One Wrong Turn

Cast: date: 'September 18th 2012'
place: 'East End, London'
participants: 'Daniel, Ruth'
synopsis: 'Daniel takes a wrong turn on the way to a safe house. A very, very wrong turn.'
log: "\"No, is this north? Blast, I think that second right was supposed to be a left… Bloody hell, none of this looks familiar…\"\n\nDr. Daniel Regal is walking at a quick clip down the darkened streets of less-than-friendly parts of London, looking around nervously. Though he was on his way to a Watch safehouse in a new part of town, one wrong turn has gotten the doctor completely lost. His work shoes clip noisily on the aged pavement. His coat swirls behind him, and his doctor's satchel swings against his leg in a white-knuckled grip. The moon and stars are hidden by a heavy cloud cover, making the shadows inky black. Tonight is not a good night to be out…\n\nIt's a fine night to be out, if one is careful, cautious, and observant. Which, perhaps, Daniel isn't entirely. Ruth, on the other hand, seems familiar enough with the area — though she's a few blocks off from Daniel's location, not near enough to have sighted the Good Doctor just yet. She's dressed much the same as always; dark, concealing clothing, her hair tied back, hood pulled up. A white plastic bag, clenched in her gloved left hand, crinkles quietly as she walks along, her own footfalls silent. There's also a quiet… chirping coming from the bag. Late night grocery run, perhaps?\n\nJust up ahead, not far from where Daniel's walking, there's a sound — soft, almost inaudible, like the whimpering of a small child.\n\nAs far as Daniel knows, he's the only one on this street. Which has the doctor mopping at his forehead with his handkerchief, nervously. As he turns a corner, his pace slows, and he looks around with worry. NONE of this looks familiar! There's no sign of any other person he\n\nHe blinks and pauses, turning his head towards that sound. \"H-hello?\" he asks, voice cracking. Clearing his throat, he calls out more loudly, but nervously, \"Hello? Is someone in trouble?\" Cautiously, he starts to walk forward.\n\nIt's quiet on this street - only a few cars have rolled past since Daniel made his wrong turn, and there aren't many lights on in the surrounding businesses and lofts. Up the street, a few blocks over, Ruth is walking along at a fairly leisurely pace. The way she lets the little plastic bag bang against her thigh with each step, rattling the poor crickets around inside, is perhaps a bit mean.\n\nInitially, there's no response to Daniel's query. Just silence. After he's crept a few steps aheadthere it is again, a little louder now, a sniffle and a soft, mewling cry. It's a child's voice, a little girl's, high-pitched and terrified.\n\n\"Mummy? Help me.\"\n\nIt sounds as if it's coming from the small back lot, just up ahead. If he were to duck between the buildings, reaching it would be easy enough…\n\nWhich is exactly what the poor fool does. After one nervous glance into the darkness within, Daniel slips into the alleyway, clutching his satchel to his body. This is not good, this is not good, this is not good… \"I'm not your mummy,\" he calls, his voice shaking, \"But I am a doctor. Where are you? Are you hurt? I can help.\"\n\nRuth is oblivious. Enjoying a pleasant nighttime stroll down the empty sidewalk that brings her ever closer to Daniel. It's quite nice, really. Allows one to think their thoughts — whatever thoughts those might be. Only a telepath knows for sure.\n\nWhen he 'rounds the corner, it'll take Daniel's eyes a moment to adjust. The lot's lone lamppost appears to have burnt out - so it's quite dark, eerily so. But it won't take long for him to be able to make out a shape; a little girl, small and frail, standing against the brick wall with her back facing the doctor. She appears to be wearing a hospital gown, though it's tattered and filthy, and a severed IV tube dangles from her left wrist.\n\nShe's just… standing there, facing the wall, whimpering softly and rocking on her heels - and scratching. She's scratching at the bricks with both hands, clawing at them again and again with bloodied fingertips. \"Mummy.\"\n\n\"Oh dear…\" Daniel's fear melts away into worry, and he hurries towards the poor little girl. \"Come on, then, love. How'd you get away from the hospital, eh? You shouldn't be out here, dressed up like that…\" As he gets close, he stoops down to try and take her shoulders, turning her around.