In the Corner of One's Eyes

Cast: date: '19 September 2012'
place: Bayswater
participants: 'Denton, Jack, Mattie'
synopsis: 'The police and the Watch converge on the same witness''s house. Unfortunately for Denton, this unsub is not one he can put behind bars.'
log: "Jack waits outside for Mattie's quick and unseen run-through of the MacPherson home. After an unsuccessful attempt by the Watch agents the night before to draw out whatever Other entity that had killed the two little girls at Lancaster School, this visit is a necessary one. Nine-year-old Gemma, now tucked away in this Bayswater home, is the only living person who knows what ritual the other two girls took part in to draw the wrath of the Other in the bathroom that day. Nine-year-old Gemma is also not talking, and it's been four weeks. \n\nMattie slips out from between two bushes and nods toward the house. Her voice is abrupt, perhaps startling, as she speaks. \"Let's go. I'll distract the mother while you talk to Gemma.\" It's strange that she's telling him to talk to the victim, perhaps, but there's tension in her posture and in her narrowed eyes. \"Figure out what it is they did. We need to recreate their ritual. It might be that It only comes out for kids, but if there's anything we're not doing that they did, it might help.\" \n\nShe moves to the door and raps on it. A moment passes and a tired looking woman answers — clearly Mrs. MacPherson, who looks at the two agents, dressed as \"professionally\" as the two of them get. \"You're the social workers that called? You're not the first, and the others looked like they had more experience than you, but come in. The trip to Valence may have done her a bit of good, but she's still not talking.\"\n\nIt may not be necessary for hoodies right now, but Jack's got a hood still, under those layers of sweaters he's wearing. It's just not up. Makes it real easy to see those eyes. Which could well be construed as scary. Not normal, anyway. But near catatonic 9 year old girls who have escaped brushes with the supernatural are fine with big tattooed blokes with yellow eyes. So it all works out. Once again, he gets to be the front line in pre-teen drama control and interrogation. Hopefully this time it won't result in tears.\n\n\"Hello.\" Jack's been practicing his posh fella voice, sounding almost like a public school boy. Daddy's got a brand new Porche you know, I am just riding my horse down to the garage so I can give it a spin. Tucked away under an arm is a clip board - because official people always have clip boards. There's some paperwork attached to it, also looking officious. \"I dare say you should not judge a book by its cover.\" Clearly, this awful accent takes some concentration. There's just a flicker of his shadow, wanting to play, but he keeps it in check, flashing the parents that wide smile. Charming. Well educated. Upper class. All the things Jack is not. \"Would it be alright then to speak with the poor dear?\"\n\nFour weeks ago, this was just another folder in Denton's inbox. Four weeks ago, the folder was oh so thinly filled with reports. No weapon, no motive, no suspects. He had been doing well with not getting anything too hot to handle, but once this file landed on Denton's desk the duties began. They always seem to give him these kinds of things - things the Detective Chief Inspector would rather just not happen in the nice places like Bayswater.\n \nSatanism isn't becoming of 9 year olds.\n \nThe first go around produced little results. But then again, the first go around wasn't Denton asking any questions. This time, with the case starting to take on a chill, he's around to see about warming it up again. And it involves warming up to the MacPhersons and child. The detective's almost at the door, but pauses at the door to check the time. Such inane things do have to be reported, after all. After, it's another knock on the tired mother's door.\n\nThe mother waves a hand toward the den beyond the entry way. \"She's in there watching the telly. Just don't expect a lot. You two got cards?\" \n\nMattie nods to Jack to indicate she has this, pulling out cards from her pocket to hand to the woman. \"I'd like to ask you a couple of questions, too, see what her routine is, so that we can start finding ways to bring her back out of herself,\" Mattie says, but then the door knocks and she tilts her head, waiting for Mrs. MacPherson to answer it. \n\nAs she moves toward the door and Jack moves toward the den, Jack can see the little girl bundled up on the couch, staring at the television but not seeming to really see it. She is a petite thing, with big green eyes and auburn hair. Those eyes seem a little glassy as she stares, unfocused, at the television where The Little Mermaid plays on the television. \n\nThe door opens to Denton, and Mrs. MacPherson huffs a humorless laugh at seeing the detective on the stoop. \"It's like Kings Cross here today, eh? Come in, Detective.\"\n\nMoving in, Jack grabs the pouffe and drags it to where he can sit in between Ariel and Gemma. Ariel may wish she could be part of that world, but the 9 year old no doubt wishes she had never got a glimpse of the other reality in question in this case. So it's time for the mechanic to ask 'em my questions and hopefully get some answers.