Clockwork Angel

Visions and Sketches of the Nearsighted Seer

Rebecca Harcourt
18 December
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Rebecca Harcourt
Becca is a strikingly normal fifteen year old girl. She has long black hair, usually clipped out of her face with two black barettes. Her only notable features are her eyes and the glasses that hide them--striking deep blue hidden behind incredibly thick lenses. She is very nearsighted and it shows just looking at how thick her glasses are. She wears normal clothes which vary based on where exactly she is. Though usually they are shabby and well-worn.

World Information
The thing with Becca's background is that she's from a world that might as well be the real world. Her 'background' is outside your window, as it were. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, just as it is if you were to go and visit it right here in reality. The only difference is that Becca was born with the ability to see the future. A quick google search here in the real world reveals countless people who believe that they can as well, though, so perhaps it isn't any different to the real world at all. But that depends on whether or not you believe in psychic powers--certainly a lot of people put stock in such things even in the real world.

Becca lives on the near north side of Indianapolis--an area that was once the creme de la creme of the city, but now is run down and little better than a ghetto. The income in that area is very low, and many of the houses are actually in very poor repair. Most of the people in the area live below the poverty line. As such, they are a very mistrustful bunch--everyone keeps to their own business and expects the same of others.

Becca's school was more close-knit than her community outside of school, though that is a statement of degrees--neither were particularly tightly woven. The school itself was almost the archetypal downtown low-achievement school. Arsenal Technical High School had more drug dealers than scholars, and it wasn't uncommon to find used condoms on the track or behind the buildings. This was despite the fact that Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) preached abstinence-only education, in line with the heavily religious feelings of the community around the schools and the voting public. Though technically religion was supposed to have no place in the public school system, one would be hard pressed to find a classroom without a Bible, and if the teachers didn't provide, the other students would.

Becca was born in 1995 [SANCTUM: 1992] in Wishard hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Her parents were happily married, and her father worked in one of the lumber yards on the near north side. He was killed in a workrelated accident in early 1998 [SANCTUM: 1995], when Becca's mother was a few months pregnant. She held herself together just long enough to attend to the funeral and give birth to a healthy baby boy, named Alexander. Although the death of her father had earned the family a stipend from Workman's Compensation, live was not easy for the Harcourt family.

Workman's Compensation paid out the full $7500 for Becca's father's funeral. Most of that was spent on a large, ornate headstone, which Becca nicknamed her 'expensive chair' due to her habit of going to the graveyard and sitting on his headstone while she was skipping school. (Given that her mother spent most of her time at home, Becca prefers to be out of the house as much as possible.) After that, Becca's family was entitled to 2/3rds of her father's income for 500 weeks, which lasted until the time Becca was a little over twelve. As such, her mother did not need to take on a second job, and simply held onto the one that she had prior to her husband's death. However, the evenings were spent missing her husband and stressing out about having to raise two children by herself. She turned to alcohol, and was eventually fired from her job for poor performance from coming in hungover. After that, the family tried to manage simply on the Workman's Compensation payments, which did not go far with a house mortgage and two children. Especially since quite a bit of it was also being spent on vodka.

When the 500 weeks of compensation ran out, Becca's mother was forced to find another job. By that point, however, alcohol had destroyed her life. Though she managed to secure jobs occasionally, she was soon fired. Money was hard to come by after that point, but there was just enough to keep the mortgage paid. There have been times where the electricity or the water was shut off, or the heating in winter.

Becca started having visions when she was three, though she only remembers that she was 'very young'--she can't place how old she was. She told her mother when she started seeing things that were strange, but her mother was already on her way to alcoholism by that point and told Becca to go play by herself and not bother her.

If her mother hadn't been halfway into the proverbial bottle, she might have noticed that Becca's strange drawings always depicted events that would come to pass. Unfortunately, as some bad parents do, she refused to nurture Becca, and instead called her an attention seeker, a trouble maker, and a bad girl. Thus, she was taught that showing her drawings to adults only got her into trouble.