\n\nShe's not far away now, that Ruth. Near enough to hear - something. Her head cocks off to one side in a vaguely avian fashion as she stands there, stock-still, listening.\n\nIt's only natural, really, feeling empathy for a small, frail child. She sounds terrified, and she's clearly underdressed for this chilly evening. Under Daniel's hands, when they settle on her narrow shoulders, her skin is cold. Too cold. But then, it's a frosty evening…\n\nGuided by his hands, the child turns. Half of her turns, anyway - her feet don't move, bare toes still pointing towards the bricks, but her torso twists around 180 degrees. When her little head tips back and her stringy blonde hair falls away from her face, he can see the grisly holes where her eyes ought to be. Her cheeks are caked with dried blood. \"Mummy? I can't see you.\"\n\n\"Bloody hell!\" Daniel's heart leaps into his throat, and he literally leaps away from the child in a brief burst of horror. His fancy shoes slip on the pavement and he stumbles backwards to fall on his butt and one hand. He takes a moment, staring up at that girl in horror and intrigue.\n\nSay what you will about Daniel, but his mind works quickly. Shock, amazement, intrigue, pity, realization, horror, forced calm, strategy… An instant later, he swallows heavily and says, trying so very hard to stop his words wobbling in terror, \"I…I'm going to go get help, okay little girl? You stay right here…maybe your mummy will come back?\" Slowly, trying not to make any sudden movements, he starts to scoot backward along the pavement. His wide eyes are locked in terror on her empty sockets.\n\nHe can jump back - leap, scramble backwards on the pavement, the little girl doesn't so much as flinch. Maybe she can't see him. Congealing blood dribbles down her cheeks and neck - the front of her hospital gown is stained a dark crimson. \"Don't go.\" is whispered out, almost too quietly to hear, with another soft, whimpering sound. Her arms lift from her sides, the plastic IV tubing dragging along the ground as she reaches for Daniel, bloodied fingers splaying and… stretching. Stretching too long, too farboth of her arms reach for him… and reach, and reach, her spindly limbs and digits growing impossibly, horrifically long.\n\n\"I'm so hungry.\"\n\nMaybe Ruth's wandering this direction. It's hard to say, really, it's not as if she ever makes any noise while walking. Perhaps she just kept on going. Wouldn't that be unfortunate?\n\n\"Oh… god oh god oh god oh god!\" Daniel starts to whimper when those arms start to reach for him, picking up speed at scrambling away from the INSANELY CREEPY little girl.\n\n\"help!\" It comes out as barely a squeak at first, before the doctor takes a deeper breath and screams, \"HEEEELP!\"\n\n\"Heeeeeeelp,\" the little girl screeches out mockingly, blackened teeth revealed when her lips twist to a hungry smile. *Pop, pop* her knees… dislocate, snapping forward at a hideous angle when her feet are still facing the other direction. Slow, shuffling steps bring her closer, inch by inch, as her elongated arms and fingers reachcloser, a little closer, near enough now that one bloodied fingertip grazes his cheek as she makes a grab for him and leaves a red smear.\n\nAnd, suddenly — Ruth appears. Took her sweet time, didn't she? Standing at the far end of the lot, bag in hand, she takes in the sight before her with a raised brow. \"Doc? What the\" …oh. \"Shit.\" The bag hits the ground, forgotten as she darts forward, and the grateful crickets within immediately start to scramble to their freedom. \"Oi! Leave'm be!\"\n\nDaniel makes a noise that's just one step ahead of a grown man peeing himself when that finger touches his cheek. \"Oh, holy mary, mother of god, pray for us sinners…\" He barely even seems to notice when Ruth arrives, all his terrified attention on that fingertip, leaving him frozen in place as he leans as far as he can away from her.\n\nThe girl notices. Oh, she definitely notices. That head whips around, stringy hair flipping about her face to turn empty eyesockets on the approaching woman. She bares her teeth in a dangerous hiss, before her face softens and she gives a whimpering sob. \"Mummy… help me…\" It's almost mocking, now. Her fingers whip away from Daniel, darting towards Ruth and trying to grab at her neck.\n\nRuth's lips purse to a hard line at those taunting words, then her upper lip curls back just slightly. \"Stay back, doctor.