Charity

Summary:
December 24, 2014: Doug approaches the Suicide Slums with charitable intent and is receive with a bit more then thanks.

Suicide Slums

Metropolis' downtrodden


Characters

NPCs

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  • <Use same pattern for all npcs>

Mood Music:
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Every Christmas, Doug's parents had preached the idea of charity and goodwill towards all men. At times, though, this was too easily forgotten in the commercial bustle. Scavenging -some- of Berto's surplus budget, Doug did what he could. To donate to charity was one thing, but sometimes, it was better to do it person to person.

One such area, where he'd noticed the 'tent city' that sprung up there, was such a stop.

It wasn't easy, and he'd borrowed a scroungy station wagon, the better for the environment. So one might not think too much of it, at least not until Doug sets up a small table nearby. When pressed on what it was for, though, Doug'd grinned. "Just call whoever needs food and invite them here, will you?"

In the Suicide Slums, it is best that you ride in on something that has little to no worth, because if you don't you will leave with it that way, or with nothing. Sometimes even your life was questionable.

But it's the holidays, even the homeless have a lighter attitude, from the pale gazes that stare from the shadows either with anger or weariness, they hold a mirth, a release. The tarps propped on abandoned spools, palettes and strung up with rope and wire glow from the inside with smaller fires that only seem like sparks in comparison to the stretch of bonfires, beating back the cold and the silent fall of thick snow.

The booth draws attention though, and those that did not go collect or simply desired a hot meal came forward to Doug's table, smiling at him and offering 'thank you's' amongst the Merry Christmas wishes and jagged toothed grins.

It can make you feel light hearted, weightless, warm without the need of a fire to see the greatfulness shine and know your selfless act caused this line of light…

Until a rather large dog comes to the end of the table and steals a large loaf of the day old french bead, running off towards dancing shadows.

The table was simple enough, and Doug'd been careful enough to note the hobo graffiti on the walls that gave codes to those homeless to guide them to 'goodwill' and towards sanctuary. He'd even added to it on previous days.

"Hey!" exclaims Doug as he turns just in time to see the dog sneak off with the loaf. After a moment, though, he has to laugh at the sauciness of the dog with the loaf. "Guess he needed it badly too. Well good luck to him too. Now then, a sandwich?

Just before the large canine met the darkness a girl extended her hand, the animal stopping and dropping it within and pacing, a dance that kept it from fully meeting the light of the fires, evading what the truth could reveal, and behind it two silhouettes do the same.

There is more.

"Sandwich." The girl states, hazel gaze set in kohl lined eyes and rimmed in dark skin dancing with artwork of embedded lines from the slender column of neck and disappearing beneath the clothing. Long black hair hung in loose waves around her face, the slightest of breeze moving it like a wave, even the small pleated strands that came from behind and fell over her shoulder, weighted by beads.

The coat was old, a worn suede or faux leather, worn down in spots and dirtied, the 'fur' trim at the collar and opening of sleeve at one point used to be white, now a dingy sooty hue in most parts if not brown, but it still served its purpose. Warmth. Jeans covered her legs, justr as torn and tattered, the boots at her feet though bore heavy soles not meant to wear down so easily and over time, laced up to just below calves, though the waterproofed and stained leather has seen harsh days but kept fast.

"Do you have meat?" Her chin rises slowly, a show of how she is still trying to maintain pride while asking, but sometimes it is harder to hunt when surrounded by metal, brick and in the dead of winter.

Having not given the dog further thought, it's quite surprising when the silhouette emerges, with the canine in tow.

The girl's hazel eyes is met with Doug's quizzical blue eyes, as he turns his attention from the table towards her.

The intriguing artwork draws his attention first, as Doug tries to get a read off of the young girl's body language. There's a small smile at first that fades quickly, so as to not offend her pride. It was, apparently, important to her, and so Doug keeps it simple, his body language open and welcoming, as he motions towards the table. "Ham, turkey, cheese… well, cheese's not meat, but if you want some dairy, there it is. Lettuce, tomatoes… Help yourself. And uh… I suppose if your … dog?… wants some, he can have some too. There's more in the car."

Glancing to the line that was slowly dwindling down of the local residents, Kida waited. Not out of pride as it turned out, but to let them go first and get what was left when most were done with at least round one.

"Flea." Kida says to one man as he comes up for round two and she steps in. Apparently what they called him as he grinned and went to take another loaf as well as a cup of soup, reaching for the ham and turkey slices until the trio of large 'dogs' emerge and circle, sticking to their shadow dance.

