Log:Four New Arrivals
She had seen death, lots of it, and captured it on film. She'd watched people die, witnessed their last words and breaths. For her, she'd seen every angle there was to see, except one.
So Esmerelda Cortez died.
Darkness. She lays there, quiet and unmoving, simply embracing the nothing that surrounds her. The numb, empty feeling of it. Other feelings, or rather sensations, creep in. Soft, cool sheets beneath her. A pillow beneath her head. She's not dead. Not anymore. A frown, and The Creepshow sits up, triggering the lights.
Her room is insanity. The floor is bare concrete splattered with dried blood. The walls are red, ceiling black, and photographs of random sex, violence, and gore hang on the walls - people fucking, killing, dying, and not necessarily in the proper order, if there is such a thing. It's not subtle or obscured, either, it's graphic, vulgar, and she finds it all utterly fascinating. She sits upright in her bed, a gray tanktop and matching boxers her only clothing, and simply takes it all in.
It was almost peaceful, to die the way he did. There was warmth, before a slowly encroaching cold that crept over him, and then he grew tired, so very tired. The light in Ethan's eyes was extinguished while doing something he believed in, saving a lost people. The last thing he saw were those skeletons crumbling to dust, and the last thing he knew, for certain, was they they'd ended the curse. It was a good death. A noble death.
And then he wakes up. At first, he thinks he is just dead, and it's dark, and there is nothing. He wonders what an eternity of endless nothing is going to be like as he sits up. Then the lights come on and he is in a room. In a bed. In a pair of pajama bottoms. The bed is old, burnished wood, a four poster that looks like it belongs in an old money mansion somewhere. There are framed maps, old scrolls, and pictographs on the walls. There is also a chalkboard on one wall, with a box of chalk beside it. Like a teacher would have in a classroom. The most notable wall has only one thing on it and that is the familiar first rubbing Ethan took at the temple in the ruins. It is in a frame on the furthest edge of the wall across from the bed, and well lit. The recessed lights seem to indicate there are spaces for more things to be hung beside it.
"What the...?" Ethan murmurs, as he gets out of the bed, and moves to look at the rubbing. "Where am I?" Dead, he was dead. Bled out all over the jungle floor to save people. Right? He moves into the closet and finds an assortment of clothing, a lot of suit jackets, jeans, sweaters, jackets with patches on the elbows. They feel like things he would wear, but still, he doesn't remember them, or this place. He moves on into the bathroom and turns on the water in the sink to splash his face, before looking up in the mirror and letting out a startled, very loud, yell, audible in the hall and beyond.
His face is his face but it isn't his face. It looks about 20 years young. Maybe early to mid 30s instead of mid 50s. Ethan Drake, is that his name? Has far less lines on his skin, no grey I his hair, and his body is missing many of those aches and pains, while suddenly being more lean and athletic.
The parlor might not be the most serene of places right now. Even the hallway shows some signs of occupancy. Outside a room that was empty (is it now? Perhaps it has since been filled and what damage was done inside has been 'swept' away) lies a pile of soggy towels. And in the parlor itself? Oh, oh the parlor. The parlor has a huge pile of books scattered upon the floor as if someone went along the bookshelves and just swept row after row and shelf after shelf onto the ground.
In fact, that is precisely what someone did.
Even the dining room is not without its touch. A table is missing a chair and some splinters remain upon the floor. On the table, in the corner, sits a coiled rope of paracord and a long-abandoned cup of coffee.
Cameron... cameron? Cameron doesn't wake to peace, he wakes with a cry as he practically leaps out of his bed and looks around wildly, eyes alarmed and freaked out. There's lights on, and a door, and... stuff. Nothing registers. He's in full on panic mode, his mind spinning, confused, bursting through the door into the hall beyond, looking around frantically for anything familiar, anything normal, anything... anything but what he sees, what he finds. He's in a pair of shorts and that's all, since that's what's normal for him to sleep in, but the panic does not immediately subside. NOthing is right, nothing is familiar, he's never been here before, he's... Cameron but he's not what is going on? He bursts into the parlor with that frantic look on his face. "Ohmygodthefuckohmygodthefuck." A pile of ransacked shelves with books doesn't calm him down.
Furniture! Yes, there's furniture in The Creepshow's room, and she even notices it after tearing her gaze away from all the photos. Wrought iron and velvet, skulls and sex toys, glass and human bone. Elvira would approve. She moves to the closet, filled with everything from gothic lolita chic to punk to spinster widow clothes. She leaves them. She turns back to her room proper and finds her camera on her vanity, picking it up right about when Ethan yells and Cameron freaks out. Her attention snaps that way, and she heads out into the hall in her underthings, fidgeting with her camera.
Ethan bolts out of the door of his room, still dripping from the water splashed on his face, pale blue eyes wide as saucers. He holds onto the doorframe as he looks around in shock. "Where is this? This can't be heaven right?" He's relatively sure he wouldn't end up there. At least not in the conventional one. Maybe whatever one that tribe believes in. He looks down at the pile of towels. "Pretty sure the big guy wouldn't leave those on the floor either." Yeah, definitely not heaven.
Noise? More people? One of the doors in the hallway opens, the room with the image of the weeping woman and the burning village in the distance. The door opens just a sliver, and then a little more as the curious face of The Penitent -- or Madison Wellson -- peers down the hallway. Dressed in a red singlet top and grey sweatpants for the moment, she looks as though she's very recently stepped out of a shower.
She steps out proper, starting as Ethan suddenly appears in a nearby doorway. "Oh, sorry," she says in a pleasant tone. "No, I left those there. Well, some of them probably. We were trying to start a fire." Of course! "How come you are all here?" she peers down the hall towards The Creepshow, head tilting slightly, and then glances beyond where others have fled.
The Capitalist is still in bed when some sort of commotion is heard coming from the hallway. He's not exactly asleep nor is he alone. The loud shouting does get him to stir, dragging himself up quickly to stare at the closed doorway to his room. "What... or more like, Who was that?" He murmurs to his partner, just as he leans in close to place a kiss upon her lips, before dragging himself out of bed.
