|AIR DATE 08.28.2011|
|Location:||Patton State Hospital, San Bernardino|
|Synopsis: Three people get trapped in a nightmare when Patton State Hospital loses power.|
'The Shining' was a special day event run as if it were a campaign for D&D, with rolls to achieve goals, random occurrences, 'combat', and staff rampantly ignoring pose order. Rolls have been left in because of these special circumstances— except those done in secret by Pistachio.
"Thank you for coming, Doctor."
A thick man, embellished by his stately wardrobe, the state hospital Director is a firm, authoritative presence at his slightly oversized mahogany desk. Haloing his head better than hair are the symbols of his professional titles, all framed and exquisitely polished, set in an organized and efficient grid for best display. Around these, book shelf upon book shelf. Mostly medical tomes, but the ones on the right, with their particular green, gold, and red bindings look to be on law. The lighting is sharp, making sure to glint off of every decoration.
Everything has a place, and everything in its place.
Sitting across from him, Dr. Daniel Lewis stares not at these status symbols, but at the unsettled kneading of the Director's fingers. A tiny detail in a large room. The doctor is a smaller, wispy presence, nearly dwarfed by his own bookbag slung over his shoulder too much like a college student. Grey on grey, the drained palate of his wardrobe. The darkness in the rims of his glasses, only; black; he looks out through the lenses at the nail of a forefinger worn thin nearly to the point of self-harm.
At first, it would seem like he hasn't heard anything said at all.
Then, his head raises, and his eyes are only a second slower to follow, drawing up the Director's larger frame to the other man's eyes. "I don't usually tend to patient consultations, but psychiatric care has been a large part of my research."
The Director gives a couple of brisk nods. Only the end of Daniel's stare seems to have cued him as to where it was focused; he suddenly pulls his hands apart and firmly grasps a pen so as to jot a few useless things in the date book affixed to the desk. "Of course… but it isn't just reputation we need to worry about anymore. All these… incidents— it's making the other patients nervous. Skittish. We have some very severe cases of paranoia here." Now he's fiddling with the pen. He doesn't seem to have noticed.
Daniel blinks widely, emphasized by his glasses. As a reflected light from above, too sharp, swipes across that glass instead of that holding the Director's titles, the doctor pulls the glasses off his nose, bringing them to his sweater to be rubbed less officially at; just at thumb guiding soft grey material around for a periphery repair. Dipping his head slightly to meet the returning glasses halfway, he regreets the light as it jumps back into his eyes, warming their shadowed irises into his grey.
"I can tell."
It takes the Director a moment to decide whether the much younger man is putting him on or not, and he squanders a second with that arched eyebrow and debating look. But then his tense shoulders relax. Tense again, for a new purpose. "To be frank— " he opens, a whisper of surprise across his concerned face that his mouth is moving. Still, he doesn't stop. He leans in, sliding his newly folded hands onto the desk towards Daniel to initiative a sense of sharing. "What scares me the most— "
Not that there's so much noise, but it certainly seems like the end of the world when those overly illuminative lights suddenly shut off, coating the two professional men in utter darkness. Then, a second later, as the Director stammers, a wash of red appears as bulbs more hidden turn the roomy office garish.
Brisk, unnatural light sharply illuminates the overly crisp angles of the facility's morgue. Carved from the left shoulder of the buildings, its rectangle cuts a larger shape than most of the others in the vicinity, though a partition curtain, and accompanying sliding glass door beyond, mark its size as not always for the full use it's been seeing now. Creating extra harsh shapes in the unforgiving luminance, each carefully preserved body, identified by the twin lumps made by ghastly stiff toes, makes a garden row of sleek black shrouds. Not a single one bled out a like, but all seem identical in death. Except the lucky volunteer, spread most recently onto the tray brought out to the front of the class. Once a middle-aged male, now the frank, bulging eyes and criss-crossed pink bruises of a victim of strangulation— self-inflicted.
He isn't the first.
Therein, the purpose of the little black stool ushered to his side, the beaming lights. Outside the re-enforced door, the sole other visitor: a security guard, working as escort, rests his back to the locked inside. Once in a while, he glances to the left where, by his shoulder, a grey rectangle makes up the other side of the call-box that can be found within the morgue. Its keypad requires a code he knows; its buttons the only way to communicate. He looks at the box, then he looks at his watch.
It's getting late.
Whatever the time may be, Harriet doesn't seem to know or realize that it's getting later. It's a mystery, one that has been plaguing the facility. While this is normally a job for the police - as well as their science units - the strange nature of all the deaths has lead them to request for ACRU's units specifically. A lab rat who knows her way around the field, Harry isn't used to working morgue duty. However, the evidence that she needs to collect includes the bodies and so, here she is in a creepy morgue. So, donning a lab coat, rubber gloves and a long plastic apron, she circles the strange shapes that used to be living beings.
To many, the rows of dead bodies may be a creepy scene. However, the young CSI has been around enough dead bodies that they have long ago lost their mysterious ability to scare. Bodies are the same as they were in life with just a major difference of no longer breathing. In fact, alone in the unnatural lighting and creepy interior, Harry hums absently and tunelessly to herself as she methodically goes through the evidence collection process.
The lifeless black lumps she passes by give no answering whistles, still as the death that gripped them, and locked into their last poses. In the clean, reflective surfaces of the floor and walls, Harry's soft voice echoes, pinging the cool interior. Beneath her fingertips, her subject's are swollen, stiff, and blistered from recent enraged activity. Labor so frantically sought that welts had already formed against joints before the last breath had choked out. Cold, but trapped in agony.
A wash of red. A transition from the sheer fluorescence so drastic that it precedes all. Just a blink and the mottled old skin has gone violently colored, a bath of bright blood coloring transforms the previously lifeless room.
Wah. Wah. Wah.
Loud, wailing, and as constant as the heart-beat none of Harriet's company has, sounds the sudden alarm throughout the room— throughout the complex, surely; its insistent seems to penetrate even bone.
Behind the foggy off-white masked window of the exit door, the security's guard shadow jolts to life. Darkness outside is compelled to color by the emergency lights. The missing thrum of power shutting down is replaced by the click of the door throwing its lock to double secure.
As Harry goes about her work, she does not expect a chorus of answers to her off-key humming. That would be just weird. Instead, she studies, documents and frowns. She has sympathy for these poor souls who were tormented in life and thought ending their existence was the only way out. There's a bright flash as she takes a picture of the blisters and discolorations. As her eyes adjust back to the artificial lights, she moves closer as she notices the skin changing color.
Her investigation of the strangeness is interrupted by the rude and startling alarm that causes the scientist to almost jump out of her skin. "Waugh!" she cries and throws herself backward out of sheer instinct. Then, as the rapid increase of her heart beats out of time with the constant wailing of the alarm, she puts a hand on her chest and takes a deep breath. "Oookay, there, Harry. Just an alarm. In a psychiatric facility. Nothing to be…alarmed…about…" She doesn't exactly sound as if she's convincing herself. On shaky legs, she makes her way to the door and hears the click of the locks. Blink blink. That can't be good. Quickly, she moves to the box on the wall to communicate with her escort even as the power shuts down outside. Oh dear. She starts pressing buttons for contact.
Besides Harry's finger depressing the button to talk outside, a second one sits demurely, red in the red lighting, it's almost enticing. Above, a tiny placard has been fixed on: Director's Office.
Bzzt bzzt. The insistent noise picks up outside, alongside the silence of the door being too thick for Harry to hear her own voice. If it's going through. Dim emergency lighting continues to flood up and down, melting her form into the room's, turning her the same blood shade as the bodies in their robes, in their rows.
Bzzt bzzt. Is there power?
It seems to be at least on.
A vastly more rambunctious title than the designated square radiates, strung out between strictly regulated hours, its set-up is kempt, anal: a splash of precisely chosen neutral colors dictated to specific quarters. Even with the door swung open, half-kept at a welcoming angle by the pre-emptively engaged stopper, the visitor inside appears like a thief in a museum: she doesn't belong.
In no other situation might the room, and its activities, seem particularly lively. Easels propped crisply against the wall parallel the thick plastic tables and benches. Neither holds a single art tool in sight; the giant cabinets fused to the wall, decorated up and down not by design but locks, speak to that. The only thing that seems to be escaping is an old, worn copy of the board-game Battleship, slung too hastily into its slot, it now tips as if to spill onto the floor or, more likely, onto the coat hangers just below these cubbies. Here, strung like meat, a couple attempts at frivolity: a cowboy hat, a drooping clown suit missing its colorful afro— and one eye, and a third, now emptied, hook. Its former occupant has been confiscated just hours ago, its seemingly silly frayed tassels guilty of assisting suicide.
Behind that metal grate, even the clock high above the door is sentenced to a cage. Tick. Tock.
It's getting later.
The rec sign of a camcorder flashes near the timestamp that marks the growing hour while the camera records the very clock above the door. The digital captures the old-fashioned; the incredibly amateur documentary maker isn't paying attention. Jude's black ballet flats twirl her all the way around inside the dismal activities room to capture every dismal corner on film, every boring table, every blah-colored wall— "Activities Room," she mumbles cynically to herself, "could use a better name…"
The visitor's steps amble, but stop and start here and there with a distinctly uneasy shuffle. There's nothing comfortable about being in a psych ward. It seemed so exciting at first, an obvious choice to capture people being crazy— er, the human condition— for class, but Jude appears torn between the heebie-jeebies and the next round of extreme yawning. The flip-out screen functions as her eyes; she uses it to see where she's going. "If there's no activity soon I'm going to fail this stupid class…" A wobbly arc of the camera takes it toward the precarious Battleship before she finds her sights filled with the one-eyed clown suit. "Oh Jesus," she startles spitefully at the thing, "what are you looking at." Lowering her camera in a scramble and clutching at the purple plaid of her shirt — such an invasive stroke of colour with her red hair so as to almost appear to be in costume, herself — she actually looks around the room with her own eyes. Away from the hangers.
"Note to self," she dictates matter-of-factly to herself, "Learn how to edit my voice out afterwaaard…"
Diligently strung at his post, his painted on make-up cracking in bad repair along a cheek below that eyeless gap, the clown suit gives no reply. His voice is a judgmental silence mutilated by a brisk, high-pitched alarm: Wah! Wah! it honks out crisply. Flickering does not precede the alarm's cause; the lights just whisk out, punctured by the darkness their failure rolls out. Wah! For a second, it's pitch in the square footage. Then, a dull red emergency light rises, washing out the room to match the repeated blink of the camera's recording. In the dimmer glow, the Activities Room has shrunk, huddling in on its own bloodied shadows.
Jude jumps, but her first response is one of complaint, not fear. "Oooh no. Well that is just inconvenient," she objects to no one but the camera, which she roves this way and that trying to flick through the settings incase one works as some sort of super spy night vision. There isn't such a setting; the screen is a blur of the same red, and she clues in: something is— not right in here.
Her eyes readjust in the odd light, strobing between blinking and wide as, bit by ever increasing bit, she peers around with apprehension. Closed in upon, she shifts awkwardly in her oversized plaid shirt, her out of place grey skirt like a child who suddenly has to run to the little girl's room. "Hullooooo…?" Even her querying call bears her Scottish accent, but it's alarm that accents it the most. She steps, almost hopping, back toward the exit, where her toe comes up against the stopper. She tries to peek beyond the Activities Room before tiptoeing out. "Hulllooooo— can someone tell me what this is all about then— should I be evacuating or— " She swallows, hesitating, " — is there anyone there… nurse?"
GAME: Jude has rolled LUCK and got a result of POOR.
Corners and halls that led Jude there stretch out, now foreign, in the new red lighting, transforming angles into unfamiliar territory. Wah! Alertness to the new atmosphere does not calm the alarm; it bleats on, the heartbeat of a building under its siege. A door to the right: "Supplies". Locked. Insistent scratchings, scrapping metal where a key is being forced into a bolt too small is a soundtrack out of place. Up and down the hallway, the locks are fitted for electronic keycards. Still, the orchestration of complaining metal continues beneath the solid alarm's pulse. A whisper of a presence— syllables, here and there— key in beneath that. Is there somebody up ahead, scrape-scrape-scraping.
Jumpier with every round of the alarm, Jude crumples in on herself — an arm across her chest, a heel leaning back into the Activities Room instead of out and toward the sounds. It's not the most promising sound in all the land. "Uhhm…" she starts to call out again but fades off. She bounces once as if preparing to make a break straight down the hall, but all she does is inch along, past the supply door. "Hullooo…" her quieter, even warier call reaches out. She's forgotten her documentarian motives, her camcorder just drooping; clutching it brings some comfort, though, and she suddenly swings it back up to record the halls, the closed doors, the shadowy territory. "So I was filming when suddenly this alarm started going off, right," she narrates her wary trek, "and these creepy lights came on. I'm going to try to find someone, or maybe I'll just… find my way back out.." She hesitates again, trying to pinpoint that scraping. "Do you hear that. Oh, of course you do, I'm talkin' to myself. Good place to go crazy, Jude, in the nuthouse. Edit. Edit."
GAME: Jude has rolled LUCK and got a result of POOR.
