A Ninja's Dance
If it was possible to kill someone via phone, there would be a fair few phone company operators currently withering in the throes of death. No doubt the news reports of their mysterious demise would come as sweet revenge to the young woman currently doing battle down her land line.
"What? No! I don't want to upgrade my plan, this isn't a billing question either; I just want to know why I don't have reception anywhere! Is it a network coverage issue?" There was a pause as the underpaid lackey on the other end of the line attempted to diffuse the situation as best he could.
It didn't work.
"Of course it has a sim card! I'm working on one of your plans! Is that the problem? Has it not been activated properly? What? No…NO! Don't put me on…hold" The last word came out more like a frustrated sigh than anything else. How many sections did this company even have? She was sure she had spoken to every single one of them, probably several times. She knew what they were going to say when they eventually came back on the line as well, she'd been through it that many times.
"Just to clarify your information with you. Your name is Miss Judith Carter yes?" The young woman would then agree that yes, her name was Judith Carter, as it had been for the past 22 years; and probably ask if maybe the past 15ish people she had spoken to had forgotten to pass that information on.
"Ok, and your date of birth?" It was at about this time in the conversation that Judith would begin to formulate plots filled with fire and the burned remains of the wonderful company she was speaking with. But she kept those to herself as she answered the question with a calm and friendly voice.
"You're full address and phone number please?" She'd give the information slowly, spelling out street names and repeating her phone number twice. If she'd been having troubles remembering her new mobile number before, this experience had well and truly cemented it in her mind.
"Oh forget it" Judith finally muttered to the offensive elevator music blaring in her ear, clicking the hand held off and slamming it to the table.
There was a wash of calm as Judith settled into the silence of the room. No more elevator music, no more incompetent people, and no more repetitive questions. Yet, there was something in the back of her mind trying to pry its way into her breathing space.
As if on cue, the black mobile on the table beeped impatiently to remind her it didn't have service and couldn't verify her information. Ah yes. The phone, the expensive Iphone with all the extra's and none of the necessaries. Like reception. Or a manual for those with the technical competence obviously below the required level to operate the damn thing.
Though honestly, Judith didn't think she really needed a manual. She'd figured out how everything else on the phone worked, and she was pretty sure it wasn't a problem on her end. Usually she didn't have any real problems with technology in general. This particular phone however, seemed to revolve on a whole other plain. If she hadn't charged the battery and turned the thing on herself she would have declared it an alien species and have been done with it.
Taking a very deep breath, Judith raised herself from her chair and laboriously stretched out the kinks in her back and neck. She wasn't exactly sure how long she had been sitting at the desk with the home phone attached to her ear, but she knew it was probably enough for her to hate her phone bill and possibly her chiropractor bill too. Thinking about money made Judith cringe. As if the move here hadn't been enough, now she had to deal with the exchange rate.
Judith had never thought she would end up living in the US. Visiting on holidays, sure, but living? She'd entered the American green card lottery on a whim, thinking there was little to no chance that she would actually win it. She couldn't even win $2 on a scratchy, let alone a ticket into another country. Thus, some time later when the news had arrived on her doorstep offering her a chance at American citizenship she'd been completely floored as to what to do. Should she stay home and continue umming and ahhing over what she wanted to do with the rest of her life? Or should she take a leap of faith and do something so far out of her comfort zone it was making her sick just thinking about it? The decision had ultimately been made based on two reasons.
The first was that New York was a place Judith had grown up reading about and seeing in movies. She had been there on holidays once before when she was much younger so she felt she might be able to adapt if she was somewhat familiar with her surroundings. Though in reality she doubted there would be any similarities to what little she could recall.
But hell, If she was going somewhere to be completely unsure of herself, it would be there.
The second was a little bit more trivial. She'd spent too long moping around. She needed a change, a shock factor to help snap her back to life again.
When she had finally made the decision it had been a bit of a whirlwind to finalize all the paperwork. Then there had been a 6 month waiting period before the rush started again. She bought the plane ticket, found a place to live, packed, got everything sorted so she could get herself a job just as quickly as possible when she got there and say goodbye to everyone.
At the time it had been the start of a new adventure. She had been scared, but the excitement seemed to outway it at times.
