Poltergeist

November 04, 2014:

South Point - Gotham City

South Point consists of the trendy yet dangerous attraction of Sheldon Park,
the upscale and relatively secluded Robbinsville it's desolate Cape Carmine
and the Lighthouse there and the poverty stricken crime overburdend Park Row.

South Point is a blend of opportunities and communities that don't hold any
one crowd above the other aside from crime. Crime is capital here and it
doesn't seem to descriminate. One can find upscale living, poverty, blue
collar and the entertainment industries all around this region.

A sizable chunk of the bay is warehousing and shipbuilding; one can also find
ferries and passenger ships ready to transport people near anywhere in Gotham
or beyond.

Characters

NPCs: Lockheed

Mentions:

Mood Music: Spirit in the Sky- Norman Greenbaum


Fade In…

Constantine flies across the room and hits the wall, hard, sideways. He drops four feet and slams into the concrete floor with an 'ooof', scrambling awkwardly for traction with his Oxford shoes and his callused hands. He makes it about ten feet before a chair, previously immobile, is hurled at him. In the movies, chairs break when you hit someone with them. In real life, chairs break people. Constantine moans in pain, then with a motion of pure desperation, hurls himself out the window.

Glass shatters, breaking the quiet hum of Gotham at night, and Constantine falls a good two stories. His fall is miraculously broken by a late-night newsstand, the roof of which he smashes through. People scream and scatter, a car abruptly pulls into the street as the driver panic, and a cross-town bus screeches to a halt on the worn asphalt, prevented from moving forward temporarily.

The last time Kitty Pryde was in Gotham, she was attacked by large bats and goblins. Why she comes back here is anyone's guess. However, she and Lockheed were actually buying a newspaper at the newsstand when the telltale sound of breaking glass heralds the arrival of one John Constantine. In a moment, the mutant phases as the others scatter. A normal person's defense mechanism is to flee - hers is to phase.

The brunette looks up for a moment from where Constantine fell before peeking her head through the wall of the newsstand to find check after the man who cannot fly. "Are you okay?!" Blue eyes immediately start scanning him for immediate injury. She can't actually touch him without solidifying - something she's not quite willing to do just at the moment. "I hate to tell you this, but you just fell through a window!" Because, hey, maybe he doesn't know.

Constantine's eyes open and loll a bit, but the ragged-looking Brit gets to his feet with a few awkward motions, slipping on the stacks of magazines that broke his fall. "Bloody hell, that smarts," he groans, standing and putting a hand to his lower back. He moves towards the newsstand counter and kind of rolls over it, landing on his feet with a wince. He looks up at the window he'd fallen through and fishes for a cigarette. "Buggering little shits," he swears. "I hate poltergeists. Give me a standing fight with a demon any day." He reaches into his trenchcoat for a flask and takes a belt from it, then turns and looks at Kitty. "I know you from somewhere, don't I?" Constantine asks, eyes narrowed. Behind him, from that second-story window, a ghostly blue apparition appears. No one on the street seems to notice it. It swoops silently down to ground level, followed by one, two, then a third.

"You best be off, girl. Dangerous things afoot-!" The first blue apparition grabs Constantine by his chest and with a fast motion, hurls him over a car and onto the pavement. Constantine lands with a grunt and staggers to his feet, producing a bottle of clear water from one pocket and a handful of salt from the other. "Omnius potentia, repartee de defendarum," Constantine chants in a low voice. At some imagined sound he tosses a few grains of salt in one direction- nowhere near the blue apparition. It's apparent Constantine can no more see the ghosts than anyone else on the street- save, apparently, for Kitty Pryde.

While Kitty may be forgettable, the little purple dragon on her shoulder tends to be a bit more memorable. At the question of whether he knows her, the woman tilts her head a moment. "Oh, hey, I think you do. Briefly. When Lockheed turned into a unicorn." It's an event that's hard to forget, but she rarely thinks of the people that were also there. "You were the magician."