No break eases that scraping, and the sound would be mechanical in its repetition, but for the frantic, uneven strokes. Scrrt, scrrtt. No release, no relief. Muttering rises from the depths of whispers, callous, impatient, and indistinguishable. A word, or even grunts, go by, as ceaseless as the clawing efforts. Grown louder, but no more distinct, in the empty passageways stretching ahead of Jude, there's a small difference in the lighting yards away, to the right, where it could be a doorway strikes separate shadows there. Wah! Wah! Sccrt. But no door's outline breaks up the hallway; it must be closed. If the scraping's getting louder, then the person inside wants out. Frantically.
Click, click: Jude hits zoom a few times on her camcorder as it looks down the hallway in front of her as she walks, but she doesn't see whatever foresight it might offer. She's too busy swinging her head over one shoulder, then the other, at every unnerving sound. "Who's there— !" she calls out, meanwhile, almost immediately rolling her eyes at herself; but damnit, cliche or not, she goes on, fright trembling with a cocky determination, "… no, but seriously… stop with the scratching, if you're in here you're probably supposed to be locked up, yeah? You'll have to wait for a nurse to come back to complain!" Her hesitant steps turn into a scurry toward the right and what might be a door.
It's a door, ajar. Flickering from inside, a different kind of light seeks to penetrate the awash red tones. Wah wah! From the black wallow of his missing eye, the crack-faced clown suit and its stand stare placidly over Jude's shoulder at the sight.
GAME: Jude has rolled LUCK and got a result of AVERAGE.
Jude has her sights set on the door, reaching out toward it. For a few seconds, she doesn't notice what's just there, over her shoulder. And then— a shape, out of the corner of her eye …
Once she notices that there is something there, something looming and completely unnatural, her face fills with a frightful wonder matched to the hairs on the back of her neck raising. How did she possibly not notice it a second ago? And how long has it been there?! And more importantly: it can't possibly be what it looks like, right? Every part of her freezes except for her eyes — their colour obscured by the sick wash of red — growing so round and so wide, they look like they might pop. Right out of their sockets. Like the eye of a certain clown-face. Not blinking even once, Jude almost mechanically starts to turn her head toward the sight.
Saggy at its post, the clown almost bobs in its menacing contentedness, slumped forward, with the head cocked at an inquisitive angle presenting that gaping hole to her. Almost bobs. Throughout the long glance over, the suit remains utterly still. Perfectly still. Motionless; it's only an empty suit, strung up. Beyond, the sccrt has retreated into the distance, detaching from the doorway Jude hovers in front of. Overlaid, a static pipes up from inside, breaking the surreality of unidentifiable noises with its obvious technology. Muttering now comes as if over a channel, and its cool modern touch beckons Jude's attention.
"Aa— ahh!" As she cries out and grimaces, the thrashing of limbs flaring out from Jude defies logic. Gangly arms and legs go everywhere the second she's looking face-to-face with the clown suit, a burst of frenetic energy. Is she trying to run, hide, fly, hit the thing— all she knows is that it is terrifying, and the panic runs through her like a lightning bolt. It's clear to her shocked eyes that it doesn't matter that the thing is lifeless and unmoving, and that it also doesn't matter what the heck is behind the door except a place that isn't right here with it. Her hair whipping, she crashes toward the door elbows first.
The door graciously yields— too much. Hit, it swings open wide, scratching its lowered stopper across the linoleum with a defiant squealed scrrrrhhh that drowns out noises from out in the hall. Beside the meditative hum of technology, the small break-room is a sanctuary amidst the corridors. As the door rebounds violently against the opposite wall and, dictating Jude's position past it with a full swing, slams shut, even the alarm melts into so much background. Causing the flickering, a small red-handled flashlight sits on a counter, left rudely on. The folding table nearby holds the perpetrator of all that static: a walkie-talkie, also on, and delivering a quiet interference for everything else.
"And you stay out there!" As if she meant to play any role in the door's slamming. "Ohhh God, oh God— " Holding her hands up to her head — the small camcorder gets a shot of the ceiling — Jude paces and stumbles this way and that as though drunk, whirling and facing the door. A blockade of panic delaying every and all forms of comprehension. "What-is-happening-oh-God— okay, calm down, this is nonsense," she says and though she doesn't follow her own advice strictly, she does take in the presence of the flashlight and the source of the static. "… and tooo-tally doesn't look ominous at all…" she murmurs sarcastically. When she stumbles against the folding table and reaches for the walkie-talkie, her hand is shaking. She hits the first buttons her uncoordinated fingers come across and rambles without a clue if anyone can hear her, or if she's even using it right. "Hulllooo— hey! Staff— people. I'm ready to leave your crazy hospital, did you forget me here… you— you can come get me now…"
GAME: Jude has rolled LUCK and got a result of POOR.
Zzzt zzzzt the walkie-talkie gives ornery reply. Laced beneath the static cling is suggestions of a voice: "He— … can— " Male, maybe. It's difficult to tell, and then it's gone.
Harry continues to press the button to talk outside, attempting to get in contact with the man who escorted her down here. "Hello? Hi? Outside people? I think, well, I'm pretty sure… the door is locked. And I'm still in here? Hello?"
As she receives no answer and the lights fade up and down in a strange sort of slow rave, Harry frowns and tries to peer through the fogged out window. No good. All she gets is more flashing lights and barely any visibility. Seeing the Director's Office button, she frowns. Should she bug the director? If there's really an emergency, she's sure he or she has a lot on their plate at the moment.
However, her being stuck in the morgue may be one of those things that she'd like to add to the list of things to rectify. Hesitantly, she pushes the red button. "Um, hi, sorry to bother you! Can you hear me? Sounds like you've got a lot going on, but, uh, I seem to be stuck?"
Grey lifelessness keeps Harriet's box in its grasp for long seconds defined by the puncturing sound of the alarm as it rolls in and out, a constant alert: the building's new pulse. Then the call-box leaps to a static sound. "I— I can hear you." A young voice. Male. As uncertain as the echoing alarm sound from his location— though muffled— makes the sound, the panic, swell.
"Hey! Hey! Come back, I heard you!" Jude's nervous fingers unclamp and clamp over the same walkie-talkie buttons. "I need help, I don't know my stupid way out've here anymore and I'm fairly certain there's a clown suit following me! Hull-ooo!" Blinking, she takes a moment to do a mental rewind on herself. "Clown suit…" she mumbles, this time to herself; again. "Either I'm insane, or there's someone insane trying to scare me with a clown suit because I'm in a building full of insane people, why am I in a building filled with insane people. Or else there's an insane mass-murdering clown following me who's killed everyone— " Logical reasoning backfired. " — why didn't I get that on the camera though — " Heaving a frantic breath, Jude switches that camera off to set it down on the counter, swapping it out for the little flashlight to swing around.
Making a strange pyramid of yellow against the red, the flashlight's beam sweeps the room, clarifying details. Motivational posters on the wall. The edge of the table with the walkie-talkie, scuffed. Red nose and white face. A filing cabinet. Door— back! No face—
"— I hear you— " crackles the walkie. "Hello?" crackle. Softer: "I don't know— shoot— " Louder: "Hello?"
Jude nearly drops the flashlight more than once on that last way back in her desperate hurry to point it back where she thought she saw a face. Her hands are sweaty, suddenly; the little red flashlight keeps slipping in a grip that can't stay still. She almost drops the walkie-talkie, too, when it comes back to life and scares her. There's a delay from her, before— "Y-yes! S.O.S. Over and out. No! No, no, cancel that. Will someone tell me what's happening? My name is Jude Taylor, I'm a student. I'm— I think I'm in a break room of some kind— " Completely unconvinced that the shadows hide nothing, she backs up, only to bump— the counter?— and whirl toward it with the light like it's the enemy.
"Oh…?" It's definitely a male voice: young, sounding strained through the static's influence. "It seems— " Nothing. Silence; the walkie-talkie only keeps Jude company for several long seconds. Meanwhile, the room sways under the unsteady cast of the flashlight in her hand. Bzzzt, the walkie pops to renewed life: "Miss Taylor? I'm a doctor— I was with the Director a second ago. I think— " His voice grows distant with the scuffling of his movement. "— the power's gone out…" Then it drifts completely out of Jude's range.
"I think… I think the power's gone out. Only the emergency is on. Are you alright where you are, ma'am?"
Harry glances about and shrugs at his question, knowing that he can't see it. It's a very young voice that's on the other end of the line, but should she be ageist? If he can help, then he can help. "I think you're right. I'm fine here, just trapped. Is there any way to get out of here with the power out?" Somehow, she manages to not ask how old he is - that may just be insulting the person that is attempting to help her. "Do you know what happened, why the power went out?"
"I don't, no. I don't know— " Sounds of, perhaps, movement cut off the voice, then the connection altogether.
Jude dares to stare incredulously at the walkie-talkie a moment rather than keep an eye on the untrustworthy shadows. "The power's gone out. The power's gone out," she repeats with a voice gaining in natural loudness, holding the walkie up to her face. "Thank you for that enlightening update while I wait here for something to come and kill me while I'm in the dark! What good are you!" Her boisterous Scottish antagonism wanes the second she stops yelling into the device, replaced by pangs of nervous fear; swallowing, she peers along the beam of the flashlight. She is alone, in the dark, while the power's out, waiting for…
In a burst of shaky-handed determination and inability to stay still, Jude hooks the walkie onto her skirt, grabs her camera, and inches toward the door, reaching for the handle like it might bite her. Maybe if she opens it just a smidge, she'll see that there's nothing there after all…
… nothing at all. The hallway awaits her in its penetrated red tones, aside the pulsing Wah! of the alarm, and nothing to suggest she isn't completely alone in the three-story facility but the crackle of walkie at her hip.
"You're not in the dark," illuminates the doctor's tinny voice, uninterestingly unaffected by Scottish baiting. Except that it's a minute later. "That's why the emergency lights are on. If you stay where you are, I can tell the Director you're there, when he returns."
A few seconds past, and it fumbles on. "Sorry, I tried to look and I lost the button. He's got some— The Director— he's got some here, perhaps. I don't think I'm meant to touch it. If you're. Alright. If we stay put…"
As the voice trails off, uncertainly as he started, a glimpse of movement beyond. A dark shape detaches from red-tinted ones outside the foggy glass of Harriet's prison. The unclear suggestion of a silhouette passes by the door.
When the boy loses contact, Harry releases and presses the button again, fearing that it was her end that lost the signal. "Hel—" Before she can finish her question, he is speaking again. "Who are you, then? Where is the Director?" As for staying put, she's not altogether against that, it's just that she would rather have options - the option to run out a door if the whole building is actually on fire. Once the shadow distinguishes itself from the background, the scientist stands on tip-toes. "It looks like someone's out there," she tells the disembodied voice. "But I can't tell who. I came down with someone, but he isn't answering."
"Oh, sorry," The voice scoffs. "I'm Doctor— Lewis. My name's Doctor Lewis. The Director stepped out…" Pauses here and there in the speech might attest to small physical habits, causing tiny scufflings. "… when the lights— if you had an escort, they could've met up. It says you're in the morgue— that's not far. Probably your man returning now."
Jude peeks unsurely out into that hall, remarkably unsettled by its emptiness — and the lack of the hanging clown suit. That only means it's moved. "What if he doesn't return?" she scrambles at the walkie-talkie around the flashlight. "What if something's ripped his face off, have you thought of that, Doctor! He can't very well come get me if he hasn't got a face, now can he!" She stands up a little straighter, as unnerved by the room behind her as what's outside of it. She shuts her eyes, bracing there in the doorway, shuffling to be neither in nor out of either space. She forgets to un-click the walkie-talkie as she murmurs an anxious mantra: "It can't see me if I can't see it, it can't see me if I can't see it…"
"Miss Taylor, be reasonable." suggests that voice, not quite at her ear. The doctor's monotone echoes more in the hallway, filling its gloomy emptiness with practicality. "There's nothing here that will rip anyone's face off… and besides, saying he didn't have a face does not necessarily limit his ability to walk. Hold on, we may have found him— " Buzz, buzz. The comfort of the connection fades.
Still on her tiptoes, Harry stares out the window as she listens to Doctor Lewis' voice. "Why would the Director be coming here? Shouldn't he be fixing the power?" It's not that she thinks she's unimportant, but the last thing she was expecting was the director to come down to help her out. Unless he meant that it was just her escort. Hm. "Or did you mean my escort? Oh dear." She gives a strong couple of knocks on the heavy door in an attempt to get her escort's attention and lets her feet rest flat-footed for a minute before raising herself up again. "I hope he didn't go too far?"
Impact of five shadowy indents, the full force of a hand colliding into the frosted glass. With a keen squeak, it begins to slide downward, leaving behind frosty smears, before vanishing entirely. A second. RATTLEs electrify the doorknob, sending it into violent seizures as someone outside ferociously attempts to get in. Tries, tries. And, in a last fit, surrenders. The silhouette passes away.
When the hand slams against the doorway, Harry stumbles backward away from the impact. Her hand lets go of the button responsible for keeping contact with Doctor Lewis and she stares, wide-eyed at the frosty smears as someone attempts to violently get in. To her credit, she doesn't scream or shriek or cry out. Instead, she watches the scene with curiosity and horror. She did all out to attempt to get this person to help her, but now she's not sure that would be such a good idea. When the figure moves away, she's inexplicably relieved.
With shaking hands, Harry pushes the red button again. "I—- I don't think that was my man, Doctor." She takes a deep breath and shivers, suddenly feeling the cold required to keep the corpses from rotting. "What is going on out there?"
