Parker, holding hands with Patience Hart, steps through the portal from the ASTRAL PLANE. Glancing at the skies, she realizes some time has passed since and her sister were sucked into a different realm. Not a lot of time, just some. I hope PJ and Wy didn't get worried...
Immediately, she takes in her new surroundings. There's an endless row of cars — mostly used or damaged — in the yard. Some of them are piled on top of one another, like Lego blocks. Unsteady Lego blocks.
Suddenly, this feels like a video game.
She gets a mental image of a Ford Crown Victoria plummeting from above and squashing them. How do they keep them from falling? Do they have insurance to cover visitors? Has anyone died here? It's no wonder she's the middle sibling.
Chicken Little is her spirit animal.
But this trip isn't about the sky falling. Without realizing it, she raises her hands, prepared to freeze anything that moves. It's time to save their innocent.
Parker taps into her sensing powers. Instinctively, she looks to her left. Dark eyes land on the back of the woman with blue hair. She's several years away. "There's our girl," she breathes. "You should do the talking. I'll watch the perimeter and freeze anything that looks... demon-y."
A light huff of laughter is all that remains from her sister's jesting in the astral plane. As captivating as it was, she is happy to be back in the land of the living. Warmth, no matter how slight it is, runs over her body. Though in truth it didn't make much of a difference because her adrenaline is pumping. This is a pivotal moment in their magical careers. It very well could be what sets them on their destiny to take the mantle of The Charmed Ones. So much depends on this moment and she is going to be sure that she doesn't ruin it. Saving an innocent is reward enough but this could move the strings of fate just a hare faster.
Patience stays near her sister with her eyes and senses for the girl in question and her would be killer. (No surprises. Freezing and foresight can only get us so far if this gets physical.) She silently curses at herself for not bringing any potions in her purse earlier in the day. As soon as she gets back to the manor, she’s brewing vials upon vials of hand-grenade potions.
"There's our girl, You should do the talking. I'll watch the perimeter and freeze anything that looks... demon-y."
She nods toward her sister. A few icebreakers run through her head but they all seemed so forced and unbelievable. Could she really pull something like this off? Patience is not known for being the most personable person in the world but with a life on the line she is sure that she can put on some type of charm. Essentially, they need to find a way to get this girl to safety but it all has to start with a simple..."Hello," She calls out to the woman and flashes a wide smile. "Do you think you can help me? I'm looking for my car. My crazy ex ditched it downtown and I can’t find it anywhere. I’ve called everywhere and they said to start checking junkyards." She squeezes out a nervous laugh.
Her story is a bit off color but she hopes that it would allow her to open up a conversation in ways that asking for a carburetor wouldn't. “It’s a bit of a long shot but I’d really appreciate your time.” She extends her hand to the woman. “I’m Patience by the way.” Another inviting smile crosses her lips as she tries to form a connection with her innocent.
Gretchen pauses in her steps when she hears the voice of someone else. Startled, she spins on her heels to face this new arrival. There is a slight noticeable jerk of her body that broadcasts the brief fear that shoots through her. It doesn't last long though. The emotions of the colorful haired woman begin to resettle when she sees that the person speaking to her is not exactly a psycho killer out of a horror movie.
A friendly smile is accompanied with an, "Oh, hi."
"Do you think you can help me? I'm looking for my car. My crazy ex ditched it downtown and I can’t find it anywhere. I’ve called everywhere and they said to start checking junkyards."
Well, that's a lot of information to absorb in one go. Gretchen couldn't fight the furrowing of her brows while this unknown woman speeds through her story. There are a lot of elements to it. A missing car, a crazy ex, a cold calling carless girl…it's enough to make for an intriguing teen soap episode.
Once Gretchen has the story figured out, she offers the woman a smile of comfort. She'd hate to be in this girl's shoes.
A glance down at her customer's feet, and she can tell the woman has excellent taste in footwear. Realizing her distraction, Gretchen looks up at the brunette, who introduces herself as Patience, and switches into customer service mode.
"Of course, I can help you." In the distance, Gretchen can see another woman hanging out. Possibly a friend? Gretchen waves at the woman and then shares her own name with Patience. "I'm Gretchen." Soon the customer service agent's fingers begin to move across the screen of her tablet to launch the company's database management system. "What is the make, model, and year of your vehicle?"
Parker keeps her eyes peeled. Nothing seems off. Cars are piled on each other, forming an amalgamation of colors. A metal crane hangs high above some junk towers. (This place looks like a wonderland.) She cants her head, artistic sensibilities humming to life.
In the back of her head, Parker imagines a music video concept. Something with futuristic imagery. If Parker produced the track, she'd incorporate steel drums and trumpets into the beat. She'd make the beginning verse appropriately haunting, then shift into a heavy-hitting chorus. It'd be a song with a killer dance break. She'd need a hook like...
Parker taps her thigh twice.
(Ah, ah, ahhh, baby got me—)
She catches the innocent's friendly wave. Parker, blinking from her mild daze, smiles politely and waves back. (Focus.) She waits until Gretchen glances down at her tablet, then looks at Pat and makes a "hurry up" gesture with her hands.
