor and his fucking needles near him, he could assure him calmly that the local anaesthetic he was using wasn't purchased in back alleys from shady characters, he could wordlessly accept that the man still wanted nothing to do with it, and he could pause his endeavours two stitches in to allow the man to change his mind on the matter. It didn't bother him to be locked in a room alone with the man - it was a necessity, really; once a doctor stepped into the room, many of these tough no-nonsense types turned into pitiful caricatures of weeping children, only with a more mature vocabulary (every time he did this, Sam was sure he'd have to rinse his ears out when he got home to get rid of the filth) - nor did it concern him that the man's gun lay a humble three feet away at all times, and that the man kept glancing at it whenever he felt the pain more acutely; over the years, Sam - innocent Sam, nervous Sam, Sam who shrieked at monster movies - had gotten used to this. It no longer managed to affect him and make him tremble like he once had.
Both his body and mind were exhausted by the time it was over, his feet dragging and his shoulders sagging as he accepted money from the more economically inclined gang member, and declined the offer to drive him home again. The walk would do him good. (Of course, he neglected to consider the fact that it was East Side after dark; it didn't seem so important when his other option was trying to hold a conversation with a crude and chatty gang member in a loud-motored car that seemed intent to drown out the sound of his voice.) They exchanged their goodbyes at the door (he hadn't always been this careless; in the first few months, he'd scarcely been willing to enter the buildings through the usual entrance, and he certainly wasn't too keen on entering with company, in case prying eyes were on them), and with that, he was off, wearing a smile on his face as he meandered slowly and comfortably down the sidewalk, elegantly choosing not to notice that he passed a drug deal in progress as he walked along. It wasn't until he had to stop that he became aware of his surroundings again. Not until he had to stop, because Edward was standing right in front of him.
All feelings of contentment and accomplishment vanished there. He was suddenly a child again, five years old and with his hand stuck in the cookie jar, pouting as he sat on the counter and waited for the other shoe to drop. When he'd been silly enough to get his hand stuck in there while stealing cookies, though, he reckoned he deserved the punishment. This time, he didn't have quite the same feeling of deserving what he got, possibly because what he was guilty of wasn't stealing home-made cookies that were irresistible enough that no one could really hold it against him. Like a fish on dry land, his mouth now opened and closed in a pitiful attempt to find the words - or any words at all - to answer his big brother, but for much longer than he was comfortable with, nothing came to him. He simply stood there, deer-in-headlights, staring wide-eyed into his brother's eyes and trying to come up with a reasonable answer to the very telling question, "what the hell just happened."
Clearly, he wasn't talking about a sudden meteor shower shooting across the sky that Sam had somehow missed.
Swallowing hard, he ventured a smile, and when the smile felt anything but convincing, he coupled it with a dry chuckle that made him cough, then clear his throat to get it under control. Again he swallowed and again he smiled, again he attempted a laugh, as though his success this time could somehow cover up his previous failure. "Hey, Ed! Fancy meeting you here!" His attempt at a casual tone failed miserably; his voice was trembling and ripe with guilt - as a rule-breaker, Sam had always been absolutely useless. Still, he stuck to his pretence, motioning down the street as though this was any other day and any other place, and as though Ed hadn't just witnessed what Sam liked to think he was still in the dark about. "You wanna...walk together? I'm just heading to the subway." If he avoided the question, maybe he wouldn't have a reason to answer. Maybe, but even Sam could recognize that this was a hopeless attempt at avoiding a difficult topic.
Posted: Jan 11 2012, 02:23 AM
nothing but [zealous]
Group: Cannon fodder
Member No.: 744
Joined: 27-October 11
In his years as a private investigator, Edward had faced his fair share of teary-eyed parents, had heard more than he’d like of the stories of how their children went missing. Though it wasn’t entirely his job, parents seemed to feel safer knowing that someone besides the police was doing something, and Edward had no will power—nor desire—when it came to denying weeping adults a chance at seeing their beloved little ones again. From these conversations, he knew the symptoms by heart, though he himself had never experienced them. He’d heard time and again of the sudden, cold dread and the lasting ache that accompanied such situations. Parents experienced an entire array of emotions, from fear to guilt, anger to gut-wrenching sorrow. Losing a child, he’d been told, was worse than most anything else in the world.