The static of Lewis' location coming back online is expectant, even across the distance. "Then who…" distant, not aimed at the box. Though neither is his much stronger, "Nevermind." interrupted by the crackling of a second layer of technology; his voice seems to interfere with itself.
It's an empty hall.
Connection rises. Almost hesitant, even in the coolness of technology: "Nevermind. Where are you— ?" And his voice bounces, as if interfering with itself, losing Jude several words. "— I was told to stay here. He said this room was safe."
"I'm not sure…" is stated after a cool silence in his monotone. "— I was told to stay here. He said this room was safe."
In the large silence of its space, the morgue waits without even the tenseness of baited breath, only the pattern of smeared redness from the lights' change: the black-clothed peak of toes, metal slabs and cabinets, the empty table where Harry was working with its small covered stool pushed slightly aside from movement's disturbance and, past, where the partition curtain has gone vaguely askew.
"This is turning into that Poe tale about the afflicted taking over the hospital," Harry mutters under her breath, annoyed and scared. Pressing the button harder, as if that will fix the problem of the static. "That's fine. I'm not asking you to come after me yourself. If you can just… I don't know, send someone?" She sighs, not expecting much of a useful answer from him.
As she starts to look around in an attempt to think her way out of this cold cellar, he notices the curtain having gone askew and studies it. That could have happened at any time, of course, but the disturbance has reminded the young scientist that there is more to this room than just the small room that she is in. Perhaps there's a power box in storage that could open her doors. Or, perhaps, a call box that will allow her to talk to someone more useful than Doctor Lewis has turned out to be.
Jude pries one eye open with willpower, her one-sided sight just set on the walkie-talkie and nothing else. "Okay, smarty-pants," she tells the voice, her own tremulous throughout her retort. "I'm in a break room or something, where are you and I dunno, everyone else? I was in the Activities Room when the power went out, you know, the one with the clown— why are you never-minding, did you find the Director and his face is ripped off, oh God, you have, haven't you, I've got to get out of here— " She takes a harried step into the empty hall.
"I see where you are," projects the voice from the walkie. "I'm in the Director's Office— how about this, Miss Taylor. I'll come to meet you. There's another woman here I'm talking to. We can all wait together."
"Okay," Jude replies quickly, swaying where she stands. "You do that," she orders with a wavering undertone of both gratitude and wariness. She tucks her camera under one arm and gets a better hold on the flashlight. "I'll…" Pause. Sweep of light. "Be…" Pause. Sweep. "Here, then." Pause. Sweep. "Waiting." Pause. "… hurry up okay?"
Harry releases the button and ducks down to see if she can see anything through the displaced fabric that would help her.
The curtain sways slightly; remnants of that disturbance. Recent. To Harry's eye, the room beyond is only a concrete wall, home to several more drawers of waiting bodies. Or are they waiting, after all. A sweep along the curtain's bottom shows feet. A pair of bare feet. Curled around one toe, a little tag: Suicide. Strangulation.
Feet. There should not be feet there. Oh God, why are there feet standing with a mortuary tag on it? Was this a poor soul who was incorrectly thought of as dead, put in the morgue and has fought his way to freedom? If so, there was a lot less shrieking and shouting than she imagines there would be to find out that you were mistakenly thought of as dead and put in the morgue.
Stiffly, Harry straightens and pushes the button to the director's office again. Though he may be useless, he's the only link she has to outside the door. "D-Doctor?" Her voice is thready with fear. "I… I think… I mean, I'm not sure, but… I know this will sound crazy… but, I think one of the bodies is standing…"
Useless, and missing. Though the buzzer hisses with the sound of its transmission, the line on the other side is silent. A cut lifeline.
Time passing is impossible to ignore; the Wah! Wah! counts each second alongside Jude's heartbeat, never changing or waning. Always Wah!. The corridor offers nothing else but alarm, and red, and aloneness.
Then, beneath that: sccrt sccrrt. Jude's absent scratcher has regained his cause. SCCRTT, louder now. Mumbling. Frustration has given way to anger. SCCCRTTTT. A brutal, screech of metal strokes at a pitch that gets under the skin. As if he's scratching at her skin. SCCRRRTTT.
Coming up from behind.
Jude would slither right out of her skin and hide if she could, but she's stuck inside her own goose-bumps. The shivers of fear that run through her are almost enough to shake her head in denial of the scratching noise. She wrings her fingers around the flashlight. The screech feels too close and its pitch rockets straight her away from the threshold. Forget waiting! She starts running, only daring a look back — breaking her mantra's questionable wisdom — after the fact with a haphazard swing of her hair.
Ka-thump, ka-thump, SCCRTT— the scratching pursues Jude's thunderous pace, the beating of her heart too fast for the lazy WAH! of the alarm, though, in the wake of the blood rushing, it seems to scream even louder. WAH!— WAH!— WA— Thump.
Hair that flies at impact briefly obscures Jude's rude stopper, an obstacle softer than a wall, and made of a few layers of cotton-y grey that soak up the building's new lighting system without a fight. The wall that's not a wall is also hands, fluttering at her side to grab hers, steady her, aligning her face to brown hair, and cool neutral eyes. The screeching has faded into a bad memory, scolded into obscurity by a practical voice, "Miss Taylor," he guesses accurately. "Miss Taylor— calm down. I'm the Doctor."
Jude allows herself to be stopped by the person-shaped obstacle telling her to calm down, but what she certainly does not do, no thank you, is calm down. She's still for but a second, and barely that. Her red hair, just red on red on red in the wash of emergency lights, doesn't have time to stop flying wildly before she whirls around the man, encompassing him like a tornado until she's behind him. She clutches at his shoulders with hands and camera and flashight, stooping over his right to stare wide-eyed down the hall.
She'd appear as a small, hiding child peeking around a parent, afraid of the big, bad monsters in the dark, were it not for the fact that Jude is technically a grown woman, and rather tall despite her slouching. She can't hide behind him at all. Her round face, however, is certainly childlike, and just as scared as a child being chased by monsters. Her greeting, on the other hand— "You're the Doctor?" She spares a look sideways to get a look at him in the lack of personal space she's created for emergency purposes, pausing her frantic breathing. "You look like you're twelve! More importantly, there's something after me! I will not calm down! I'd really rather freak out!"
"W—Well, don't! Please," sputters the young face, that high voice, neither doing much to diminish her claims beyond the wagging of some light facial hair at her when he spins to catch her shoulders a second time. "I assure you," Daniel goes on, heaving in a breath that allows him much more control, "There's nothing down there. From the office, I could see everything. There aren't even patients' rooms in that area. You've only let the lights get to you." Whipping his head back reflexively at the sight of all her scattered hair parts his own bangs minimally, and gives the red lights full access to the reflecting lenses of his glasses, now askew from the collision.
Darting a hand to his nose, he glides the eyewear back into place, letting the red glaze over the glass from Jude's side before it clears, revealing his wise eyes. The other hand uncurls, offering a palm traced with the overly long ends of his grey shirt cuffs. "Do you want to come with me?" A beat. The parent: "There won't be any freaking out where we're going, if you'd prefer that, here…"
Jude begrudges the offer by flattening her arms at her sides, turning about, and sticking the flashlight out down the hall the way the man seemingly appeared from— but she replies to his wise eyes, "I'll come with you." An unsettled mixture of fright and irritation forms a pout all over her face, and she all but jumps every time the alarm goes off even still. "But I'm not mad. I saw something."
The hiss is just as bad as silence. There's no one there. Or is there? Louder, Harry calls through the intercom, "Doctor? Doctor?" At least she knew there was someone else out there when he answered. And now, she's worried that something has happened to him and she thought all those bad thoughts about him. Though she holds onto the button for a short period of time, she lets it go once she realizes that it's useless. Turning sideways, she starts to examine the door for some sort of emergency switch or something that might open it one way or another. Every few moments, though, she looks to the side to make sure whatever that thing is back there is still there.
Still there. As time whittles by, distinct and constant by the Wah! of the alarm, leaving each second counted. Each second where the temperature in the room seems to shift one degree lower. Wah! Colder. Wah! Colder. Immovable feet beneath a frozen curtain. Wah!
Then, not to one of Harry's proddings, the door gives a shudder. A shake. Once again, the knob is being assaulted with a harsh, determined RATTLE of intent. WAH! The alarm seems to know; it grows louder. Colder. WAH! RATTLE RATTLE. A swoosh of cold air. Curtain swaying. There's no feet.
With a jolt, the door pops open, swinging out.
Peeking into the doorway to then inch inside is a red head, eyes nearly the size of saucers, a flashlight beam, and a camcorder. Rec. Rec. Jude stands as a disgruntled observer after following the doctor; every little sound feels amplified to her hyperaware ears when she thinks everything could jump out at her and the noise inside this room is no different. Noise and— "Oh you've got to be kidding me!" There's the woman's boisterous Scottish antagonism again. "Are there bodies in here? You thought this was the best place to wait, really. You are mental!"
As the room gets colder and colder, Harry stops attempting to open the door and watches, instead, the feet. As they make no movement and don't seem to be going anywhere, she frowns. Maybe, well, maybe they're just standing there? Curiosity starts to take over and while she's stuck in here with it, she may as well just take a look. However, as she starts to get closer, there is the swoosh of colder air and she turns her head slightly as to not let it get in her eyes. When she looks back, the feet are gone. Well, crap. Where did they go?
The door has opened behind her and she looks between the two options. Whatever that was, it didn't seem to be following her, but she didn't want to turn her back and worry about it. Eyeing the stool from before, she gives it a hard shove to send it through the curtain. If it runs into anything, she'll know.
No difference to Jude, when a little round-topped stool goes careening into a hanging grey curtain. The two get briefly entangled, then the stool slides, its wheels spinning, into the back wall full of metal drawers. With bodies. The sound echoes in the large room.
With her back to the doorway, Harry has no idea that people are on their way to the morgue where she was trapped. Instead, she waits with bated breath to see what the stool will run into. Nothing, it seems. Straightening, the brunette haired scientist's eyebrows furrow and she briskly walks to curtain to sweep it aside.
The curtain flutters, and obeys, grabbing forlornly onto Harry's fingers. Beyond, the cabinets all sit in their neat rows. The dead: organized.
"I'm not— really?" The flat monotone of Daniel's voice has raised some to incredulity by the time he appears in the doorway following Jude's red hair, in the red hair, beside her red rec. It's a theme, and not one that the young doctor follows: he's as dull appearing as his voice once sounded to Harry over the doorbox. "We're here to— hello? Ma'am?— there was a woman in here…" His voice, louder to echo in the large room, fades when he glances aside to touch at the door's outside lock— quite busted now.
Jude appears on the verge of hopping backwards, away from here, at every second. The out-of-place camcorder she holds careens this way and that as if she were hopping from foot to foot; she just can't stay still, and her hand shakes. She keeps close to Daniel, half-whispering with her head tipped to the stranger of a doctor, skeptical: "An alive woman?" She prods the spacious morgue with her small beam of light.
The aforementioned woman stands with her arm sweeping aside the partitioned curtain, a puzzled look on her face. Was she going crazy? Maybe it was the lights. The sound of Daniel's yell startles her and she gives a surprised yelp and swings around at the commotion. She knows that voice, she thinks. "D-Doctor Lewis?" So far definitely an alive woman, unless the dead can suddenly start talking.
"That's right," Daniel pipes up, swinging his head attentively from the puzzling lock to where the woman's outline is now evident far across the room. "I'm— " his glance goes aside, catching Jude in a periphery that makes his voice gain a pointed edge not meant for Harry, "him." But he isn't twelve. "And my companion…"
Sniffing through a nose half-covered by his constantly perch-challenged glasses, "If you'd like to come along…" he makes a gesture out of the morgue— happy, Jude? "A keycard door closed behind me on the way here, but I glimpsed a longer way around, if you both would like to come with me to the Director's Office, instead."
What with all the strange things that have happened to her, Harry is relieved that this person seems - well - alive. It's better than her past company has been for the past hour or so. "Aha." Though it's dark, she studies the doctor. "You sounded… younger." It's not meant as an insult, she has a young sounding voice, too. "What's so special about the Director's Office?" Not that she really wants to stay here where it seems like there are dead bodies wandering about.
Even in the dark, Daniel's wince is somewhat recognizable for what it is, and a lot more natural on him than the pointedness was. Younger; he seems almost guilty for it, which de-ages him further right in front of them. "When the Director left, he told me to stay there, and that the room was the securest in the building." He's wincing again when relating the orders he's clearly disobeyed; it makes him fidget. "I think it would be responsible for us to remain there until this is worked out."
Whups, Harry did not mean to embarrass the poor guy. Instead, she nods as he listens. "Thanks for coming to get me," she says, instead. Because, from what she's experienced and what's been happening, it seems like that took some courage. Or perhaps a mouthy red-head. Who knows! "Then I guess we should be responsible." Lead on, Doctor.
Corridor to corridor, red coating each step, the alarm's Wah! transforms into a pace to walk by, ushering them towards one door, the next. Those that are labeled present a key-card box next to the doorknob, demanding authorization to pass. Forward on.
Up ahead, the vast barricade of a double door, frosted window, paned, and impenetrable, stuck inside. Its keycard lock blinks a strangely contrary green: go ahead. Below, determinedly large print: WATCH YOUR STEP. Timely warning to the step just beyond the door as it parts, de-elevating into new territory.
