Another gray, drizzly day. It takes some back-tracking, but Ethan eventually finds the general area in the woods where he emerged after accidentally murdering Violet Mahoney with his thighs and running for his life. The opening itself is well-hidden, a hatch under the leaves and brush of the forest floor. If only they raked the forest regularly like Norway does.
Ethan started off feeling good today after getting a solid 5-6 hours of sleep and into some clean clothes and a sling for his broken hand. However, the morning went a bit sideways at breakfast after a few mouthfuls of pancakes and Lyle describing the eye drainage running down the back of his throat and making him nauseous. So yeah, he ran off to puke and he hasn't had a bite to eat since. But he's ready and willing when the boss asks if he can try and lead them back to the hatch he climbed out of to escape.
Drake is in jeans and a clean Quiet Riot tee with his workboots, and that sling around his neck reminding him not to move his busted hand too much. He walks down the hiking trail from the Lodge to lead folks, because he at the very least remembers where he hit the trail after walking through the woods. "It was just morning, and the sun was coming up over there," he gestures, "on my right shoulder while I walked out and hit here." He stamps his foot on the path and tips his chin towards the direction he thinks he came from.
He leads onward until he's fairly sure he's in the right area. "This all looks really familiar, and Roen, you know damn well I didn't go on any real hikes in the last three years. I ain't been here before except when I got out." Ethan smirks. "It will be a hatch in the ground. I cleared it when I left but it might be covered again by leaves.
Bastian, omnipresent shotgun on his shoulder, now armed with a compass as well as some paper and a pencil for drawing, follows Ethan's lead, noting the trail and general area they're in as they go, mentally mapping it against the distance from the staff cabins. Taking into account the other exit Roxie and her compatriots found, he has to wonder why there are so many additional ones. The Mahoneys hedging their bets?
"Alright. spread out, start looking for a hatch," he says. He glances at Ethan. "Was it by anything in particular? A specific kind of tree, some rocks, anything like that we should be looking for?"
"I was still bleeding at the time so you might look for that. I had it on my hands, and I probably leaned on trees and shit, so look for blood smears," Ethan suggests.
Flashlight in hand, some chocolate candy in his pocket, Michael has joined the group this time after taking a day to recover from the sawblade wound he took. He's in his varsity jacket as usual, jeans, and sneakers, the bandaging hidden for now under his oufit. When told to spread out to look for the hatch, the football player does so and heads out in one vector, eyes searching the mess of leaves and brush.
Christian used to be a morning person. Able to wake up just before dawn to go on a jog and so forth, but since these hauntings started occurring, sleep was hard to come by and this morning was no exception. At the very least, he's had his morning coffee as a 'pick me up' for the next few hours before he needs to refuel. Nevermind, the weather was still as dreary as it's been for... who knows how long already.
Dressed in a white long sleeved shirt, bluejeans and his running shoes, Christian's tossed on that denim jacket once more to 'protect' against the drizzle. For now, as is a habit that he has yet to break, he dons his sunglasses. It's morning, so it's not all that odd to see. As is the norm recently, his pockets are filled with candy, he's carrying a compact mirror of sorts and his firearm is tucked into the waistband of is jeans, hidden beneath his untucked shirt behind him.
When Ethan discusses the secret passage that he's found, Christian pipes up, "Yeah, very different from the one that we came out through yesterday. Found ourselves on top of the falls and had to climb our way down from there -- less trek back into... monster filled tunnels again." With that said, he takes note of their surroundings, though the forest looks the same no matter how deep you wander into it and moreso the deeper you go.
As Justin Tanner is a late sleeper, he is absent from today's excursion.
Laine has her walkie with staff access due to medical access and hailing purposes, so naturally, at some point, she may well have gathered exactly what's about to be done and Christian no doubt picked up on it with his own motivations. She's actually had some sleep again and something about directing the funeral and being so strong in front of others seems to have acted as a kick in the ass rally cry for her, to boot, aside from wanting to escort for medical care and, you know, that need to stay in Christian's little bubble when things are dangerous.
Granted, though she may be taking a time out from being so damn Laine and not hanging back to check and tend to the state of the other coeds and brothers after being gone so long in tunnel diversions before, she does take a time to fuss and rebandage and clean Michael's arm if he'll let her before they head out.
