\ Realm of Reality /
“Come on your prick, answer the phone” Scarlett grumbles, her phone pressed against her ear for what appears to be more than the first time today. “You’ve reached Cal. Leave me a message” the answering tone replies, a few rings passing just as they had before, prompting Scarlett to roll her eyes and wait for her opportunity to leave a message.
“Sheriff, call me back” Scarlett greets, pulling the phone away from her head before shouting into the receiver, “if you don’t, I’ll start to think something bad’s happened to you.” With the tap of her thumb, the call ends, returning Scarlett to the empty, rather dull parlour the couch she sits upon occupies.
Mildly agitated, Scarlett’s eyes drift throughout the room, its spacious living room just beginning to find its personality, paintings joining other random decorations in providing the lounge some colour. Though her mind continues to make attempts at drawing her attention toward the terrace, Scarlett’s conscience refuses, battling her mind’s intentions with the power of her heart’s will.
Knowing who sits beneath the sun’s light, Scarlett feels her restraint loosen, her head constantly pulled toward the newly-reinstalled sliding glass door. Pressing her teeth together, Scarlett’s final ounce of resistance falters, her face sneering as she peers over her shoulder, soon giving into demands laid forward by her frontal lobe.
Slowly parting the doors so as to not make a sound, Scarlett pokes her head through the small opening, her face struck with a staggering heat the moment her air-conditioned body loses its modern comfort. “What’s up, Scar?” Vic inquires, staring into a flipbook of random photographs just as she had before, Scarlett’s attempt at staying quiet now proven unsuccessful.
“Uh- have you heard from the sheriff?” Scarlett replies, Vic’s dark hair shining magnificently beneath the burning light as her focus remains stolen by the picture book. “That depends” Vic replies, her head resting slightly further back than before, “which answer will get you to sit down and talk to me?”
Her eyes nearly lifting behind her open eyelids, Scarlett shakes her head and begins to pull away, “nevermind, I’ll go check myself.” With more enthusiasm, Vic matches Scarlett’s aggravated tone with one of her own. “Really!? You’d rather go out there- to a town you’re partially responsible for levelling- just to avoid talking to me?” Vic posits, earning a reply that all but confirms her thesis.
“I’m pretty sure I could help with the clean up, so- yeah” Scarlett replies, again attempting to slide the door shut before Vic can respond. With the snap of her fingers, Vic appears behind Scarlett’s person, landing with much more grace than she’d known how to before. “We haven’t seen what people are saying about this, Scar. We don’t know what’s going on outside this house!” Vic exclaims, her statement brushed off as Scarlett steps past her, attempting to carry onward.
“What’s your fascination with West anyway?” Vic inquires, tying the string on her tunic dress over her bikini now that the hot summer sun has been traded in for the breeze of ice cold air. “I wanted to know how things were going back home” Scarlett replies, reaching for a knapsack pre-filled with items fit for a multi-day trip, “I guess this gives me two reasons to go, doesn’t it?”
“They’re two very bad reasons, but sure- do what you want” Vic replies, watching Scarlett prepare to depart before finishing the remark beneath her breath, “you know no better anyway.” Aware of what buttons she’s pushing, Vic turns her back to the impulsive blonde, returning toward the sliding doors with her hand extended.
“Alright, what do you mean by that?” Scarlett responds, her fingers snapping as her intended destination abruptly changes, her feet falling firmly upon the ground just before Vic. “You know exactly what I mean, Scar” Vic replies, stepping around the woman as she fulfils her departure, her hand pressing against the glass’ metal framing. Again lifting her hand, Scarlett prepares to blockade Vic’s exit for a second time, only for apprehension to prevent her fingers from pressing together.
Without another word, Vic leaves the house without hindrance, returning to her seat on the patio whilst Scarlett watches on, her hand lowering just as her expression does. On the assumption that Vic’s replies were in an effort to provoke her into a counter-argument, Scarlett refuses to offer a counteraction, allowing Vic to move on with the day just as she intends to, her fingers snapping with her initial destination in mind.
Hearing the snap, Vic waits a few additional moments before glancing through the window, hesitant to believe Scarlett had actually set off for Praireville. Eyebrows lifting, Vic looks on with surprise, the opposite of what she’d anticipated having occurred. With a smile and a casual nod of the head, Vic returns to the patio, reclaiming the photobook before staring intently at a previously-chosen photo, a few seconds passing before she, too, disappears into thin air, her own journey in mind.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
“How’s the first bite?” Jared wonders, his hands clasped together atop the kitchen table, his anticipation building as Rachel gently slides a fork past her lips. Her teeth pressing into roasted bits of carrots and mashed potatoes, Rachel’s chewing begins to slow, her face holding steady as best as she can whilst the food remains between her teeth. “It’s-” Rachel parts her lips to say, her teeth still held together, the words she wishes to speak avoiding her as much as finishing the food does.