For his part, Edward had always been unable to sympathise. He had no children and, if he had, he was certain he’d never let them out of his sight long enough for them to go missing. As such, he had never personally experienced that panic, that fear that came about from having somehow lost sight of his precious little one for just long enough that he might never see them again. It was not a feeling he’d expected to feel anytime in the near future. However, as he’d stood waiting helplessly for his brother to emerge from the gang’s hideout, praying that he was safe and this was all a misunderstanding, Edward began to realise that he was not so far from understanding the parents of missing children after all.
The time he spent in the café felt like agony itself, a bit of hell on earth. With every breath, he feared he was getting further from his only brother. With every slight movement of the second hand, he felt a bit of his strength crumble, revealing a very timid and shaky man-child beneath the surface. He prayed to a God he did not believe in, cast furtive glances at the solidly closed door, and somehow held firmly onto his resolve that he would not yet call in for help. He did not know why he found himself unable to give in to the fact that he alone could not save Samuel, were things not going as well as he hoped. Perhaps it was pride—he was the older brother, the one who was meant to protect, and if he failed that, he had no purpose at all—or fear, or even an irrational sense of hope. Whatever the case, he could not deny just how close he was to breaking when the door swung open and his seemingly happy and well younger brother emerged onto the streets of the East Side.
Wading through the sudden influx of emotions was like trying to wade through a polluted river filled with debris—each step was hazardous. He had to carefully watch each step he took, exerting more effort than seemed necessary simply to keep his face from showing each and every minute detail of his heart, to keep his hands from balling into fists. He wasn’t sure whether to be angry or relieved, fearful or grateful. Like Abbott and Costello, he’d gotten things jumbled up—Who’s on first, What’s on second, I-don’t-know’s on third. He was left feeling disoriented and out of sorts, wondering who was up to bat. As he approached Samuel, he had a sudden and horrifying thought: What if his brother wasn’t one of the good guys after all?
Though he knew firsthand just how gentle and innocent Sam could be, it was hard to shake off the thought, which pricked doggedly at his conscious. Under normal circumstances, it would have been laughable to think of Samuel in such a way, but Edward was having a hard time laughing at present. He knew that his brother surely couldn’t have ill-intentions at heart, but whether he was in cohorts with people he shouldn’t be remained to be seen.
“Hey, Ed! Fancy meeting you here!” The guilt in his voice earned a raised eyebrow from the elder Raines sibling, and his face did not soften. Not yet. As much as he wanted to believe that everything was fine and perfectly normal, he could not ignore the number of hours he’d just spent in agony for Samuel. And for what? So they could pretend that he hadn’t been playing around with the devil’s company themselves? No, he wasn’t about to let this one slide without an explanation.
“You wanna...walk together? I'm just heading to the subway.”
Edward sighed at the hope in Sam’s voice, turning his face skyward in a silent, Why me? He was immensely grateful to the great Nothing in the sky that had saved his brother from death (or worse), but he wasn’t honestly sure that he wanted to go this route. Did he really want to know why Samuel had been in there? Did he really want to expend the effort required to extract the answers he was looking for? Crossing his arms, Edward fixed the younger man with what he hoped was a stern glare, despite the overwhelming uncertainty he felt.
He looped an arm around his brother’s shoulders, more as a means of restraint than a show of affection—though there was no denying the gentleness that lurked beneath that hard exterior—and turned toward the general direction of the subway. “Sure, Sam, let’s walk together. You can tell me all about your day, and maybe answer my question while you’re at it. Sound okay to you?”