A Place for Strangers and Beggars, Chapter 01

Technically, this is Chapter 2 since I count Prologue as Chapter 1. Evie is a name that I use for lots of other OCs, namely the OC in Cosmopolitan Girl KHR Style, and The Road Trip.

 –

A Place for Strangers and Beggars

Rorschach

 

Rorschach’s Journal.

 

Accepted quest to find missing daughter. Might still be in Brooklyn, intact. Need to move faster, otherwise, will send message to woman telling her to collect daughter from river or dumpster. Came across whore today. High on PMS. Spilled coffee all over herself. Never said thanks when I saved her life.

 

 

…………

Rorschach had a good day.

First, he found some junkies skulking in the alleyways and bashed their noses in, to make sure they couldn’t snort anything else up except from oxygen. Then, he went into Happy Harry’s and threw a man into a jukebox who had been bragging about how he brandished a knife at a woman earlier on and took her all her belongings. Next, he tracked down a one-timer killer who was lurking in some run down motel, and broke his left arm in three places, his right leg in five, before tying him up and throwing him into a garbage can outside a small branch of NYPD.

And now…

Rorschach was being followed.

He hated being followed.

No, he despised being followed.

Keeping his pace to a minimum, he heard the footsteps behind him. They were quiet, lanky, a little rushed. Stepped in puddles a lot. Not doing a very good job in trying to remain undetected. He saw a shadow – a visibly round head – indicating a hooded figure. Typical. It kept ducking away from sight whenever he gave a little turn of his body to look back. The clock on the sign he passed said five minutes to midnight. He was supposed to meet with someone named Carter at some point – the mother of the missing girl he met didn’t provide much of a description of this person, however – all she said was that Carter would be looking for him. Maybe tonight, or tomorrow. Perhaps he should’ve asked for a written description instead, because he couldn’t hear most of the woman’s words. She’d chosen to cry and speak at the same time.

He walked down an alleyway, and listened.

The footsteps stopped –

Then continued.

He moved down to a darker area, and stopped in the shadows.

Waited.

Silently.

The footsteps moved closer.

And then –

Rorschach lashed out.

Could this be Carter?

Better be safe than sorry. He grabbed the wrist; pulled the arm back and subdued him in an inescapable arm lock, seized hostage a little finger. He’d applied a little pressure – but the finger snapped under his grip like a twig already. He watched, a little surprised at the fragility.

“Owww!” It yelled out, it sniffled and then began to cry. “You broke my finger, you asshole…!”

Rorschach growled; he’d be breaking more fingers by the time this was over. “…Following me. Why?”

The sniffling stopped immediately. “…It’s…Y-You??” From under the hood, two widened eyes peered up at him in realisation, which was quickly replaced with horror. Then the sobbing started again.

“Who sent you?” He rasped out as he stared at the crying, gibbering wreck in front of him; it was emitting high-pitched, guttural cries and mournful, feminine wails. The more he scrutinised this mushroom-crouching mess writhing on the floor, the more he perceived this crumpled heap to not resemble a Carter. Not a man…?

He lifted the ‘man’ up, who squeaked out. He knew: Female.

She felt herself being hauled up, before her spine slammed, hard, making abrupt contact with the dirty brick wall behind her; his gloved hand tightening around her neck. Her head throbbed, having thudded against the slab in recoil, and not too gently, either. She stared wide-eyed at the faceless man inches before her.

“Talk.” He barked out.

She rasped helplessly at him, her eyes almost rolling to the back of her head. “C-Can’t…breathe…”

He removed some of his pressure over her neck and she gasped noisily, inhaling a sharp breathe of air. Then – “Oh-Oh my god! Please…Do-Don’t kill me…!” She cried. The hood fell off as her head thrashed, revealing her dirty, brown hair. She wailed out, almost on the verge of tears. “…I’m begging you. Please don’t hurt me… I’ll-I’ll give you anything you want – “

He irked immediately; already feeling the urge to break the remaining intact fingers of hers and slam his fist first into her face. “Don’t need anything from the likes of you, whore.”

“W-What did you call me?”

He watched her callously. It was the same woman from the subway, the one who was almost shoved out off the platform. Same woman who splashed coffee down her front and made a fool of herself. Same woman who passed him, and gave him a dirty look as if he was the scum of the earth.