Troy's along too and he looks kind of agitated about it, at least until he sees Mikey along as a familiar trusted face, this time. He kind of hangs over by him while keeping obsessive eye on her here and there.
She's dressed for efficiency, packed with her little kit, etc, as always and in a focused quiet state.
Max stays close to Bastian, her new state of normal when out on things like this. She kicks at various things with her combat boots, looking for a trap door or hatch. Hey, it's an excuse to kick things!
Candice was on board falling in line behind her co-workers. That Louisville slugger still propped up on her shoulder with some gourches in it. Reeboks, jeans, sensible clothes. "Woooow, Drake, remind us never to let you go anywhere alone. Ever. Again. And even then not without a map stapled to your shirt and a return address label."
Misty had planned on a simple walk with Danny. Breathing fresh air, getting the blood flowing, keeping herself awake and alert. Instead, they wound up joining the trek out into the woods to help search for a hatch. Well, it's still accomplishing what she'd originally hoped for, one supposes. It's just not as.. leisurely? Peaceful? Or private.
Mack probably wasn't the best choice of recruits, for this. Easily distracted, right now he's staring up a tree with narrowed eyes. Chances are good that there's no hatch up there. "Hey. Do squirrels crap on you from above like birds?" he queries of no one in particular.
For now, Michael's flash light is turned off since they are outside and as he slowly walks through his area, he does use his feet to sweep off piles of leaves that may be obscuring what's underneath. From time to time, he would look up and around, checking either his surroundings or the others to see how they are doing.
Colorado is leading from behind on this one, coming along with Candice and co-workers because he said he would, and he has regrets. So many regrets. And Molotovs. Those too. Look for blood? Great, he'll just look around until he passes out.
Danny volunteers to come with the rest of the group, because if Misty's in, so is he. He's got a crowbar and a bag with all his anti-ghost stuff (candy, his sliced up coke mirror, etc.). Tommy comes huffing up the trail with his nine iron. "You shouldn't be out here, Sport," he says.
"Tommy, I've got a full night's sleep, and I'm kinda almost sober. I should be helping the same as anyone else, so just keep up or go back."
While everyone is looking around, there's a sudden, loud crack that rings out, followed by Max flinching sharply and a ricochet sound off of a tree near her. She's holding her left shoulder, blood leaking from between her fingers, and crouches a bit. "Fuck!"
At that telltale PTING of a ricochet, Ethan dives to the ground. "GUN!" he shouts, scrabbling in the detritus of the forest floor for somewhere that can provide cover.
"Down! Down, take cover," Bastian shouts, and wishes he'd brought his rifle. He reaches out to grab max and yank her down with him behind a nearby tree.
When the sound of gunshot rings out, at first Michael thought it was one of their own firing off a shot after seeing one of the ghosts. But hearing the response from the group and Max also suddenly wounded, the football plalyer quickly lowers his posture, the search of the hatch completely forgotten now. Eyes quickly try to look in the direction of where the gunfire may have rang out from.
Colorado flinches, yelps, and shoves Candice behind a tree. He crams himself over her, looking over his shoulder, blue eyes wide and wild. "Stay down!"
The shot fired makes Christian flinch more than anything. It's a good thing that his first instinct is to duck behind cover just to get out of the way of whatever just fired off that shot. As he drops down low, an arm presses down on Laine's as a way to get her down, and he hopes, to safety. "Move quick." He murmurs out to her, not wanting to draw attention their way, as he drags her to the nearest tree." He doesn't know where the sound originated from, but takes to leaning his back against a tree, in the hopes that it gives him some cover and time to look. Already, he reaches for his own weapon, a hand going behind him.
Laine doesn't really catch on til people start giving orders of command and dropping, she's in the middle of doing a headcount. Troy naturally starts to move her way to try and body tackle her down, no doubt, maybe to keep her from running to whoever might be hit in the middle of uncertainty. But she's right near Christian and his command and action trumps how that all happens in the moment of response. Instead, he makes a noise of agitation and drops to cover behind the nearest tree as she's led to another.
Even though Laine is compliant and ready to move with the push and drag of his arm, she moves in quick crouch of reflex, murmuring helplessly to him, "Did that hit anyone?" Even though she's asking, though, she doesn't stick her head out to look while bossed into cover.