Though this is the life that she has been dreaming of, she feels the pressure rising. The youngest Hart longed for the powers and fulfillment that comes attached to the legacy that will soon find her but she hadn't thought of this part. She hadn't considered having to convince a seemingly normal individual that their life was in danger by a mystical threat.
Tact has never been her friend.
Now, she needs delicacy more than ever. If she comes across too aggressively, their chance to save the innocent might be lost forever. The witches need to get this girl to manor before disaster strikes and it all depends on these next few moments.
(She seems so normal. I have to ease her into all of this but time is not on our side.)
With her sister's hand motion in mind, she turns back to the woman with welcoming smile.
"What is the make, model, and year of your vehicle?"
"It's a purple beamer." She pauses nervously. Her statement is so foolish that even she knows that her story is full of it. She meets the woman with solemn eyes and a furrowed brow. "Look this isn't easy but," Another pause. This time a bit longer as she mulls over her words. She forces herself to remember stories from her mother about her adventures while she was helping the innocent. It seems like the truth, in increments, would be the best way to go about this. "My sister and I think, know that someone is after you. I know it sounds shady but we just want to keep you safe Gretchen." Patience's voice remains steady and doesn't quiver like she expects. Though she leaves out the bit about magic and electric demons, she offers her the most simplistic outlook on the situation that she can.
(This is torture. It's not like I can just show her the vision.)
Gretchen pauses and the grimace she adopts becomes softly reflected on the screen of her tablet. "A purple what?" She quickly shakes her head to rid her face of the offensive expression she knows is marring it. It's not polite to judge people's personal choices. Especially when you work in customer service.
A beaming smile aids Gretchen when she looks up at Patience.
"I'm sure it looks good in person, but—"
Her customer cuts her off and Gretchen furrows her brows. She's confused now.
"Look this isn't easy but…"
At the pause in the other woman's sentence, Gretchen finds her moment to interject. "You mean finding your car?" She asks. (She probably thinks I'm not taking her seriously. I didn't mean to judge…) With a more friendly smile, the unaware innocent speaks warmly. "It's okay sweetie, I'll just—"
It happens again. Patience cuts her off. Gretchen parts her lips and sighs. Something seems off. Perhaps, this girl's situation with her crazy ex is really getting to her. Maybe, Patience needs…
"My sister and I think, know that someone is after you. I know it sounds shady but we just want to keep you safe Gretchen."
… psychiatric help.
"Safe?" An incredulous look is all Gretchen can muster along with her response. "From what?"
Uh-oh. Parker grimaces when Gretchen's face twists into a look of incredulity. This is getting uncomfortable. She clocks her sister's profile; what did she say? It's no secret Pat can rub people the wrong way. For years, she's watched the other woman vanquish potential friendships and romances with underhanded remarks. Taking a deep breath, Parker prepares to go and smooth things over. Then, she stops herself...
(She needs to handle this alone.)
With her gift of premonition, Pat will find herself in this position more often than naught. She'll need to connect with strangers quickly. Parker watches Pat, face serene. Her sister needs this experience to grow. Still, she can't help making a pact with herself:
(Give her a few more minutes, then do the middle sister thing.)
Her smart watch buzzes with a message from PJ. She half-smiles at the straight-forward question, then punches in a response. After a beat she sends PJ another message. (Leave it to Prudence to worry.) Her eyes find Pat once again. She smiles in encouragement and makes a "just breathe" gesture with her hands.
(You got this, boo.)
Flexing her fingers, she sweeps her surroundings with empathic sensing. She almost wishes the demon would appear and get it over with; the tension is a bit much.
The thought rattles her concerned mind. This is what she fears. This woman deserves to know the gritty details that surround her future. Framing this conversation would be so much simpler if she had something to show this girl. Perhaps if she had power to orb or telekinesis she could demonstrate and prove that the world far more diverse than Gretchen may realize. Instead she is the vision girl - the one who sees and prevents. Life would be easier in this moment if she was muscle with enough might to lift the veil to the existence of the magical world. This moment will not be won quickly but instead with patience.
(I swear Mom has the most twisted sense of humor ever.)
"Now here's where the part that isn't so easy." The witch chuckles briefly. She can feel the uneasiness in her stomach rising. But she feels the embrace of encouragement from her sister. It fills her with an internal warmth that touches her with its pure, golden comfort. After all of her selfishness and antics, Parker still has faith that she can convince Gretchen to take their offer.
"Someone is targeting you and they are going to attack. Right here. You have no reason to believe this, trust me I know, but this is reality and we need to keep you safe." A hint of her bite comes out in her plea. Though she needs to connect with her innocent, she is still the fiery woman that her soul has always been.
This is no time for fire though. She must be like water. She needs to flow and adapt to this situation. She needs to be open to internal change.
Patience continues with softer tones but her prior passion underlying her words. "This is where it happens. I saw it..." Her voice trails off until it something just above a whisper. Patience needs this girl to ask the questions. Maybe then it will help her process the scenario and accept their aide.