"We have not eaten yet." Her words are few and to the point enough the man nods and backs away with the soup and loaf, nodding his acquiescence.

Standing before Doug now she rips open the loaf and lines it with what meat would just cover it, as well as cheese and garnish. But once her serving is mapped she pulled the cheese and meat off it and tosses it to the canines.

"Not dogs."

Not pride, then. And certainly not dogs. "You the leader?" Doug inquires, arching an eyebrow at the way she had others eat before herself. That and the air of command.

Regarding the 'dogs', Doug blinks, opening his mouth before closing it, knowing full well that he was about to gape like a goldfish, and needing to avoid being teased about such things. "Ah… so they're… what are they?" Better to let her explain, then, as he piles up what he can for more sandwiches for the others. After a moment, he sets one aside for Kida. "Name's Doug Ramsey. I'm from… upstate." Right. What was he to say that didn't make it sound like charity?

The canines eat the meat, letting it hit the ground and sniffing before they snare it up and swallow it in swift snaps of jaws. Hazel eyes are watching as she smashes the loaf in between fingers and hands, making sure it flattens completely, inspecting before she dips her lettuce and tomato sandwich into the soup, stirring it up for inspection as well before she eats…Slowly.

Habit with the woman and the beasts, though she stops chewing when Doug inquires, snorting and watching him like she was waiting for him to say 'just kidding!' and laugh. It didn't come, so once she swallows and wipes her lips with the back of that dirty furred sleeve she states in that curt manner; matter of factly.

"Wolves. No leader, this is not mine to claim." She says sweeping out across the tent city and stirs her soup with her bread slowly.

Rather than pay too much attention to the young girl, Doug is more circumspect, reading by the body language of the homeless and adjusting it so that subconsciously, they can at least feel like he's blending in rather than being aloof. Making sure to discuss DaCosta a bit, seeing if there were some people who -could- use a helping hand up and leaving others to do as they will, Doug returns his attention to the girl once she's done, quirking a smile at the wolves. "Uh… so they're not yours to claim either…?" Motioning around, Doug thinks about it. "Let us say… they look to you to settle things when necessary?" he offers. Like a mediator.

"They are all their own." Kida says as she finishes eating and tosses the paper into a burning fire near them that the wolves avoid the direct light of while they lay in wait to see if more gets tossed their way, some of the homeless do in passing, other cast them wary gazes and shuffle back to their respective homes.

Kida now steps aside and lowers to a crouch near enough to keep speaking to Doug after giving him a once over, the lack of trust evident, but curiousity is there in hazel eyes. "I am as much a stranger as you." There it is, why the regard from the local people is careful but accepting enough for the moment it lasts.

"You don't live around here then…?" Doug inquires, another sandwich made up and then handed out to the next indigent. At the least, it was -something- he could do for the moment. The soup kitchens and directions for 'help', he'd already done up in hobo graffiti on the walls, something that lent them shelter. Although if she were as much a stranger here as he was, that might explain less about why she wasn't waiting for food from the onset.

Tilting his head to nod at Kida, Doug hesitates a bit. "So, I'm guessing your name is -not- Dances with Wolves, and I -really- hope it's not 'Stands with A Fist' either," he says, with a grin, before letting it fade. "Uh, Kevin Costner. Movie… nevermind."

The next homeless that received the sandwich, though had heard plenty, at least enough to allow desparation and greed surface. "DaCosta can afford far more then this." The young ragged man pulls a gun from his hoody and sights the glock down upon Doug, causing the others in line to scatter, rows of eyes peering out from the slits in faux walls as the chorus of warning cries as well as gossip ripples along the shoreline.

"You have got to have more, this is bullshit!" He gestures with the barrel of the weapon from the table back to Doug. "DaCosta has some /balls/, man."

The red headed youth now stares at Doug, glimpsing over towards Kida as she rocks forward and comes to a stand, shifting his aim between them briefly.

"Don't be stupid girl." Both her hands go up and she gestures her fingers towards the tents. "Home." Oh, so -now- she claims them!

Great. What was it Berto said? Sometimes doing good could be -very- stupid, especially doing it on his own because he thought he owed people something.

"Well, see, this is more of a personal touch, I thought," Doug offers, holding his hands up. "There's more to be done, but people who don't -exist- in the system, people who slip through the cracks… those are the people we're going to try and reach out for. So… want to put down the gun and we'll talk?"