Misty's the girl. She's supposed to be the one protected and sheltered from harm, right? Hell, Danny even promised to be the protector, should it come to that. And yet, when that shot rings out and Max's pained yelp reaches her ears, the blonde unthinkingly flips the roles; a hand shoots out, grasps Danny's collar, and yanks him down toward the ground as she herself drops into a crouch. Her other hand? That's reaching for the Glock 30 tucked into the back of her acid-washed jeans. Mack flat out hits the deck, covering his head with his hands. Maybe he's still worried about squirrel poo. Not like those hands are gonna shield him from an actual bullet.
Candice is squashed flat with a bat against the tree. Arms pulled in and hoping whoever this is is a shit shot. "Oh God, rude!" She squint her eyes shut for a second before realizing yeah, that's super not helpful here. "Not you," She swallows so hopefully her heart will stay in her chest and not her throat.
Max gets dragged by Bastian, offering no complaint or resistance. It seems like she was barely grazed and not terribly injured.
It's hard to say where the shot came from, which in turn makes it hard to know where to hide. It's largely a guessing game where everyone gets behind something and hopes they're actually behind it in relation to the shooter.
SCENE: Max has reset everyone's Survival Points.
SCENE Max has modified Bastian's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
SCENE Max has modified Max's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
SCENE Max has modified Colorado's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
Danny hits the ground hard, and he says, "I'm supposed to be looking after you-- have a gun, holy crap." He pushes himself up a bit so he can put himself bodily between Misty and the source of the gunshot. He's a lover, not a fighter, but he's also a meat shield. It's just that he's not sure where the gunshot came from, so he's kind of winging it here.
Tommy hits the ground fast for a big guy, and he points in the direction of the gunshot. "Get down!" he says, completely unnecessarily.
SCENE Max has modified Lucas's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
SCENE Max has modified Misty's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
SCENE Max has modified Laine's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
SCENE Max has modified Ethan's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
[SPEND] Danny has spent 1 GP for reason: Extra die.
SCENE Max has modified Danny's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 2.
[SPEND] Laine has spent 1 GP for reason: Damnit troy
Another shot is taken, this one at Troy as he goes down. Michael's attempt to draw fire is a good idea, as is Bastian's, but Troy was just too juicy a target. Colorado may have seen a brief bit of muzzle-flash.
If the shooting had happened before this vacation from hell took place, Michael may have tried to huddle in safety with the others until the authorities came to take care of the shooter, but seeing that a lot of his friends and others he had met may be in danger, he's on the move. The college athlete rises from his crouched position and suddenly goes into a sprint, running since his life does depend on it. For a man his size, he is surprisingly quick.
Ethan scrambles over to a tree for cover and sets his back against it, hoping he's facing the right way to not get shot. Lyle will kill him if he comes back with another hole in him. His heart is pounding like a snare drum. It has to be Dini or his wife. They're the only two living bad guys left on the island who can shoot guns.
Bastian sends a small rock flying away from the group in a sharp, shallow arc, but it's to no avail--Troy is moving as well, and a known quanity is better than random motion or the blur that is Michael. "Shit," he hisses under his breath. "Did anyone see it."
Colorado hisses, "Saw the sumbitch! Boss!" He jerks his head towards where he saw the flash. Panting madly, he does not let Candi up. Then--oh, Jesus, that Troy guy is down. Colorado groans.
With chaos going on all around him, Christian remains where he's hidden initially, his back once more against the tree, though he has his firearm in hand this time. From his vantage point, if one can call it that, he watches as others move to and fro from hiding spot to hiding spot, trying to get a better sense of where the shots may be coming from just by the directions in which everyone was scrambling. That said... it's still difficult to tell! What he does see is a figure go down in the distance and even from where he's hidden himself, he can tell that it's Troy. He immediately turns to look to Laine, wary about what the young nursing student might be planning to do.
Candice tries to see around abs, er, Colorado. Under different circumstances might not even mind, but being a sensible woman being shot at is a total turnoff. She tries to peer around the cowboy but he's got her pinned in. Hey, at least the view is damn good. "There's a thud, oh heck, someone get hit?" She can't dang well see.