Now it seemed she had been a little too hasty in her decision. She had known that the city would be big, she just hadn't realized how big, and how tall. Back home tall buildings all congregated in the city central, surrounded by suburban districts or warehouses. Here it was as if every building needed to be at least three stories tall. She felt small and lost when she went out. Make no mistake, she was no country bumpkin, she'd had her fair share of big cities in her short lifetime...but New York was just something else.
She couldn't remember the buildings being this large in her holiday memories. Strange, since she was sure she must have been quite a bit smaller back then.
The feeling of smallness was only enhanced by the fact that she didn't know anyone here. She had no relatives to visit, no friends to hang out with on weekends. She missed her family desperately and after two weeks in the city of dreams she was longing for some sort of work, just to take her mind off how tiny she felt.
Oh, and it was cold. She didn't have nearly enough winter clothing to deal with a New York winter.
Winter in Australia tended to be a little milder. Actually, a lot milder.
Judith had decided she didn't like cold very much. The only thing she was looking forward too that came from this freezing temperature was the snow, and as yet there hadn't been any.
The only real experience she had had with snow was the ski slopes in the Snowy Mountains outside Canberra. The snow there was mainly man made, and it was packed and icy and rather painful to fall on. She was excited to see real, fluffy white snow that you could make snow angels in and build snowmen.
Not that she had anyone to build a snowman with.
Judith sighed and rubbed her temples slowly. Her head was foggy, and the dull throbbing behind her eyes told her she was about to come into a rather painful headache. Maybe fresh air would help, though Judith wasn't sure how fresh the air actually was in New York. But a walk was a better idea than sitting by herself all-night and waiting for sleep to knock on her door.
This being decided, Judith stepped away from the desk and grabbed her coat, pulling it on and starting the laborious search for her small collection of winter gear. Boots, overly woolly socks, a pair of cashmere lined leather gloves her mother got her for her going away present, a beanie that could have possibly belonged to her ex-boyfriend and finally, the biggest, warmest scarf she could find.
Overall, the mismatched compilation of colours, styles and fabric made Judith feel frumpy and fashion impaired, but it was all she had so she figured it would do. It wasn't like she was aiming to impress anyone anyway. She grabbed her book from her bedside table and toddled back to the main room of the apartment, making it all the way to her front door before she remembered the phone on her desk. It didn't have service…but then maybe one more look would help and she never left home without a phone on her. It was her mother's number one rule.
She sighed, and went back to her desk, snatching the mobile from the table top and shoving it deep in her pocket with her keys. Fresh air was going to have to work bloody wonders.
Her headache had hit.
Michelangelo was bored.
After several weeks of confinement to the lair, Mikey had officially exhausted all his entertainment options.
Something his currently absent brothers didn't seem to have a problem with. Leo, taking the danger of Karai's mindless revenge quip seriously, had been training full throttle, and happily soaking up his sensei's praise for all his 'hard work'. Pfft, Mikey didn't need praise to sustain himself.
Raph had simply disappeared off topside with Casey, what they were doing was beyond Mikey, and he wasn't sure he actually wanted to know. His current motto was, if you don't know about it, you can't get in trouble for it. It had been working out pretty well for him so far.
Donnie, well, Donnie was curiously quiet. After Leo had come back from his training, and the whole Winters saga was over, Donnie began to lock himself away in his lab more and more. Mikey figured that Donnie's absence just felt weird because while Leo had been away, Don had been marked the 'temporary leader' (much to Raphs displeasure). That basically meant that Don was almost always around in case someone needed him. Now Leo had unceremoniously dropped back into their lives, and re-claimed his position as leader, Don had been pushed out of the limelight. Mikey frowned to himself and began playing with his bandanna tails as the TV blared on about the cities deteriorating condition.
To be honest, Mikey still didn't really know how to feel about Leo's re-entry into the lair. I mean sure, he was happy his brother was home; but life for the remaining turtles had changed, and they couldn't just all be expected to go back to how it was right?
He hadn't said anything about how he felt (he left that up to Raph), but he figured Leo picked up on it a bit, because he was trying a little too hard to spend time with his youngest bro.
Mikey sighed and leaned his head back against the couch, he was so bored. If something interesting didn't happen soon he was going to either wilt away or do something stupid. Neither of these options were going to impress his brothers much.
"Mikey? You awake?"
