Tap-tap-tap-tap...The pen kept tapping on the desk. Aya had started her first day today, And a tall, well built dark skined man was in charge of showing her the ropes. His name was Rupert Broderick. He was very curt with his orders, and very precice and well spoken. He had reminded her of Daniel, with his quick wit, but that's were the simalarities ended. Unlike her former partner, Rupert was qiuet and neat. Daniel didn't know when to shut up, and his desk at the office was always messy. Rupert tapped the pen agan. Going over her file for the nineth time.
"N.Y.P.D., huh? Heard that they're pretty sloppy in some cases. What's with them trying to cover up that incedent that you were involved in?" The man asked. He took in her apearence with a slight smile. She wore a dark grey suit, the skirt falling just above her knees. The cream silk blouse she wore was bottoned to the coller. Her fine blonde hair brushed back from her face. She crossed her legs and smiled. He knew she showed promise. And some intellegence, but that remained to be seen. Like Peirce, he knew about what she had been through. He also knew how difficult it was to start over, glancing quickly to the photo in the glittering gold frame that was perched on his desk. He looked away, and masked his guilt with a quiet smile.
"Well, I would say that we were sloppy," Aya had stated with a soft giggle." It's just the sate of New York that's sloppy. No, really, the state is nice, it's just so...busy. So we have to do things quick. There's always a muder going on somewhere. So we're on call constantly."
"True, true. It's the same with L.A. A lot of hustle and bustle, and not enough time. One moment, you're sitting at your mother's table, ready to take that first bite of the best thanksgiving turkey you ever saw," He sighed." Then your pager goes off and it's time to put the fork down and hit the road." He laced his fingers together and placed his hands on the desk. Again, his attention was caught by the photo. It was his wife and daughter. The picture was taken when they went to Florida. Disneyland. Jessica had wanted to go for her seventh birthday, and Rupert and Debora couldn't refuse. They were at the beach that day. The sun was shining, reflecting off of Debora's mahogany skin. He looked away once more, hiding the pain. He was used to that by now.
Aya caught sight of that pain, and understood it. She didn't know him all too well, but she knew that look. She was familar with loss and suffering. Maya's face crept through her mind for a second. She then felt an imense wave of guilt because just as quickly, Melissa's face flashed before her eyes. These faces, umong others, she's dreamed about. They keep her awake at night, haunting her. Latley, she dreamt of Maya. She was always calling out to her, holding her pale, tiny arms out to Aya. Tears streamed down the dirty cheeks, the pale blond hair was just as filthy. But it was always the same. In the end, it wasn't dirt and grime that covered the tiny child's body. It was blood. And Aya would rush up and cradle her, wrap her in her leather jacket, and take her home. She would bathe her and feed her...sit up all night with her, sharing the child's horrific nightmares. Deeply afraid to go to sleep for fear of the girl disapearing. But in the end, as tight as she would hold her, Aya always woke up. And the girl she had known so many years before, would be gone.
Rupert cleared his throat, sensing that Aya's mind was some place else. Aya snaped back to reality, and smiled.
"And where were you just now?" He asked with a smile.
"Um...Somewhere far away, I'm afraid. Just dwelling on some old memories that seem to haunt me."
"Same here. But don't tell anyone that I told you that. Can't have me looking like a nice guy. I have built a reputation for being tough as nails. I need to be. I mean, C'mon, you've met Peirce." he said with a ruefull laugh. "As for the old memories? Forget them. They only get in the way." He remembered that terrible day. No matter what he did, he couldn't forget it. Secretly though, he wouldn't allow himself to forget.
It was his daughter's nineth birthday. They had spent three months planning it, just for her. Jessica claimed to be a big girl now, so she wanted a big girl party. So the plans were made. Debora thought of a sleeep over party, a princess party, a themed party...so many ideas. Rupert and Deb wanted more children, but unfortunatly, it could never be. It took forever, just to have Jessica. It was also a dangerous pregnancy. Deb was sick alot and they feared she would miscary. Many Doctors had seen them, claimed that they didn't know what was wrong with Deb's body, but all they knew was that her body saw the baby as an intruder, so it faught against it. And then after the baby was born, they agreed. No more babies.