His anxious expression prompting her to down the moderate portion she’d skewered her fork through, Rachel attempts to answer quickly, her efforts to do so thwarted by a coughing fit. “Oh come on!” Jared laughs, his hands parting as he sinks back into his chair, a disappointed look on his face matching the humour in his own failure, “there’s no way I fucked up cooked vegetables!”
Leaving her fork in the dinner, Rachel slides the plate across the table’s wooden surface, affording Jared the opportunity to give the concoction a taste for himself. A slight amount of desperation fueling his eagerness to fill the tines with as much as they can hold, Jared scoops the assortment into his mouth and begins chewing, soon burdened by the same troubles as Rachel.
“So- how’s the first bite?” Rachel jokes, resting her elbow on the table as its hand supports her head, the grimace on Jared’s face as he swallows nearly bringing a fit of laughter to her. “It’s, uh- wow” Jared struggles, swirling his tongue around the inside of his mouth as she stumbles over his words, eyes widened as he nods. “You know, it wasn’t bad! It was pretty damn-” Jared answers, quickly changing his course without warning, “-shit. It was pretty damn shit.”
Discarding of the fork in the meal whilst Rachel laughs, Jared walks the barely-touched plate back toward the kitchen. “We might as well- we should just burn that” the man remarks, pointing to the colourful assortment camouflaging itself as a meal, “though, I think I already did.” Her humour making room for sympathy, Rachel leaves her seat to join the man beside the kitchen sink, her hand rubbing his arm as he slides the creation into the bin.
“I think it might be time to retire from the plate” Rachel remarks, watching her laughter from seconds prior find its way to Jared. “I guess I’ll have to go learn how to build nuclear reactors now- cooking just didn’t pan out” Jared replies, watching Rachel’s head dip, her forehead pressing against his chin, “some people are meant for the kitchen, and others are meant for Chernobyl- it’s fine! We’re both probably better off!”
Looking into each other’s faces, the pair continue to share their amusement until Rachel switches course, her face leaning into Jared’s as their lips meet. The comedy quickly falling aside, Jared reciprocates the kiss for the few moments prior to its ending, his surprised eyes meeting Rachel’s as they pull apart. “Uh- yeah, I’m just uh-” Jared stammers, setting the plate into the sink’s basin before walking off, an uncertain smile returned to the woman, “I’m just not one for the kitchen.”
Their separation awkward, Rachel watches Jared leave with a troubled expression, a deep fear she’d done something wrong left to build within her. “Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with that” Rachel replies, in convoy of the man at a slower pace, “we only need to be here until Scarlett comes back, so- being bad at making food isn’t the end of the world.”
Having begun to climb to the second level of their home, Jared’s ascent pauses, his head bowing as his hands press against the bannister to each of his sides. “What’s wr-?” Rachel wonders aloud, the flight of steps lit poorly by the bulb of a single light at the staircase’s top-most step, “did I do something?”
Slowly looking back, Jared looks into Rachel’s eyes, his bottom lip caught between his teeth as he turns around, seating himself on one of the many, carpeted steps. “No, you didn’t- you didn’t do anything” Jared replies, sighing as he unleashes the railings from the palms of his hands, his hands coupling together atop his lap. “Was- was it the kiss?” Rachel replies, Jared’s eyes widening as he shakes his head, “maybe I shouldn’t have- I- maybe I read the room wr-”
“It wasn’t the kiss” Jared replies, not wishing to draw Rachel into a long-winded, unimportant rescindment. “Well, what’s wrong?” Rachel wonders aloud, her voice softening as worries creep in, the uncertainty of what rests upon Jared’s subconscious now starting to gnaw at her. “It’s just-” Jared begins, letting another sigh free as his shoulders lower, his face wearing the disappointment of a remorseful expression, “Scarlett’s not coming back.”
Her lips briefly parting, Rachel’s eyes grow wide, her eyes dropping as the information reaches her ears, worming its way through her head and latching itself upon her mind. “Oh” Rachel responds, her head hanging as her right arm reaches across her body to gently caress her left, eyes returning to Jared as the weight in her voice grows heavy. “Did she tell you why?” she replies, able to see the difficulty in Jared’s face as he troubles himself with answering.
