An hour before the mall closes, and there are still a fair number of people wandering the halls, some loitering and chatting as they hang out with friends, others purposefully striding from store to store, shopping bags rustling and snappily paper-whispering where they dangle from hands and arms.
A small group of teenage boys is hanging out with a single girl outside the Nerds R We storefront, laughing and joking together at something unintelligibly teenaged.
Perhaps a certain siren has been looking for more shoes - or maybe just pretzel bites, as Poppy's currently finishing off a cup of them, idly window shopping. She's dressed in her usual black, knee-high, leather stilettos, a pair of dark grey skinny jeans, and layered t-shirts, the top one purple and screenprinted with Ursula's face, lettering reading, 'What's Up, Witches.'
Widget found the arcade. Widget has been in the arcafe for about five hours now. Widget has schooled many a fool and managed to get WIJ on the high scores of every pinball machine in there. So she's got a stuffed Blooper from Mario and looks very happy. The crane game was impossible, they said. No point in even trying, they said. You need to wear actual clothes to get on the DDR machine, they said.
Who's got the toy, though? This girl!
Whiskey has just exited Nerds R We.
Whiskey is a white man appearing to be in his early 40s. He is short in stature (4' tall), but with proportions right. He is well-muscled and lean, with a deep dark natural tan. He has dark brown hair peppered with grey, cropped short. His deep-set brown eyes are under thick eyebrows. He has a full beard and a painter's brush mustache.
Whiskey is also dressed impeccably. Currently he wears a quilted emerald vest embroidered with flowers, with a dark forest green long coat over it. He also wears high quality boots that look like new an very sturdy. Black chinos for pants are worn comfortably and a pair of authentic black Airborne Ranger boots complete the outfit, shined to within an inch of their life. He is carrying a large bag, which appears full of small things. Several nerdy T-Shirts are poking out of the bag, and appear to be in different sizes. Perhaps they are gifts for friends?
The group of teenagers outside of Nerds R We stare at Whiskey, point oh so subtly, and laugh behind their hands. "Like, I thought YOU were a dweeb, Rosie, but THAT guy? Like, I bet he doesn't even come up to your tits."
'Rosie', the girl, scowls at the boy and shoves him, his shoulder hitting the railing. "Shut UP, Michael. D'you want me to get Sara to go out with you or what?" Flumping dramatically back against the railing, herself, she slouches and glares at the storefront, impatient. "What the hell's taking her so long, anyway?"
One of the other teens, a pimply boy with tousled red hair and freckles, sullenly toes at the carpet with his Converse. "Dunno. She said she'd be out in--"
Someone screams from within the store, just as a young woman's body comes flying out through the glass window to tumble, cut and bleeding but still alive, onto the blue-grey bricks of the concourse floor.
Poppy seems somewhat lost in thought - at lest until that scream happens. The siren's attention snaps towards the store and she frowns at the cut and bleeding girl before she starts towards them, heels clicking against the tiling. The empty pretzel cup is tossed into the trash along with the napkin she used to absently clean her fingers earlier. As she draws closer, she asks in a voice meant to carry, "What the hell's going on?"
At the scream Whiskey drops his bag and moves quickly to the girl, placing his back to the railing and facing her. His face is a mask of concern, despite that he cares nothing about her other than she is an indicator of a threat, and that she has had the audacity to interrupt his shopping. He doesn't let any of this show though, a conscious effort of will, and says only "Miss, lay still until help arrives.". He looks towards, and inside, the store - the source of the possible threat. His right hand is inside his vest, for the moment.
Widget starts at the crashing, urchin-senses slamming into high gear. Trouble? About her? No. That girl. Where? The store. Right! Okayokayokay! Stay put, Admiral Squiddly. Time for shooting! Or stabbing. Or biting. Hands twitching, ready to pluck out some unfortunate instrument of pain. Falling in behind Poppy, Widget can't stop herself from overtaking and making it into the store. What awaits her bullets?