His movements are quick, the excitement out there may lead to more answers. At the very least, it means that something is going on. Reaching for his clothing and quickly getting dressed in his usual business get-up minus the suit jacket this time, he starts towards the door way as he's working on his tie. It takes a while, of course and he even looks at his reflection in the mirror to make sure that everything is neat and orderly before he steps outside. One looks is given back to the woman whom he shares his bed with, waiting on her before they depart to see what is going on.
The other occupant of the Capitalist's room (and bed) is a bit more delayed in surfacing, but only because of the minor problem of attire. The Hunter's clothes were soaking wet (thanks to a surprisingly functional fire suppressant system) and still weren't dry. She ends up raiding his closet for a button-down and puts that on along with her underwear. Ahem. "It didn't sound like Greene or Tully," she says, of the two she recalls being on the helicopter with her when she died. Doing up a couple more buttons, she approaches the door and pulls it open.
This particular door has the image of a man counting money on it and serves to reveal first Maata Kahloa, looking... well, disheveled is the right word, yes. Because she also didn't stop to really put herself together. She is running fingers through her hair to smooth it back, but she spots Esme in the hall and another man who... is familiar and yet not. Behind her is the younger Wellson, Conrad. She looks further along to the Penitent, confused.
The Perfectionist rolls over in bed, sighing as she wakes from a dream. It's a lovely dream. A dream come full circle. Birth. Life. Death.
Arch. Stretch. Yawn.
She sits up abruptly, frowning, pushing back her hair. "What the fuck?" she whispers. Bare feet hit the floor. "What the abnormally actual fuck?"
Her room is white. White and black. No shades of grey. Very clean lines. Scandinavian furnishings. She stares at it. It's soothing, but... What. The actual. FUCK?
Deep breaths. Deeeep breaths. "Okay. Okay. This is... I'm..." Valerity. No. No, that's not right. "I'm..." She bolts over to a mirror. She's still not sure who she sees. "Ruth." She nods. "I'm..." Valor. Verity. "Nae." She looks around, her breath hitching in her chest. "Where's Nae?"
Ethan blinks over at the Penitant. "Ms. Wellson, is that you? Where the hell is here? We...we died. We sacrificed ourselves to stop the curse, the skeletons. Six of us, we volunteered to die." He reaches a hand up to rub at his throat, his perfectly intact throat. "We did die. We did. So why are we here? Where is here? Why are you here? Are the others here? There was Ms. Cortez, Valerity, that young man from social media, Cameron-something? Blue Rosen, one of Mr. Valeh's friends... not Navid though." He turns a bit to look at Maata and Conrad emerging and his brow furrows in further confusion. They look mostly the same as he remembers from the island. He, however... "What in the hell is happening? Wait, is this hell?"
The Archetype formerly known as Cameron continues with his freak out when he doesn't see anyone, rushing towards the kitchen, calling out, "Chase? Tom? Buffy? What the fuck? Where is everyone? Where are WINDOWS. Screens. WIFI?!" But there! Panels, the food dispensers look modern. He taps at it frantically, and then gives up, just not able to focus on words or sights, turning around in a circle quickly, afraid of anything that might be coming at his back. He keeps rubbing at his neck, too.
"Give me distress," says the girl who was Esme, playing photographer as she moves out ahead of no-longer-Cameron to make his flailing into an impromptu photo shoot. "Panic. Yes! Give me your fear, your terror at this fucked up twist! The camera loves you! Give it everything!" She sounds ecstatic, almost orgasmic. There's no flash, though, no click or whir of the film feed. It may not be instantly obvious to all, but the camera is essentially a big paperweight one can look through. She knows, and clearly gives zero fucks.
And then a small crowd starts to gather. And Ethan has questions. She stops her pretendy times and straightens, free hand going to her hip. "None of you ever appreciated art," she sniffs. "Or suffering. Or the art of suffering. Fucking philistines." She storms her way back through the hall, to her room, slamming the door behind her.
"Six died? I guess that means ... we might get six more visitors. "I am sort of Ms. Wellson, yes. But mostly not. I died in the explosion at the security trailer." She tilts her head slightly, considering. "It's something I prefer not to think about. I was the first to wake up here. Then others came shortly after. Dahlia Adams and Jonas Silva. Then, uh, Conrad Wellson and ..." she trails off as she gestures to the Capitalist's opening room, where the two she were about to mention are stepping out.
A blink as Esme states her opinion, head inclining as she stares vaguely at the Creepshow's room before shaking her head and turning her attention back to the vaguely familiar Ethan. "We probably shouldn't have left the place such a mess. Sorry." She says again, though there's no real feeling behind the apology, her tone is a vague and distant thing.
The Perfectionist puts a hand over her mouth, eyes welling with tears, trying not to hyperventilate. She shakes her head. There are cosmetics, brushes, combs, jewelry on the vanity. She arranges them with trembling hands. "I'm Ruth Hawthorne Toliver." And... "Okay." She nods. "Okay. Valerity. I remember her now. Me. Now."
"I don't feel like me." Careful not to nudge or budge or scuff anything, she takes off her silk pajamas. Folds them carefully. Places them.. is that a hamper? Maybe it's not. She'll figure it out. It'll do for now. The clothing in the armoire is examined. The shoes. She's equally careful not to bother them until she finds something simple. She shoes are ridiculous, but she kneels to make sure every pair is facing straight and evenly spaced. The same is done for the hangers, a quarter inch between each one.
Finally, finally she feels calm enough to venture out. There's a door. It looks like a good place for an out to be. So she steps into the hall. Follows the voices.
"Conrad?" Ethan asks. He remembers him as a student of his, but that no longer feels real. It happened before the island, it's just like...he knows it happened but there is nothing attached to it in his memory. It just was there, like a fact, a fact with no emotion or imagery or sensory information attached to it. "It's me, Professor Drake." Even as he says it, he knows it's untrue. Knowledge of being a college professor has that same not realness to it. Like he was told that's what he did, but he didn't really do it. He wasn't actually there.