Mikey jumped and swiveled to face the voice, which apparently belonged to Leonardo. Leo was sweating slightly, and had obviously been training. This was bad news for Mikey.
"Whats up bro?" Mikey asked cautiously, yawning and stretching in what he hoped would look like a very 'I don't want to train thanks' kind of way. Leo smiled slightly and tapped his fingers on the arm of the couch.
"Nothing much really, don't suppose you want to spar?"
That was possibly the last thing Mikey wanted to do. Sparring was worse than training, sparring meant hurties and painies for Mikey, especially when sparring involved Leo. Forcing a smile, Mikey's brain kicked itself into gear and he shook his head.
"Sorry Leo dude, just caught me on my way out, going for a skate" Now, Mikey knew Leo was going to argue, since he was sitting on the couch with no skateboard in sight. And he also knew he wouldn't be able to leave if he tried to argue back. So the best course of action here was to get the hell out and pretend he didn't hear Leo calling after him.
Which is what he did. Mikey grinned real wide at his brother, vaulted the couch, and was out the door with his skateboard before Leo could even formulate words into a reasonable argument.
"Damn it" Leo muttered, slamming an open palm onto the couch arm as the brick wall slid shut after his brother. He sighed, heavily, and flopped down on the now empty seat. "I need a drink."
Judith hummed as she made her way down her apartment stairs and out into the street. Despite her current money situation, she hadn't done too badly with her apartment. The rent was decent, and the area was pretty good. Pretty good meaning she could go out near sun set and walk around without constant fear of getting mugged. Then again, her fear of getting mugged was probably just movie induced paranoia. It was quiet, there were barley any people around and most of the traffic had stopped in the area. Judith wasn't sure if this was normal for New York, but it was nice.
There was a small park near-by. Nothing too big, just a small cluster of trees and a couple park benches staring at a water fountain. Again, it was just nice. She plopped down on a park bench and inhaled deeply, feeling the crisp cold air grate at her throat. It didn't really bother her too much, her headache was clearing up, retreating back to a dull ache behind her eyes. There was only one other person in the park, an older man with nothing remarkable about him except his bright green sweater and blue duffle bag. He didn't seem to notice her, so she flipped her book open to her marker and scanned the page, finding her last spot and continuing on.
After a while of reading the same sentence several times, Judith gave up on the book and opted to merely sit and play with her phone. It wasn't that great of a book, just something she'd picked up at the airport and hadn't gotten around to reading. Since she hadn't unpacked her other books yet, this was really her only reading material.
It was a good phone really. She'd never had an Iphone before, it had been a splurge on her part and there were quite a few fun little things to do with it. Eventually, Judith ran out of technological capabilities and slumped into the bench. She didn't feel like going home, but she didn't really want to stay out here either. She had what her father would call a 'chameleon hump' or something like that. Basically it just meant that she didn't know what to do with herself.
So she did what any self-respecting young lady would do in a public park with no one around.
She filmed a message on her phone that she would eventually send her friends.
"Hello lovely people." She smiled into the little camera lens and gave a one handed wave "So I thought I might show you the little park near my apartment. If you're seeing it now its because I figured out what was wrong with my phone here and I got reception." She stuck her tongue out a little at this and swiveled the phone to face the park. "Well, this is it, nothing too speci…" The sound of tires rolling through the quiet street stopped Judith mid sentence and she turned to watch as a black van slowed and mounted the pavement nearby.
Her bench was pretty much hidden from street view by the small line of bushes and tree's, so Judith poked her head (and phone) out to watch what was going on.
Three men jumped out of the van, all dressed in black and all sporting an identical purple dragon shaped tattoo on their arms. The biggest one of the group (who was mountain type big) had another tattoo on his other shoulder as well, it looked almost like a cross between a chicken and a dinosaur foot. Judith felt a chill crawl up her spine as she watched them. Whoever they were, they didn't look friendly, and she didn't want to ask them if they were, stranger danger and all that.
The other man in the park however, the one Judith had noted before, didn't seemed concerned about being seen because he hurried over to them and started yammering in fast, panicked tones. Judith held her breath, wanting to walk away but not wanting to move in case they saw her.