\" she advises without looking away from the 'child', her own voice flat and quiet. It's fast — sort of a 'blink and you'll miss it' kind of fast, the way Ruth darts to the left and ducks down to evade the reaching hand. Unsettlingly fast. Her left arm snaps up when the eerily stretched limb swings her way again, and she snakes a gloved hand out to make a grab for the creature's wrist. It can't grab her if she grabs it, after all! If successful, she's going to try to snap its forearm like a twig with a quick, right-handed upward palm strike.\n\nDaniel gasps when those fingers whip away from him, and the man scrambles away from the creepy little girl. \"Look\" he calls out to Ruth in warning, but she's already gone.\n\nThe creature lets out a loud screech of pain as Ruth snaps its arm easily in half. Its head tilts back, mouth opening like steam was escaping in a prolonged, ear-piercing screech. The fingers on her spare hand fly out suddenly, fast enough to wrap around Ruth's face and neck, squeezing tightly.\n\n\"Oh Jesus,\" Daniel gasps.\n\nThere might have been, perhaps, just a twitch of a darkly satisfied smile at the audible *CRACK* of a bone splintering when her blow landed. Just a brief flicker of feral enjoyment - one that's immediately snuffed out by the elongated fingers curling snugly around her lower jaw and neck. A strangled sort of, \"hrrk,\" sound escapes, accompanied by an unpleasantly chitinous crackling sound when the creature's grip tightens, effectively drawing her closer. Sharp stingers protrude from her fingertips, through the gloves, and she jabs them towards the girl's wrist.\n\nAlso? She bites her own tongue. Really hard. Hard enough that her greenish blood wells up and begins to flow freely from the crescent-shaped wound. Then, with a fair amount of sizzling, toxic blood dribbling down her chin, she bites down on the finger pressed against her mouth, jaw locking with the intent to sink her teeth in to the bone. If there's a bone, anyway.\n\nYou thought the screech before was bad? The shrill sound of pain the creature lets out sounds like a car crusher dying. The smell of burning rubber fills Ruth's nostrils as the creature's flesh starts to sizzle away, and the grip on her face turns into limp spaghetti. The creature tries to jerk away, tries to pull her finger out of Ruth's bite. \"Mummy… please! You're hurting me…\" she wails, not stopping her screeching. The girl jerks her arm back, holding her broken one to her chest, hollow eyes locked on Ruth, expressionless.\n\nRuth's eyes narrow, expression twisting to a pained grimace as the creature's blood wets her teeth and tongue. Still, she clamps her jaw down until she can feel the bone splintering between her teeth, heedless of the blood dribbling down the back of her throat. That'll be a problem in a few minutes - but for now, Ruth's gone a bit… savage. It's only the ear-splitting screech that snaps her out of it; she jerks her head aside, releasing her hold and stumbling back a half step, shoulders hitching up in an involuntary shudder at that godawful sound.\n\nThere's no reply to the little girl as she turns her head back towards her, upper lip curling slightly, a mix of her own blood and the Other's coating her chin and throat. She regards her in silence for a fraction of a second before her jaw drops, and a sticky mass of off-white webbing is shot from beneath her tongue towards the girl's face. Which is - gross, really.\n\nThe creature's arms whip up to its chest, and it curls into itself, huddling about its injured limbs. Melting flesh drips to the pavement, and the creature in a little girl's guise takes shuffling steps backwards, away from Ruth. Daniel is starting to shift farther away, edging a little towards Ruth.\n\nThe opens her mouth in surprise a moment before her whole face is covered in the sticky white webbing. The screeching returns, this time muffled, and the creature stumbles back on backwards legs, its back pressing up against the building. Its good arm thrashes out defensively, fingers growing long and whipping dangerously in the air with loud CRACKs. Daniel yelps as one finger lashes down between his legs, scoring a deep mark in the asphalt. The doctor swoons, barely avoiding passing out before he scrambles to his feet and moves behind Ruth.