Once out into the hall, The Capitalist sees a few surprised faces, some unfamiliar to him, but one in particular, he believes he has seen before. "Is that..?" He murmurs mostly to himself when he sees Ethan. It almost looked like his former professor in profile, but the man was far too young. Though whatever Ethan is spewing out is enough to make him realize that yes, he was on the island too. Then there is another voice coming from the parlor and more names are mentioned. In total, he recognizes a few of these individuals listed off and that gives him some form of hope. "Valeh?" He remembers that name as someone they needed to ensure was not sacrificed. Valerity. Rosen is another name that he vaguely knows. And then Buffy... When the strange photographer returns back to the hallway to slam the door, he has no idea who that was! But unfamiliar faces keeps showing up. Then again, it was a huge festival.
It's only then that the man he sort of recgonizes calls his name. "So you /are/ Professor Drake." It's pretty surreal to see his professor looking so young right now. He then looks to Maata briefly, when he asks, "So the sacrifice went down? Did it work..?" Like they would know. They're dead!
The Perfectionist frowns at The Capitalist. "I didn't like you. You didn't try hard enough. Then you did. And I felt sorry for you. Because it was futile." Huh. "But I don't remember you. Sorry."
Enh. It'll come back to her.
In the meantime, she goes to straighten the bookshelves. It's while she's facing the spines she realizes they're not in... any sort of order. Not by title. Or author. Or the Library of Congress Classification System. She'll eventually remember she doesn't know how that works, but it unsettles her, nonetheless.
"Not... everyone has found their way here," Maata says after a moment, watching Esme as she storms her way down the hall. The woman is unfamiliar to her, as well. "But others that we don't recognize have." With this, she looks to the room that the Rebel has been hiding within. There's a shrug before she gets a good look at the door that Ethan is standing near. She finally leaves the Capitalist's side and rushes over, uncaring of her, uh, attire in the process. She'll lean around to get a good look inside before letting out a "Shit."
One notable thing is that while the Hunter looks like Maata Kahloa, there is no trace of the woman's islander accent. She sounds American. Midwestern, perhaps. And there's a much more refined, almost coiled spring to her motions. Something almost inherently dangerous to her. "Conrad," she calls, looking over her shoulder to him. "The fire... It's gone."
The Avant-Garde is continuing to freak out in the parlor, eyes wild. He sees the Perfectionist, pauses, chest heaving with panting, "Valerity?!" Eyes wild, "Who are you? Why am I here? WHO AM I? WHAT IS THIS?" Frantic and unsure what to do, he moves quickly to the dining room area, grabs a chair, and proceeds to try to put it THROUGH a wall. SMACK. "CHASE. TOM. BUFFY. WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON." He has 10x too much energy to fit into his body, and no internet to destress.
The Perfectionist looks utterly alarmed. "There's a fire?" She blinks. "That could burn things."
AUGH! There's a crazy person shouting at her. He knows one of her names! That's not okay! She doesn't know any of his! She flails! "I -- am -- was -- that's -- you..." Wait. Buffy? "I think... I remember... didn't she want us to draw things on her ass?" She looks around hopefully. That's right, right? She remembered a thing!
"I am. I was. I think?" Ethan replies to Conrad, scrubbing both hands through his hair, which no longer has that distinguished greying at the temples, and is thicker, in less of a tight cut. "But I was, I was older, wasn't I? I remember being older, older than this," he gestures at his body, realizes he's in just pajama pants, and coughs. "I should probably put some clothes on, right?" He is the bearer and distributer of knowledge, and he has absolutely NO IDEA where he is, where he came from, who he really is, what he is doing here. This is making the man's head hurt. "And maybe have a lie down." It's got to be a dream right? Is he in a coma? Did someone try to stop the sacrifice and save the bleeding volunteers?
"What do you mean, gone?" The Penitent speaks up, idly curious. Even though the question was for Conrad. "The sprinklers put it out. Of course it's gone." She glances down the way towards the parlour, hearing the freak-out in progress going on from The Avant-Garde down the way. She reaches behind her to open her door again, taking a step back. Too noisy! Though she doesn't quite retreat completely just yet.
"Profressor Drake. I remember you." She studies him. "But I don't remember you as well. You seem much younger, yes. Lying down is good. It's very comfortable here, and there is food and definitely nothing coming to kill us all at night or any other time really. It's quite peaceful."
When confronted by Valerity in the hallway, Conrad has been in the Facility a while to have gained all of his memory from the island, so he knows full well who the woman is. Despite the situation that they are in, he cannot help but furrow his brow at what he perceives as an insult about him not trying hard enough, but he lets it slide and he doesn't seem too eager to remind her of anything more. He knows it will come to her.
When Maata calls out to him, his pace quickens to take a look at what she's seeing. "If I must be honest, it's a good thing that the fire is out. Or else we would've burned to death in here without a way out." The sound of a chair crashing against the wall nearly startles him, and it sounds like everyone was going crazy all around him. But this is to be expected, "I gotta say, Prof, I don't know where /here/ is. Do you remember hearing an explosion? How many days had passed since then? When the security trailer blew?" Those were the last of his memories on the island. But he does confirm, "Er.. yeah. You don't completely look like yourself. It's a little strange, but you sound like you. For the most part."
"No, no," the Hunter reaches out to grab at the Capitalist once he's near enough, to tug him towards Ethan's door. Which is becoming terribly crowded, regardless of the fact that the poor -- confused -- man is only in pajama bottoms. Or that she herself is wearing only panties and one of Conrad's button downs. "It's gone." She steps back a bit once she's done ogling (the room!) herself. "This room was empty earlier, remember!" There's a look over to the Penitent now and a helpless shrug as she hops back another step as her heel squelches -- gross -- into one of the wet towels. "When we left it, it was just the fire and my blanket on the floor. Now it's... it's fully furnished."
There are too many people talking at once. The Perfectionist puts her hands over her ears. She remembers she used to like certain sounds. She's not sure what they were.
And there are books on the floor.
There are books on the floor.
How did they get there?! It doesn't matter. She quickly picks them up and places them in piles. She'll need the space to reorder things on the shelves, but they should at least be in piles. Nice, straight piles. No more than six tall. All facing the same direction. "Why are there books on the floor? It's not where they belong." She blows out a long breath. These people and their fired. "Blankets don't belong on the floor, either." GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE.