She tried to reason with herself. They probably weren't bad guys, probably not bad at all. Maybe they were just catching up with a friend or something. Maybe the dragon tat was just a high school thing and they had kept in contact. Or maybe they were a gang of tough killing slave traders…you know…either way…
Judith continued to watch as the biggest one of the group pulled out a black duffle bag from the van and dumped it unceremoniously onto the ground. He stooped and unzipped it before kicking it towards the man in green, who glanced inside and nodded before zipping it back up. He pulled it up over his shoulder and handed the big guy his blue bag.
The big one (who was quite obviously the leader) unzipped the blue duffle and frowned, reaching in and drawing out a single small square package. He shook his head and glared down at the now shaking man in green. Some hushed but obviously angry conversation ensued, before the leader of the dragon tattoos raised a fist and landed a solid punch to the cowering mans jaw, knocking him to the ground.
Judith gasped and clamped her hand over her mouth, hoping she hadn't been heard. Then it was suddenly all over very quickly. The leader pulled out a gun from his belt, and put two silenced rounds through the guys head.
Just like that…
Judith had never seen anyone die before, but she suddenly knew why people were scarred by it. The man was lying still on the pavement, his jaw obviously broken, and when the bullets had hit, his blood had sprayed up and splattered all over the white cement. She felt tears begin to well in her eyes and bit down on her hand so she couldn't cry. She just needed to stay quiet, just needed them to leave so she could…do something. Maybe go to the police. She wasn't sure. She was just very, very scared. Why hadn't anyone else seen this? Why was it just her in the park? This was New York! people were always around!
The leader leant over and pulled the black bag away from the dead body, throwing it in the back of the van with the blue duffle and whispering quiet instructions to the other two men with him. Judith took a quiet breath and shifted slightly in her seat, slipping her phone into her pocket and preparing to bolt as soon as they had left.
This knocked her book to the ground with a loud, resounding thump.
All action at the van stopped, and three very angry sets of eyes began scanning the park in long, hard sweeps. Judith stayed perfectly still, praying they wouldn't care. Desperately hoping against all hopes they wouldn't come looking for the cause of the sound.
Her prayers weren't answered. The leader of the three growled more instructions to the two others and began walking through the park, eyes darting around at every hint of movement.
Judith watched, paralyzed with fear as he edged closer and closer to her position. Then, just before his big head peeked around the bush line hiding her from the street, Judith ran.
Bolted, her adrenaline packed body flying from the bench and launching her into the open park and towards the street. She heard the man behind her yell for his companions before a gun went off behind her. The bullets connected with her side, cutting through the flesh and sending flashes of dangerously hot pain through her body. But she didn't stop. She was thankful it was only one bullet and he hadn't emptied his clip. Or maybe he had and she just hadn't heard it, maybe he missed. It didn't matter
She kept running, her body taking total control as the heavy thumping of feet clattered after her, she barley felt the wound on her side, through she knew it was probably causing more pain that she had ever experienced.
In the back of her terrified mind she heard someone running behind her make a jutted phone call, but she didn't care. When she had started running, the van and the men had blocked her usual route home, and Judith found herself quickly getting lost in the mass of back streets fanning out from the park. She didn't stop running. It would have been stupid to go home anyway, they may not have got her then, but they would have know where she lived.
Oh god. Were they going to kill her like they had that man? She just needed to find one person. One person out of the millions living in New York. Just one person.
But there was no-one around. Every street she turned down was as deserted as the last, and they were slowly becoming dingier, darker and more degraded. Finally, when her legs were burning and her head was light and dizzy, Judith spotted a young woman leaning on the corner of one of the streets. Joy erupted in her gut and Judith cried out, drawing the woman's attention instantly. She was too breathless to cry help, and she could faintly feel blood trickling down her side, soaking the hip of her pants.
The woman stood strait for a moment, then, motioned to someone further around the corner. Oh thank god, there were more with her, if there were more, maybe the men behind her might not try anything and she could get away.
It wasn't until Judith got within a couple of feet of the woman that she noticed the purple dragon tattoo creeping up her neck from her shirt. Then it was too late.
Judith tried to dodge away from her, but the woman caught her wrist and swung her around, slamming her into the alleyway wall. Judith's vision blackened for a second as her head collided with the brick wall and she nearly gagged at the shattering pain that spiralled through her temple. Her arm swung out in some form of defence, and surprisingly connected rather hard with the woman's jaw. The woman backed up for a second, shocked that Judith had retaliated at all, then lunged forward again.