She was five when she first started having visions about her own death, and at first she simply put off trying to get a way around it--eighteen years old might as well be a hundred years away when you're five. They did frighten her. After her friend's death when she was seven, Becca decided instead to not try to change it, but rather be grateful that she had some advance warning so she could plan ahead and prepare for her death. Most of that consisted of making sure Alex was prepared for her death and knew how to take care of himself.

After having a vision in which a friend of hers would die in a fire at their home, she invited that friend to her house for a sleepover. She hadn't asked her mother's permission, nor her friend's parents' permission, and her friend was sent home, where she died in the blaze that night. That was the last time Becca bothered trying to change the future--life experiences had taught her that trying only got her in trouble and the vision would come true anyway.

By the time she was seven, their mother started forgetting to cook for them, first one or two nights a week, then more. Becca got into the habit of making cereal for herself and Alex on those nights, and she noticed that it made him very happy that his sister was making food for him instead of letting him go hungry. It made her feel good that her brother recognised her efforts and praised her for taking care of him, so as their mother started doing less and less, Becca started doing more and more. It had very little to do with being self-sacrificing genuinely, and everything to do with the fact that she liked the positive attention that her brother gave her. Eventually, she noticed that if she 'let it slip' to adults that she was taking care of her brother, it earned her more positive attention.

In that way, Becca got into the habit of taking care of Alex more or less on her own, stealing money out of her mother's wage packets to pay for groceries, and otherwise tending to the house. By the time she was fifteen, she was quite established as Alex's maternal figure, regardless of their biological mother's abusive presence in their lives. Part of his willingness to accept her as such, however, is fed by the fact that Alex is not mentally stable in the first place. He is outright obsessive about Becca, seeing her as a goddess figure. Alex himself grows up to be a serial killer who targets girls that look like Becca did, and he has a very creepy shrine to her in his house.

Of course, all these preparations, not to mention spending so many hours a day drawing out her visions...left very little time for school or other things that most 'normal' people would consider important. Armed with the knowledge that she wouldn't live long enough to make use of her schooling, she simply decided school and other things just weren't on her list of priorities. She instead channelled all of her energy into making sure her revenge against the world would go as planned--making sure Alex's life would be a good one, going without food to make sure he ate enough, giving him everything he would need to have a happy life, even her own winter coat lest he get cold.

By the time she was school aged, the secrecy around what she saw and what she drew was ingrained and second nature, after too many lectures about being an attention seeker from her mother. She didn't bother trying to tell her teachers, fearing that she would only get into more trouble. As a lone child against the world, there wasn't much she could do to change her visions on her own.

She has some scars from when cigarettes were put out on her arms by her mother, and bruises from being knocked around, but as she wears long sleeves all the time, no one ever noticed. And where was child protective services in all of this? Simply put, Becca had heard plenty of tales of siblings being split up to be housed better, and despite how much she at times resented Alex, she wasn't willing to be parted from him. Rather than report her mother for the abusive and neglectful alcoholic she was and risk having Alex taken away from her, she chose to do her best for keeping him safe from their mother without help.

All the while, she also filled a lot of notebooks with drawings; many of them simply morbid imaginings, but a large proportion of them were accurately recorded visions of the future. Her parting gift to Alex, just before her death, was the key to the locking closet she kept these notebooks in.

Her death itself is a twofold affair--there is what visibly appears to be the cause of it, which Becca believes is what kills her, and then there is the actual truth of the matter. Becca's visions are hell on her heart, causing her to pass out, even causing her heart to stop briefly at times. Eventually, when she has a fit, her heart stops and does not start itself again. This is the true cause of Becca's death, however, she cannot actually see her heart stopping. What Becca sees is the fact that, coincidentally, she was sitting on a bridge over the White River, when suddenly she topples over the railing and into the water.