The man who was Ethan looks at his furnished room when Maata declares it had been empty prior. "I, I think I'm going to go lie down now. If this is just a dream or I'm in a coma, maybe it'll wake me up." Right? "If not, I guess I'll be back out here in a few hours." He scratches at his neck again as if still not believing there isn't so much as a scar. Then he excuses himself to slide past the others into his room, and closes the door. He needs to think in the quiet, and the dark, and try to hang on to whatever marbles he has left.
The Capitalist is yanked to Ethan's room. He remembers which room was set on fire, the wet towels are clearly still on the floor, but Maata was right. The room that she had set on fire should have still been sprinkler soaked, but now it was something completely different. Turning to the professor and basically ignoring the fact that the other man isn't fully dressed, Conrad decides to explain, "The room was plain and white when we were testing to see whether there were mechanisms in place to prevent a fire from happening. There was absolutely nothing in there, just like most of these other rooms. Now it looks like an interior decorator went in there and arranged things just to your preference." Though when Ethan needs this time to think on things, the Capitalist understands and decides to move on, his eyes now set on those in the parlor. Watching Valerity freak out over the books, he clears his throat a moment, before stating, "There's no doors leading to the outside world in here. I was... trying to find one. Behind those books." He now looks between both Valerity and Cameron, someone who he knows through social media, but not one he knows personally. "So there was a sacrifice done and you were chosen." He starts again. "What else can you tell me about that time? What else was happening on the island?"
That makes the Penitent step foward from her room again, padding the short distance to peer within that crowded room. "Fascinating," she murmers as she considers it, in those moments before Ethan retreats within and closes the door. She just turns when he does, making her way towards the parlour also. "Your memories will come back in time. Sort of," she assures, offering a pleasant if kind of vacant smile to the people who are still figuring this whole thing out!
The Perfectionist hears the squelch of The Hunter stepping on a towel. A towel on the floor. A wet towel on the floor. She stands abruptly from making her book piles and throws her hands in the air. "I can't. I can't even, with you people." She stalks over to retrieve the wet towels, then finds the door closed to her. Her fingers twitch, resisting the urge to throw it open. It's not an easy urge to resist, but then The Capitalist is telling her how the books fell. She stares at him. "You're off your nut."
"And you need pants," she tells The Hunter. As long as she's arranging things.
Sacrifice. That draws her up short. "I..." She holds a hand up to her throat, perhaps without realizing it. "I remember stars."
The Avant-Garde just runs past everyone in the parlor and off down the other direction of the hall to continue his freak out that way.
"Oh FUCK the fucking island," says The Creepshow. Or rather likely her, in her room, behind her door. "Are you ON the island?" she asks, opening her door to rejoin the conversation. "Not fucking likely. You blew up in the security trailer." Here she indicates Madison."You two blew up on a helicopter." Maata and Conrad. "We got our throats slit in a ritual sacrifice. What's the common fucking denominator? We died. Whatever and wherever this is, I don't think any of that shit matters now."
And the door is closed in their face. The Hunter takes a further step back, giving a small shrug. She's starting to head towards the parlor when the Perfectionist stops her. She looks down and: "I suppose I do. I- uh, didn't have any on hand." There's color creeping across her cheeks. Maata wasn't a blusher. The Hunter is. She lifts a hand to tug at her hair a bit self-consciously. When the Creepshow reappears and points at her and the Capitalist, she turns to him, staring at him. "So it was you on the helicopter with me." They hadn't confirmed that until now!
"Yes. I blew up in a security trailer." The Penitent replies in a distant voice, her right arm reaching across her body to rub at her left shoulder as she wanders back up the way to stand outside the Creepshow's door as the woman comes out of it, staring at the image on it for a few moments. "That is what I have been trying to say. Or not, really, because I just prefer not to think about it at all." She glances back up the way, looking mildly amused at the Perfectionist for some reason.
The Capitalist makes sure to step out of the way of the spazzing Avant-Garde, his gaze following the man to watch him race down the long corridor of rooms. "Was he on drugs at the time of his death?"
Then the strange door to the Creepshow's room opens and while this may capture his attention, the news she brings is part of the answers he was seeking this whole time. "I don't even remember a helicopter." He murmurs, looking thoughtful now. "But Maata mentioned one. I just thought I..." died "The last that I could remember was being in the security trailer during our talks with Akala." He steps to the side to allow the Perfectionist some room to pick up the wet towels on the floor.
The one thing on his mind now comes up, "What was supposed to happen after the sacrifice? Was help coming?" He has no idea that the wifi was out after the security trailer blew up.
People exploding? And... throats slit. That word again. Sacrifice. The Perfectionist steps back against a wall, hugging her arms to herself. "Where's Nae?" she asks, small-voiced. "I want Nae. And..." Someone else. "I need..." It's right on the tip of her tongue. It's a flicker in the corner of her eye. Her eyes well with tears. Valerity wasn't a crier.
It appears they won't be getting anything from the Grey Island Gazette from her, tonight. Morning? Whatever time it is.
The Creepshow stares blandly at Conrad as he asks again about what was going on at the island. "Big purple dinosaurs came down from the sky, everyone sangs songs, and a valuable lesson was learned." She then suddenly chucks her camera at him, furious. It misses, hitting a wall and shattering into pieces. "Who cares what's going on on the fucking island?! Professor Fuckable is two decades younger and you want to know about the goddamned island?!"
The Perfectionist slides down the wall into a crouch, wrapping her arms around her shins and hiding her face against her knees. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. She's noping right out. There's going to be a (perfectly) catatonic ball right there for a good, long time.
Flinching away from the thrown camera (considering her proximity to the Capitalist), the Hunter stares at the girl that threw it. She still has Maata's reflexes. Maybe better. Refined. She reaches for Conrad's arm. "Hey, go get some scotch. Wine. Something. Maybe a pack of cigarettes." Patting him on the arm, she absconds to her room. Probably to get those pants! And then through the door she steps; the one with the woman, holding a bow, crouches in brush.
With the Creepshow arcing up and throwing things at the Capitalist, the Penitent can't help but let a little of Madison rise to the surface. She always looked out for Conrad. "Hey!" She turns about at Creepshow, staring, stepping closer. "You should calm down and ... and not throw things at my ... at him." She frowns a little. It sounds as uncertain as Madison ever might have, but for very different reasons. Confusion reigns as she closes her eyes and takes a deep, controlled breath.