While the phased mutant doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry, or bothered, by the fact that a man just fell through a window, the sudden appearance of a blue apparition grabbing Constantine certainly gets her attention. Straightening, she runs forward toward, through the car, to stand near the man in the trench coat. It's evident that the girl does not run away from a fight. "You can't see them, can you?" She asks, though she already thinks she knows the answer. The salt he tossed completely in the opposite direction sort of indicates that. "The blue things that are tossing you around." Reaching forward, she attempts to grab him by the arm, experimenting. Maybe if he's phased like she is, he'll be able to see them.

Kitty's hand passes right through Constantine- he's as flesh and blood as anyone else running around the street. "See them? What, you can /see/ them?" Constantine demands, whirling on Kitty. He passes a hand through her midsection experimentally. "They're blue?" he asks. "Odd, I wouldn't have guessed that. I wonder why they're blue." He mulls that over for a few moments. "Doesn't that strike you as a bit off?" he asks Kitty conversationally. "I mean, I would have guessed they'd be … I don't know, red. Angry, you know?"

One of the blue apparitions slowly rises behind Constantine, and in the whorling mist of shades of azure, a set of near-fangs can be seen. "Damn, that's going to keep me up tonight," Constantine mutters, unaware of the threat behind him.

"Hey!" Kitty frowns at Constantine when he passes his hand through her midsection. Immediately, she crosses her arms in front of her, annoyed. "Watch where you're pushing. At least I tested you on your arm. And, yes, I can." The displeased expression turns to something more along the lines of bemused curiosity as he starts to talk to her as if she must know what he's talking about. "I don't know what color ghosts are supposed to be. I didn't even realize ghosts had color coding." Or, really, that ghosts were real, but in a world where she can move through walls, who's she to say what is normal.

As he talks, her expression turns from amusement to surprise. "Oh! Ah! Behind you!" Solidifying her hand for a moment, she snakes it forward to grab the solid Constantine and drag him forward toward her and out of harm. It would also pull him into being phased with her and Lockheed.

"What th-!" Constantine lurches a step forward, barely avoiding the crush of ethereal jaws, and spins to look over his shoulder. "Bloody hell!" he yells. "I can see it now! What did you do?" he demands of Kitty, not taking his eyes off the ghost. It opens the jaws in a soundless snarl and glides forward a half-pace. Constantine's hand snaps out and the salt flies from his fingers, materializing in mid-air. It hits the ghost like a blast from a shotgun, dozens of large holes appearing in the apparition's torso. It screams, audibly, and in pain, and retreats. The other apparitions, closing in, swoop backwards a few steps, clearly shocked by Constantine's attack, or at least surprised enough to check their animal instincts.

"I have to finish the ritual to exorcise them," Constantine mutters to Kitty. "Here. Holy water," he explains, passing a small squirt-gun to the girl. "It'll drive them off if they get too close. Look out for me, eh?" He gives Kitty's hand a squeeze and reaches into another pocket of his trenchcoat, producing a small, laminated index card. He starts reading from it in a strong, clear voice, the words sounding vaguely Latinate in origin.

"I didn't do anything!" Kitty replies defensively. "Well, I mean, I phased you! Or, well, I brought y—nevermind! Why is it trying to eat you?!" The mutant has seen quite a few strange things - including demons inhabiting people - but there's something about seeing a ghost's fanged maw coming for them that is a unsettling enough to get her to panic just slightly. There's always something a bit terrifying when dealing with such an unknown factor. Pulling Constantine back with her, she looks about at the others starting to close in on them.

When she's given the squirt-gun, Kitty stares at it and then back up to Constantine with a look of disbelief. "You can't be serious," she mutters, holding up the toy filled with holy water. "I'm holding off fanged carnivorous ghosts with a water gun? It's not even a super soaker." However, this is his show. He's the one that knows that ghosts have some sort of color coding and she does not. "Watch my back, Lockheed," she says softly as she points the business end of the small squirt-gun toward the blue creatures, expression now serious with concentration.

It's a bizarre fight, but a fight nonetheless. Despite being a child's toy, the squirt gun proves more than effective. A single languid spritz from the nozzle makes the ghosts burst open as if a seam had ruptured, blue and white fire consuming them in a momentary conflagration, before they retreat again. The anguish on their non-faces is clear to read, seared and agonized by the holy water.