That single second gave Judith enough time to get her bearings and make her legs work again. She pushed off from the wall and hurtled down the next alleyway, blood from her forehead dripping into her eyes and blurring her vision.
Judith didn't know much at this point, but she knew that there was now more than three people after her, and she couldn't keep running. Her legs were nearly giving way on ever second step, her vision was fading, and the pain from her side was starting to make itself known. She needed out. Now. Or she was going to die.
Oh God. Die.
She stumbled to a stop around another corner and gasped out a sob. Pain and exhaustion hitting her.
Help. Help me.
The sun was setting, and the last rays were dragging sulkily out of the alleyway where she was hiding. They glimmered, frosting over a snow-covered piece of metal in the centre of the alleyway. There, was a sewer entrance. A manhole. An escape.
Judith lunged forward and yanked hard on the metal covering, forcing it free with strength she didn't know she had. She barreled down without thinking and felt her foot slip on the wet metal of the ladder too late to stop herself toppling backwards. She managed to restrict her surprise to a muffled yip as she slid down a few rungs. She finally caught a grip on ladder and held on, feeling her wrist groan and pull and the sudden jolted weight being forced on it. Somehow, Judith managed reach up and pulled the metal cover back into place.
She was immediately submerged in darkness, and her hands tightened around the ladder. She could hear the muffled yells of the people as they approached the alleyway, and jammed her eyes shut.
She bit her lip hard in an attempt to stifle a sob and lent forward so her forehead was resting on the rung above her hands.
"Check the buildings! We weren't that far behind!" A chorus of agreement followed the deep cry from above her. Judith waited, unable to move a muscle as a foot landed heavily on the metal casing of the manhole. For a moment there was no movement above her and she whimpered, shivering. If they found her, if they opened the manhole...
The foot moved, and the manhole clicked back into place with a gentle 'thud'.
"She's not here!" Her heart in her throat, Judith forced herself to look up. After a moment her eyes began to adjust to the darkness, helped by the light coming through the rim of the manhole. The foot replaced itself on the manhole and Judith's eyes snapped down to the wall in front of her.
She stayed stiff, her hands gripping the metal ladder so hard her knuckles were slowly loosing colour. She focused her eyes solely on the dirty bricks lining the wall only inches from her nose and tried to count the cracks in them. Above her, the thunder of what seemed like a million pairs of feet rocketed over, some clanging on the metal concealing her hiding place.
It was the feeling of heated dread that held her firmly in her position long after the feet had stopped, and it took a lot of convincing to make her uncurl her fingers from the ladder and inch her way down.
She couldn't go up again, not tonight. It was too dangerous. She was too scared.
Judith didn't know anything about the sewers of New York, and she certainly didn't realise that some of the manholes only had half ladders that left about a metre before the cement path below. She found this out when she lent her weight on the next rung of the ladder only to find it wasn't there. Her wrist gave out as her full weight was put on it and Judith felt herself fall, landing heavily and slamming the back of her head into the cement painfully hard.
Then, nothing. The ring of light above her faded, and her body went limp, and everything disappeared.
Mikey was making his skating outing as long as possible. He wanted Leo to have forgotten about training by the time he got back, but on the flip side of that he wanted to be back for dinner.
So the plan was to explore one of the relatively unused sewer tunnels and see if there was either anything worth salvaging, or, possibly a cool skate area. So far he hadn't turned up anything interesting. Sewer water, sewer water, and more sewer water. Same old bland tunnel walls and pipes.
It was getting close to sunset, Mikey could tell by the changing light filtering through the manholes and cracks in the tunnels. He would have to head home soon if he wanted to score some one on one pizza time, and since he couldn't find any excitement...
Mikey sped up, streamlining himself as much as a teenage mutant turtle could and pushing himself along the tunnel with effortlessly powerful movements. When the wheels of his skateboard were running so hard against the brick he was sure they were getting close to melting he found himself laughing and starting up an old game he used to play as a kid, imaging himself in some big contest topside with all the best skaters racing a dangerous and adrenaline pumping track.
"Aaaannnd Mikey rounds the corner, still way ahead of his competition. I don't know Steve, you think he would have relaxed a little with so much leeway to play with." Mikey sped down the straight, calling out his commentary to the echoing tunnels.