The Capitalist even turns to attempt to dodge the camera when it is thrown at him, but it doesn't make contact either way. In fact, he is simply looking the woman over, a suspicion growing in his mind. "I don't even know who you are." There were a ton of people at the festival, but so far, those who had arrived here were people who he knew... except for one other. Though when Madison speaks out, he just has to blink and turn to look at her. He could hear his sister's voice coming from the Penitent, in that same meek mannerism, despite the outburst.
It is, however, at Maata's suggestion when she reaches for his arm that he nods slowly and begins to make his way to the kitchen. "I think what we all need is to calm down. That's the only way where we'll get answers." It sure looks like poor Valerity could use a couple of drinks in her. Disappearing into the kitchen, he presses a few buttons, then goes to get several glasses.
The shor, slight Spanish woman runs a hand through her hair, gaze moving from Conrad to the broken camera. More broken? It wasn't working before she threw it. "I guess," she says slowly, trying to be more calm, "my point is, if you want answers about here, maybe talk about here? We aren't on the island anymore. Some of us - at least one - aren't even the same fucking AGE we were there. Help comes, help doesn't come - what does it matter? They're still alive and on their own. We're dead and in here. Priorities. "
A moment or two later, the Hunter resurfaces from her own room. She's in a pair of gray sweatpants and a black tanktop. Her hair has been combed. She's even put on a pair of socks! Not perfectly put-together, but in much better shape than she was before. She stretches -- arms overhead -- as she makes her way out to the parlor. "Dead or in a coma," she says as she passes the Creepshow. "I still haven't decided. "But we have found the place resets every morning and we can't break through the walls. And there's no doors or... anything that lets us figure out where we are. No windows, TV, newspapers. It's like being in a strange dream. Like your mind can't fill in the gaps." She'll help Conrad with the glasses if he needs it.
Still frowning, the Penitent nods slightly, hands dropping to her sides as she half turns to start moving down into the parlor proper. "I don't know. It is very confusing here. But peaceful. I decided that I like it." With that, she returns to her pleasant not-Madison self. Calm and relaxed, finding her spot on the couch, her legs tucking up beneath her. "Not exactly an unpleasant dream though," she announces with a pleasant smile as the Hunter wanders past to help the Capitalist with the drinks. "I like to think it's some kind of second chance."
The Capitalist returns with a tray carrying five glasses and a bottle of scotch from the dispensery, all of which he sets down at one of the couches. No help necessary, because he's smart! He does flash a smile at Maata, however, on his way back into the parlor. The mess of books which he had made earlier in the day is forgotten, though there is enough space around the shelving area for people to walk so that they need not encounter the aftermath of what could have been an avalanche. Taking a seat there now, he pulls out the pack of cigarettes that he got from the dispensery too and begins to light it up.
"I have several things on the agenda currently. Seeing all of those doors, it makes me wonder who else will show up to join us." Only after he's taken his first drag from his cig, which he then holds between his lips, does he begins to fill the glasses with good, expensive scotch. The bottle is then set aside, just as he exhales a breath of smoke. Licking at his lips, he casts his eyes over towards Esme, "Besides us. Those who died in the explosion... both explosions," He speaks of the security trailer and the helicopter, "And then yourselves during the sacrifice, who else had died?" With a cigarette in one hand, he reaches to take up one of the filled glasses to slowly raise to his lips, though he watches the Creepshow from over its rim as he takes a sip.
"See, this?" notes Creepshow, "is more helpful. And I don't just mean the liquor." Which she takes and knocks back her glass in one go. "Uh... There was a trip to the ruins to find the ritual. Oh! Some kids died. Vines got ahold of them, shredded them like razorwire. That super obnoxious kid that held the protest? Him and his buddies. That was it, until us. The truce held."
Sinking into a sofa near to the Capitalist, the Hunter grabs one of the glasses once filled and also reaches out for a cigarette herself. Unlike Maata, she smokes. The islander never once even glanced at the things, but this woman for sure is a smoker. However, she seems a bit of a lighter drinker than her islander counterpart. It's more of a casual thing than the obsessive need. She considers. "There were... a couple others in the security trailer, right? The other guy at the computer. Dahlia had a friend. I remember Tully and Greene on the helo and a couple nurses. Haven't seen them here. So the kids in the vines, they're missing, too."
She leans over a bit, looking to Conrad. "Your notes. Were they intact this morning or did they disappear in the cleanup?"
"Vines?" Conrad's brow lifts at that. If that were the only surprising thing mentioned. "Those teenagers died?" Here, he shakes his head as he takes another sip from his glass. "The one we saw the other day was no teenager, but then again, Professor Drake just took a sip from the fountain of youth, so anything is possible." A casual glance is now given the hallway, to spy on the room that he remembered seeing the stranger disappear into. "He said he had no memory at all, which is fine, but everyone else seems to have a crystal clear memory of their time on the island. If only their time on the island. He hadn't emerged since then, so we never got a chance to ask him." After another sip, he leans forward to set his half-filled glass back onto the tray.
As for the notes, he shakes his head, "They are still there. So not everything just goes away or fixes itself."
"Jonas Silva and Dahlia Adams. They are both here. Hal is not." The Penitent confirms, nodding slowly. "But I was the first one here. Or rather, when I woke up here, I was alone for a little bit. But a lot of people died before that explosion. Where are they? People like Daniella and Vanessa and all the others." She doesn't reach out for a drink herself, leaving that fifth glass well alone. She glances at the Capitalist, inclining her head. "He didn't have a grasp on the island memories yet. Remember, it can take a bit."
"It seems to me," The Creepshow says, sitting on the arm of a padded chair, leaning a bit to look back down the single hall of rooms, "that she's right, and we're missing a shitload more than that, unless you've got a couple hundred people crammed in those few dozen rooms. Is anyone from before the trailer here? At all? If no one else was here when you got here, then none of those couple hundred I photographed are here. They don't have, or didn't do whatever it is that makes us special."
