Huddled around a shimmering globe, three women finish their solemn chant. Taking a deep breath, the young blonde opens her eyes and gazes deep into the green tumultuous haze within. Waiting in earnest, the elder woman to her left gingerly looks across the small table, anxious to see what glitters and shifts before her disciple. The other older woman, garbed in red flowing gown to the disciple’s right, quickly grasps the left’s hand and gives her a look, reinforcing her patience. With a slight sigh the younger girl continues, and speaks. “I see the children of light and darkness rising from an icy grave, to light the city in its darkest hour. I see the darkling visiting us, and asking a dark task, which I will be bound to complete.”
The elder woman fidgets slightly and smiles. Squeezing the red-gowned woman’s hand she silently mouths, “I told you so.” Turning to the eldest, the woman replies silently, “I know.”
The younger girl’s patience begins to waver and clears her throat, ending the two women’s exchange. “There’s more…” This swings the attention back to the globe, and the disciple surges on, “… and the Hell Mouth will once again have a sentinel to guard against the night.” She gazes intently, desperate to decipher the cryptic message.
The red dressed woman squeezes the elder’s hand, smiles, and mouth’s: “You didn’t see that!”
In frustration, the elder woman seethes out sarcastically, “I know!”
Suddenly the globe darkens and room is awash in night, ending the divination. Frustrated, the younger girl whines: “MOM!”
In unison, the elder women say: “Sorry.”Los Angeles Police Department, South Central Division,
Crashing through the doors of the captain’s office, John Spartan’s hour long ‘discussion’ regarding his orders to stay away from Simon Phoenix, went over as the captain had expected. Another door will have to be replaced, as John rips it from the hinges, as he slams it close. Storming from his desk, the captain shoves the door aside and screams to the fuming Sergeant Spartan:
“Your new case is on your desk! And stay away from Phoenix! That’s an order! Not that you obey those either.”
John throws himself into his chair, and flips the manila colored file folder open to see a picture of a young woman. He immediately notes her short platinum hair, and wonders what a girl like this could have done to warrant his attention. Kayla Meadows. Running across the nearly one hundred listed offenses in her file, the last dozen catch his attention. Once again his temper is unleashed once more:
“Captain! When did the department become lap dogs to the FBI? This is a federal case!”
Smirking, the captain steps back out of his office, to reply. “When I have a Detective who can’t keep himself from tearing up the city! They need a liaison, and you’re it! This should keep you busy for a few weeks, and the Commissioner will stay out of my ass for some time, so that I can take a shit in GOD DAMN PEACE!”
“Why do we have to find her? That’s the Fed’s job, not mine!” John’s face reddens further, as his anger is at the breaking point.
The captain, turning to leave, seethes: “It is now. She’s somewhere in the city now, and the Feds are out of their league. They asked for a seasoned police detective to assist in the search, and the request came directly from the Mayor. Even though HE doesn’t like you, I threw in your name; because if you don’t screw it up, it will keep you on the force, and the mayor won’t be able to demand your badge on a platter. Got it!”
the pointlessness of the conversation, he returns to the file’s contents.
Reading over the list, numerous ones catch his attention. The first on the top
of the list is the multiple murder of a sheriff and his deputy, in Louisiana.
Apparently she stole the sheriff’s pistol and shot the sheriff and executed the
deputy. That was dated three years ago,
and she’s been on the lamb ever since. A murderer, feminist, terrorist; hell
even says she’s a lesbian. What a combination, all before she was nineteen.
Succumbing to an increasing curiosity, he flips mercilessly through the
hundreds of reports over her past three years of criminal life. Eventually he
comes across the numerous FBI attempts to apprehend her, all failed miserably.
She always seemed to have the upper hand evading the police, and she always
avoided direct confrontations. Furthermore, she seemed to have a strong cult-following
protesting her innocence, which has kept her from serving any jail time.
As he flips to through the endless files sheets, a radio report catches his attention, launching him towards the helipad.
San Angeles, August 04, 2032
The ricochet of bullets pulls Faith out of her light slumber. The feeble screams for mercy are silenced with a final salvo of bullets. Springing up besides the door, she silently awaits the intruder. As the door slides away, a carbine rifle juts inside. A gritty-edged man, pokes inside, and meets eyes with her. In a scruffy voice, he mutters: “The prison’s been taken over. You with or against us?”
The horror of over thirty years of cryo-stassis and endless nightmares of being thrown into a cell and forgotten, overwhelm her. “Gotta another gun?”
Wearily sighing, he lowers his guard a bit, and breathes a sigh of relief. Motioning for her to follow, “Nope, but we need a hand moving some of the other freshly thawed cons, and getting them clothed. The name’s Quinn…Quentin Hyde.” Shaking her hand, he continues. “The boss needs some of you there…” Pointing at five other convicts just thawed out, he motions to head off to his right. “…and the rest come with me.”