Spread out along the yard of corridor, a brazen spotlight hangs above each wide doorway covering left and right sides. Only one is lit, a lone beacon, giving bursts of smattering light onto the exposed glass that is the window each doorway becomes where the wall is see-thru. Flicker, flicker. Light on glass; odd reflections.
Light on a face. Eyes behind glass, stretched to their capacity, aimed at the explorers but hazy with unseeing. Life has been carved out of the oft agonized face, the wrinkles giving him signs of wear and tear akin to a leather bag more than a human being. "Nnnngh," is muffled behind glass. "Nnnnnngghh," and the squeaking of his fingers, indented too hard against that boundary. They leave behind smears like skin, like pieces of him dragging behind. He goes again. Squeak, eeeeeee. "Nnnggh!" Agitation without release; he doesn't seem to know they're there.
The trek from Point A to Point B is one full of pangs of panic for Jude, who almost manages to keep quiet for fear of attracting attention from anything else in the building. The sight and sound behind the pane of glass (however much she struggles, squinting, to be sure of what she's seeing with every flicker; she still isn't), however, break her tenuous silence. "Who is that— ?" Alongside Daniel, one of her sharp elbows unnecessarily juts out toward his arm to get his attention. She comes to a full, fright-sticken stop in the corridor. "What is that? What the heck kind of place is this!"
Harry manages to watch her step by the steps, glancing all about as they move one way or another. "This is a psychiatric facility," the woman tells Jude. "You're not—-" she eyes her. "You're not one of the patients are you?" But at the squeaking of the face on the glass and the terrifying sight of the man against the glass, she grips her hands together.
"He's just— a patient," Daniel's breath catches more from distraction than fear. His hand reaches up absent-mindedly to squeeze Jude's elbow… and guide it away. "They're behind glass so they can't secretly harm themselves…" As though magnetic to the patient's cause, Daniel trots in a giddy little side-step towards the viewing pane of the room, casting brief, unfinished, glances to see if others are occupied. "Hey— hey, sir. Look at me." His hands keep to themselves, fluttering useless at his side. One jumps to his waist, gaining speed towards his face as he leans in, but he keeps it at bay. "This isn't bad; you're okay. Everything's going to be fine. You have quite a nice looking bed back there— " Not that Daniel's looked; his eyes are locked to the other man's, "Why don't we sit down."
GAME: Daniel has rolled LUCK and got a result of AVERAGE.
With a dull moan less fierce than his first, the direly lit patient shows his arm beginning to sag under the quieter voice. A beat where he slows. His eyes twitch up responsively to find the doctor's.
Quiet was a false-start: "Nnnnngg!" rips out louder, instead. Rips out his eyes almost from their sockets. Falling hand leaps, renewed from its low swing, to smack into the glass, but that isn't the only thing. Rising from his leant state, he rears his head back as if to retreat from Daniel's nearness, only to swing forward— pounding skull and hair into the divider with brutal force.
Her eyes glued in the direction of Daniel and the scariest patient she's ever seen, Jude starts to shriek. The air gets caught halfway. "Doctor— !" She scrambles closer to Harry. "I don't even belong here!" And she doesn't look like a patient, she looks like a college student, standing out in a purple plaid shirt and grey skirt with leggings. And the small camcorder. Panic or no panic, she determinedly grapples the device and points it at the face behind the glass. "I'm going to make the best freakin' documentary there ever was before I die in here!"
Horror is quite clearly written on Harry's face as she watches what happens to the man behind the glass. Before she can scream, however, Jude finds her voice first and so she just watches in silent terror. Automatically, when the man starts to retreat, she reaches for Daniel to pull him away from the glass and whoever this person is. Nothing good is about to happen. "Doctor…"
"Nnno, hey— hey." Futile fingers now dart forward from Daniel, pining his palm to the glass, fingertips sprawled out, to match the zones of impact from the patient. "Don't! You're not— in any danger. Come on…" his own hands make little, far more pathetic, squeaks against the barrier. He's slippery to Harry's grasp, straining to communicate while half-obeying her, putting him at an angle of both retreat and approach. "He needs help— " he pleads over his shoulder, sparing that glance away to Harry, before returning to the glass, "If I could just get through— "
Coming away the second time, the face distorts, an endless grimace etched in those lines. Not for the smear of red blood he's left behind on the glass, but of unfulfilled torment. "Aarrrrgh!" And SLAM. More blood springs, shot from impact, onto the glass directly in front of Daniel's face.
"A-ahh…" Escaping above falling lenses, Daniel's eyes widen with a delayed jolt after the impact, locked for a second onto the red spot where his vision hazes out unseeing to seeing to— The doctor wheels away, propelled from the spot with dizzied feet that cross haphazardly one over the other. "Oh god…" Sounding more than a little choked up, he dips over wherever he's stopped, his hands thrust onto his knees, or his forehead, without commitment, to stave the nausea.
A hand goes up to cover her mouth as Harry quickly turns away from the blood and spatter the man behind the glass inflicted upon himself. Though feeling nauseous herself, she attempts to put a hand on Daniel's shoulder as she says, "You tried. There wasn't anything you could have done."
"You are mental!" This, not to the patient, but the doctor. His nausea extends to Jude, too, as she stares at the glass — the blood — but she's too overwhelmed to move, and momentarily stuck in spot holding the camera, watching like it's a movie she can't look away from. "Oh my God… is— is he— D-doctor," she starts in, only managing to pull away from looking when Harry speaks up. Despite her rowdy shouting, her voice softens a little, capable of heretofore not seen reason. "I know you want to help him, but I think the lady's right, I don't there is— any— helping… can we go now, is that the Director's Office up there?"
Shuddering courses beneath Harry's hand, and Daniel's attempt to straighten to attention for her only hurries the uncontrolled spittle from his mouth. Clogged feeling swells in his throat, comes out as a half-contained sound behind his quickly placed hand against his lips. "There wasn't…" might be the start of a venomous argument, but he's breathing too weakly for that. Instead, as he climbs the rungs of his bent spine to standing, he coughs, without being able to look either of them in the eye, "Iii I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's just… I can't be around blood. Violence makes me…" He's looking a bit sickly around the edges still, but he manages to swallow and give a few reassuring nods to Jude.
Now none of the overhead lights blink, leaving the musk of red, and empty windows reflecting only the travelers back onto themselves. An array of endless, empty cages: a population diminished, bagged, and stored in the cooler. Up above, an emotionless watcher reflects even the blinking red rec of Jude's camera. Security. In the dim, recently blooded, setting, seems voyeuristic.
Another set of double-doors awaits to escort out of the patients' corridor, with another frosty pane barely suggesting the other side. Sometimes, the light from the distant cell reaches in hesitant shadows at that frost. Flickering. Flicker. It shines on, revealing the silhouette of a hand pressed upon the pane, reaching, pushing in that it might break the glass right in to get at them— clawing, grabbing! Flicker. It's gone.
Harry gives Daniel a few reassuring pats on the shoulder before glancing over at Jude. She does her best to not see the smearing red splotches all over the glass. Unfortunately, Harry has been around violence before and while she does not like it, she's used to it. "Jude's right, Doctor Lewis. We should probably keep going." She glances one way and then the other down the hallways to see which way they should head. "It doesn't— " As the flickering casts malevolent shadows against the wall, Harry notices a hand pushing against the glass of another cell. Pushing, reaching, attempting to get at her. And then it's gone. The scientist's face pales. "It—- It… I mean, let's go." Quickly.
"Oh God, ohhhh God," Jude murmurs, suspicious of every door, window, reflection; her camera swings to capture every flicker. But she moves, stepping so cautiously that it appears she might suspect every tile on the floor is a trapdoor. It marks her rather extreme hesitance to approach anything at all. "Are we headed for that door, up ahead," she ventures, unchecked nausea practically audible in her voice, "Are you sure there's not an… an emergency exit conveniently just right in this hallway, instead…"
"No, this is…" Daniel's hand leaps to adjust his glasses, and he uses the time catching his breath to swipe a hand, rather shakily, across the lenses, willing shadows to be dispelled. But as he stares at the door, he's unmoved but forward. "We're in the inner tower," he explains, fluidly trying to cover his wobbly feet and disposition with fact, "It— uhh. Umm. It isn't connected to the, uh. The outside." He blinks several times, fast, gains certainty. "This is— the way."
It looms ahead, and the closer it gets, the less flickering from the distant cell, and the bloodied smear. Red lighting regains its dominance, and a comfort it shouldn't possess.
Was that the door? Or did it come from behind them?
A whisper of shadow behind the frosted glass. Ahead. The way they're walking, going to meet this silhouette head-on as it basks in the glow behind the door's impenetrable window. Sharply, it turns. Noticed them? Winking in and out—
The doors open with a shallow, complaining groan before any hand has reached them. From the inside, thrusting out to deliver them to the waiting bulk of a figure on the other side— the tall stance is right on them.
"…Did anyone ever tell you you're not very comforting?" The words are quick to come out of Jude's mouth and she's slower to remember Daniel's so very recent attempts with the man behind the glass. "…I'm— sorry," she adds in awkward sincerity, "I didn't mean…" Before she can continue — presuming she could articulate such a thing in the first place — the door ahead has opened. She comes to another sudden halt; her long limbs catch up after her. "Oh, well, you can forget that," she states to her company and the doorway figure. "That's blood, on the floor, there, do you see it? He's done it! It was him, what if he's seen us— "
They're moving closer to the window, which does not exactly make Harry happy. "Isn't there another way?" Though she would not like to be the scaredy-cat that is jumping at shadows, she has seen the hand at every cell and reflective surface. It's much like the hand that hit the door at the morgue and attempted to force it's way in. It keeps getting closer and as they push through the door, she sees the tall bulk of the figure standing there and she tries to grab onto the closest person with a vice-like grip. "We can't go that way, we can't." It's the thing… it's up ahead.
More than the view, the door ahead— which has not slowed Daniel's pace the slightest— it's Jude's words filtering to him that suddenly chill the doctor's pace. A sharp glance over to her is desperate, frightened, in its accusation. An undistilled how did you know. Interrupted by the swing of the door, the flash of figure in front of them, and the sudden loss of sensation in his arm as he's pulled. But Jude needed— ! Who's that— ! "— I'm sorry!"
"Sorry?" Light, from another flashlight, baths over them as the wielder of it blinks uncomprehendingly at the mass of shuddering words and people he's confronted with. Boldly wide, so much as to just threaten his belt, the Director's suit is impeccable, and his slightly balding hair less than formidable. He makes no imposing silhouette but his size as he holds the door for the three wanderers.
"Dr. Lewis, is that you?" The flashlight moves onto faces. "And the Miss Harriet." Red hair. "And… that student… what are you all doing about? W-well," his command breaks slightly when he flashes the light behind them. Checking. He couldn't help it. He's a little shaky; it's noticeable when you walk by him too close. "Come on, then. You might as well all stay with me."
Jude's features become more and more childlike the more she stares up ahead. She moves her arms to and fro uselessly, as if preparing to do something, but the visiting student is at a complete loss— and then, the Director. No heaving sigh of relief is heaved. She leans toward Harry to whisper, "Does he look alright to you? What if he means stay with him… eternally?" Her voice heightens. "Are you alone in there, Director?" she needles, not sounding as bold as she intended. She eyes the fellow up and down, squinting suspiciously as if to say I'm on to you even though she truly isn't, and shines her flashlight right toward his face.
When the figure turns into the Director, Harry blinks and her shoulders relax just slightly. The flashlight drifting over her face causes her to blink and cast her eyes downward soon enough so that her night (red?) vision isn't blown out into bright white and sparkles. Realizing that she may be cutting off circulation to Lewis' arm, she loosens her grip and cross her arms in front of her.
"What is happening here?" Maybe a man of authority might know. At the question from Jude, Harry frowns, to think. The thought hadn't occurred to her. "He looks scared," she observes to the red-headed woman. "Nothing in his tone seemed to suggest a dark pact of forever servitude, however, that could be part of his ploy." In this strange telephone like exchange, she forwards their fears to Daniel. "Does he look like he's going to do something crazy?… Relatively speaking, that is?"
Flashlight's glare washes the expression off Daniel's face, leaving him blinking in general bashfulness. He isn't in the Director's Office, and here's the Director. Stopping and starting a few glances to his side at his conspiring compatriots, Daniel regards the group as a wayward bunch of preschoolers off the playground. "They got separated from their escorts…" he offers as bland explanation, trailing off to eye Harry. Though his stare remains half on the Director, he subtly begins to lean backwards, just so very slightly aligning himself more with the two women than with the authority— though, he does it to whisper very practically. "That would sort of defeat the purpose of his position, don't you think?"
"Come on, then," repeats the Director, eyeing warily, but mostly impatiently, their odd bit of convening. "The breaker died, and we've got half the staff locked in another portion of the building. I'll take you to the office, myself, but we've got to detour a moment to meet with Francis in the infirmary."
Footsteps predominantly rule the wide, echoing corridors; by now, the alarm's persistent Wah! has, in repetition, become background nearly forgotten. "This way," The Director beckons, grasping for a semblance of command alongside the doorknob that he swipes with the card from around his neck. Doors part to a slight, unusual mess in the clinical atmosphere.
