2007-10-22: Mandy the Rat

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Mandy_icon.gif

Summary: Mandy comes back to visit Claire. …But how when she's in Level 5?!

Date It Happened: October 22, 2008

Mandy the Rat


Location: ?!?!?!

The shelter that Claire still occupies is cold. It's a fact that she has become increasingly aware of as time passes. And it's dark. Probably hooked up to an emergency power generator. An old emergency power generator. In the past hour, the lights have taken to flickering off in silence and then cutting back on as the generator roars to life again. It's only a matter of time before it doesn't come back on. This has added only an added level of OMG CREEPY to the concrete prison.

Having finished her insane effort of trying to find a doorway out by means of bashing her shoulder into every square inch of wall, the rag-wrapped, blood-covered blonde is now huddled in a corner with an army blanket that she found in a dusty box that was laying around with her head leaning against one of the walls. She's starving and thirsty beyond description. She's shaking. However, her body is still functional at some basic level.

A light goes on.

One of those overhead things, buzzing noisily, almost at an absurd level. It casts a pale white light into the room, which is full of rats, huge spiders crawling on the walls, and the scent of rot and other less-desirable stenches permeating. Footsteps, loud and echoing, approach. There was no sound of entrance, and yet Mandy stands there all the same.

"You miss me?" she asks. She's holding a knife. Jagged, rusty, broken and chipped in places, but undeniably sharp. Thanks to the overhead light, she casts a shadow over Claire, which is darker than it ought to be. "Sorry I was gone so long. There was an incident."

Incident. No details given.

"But it's time to harvest now."

Claire looks up, blinking blearily against the blindingly bright white light that is suddenly illuminating the entirety of the room. She peers in Mandy's direction, confused for a moment. What? But— But how did she get in? It doesn't matter. The teenager can't bring herself to even stand up. Her head bobs a little as she fights to keep it up. She isn't Adam; her ability doesn't make her invulnerable to the weakness that comes from dehydration. When she speaks, it's a dry croak. "Water?"

"No," Mandy replies.

She does crouch down, though. Perhaps it's the weakness, but Claire will find it hard to move… Fear, perhaps? Or the hand that Mandy has on her, holding her shoulder as that knife draws closer, cuts into Claire's thigh. There's no burning sensation, no acid, merely the cut of a blade against flesh. Mandy removes her other hand from Claire's shoulder. In it, is a vial, which she uses to collect the blood.

She needs it.

"Where are you, Claire?" she asks, voice still cold, uncaring. "How long have you been here now? Three days? Four? Why hasn't anyone come for you yet? Do they even care about you?"

Claire finds herself easily pushed deeper into the corner, and her head goes back to resting against the wall. When the knife slices deeply into the leg left bare by Mandy's 'artistic expression' upon her jeans, there's not even a wince. The fact that she can't feel anything except the cold might be helping with that. There is no pain, no gasp, no cry, and no struggle. However, for the first time that Claire can remember in recent months, the sight of her own blood makes her sick to her stomach. There's no fascination, no wonder at what her body can do. It is simply an escaping commodity, thick and bright and ugly. It is why she is trapped here. Claire looks away.

She looks up towards the ceiling and those horrible bright lights, closing her eyes against them.

"They're looking for me," she finally manages.

"No they're not," Mandy says. "Why do you think we were gone so long?" Leave that to the imagination, eh? She doesn't even have to really say why. The thoughts will come trickling in, so many options, so many deviations from one single point - that being that Claire was captured in the first place. Your family is dead. Murdered, one at a time until none remained. All hope is gone, Claire will remain here for the rest of eternity, barely alive, but alive enough so that she can still donate to the cause.

Or maybe they think she's dead. Newspapers don't lie. A body found in an alleyway with a bit of Claire's hair, or splattered with her blood…

Or maybe they just don't want her.

Mandy withdraws her hand, but leaves the knife buried in Claire's leg. "Even if they were looking, the would have found you by now. What about Peter? What about Drake? Surely they wouldn't stop until you were found!" People she can't possibly know, but does!

What was that?

"I'm everything to you now, Claire."

Claire starts by being able to handle Mandy talking. But then… then names start escaping the other female's mouth. Deep in her gut, it feels like something twists. What escapes from her mouth next is a scream, raw and angry and filled to the brim with an unacknowledged despair, Claire leaning forward to give her diaphragm the extra boosts to make her desired volume a reality. "SHUT UP! YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!" It doesn't occur to her until moments later that Mandy should have no way of knowing about Drake at all. Drake's been gone for months.

Drake, she muses, is such a jerk.

When Claire slumps against the wall once more, her dry and broken sobs seem to have returned. Her voice no more than a rough whisper in the wake of her earlier fury. "What do you want from me?"

Reaching up, Mandy trails a hand down Claire's cheek, leaving a sticky residue of blood there. What does she want from you, Claire? That's the question! Brown eyes say so much, but it's the word that follows the question that says so much more. "Nothing."

I'm keeping you here just to keep you here.