Faith, not relishing her new alliance, and taking part in a prison escape, reluctantly heads with the group assigned to the moving of the newly thawed convicts. At least this was better than rotting away uselessly in cell, being tortured with old fifties commercials playing over the loud speaker. She’d been waiting in her cell all day for her parole hearing, which she found out was delayed until early tomorrow morning. Considering the recent turn of events, she didn’t see much hope in that coming about either. She’d heard the name of the leader was a certain Simon Phoenix, who she’d too much about long before she was frozen: a real psycho case who got off in a big way with creating chaos and destruction. In her old days, she’d have shacked up with him in a heartbeat; but after her time with Angel and some serious jail-time, that was the last thing she wanted to do. If ‘B’ could hear me now, she’d be doing somersaults in her grave. I wonder who’s the current slayer nowadays? Whisking down the corridors to the cryo-labs, she passes numerous half dead or frozen bodies. She slides to an abrupt halt when she suddenly sees a platinum haired visage, crunched up in the fetal position, shaking horribly from the cold. Stopping in her tracks, she bolts to a storage locker, and rips out a set of coveralls and begins dressing the young woman.
“Hey, the boss wasn’t talking about them! They weren’t on his priority list.” Down the hall another prisoner motions for her to follow him.
“Well, you’d better get going then! I don’t leave friends behind.” She screams back at him.
Frustrated, he waves her away and resumes heading towards the main staging area. Despite buttoning up the coveralls, the woman still shivers madly, and grasps for anything warm. Faith gently clears the short locks of hair from her face, and softly speaks to the cold and scared woman.
“Kay. It’s me, Faith. Can you hear me? Come on, I’m getting you out of here.”
Scooping up the small five feet four inch form, she abandons her alliance with the prison takeover. Kicking open a door labeled EMERGENCY STAIRS, she trots up six flights and crashes into a sniveling rotund gentleman in a kimono. “OH PLEASE DON”T HURT ME! I’M JUST AN ASSISTANT! I don’t even work in here! That lunatic Phoenix brought me here, and forced me to do those things!” he pleads desperately.
Taken back by his obvious sense of self-preservation, she steps back once, and gives him a bit of room. He seems to not realize that she’s a convict, but soon his expression changes as he begins to notice her prison issued garments. “Well, that makes the two of us. I don’t want to be a part of his crazy plan either. But if I don’t get her to a warm, dry place, I don’t think she’ll make it. How do we get out of here?” Faith takes a chance that he is dumb enough to help her, in order to save his sorry butt.
A little flustered and terrified, he reluctantly looks left and right, and hears numerous convicts heading their way. “Uh, I think this way.” Pointing to a service elevator.
Faith, weary of his trust, motions for him to go, and in minutes they are stepping out a rear service hatch into the clear crisp moonlight. A sudden shudder sends all three to the ground and the night’s skies are lit with the orange glow from the exploding labs. When she looks up, her rotund ally is fleeing with a speed unseen from such a large person. Laughing at the sight of flailing fabrics and feet, she snaps her attention back to her unconscious friend. With precision tenderness, she uncannily evaluates the data. Shaking her head at the newly discovered knowledge, Faith scoops up her small friend once more and heads for cover, as the shrill of police sirens fill the air.
7 miles South of San Angeles, August 06, 2032
Careful not to disturb the wall of trash outside the abandoned gas station, Faith gingerly slides the fake wall aside and slips inside a hole in the wall of the building. Setting a large gym bag down beside her, she carefully returns the fake wall back to its original position. Satisfied with her handy work, she turns and locates the sleeping figure of Kayla. The young blonde lays motionless, even with Faith’s noisy approach. Opening up the gym bag, she removes a plastic container of dehydrated food, and a five-gallon jug of water. Laying everything to one side, she returns her attention to her sleeping companion. Tugging the blanket away from her face, Faith is surprised to see the drowsy flutter of platinum eyelashes, as she slowly stirs. Faith’s worried expression is replaced with a smile as Kayla’s emerald eyes wearily meet hers. Faith reminds herself to breath and whispers, “Hey sleepy-head. I brought you some food and water. I won’t give it high marks on taste, but it’ll get you back on your feet; even if it’s to run to the door, to dump your cookies.”
She’s rewarded with a light chuckle from her sluggish patient, which rouses her further. Struggling to raise herself on her elbows, Faith slides her arm underneath her to help her to sit upright. After a few fitful moments of obvious suffering, Kayla rests against the blistered cement wall and watches Faith struggle with reconstituting dinner. Her discomfort is soon forgotten as Faith argues with an old propane heater, and fights to keep her cool. Cursing under her breath, Faith wrenches with the rusty connections; and after a dozen minutes, she fires it up. The cool blue flame rockets three feet into the air, causing Faith and Kayla to lean backwards in surprise. A quiet moment passes; and after looking up at each other, laughter fills the darkening room.