She stared back at him, trembling. The face…no, she didn’t know what it was – but it was looking back at her anyway. The rest of it was a man – grungy coat – double breasted, clearly for men, that was for sure. Pinstriped trousers, smart-looking but dirty, mud-infested shoes, complete with greying scarf neatly tucked into his chest. She began to hyperventilate. This was…Rorschach? She felt her entire body freeze, seized by fear. She had never seen Rorschach in person, only in paper, but then it’d be a few crude drawings because no-one had ever gotten so close to him before that they could get an actual photograph without his consent. She didn’t realise he would look so intimidating in real life; nor did she realise how strong he would be. He had lifted her completely off the ground and was now strangling the wind out of her.

“Prowling in streets at midnight. Inadequate attire. Looking for men. What else defines a whore?”

He sounds decompressed. Not full of hot air as most men seem to be full of these days, she thought, blinking numbly.

She then looked down at herself; she didn’t think what she was wearing was… ‘inadequate’. Sure, her bellbottoms were a bit tight and fitted her perfectly but… She bit her lip, and shook her head. Maybe he was a misogynist in general. “N-No, you got it all wrong — I…I, well… I am looking for you, sir, but – “

“You were looking for me.”

His low, coarse voice didn’t occur to her as a surprise; in fact, it seemed to match his puzzling appearance very well. Tall, broody, mysterious, and profound, in terms of demeanour and appearance. She struggled for breath; not to mention, she was absolutely scared out of wit’s end, “U-Uh…I need…I need y-your help, s-sir. Your help.” She squeaked out as her fingernails scraped over the cold brick behind her, attempting to support her irregular leverage off the ground; she closed her eyes, as if waiting for him to punch her in the face and then kick her repeatedly in the stomach and stomping on her head, before dumping her mangled body in some filthy dumpster.

“Help.” He repeated stonily; his head hung low, the brim of his hat casting a shadow over his ‘eyes’. A whore wants help.

She nodded vigorously, her widened eyes searching the rest of his face frantically for anything to establish the fact that this man may be a human. No good; it was just a mass of shape-shifting black spots swirling around, resembling vicious storm clouds and the way how they hovered around unsuspecting towns before wreaking their havoc; she perceived the mask was actually made of clear plastic, and a gap inside for the shifting black blobs, with perhaps a white background, but now she wasn’t so sure.

Why?” He added, his voice grinded into an edge which made her flinch. Why must masked vigilantes be so… aggressive these days? Were they starting to generalise people these days that they treated them the way they treated criminals?? The Comedian was a great example.

“…This…This is Blair. Blair Roche.” She finally regained an ounce of bravery and shoved her hand into her pocket, hastily protruding out a photo, prompting him to take it. He slowly did so, with his other hand – the one was still around her neck and had her feet dangling in the air – the laminated card with the three smiling faces slid into his gloved palm. She watched him, holding her breath all at the same while. “Obviously she’s the one in the middle. Her mother’s the one on her right, and you know which one is me –I’m her aunt. This photo was taken just a few days ago. She just turned six years old.”

She couldn’t tell if he was even looking at the picture; she wondered how the man could even breathe, let alone see, under the shifting mask.

“Carter.” He eventually grunted out, after minutes of deep, profound scrutiny of the photo.

“…Yeah, tha-that’s me.” She gave him a tiny, awkward smile as a trickle of sweat rolled down her temple. “…Blair’s been gone for three days. Do you have any idea why this has happened?”

“No.”

She added to her statement hurriedly. “But she was kidnapped.”

“You think.”

“Um. Yeah.” She replied back, a little nervously, “There’s no reason why she would run away from home or anything else. So…what do you think?”

“…Nice picture. You look happy.” He grunted out, before handing her back the photo of the girl’s birthday party. “Go home. Go home to husband and warm house.”

She blinked at him in acute surprise, and frowned. “What? So…you’re… not going to help me?” The frown worsened, “…But my sister said you came and – ”

He ignored her remark. “Busy. Don’t get in my way, brat.”

“…But…But I… I thought you were…” Her lips wobbled fiercely, “…Wait, Mr Rockshack, sir – !”