"Maybe we should start a list... Of everyone we know and can think of who died. And then a second list, of everyone who is here." It would have been no use starting it if the notes had disappeared! The Hunter twists at the hip and drapes her feet in the Capitalist's lap. She keeps hold of cigarette and scotch both, clearly set on unwinding a bit. Or... remaining unwound, considering how she surfaced earlier. "If Madison was the first here," she says towards Esme, "then no... But-" her brow furrows, "what if this is just one such place like this? What if the others were full?"
"I was working on such a list." The Capitalist brings up, "Though I don't know the full extent of the dead. Only the ones closest to us." And to us, he means Maata, Madison and himself. "And Greene... But that does mean that I need to fill in all the names of those who have newly arrived." He doesn't look put off when Maata extends her legs to rest her feet in his lap, though he does shift lightly beneath them to further make himself comfortable. Remembering the thrown camera and now what Esme says, he murmurs, "You took photos of all of our dead?" How morbid. "Then you might recognize that other guy who is here. Not that he has a memorable face or anything." Then Maata's idea that everyone else like Vanessa and Greene could be in their own sort of limbo too has him thinking. "I suppose anything is possible, with us all being held in different sections of whatever this place is. But for what purpose?"
"Oh, the photographs." The Penitent really didn't quite recognise 'Esme' without the face paint! "Obviously. That makes sense. Did you photograph me?" She can't imagine that Madison was a pretty corpse. But it's a far more interesting question to her, leaning foward slightly. "There could be other places like this I suppose, with people just as confused. But that doesn't really mean anything if there's no way out of here. Or in, for that matter." She shrugs, and leans back once more.
A pointed finger at The Hunter. "Okay, point," Creepshow allows. "Assuming there are more of these, and they filled, that explains some of the missing, but others died in the trailer, and on the helicopter, that you said aren't here. I know two of us who volunteered to be sacrificed aren't here, or haven't poked their heads out yet. There were six. Me, internet boy, the pop star and the professor make four." She glances at Penny and her question, nodding. "All three of you. What was left, anyway. I did what I could."
"The others from the sacrifice might still be in their rooms. It... takes a while to orient yourself sometimes." Most don't run out screaming like Cameron. The Hunter just remains comfortably settled. Unlike the Penitent, it'd seem she and the Capitalist are still holding onto their prior selves. Perhaps as an anchor. Perhaps for other reasons. Comfort, maybe? She takes a sip of scotch before letting the cigarette settle between her lips. When there's mention of 'what remained,' she cringes and looks... ill, gaze going down to her glass as she falls into a dark silence.
With Esme mentioning the six who died, the Capitalist's chin lifts as he tries to get a better look at the hallway once again. "They may still be in their rooms, exploring their new surroundings. But usually, they end up out here by now." He's taking another much needed drag from his cig. "Do you know who the others were? I recall Valeh's name being mentioned earlier, was it Amir?" That was a man who the Wellson's were trying to protect ever since he was kidnapped by the lost tribe!
As a mirror to Maata's reaction when what remained of them is brought up, the Capitalist, too, diverts his gaze, though he looks thoughtfully off into the distance. It's traumatizing to think about, but they all remember their deaths, which means that there are bodies in whatever state they were found in.
"That makes sense, an explosion wouldn't have left much, but you had enough to confirm it was actually us?" Penitent presses further, staring at the Creepshow intently now, hands clasping together as she shifts slightly, refreshing her position to sit properly, bare feet upon the floor. Unlike the others, she's quiet interested in this. "Was it ... was it really enough to confirm an identity?"
The Creepshow shakes her head. "No, but he was a friend of his. The pop star knew him. And a chick named Blue. Blue Rose? Something like that." She nods her head at Penny. "You, yes. You made it out of the trailer and took most of it in the back."
Unlike the Capitalist, the Hunter was actually awake for the helicopter explosion. Awake, but drug-addled and unable to voice her panic. She didn't know why they shouldn't be on the thing at the time, just that it was a bad idea. And unable to convey it. Discussing it is making her anxious. She's tensing up even now. Downing the rest of her scotch, she reaches for another couple cigarettes to have on hand and quickly gets to her feet. There's nothing said in the course of the actions: they're just done before she's departing the parlor and heading back for the hallway.
The Capitalist nods when he's told that Amir's friend had died instead, not that it makes anything any better. Though when the latter name is mentioned, it is something more familiar, "Blue Rosen?" They've all hung out in the same rich kid's clubs, so he at least knew her in passing. "I'm surprised about that one," As he is about Valerity and Cameron's sacrifice as well, "Though I guess you don't really know someone until placed in this type of situation."
When Madison is given more information on her condition at her death, Conrad's gaze lingers on her, curious if it would make her feel better or worse about things. However, it is when Maata rises without a word that he quickly senses the other woman's worry? Panic? He's not sure. He calls out her name as he quickly rises too, but for the time being, all that he does is watch her as she departs, his own cigarette in hand.
"Blue. I remember Blue." Sort of. Madison never ran into Blue with all the crazy going on at Wyred itself, but she knew Blue before the island, in that distant and fuzzy way she remembers everything before the island. Leaning back again, hands folding together in her lap, she's calm and thoughtful for a long few moments. "So we absolutely died then. There was even a body left behind to confirm it. That actually makes me feel a lot better for some reason."
The Creepshow hops off the arm of the chair and puts herself in front of The Hunter, seeing that discomfort in her demeanor. "What was it like?" she asks the bigger, taller woman. "Blowing up? I had my throat slit." Here she makes the motion to accompany the words. "It stung. Then I got drowsy. There was something... intimate about it, about having a person draw a blade across my neck, feeling my existence slide away. So I'm curious, you know? What was it like?"
When Esme jumps in front of her, the Hunter freezes. It comes all at once. There's no stumble, or fall. She just balances on the balls of her feet and settles back, but her eyes are wide as she stares at the Latina woman in front of her now. There is a long silence as she listens, but in the end, Maata is not still. At her side, the hand holding those spare cigarettes curls into a fist. Tighter, tighter until she crushes them. Ruining them. But all the while, she does not answer. She seems, in fact, to be focusing on her breathing more than anything. The other way the woman here is different than she was on the island. She keeps her own council more.