Faith erupts from her sleep feeling the tension in her surroundings. As she considers dismissing it, she feels Kayla shift and tremble violently. Clutching her in her arms, she rides Kayla’s epileptic-like fit, listening to her whimper out guttural pleas. Tears begin to stream from Faiths eyes as she deciphers the seething words and fathoms the meaning. After ten minutes, Kayla slips back into a more restful sleep and Faith reminisces on Kayla’s fountain of vitality, years past. She was the only woman she knew that could catch up with her wild side, and then leave her in the dust. She was a man-hater, in those days, something Faith couldn’t fully understand. At least not back then; now, she knew of the rape and murder of Kayla’s girlfriend, had a lot to do with it. They had been together for five years, and she took it really hard. When she confronted the deputy, she discovered the Sheriff was protecting his son, the rapist. The Sheriff subsequently killed the deputy and tried to kill her; and in the struggle he was shot, instead. She was pinned with a double murder, and had nowhere to go. How fitting they should cross paths. The last thing Faith remembers is gently rocking Kayla in her arms before succumbing to sleep also.
Faith wakes to an empty bed, and bolts up to a crouched pose. Franticly looking around, she sees no signs or Kayla, and notices the fake wall partially ajar. Moving across the room, she plasters herself against the wall and covertly listens for any activity. As she slides out the door, she’s surprised to bump into a hobbling Kayla. Faith grabs and keeps Kayla from falling over; and is further surprised by Kayla supporting herself with a pair of quickly constructed crutches. Smirking at a startled Faith, she purrs: “So n-not too bad for an in-valid, huh?”
Faith, breathing a little easier, takes a large breath and scolds Kayla. “You scared the crap out of me! Don’t wander off like that.” coming alongside her, she helps her back inside and into bed.
After another comedic episode of starting breakfast, the two huddle together and curse having taste buds. The thick bland paste is quickly washed down with water after each swallow. They chuckle and pass jokes, but a moment of silence eventually levels between them. Faith takes a deep breath and tries to end the somber pause, “So… I’m going back to the city to try and find anyone I might have known before I was frozen. Uh… do you want me to get you anything while I’m there?” Smiling, Kayla leans over and points at the simmering pot. “Find some real f-food, and I’ll be a happy w-w-woman.” Pausing for a moment, she continues carefully. “D-do you know who you’re going to l-l-look for, now? You were g-going to find some Angel guy or his-s-s friends, yesterday. I take it that y-y-you weren’t l-l-lucky, huh?”
Faith looks down at her plate, and sighs. “Yah, they weren’t listed, and from what I found out, most are listed as dead. Angel… he wouldn’t have been listed. It’s complicated.”
Kayla notices the intentional pause, and bites her lower lip. “Sorry, I d-d-didn’t mean to pry. I… I was just wondering what your p-p-plan was now, that’s all.”
Faith’s eyes widen as she comprehends what Kayla might be thinking. Reaching forward she clasps Kayla’s trembling hands. “No… no. It’s nothing like that. Well, not anymore at least.” Shaking her head. “I’m not making sense… He had a knack at never having been on any ‘list’ or directory. He’s adept at being unreachable by normal means. I went looking in the places he’d be known in, and I was told he had left a number of years ago when all of his kind could no longer live safely in San Angeles.”
Kayla looks at her with a intense gaze, and ponders over Faith’s words. “I’m m-more confused, n-now. Uhhh… who now?”
Faith lowers her gaze to the pale hands rested in her hold. Gently she massages them between her hands, and she traces with her eyes the delicate curves and creases of a reputed cop-killer. The fingernails, short with gnaw marks, desperately need an emery board put to them. She shakes her head, unable to comprehend the origins of that thought. She soaks up the visage of the dainty hands cradled within her callused fingers. Her eyes wander upwards and stumble over the thick scars imbedded along and above her wrists. The gruesome gashes pail when Faith treks upwards and stumbles over the dozens of round burn craters etched into inside of Kayla’s right arm. Morbid shock creeps over her, and she loses count of the quantity and diameter of the scars. Her jaw hangs loosely as she notices a similar set on her other arm. Faith’s tears splashing onto her hands surprise Kayla, oblivious to Faith’s horror. She tears her hands free, tucks them into her armpits, clutches her chest, and looks away in shame.
Faith snaps out of her shock and locks her sights on the side of Kayla turned head. She reaches over and drags Kayla’s head to meet her gaze. Painful green eyes slowly pull upwards to meet hers, and scream to be let go. Faith fights the fury and rage building within her, and she pushes out coherent speech. “Who… when?”
Shaking her head, Kayla dryly replies: “D-does it matter? They’re d-dead. Everything from b-back then, is d-d-dead. It’s in the p-p-past. I… I don’t w-w-want to d…” She leans over, concentrating on her tongue. “…dwell on the past.” Gazing up at Faith’s anguished expression, she leans over and buries her head, under Faith’s chin, and wraps her arms around her. “P-please don’t worry. Th… they’re gone, now. We n-need to start making new lives f-for each other. But if you could… c-could you see if y-y-you could find someone h-h-who can do ac-u-punc-ture. I-I think I can start w-w-walking f-f-faster. I’m j-just able to move my toes, this morning, a-and that’s an improvement over y-yesterday. K?”
Wearily, Faith nods and whispers, “I doubt I’ll be so lucky, but I’ll see what I can dig up. I have one last trump card to play, and it’s wild one at that. I’m probably the last person she’ll want to hear from, if she’s still around. Just keep your fingers crossed… and your toes, if you can manage.” Returning the hug, she helps Kayla get nestled in and is hiking back to the city by sunrise.