Trays aligned on carts, half falling, both, sit out around another open door to the left; the ravaged infirmary spills over. Even now, further sounds of dismantling come out from the side-room. Crash, and rattle. "Hold here…" With slightly more ragged steps, and a hand that holds less authority than shaking, the Director eases towards the doorway. Stops. Sucking in a breath. If he intended to do more, his body is no longer obeying.
With a thudding threatening to hit every one of them, the doors behind them break open. A male figure, clothed securely in the uniform of Security, bursts into their misaligned foursome. "There you are—"
"Francis! Francis, thank God," The Director's hand slaps to his chest, and he gestures to the infirmary. "In there…" True to his garb, the security guard plunges inside.
Instantly, the racket becomes a scuffle. A riot! Thick impacts of flesh around grunts of ferocious intent.
CRASH— from the room springs a grossly hunched figure, in unsettled blue scrubs wet all down the front from the frothy discharge coming out of his clenched teeth. A guttural, indignant scream, and then the enraged patient charges forward.
GAME: Harry has rolled MELEE and got a result of TERRIBLE.
GAME: Jude has rolled MELEE and got a result of POOR.
GAME: Daniel has rolled MELEE and got a result of POOR.
"…So, as you can see," Jude chats with the more familiar camera rather than the near strangers she's with while she warily lets herself be led, "Someone's just bashed his head, we went through those reeeaaallly creepy corridors, and we've just met the Director of this place and he's taking us to somewhere. He looks pretty shaky, I don't know what's happening and I want to be sick like the Doctor but don't want that on camera so I'm going to try to have an iron stom— "
Her interrupting shout mingles with the enraged scream of the patient.
It's only her haphazard flail to the side that saves her from being struck; in the whirl of bodies, she falls on her side, crumpling into a bundle of arms, legs, and plaid. The little red flashlight rolls along the floor.
As Jude continues to talk to her camera, Harry attempts to keep an eye out for everything around them. Though there are yells and scary noises, even that doesn't prepare her for the sudden appearance of the bull-like rabid patient who comes charging at them. She's had training for situations like this, not to hesitate, to just get out of the way. However, she balks at the terrifying figure the patient presents and though she starts to move out of the way, it's too late. With a shriek, the slobbering patient crashes right into her.
A slithering, clawing, mess, the patient is almost blissfully out of control— meaning that his attempts to mangle Harry are delayed by his affected limbs that toss this way and that on top of her. With a sneer far less than his human body would suggest, he flashes teeth at her; if he can't hit, he'll bite.
GAME: Daniel has rolled MELEE and got a result of GOOD.
"Arrgh!" erupts out Daniel, in turn, much higher and less frenzied than the patient, though his grand stumbling out of the monstrosity's path isn't greatly coordinated. With frantic fingers, he clutches onto the first solid object he can find, twisting his body around it, his heels digging into the rather uselessly mobile wheels of the cart to put as much strength between him and keeping a barrier up.
But he's no sooner become this huddled mass than his sight, darting to Jude, picks up Harry's struggle. It's like he's breathing too fast to focus. Thumping, thumping. Oh God, he can't breathe… oh god. Eyes glued to a horror movie he can't turn off. He's just going to watch—
"Sss—-hooot!" Another gangly display of limbs, and the grey-clothed doctor springs out of his hiding, spinning the cart alongside. An arm tries to wrestle around the patient's chest, meaning to haul backwards with as much weight as Daniel has in him.
Raaah! Teeth fly in towards Harry's cheek, slobber spraying onto her face— when suddenly the weight vanishes, the face rearing backwards without permission, as the teeth snap angrily shut over nothing! Daniel's weight is little to a rabidly overworked body, but the distraction riles him. Twisting around the doctor's grip with unnatural agility, the patient picks at the doctor's neutral toned clothes with clawing, ripping hands that, with one good lunge backwards, tosses him right into the cart he was hiding behind.
SMASH… and roll. Everything that was on top of the cart wobbles and flies off to the floor. Tiny scissors, bandages, and vials, all making a disaster upon the floor as the metal cart, a hard edge for Daniel's side, threatens to upturn.
That isn't enough; Daniel got in his way, and the predator lays new sights on the off-balance hero.
Jude scrambles into a crouch, her arms springing up over her head and leaving her peeking out from under the arches of her elbows. She readjusts a second later to train the camcorder on the fray of violence, in lieu of helping; jumping at every terrible noise, her round panicked eyes and furrowed brow scream pretty loudly that she doesn't know what to do.
GAME: Harry has rolled MELEE and got a result of POOR.
Harry lets out another crushed shriek as the drooling patient attempts to bite her cheek out. But, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, Daniel jumps onto the patient's back and rescues her. Once he's flung out of the way, the woman gasps and scrambles up to help in turn as she revises her mental opinion of Daniel as useless. Swooping up one of the large metal trays the patient knocked over, she swoops in and thwacks him in the back of the head with it - the loud twang of metal hitting skull echoing.
GAME: Daniel has rolled LUCK and got a result of HORRIBLE.
GAME: Daniel has rolled MELEE and got a result of MEDIOCRE.
Tossed hard into a harder platform, Daniel's winded, wheezing, clambering for a perch that his own weight is tipping over. His feet battle a floor made slippery by a dozen round glass objects beneath his shoes. As his hand clasps at the far edge of the cart, the other accidentally searches its surface, where the cart rocking has rolled something into his grip. Two things. He glances only a second, half-numb fingers circling around.
He jolts up and— unsteady, his side basically collapsing beneath him— drops the first object. The second nearly spills over, but he comes in for an unintentional base-slide, knees bumping the patient and hand swinging around to jam in.
THWACK complements the swing of Harry well, wobbling the patient's unsteady brain inside his skull further. His frenzy dies frozen on his face as he crumples with a manic indignation. NO— no, he can see his prey! There he is, coming at him! The hands bolt upward, clinging around Daniel's neck as the doctor slides in close… only for the depressed syringe to too instantly do its work. Muscles weaken, seem to vanish. Sleepiness overtakes the panicked eyes… anger draining away to… fitful sedation… He twitches once. Nearly chokes on his own spittle. But he's out.
"T-T— they— " the manic stutter is from the mouth of the Director, his huddled form picking itself off the floor. He sucks in a breath to stop the rattling of his teeth, but his continued fright is obvious. "They're locked. They're all locked. That's the protocol. Nobody can be out of their room!" In hardness, the dismay turns into discipline, and his accusatory eyes fall on the security guard.
"Alright," the guard determines with a thick expulsion of air out his nose, "Everybody stay here. I'm going to check the security cameras for any other activity. I'll let you know when it's clear." Off he trots, leaving the Director standing, but with most of his dignity in the mess on the floor.
Jude careens onto her knees and springs to her feet as wobbly as a foal, but gains enough momentum to rush in Daniel's direction. Her hands clamber over various surfaces until she finds some sort of metal tub of dubious purposes and shoves it helpfully toward the doctor. "Gonna be needing this, eh?" Violence makes him throw up. She was paying attention! She's still catching her own breath despite being on the sidelines of said violence, and her alarm makes her voice as wobbly as her legs. "Is it just me, or when somebody— " she squints at Daniel, and then in the direction the security guard left, " — says stay here, that's when everything goes even more wrong?"
Panting from exertion and adrenaline, Harry clutches the tray she used to bludgeon the patient with. Suddenly, she's contrite, "Oh God, did I kill him?" Then, she shakes her head and asks another important question to Daniel. "Are you alright?" Still holding onto the tray with one hand, she holds out another to attempt to help him to his feet. While she could be annoyed at Jude's complete lack of help in the face of danger, she's a student, and young at that. She can't exactly be angry at her. But, she can be annoyed. "I'd, yeah, definitely like to not be in the same room as the person who just tried to bite my face off." With a blink, she glances over at Daniel again, remembering that she should say something. "Also, thank you."
It's true; Daniel's greyed to the bone. Fitfully unsure of whether there's still a body in front of him or not, he sways very subtly to one side, okay in the cloud of denial that's gone over him. Denial, and then, a metal tub. His eyes drift over to it. Access, in that logical, locked-off part of his mind, what its real purpose is. Eyes jump to Jude. Access her purpose. Down to the tube. Down to his hands, shaking and holding an empty syringe that rolls out of his white palm…
Hearing the vague impression of Harry talking, he looks forlornly up at her, too. Right before curling right over the tub and choking out what he doesn't have in his stomach anymore. More than embarrassed, he scampers further away on his knees afterward to dab at his mouth, and he ventures onto the second, dropped syringe. It's picked up with fumbling fingers, and pocketed. "I'm sorry…"
If it's embarrassment they want, look no further than the hospital Director who stands, as if at a post, at the now locked infirmary door which they linger outside of. He casts a glance the way the security guard went, and shuffles his feet. He even has the decency to look more sympathetic than displeased at Daniel's display, but mostly he keeps as quiet as possible for several seconds where everyone gathers. "You weren't staying very well when I found you," he ventures, finally, unable to hold it in, with a skeptical squint at Jude's camera.
Jude grimaces and gives a vague little smile at the same time; it's distracted, however, as she seems concerned with puzzling at the floor around Daniel and back toward the door. She juts her thumb that-a-way. "Did you see, a minute ago— … never mind, just a shadow. I dropped my flashlight," she says, scurrying back where she recently tumbled, getting down on a knee to reach for the little light. "That's what I'm tryin' to say!" she replies to the Director, "I wasn't about to stay in one spot while there was one of your clowns after me!"
Whatever that noise is, Harry doesn't seem to mind. As the Director makes that snarky comment, the scientist moves to put down her security blanke—er, tray. "Yeah, they were coming to help me as I was trapped in a morgue. They had no idea where you had gotten to." This man isn't her boss, she has no problem telling him he's stepping out of line. As she glances over at Daniel, realizing he hadn't heard anything she just said, she frowns, then notices more red in their already red-drenched atmosphere.
"Doctor, you're bleeding." Harry moves forward slowly to show him. Luckily, they're in a medical type bay, they should have bandages. And disinfectant.
Picking himself off the floor, Daniel wouldn't be able to look Harry in the eye except that her fact distracts him into doing just that, then down at himself. Sure enough, his drab wardrobe has become a little less so. Scrambling with his white-tipped fingers, that can't seem to hold onto much very long, he rolls up his sweater to the more affected dress-shirt beneath. A streak of red has bloomed up from where he hit the cart.
Daniel's eyes jump to the ceiling. He swallows quite pronounced with his chin thrust up higher. For all the strength in the world, he can't get himself to look back down at his own blood: nemesis even to himself. "I-It's fine," he decides, with several quick pats to get the sweater in place, even as he winces to do it. "It's fine. Nothing. Let's move on." Or… were they staying here? Director…
"T-They're not supposed to be out— all the doors lock…" The Director immediately defends, misinterpreting Jude's language with anxiety that births severity. "I've never seen this level of agitation in them before…" He speculates, hesitates. His large hand swipes under his nose as reflection calms his eyes. "No, that's not quite true— there's one. A new patient. Transferred from— another hospital. He was unsettling the other patients, and we had to move him into isolation. The way he would talk about nightmares— very disturbing behavior. In all this, I hadn't thought to check on him. It's u-upmost important to secure. All areas."
Wah! the alarm clock ticks by. With nothing to show for it. "It's been too long," The Director decides, "He should've gotten there by now."
Blah blah blah blah. Everyone's talking is as much background noise — ominous background noise, but background noise — to Jude as the Wah! of the alarm. Having swung her head up so fast at that scratching that she's has to blink past a round of dizziness, instantaneous, sharp fear seems to brighten the very whites of her eyes. She forgets the flashlight and the intrepid reach of her hand. Her attention drifts warily back in to add: "…Well we should stick together. It's like rule number one."
The walk, though dim-lit, is short— not comforting when each step, closer, reveals no other presence to catch up to. Too short to get lost in. Doors on either side, clearly labelled: Storage. Locker Room. Exercise Room. It's the lighting, and the Director's brisk pace, that threaten to separate. A door closes on Jude. Daniel disappears ahead. Harry loses sight of everyone after a stray glance away.
But they're all there, grouped together, to see the untouched door of the security office. Untouched, because a chair has been knocked over haphazardly in front of the door. It would have to be moved to enter. With a quiet diligence, the Director does just that, then straightens to swipe his badge at the keypad. Click. The door swings in.
Security is a cloud of black and white, cameras one after the other, in a tight, all-encompassing grid. Controls line the panels below the cameras, and a lone chair mourns its fallen companion inside. To one side, a fiercely blinking monitor in red: the source of the alarm, begging for reprieve.
"Locked. They're all locked," announces The Director, enjoying the sound of his improving voice as he runs a hand over the air above the panel reading secure. Every monitor shows closed doors, and not a touch of movement. All's quiet.
GAME: Jude has rolled LUCK and got a result of AVERAGE.
GAME: Daniel has rolled LUCK and got a result of POOR.
GAME: Harry has rolled LUCK and got a result of MEDIOCRE.
Jude traipses in and glances over the slew of screens, eyeing them like they're lying to her personally. Her camera takes in the black-and-white, too. Her zoomed in lens captures a screen near Locker Room; her camcorder screen captures her attention before the real screen in front of her does. She bustles around the Director to squint, lean in, and point at the edge of the screen. "What's that little blob?"
It's one of those lockers; the thing protrudes out at a peculiar angle, forced to a slightly bigger burden than the little rectangle allows. A lump is left to come out. No, not a lump. It has five protrusions. Some definition up the arm. Arm. It's a hand. A hand dangling out of the locker someone tried to force shut around the comforting blue cloth of his uniform.