\n\nMuffled shrieking is a definite improvement. Ruth's shoulders drop down a bit, faded eyes remaining intently locked on the Other as it staggers backwards into the brick wall. She wipes the back of a gloved hand across her chin, only really managing to smear the mingled fluids and ruin yet another pair of gloves - when she shakes a few droplets from her hand to the asphalt, it sizzles.\n\nThere's a quick glance cast towards Daniel, seemingly just to affirm his status as 'alive'. That accomplished, her head snaps back towards the creature against the wall, angling down a degree or so as she bends her knees, then abruptly launches herself forward and darts towards it. Unnaturally fast, soundless steps close the distance rather quickly - though the speed doesn't keep a thrashing hand from cracking her across the jaw as she presses forward, attempting to snatch the Other up by the throat.\n\nThe creature's noises turn to a gurgle when Ruth's hand wraps around her neck. It stops its ineffectual clawing at its face, blind eyes turned up high. All of it stiffens…and its many iron-strong tendrils whip quickly around Ruth's neck. It's a tug-of-war of strangulation. Who can knock the other out first?\n\nAirway constricted - though, really, the anatomy of someone with an exoskeleton does make one wonder if Ruth /could/ be strangled effectively - Ruth's face reddens as the creature's fingers tighten around her throat, eliciting another crackling sound that has /got/ to hurt. A breath's sputtered out through grit teeth, and more caustic blood and saliva dribbles down her chin and along the tops of those fingers squeezing her neck.\n\nRuth, it's worth noting, isn't attempting to strangle the thing, even as the toes of her boots leave the asphalt when she's hefted up by the neck. When her fingers close around the girl-creature's throat, the stingers are pushed out once again, digging in to flesh, muscle, and vein alike to deliver their toxic payload.\n\nThe webbing over the creature's face stretch as her mouth opens in silent shock. Feeling the toxin pulsing through its veins, swimming through its brain… Green foam starts starts to bubble and billow out from behind that sticky webbing, and the creature tremor's in place. Its vice-grip like hold on Ruth's neck pulses and shakes, jerking tighter on her neck. Slowly, it starts to slump down to the ground, sliding along the wall and dragging the Touched girl with it in its deadly death throes.\n\nPulled down by the throat, all Ruth can really do is sink down to her knees as the Other-creature slides down the wall, drawing in a rasping breath that's just not nearly enough air. She yanks her hand free of the thing's neck, stingers retracing back into the flesh of her fingertips as her hand slaps against the Other's wrist, jerking at it with all of the desperation of one who would really, really like to draw in a few lungfuls of air.\n\nRuth's world is starting to close in on her, a black tunnel coming in from all sides to darken her vision. Those fingers are like steel bands, and slapping at her wrist seems completely in effectual…\n\nHands press to the back of Ruth's neck, pushing down between her bare skin and the monster's finger. \"Almost…\" Daniel grunt, as he shoves a scalpel down, to slice through the tendons in that elongated finger. It pops loose like a broken guitar string, giving Ruth a brief taste of fresh air. He forces his fingers down to the next one, again and again… until the last band falls limp, and Ruth can finally suck in a full breath of air.\n\nDaniel steps back, hands up and grinning broadly. His hands are covered with the monster's blood, soaking into his sleeves. \"Are you alright, Ruth?\" he asks, sounding like he's out-of-breath.\n\nAir. Air would be amazing right about now, if the reddening of Ruth's face and somewhat glazed look in her eyes is any indication. Perhaps it's that desperation for a breath that prevents her from slapping the added hands away from her neckaway from her bare, decidedly toxic skin. Instead, she continues to claw somewhat ineffectively at the viselike grip of the hand around her throat, right up until Daniel's cut away at the last of the tendons and the creature's grip slacks. When the hand falls away, Ruth jerks back and sucks in a deep, gasping breath, like a diver surfacing.\n\nThen she pitches to the side and abruptly, violently vomits onto the pavement. Swallowed a bit of that blood, did you Ruth? Hands braced against the ground, stomach heaving, she manages to utter out a not entirely convincing, \"fine,\"\n\nJust give her a moment. Perhaps then she'll actually look at Daniel.