Becca believes that she will drown, which is a spectacularly stupid guess, given how shallow the White River is. However, Becca has always taken her visions as literal, and very rarely invests much critical thinking into the hows and whys behind them. This is a self-defense mechanism, in that the less time she spends thinking about her visions, the less time she has to deal with the harsh realities behind them or the moral quandaries of what she might be obligated to do with the foreknowledge she has.

Becca's visions have become one of the foundations of her world--the sun rises in the East, sets in the West, and before she turns nineteen, she will die, drowned in the river that runs through the city she lives in. Although it's a wasteful, avoidable death, Becca does not believe that she has the power to change her visions of the future, and as such accepts it as fact without ever really questioning it. Part of her is afraid to try, that if she does somehow manage to live past the appointed hour, fate will come after her and give her a far more painful, horrifying death. Although she is wrong, Becca thinks drowning looks peaceful, to simply slip under the water and sleep there. She doesn't want to risk a more painful end.

The defining point of Becca's life, according to Becca, is her selfless devotion to her brother and his happiness. However, this is a front that she puts up--truly, he is a pawn in an elaborate revenge scheme against the world, to tug at the heartstrings of the people she sees as having abandoned her to her cruel fate. Not only is it not going to work, it's completely ridiculous. However, Becca doesn't realise that. She devotes herself to her plan singularly, and in so doing, she ruins her chances of actually helping herself.

She knew she would be dying young, and since she didn't believe she would be able to stop herself from dying, she decided instead to set up the sort of remembrance she wanted to have at her funeral. In the grand scheme of things, as human beings that's all we can do with our lives, to think about the sort of people we want to be remembered as and then choose to act that way; but Becca chose that path not out of nobility but out of a skewed sort of self-pity.

Her life was miserable, and she believed because of her visions that she was doomed to never improve her lot, so she decided to instead try to be a saint not because she believed in it, not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was the only way she had (or at least, that she was aware of having) to stab back at the world that had dealt her so many lemons--to live such a virtuous life that those people who had refused to assist her in life would feel miserable on finding out that she'd died when they could have helped her. Ironically, they would have helped her if she hadn't hidden everything from them and had actually asked for help.

Needless to say, Becca is very passive aggressive when she's not so stressed that she openly snaps at people. As much as she hates that she's doomed to die, and as much as she wishes she could rebel against it...she's also somewhat looking forward to it. She's trapped herself into giving up a lot of things that she wouldn't have otherwise wanted to give up, acting that way because she has to for the sake of her master plan to get back at the world. As much as she loves Alex, she also resents him for the pain she's endured for his sake.

She has a smart mouth when she's comfortable with people, though at that point it's teasing jibes rather than true snappishness. She tends to show affection to those other than her brother by joking with them. Alex can't really take a joke, though, so she smothers him in sweetness and sugar and only very rarely teases.

[SANCTUM: As a younger teen, Becca thought that her tragic history meant she was owed some special treatment. As she's grown up, she's realised that the world doesn't work that way, and it's made her rather bitter. She still holds onto the idea that she is somehow special, but that makes it the world's fault that her specialness isn't recognised. It's made her rather jaded overall.]

Becca believes she is a good person, despite all of her flaws. She tries to hold herself to what she believes is 'good' morality, but her understanding of morality is very immature and under-developed. She never really had to think on morals much, and that which is good for her is generally good enough for her own thoughts and opinions. She believes lying is bad unless it's for a good cause (such as lying about her life at home for the sake of staying with Alex). She dislikes hypocrites and those she judges to be unreliable, as those are moral failings in her eyes.

Becca is also quite naive. She thinks she is unwilling to trust people, but people can 'earn' her trust for very little. It doesn't take much at all for her to decide they're good enough to trust with most things, the only exception being the tale of what actually goes on at home. She has no problem getting into cars with strangers, for example. Mostly that stems from the fact that she can see the future--she knows she won't get into serious trouble, and she thinks no one can hurt her.