Constantine continues to read from the index card, chanting in a confident, strong voice, utterly relying on Kitty to fend off the ghosts. His voice builds to a slow crescendo, until it echoes off the walls of the buildings around them. Something grabs the poltergeists as he nears the finish of the incantation, rooting them in place. They scream silently, discorporeal arms flailing, and then when Constantine finishes the spell they all stretch upwards and stiffen, then burst into eye-searing flames, visible only to Kitty and Constantine. In moments, they vanish, leaving behind only dark marks on the concrete.

Keeping her sights on the strange blue ghosts, Kitty squirts. She only feels ridiculous the first time, eyes widening at the effect the holy water has on the creatures in front of her. Not exactly circling, but keeping close to Constantine, she spritzes only when needed - unsure of how long the incantation he's reciting is and not wanting to run out of water in the small spritzer.

As the ghosts are rooted in place and then burst into flames, Kitty quickly shields her eyes. It's not fast enough though, so as she opens her eyes again, she blinks a few times in an attempt to get rid of the bright flash burned there for a few moments. In the time it takes her acclimate, she drops the phasing and wordlessly holds out the water gun to him, eyes focused on the dark marks left behind.

Constantine straightens, wincing a bit and clutching at what's probably one or two cracked ribs, and accepts the nearly empty watergun from Kitty. He looks around the area, but seeing nothing, wipes at his eyes to clear the crackling remnants of the apparitions demise and moves towards one of the smudges, stooping and poking at it experimentally. Finding nothing more than slightly scorched asphalt, he rises and looks at Kitty.

"Nicely done," he says, a bit grudgingly. "They broke my protection circle in the house, clever bastards. I thought if I left the room they'd leave me alone, but… well, I suppose I riled them up enough to get them to chase me." He makes a cigarette appear from thin air and lights up, puffing a few times. The magician takes a few steps towards Kitty, scrutinizing her. "Glad you were here. They probably would have eaten me alive if you hadn't wandered by."

Kitty reaches out for Constantine as he rises to help him. Cracked ribs are no joke. While they may not be as bad a angry ghosts, however, they certainly can be harmful. "You should get to a doctor," she says before trying to make any sense of this whole episode. "I'm pretty sure falling out of a window isn't good for your health."

Then, Kitty looks back at the smudges on the asphalt and back to him. "Uh, sure. Glad I could help. I'm not exactly sure what it is you just all said, but it doesn't sound all that good." The ever curious Cat can't help but ask, "Why does salt and water affect them? That doesn't really seem like it would make sense." Then, she looks around and realizes they're still in the middle of the street. Slowly, she starts to walk toward the sidewalk and from there, look around for a place for Constantine to sit down.

Constantine willingly lets Kitty guide him to a convenient pot full of dead plants, untended by the city. He sits on the edge of the concrete bowl and takes a swig from a silver flask, then offers it to Kitty for a moment. "It's not that it harms them. It's that salt is a symbol of purity," Constantine explains. "So is iron. Ghosts go against the natural order of things," he says, with a slight wheeze. "Holy water works pretty similar- it burns them, because they're mostly batshit insane, evil monsters. Water sanctified by a devout man hurts them." He tries to sit up, winces, and rests his elbows on his knees again. "But it won't kill them. You have to destroy them with the proper incantation and set their spirits to rest. Hence the index cards," he says, patting his breast pocket.

"Man, the things I miss out on by being Jewish." Kitty gently helps Constantine to the pot and sets him down on it. At the offer of the flask, she studies it for a moment before taking it. First she sniffs to try and get a read on what the actual contents are and if it doesn't seem to be vile, she'll swig and pass it back. "Is this a Catholic School thing? The holy water, the Latin phrases?" Once perched next to him on the makeshift seat, Lockheed finally dislodges himself from Kitty's shoulder and moves around to sniff and study the magician. "Can it be any devout man? I mean, there are people who worship the devil. They may not want to bless water, but if they did, would it be as effective?" It may not be the best question, but it's certainly something she's curious about.

At the wince, she moves forward again. "We really should get you to the emergency room. Or a doctor, at least."