What awaits bullets? .. not a whole lot. There are about four people in the store, two of them employees, two of them stunned patrons, all staring in numb shock toward a display of stuffed Yoda dolls. All of the shelves between the dolls and the window the girl flew out of have been knocked over, as if something had been forced away from the dolls, pushing the shelves down in the process.
The girl herself is bleeding all over the tiles at this point, multiple puncture wounds and lacerations, but it doesn't look like any arteries have been hit. She seems to be stunned, eyes wide, mouth moving as if attempting to say something she can't quite articulate, and doesn't appear to recognise any of the teens who dart toward her despite their urgent babbling and demands to know what happened. This, it seems, is Sara.
Poppy grimaces at the bleeding girl, pulling a lone spare napkin out of her pocket as though that can somehow contain the blood and glass. Giving Sara a once-over, she turns towards the approaching teens instead, offering one of them the small square of thin paper. "Here, you see if you can get her cleaned the hell up, she doesn't look like she's going to want a fucking stranger touching her," she says frankly. That said, given Widget has rushed into the store, she doesn't start after her, instead waiting to see what Sara may say once she's collected her wits, perhaps offering a bit of a verbal nudge with that oddly harmonic voice by way of a, "Hey, you okay?"
Not seeing any sign of threat yet, Whiskey moves into the store, gun still not drawn. He will use his powers of deduction/investigation to examine the way the dolls are arranged, where people are, reactions, etc. to see if he can find any clues. He also will be listening for any sounds that appear out of place, such as movement or breathing there there is no visible person.
Widget goes to pick up on the dolls, ready to look it over. No bombs or magic gubbins looking to make her inside-out, are there? This was a mystery and Widget loved those! Of course she was sad the girl got hurt but she probably wasn't going to die so it was okay. Right. Grabbymitts after the Yoda. C'mere!
Oddly, other than the fact that everything points to SOME force shoving the girl back and out through the front window, there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary on the shelf of fluffy Yodas or the still-upright shelves surrounding it. No scents in the air which might hit at explosives, whether incendiary or otherwise. No signs of scorching or buckling, no chemical scents.
Seeing Widget and Whiskey entering the store, the employees finally snap out of their stunned silence and look at each other, making some wordless agreement -- one heads to the back of the store, to comfort the other two customers, and the other rushes toward the front, joining the growing crowd around the fallen Sara.
"Damn! Honey, you had my phone. Which pocket did you put it in?" can be heard through the growing murmur of alarm in slowing concourse-walkers, other shoppers gradually recognising that, well, there's something seriously wrong here. A reply to the question is spoken too quietly to be really overheard, but it sounds exasperated with a thin scrim of patience on top, an answer given far too many times. "Oh, for--fine. I'll clean the fucking bag out when we get home. Hi, sorry. No, talking to my wife. I'm at the Poe K. Mann Igotta Mall in Fort Brunsett, and there's a girl here who just flew out a window. She's bleeding pretty bad..."
The teenagers accept Poppy's napkin, faces pale, but don't quite seem to know what to DO about it. Rosie snatches the thing from one of the boys' hands and starts dabbing at the blood on Sara's face, tears running down her cheeks. "You're gonna be okay, you've -got- to be okay. Please, -please- be okay."
The siren looks oddly uncomfortable as Rosie starts dabbing at the blood on Sara's face; that said, she also looks faintly frustrated at the lack of any kind of explanation from the latter. "Do you think you can sit the hell up?" she asks; despite her words and her expression, her tone is surprisingly gentle. For the moment, Poppy seems to be ignoring the growing crowd.
Whiskey finds the manager and asks, "Could I perhaps see your store camera footage? I am a detective, and could perhaps help you resolve this quickly before any more of your customers get hurt."
Widget huffs, stuffing the doll into her jumpsuit for later. She's even going to pay for it. Later. Now is the time for detective work! The gremlin goes over to the gather the employees, patiently but firmly asking if they saw anything, like the toy explode or maybe release a force bubble or-
Right. Widget stops herself and lets them answer.