"I don't know Bob, I think he might be heading for the record! No way Steve! No-ones beaten that record in nearly twenty years!" Mikey took a corner fast enough that his hand skimmed the ground when he leant into it. "I think he might have it too Bob, all he has to do it make this final turn at the end of the line and he's set to be crowned the newest Skateboarding King of the Universe!"
The last corner sped to meet him and Mikey grinned, leaning perfectly into it and taking it as wide so he could before skidding to a almost-but-not-quite stop with the skill and precision of a true professional.
"And he's done it! Ladies and Gentlemen! Michelangelo has officially beat the…universe…record…" Mikey's exuberance died off and he slowed, stopping to stare at the crumpled heap that had caught his attention just a couple of metres away. He flipped his board up, drawing one nunchuck and edging closer with dubious curiosity. Whatever the lump was, it hadn't been there when he had passed by earlier today.
Mikey narrowed his eyes and took a long hard look at the thing, eyeing it from head to toe. It was wrapped in lots of dark material, and had booted legs, with slim arms and…
Mikey's realisation that the mess before him was a person shoved away a lot of his concern for the danger of the situation and he hurried forward to get a better look, nunchuck still readied just in case this was a trap.
Closer inspection revealed that the crumpled heap was a woman. A woman in pretty bad shape.
The question of whether he should help her or not cropped up and with a decisive roll of his shoulders he pushed it away. Because of course the answer was yes. Mikey wasn't about to let someone die because he was concerned she would lay eyes on him. That decided he closed the gap between him and the girl, very gently turning her so she was on her back and not curled on her side.
Well, she wasn't going to wake up anytime soon, the huge cut and bruise on her forehead made that obvious. But she was breathing, and she was still warm. So she was alive.
Now, Mikey wasn't a Donnie. He only had minimal medical knowledge, but of the littlle he did know he was sure that human wrists weren't meant to be swollen and purple, and no living thing should be leaking blood all over the ground. Which happened to be what the girl was currently doing.
Mikey felt panic begin to rise in his chest. This girl needed a hospital. Fast.
But what was he going to do? He couldn't just drop her off himself. What was he going to say…'oh hi Mr. Doctor, I'm a mutant turtle and I just happened to find this half dead girl in the sewers where I live. Would you be so kind to take care of her?' Yeah, that would go down like a tonne of bricks.
But he needed to do something or the woman could die. He needed help…
And when Mikey needed help, he went to Donnie. Because Donnie was a damn genius and he would know what to do in this sort of situation.
Mikey pulled out his shell cell and punched Donatello's button, listening to the rings impatiently. Finally the line clicked into service as Donnie answered.
"Mikey, I swear, if this is another prank call I'm going to kill you. And don't deny it! There are only six people who can call this number and you're the only one who would know that and still try to prank me!" Donatello's voice blasted down the line and Mikey scrambled to retaliate.
"No! No, Donnie this is serious! I need your help" There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment before Donnie replied.
"What did you do?"
Mikey, despite his rather panicked state 'humph'ed into the speaker.
"I didn't do anything. I found a woman down here. She's really hurt. She's bleeding real bad. What do I do Don?"
More silence, before Dons calm voice came back on the line. "I've got you on the tracker, don't move, I'm coming now."
Mikey hung up when the line went dead and tried to think straight through some far too loud and terrifying thoughts.
"Don's coming. You're gonna be ok" He informed the still figure of the woman, creeping closer and pushing some blood matted hair from her face. "He'll fix this."
Despite the cut on her head, Mikey thought she was maybe pretty. High cheekbones like the girls in Master Splinters Soap Opera's. He frowned and touched a finger very carefully to the skin just below the cut on her forehead.
"What happened to you?" he muttered to the silent tunnels around him.
End Note: This story takes place in the 2007 movie verse with 2k3 seasons 1-3 relevant. :)
For anyone out there who doesn't know where Canberra is, its Australia's capital city and is located between Sydney and Melbourne. I only write this because believe it or not, there a quite a few Australians who don't even know where it is.
Please feel free to give me tips, and if there's anything you think needs improving in my work please let me know. The only way I can make it more enjoyable is if people tell me what they actually think (but please be decent and don't just flame it).