"No, you stay. Don't move. I ain't stupid…. Where's your.." The assailants question is interrupted by the rapid shift in shadows and one of the wolves barrels forward, leaping into the man, massive jaws clamping down on his weapon bearing hand to force the release of the weapon. The gun goes off in the panic and sudden confusion. His question is answered in that second though and in the other Kida has a stick withdrawn. She is leaping forward, shouting rapidly at her canine companion in another language making him leave as she lands on the other side of the table between Doug and the homeless youth as he picks himself up off the snow and sand covered ground.

"Da'a yahgwdan!" Kida shouts at him, that stick glowing along the etched shaft, old inscriptions reacting in neon effigy as the spear now comes forth and expands, ending its tip just below the others chin.

"You serious, bitch?" He curses as he clutches his hand and glowers at them both.

That she was commanding the wolf to force the boy to have -respect- in… he wasn't sure what -language- it was… Haida? and then telling the boy the same thing…

"Um… she's telling you to have respect," Doug translates, hands still up in the air, digesting what'd just happened. "And apparently she's going to tell her wolves to make sure you do. Want to just, uh, chalk this up to a discussion and have it at another time…? I'm sure Mr. DaCosta would be happy to discuss what more he could be doing, but I'm afraid I'm just doing this on my own time at the moment…"

"Naw man, fuck that. Just tell your boss pissing on us and calling it rain is a mockery coming from the likes of him." The red head looks at Kida and goes for his gun, to which that alight spear spins and is jabbed downward at his already injured hand, threatening to stigmata the violation if he attempts further.

"You gotta be kidding me /Tattoo/, let me have my gun." He hisses between his teeth with that name, apparently her nickname she's earned amongst the murmurings of the little tent city.

"No." Simple, one word, and wen he goes for it again she thrusts the spear down which causes him to withdrawal with a loud curse, his hand now bleeding.

"Fuck you both." And as quickly as it came, he left. Kida bending to pick up the glock, engage the safety and pocket it.

"You speak my language?" His turn to be the object of a barrage of questions.

"Where are you from?" Now she is walking around the table to his side, leaning in to inspect him, that spear at her side poking him lightly, but none the less it is inspecting prods. trying to figure him out like he just became /alive/ to her.

"Why are you really here DaCosta?" Now she even looks under the table while her canines come even closer, now not avoiding the flame.

"Well, uh… thanks." Considering how to explain it, Doug simplifies things to a nod. "I can speak your language. Actually, I can speak any language," he offers. "And uh… I wanted to try and do something outside the usual 'soup kitchen' work, you know? I mean, go down and see if we can do something more on the ground level."

Shifting around uncomfortably, Doug adds, "I'm -Ramsey-. Doug Ramsey," a bit petulantly. "DaCosta's a friend of mine, and I thought maybe we could try doing some work on a ground level instead. I'm from New York, the suburbs."

Kida just gives up the search with a snappy discard of one of the ends of the 'tablecloth' they had lain over the serving table for the food, looking him up and down before she withdraws her spear and the shaft rotates slowly, like clockwork as the glowing glyphs fade and the spear shrinks back to stick form.

"Well, /Ramsey/. Thank you, but perhaps it is best now you go back to the suburbs where you're safe." The tone did not sound condescending, nor snide it just sounded as she was from the first moment. Blunt, honest.

The tattoo's glow that frames her face fades, and Doug joins her in the peeking underneath the tables. "So what are…"

And then she gives up her search, and Doug finishes his question above the table. "… you looking for?"

Wincing at the straightforward comment, Doug instead shakes his head. "I could, but I knew the risks when I came here. Might as well stick it out and not let one guy ruin it for everyone else." At the least, he'd stick it out for the moment.

After a moment, he inquires, "I've got to admit, I've never heard your language before. Where do you come from?"

"Tech you don't have." There's something! There's emotion! It's relief, and it shows in the light slump of her squared shoulders, but there are multiple reasons why.

"At least you have a good outlook." Pause. "Those get you killed." Tucking the reformed spear at the small of her back beneath the coat she smooths the layers of clothing back into place and resumes her crouch after taking another piece of bread and making a sandwich like before, ritually doing as she did before and feeding the meat to the canines.