GAME: Harry has rolled SANITY and got a result of MEDIOCRE.
GAME: Jude has rolled SANITY and got a result of POOR.
GAME: Daniel has rolled SANITY and got a result of GOOD.
Much like Jude and the Director, Harry can't quite keep her eyes off the screens. Her eyes dart one way, then the other as her eyes take in all the images. Of course, her mind is occupied with thoughts of the isolated prisoner and what he may have to do this. As she leans forward, she notices that the screen labelled as 'Isolation' is static. Tapping the screen, she looks over to the Director. "I don't think this one is working. Which kind of sucks."
Quiet and occupied after the succession of questions, Daniel loiters in the back of the group, his hand resting on the back of a spare counter, easing his weight off his aching side. Something he doesn't want to think about; he's constantly checking his fingers for traces of blood he expects to find there, would choke to find there, and it alleviates all his curiosity off the monitors. He only watches, briefly, Harry.
Huffing and puffing, the Director doesn't appear to enjoy having his observations pointed out as flawed: a blob here, one not working there. It weasels disapproval, agitation, around the edges of his mouth. He startles slightly as the WAH! sounds louder inside the room of its origin. WAH! What has Jude found.
"Um, hey, everyone," Jude pipes up as she peers with growing horror at the screen, "if you could direct your attention away from how much everything sucks and toward how much everything sucks even worse over here please— I think we've found Francis…" She keeps pointing at the edge of that Locker Room screen, but backs away from it.
The world stretches out around the morbid evidence, silent and judging as it broadcasts the resting place of the late guard, Francis. Signs of life: four. In this room.
As she looks at the screen Jude has drawn their attention to, Harry gasps and then looks around at those left left. With a frown, she glances at the locker, attempting to gather clues from it that could tell her what happened. That proves hard to do without being in the same room. The most she can conclude, is that the person who did it was inexperienced, possibly didn't have a lot of time…she glances over at Jude. "You know, you weren't with us the entire time over here. Where were you?" The suspicion is easily heard in her tone.
"Oh God…" half falls out of Daniel's mouth, whispered, and unintentional, as he slips up towards the monitors aside Jude to get the best look. To compensate, he wheedles the glasses into better position, eventually pulling them away entirely for a thick squint. One that transfers to Harry at the sounds of accusation.
"I was trying to keep up, somebody closed a door in my face," at least that's how Jude chooses to see it, "do I look like I could shove a security guard in a locker?" she asks, even sincerely more than flat-out-refuting; her round eyes blink with incredulity. "I refuse to even run unless something's chasing me, I've gotten all my exercise for the day here already." Her suspicious sights slide right onto Daniel. "Youuuu— you went up ahead," she accuses— even so, it's unsurely, almost apologetic. She gains a little steam, redirecting her pointer finger at him instead of the monitor. "You disappeared, Doctor."
"Violence makes him sick!" Harry is more convinced that Jude had something to do with this, though she can't tell why. It somehow makes sense. "You're the one that's been doing nothing but filming. Maybe you wanted some more action for your…" What was the girl filming before? "Whatever it is you were filming before!"
"I— I…" slight arguing is beginning to make Daniel look a bit peaky, even now. "Miss Taylor, let's be reasonable…" advises the doctor, retreating off the monitors, his hands coming up alongside him — on either side. Harry is not spared the startled glance, his eyebrows lowered cautiously. "Ma'am— nerves are high. We're all— nngh…" A wrong bend here or there, and he cuts himself off, a hand at his side, pulled out of the argument.
"I'm making a documentary for a school project! I was supposed to come and film what it's like being in a psych ward, not this!" Worry and alarm whirl frantically about with Jude's defensiveness. "I had to fill out bunch of forms to be allowed in to visit. I had to sign my name. But I didn't sign on for this. I didn't sign on to have nightmares for the rest of my life! Maybe you helped him, morgue lady," she accuses with a bold bob of her head. She hops in front of the door, her finger lifted especially high toward Daniel as if to stop her from coming any closer, expecting him to attempt to sneak off. "I'm trying to be reasonable! You're— unreasonable."
Harry certainly doesn't believe Jude's cover story. Who knows who she really is. Maybe she does this all the time. Ignoring being called 'morgue lady', she listens to the threats with increasing agitation all up until Jude moves in front of Daniel and attempts to attack him. That is, that's what she sees. "She's after you next!" she squeaks and moves between Jude and Daniel, attempting to shove her out of the way.
GAME: Jude has rolled MELEE and got a result of HORRIBLE.
GAME: Harry has rolled MELEE and got a result of HORRIBLE.
With a squeak of her own, born of surprise and disgruntlement, Jude rebels; as Harry tries to shove her out of the way, she tries to shove Harry out of the way. It's less than coordinated, and doesn't bear a whole lot of strength, but boy is the redhead suddenly determined. "I am— not!"
GAME: Harry has rolled MELEE and got a result of HORRIBLE.
GAME: Jude has rolled MELEE and got a result of POOR.
GAME: Daniel has rolled MELEE and got a result of MEDIOCRE.
Today does not seem to be Harry's day. First, she studies suicides that turned into a terrifying moment in the morgue. Then, she gets attacked by a drooling patient, and now, now she's getting shoved around by a teenager or however old Jude was while she attempted to protect someone from being murdered. Harry stumbles backwards. "See, you are the murderer."
"What're you doing!" Fumbling for thought, or action, Daniel springs in from where he's crumpled off to the side — shoved, protected, put out by a piercingly insistent cut. His hand dive in between the two females, grabbing at Harry's arm as the woman is propelled away, putting a stopping palm at Jude's shoulder to halt an offensive. What he lacks in strength, he makes up for in weaseling his skinny frame into a position that half barricades them both. "Ladies— girls— please!"
GAME: Jude has rolled SANITY and got a result of AVERAGE.
GAME: Harry has rolled SANITY and got a result of MEDICORE.
In all the turmoil, the leaping, and finger-pointing, bodies have traveled the space of the security room. Shoved off-kilter, Jude has stumbled back partially into the room, Harry following, and Daniel wedged between, closest to the outside. Across the way, another body, ignored, but taking up a suddenly consequential amount of space between them and the door.
Shuddering, shaking, the Director's mouth, agape, does not lend to the voices. Eyes, focused but unfocused, off-center, but staring. Shadow has dipped across his features, obscuring his intent as his hand slips in towards his pocket amidst the chaos. There, the fingers grow stiller with purpose. No, not stiller. They're on the move, finding confidence, a firm grip. From the cloth of his coat pocket slides a sleek metal gun. It hovers, catching the red glow, at his side, with unfulfilled purpose.
Halted, Jude presses into the hand that stops her: Daniel's. She crumples her free hand up into a fist and smacks it at his arm in frustration rather than backing down. That is, until the Director moves and the sick reddish light catches on a familiar shape — that is, familiar because she's watched a lot of TV shows, not familiar because she's ever seen one in real life — a gun. "Ooh… oh hey, now…" She disengages from Daniel and Harry, holding her hands and the tagalong camera up. "N-no— no need for that…"
Once Daniel grabs her arm, Harry tugs at it, startled that he doesn't see how dangerous Jude is. How she was about to kill him. "She's trying to kill us, Doctor Lewis!" She attempts to explain. Obviously, once he hears that, he'll understand and they'll lock her some place safe. It's only after Jude's attempt at getting the director to stop that Harry sees the gun as well. Guns pointed at you - never good. "I may have been hasty in accusing you, or at least in shoving you," she finally allows to Jude. "Director, put the gun down. We can handle this without violence." However, she does start to edge herself around the other two so that they will be behind her.
"If we'd all stop shouting, I think we'd see… that…" Transformations on the faces in front of him still Daniel, but he's yet slow to truly rotate around and realize where they're looking — over his shoulder. Edging sideways, Daniel's propelled as much by Harry as by his own free will. But as soon as the gun comes into the play of his gaze, his arm lashes out in front of Harry, attempting to stall her new positioning. His knees lock into place with as much fear as determination. Another arm, flailing somewhat, seeks to re-corral Jude behind either form's protection.
"… s—ssuupposed…" stutters the slurred Director's speech, unmoved by that which happens around him. When his gaze snaps up to find the wavering forms in front of him, he has to blink several times. "Not supposed to be out…" His squinting eyes dark, beady, groping at Daniel, then Harry. With a jerk of his arm, the gun jumps up, gaping its deadly mouth at them. "Nobody should be out of their room! You're all WRONG. WRONG, WRONG. P-p-p-p-patients should be in their ROOMS!"
GAME: Harry has rolled INITIATIVE and got a result of GOOD.
GAME: Jude has rolled INITIATIVE and got a result of POOR.
GAME: Daniel has rolled INITIATIVE and got a result of MEDICORE.
Damn your chivalry, Daniel! With his knees locked, it makes it harder for her to get in front of them. She'd rush him, but that would mean knocking both Jude and Daniel closer to the gun. She tenses, however, ready to shove them both to the floor should the gun go off. Soothingly, she attempts to talk the Director down from the ledge. "We're not patients, sir. Remember me? My name is Harriet Parker…I'm with the LAPD CSI and I'm here to help with the recent rash of suicides - you signed me in yourself. And this is Doctor Lewis, he works for you. And that's…well, I don't know who she is, but while she's been kind of ditzy so far, I don't think she's psychotic. We're doctors."
Harriet's words bring a distant recognition to the Director's eyes, careful, skeptical, but present. The gun shifts uncertainly on each person as she names them, then returns, pointedly, to her. If she's lying…. "Doctor…" he mutters stiffly, "T-The doctor— ssss…" Down the gun wavers, off of her face, apologetically.
But anger has turned into desperation, pathetic dismay. "I— I can't— I can't!— " Desperate plea raises to the ceiling as his head jerks upward. "I CAN'T—" A fat finger squeezes needy at the trigger. With a violent fling, his elbow snaps to, crooking, and sending the muzzle straight into his own mouth. BAM, and SPLATTER. The Director's head sprays a mural of brain along the back wall and chair.
From where she'd been staring agape, jostled behind, Jude cries out. "No— !" Her eyes immediately shut, as if she could rewind and erase what she just saw, but there's only rewinding in her mind's-eye with no erasing. Choking on her own distress, she stumbles blindly back; weak-kneed, she crumples, bending her knees and falling the rest of the way onto the floor, holding her hand over her face and starting to just sob.
"Yes, the doctors." Harriet sees that she's getting through to the Director. As he points the gun at her, she attempts to move out from behind Daniel so that should he pull the trigger, she'll be the only one having to worry about ducking and covering. When he moves the gun away from her, she takes a relieved breath, but then her relief turns to horror very quickly. "We can help. You c—-" And just like that, he turns the muzzle into his mouth and pulls the trigger. With a cry of dismay, terror and illness, she quickly turns away. Though she's used to seeing dead bodies, she's not used to seeing them become dead bodies. Weak, she leans against the wall, but does not throw up or cry. Not yet, at least.
Daniel's locked knees turn to a curse, keeping him standing and forward facing as the gun blows the Director across the room. His nausea comes fast and easy, too familiar in too short of a time; but, for him, there's nothing left. Choked out on the floor near the infirmary, he's left only with a dismal aftertaste and the sensation that his legs have, locked, completely lost feeling. He quivers, emitting a strange snort of air out his nose. A shaking hand turns in on itself, and his eyes detach for a dismal examination. But through it, those fingers, he can see red. Well, of course, there's red everywhere… but it's the livelier red of Jude's hair and, gaze refocusing, he finds he can stare at her without tossing up on her, too.
Cautiously, but with a bizarre firmness, he slides a hand onto that hair, smoothing it across the top of her head. "Come on," he mutters, slow, but gaining a sort of steam. It's on Harry next; he only gives her a nod towards the door, now available to them. "Something's doing this… we shouldn't stay. Here."
His eyes dart to the mess involuntarily, and his resolve weakens, his knees buckling down an inch towards the floor.
A bleak sniff drifts up in response to Daniel from Jude. Her breath catches time and time again, fumbling to function, to give her air; panicking, instead. "I-I— I— " she hiccups, "I don't understand." But she'll follow out of here, that's for sure. She smears her palm over her face; she raises the same palm up toward Daniel. Instead of waiting for him to take her hand, she tries to grabble onto him and use him like a questionably steady ladder to help herself up with. Her eyes are blurry with tears, clinging to her eyelashes, blurring the horrific sight. That's okay.
Though Jude does her best to not look at the horrific sight of what happened to the Director, after the initial numbness that accompanied witnessing the act, it's all Harry can do to not stare at the gore. It's her job to document crime scenes and this one she saw happen in front of her. The blood spatter, the angle of the body, the position of where the gun fell…it all means something. It's like she's solving the murder/suicide that she saw in order to make sense of it. Daniel's slow resolution is what finally snaps her out of it. Right. They really should not stay in this room. Who knows what made him do it - it could still be there.
Gently, she moves toward the nearly falling over Daniel and offers him a hand up. She also attempts to shield the gore from Jude so that she can stand up without staring at it, too. "You're right. We need to find out what's doing this. Come on, the sooner we're….the sooner we're out of here the better." And, leading by example, she makes toward the door.