Misty got a strong enough sense of the general direction the shots were coming from that she's fairly certain she's covered. She's also reasonably sure that Danny is not. So, biting back a groan of frustration, she sacrifices a chance to hone in on the shooters a bit more in order to ensure her ex's safety.
Mack, meanwhile, is idiot enough to assume he's good, since he hasn't got any bullet holes in him yet. So he stays right where he is, face down in the dirt, a pine needle tickling his left nostril like crazy, his hands shielding his head from squirrel dooky.
Danny tells Misty, "Don't you worry about me, sweetheart. Just stay safe." The pet name rolls off his lips without him thinking about it. He does manage to hide, though. As does Tommy. He wore the green and brown flannel today. It's helping keep him hidden.
Troy was really just trying to do the good bro thing to cover his teammate and Laine at the same time. Now he remembers why he's such a fucking dick. Because blood and pain seizes him from a shot when he changes trees to keep her hiding in sight, as well as Michael's dash to draw. Honestly, he does make a pretty big and beefy, maybe satisfying target. But he's made to take punishment too. Not that he's happy about it. Once he crawls into psuedo-cover of the other tree, he backs with settled turn into it, gripping at his bloody upper thigh. Mostly he's just trying to keep his shit together now to not break into furious noise of pain, which is nice and all, but he's probably not real good at hiding.
Eventually, Troy grits teeth to focus on where Laine is again and realizes he's not dying at the moment. Laine luckily is pretty worried about Christian and misses the actual hit, partially blocked with view by them taking cover. But eventually while looking around to try and sense the source, she sees him struggling and pained and confused as to how badly he's hit and her eyes widen, crouched posture frozen.
Max stays tucked behind the tree Bastian pulled her behind. She checks her shoulder, seeing it's barely more than a cut. She only looks briefly, then reapplies pressure to it.
[SPEND] Michael has spent 1 GP for reason: Extra die.
SCENE Max has modified Ethan's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 3.
SCENE Max has modified Lucas's SP by 1 bring them to a total of 3.
There's another shot, this one at the easy target that is Mack, laying in the grass. It goes straight through his left calf.
"YOU KILLED HER!" yells a woman's voice. "YOU KILLED MY GIRL!"
Ethan takes in a deep breath, as if he'll be swimming his way around instead of dashing, and then he skitters out from behind his tree to skid over to Bastian and Max's position, huddling down with them for safety in numbers. He pales as he hears the woman's voice. OH SHIT. Violet's mama. He looks at Bastian with panicked eyes, feeling the world close in on him, that horrendous snapping sound from the twist of Violet Mahoney's neck ringing in his ears.
Max peers out around the tree, watching, then tugs at Bastian's pants and points. "Up there!" She's pointing up in a tree about fifty yards away.
Danny keeps hidden, as does Tommy. Danny glances toward Misty, moving only his eyes, and he asks in a low tone, "You know how to shoot that thing, sugar?" He keeps an eye on her, ready to spring into meat-shieldness should he need to.
After sprinting moments earlier, Michael slows down and now chooses to use the trees for cover. As he attempts to get closer to where Colorado pointed out, the football player almost takes a bullet for his troubles as a round slams into the tree he had just vacated, inches from where he was standing. Hearing the voice of Violet's mother shouting out, Michael has a better idea of where she is, though still too far for him to throw anything at her. His actions doesn't change from before, already set on this course, so he continues to try to move from tree to tree as best he can.
Ah, an important piece of information. This isn't a ghost. To Ethan, Bastian says, "Stay. Down. Do not get up," in a low, steady voice. He tracks where Max points, looks at Christian and then Misty. He points, careful to keep his hand behind the tree as he does so. "Need covering fire so I can get near her."
Colorado sinks down the tree. The back of his neck is convinced a bullet is about to visit. "Candi, you stay here," he says in a throat-closed, terrified rasp.
"Known how to shoot for about as long as you've known how to fuh.." Misty trails off briefly, and course-corrects, "Walk." Her gaze breaks from scanning for the shooter long enough to glance toward Danny, and unfortunately, that's long enough for her to miss the muzzle flash. Again.
Mack lets out a yowl as lead rips through muscle and sinew and.. all that other junk in there. Biology is for nerds, and freaks who like dissecting frogs. In spite of the pain, he tries to scramble around behind a tree. The hurt leg slows him down, obviously. It's dragging like a limp... fish.