A look of annoyance crosses the Capitalist's face when the Creepshow attempts, what he feels, is the badgering of the Hunter with her question. "She's distressed enough about it as it is." He calls out, quickly moving to catch up with the pair. This rising tension in the woman is easily seen with the crushing of the cigarettes and he immediately reaches out with both hands to place them on Maata's shoulders, his cigarette still lit and in one hand.
Then he, himself, answers the question, "It was less than pleasant from what I remember. Searing, burning. The tearing of flesh." All of his words come out sharply, "It felt like you were trapped in some inferno while shrapnel rips you to shreds. Is that what you want to hear?" He had experienced this twice, but barely remembers anything about it the second time.
The Penitent remains at her spot on the couch, watching the trio with a curious look, head inclining slightly. "It was very sudden. Panic, and fear. Then force and fire; it's hard to really think of in the moment what it really felt like. Everything hurt, and then suddenly it didn't. And I was relieved, because it was over. Not just the pain." She speaks in her same distant tone, almost analytical about her own death or rather, like she's speaking about another person's death. Even though she experienced it.
The smaller woman goes up on her bare tiptoes and bites her lower lip as she leans in close. "What was the last thing you were thinking of? Was it sex? For me it was sex. The body, as it dies, wanting to procreate. And with the intimacy of the blade, well..."
And then Conrad inserts himself into things and she steps back, smiling with mischief. "Want to know what you looked like? What we found? I'll tell you if you want, but only if you really want to know. I'd hate to make you uncomfortable."
There's also a lingering question in the air and one they probably don't want answered: is the Hunter like Maata in another way? Does she respond to enough agitation by taking it out on her target in physical violence? When the Capitalist puts his hand on her shoulders she deflates and leans back against him, closing her eyes. Her breath leaves her in a rush. He can probably feel how hard her heart is pounding.
She does, however, answer that last question: "I couldn't think at all." The Hunter's voice is faint, as if her throat has gone dry. "Nothing made sense."
"The only thought that went through my mind was to get everyone out of the trailer." The Capitalist says in a strained voice. "There was an impossibility to that with how many people were there, my thoughts were on Madison," Who they had all failed to protect, "And Maata." There was nothing sexual about this.
Feeling the Hunter's frame wilting to rest against him, he wraps his arms around to her hold her close. This weakness, this vulnerability that he now witnesses of Maata, who had always seen as someone strong, does concern him greatly.
Though at Esmee's question, perhaps one directed to him... there is this morbid curiosity that one might get in regards to how they died, how they looked and how they were handled after death... along with how people mourned them. All of this now plays in his mind, curious about everything and yet, in this moment, he expects whatever is told to them would be greatly upsetting and Maaa is already upset as it is. Still, that curiosity is evident in the way that he peers out at the strange girl.
"So if I honestly died, or Madison died at least, then who am I?" The Penitent is sort of just talking to herself at this point, only vaguely paying attention to what the other three have going on over there, though she's still looking in that direction. "I don't want to be Madison, which is good because Madison is dead, and I do not feel like a dead woman. The dead at least, should not still get hungry. And I still get hungry. And thirsty. And scared of fire, apparently." A pause, and she nods. "So Madison is dead -- there was a body and everything -- but I remember being her, then what does that mean?"
She glances up and then stares at the others, rising to her feet. "Hey, stop messing with him," she gestures to Creepshow here, indicating Conrad. "He's been through a lot, and really doesn't need to be bothered further."
The Hunter definitely sees it, and perhaps the others do, but that close it's hard to miss. Disappointment. No, more than disappointment. The Creepshow looks, for a very brief second, utterly crushed, when the bigger woman doesn't act with violence. Was she wanting her to hurt her? Was it all just to provoke a violent response? If so, why?
She recovers quickly enough, taking another step back and averting her gaze briefly. A nod. "I, uh... Yeah. Sorry if I upset you. That wasn't me." A sudden, brief laugh. "Or maybe it was. Who knows anymore, right?" She looks over at Penny, hesitant. "...I don't know. I'm not Esme, I know that much. It was... someone I skinned and wore like a suit. She's gone, now."
She turns to head for the dining room and dispensary. "I need rum."
Of all the things that the Hunter can process and handle, her death seems to be the one she least likes to reflect on. Especially the last few seconds of it. She leans into the Capitalist's arms and takes a few deep breaths. Her hand finally unfurls, releasing the broken cigarettes to the floor. She watches them go and gives a small, broken laugh. "At least," she says, "we aren't rationing anymore." Tilting her head back into his shoulder with a sigh, she asks: "Can I have a few more? I think I'm going to go lie down for a bit."
"If we are dead, and it sure is looking that way," The Capitalist mutters that last part, "Then we are obviously the souls, spirits, memories of the departed?" He doesn't even know, but this is what makes sense to him, as very little about their situation does. With Maata shifting in his arms, the muscles in her body relaxing, Conrad gives her his cigarette to peruse for now, figuring she'd need it to relax somewhat. But now with his hands freed, he reaches into his pocket and withdraws the pack he was carrying and this he hands over as well. He can get more from the dispenser later. "Sure. I think some rest might be good for all of us." I mean, Valerity is still somewhere leaning against the wall in her own distress. "I'll come and join you later.
"Oh, I'm sorry about Esme." The Penitent says sort of automatically, blinking a few times before peering after the Creepshow. "That's an awful way of describing it, but kind of ... appropriate. That is what it feels like." She nods slowly and then looks to the Capitalist. "She explained it better than I did. That's how I feel." She glances at the Hunter, nodding. "Yes. It's so much better here than having to ration things. I hope you feel better after lying down."
It takes a minute, but Creepshow returns with a big glass of some kind of cola, probably a mixed drink, given her rum comment, and a large bowl of authentic menudo. This time she takes the large, padded leather seat properly and sits in it, setting food and drink on the coffee table. "I wonder what it says about me that my first thought of hunger is that I want organ meat?" She takes a long sip of her drink before starting on the soup. She's thoughtful a moment, then offers, "I know where we are."
Accepting the cigarette from the Capitalist and the pack that follows, the Hunter leans up to press her lips to the corner of his mouth. "I'd like that," she says quietly. "I can even show you that my room is not some sex dungeon." There's a small attempt at a smile, even if her nerves do linger still at the corners of it; in her eyes and the way her lips tremble. She falls back on her heels, leaning against him briefly before she goes to pick her way around stacks of books and start down the hall towards her room.