"Another place." Glancing at him she looks back out towards the fires as she speaks. "A place that… When the lofty come down from their…/suburbs/, it is not good for people like us…"

"I've already died once. It's not all it's crackd up to be," Doug replies, as he makes another sandwich, this time leaning back on the wall and then taking a bite. "I mean, it's cold, and I wouldn't recommend it on anyone, but it's not -awful-."

Looking back at… "So, the place you're from has a habit of creating glowing tattoos, or is that all you?"

Kida's look at Doug is suspect yet again, her head is tilted and those featherlight strands of black fall across her pale hazel eyes as she inspects him from toe to head and back again. "Only the people from above can come back again. There's no coming back from death if you're from here." Her voice wavers with a slow and trained ire, one that makes her cheeks flush.

Her time with Reese told her things were different here, this was a new place and not where she came from, it was better down to the TeeVee Dinners, but looking at Doug and hearing him (save for his kindness) everything in her was screaming to run, to hide… Or to take his head and celebrate her victory.

"It's the only technology we could afford." Or steal, let's leave it at 'legal'.

Kida's look at Doug is suspect yet again, her head is tilted and those feather-light strands of black fall across her pale hazel eyes as she inspects him from toe to head and back again. "Only the people from above can come back again. There's no coming back from death if you're from here." Her voice wavers with a slow and trained ire, one that makes her cheeks flush.

Her time with Reese told her things were different here, this was a new place and not where she came from, it was better down to the TeeVee Dinners, but looking at Doug and hearing him (save for his kindness) everything in her was screaming to run, to hide… Or to take his head and celebrate her victory.

"It's the only technology we could afford." Or steal, let's leave it at 'legal'.

"Well there are ways, but that usually involves magic, or some sort of science that's indistinguishable from magic," Doug admits. "I'm not quite sure which it was, in my case, anyway, but it happens… and not necessarily just to people from above. Seems like all kind of people do…" Doug replies, rubbing his head, before following it up quickly. "And uh, I feel like I should tell you that this eye twitch you've got going is telling me that you're thinking about doing -something- and I'm not sure I'm going to like it, so please don't do it."

When Doug speaks of magic and science in the same sentence and does so casually her lips part and then seal, the suspicion there in a gaze that becomes steely and studious, her hand having gone to her back once more to feel for that spear and ensure the solidity is there, reinforcing her spine.

So much new here, and she has to get used to it. "Do your scientists not hunt and kill those blessed at birth?" Her words are very steady, as if they are a cord stretched thin that would not even move when plucked.

The steely gaze tells Doug that he's said something wrong, hence the "Uh…" as he works on extraditing himself. "Blessed…? Hunting… well, normally, uh, we don't -hunt- babies. Well, there -are- schmucks who hunt baby animals, but that's… something else entirely."

Rubbing the back of his neck fidgetingly, Doug amends that. "Well, the -scientists- I know personally don't. There're some who -would-, and they're the ones to steer clear of, or arrest." Canting his head, Doug adds, "So… uh, this isn't your world, is it?"

Doug's word are read, his body language did nothing to put her at ease, stepping forward to move towards him and gain closer inspection, pacing in a slow circle around him much like those canines that kept thir distance, but the glow the fires cast off their eyes show their presence is still there.

"No. It is not." Now to test him, one hand lowers and a small gesture with the slightest curl of fingertips beckons one of her beasts forth while she ensures none are watching, and when its head touches down upon her hand the /sound/ precedes the imagery, the animal seemingly crumbling, folding in on itself as she absorbs it. Her forearm ripples, skin shifting and resettling and once tattoo free skin from elbow down becomes alive, inkwork forming to bear the animals effigy in an old archaic etching or Haida art. "I fell through on the tails of Nameless fire. My people saved me." Putting her here was supposedly safe. Kida will see about that.

Pulling back a bit in surprise, Doug steadies himself. "Geez! That's… you gave me a start!"

Placing his hand over his heart, Doug takes several deep breaths, watching the Haida art dance. "So, was that something you were born with, or did you get it later?"

"Is it any other way? The Blessed are born this way, though the Nameless leaders call us the Blight, the Lies. The Fallacies." Kida states as the other two wolves now come loping towards them, mouths open, tongues lolled forth but they seem at ease as they both press large muzzles into her hand and follow suit, more inkwork spreading along her arm, the three wolves in dance in defined line art over her skin.

"We are killed at birth if they know of us." Her eyes keep focused upon Doug now, her head tilting. "Are there more like me here? Are they safe? /Your/ scientists are safe?"