“Rorschach.”

The woman cringed viciously; knowing that she had offended the vigilante in the worst possible way. “S-Sorry, Mr Rorschach, sir; this isn’t just any little girl. She is my niece, and back at home, my entire family is worried; my sister can’t sleep at night, knowing that her baby’s lost and frightened, alone in some dark and scary place and – ”

“People go missing every day. Get used to it.”

She felt as though a brick had landed on top of her head, and her fists clenched, but she knew that it was better to get on his good side. And right now, the tension between them was already not that great. “…Right, okay, I get it…But…You’re Rorschach…”

He turned back round.

She swallowed, feeling the air in the atmosphere vanish all of a sudden. “…You’re meant to be helping people; y-you clean up the streets, tidy up what the police can’t, and…all those things I heard about you… Heroic and brave, um…slightly psychopathic, but strong and – “

“Sorry to disappoint.” He grunted out.

She looked at him in disbelief, “Blair looked up to you. It was her dream to meet you one day. And right now, she needs you. She needs Rorschach.” Actually, that was not true. Her favourite Crimewatcher was the Silk Spectre. Oh well. Nothing like a white lie to convince others…“My family needs Rorschach. I need Rorschach!”

At that point, he flinched; his eye twitching under the mask. “…Didn’t say I wouldn’t help.”

“…Huh?”

“Don’t need you to come. Too dangerous.”

She quickly slapped a hand over her mouth, and looked at him warily. Then she squeaked and continuously apologised, relishing the fact that he had a reputation for breaking fingers and had already broke at least two of hers. “…Oh…I-I’m sorry, it’s just… the way how you said… Oh god. Look, Mr Rorschach, I’m sorry, I completely misunderstood you…”

Quiet.” He snarled out; and it made her shut up immediately. But her sobs were replaced with tears of relief and hapless smiles which he found surprisingly irritating, “What about her mother? Why you?”

She looked back up at him, gestured to herself in surprise, “Me? Because…”

“You did something. Guilty.”

He watched her splutter out something incomprehensible which further supported his accusation, but then her expression clouded darkly, and her eyebrows furrowed deeply into a dark crevasse on her face, “What? You suspect me?! How dare you!

Rorschach pulled up his collar tighter around his neck as soon as the woman stopped seething at him, baring her teeth, veins popping in her neck and almost everything else that reminded him of Daniel whenever he got angry, save for a jelly belly, a balding head and thick-rimmed glasses balancing off the bridge of the nose. Not a pretty sight. “Hrm…” He began to stalk out of the alleyway, his grimy shoes slapping the surface of the mud puddles, grit swirling at his ankles. He didn’t seem to notice.

She looked lost all of a sudden, then hurriedly picked up pace, “N-No, wait! Don’t leave me here!” She cried after him. “I want to come with you. Let me come with you, please, Mr Rorschach. Please – ”

He stopped in his tracks abruptly, turned to her. Her formality with him was new. He inspected her briefly; she looked different without a suit. An eager expression was written all over her face. He looked away. “…Full name?”

“…Evelyn Carter, sir. But everyone calls me Evie.” She said dutifully as she hesitantly held out her hand to him.

But he continued to walk past her, clearly not intent on shaking her hand; she brought her hand back immediately masquerading it as an effort to scratch the back of her neck. The damage was already done, regardless. Carter somewhat cursed at her own pride and stood limply, staring at the gutter as the rain seemed to have intensified.

She looked back up, watched his retreating back, and blinked stupidly into darkness as she gripped the photo tightly in her hand, silently wondering to herself if she had done the right thing, asking for this man’s help. Yet Blaire’s smiling face on the photograph gave her the answer, and she remembered the purpose, the reason, the logic behind it all; to think of the poor girl, helpless and afraid; maybe held hostage or worse…Carter immediately shook her head to clear the horrid thoughts. No, must have hope, she thought as she snivelled and wiped at her running nose. Her fists gripped tighter over the photo, almost bending it in half with the strength of her clutch.

She would bring Blair back, safe and alive, or else she would never forgive herself.

Carter huddled under her jacket, and when he turned back round, she stiffened all over again when she heard his gruff voice barking at her, “You begged to come. Now follow.”

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