Sara blinks slowly, then blinks again, eyes finally focusing on the faces hovering around her, then shrieks and starts to cry, one arm in particular, the left, the one she landed on, treated more tenderly than the other, as if moving it hurts particularly badly. She stares at Poppy, confused, then seems to realise it was a question, and struggles to get herself sitting up. Rosie helps, though she gets a cut on the palm for her troubles, thanks to a bit of glass still caught in Sara's clothes.
As for the employee Whiskey is accosting, he frowns at the short stranger and very firmly shakes his head. "Even I don't have access to -that-. You'd need a manager, or the mall security. Manager's gone home already. We're supposed to close in under an hour."
The two customers, and the second employee who had already been heading toward them, give Widget an odd look (it's an invasion of inquisitive short people!) and shake their heads. "She just...flew out the window. Like something pushed her through the shelves and shit."
Whiskey seems to hit his forehead lightly, remembering something, and pauses, looking intently at nothing for a moment. <activating Shade/1>. He then looks around, with a slightly unfocused gaze.
Poppy tilts her head for a moment, expression distant, then she looks towards the glass window for a moment before returning her attention to Sara; now that the girl is actually responding, she asks, carefully, "What happened?" Her gaze is encouraging, for all that the blood still seems to be making her slightly uncomfortable.
Widget looks around, feeling impotent. She wasn't...she wasn't good at peopleing. "And the dolls? Are normal? Where'd they come from?" She holds the one she took up. See? It did /this/. Allll this.
Whiskey murmurs very softly to himself, after moving away from others, "Not a ghost, none of our kind of stuff, perhaps a psychic?" and what little wind there is in this enclosed spoace tries to carry the message to Widget, which it does..barely.
The bleeding girl, probably around sixteen from the looks of it, stares up at Poppy with teary eyes and stammers, "I-I don't -know-. One second I was, was standing in front of the dolls, and the next, I was here!"
Before Poppy can ask any other questions, mall security bustles through the crowd, polite, but firm, and brings with it a much more thorough medical kit than a paper napkin, along with an EMT to use it. The teens are detained off to the side, and separated from their friend, begin repeating the occurrences with ever-louder hysterics, begging for her to be okay, for the EMT to save her, and generally making a nuisance of themselves and not particularly helping anything.
Widget's captive audience boggles at her, then turns toward the employee still lingering there as if to say 'you're the employee here. YOU answer it.' So the employee does, telling Widget that, "They're the same as always. No one's ever, uh, been Force-shoved out the window by one."
Widget sags. Not the brain wizards. She never could figure out the brain wizards, They're tricky and scary and there was that one group that Clarice helped and... Argh. Well, now that mall security is here. "Excuse me?" Best face. Best non-criminal face. Yup. "Can help? Need to see the cameras."
Whiskey walks over to Widget. "Can I talk with you both privately for a moment?" He nods his head towards Poppy before continuing," I am stumped, and I think we need to put our heads together to figure out what happened here."
A sympathetic nod greets the bleeding girl's response, then Poppy seems more than happy to let the EMS and authorities take over Sara's care, giving them a grateful look and pushing to her feet before stepping away. She looks into the store, arching an eyebrow at Widget's questions, at least until Whiskey makes his way over to her. Resting her hands on her hips, she gives the entire scene a thoughtful look before looking back towards whatever people have gathered, perhaps looking to see if anybody seems satisifed with the current state of affairs.
The mall security, a man and a woman, gives Widget an odd look, then shake their headds at almost the exact same time. "I'm sorry, ma'am. Security only, but if we see anything, we'll be sure to hand it over to the police."
Slightly out of synch, the radios on their belts bleat a crackly message about the FBPD pulling into the parking lot.
Sara's story, however, remains the same, no matter how many times people ask her to tell it, whether to the EMT, the cops who arrive shortly thereafter, or to her friends.
The case of the mysterious flying teenage nerd remains open. Nerds R We, however, is closed for the evening, and politely kicks everyone out.