"Well…" Doug hesitates. "Some of us were hunted since birth too, by ignorant people. Others are acting to protect them too. I mean, we have our own prejudices too…"

Glancing about, reconsidering the place, Doug sighs. "I could -check- for you in a better location… like back at the DaCosta building. But… this, here, I don't know… I would need to be able to find out if there were more… immigrants." He hesitates. "Is there something that you'd call yourself?"

"I meant more like me of -this- place." Kida asks, there is a glimmer of excitement, she does not have to hide? She'd be more accepted? That'd mean there'd be more of her type and they'd be more open too?

Kida does not ask yet, though she wants to and is topped by her questions, even those about others from her world, her lips sealing into thin lines as that glimmer of light returns to slight suspicion. "I don't want to go to a building in your suburb. I am the only one here. I am Kida. These people call me Tattoo." For reasons evident when she rolls up both her coats sleeves and unbuttons it, the midrift shirt leaving her abdomen bare to show the paw print there and the beginnings of more over her hip, disappearing behind. "It fits, I like it."

"If there were more of you… and I assume they don't -all- do things with tattoos the way you do… we should be able to find out. I mean, some of us have powers too, it's just… different for some people. Sometimes it's a curse, sometimes it's a blessing… I'm going on here."

An eyebrow arches, then. "Y… yes, that's a good name. Tattoo. I like it. I suppose…uh. You know how to find places around here…?"

"I'm the only one." Kida states, rather clipped and her gaze sets on Doug with a slow surfacing anger at his insistence. It says miles but gives nothing away along the way.

The anger dissipates, jesus the girl must be bi-polar, but it only fades when he confirms others have powers here as well. "You said us.." Now Kida is popping his personal bubble to shit and touching his jacket, pulling down the lapel, looking at the nape of his neck pushing his hair out of the way and if he does not pull away she plucks a strand of hair and inspects it. "That means you too, right? What can you do? Call winds, start fires, manipulate nature? Eat the sun?" She's like a kid that was just allowed to -be- the princess she had been hiding all along.

Don't worry, she'll chill out, eventually.

"I… um…" Yes. This wasn't working well. "Well, we'll just check then. And um, I can show you both the good and the bad… you ever seen a computer before…?" Get a grip, Doug, just because she was from another world didn't mean she was a luddite, for chrissakes.

Shuffling his feet awkwardly. Doug sighs. "Well yes, I have a power… I, uh… I'm an omnilinguist. Anything that can convey information…? I can decode and translate it."

"I don't know my way too well here, this is not like home. Home these buildings are levelled, some burnt. What remains is few, craters so we cannot hide well." Kida explains to the question she heard but did not answer until she drops the plucked thread of his hair and blinks at him when he explains what he is.

"Computers are for the rich and the Science. No. Is that how you understood me?" Kida reaches for him and then hesitates, drawing her hand back. She could tell it made him uncomfortable so she settles for fidgeting.

"Y… yes, it's how I understood you. And computers are pretty much for anyone who can get one, not just the rich or scientists…" Doug replies, offering a smile. "Look, how about you just come by the DaCosta building in the morning and we'll look through everything together?"

"I don't know where it is. Leave marks, I'll follow them in the morning." Pausing hazel gaze watches him, curious, full of questions, and yet there's that back burning flame, a hairtrigger that wants pulled to not trust him, to run him through and run away. If he is one of them she'll know before morning. She'll be dead.

"I don't go inside." Yep, line drawn.

"Oh right. You'd prefer them in your lan… you know what… hold on."

Grabbing a stray napkin, Doug fishes around for a pen, and then starts scribbling out general directions in Haida, complete with landmarks, as well as the address. "If you run into trouble, just ask them to point you to the building. And uh… you don't go inside…?" Wince. "Well, most of the stuff is inside, but I suppose I could work out a remote connection. Berto's going to be curious about this, though. We'll just cross that bridge when we get to it."

Leaning forward like a dog twice beaten and still wondering about a kind hand she is peering down as he writes things out. A single brow rises as she watches him do so flawlessly in a language very few know unless they /are/ Haida. Yes it's his ability but it's disconcerting. Though in the end, what magical abilities are not. It is why they are the Lies.

Plucking the napkin from him she shoves it in her pocket, backing up and pausing only to grab some more bread, meat, cheese and garnishings in a hasty scoop and shuffle while never tearing her eyes from him.

"I don't mind bridges, that works. Berto's bridge in the morning." Kida nods and then sinks back into the shadows with her sandwich.


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