Rupert just got home, and he heard Jessica cry out in her sleep. She was having the nightmares again. She had seen the news of NMC's spreading around the country. It frightend the girl terribly, causing her to force her parents into checking everywhere in her room, looking for monsters, before she fell asleep. Rupert heard Deb rush into the girl's room, then heard her soft voice. Deb was attemping to soothe the child so she can go back to sleep. She told her about how exciting the next day would be, how she remeber turning nine, and all the preasants that were waiting to be opend and enjoyed.
As Rupert sat on his bed with a sigh, Deb came in and smiled. He loved her smile. She brushed her shoulder length, curly ebony hair out of her face and crawled back into bed.
" How was work, babe?" She asked softly, stifling a yawn.
" It was what it was...just more NMC's broke out in Los Vegas. We had to file the paper work. I swear, those LV boys need to keep up with their own shit."
"Well, maybe your so good at your job, that they have you do the paper work because they know you won't screw it all up." She snuggled under the covers. "You know, Rupert...they are getting closer and closer. I'm starting to...well..."
"Hey, Don'y worry." He said as he slipped on his pajama pants and climed into bed. "I got everything under control." He turned off the light and stroked his wife's face. "I'll take of of both of you. I won't let anything happen, I'll protect you." He leaned over and switched off the lamp, imersing them in darkness.
Rupert jerked awake. He could have sworn that he heard someone screaming.
He shot out of bed and made his way to the door. It was Jessica. She probably had a bad dream. His hand was on the knob when he heard Deb's voice.
"Stay away from her, you monster!"
Rupert was filled with fear, as he raced to his bedside tabled and pulled his .32 magnum out. He was stuggling to keep a clear head. Why was this happening? He had the best security that money could by, so...How? He ran out the door and realized the hallway was a mess. He slowly crouched down and made his way to Jessie's room. He peered into the darkness...just a little further...almost there.
Something had leapt out at him, pushing him back. It was a creature of some sort. It fealt slimey, sticky...and inhuman. It growed and reared itself up to attack him. He quickly positioned his gun and pulled the trigger. He stood and switched on the light. He couldn't belive his eyes. They were here. The NMC's were here. Mabey Eve wasn't dead. Oh God...it's starting over. His wife's screams braught him back to reality. He started to run to where the screams were coming from.
He paused in the doorway long enough to take in what was happening.
The scream came from his own lips. Jessica was quiet. She laid that as an NMC munched happily on her flesh. Hey eyes no longer held life in them. Deb lay on the floor...torn to pieces. The smell of blood was in the air...he kept hear the glass-shatering screams. Lights was flashing, and in that instant, everything whent blank. Except for their screams...his wife and daughter...
He came to in his living room. A blanket wraped loosly around him. Cop's were walking around, going in and out of every room. He felt numb...and cold. He was no longer holding his gun...and he panicked.
"Wh-wh-WHERE ARE THEY? DEB! JESSICA! OH GOD...OH GOD! I-"
"- Mr. Broderick, It's ok!" the voice on an officer came. The poor man was strugling to keep Rupert from harming himself. He maneged to get his seated again. but the man still flailed about, screaming.
"OH...I-I-I...I let them die! I let them be killed by those...THINGS! No...Debra...Jessica..." He leand over and picked up Ruth, Jessica's favorite doll. She had left Ruth on the couch the night before. His long fingers brushed back the blond yarn hair and stared into the beady little black eyes. He knew in that moment, he would never forget this night for as long as he lived.
"Mr. Broderick? Is everything alright sir?"
Rupert glacned away from the picture and looked into Aya's eyes. She was the only one who had this 'special abillity' that Hal was speaking of. Hal wanted her for their team and after looking over her file, Rupert wanted her there also.
"Yes, Ms. Brea Ev-"
"Just Aya is fine." She said with a small smile.
"OK, Everything is fine Aya. I just...um...got lost again." He took the photo, lovingly traced a finger over the smiling faces and put the fram carfuly in his desk drawer.
"One step at a time, Mr. Broderick. It may take awhile, but life dose go on. Live for them."
Rupert looked at Aya again. She was right. One step at a time. She should know. She's been dealing with this from the start. He knew that he would live on...he was a survivor...he would help others. One Step at a Time.