"My room is totally a sex dungeon," says Creepshow.
The Capitalist knows that this whole idea of death has still gotten Maata all shaken up. It's not that he, himself, was eager to accept this fact, but from everything said, by just about everyone who arrived to this place, he, like the others, had died.
Returning towards the couches again, this time to finish off the rest of his scotch as he falls into one of the comfortable chairs, his eyes now turn to Esme, "So what is it that you think this place is? And why do you feel that way?"
"My room is soothing and feels safe," Penitent offers in response to the Creepshow, nodding. "But also feels kind of like a prison cell? But it also feels right.. Maybe that's why I'm not so worried about where we are. I feel like ... I belong here." She frowns at that slightly, considering it. Watching the Hunter leave for a moment in thought, she turns about and follows the Capitalist back to he couches, returning to her spot, still not touching the scotch her her own part.
Something Penny says gets a sudden look up from Creepshow, like she hit on something. "Well, look at what we know: We each have a room that's made for us. Everything we need is provided. From what you've said, nothing you do to the place changes it. At first I was going to say Hell, because that sounds about right. Every day, just like the last. But no, I think she's right. It's a prison. Maybe Hell IS a prison, but this is definitely a prison."
Even though there is untouched scotch still left in some of these glasses, The Capitalist still refills his own glass with the stuff straight out of the bottle. With that in hand, he settles back more comfortably against the couch. "A prison after death? Then why us? Why people from the island?" Bringing his glass to his lips now, he breathes in a much needed hit of liquor.
Then he falls quiet, reflecting on some of the conversation that was already brougtt up. For a moment, he simply stares off into space, though his eyes flicker in the Penitent's direction as if gauging her mood at the moment. Unlike Maata, Madison had been much calmer through the discussions that were brought up recently, including rather personal matters. It is then that he focuses his gaze on Esme and with the Hunter already having retreated into her room, he finally asks. "Okay, tell me." One might confuse this 'demand' with their most recent conversation regarding prison, but that look in his eyes, that odd directness in the way that he's looking at the Creepshow may tell her that what he's curious about is his own death, especially now that he has some liquor in him.
"Maybe I did burn down a village," the Penitent says glumly, leaning back, arms folding over her chest as her legs cross beneath her on couch. "And so I'm here in this kind of place. I don't know about Hell. Even if it's not fire and brimstone, why would we need to worry about food and drink and all that? Why would they provide a piano and books and games to help with the boredom that could come? Could just leave us bored. Why even give us each other's company?" She tilts her head slightly, peering at the Capitalist again after that. "Actually I can see how that could be extra distressing in its own way." She says, her expression rather blank all of a sudden as she stares at the man she kind of remembers as her brother.
"Just a theory," says Creepshow with a shrug between spoonfuls of soup. "I don't actually remember much of anything before the island. Strange, huh? I mean, I could tell you who I was. Where I grew up and went to school. Things like that. Even intimate things, but that's because I know them, not because I remember them. It's like... how you know long division, or that the sky is blue - you don't remember the first time you saw the sky or did some math. I know all the things that Esme did, but I don't remember doing them before the island. I really meant it when I said it was like I skinned her and wore her as a suit. Waking up in my room was like that suit coming off. But if this isn't Hell or a prison, here's a fun idea - what if we aren't people at all?"
"None of us have clear memories before the island." The Capitalist confirms this, his gaze now lifting to view the large parlor and all the mess that was made within. "I chalk that up to being here, to be honest. The weirdness in how we remember things before the island, when it used to be so clear." The last of which the Creepshow says just gets her an unamused look from the Capitalist. "We are dead people, if that makes you feel better. But as we're no longer alive, as I've said before, that means that we're spirits of sorts. Not that I had much belief in ghosts, personally."
Shifting on the spot on her couch, the Penitent just nods slowly in agreement to the talk of memories. "It's ... kind of like that, the mask coming off. I feel distant from Madison and yet ..." she glances to the Capitalist, tilting her head at him. "We have shared history from before the island, even if we don't actually remember it, we know some of the same things. But all this is why I've been more focused on who I am, rather than where ... and if we're not people, what else could we be? And why would you choose to be Esme, or I choose to be Madison? And if we didn't make the choice, who did, and why?" She shakes her head. "I don't feel like I'm a ghost. I mean, I don't know, obviously."
"Not saying I have the answer," Creepshow says with a shrug, soup finished, drink following soon after. "I don't think I ever was Esmeralda Cortez, outside of the island. And I wasn't, what was there before it? Who am I? That's the question I want to get answered." She gets up, stretches, and heads for her room.
That glass of scotch still in hand, the Capitalist's brow furrows at Esme's statement of not believing that she was Esmeralda Cortez off the island. "I have no other memory outside of what I do know and most of that comes from the island. Tilting his head back to savor the taste of scotch, he decides to add, "Perhaps even our memories are wrong. Like the way that we misremembered the professor. If that is even the case." Downing the remainder of his drink, he sets his now empty glass back on the tray and rises to stand himself as he fights to stifle a yawn. "For now, there's a lot of food for thought and once people start to calm down so that we can discuss things rationally, maybe we'll find out more." He then begins to make his way to the hallway as he continues to speak. "I still want to know what happened back on that island." His shoulders shrug, "I just need to know that people actually were able to escape with their lives... and to ensure that David Akala pays for his crimes so that we did not die in vain. For now, I'm off to bed." Not his own, obviously.
"I have been ready to accept that I'm no longer who I thought I was, but I never considered I might never have been her," the Penitent says quietly, leaning back and considering. "And if I was never Madison then was any of it actually real? What if ... what if David Akala is just like us? In a room somewhere just like this, wondering the exact same things." She shifts on the spot, staring across the way at nothing in particular. "I guess the only way we learn anything about the island is if other people die there. So I think you'd best consider no news good news, perhaps." She huffs a bit of a sigh, "That's sad to think about. Sleep well." The Pedagogue, The Avant-Garde, The Perfectionist, The Creepshow, The Hunter, The Capitalist, The Penitent