"You're an insurance policy."

Sitting down, she draws her knees up as a drip-drip-drip steadily continues somewhere on some other continent. It's neither here nor now. "Why didn't you fight back?" is the counter question, and a good one. There must have been more Claire could have done. Remember all those sticks under the tree? At least that would have been something.

She waves a hand in front of the blonde girl's face. Her voice is suddenly warm, friendly. "Maybe they will come for you."

"Because you would have hurt someone else," Claire replies in her rasping voice, though now there's a guilty twinge. "You would have hurt someone who couldn't heal." What if… What if Mandy's right? She could be putting more people at risk if her father hasn't forgotten her. If he's coming for her now. The waving hand gets the blonde's attention, and her azure gaze shifts back to look at the psychopath who is far too close for comfort. "They are coming for me." So there. Reaching down slowly and trying to keep the darker hair woman distracted by locking gazes with her, the cheerleader moves to pull the knife out of her leg. She'll see how this freak likes to be stabbed!

Mandy seems able to anticipate Claire's every move. A strong hand is around Claire's wrist the moment it goes for the knife, and instead of pulling it out, Mandy pushes it deeper. "Are you beginning to understand?" she replies with that same warm tone, as she gives the knife a good twist at the same time. "Think, Claire. It's been days."

The drip-drip-drip continues. A roar of what sounds like static fills the room, but that, too, is distant. Familiar, though, like water falling. Almost like rain.

When Claire tries to resist Mandy's …resistance, she is horrified to find that there is an ungodly amount of strength behind that psychotic hand. She doesn't even budge the woman's grip. "No," she hisses. "I don't speak crazy." The knife may be twisted. It may churn muscle around its blade, coring a piece of her thigh like an apple. But she can't feel it. All she feels is the fire in her throat as continues to talk, and the freezing, terrifying numb. Why can't she feel anything? "They're coming for me, so leave me alone until they do."

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Mandy reaches for Claire's face again, her hand dry this time — suddenly — reminiscent of something scaley, almost, as it winds its way around her shoulder, then withdraws. The lights will start to fade, ever so slowly, though Mandy still remains there, clear as day, twisting the knife. It…

…Tickles?

"Are you listening to me, Claire? Are you beginning to understand?"

The question is repeated, yes. And then the voice grows cold again, the lights snap back into bright focus, bathing the room in a sickly yellow. "You understand that you'll never leave."

"Go to Hell," Claire says sullenly, though finally something in her just seems to snap. There's a sudden flurry of action, her hand swooping down from underneath her blanket to swat weakly at the tickling sensations, first at the knife in her leg, and then she shies away from the feeling of scales moving on her shoulder. Probably not the wisest plan ever, but it's instinct.

Gone.

There's no knife there, but a rat scurries away from where it'd been licking the blood off her leg. The other one around her shoulders flees, too, to wherever rats go when they're spooked like this. The room is dark, the light fading as a crack of thunder reaches the basement with a muffled rumble. It's raining outside- that's what the static was.

But there's no Mandy, and the room is silent.

Except for the drip, drip, drip of water into the hollowed-out bits and pieces of brick that litter the floor.

It's not much, and it's dirty, but it is water.

The rats obviously got in. The water is getting in. Perhaps there's a way out of here? There must be.

There must be. It's a thought that consumed Claire for the better part of the day. However, she never found that key way to get out. She just needs fate to actually cut her a huss for once.

At the sudden realization of what is actually happening outside of her hallucination, there's a gasp and then a frantic bit of motion fueled by tapping into her adrenaline reserve. Claire shoves herself forward and out of her corner with a sharp inhalation of breath, leaving her sopping wet blanket there.

She stands there, freezing and shaking in the icy October rain water for a good half a minute before it really sinks in. The ground is covered in water. Too shallow to collect with her hands, eventually it dawns on her that her blanket was dripping.

She makes a horrible face, but survival is no gentle mistress. After just one more moment of consideration, the teenager fumbles her way back to the corner and picks up the blanket. Without hesitating, she wrings the liquid held in a corner of the wool into her mouth. She fights the urge to gag at the foul, dirty taste — barely filtered by stone and then again by fabric fiber — but it's water. It's making her raw throat stop burning. Steeling herself, Claire lays the entirety of the blanket on the dirty ground, kneeling as she begins her feeble attempt to quench her thirst. Maybe God didn't forget her down here. All hope of immediate escape, however, is dashed as she runs her hand along the wall and eventually puts fingers to the hole where the rat came in, where the water is simply slipping between two layers of masonry. The outer layer is still very much intact this far down into the earth.

Once she's gotten as much of the rain water as her stomach seems inclined to handle, Claire makes her way to an abandoned cot with the soaking, filthy blanket wrapped about her shoulders once more. It's probably better to lay here for a bit. It'll take the rats longer to find her again. The last thing she needs is for them to start trying to make her into dinner. She heaves a shuddering breath, and then closes her eyes.

Sleep now. Devise new plan of escape tomorrow.

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