Constantine narrows his eyes and looks askance at Kitty for a few long moments. "Blimey," he says, finally. "You're full of a lot of questions. It's not a Catholic thing," he explains, still massaging his ribs. "And it's not properly Latin. It's a language developed by Coptic priests that's meant for addressing spirits. If I was dealing with a dybbuk, I'd be speaking Mishnai. There are some entities you can address with just English," he explains. He juts his chin at the broken window. "It's a bit too complicated to explain proper, not unless you've got a few years to sit down and study evocation. And yes," he says, grunting slightly with a shift of his weight, "any holy man can bless water. It takes faith in a higher power is all- I once met a bloody atheist who could sanctify water," he chuckles. He immediately winces, though a pained smile stays on his face.

At the look and the observation, Kitty shrugs and grins. "I don't like not knowing things." And, so, when she finds someone that knows more about it, she's going to ask a lot of questions. "That's interesting. Belief based. So, can anyone do magic? Or is this like a Harry Potter thing where you're born into it?" Realizing she's, again, asking more questions, the grin turns a bit sheepish. "Sorry, I shouldn't make you keep talking when you're hurt." Standing up, she offers a hand. "Come on, I'm going to get you some place where you can get bandaged up. Those ghosts aren't going to come back for you or anything, are they?"

"Eventually," Constantine grunts at Kitty's question. "Everything seems to. For now, though, they've been put to rest." At her insistance, Constantine takes Kitty's hand and rises, still clutching his ribs. He considers her first question as he limps along, leaning on Kitty for more support than he'd probably prefer. "The theory is that anyone can learn some magic, but I've met some folk who couldn't light a candle after months of instruction. It has to do with how your brain is wired," Constantine explains slowly, measuring his breath and his words to protect his ribs. "It's all tied up in intent. If you scratch an Eye of Horus on your door without having real focus, it's no better than graffiti if a demon comes knocking. You've got to genuinely believe that it will protect you. That's why-" he grunts, slipping a bit, then recovers his steps. "you can't just wear a cross and ward off a ghost. You've got to believe it will protect you. Holy people- truly devout ones- can walk through the fires of Hell itself if their faith is strong enough."

"If you believe in Hell," Kitty smirks at Constantine with a grin. Despite the fact that she's been to Limbo and seen some very terrible things, she's never been a believer in the believer's counterpart. "So, it's basically Harry Potter. You need some big giant to come in and tell you 'Yer a Wizard'." That last part she attempts to do in a truly horrendous British accent. She's not mocking Constantine, she's attempting to quote Hagrid.

Moving through the streets, she keeps an arm around the taller wizard, supporting him as best she can. Clearly helping the matter, Lockheed flutters down and perches on Kitty's head. As the man slips just a bit, she grips tighter - trying her best not to jostle him any further. "So, this is what you do? Jump out windows and fight ghosts?"

"Ghosts, demons, evil slime molds, angels, anything, really," Constantine says, shifting his arm so it rests on Kitty's shoulders. Fortunately, the hospital isn't terribly far away, the iconic red cross gleaming in the Gotham night. "I try not to fall out of windows too often, but sometimes a daring escape is called for."

"I've been to Hell, luv. It's very real," Constantine assures Kitty. "Don't go mistaking me for some gunslinging religious zealot. I hate supernaturals mucking about in the affairs of humans. Ghosts should have the decency to move on, and angels and demons can fight their bloody war anywhere else but on my turf."

"Angels." Kitty raises an eyebrow at Constantine, clearly thinking the pain of his ribs is making him start to talk about strange things. "Are you sure you weren't just in some form of Limbo?" At least she knows enough about some forms of magic to talk about Limbo. After all, her best friend is Illyana. Though, from what she's heard of Constantine's magic and Illyana's, they're both very different. "I've been to a few places in Limbo if you look at them wrong certainly look like those pictures of Hell I've seen. And I've definitely seen some demons in my day, but they weren't anything to do with the religious ones."

As the hospital nears, Kitty continues to steer them in the right direction. "I wasn't about to call you a gun-slinging religious zealot. I haven't seen you with a gun yet. At least, not with a gun that shoots bullets instead of water." She grins.