Jude's weight is an anchor, as much as Daniel attempts to be that pillar of support for her. Through Harry's words, and physical stance, he's able to not completely topple them all, instead straightening into part of the team that gets the red-haired girl past the sight of the incident without another glimpse. His hand around her face, in the guise of fixing her hair, actually keeps his fingers the only thing she can see; like a blinder, he guides, and he follows Harry, talking over Jude's head to the fellow doctor with cool, resolved eyes. "He mentioned that patient…" he opines, managing to trip neither over the Director's mention, or glance behind to what's been left in ruin in the security room. "Isolation. Where the camera wasn't working."
The hospital can feel their trek; it bends, the walls curving in, to spy on their progress. Down. Down.
Wah. Wah. Wah. The alarm mocks them.
Sccrrt Metal, somewhere, scratches. Following. Trailing a line across each wall they pass, and sending a tickle up the skin.
Thump and mutter. Every step forward feels the air around them drop by degrees.
Each symptom following like a dogged pursuer the way, that twisted way, down the last corridors and stairs to the basement floor. The red light barely penetrates here, dimmed to a bleak tone along the topside of the wall, leaving the cool blank surroundings clean of all humanity's touch. Bleak: a stark darkness. A narrow hall. The door visible at the end is fitted around with bolts, including one stuck across the door's front holding it shut. But no else. No shiny modern keycard holds domain here.
Creeeeak slides the basement door, freed of its post with a hard slam of the undone bolt. Finality. Are you sure this is what you want.
Well, now it's too late.
Smooth white padding cushions the little square room from floor to ceiling, on every crack of wall. An odd little comfort from the hard angles of outside. Its only a small realm, of forgotten white boxes. Splayed out in restless pose, the figure of a man, crumpled, near the center back. White contains him; the room's seemed to start to devour his upper-half. But it's only the grip of the crushing strait-jacket that twists his arms into unnatural lack of freedom. The lowered face is dark, matted with untamed hair. What bare toes creep out of his agonized position curl and uncurl into the clean white floor with deceptively little noise.
SLAM. The door closes with an absolute bolt.
It's too late.
The man on the floor may seem quiet, but suddenly, even it's Jude's nervous breath that sounds deafening to her ears. Trapped in the single, isolated room, her only movement is to stay close to those who seem wiser than her; besides that, the terrified young woman dares not budge. She only stares — at figure, all the scarier for being jacketed up like that. Every one of her many complaints on the way down ("You mean to say you want to go find what's causing this, march right up to it and say 'hey, please stop making everything the absolute worst'? Shouldn't we be finding out way out of here, like, all the way out, to the outside?") have been sucked right out of her mouth. She's silent. The camcorder hangs at her side like an appendage she's forgotten how to use.
Perhaps finding the cause of all of this alone and without any security may have been a bad idea. However, how else would they have managed to end all this? All attempts at escape seemed to end in someone dying. So, when Harry finds herself trapped in the room with the Isolated prisoner, she looks to Daniel and then to Jude and takes a deep breath. Should they wake him? Say something? Is it possible he didn't hear the door shut? "H-Hi?" she tries, though her voice quavers and is soft even to her own ears.
Eyes are difficult to distinguish from beneath the layers of bags hiding them, creating shadows upon shadows on the struggling face of the man who gazes slowly up. Writhing beneath the jacket betrays his movement before breathing becomes apparent, shallow and uncertain. His look can't seem to fix, but scatters on each of them— and sometimes on empty space around them as if there was more, stripped away behind his lidless but baggy eyes. "You…" he starts in— menacingly lurches forward.
"You— " Eyes have begun to widen, sharpen. A distant accent pours heavy into his slurred speech. A twitch at his lip becomes a drooping mouth, clutched by fear and wagging in stiff but uncontrollable wavers. "Why— " he hisses, staring at them not in accusation but complete and utter terror, stripped of all humanity but a preservation he's abandoned.
"Why did you bring it HERE." His body chucks itself at the wall, fingers straining with extreme desperation against the insides of the jacket, scratching, scratching, writhing, "Now it will get me!" and tossing himself repeatedly into the wall, his toes pushing at the floor to get himself as far away as possible.
"WHY DID YOU BRING IT HERE!"
Giving an inadvertent little shriek, Jude's whole body jerks in fear, and not only that, self-preservation; this man, this angry, scary man, is too close for comfort. They're in here with him. One hand comes up to her fist, her fist balled. "B— bring what," bubbles out of her without her realizing she was even trying to say a thing. Her voice has taken on a high, childlike pitch. "W-w-we're not here to hurt you… I don't think. W-what did we bring?"
"Ohh Gooooddd!" the frantic moans following the wailing, the clawing. "Nightmares never-ending!!"
Harry is not even sure who the man is talking to, let alone what it is they brought with them. The camera? The people? Their shoes, their clothes? When dealing with someone who may be a few crayons short of a rainbow, she couldn't know what the man was talking about. "H-hey Doctor, did you happen to bring any of that great knock out drug you were using before?" she mutters to Daniel before. As the man starts moaning and clawing,s he puts out a hand. "Woah, woah, woah, you don't have to do that. We can help you."
"YOU CAN'T!" roars the Isolation patient, fingers flexed so hard against the straitjacket they're nearly bursting through, bloodying pathetic nails to nothing. "YOU DID IT."
"YOU BROUGHT IT HERE!"
GAME: Daniel has rolled HERE'S JOHNNY and got a result of GOOD.
Stillness. A meditative quiet, slinging Daniel's head down, casting shadows from the ill-lit room over his eyes. And if it's more shadows than the room is precisely making. If his shoulder stretches like a gracefully waking cat. A nab of that predator's gleam twirling the corner of his mouth up. If his head rises, and his chin is a bit slimmer around that crooked mouth's complaint, and the shadows have refused to detach from his eyes, pitting them black in an already inescapable darkness to which he clings with absolute comfort.
Then it really isn't Daniel at all.
"Viiiktor. You've been a nauuughty boy."
Ho-boy. So, was that never Daniel at all, or was Daniel just some random person he made up. B-but Daniel had saved her from the ravaging patient, had stopped their fight, comforted Jude. "Red," she hisses, since she doesn't know the girl's actual name. Either way, instinct takes over and Harry attempts a grab at Jude to yank her away from 'Daniel' and move them against the wall between the two strange creatures so their backs aren't to either of them. Okay, so they're dealing with abilities. She can handle that, right?
"Nnnnno…. nooooooo…" Writhing forever in his bindings, Viktor's groans turn absolutely miserable. Throwing himself to the ground, he seeks to bury his face into the white bulges of the floor like an animal. Lower than an animal. "I d-d-d-didn't tell anyone. I saw you and I didn't sssaaaay… ohhhh, the nightmares, they don't ever end!"
A takes a few moments to clue in. How does one truly clue in to something like that? Like what? Jude is left blinking in bewilderment at the isolated man's impassioned accusations and, in turn, Daniel… the… change…
She's tugged right along by Harry without first responding to the sound of her impromptu nickname. Her eyes are so wide they might spill over with tears again. she whispers frantically to the other woman: "What do we do— you're with the police…" She may be speaking to Harry, but her eyes are on the other standing figure in morbid, frightened fascination. Her red head tips to the side. "D- Doctor?"
From the wriggling display of Viktor on the floor, Daniel's head mechanically rotates to slowly, smoothly, find the girls to where they've retreated. Oh hello. Lazy black eyes adjust to remembering them there with an easy deliberation. "Oh, right. Them." An eyebrow swerves up. "I'm afraid the Doctor isn't in, Judebug." Fingers loosen from his side, one hand twirling up towards his shoulder. Shadows detach from the floor and follow with in the gait of playful puppies, licking at his palm. As his head swivels forward once more, regarding Viktor with a tilted, casual smirk— it turns to sneer.
And the enthusiastic slithering of the shadow becomes thicker, scalier, fuller. Shadows don't have scales. Teeth. Jaws that they unhinge with a deliberate hunger, then settle again to slip out a tongue to taste the red-tinted air.
"She thinks he can hear her," he scoffs companionably to the European captive with condescending bemusement.
GAME: Daniel has rolled I HAVE SUCH SIGHTS TO SHOW YOU and got a result of GOOD.
From flickering to fullness, the green and black scaled snake lifts off from Daniel's grip, drawing itself towards the floor.
"Yeah, but I'm not a negotiator or anything," Harry hisses at Jude. "I'm sciencey. I could maybe, possibly blind him with science. But I don't think that helps us." Instead, she attempts to keep the younger redheaded behind her. The shadows dance and tease and attempt to get at Jude and she tugs again at Jude to keep her out of his grasp. Okay, he can deal with shadows. Okay. Well. That's creepy as hell. Hm, but, there's at least something she knows of that deals with shadows, something she remembers the redhead having. "What do you want? Why are you doing this?" She attempts to keep him talking. "Red," she whispers again. "Give me your flashlight. Quickly?" Maybe she can blind him with science.
"Niiiightmares… nightmares… they don't— they don't ever— stopppp-p-p…" Dug into the floor, it takes Viktor a second to catch onto the slithering shape of the snake as it meanders onto the floor aimed, so menacingly, at the girls. With sudden conviction, the prisoner scrambles his toes on the floor, fails purchase. Heaves himself forward. His chest thumps the ground, barely rising. "No ladies! No— don't look! They can be mastered, but HE IS THEIR MASTER!"
Jude flattens herself against the padded, claw-marked wall as so many have surely done before her. She follows the track of the shadows turned snake with her eyes, barely believing the sight— "That's not real, it's not real," she refutes, and yet, clearly, so very vividly on her expressive face, she's scared by it all the same. She fights to fumble around for her flashlight, pulling it out from under a length of plaid where it was tucked in her skirt; she holds it hurriedly out to Harry. "Blind him good!" she encourages, distracted, still watching Daniel and his creations despite the insistent words of Viktor. They roll around her like marbles; there's little comprehension in her eyes. More crazy, impossible things on top of crazy, impossible things— but they get through enough for her to shut her eyes, or maybe she just reverts naturally to her mantra in fear. "It can't see me if I can't see it, it can't see me if I can't see it…"
"Oh, shut up!" growls Daniel, whipping an arm at Viktor; weaponless, it still snaps as though it were one. "I knew from the first moment we arrived that you'd be a thorn in my side, seeing." Seeing: it's grown quite dark, as the very atmosphere detaches to sit fondly on Daniel's shoulders, to adorn him in the cloth of the black, red. The white walls shudder, trembling beneath their new master, and with vicious tears begin to come apart, letting only darkness creep through, peek through. At the very slits of them, there's a dribble, then a trace, and soon an escape of pure red from those: the walls leak with blood.
Like Daniel's side. Slowly bleeding.
Black like his eyes. Eyes, behind the peeling white. He sees. HE SEES THEM, even as he descends on Viktor with a ferocious kick, effortlessly thrusting the other man into the wall with a strength unfathomable for what's happened before. "Just— " kick! "needed," his leg rotates, driving into Viktor's gut, "enough of them!"
Much too many impossible things for Harry's liking. She has dealt with mopping up after people with abilities who used them for ill before, but she has rarely been right in the middle of what will later be a crime scene. But, now she knows how to - hopefully - stop him. Eyes attempting to not focus on anything much, the scientist keeps a hand on Jude's arm, to let the girl know that she's still there. Once she grabs the flashlight, Harry fumbles for the on switch. Crap, where is it? Finally, she finds the button about the time Daniel starts to ferociously attack Viktor.
Desperately, she points it right at Daniel. Click.
GAME: Daniel has rolled YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE DOWN HERE and got a result of GOOD.
Swish— the snake veers uncertainly off its path, only to, next, narrow directly in on Jude with a glee swirling in its slithering gait, drawing the snake forward— the larger snake— wider. It's grown to the thick of the woman's arm, even as it glides across it, testing. Baiting. And as that first touch trickles across Jude's arm, a voice bursts into her head inside her careful mantra, Daniel's voice— or what's left of him: "BOO!"
Jude's eyes remain tightly closed, but she can still hear, and with every ill-omened word coming out of Daniel's mouth, every audible kick of Viktor, she cringes; on the testing touch of her arm, she stiffens.
"…can't see me if I can't see… go away, get out of my head!"
There isn't even a flicker. The flashlights bursts on and— dispels Daniel— only for him to reappear, already bending over Harry in the next instant. Standing, his face stark and attentive in the light she bathes him by, Daniel gives her a careful, oddly affectionate in its detail, study of her. "You know," he mutters, hand darting out to sit atop Harry's; it's cold, but not inhumanly so. His pulse is present, same as the blood that creeps down his side suggests his heart beats. "… he rather likes you—"
//Fff— // he blows on the flashlight, and it goes out like a candle.
It's completely dark.
Waugh. One moment, Harry is worried about Jude and Viktor and whether or not her plan will work. And then Daniel disappears, only to reappear right in front of her. Though she is terrified, she attempts to stand her ground. However it will be hard for 'Daniel' to miss her hand shaking when he puts one on her. "I—" that's all she gets out before he blows out her flashlight like a match. "That's not like me in the 'he wants you in his collection' sort of way, right?!" Either way, she's pretty sure he's doing that to creep her out. And, mission accomplished.
Harry shakes the flashlight, hoping that will turn it on again, as well as pushing the button a few times. "Jude?!" she calls out, reaching a hand out in an attempt to reach her. They weren't that far apart.