\n\n\"Awright darlin'.\" he begins, talking in low tones as not to be overheard by the parental unit. The posh voice has gone. It's just good old East End boy now. With West End girl taking care of the interference. A regular Pet Shop. \"Gemma. Listen, yeah.\" Quietly, he snaps his fingers. \"I want to talk to you 'bout Bloody Mary an' what you girls done. So we can go take care of it, an' she'll never be able to hurt anyone again.\" That sounds perfectly reasonable.\n\nDoffing an invisible hat to the Lady MacPherson, Denton steps in with a quick thanks. \"Pardons for the interruption, Mrs. MacPherson,\" notes the detective. A quick sideways glance finds Mattie, and up ticks a brow at the woman in evaluation of her being here and now. \"Was Valence not as restworthy as the brochures say?\" he continues, attention shifting to include both women. \"The French would weep to know.\"\n\n\"Pleased to meet you, detective…?\" Mattie says loudly enough to carry to Jack, lilting her voice up in a query for the man's last name. She offers her hand and then gestures to herself. \"We're with Ofsted. Just here to check up on Gemma's status. Courtesy call. Horrible thing.\" \n\nMrs. MacPherson smiles and nods toward the kitchen. \"Either of you want some tea or coffee? We just got in last night. It was lovely, still feels like summer there, you know, and I do think it did a bit of good, though she's still not talking.\" \n\nThose green eyes blink but it takes a long, slow moment before they turn away from the television to look at Jack. Her brows furrow together with worry, and then she glances toward the grownups in the other room and back.\n\n\"Don't worry.\" Jack glances sideways when she does, surreptitious like some kind of really furtive thing. A vole, perhaps. \"Just between you an' me like. Because if you told your mum what really happened, she'd think you were bonkers, am I right or am I right?\" There's that smile again. It says, you can trust me. Because I'm quite crazy already and will likely believe anything you say.\n\n\"See. Heather told me what you guys were going to do. An' me and that super pretty lady out there went an' tried to see if we could do the same but it didn't work. So we figure you must have done something different. If we can find out what that is, like, then we can make her show up. Then kick her teeth in for what she done to your mates.\" Again. There's definitely a simple man's logic in this explanation.\n\n\"Denton,\" finishes the inspector of Mattie's hanging phrase with a seemingly accepting nod to her. \"Tea would be lovely,\" he also answers to MacPherson. Gesturing to Mattie with an 'after you' motion, he leans to step kitchenward. Not without a glance towards the den, however, in Jack's and Gemma's direction.\n\nGemma's eyes widen when it seems like Jack not only knows what has happened but actually believes her. She puts a hand to her throat and shakes her head. Just like the little mermaid on the telly, this little redhead cannot sing. Another glance is given to the other room before Gemma looks back to Jack, and points to a decorative mirror above the fireplace. She puts her points to herself, then puts both hands over her eyes. Hopefully Jack speaks Charades as well as Cockney. \n\nIn the kitchen, Mattie moves to sit at the kitchen table. \"Tea would be wonderful. It's cold outside today. You must wish you were still in France,\" she says warmly enough. \n\nAs Mrs. MacPherson works at the stove to put the teapot on, Denton catches a flicker of something dark in the reflective surface of the microwave that doesn't quite match anything in the room. Mattie, however, is looking out into the den to watch Jack's progress for the moment, before looking back to answer Mrs. MacPherson's query of sugar or cream. \"Both, thanks.\" \n\n\"And you, detective?\"\n\nSounds like? The game is afoot. \"Stand in front of the mirror, and cover your eyes? Is it? Or d'you mean in the dark, like?\" He spaces out the two options so she can confirm or deny as appropriate without having to resort to answering yes to an either/or query.\n\nSeeming to have forgotten about the detective and relying on Mattie to take care of business, he's focused on the little girl, trying to be encouraging. Can nine year olds draw? Or write? That's a good question. Jack has a clip board. It's got mostly useless bits of fake report on it to look good, so he flips a page around to the black back side and offers it to her with a pen.\n\nIf he's seen the flicker, Denton doesn't draw attention to it yet. \"Both for me as well, thank you,\" he answers in all politeness. After receiving the tea and taking a short sip to taste, the inspector finally leads off. \"Can you tell me - us - what she was like in Valence?\" He's at least inclusive of Mattie, though his attention seems mainly on Mrs. MacPherson and her answer.