"Been to Limbo. Demense for demons who were smart enough to slip out of the Pit and set up a permanent residence there," Constantine informs the girl matter-of-factly. "Sometimes souls get lost there- the ones who were too conflicted in their lives to go to Heaven or Hell. Most of them either end up subjugated by a demon or trapped there for eternity as part of Limbo itself," he grunts. "A very few become masters in the domain, there. Intent matters in any world- ours, the Beyond, the Elsewheres," he tells the girl with a pained smile. "Someone with enough willpower and enough belief could reshape the cosmos. God himself arranged it that way," he chuckles, wincing. "The bastich that he is- giving humanity a chance to shape the entire universe, then sticking them on this sodding rock with no idea of their real potential."

"Same," Kitty tells Constantine. "Yeah, my old high school roommate—" she pauses, realizing she maybe shouldn't tell some guy on the street about Illyana ruling Limbo. "—took me." It's not a lie, as that is the only way she would have been able to travel there. "It was pretty trippy. And the demons were nothing to sneeze at."

There's no flinching or blinking at his mention of God. She doesn't wear a Star of David for nothing. While she may not be devout, she believes in God and the teachings for her temple. "God never made anything easy for a reason." She smiles. "And can you imagine how crazy the world would be if everyone could shape the universe?"

"She took you, eh?" Constantine grimaces a bit when he stumbles, his legs slowly stiffening from the impact of the fall. "Not exactly what I'd call charity. Limbo's a dangerous place for someone who isn't in the know about the elseworlds. A lost soul isn't terribly rare, but a living, breathing person? That's a lot of food for some of the things that live there," he tells Kitty, starting to stagger a bit, his arm tightening on her shoulders as he loses his balance. His face is slowly turning white.

"Imagine how beautiful …it would be if… everyone could shape the universe," Constantine says, his breath coming in a wheeze now. "Making creation a mosaic of existence. Not one… idea.. guiding it, but a billion or more." He almost falls, then, feet barely staying under him. "But… that blighter upstairs… doesn't want… a co-host for… his little… gameshow." His head starts listing, and it seems only some truly obdurate force of will is keeping him propelled towards the hospital.

"Yeah, she knows the place. We may be talking about different Limbos, though. I didn't even realize that was possible. The Limbo I went to was kind of an alternate reality that shifted and moved and could certainly change you." Maybe it is the same place. Kitty keeps diligently moving forward toward the hospital. They're not far now. "It wasn't exactly a picnic, but we all came back okay."

As Constantine's breath starts to come out in wheezes of pain, she attempts to quicken the pace as best she can without hurting him further. It's harder as he puts even more of his weight on her, but she half drags him along as best she can until they are right in front of the emergency room sliding doors. "I'm sure a lot of it would be beautiful. And then there would be a few who would attempt to tear down everyone else for their own amusement. Now, stop talking or you're going to pass out. Just concentrate on breathing slowly."

Constantine nods, or lolls his head slightly, and barely keeps his feet moving. He's clearly in shock, and the eupohric sensation of endorphins from the fight are wearing off, being replaced by nothing but white, blinding pain. He mumbles something more or less incoherent. When they finally step out of the darkness and into the floodlights of the hospital- passing from night into the safety of the light- a pair of paramedics see them and run to help, relieving Kitty of the load of Constantine and placing him on a stretcher. He sits, first, and with an agonized expression, removes his trench coat, holding it out for Kitty to take. "Don't lose it," he rasps, trying to catch Kitty's eye with a glance that is both full of pain and absolute determination. "Make sure it… gets back to me," he wheezes. "And don't go rummaging in the pockets." With that, his eyes roll up into his head and Constantine collapses onto the stretcher, where they promptly run him into the emergency room.

At the sudden relief of not carrying Constantine, Kitty straightens. The dragon on her shoulder stayed outside, peering through the glass curiously at the events happening inside. When Constantine gives her his trench coat, she carefully folds it over her arm without thinking. She follows the paramedics for a little while as the cart him off in a stretcher, but before long, she's not allowed to follow him. "Uh, okay. I'll do that." Then, she frowns and looks down at the coat in her arms. "Why do people keep giving me random things?" she sighs.

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