The shift in light is what flutters Jude's eyes open. Now that they're open, they're as much use as they were closed, in the dark. Harry's hand was on her; she reaches to try to find it. "Why is it so dark? What happened to the flashlight?" The answer has to be Daniel, or whoeever he is, but it's unnerving and boggling all the same. "Viktor…" she tests then, her voice hesitantly, hopefully searching the dark for the psych patient. "Lovely, lovely Viktor, could you help us, Viktor…"
They're in your head.
They come from his head.
Like a black-and-white movie. Darkness that is its own little world, snuggling the girls up never to be let go.
Then someone makes the reel start to play.
There's no tinny organ music to accompany them now. Just lights— tiny, feeble lights, fluttering on behind shutters. Once, barely. It's a sting to eyes that've become the playthings of the dark that's more than shadow, more than sight. The dark is something that can be felt, foggy, or sticky like tar; it's tasted on the tongue or inhaled through the nose, inescapable.
Fluttering light. Like a flip-book, images appear; the white room, and the straitjacket. Viktor on the ground, and Daniel above.
Darkness. Then again, it plays. In this ailing stop-motion, he rounds Viktor at one side, pauses. His head swivels to the side, staring into the unknown. Darkness.
"Nightmares… nightmares for eveeeeeryone," sing-songs an unhinged voice in Daniel's dulcet.
The room isn't precisely white. Something odd, and out of place catches the tired eye that swarms in the dark world, itchy to escape. It's easier to look at it the longer you do, because its oddity singles out the real from the dark. That white, unaffected room. There it is.
It's a thick metal tray, as from an infirmary.
Harry can't find Jude, and the flashlight she has is not longer working. Now is when she starts to get scared. This is something very different than facing a person with a workable solution that she can deduce. Where she is now doesn't seem to relate to anything else she knows. Jude was right by her and now she cannot hear nor see the girl. Nightmares, Daniel sings. She will certainly have nightmares.
Still, Harry keeps the useless flashlight in her hands and watches the creepy film reel play in jerky motion. He's going after Viktor - and then possibly Jude, and then possible herself. She has to stop him.
The tray. Harry's eyes lock on it, then sees Daniel's head. She can see it through the darkness…sort of. Making up her mind resolutely, she runs - is she running? - toward the tray and grabs it to swing at the back of Daniel's head. Her only battle cry is a scared squeak.
GAME: Harry has rolled MELEE and got a result of HORRIBLE.
GAME: Daniel has rolled LUCK and got a result of POOR.
GAME: Daniel has rolled YOU CAN'T KILL THE BOOGEYMAN and got a result of POOR.
CRACK. Skull splitting beneath Harry's swing, desperate, but charged— though sluggish in the tarrish wasteland of darkness, she's hit a nerve. And Daniel's head. For a beat— two, he flickers like the shoddy film reel. A second he stands. Then he's standing over her, hand raised. Then he's falling. Knees buckling; a rough half-gasp, helpless and familiar sucked out of him by his body's imminent reaction to the shattering hit.
He shudders. He falls.
And the darkness inks sheepishly away as he goes, sucking, retreating like a shot into the walls, and they repair back into cushioned white in the darkness' leave. Sticky feelings dispel away, leaping off of skin and the hairs on the back of Harry's neck that shot straight up in retaliation for her attack. She's riddled with goosebumps… but she's standing. And Daniel lays crumpled at her feet, his arms curled as if protectively around himself.
Feet away, Viktor breathes into the floor, studying Harry with drooping eyes.
With a click, and a creak, the door unbolts, swinging open.
There is a good few moments when Harry is quite certain that she is going to die. The flashes of visibility and darkness show Daniel ready to attack her, she can feel the darkness tightening around her neck for that quick second before he falls to the ground. Once again, she's breathing heavily from the adrenaline, though not the exertion. It might sound like she's almost hyperventilating, even.
Her hands are still shaped to hold a tray that is no longer is there. The flashlight that Jude had given her rests at her feet where she unknowingly dropped it, not too far away from the crumpled Daniel. As she sees Viktor staring at her, she nods once before whirling around to look for Jude to make sure the woman is alright.
Jude is there, staring; alright is questionable, but she's alert. "Whoa— whoa," she says, discombobulated as the room clears for her. "What just happened? Is it over— did you do that. If you did, you're officially my hero." She tentatively takes a step away from the wall, straightening slightly after having been curled down herself without realizing it. If it's not the darkness threatening her vision, it's tears. She peers down at Daniel, and at the patient, but wastes little time in grabbing for Harry's arm to pull her toward the door. Freedom. She stops before she's barely begun, looking back uncertainly, worried. "Do … do just leave them both there…"
As Jude grabs at her arm, Harry numbly allows her to take it. While the young redhead is all words and enthusiasms, the brunette feels as if some of those shadows are still weighing down her limbs. "Wait," she says softly to Jude. Then, when she moves them toward the door again, she says more firmly, "Wait." But, it seems that she had similar ideas. Somewhat similar at least. Twisting, she looks to Viktor. "What the hell was that? Who is he?" she demands. That's more of what worries her. Between the three of them, Viktor is the only one that has any sort of answers. And he's the one in the straight jacket. Worrying.
From his place, strewn across the floor near the wall where he started, Viktor gives several needy shakes of his head. Sullenly, he stays momentarily quiet, then grumbles obligingly, "Sometimes— he is one person. But the other one is always watching." And his mouth snaps shut, and he buries his face into the floor and seems resolved to keep it at that.
"Um. Well. Okay," Jude accepts nervously, maybe not fully understanding, but understanding enough to know it's bad news. Although she stares down at the psych patient and the unconscious man with lingering worry — what happens when he wakes up? — she gives another tug on Harry's arm. "Can we— can we let your police friends handle the rest of this and make it all not our problem right now? I'd really like to get out of here before everything starts trying to kill us again, I really can't do that anymore, and I just. I. I want to go home."
It's the need to understand what just happened here is what stops Harry from walking out the door. What was real and what was not? Can she really trust the word of someone in a straight jacket? "I'll call it in and my unit will take care of it. We'll head out in just a moment." In what Harry attempts to be reassuring gesture, she gives Jude's arm a squeeze, but then detaches herself from her. "If you want, you can wait for me outside. I just need to check his vital signs before we go get help." It's not really what she wants to do, but she should. After all, she's technically on duty. With careful, mincing steps, she approaches Daniel before crouching next to him to check his pulse and see if that bleeding wound is severe.
Daniel's pulse is reedy, but constant, and his wound passingly superficial, despite the display it had been putting on earlier. It barely seems to bleed, looks more like a bruise now, even though the blood evidence coats his grey sweater. With his arms wrapped tight around him, his sleep seems fitful, but secure. The relaxed, but slightly bothered, face he shows in unconsciousness is innocent, uncertain.
Jude begins to follow that suggestion and turns to leave, but she winds up stopping yet again and waiting in the door. Her arms cross, disgruntled over her own decision to linger, but despite her obvious desire just to get the heck out of dodge, she doesn't leave Harry alone. Pale and disconnected from her more gut-wrenching emotions, she's in a kind of shock. She watches as the doctor doctors the doctor. "Now that he's out, he looks so harmless…"
"Yeah, for now. All it takes is a properly applied metal tray." The other one is always watching. Very disconcerting words. If everything that happened before didn't give her nightmares, that phrase alone would. Satisfied that Daniel isn't dying and is just asleep, Harry stands and moves toward the door. She's not sure if she wants to leave him in with Viktor, but she can't think of a more secure place to put him while she calls the cops. The padded room it is, for now.
Once she's close to Jude, Harry reaches out to put a hand on her arm. It's, again, meant to be comforting move. "Let's go. And shut the door behind us."
Sweet, fresh air— nearly; they're still in the basement.
And something isn't quite right. The space is not exactly so empty as they left it, with a silhouette forming down at the end of the hallway where the exit lies. A bulky frame turns that isn't quite complete.
Something— something key is missing: the head. The Director doesn't have a face, as he lumbers one, two, ambling steps towards the girls, impossibly aimed for the splattered mess that's become his head, and the ungainly drooping eyeball that burst out from the impact. "Caaaaan't."
Scraaaping underlies his disconnected groan, as a strange lump tumbles into view from around the bend. Palm slaps hard to the concrete, and puuullllss… draaaggging with great effort behind it a twisted body, its spine cracked in too many places; Francis' face meets the back of his legs, one twisted up around his ear, and the other flopping lamely behind the rest of his arced form as he slap and draaagggs. slap and draaggggs himself forward.
"Caaaan't!" The Director shudderingly complains. From a third direction, a scccrrttt can be heard, closing in.
"What! No! This isn't supposed to be happening!" Jude shouts on the verge of screaming. "Go back to your stupid bloody nightmares!" she rages spitefully at them, as angry as she is scared, now— "There's just no getting away from it," she decides. It's too much for her to comprehend, the horrific sights, the sounds, the impending doom coming at them. Scrambling against Harry as much as the door she came from, she's little more than a moth slamming against a surface repeatedly in her panic until she manages to grab onto the handle and fling it back open, choosing one of two evils.
Faster than it did before, the wall gives way to cracking, to peeling, and to the seep of readied blood, now eagerly eating up the space it once reined. Blackness settling into place, this time for good. Forever. Tossed to one side, the form of Viktor is now prone, out cold and still, his arms fallen lifelessly inside the jacket that would not releases him. Trapped. There, several feet away from him, Harriet, too, spread out in the awful truth of unconsciousness. Never to wake. Her arms flung helplessly in front of her in some halted struggle.
The person that Jude scrambles against also breathes in a ragged, scared way as he grips onto her. However, when she looks over to see who she's holding it is not Harriet, but Daniel. His movements to follow her are slow and unsteady, but looks about the room wildly. "This isn't happening," he says softly, holding onto Jude tighter.
GAME: Jude has rolled SANITY and got a result of GOOD.
GAME: Jude has rolled LUCK and got a result of POOR.
Wrapped up in darkness and in arms, Jude fights. The room reclaimed by nightmarish fuel and the bewildering sight of Harriet unconscious is a blur. Daniel's voice— are those his arms— she fights harder, her elbows thrashing at her sides. Her body's careening seems only prone to take her to the floor, if only she could squirm away. She stills, instead, and takes a breath. "I know it's not happening! Now make it stop!"
Clutching shadows nip at Jude's shoulder, her feet, taunting her mind, knocking: let us in, let us in. Consuming black reaches, sliding along her toes and grasping for her ankles, weighing her down, pulling her down. Wanting to suck her right into the bottomless pit that the floor's become. Shadows that reach up, curling at the form of Daniel's shoulders, writhing— but not quite settling on him like they did before.
Out of the corner of her eye, that unfathomable sight of Harriet downed, her arms flung, and body spread so haphazardly that a small medicine-filled syringe is nearly escaping from her pocket.
Daniel grips onto Jude tighter as he fights. "Stop it," he commands, trying to keep her off the floor. "I can't make it stop." The struggle frees her from him, however. He takes a step back, hands up.
Jude wavers between giving in to the cling of the shadows and focusing on the fact that it's not real. She scrunches her eyes shut. Her mind's no fortress. She can't hide in it and the nightmares can climb right over her walls. But what she does have in heaping amounts is hope. Grimacing, she opens her eyes and hones in on what's seemingly in front of her … the form of Harry, the syringe tumbling out. Come on, Jude… focus…
Her head dips down, and suddenly focuses on the camcorder screen. It's comfortingly real in the midst of everything else. The low battery sign flashes threateningly, hurrying, even more, Jude's efforts to find the right button on the device. Rewind. She zooms backwards through strange, shaky-cam footage, misses the right spot, fastforwards— there, in the infirmary. Daniel is struggling with the enraged patient. He has a syringe. Where did it go after? She squints, impatient. Pauses. His pocket…
She turns her head to look at Daniel here in the room, the person who appears, anyway, to be Daniel; then down to Harry, sprawled on the floor, with that syringe, tumbling out of her pocket.
Jude leaps down, scrambling with a suddenness that loses her camera to the floor. She snatches the syringe, next to totally ignorant of what's in it as she slams its needle into the body on the floor beside her without hesitation or particular aim.
A jolt shoots that body of Harriet up from the floor into Jude's face, slamming her with a solid black gaze: "No!" The dark voice of Daniel demands, indignant to the last. Grabbing hands at Jude's, at the needle that's struck him and sinks pleasingly into skin, depositing that blood's liquor inside, begin to falter with strain. The corners of his eyes grow shadowy, as the black inside them leaks out in thick uneasy tears— suddenly sucked straight back into his head, clearing that gaze to pure grey and shock. Daniel's mouth drops bonelessly. Several blinks, and his lean form sprawls as limply as it started.
"H-how many times are we going to have to knock him out?" Harriet moves forward - warily - as she realizes that Jude fought her the last time she attempted to come near her. Hopefully, this time, he's really out for the count. She looks over toward Viktor again to check on him.
Without even the illusion of retreat, it's gone. All gone; the room is a room, for the second time, but now with nothing clinging at the backs of hair except the girls' own emotions. No flicker. The lights are just on. As if they always were. Red has cleared from every corner, even the one where Viktor lies, bruised from unearthly kicks, and as unconscious as he must always have been since the film reel.
It's just… a night.
Then, from outside a door that does not open hauntingly on its own but remains realistically shut, there's the sound of completely normal footsteps. Muffled, an unfamiliar but undisturbed voice: "Hello, then? Is anybody else down here? The cameras are out."