“She didn’t know how things were going to end. She wasn’t sure if Suzie was gonna get the best of her, I guess?” Jared responds, his hands thrown out as he shakes his head. “And she didn’t say goodbye?” Rachel queries, obviously trying to hold back a slight hurt this revelation has set upon her. “I think it would have hurt her too much” Jared answers, lowering himself further back, “you didn’t remember all those years with her, so- maybe she was trying to protect herself?”
“So she left because I didn’t- she left because I don’t remember us being friends?” Rachel inquires, the answer to the question already given under different phrasing seconds prior. “Alright” Rachel sighs, turning for the kitchen with her arms hanging at her sides, intent on having a moment for herself.
\ Realm of Reality /
Briefly losing her balance, Scarlett emerges within West’s office, her hand grasping the edge of the sheriff’s desk before she can topple over. Her wits regained, Scarlett removes her hand from the wooden workspace, her second hand flipping the switch near the front of the room. Covered in dark grey matter, Scarlett’s hand matches the coating that’s formed along the top of the sheriff’s work station, a large gathering of dust having accumulated along an empty, decoration-less table.
Her hand wiped along the side of her pant leg, Scarlett takes a quick look around the office, her eyes gazing at walls as empty as the bookshelves that line them, very little personality held in any corner of the room. Void of even a name plate, the desk sits barren, undisturbed by life just as it sits unperturbed by the world.
Of the two bulbs in the overhead light, one sits in the dark, its light burned out just as the desk appears to have been, any significant symbols or personal items entirely discarded. Just as the office she now departs does, the remainder of West’s precinct sits equally abandoned, emptied of character and entirely barren.
“What the fuck is going on in here?” Scarlett whispers to herself, continuing to stare throughout the building with no one to tell her otherwise, its premises entirely left to decay within the elements’ hostilities. Stepping through the front door, Scarlett’s eyes widen, her face dropping as her boots lay upon fractured concrete, the parking lot just beneath the wheelchair-access slope she stands upon sat beneath muddy stillwater, reflecting the cloudy skies above.
Too many questions left without answers, Scarlett snaps her fingers, the sight of familiar grounds conjured up in her head. In seconds, the murky, swamp-like remnants of her hometown’s outer skirts are replaced by the horrifying aftermath of destructive forces colliding.
Flying in units just over her head, a fleet of helicopters pass the levelled Praireville city centre, their duties on the ground below fulfilled by fleets of armoured trucks inhabited by members of the SWAT team.
Lined with hazards, Praireville’s road sits untravelled, its surface uneven and loitered with cracks and craters, each crevasse partially filled by the dust and debris of collapsed buildings. Quick to snap herself onto the highest level of the nearest mid-rise building, Scarlett peers through shattered windows from the comfort of a long-abandoned private yoga studio, the carnage left to her sights below nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The skyline she’d once known now permanently defaced by the removal of high-rise buildings, Scarlett watches helicopters pass with every other minute, cars driving over whatever navigable terrain they can come across in search of answers just as she is. Her face pressed close to the glass, Scarlett’s watches an assortment of various police vehicles stop at once, the units that occupy them now spilling out into the street, their weapons readied as if a target were in their sights.
Her hand hoisted into the air once more, Scarlett directs her line of sight toward a building just barely visible on the other side of town, snapping her fingers with a specific window in view. Nearly losing her balance once more, Scarlett comes to in an empty apartment building half the town’s length away, a better vantage point offered as she stares toward the ground.
Guns drawn, additional forces arrive to provide the first group with armed backup, many cars now kicking up dirt as their tires screech to a halt across damaged asphalt. A chill running down her back, Scarlett’s eyes wander through the room she now inhabits, curious for answers that refuse to make themselves known.
Deeply concerned, Scarlett’s eyes press together, her hands rubbing the sides of her head as she considers her next move. As the sounds of vehicular engines draw nearer, Scarlett’s brain offers a suggestion, one that only prevails through the clutter of inquiries available once the tires just below her building’s complex drag along unsteady ground. Her eyes kept closed, Scarlett lifts her hand and snaps herself away from imminent danger, her heart taking her away from the scene of misery.
\ Paradox /
Her tunic dress having untied, Vic braces her barely-clothed body against the winter chill running through the plains of rural Minnesota. Her hair blown by steady, calm winds, Vic’s eyes take to a cosy home near the end of the cul-de-sac she finds herself in, a smile put on her face briefly until another chilly breeze wipes it away.