\n\nGemma shakes her head again. She points to herself and covers her eyes again, then clutches her throat. The pen and clipboard are scowled at for a moment, but then she takes it. Unfortunately for Jack, she's not much of an artist, and it's mostly stick figures and like playing bad Pictionary. Three stick figures stand before a rectangle but one has its hands over the eyes — apparently Gemma. \n\nShe chews her lower lip for a moment as she studies the picture. Suddenly she draws, more carefully this time, a hand, then what a straight line pointing at the index finger. She shakes her head again, frustrated, and looks up at Jack. Using the tip of ballpoint pen, she presses it against her finger, then shakes the hand as if it hurt. \n\nFinally she points to the mirror again — When Jack looks there, just for the most split of seconds, there's a dark shape there — and then it's gone again. Luckily, Gemma is watching him and not the mirror, waiting for understanding. \n\n\"She was a little better. She liked to sit on the beach and we even went in the water a little,\" Mrs. MacPherson murmurs in response to the detective's question. \"My husband went back to work today, the first time since the… since everything. So it's just us.\" She sighs. \"Are there any leads?\" There's no hope in the question.\n\n\"One stands in front of the mirror, blindfolded? Covering eyes? Being choked? Knocked out?\" Yeah. Not making much progress on that one. \"An' then you what? Cut your finger an' put it on the mirror? D'you write somethin' on the mirror? With blood?\" Careful now, he lowers his voice even further. Because it probably wouldn't do too well to have all this overheard.\n\nWell. That's not good either. Jack tries very hard to not look the way that feels, because further perturbing the child is likely a bad idea. She's already going to need years of therapy. He's paying more attention to the room now though, cutting glances when he thinks Gemma isn't looking to try and catch sight of whatever this is.\n\n\"We have hope,\" replies Denton with a believable modicum of the faith. \"Mine is to make it not appear false.\" He offers a wan smile, taking another sip before setting his cup down. \"I know you've been put through a wringer, Mrs. MacPherson, but the key seems to lie with your daughter, and her witness to what happened. Ah but listen to me, I sound like a broken record playing a shoddy tune.\" The detective shakes his head slowly, eyes settling on the microwave awhile. \"I take it Ofsted has given you the proper contacts to find resources that deal with the trauma?\" With this, he shifts his gaze back to Mattie expectantly.\n\nJack's questions earn vehement head shakes from the girl who pokes her finger again with the pen, then points at the mirror, before turning her attention back to the clipboard. She draws an X on the mouth of the girl with the hands over her eyes, then X's for eyes on the two that represent her friends. Finally she scribbles all over the two, either to represent all the blood or to show that they were blotted out of the world, it's hard to know, but whatever she means by it, it's her last message. She shoves the clipboard at Jack, and hurries out of the room, scurrying down the hallway to her bedroom. \n\nMattie glances that way, brows lifted. It might be time to go, but Denton's question draws her attention again. \"That's why we're here. We are assessing her so that we can determine what might help her most.\" she says, standing. \"Thank you for the hospitality, Mrs. MacPherson, but we do have another appointment to go to. Today was just a survey, really. We'll be in touch, or another representative of our agency may be.\" \n\nAs she exits the room, there's another blur of motion, this time in the kitchen window — too quick to be sure it was really there.\n\nNone the wiser, Jack peers at the board before turning over the page back to the official looking forms which he makes a show of writing on in his near illegible scrawl for a moment or two, adopting a pensive expression. Shiftyeyes continue to peer about for signs of the doom that lurks in the wings.\n\nStanding in that 'My work here is done' sort of way he slots the board back under his arm and meanders back to join up with Mattie ready to exit. Denton now gets a look over and a wordless nod of greeting.\n\nDenton also looks the way of the retreating girl as she does so, missing that kitchen lurker by a slow second's turn. He stands as Mattie does, putting in an additional nod. \"Always good for a spot of Rosy. If there's any change, we'll ring.\" The latter is noted with a tone of expected mutual return. Should circumstances with Gemma change, that is. The detective heads out on Mattie's heel, pausing to exchange onceovers with Jack. The other man's hoodie and clipboard garners a raised brow, but otherwise goes unmentioned.\n\n\"Will do,\" says Mattie, with a nod toward poor Denton — they already know who done it, and it's no one he can put behind bars, sadly. Now all that's left is to draw her out of the mirror and put her down as Jack promised the sad little girl who's crying silently into her pillowcase. \n\nDenton may not notice that lurker the second time — but he'll notice it in a glance in his rearview mirror later, and Mattie might catch the shadow and blur in the windows of the subway train as it passes in the dark while Jack might notice it in the chrome of the cars he repairs. Whatever it is, it's never there when they look closer, and it's only caught in the corner of one's eyes. \n\nWhatever it is, it's watching them all.\n\n\n\n\n\n"

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