\n\n\n\"Oh good, that's…\" Daniel still seems out of breath, adrenaline and whatever is on Ruth's skin starting to get to him. Still, he kneels down beside Ruth on the ground, putting a messy hand on her back. \"Yes, good… alright. Th-thank you for… coming to save me. That was…\" He blinks slowly. \"Properly horrifying.\"\n\nDespite the fact that there's several layers of clothing between his hand and her back, Ruth still jerks away from the touch and puts a trembling hand up, palm-out, mutely requesting space as her stomach continues its violent rejection of the creature's blood. Given a minute or two, when there's simply nothing left to be retched up, she pushes back onto her knees and wipes at her mouth with the back of her hand.\n\nIt's then, of course, that she actually corners her eyes towards Daniel, and her hand slips from her mouth to the back of her neck as she studies him. Realization seems to dawn. \"Oh, bugger.\"\n\nDaniel puts his hand up and steps away from her when she jerks away, nodding and smiling. So he sits back and pulls his knees up to his chest.\n\nWhen she finally looks at him… well, he doesn't look so good. He's pale, sweaty, curled up tight and rocking very slightly. His pupils are wide, and he seems to be staring intently at something just past Ruth. Or maybe, somewhere in her chest. Whatever it is, judging by the look on his face, it's properly horrifying.\n\n\"Bugger,\" is muttered out again, after Ruth regards Daniel for a long moment. Lips pursing to a hard line, she wipes at her mouth and chin again before shoving up to her feet. A slightly more even breath is drawn in, then blown out through her nostrils as she starts to dig through her jacket pockets, looking for her phone. \"Sorry about that.\" —it's a flat sort of apology, but an apology offered to him nonetheless, even if she's staring down at the glowing screen of her phone as she utters it.\n\nShe taps at the screen a few times, then brings the phone to her ear, faded eyes remaining locked on Daniel as she waits for the other end to pick up.\n\n\"Right, it's James. Need a cleanup on the corner've…\" A quick glance is cast about, then she rattles off the address. \"and someone's goin' to need to come pick up the doctor.\"\n\nWhen Ruth starts to move, Daniel jerks in surprise, eyes slowly focusing on her. He stares at her for a moment, seemingly baffled… though he blinks and grins, forcing himself straighter and trying to relax. \"Sorry? Oh, no, this?\" He holds up his messy sleeves. \"This is fine. This will wash out… I think this will wash out. I'm fine. Everything is fine. Just fine.\" He's started to fade out again, eyes tracking something slowly rising into the sky with a look of fear and awe in his eyes. Until he jerks back to the real world again, and forces a smile at Ruth. \"How are you?\"\n\n\"I'm sure it will,\" Ruth answers flatly, regarding the stained state of Daniel's clothing, as she's disconnected the call and tucked her phone away again. She lifts a hand, the glove more or less ruined by the caustic blood that burnt through it, and walks bare fingers along the side of her throat—possibly feeling for cracks or… dents under the skin. Her neck will definitely be bruised for a few days.\n\n\"Well enough, it seems. Someone's comin' along to pick you up 'n bring you back to the lab. You're going to have a long night.\" There's no real trace of sympathy in her voice as she says that, turning her head to look towards the slumped, childlike form of the Other on the ground. She does, at least, add a quiet, \"Thank you. For helping me,\" but more or less ruins that by tacking on, \"Was stupid've of you to be wandering about alone.\"\n\n\"Good. Good good. Good…\" Daniel blinks heavily at Ruth, sucking in a deep breath. He tugs at his collar. \"You… you come into my office later, okay? I'll… take a look at you. It's the least I can do, really…\" He cracks a small smile. \"You saved my life, after all.\"\n\nRuth slants a look back at Daniel, with just a hint of warmth crossing her features for a moment. \"Sure, doctor. I'll drop in tomorrow afternoon, shall I?\" Surely he'll be done hallucinating by then. Lucky for him that he didn't touch her any longer than he did. She slides both hands into the front pockets of her jacket, weight shifting on her heels in a restless fashion, and turns her head towards the street. Waiting."
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