Her soft, see-through dress and orange bikini a very poor choice as far as attire is concerned, Vic approaches the home, its exterior lit up with festive, colourful lights, marking the end of a year with grace and wonder. Snapping her fingers, Vic escapes the cold to find herself stood atop the freshly-vacuumed carpet of a warm, cheer-filled home.
A family’s seasonal gathering taking part a few rooms over, Vic welcomes herself to a look around the holiday-inspired living room, its walls lined with decorations and chimney hosting a roaring fire. Atop the mantle, framed photographs of a happy family, the likes of which comprised of parents, grandparents and offspring, sit proudly, overlooking the room in which the various branches of the family tree come together as one.
In the room’s corner, a tree stretches close toward the ceiling, reaching as high as it can manage, yet failing to touch the popcorn pattern just overhead. Lined with ornaments, smaller family pictures, tinsel and bright lighting, the tree sits atop a tree skirt, its lowest branches hovering over wrapped presents and celebratory goods.
“I don’t know if this is on-brand for her, or the furthest thing from normal” Vic mutters beneath her breath, staring into portrait after portrait as a tiny, young voice calls out to her. “For who?” the little girl inquires, a question spoken just loud enough to capture Vic’s attention, the woman quickly turning around with her eyes set toward the ground.
“Do I know you?” the little blonde girl wonders aloud, inspecting Vic for a moment before the obvious questions dawns upon her, “and why are you wearing a swimsuit?”
Her head resting to one side, Vic lowers herself to a knee, her left leg bent as she nods. “That’s a good question that I don’t have an answer for” Vic replies, not wanting to scare the girl away by admitting how surprised she is.
“Can you see me?” Vic inquires, waiting a moment for the girl to answer, her tiny head only nodding in response. “Do you know who I am?” Vic adds, slowly trying to gauge how far the interaction can be taken. “Are you my cousin?” the little girl replies, earning herself a smile from Vic as she continues to answer, “my mom said I have cousins from different sides of the family, but I thought they were all supposed to be my age.”
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not your cousin, huh?” Vic responds, her confusion settling in favour of the wholesome, friendly attitude she allows to take over, “I’ll take it your name is Scarlett.”
Her head nodding emphatically, young Scarlett stands before Vic with her hands coupled, two teeth, one from the top row and the second from the bottom, waiting for their successors to grow in. “There’s a boy in my class- Eli- he keeps making fun of me” Scarlett responds, allowing Vic to ask her a follow-up question as she lowers herself further, crossing her legs as she takes up a seat in the middle of the floor.
“How does he make fun of you?” Vic replies, placing the palms of her hands against her bent knees whilst Scarlett replies, a smile brought upon her face by the sincere innocence her friend’s younger self presents. “He calls me ‘Scary Mary’ ‘cause my name starts with ‘Scar’” Scarlett replies, her answer nearly drawing a laugh from her accidental pal, “I told mom and dad I want to change my name to ‘Anna’, but they won’t let me.”
“Why ‘Anna’?” Vic ponders aloud, her response coming quickly and with vehement desire. “Because it starts with a ‘a!” Scarlett proclaims, giggling as she leaps with her hands in the air, “I can be at the front of all the lines at recess!”
“Scarlett, honey! Dinner’s ready!” a slightly-familiar voice calls out, the conversation she’d had with Vic almost instantly falling out of favour. “Come on! Dinner’s ready!” Scarlett shouts, waving her hand toward the kitchen as she breaks away, hurrying for the dinner table with expectations of Vic joining.
“I’ll be there in a second!” Vic calls back, still sat in the centre of the floor with little intentions of taking the chance on anyone else noticing her presence. Thinking quietly to herself, Vic lifts her hand into the air, struggling to understand why Scarlett’s declaration sounds so vaguely familiar, departing for her modern time having been given a new query to inspect.
\ Realm of Reality /
Though spring sits just around the corner, Minnesota leaves plenty of warmth to be desired, Scarlett’s comfortability with the Maldives weather leaving her troubled by what she perceives to be inclement temperature. “Ma!? Pa!?” Scarlett exclaims, dressed in a pair of ripped jeans and a white tank top, a black zip-up jacket worn over her bare shoulders as she slams her closed fist against the quiet house’s front door.
The cul-de-sac behind her as absent of passersby as usual, Scarlett peers through the awning windows built into the side of her grandparents home before snapping her fingers. The room she enters filled with a quiet, disturbed silence, Scarlett takes a look around the parlour to find little of note, no furniture left in any odd position, no signs of reason for worry.