(We need to let the black cat out of the bag because we need a magical Uber to get back home. There's no way in Hell that I'm going to walk that far in these shoes for a magical secret.)
Gretchen laughs and the reverberating sound is fitted with an air of nervousness. But it is also directed at the ridiculousness she deems this experience to be. This can't seriously be happening to her right now.
This deemed surreality is left unsupported. Gretchen looks back at Patience and the authenticity held in the other woman's eyes is sobering. The clerk's laugh calms to a stall and her nervousness begins to elevate to fear.
"You're serious… someone is going to attack me here?" Gretchen shakes her head. Disbelief overwhelms her. So she runs through Patience's story again in her head. Something significant that her would be savior said strikes a chord. Patience said she saw Gretchen get attacked in the junkyard. Gretchen bulks at this information.
How can someone see something before it happens?
"And what do you mean you saw it?" Now completely somber, Gretchen drops her affable demeanor. She feels like she is dealing with a crazy woman. Someone in need of mental health services. But the look of authenticity never leaves Patience's glare. Gretchen's light eyes contract with suspicion. "Who the hell are you?"
Parker turns at the sound of Gretchen's nervous laugh. (Crap.) This is bad. Gone is the other woman's bubbly disposition. Now there's tension in her shoulders. Her face has turned bone white. Parker narrows her eyes, attempting to read the innocent's lips. She can only make out every other word. Still, the following words are clear as day:
"Who the hell are you?"
Ok. This has officially gone south. It's time for her to step into the ring. Parker begins to stride over to Gretchen and Pat. However, she pauses when her watch buzzes with a new message. It's PJ — again. Parker begins to respond, then... stops typing mid-sentence. If Gretchen is resistant now, then she'll definitely kick and scream if they orb her without consent.
(Having magic invade your personal life? Not fun.)
With that thought, Parker feels sympathy for their charge. She was thrown into this situation for God knows what reason. It's unfair. Cruel. Dangerous. Parker knows she can't escape her destiny. But maybe, just maybe, she can help this stranger escape the circus her life is about to become. Taking a breath, she approaches and flashes a pretty smile at Gretchen.
"Hi!" she says brightly. "Love the hair. Don't take this personally but—" Parker flicks her hands and FREEZES Gretchen. Almost immediately, she feels the woman's molecules slow to a halt. Clasping her hands together, Parker throws a look at Pat.
"Remember middle school? That time Sue McCrackin refused to play Malibu Barbies with us because she grew breasts over the summer?" Parker nods humbly. "Yeah... this feels like that, just more embarrassing." (Sue poured milk on my Justin Timberlake notebook that one time... Did PJ beat her up?) She rounds Gretchen and RETRACTS her freeze. She stares empathetically at the innocent once she realizes what happened.
"We're witches. Magical witches. I know this is a lot to process..." She gives Gretchen a moment to do just that. "But we're meant to protect you from the demon that's coming. If you want to scream and call us crazy, that's fine.
"I'm just begging you to do it on the way out of here." (I'll call Tristan the moment she gives in.)
The prophetic woman doesn't give Gretchen an immediate answer. This makes her seem less trustworthy. Gretchen squares her eyes and thinks about ending this conversation altogether, but then Patience's comrade bounces up to the pair. The peppy woman is a stark contrast to the mood set by the revelation of Gretchen's imminent attack.
"Hi! Love the hair."
"Don't take this personally but—"
"We're witches. Magical witches. I know this is a lot to process…"
The unnamed woman disappears, but she can still hear her voice. Confusion settles into Gretchen's expression and finds a welcomed home. She cuts a glance at Patience and then around the junkyard. She is startled by the sight of the other woman behind her.
"But we're meant to protect you from the demon that's coming. If you want to scream and call us crazy, that's fine."
Her mouth opens to speak words, but nothing manifests. She is speechless and shellshocked. Especially by the mention of the word demon. Unable to vocalize her emotions or generate a response, Gretchen can only shake her head in disbelief. She is far from calling these girls crazy. From the look of things, she's the one who has hit her head and is lost in some warped reality.
"I'm just begging you to do it on the way out of here."
"I've officially," Finding her voice, Gretchen musters the only reply she can think of. "I've officially gone insane."
The sparkling goodness radiating from the three women makes them appear to be the perfect targets for his mission. He only needs to take the life of one, but the small gathering presents an opportunity to be an overachiever. The demon strikes down like a bolt of lightning in between Patience and Gretchen.
Electros feels he has less of a need to worry about exposure since the junkyard is a less populated area. Additionally, he doubts any of the women will survive. Taking on his humanoid form, Electros believes he will be able to attack these innocents with little trouble. Unlike most lower level demons, his body is his weapon. Electros is built to kill with a physicality that is nearly indestructible and lethal.
The demon feels energized.
A howling buzz escapes his mouth as Electros snarls at Gretchen. She is as good as dead in his mind. The elemental demon is certain this second strategic attack around the city will do wonders to help his clan stake a claim in San Francisco and impress the Lords of the Underworld.
Time to die, bitch.
Electros outstretches his arms and moves to wrap his hands around Gretchen's neck in a bid to electrocute her.