“Ma!? Pa!?” Scarlett exclaims, her hands coupled by each side of her mouth as her shout travels throughout the home. Still left with no answer, Scarlett helps herself to a look around, her eyes taking to an open space in the living room floor for no reason. Equally as lifeless, the kitchen sits empty of most decor, a microwave oven sat beside a toaster whilst an unplugged television set sits in the counter’s end.
“Mom!?” Scarlett exclaims, her hands again coupled beside her mouth to the same response, an empty, eerie silence returned to her, still little reason offered to believe anything different would. “It’s Scarlett!” Scarlett exclaims again, waiting patiently for an answer she knows will not arrive, though she holds out the aimless hope that it will, “are you here!?”
The kitchen’s unappealing emptiness striking her as odd, Scarlett’s sights lay on anything of importance, the slightest display of character immediately drawing her attention. Within seconds, the purposeless roam her eyes move with settle upon the refrigerator, the personality-drained cookery retaining the clippings and photographs her grandparents had always taken a liking to.
“To girls killed in Prair-” Scarlett begins to read aloud, stopping herself short of the conclusion before turning her focus to the next article. “Speculation grows over involvement of girls in-” Scarlett’s eyes again take to, spending little time upon the second set of bold, black-lettered words before advancing to the next. “Mother of disgraced Praireville teen-” Scarlett starts skimming, again stopping herself short, but not out of self-avoidance, but rather fear.
Her voice having fully vanished, Scarlett shakes her head as her eyes widen, the clipping removed from the fridge as she reads further, traversing the paragraphs until reaching the end. In a hurry, Scarlett lets the article fall to the kitchen’s tiled floor as her fingers snap, a poor recollection of her destination prompting her to land within it at a random point.
Emerging halfway up a hill, Scarlett tumbles backward, falling to the grassy incline’s lowest point before returning herself to a standing position, a frantic search taking her past stones chiselled with brilliant artwork and engraved with loving words. As minutes pass, the sky begins to grow dark, the onset of evening having turned into the beginning of night, prompting Scarlett to summon her service weapon for the smallest amount of light manageable.
“Where- where- where!?” Scarlett grunts, passing one lot after the next before finally, after nearly half an hour of searching, her sights set on the display she’d come for. “Oh- no, no!” Scarlett moans, stepping closer to the gravestone the vibrant blue glow of her guiding light had taken toward before dropping to her knees, her mothers name, birth date and death date listed beneath a family portrait.”
“Hey!” a distant voice exclaims, his flashlight paling in comparison to the luminosity of Scarlett’s, “you’re not supposed to be here!” Disregarding the man’s warning, Scarlett stares into her family’s headstone, her name centred between her father’s and mother’s own, each date appearing definitive. “Hey, kid!” the voice shouts once more, approaching Scarlett with an angry tone, taking her to be little more than a trespasser intent on damaging property.
“Leave me alone!” Scarlett shouts back, taking the man’s advancement to be an indicator of his unwillingness to leave her in peace. “Visiting hours are over, you need to leave or I’ll call the police!” the man replies, resistant to allow the woman the privacy she’d requested. “I told you to leave me alone, please don’t make me hurt you!” Scarlett shouts back, the sorrow in her face replacing itself with anger, the blue weapon at her side beginning to pulsate.
“Kid, you need to go!” the security officer responds, taken aback by the woman’s declaration for a moment before stepping forward, his hand taking Scarlett by the shoulder forcefully. With ease, the girl springs off her knees and slaps the man’s hand away, her weapon aimed between his eyes. His life threatened, the guard’s instincts take over where his better judgement would otherwise serve, his hand moving to the taser saddled on his side.
Operating off her anger, Scarlett’s finger pulls at her weapon’s trigger, firing a pellet of electricity through the guard’s eyes before his defence can be detached from the holster he carries it in. Cleanly exiting through the back of the man’s head, the charge burns a hole through the man’s skull, the small wound it leaves behind allowing smoke to billow out from behind his cranium.
Within seconds, the guard falls back, his body collapsing to the ground as lifeless as those in the wooden boxes beneath him, Scarlett’s hand having sentenced him to a similar fate. Seething, Scarlett fights for breaths as her actions begin to sink in, the service weapon relinquished to the realm beyond as she stares at the product of her work.
Surveying the area, Scarlett stumbles back, losing her balance until she falls into her family’s headstone, realisation beginning to set in over what she’d just done. Her mouth going dry, Scarlett rubs her fingers together frantically, trying to snap herself away from the scene of the crime without a destination in mind. Aware of how overcome with emotions she now suffers with, Scarlett takes a deep breath and pictures her villa, the snap of her finger returning her to sanctuary.
== Dream Sequence ==