Finding refuge behind a tree that could possibly be closer to the action now, Christian can feel his heart pulsating like mad within his chest as he settles himself down, deeply behind his new hiding spot. The anger heard in the stranger's cries do not go unnoticed, but there's very little that he can right now besides keep himself hidden. Nevermind that Max points the shooter out to the group. If Christian's not sure whether he's in her crossfire or not, he's not about to go poking his head out of his hidey hole until he is certain. He's relieved that Laine has followed him and he gives her a brief once over to determine that she's not hurt. He also murmurs, "Shhhh... I need her attention drawn away before I can even think about taking a shot."
Troy is so damn hasty to go after Laine in desperation when she's pulled into new, perhaps more informative and fortuitous cover by Christian, he forgets he's bleeding at the leg and doesn't take a moment to compensate balance or prepare for the flash of pain. He just kind of flops forward onto his face and breaks into a string of profanities into some leaves with a frustrated punch at the ground before shoving himself back where he was to try and assess where she went so he can aim to try and get close again at some point here soon.
Laine is in operating nurse mode, which keeps her pretty calm, considering Troy just took a hit. Once she's tugged to new cover by Christian given the berth of trees around here, she ducks in crouch right nearby and minimizes her visible line of sight after assessing him... and his words. Her teeth set hard on edge, though. She knows that means he's about to have to stick his neck out if he's taking a shot, so that refocuses her after a few surveying, pounding heartbeats.
Candice has her back to the tree and that angry look on her face. One might even wonder if Colorado keeping her under cover is the reason she's not marching over there with her bat like some sort of surreal PTA meeting. "Lady, we really need to have a serious talk about your parenting skills!"
"You want back in the tunnels?!" yells the woman. "I'LL SEND YOU THERE!"
A ring of charges go off around the group, and those who were moving towards the shooter are caught out in it, while those in the middle that stayed back feel the ground go out from under them.
Michael, Christian, Laine and Troy are suddenly engulfed in flame. Fire is everywhere, and the blast throws them up like ragdolls before they crash back to the ground. They can barely see, and cannot hear in the immediate aftermath of the blast. Laine is nowhere to be seen.
The others feel the ground suddenly fall out from under them, and then everything is dust and darkness. Earth and branches fall around them, on them, and they can see almost nothing.
Part of Ethan feels like he deserves it when he hears the explosives go off. This is it, he things, as there is that white hot flash of flame and smoke and then the ground beneath him crumbles and gives way. Shit. Shit. Shit. Lyle is going to be so pissed off. That's his next thought. Then he's falling down into the blackness with so many other bodies, like someone made a wrong move in a game of Jenga (released by Milton Bradley in 87). Everything goes black.
When the first charge goes off Bastian feels the hair stand on the back of his neck. He could do without his job reliving horrible shit from twenty years ago. he doesn't think, just grabs Ethan and Max on instinct, preparing to be thrown. The drop is, then, a surprise, and the world turns on its head as his vertigo hits full force. Not throwing up takes an effort of will.
One second the woman was calling out more threats about sending them down into the tunnels, or to hell, and then suddenly it seems like the latter came true. Luckily for Michael, he was not standing on top of an explosive when they detonated but the concussive force of one nearby does toss him up on the air. Stunned and disoriented, there is only a dull ringing in his ears as the college athlete finds himself face down in dirt. Slowly, he tries to push himself back up, shaking his head as he does so.
Laine told Christian once before falling straight into his arms that she doesn't fall, she flies. And maybe she didn't that day, but she didn't really have to, he was right there waiting for her to save her. This time he can't. No one can. And this time she flies. She's knocked out cold on a tree trunk, and as she's deafened and flung, in those moments of silent airspace before her conscious goes to leave limp body on the ground unseen by the others, who knows how many feet away, it really does feel like flying. She's ready for the darkness that hits her a split second after this time. She knows flying means falling too. And maybe it's not so bad afterall
Troy is thrown from fire and rolls out of it like a cockroach, batting at his clothing and breathing. He's still too deaf and disoriented to do much else other than make sure he's in working pieces. But eventually he starts to look around and doesn't see... oh fuck.
One second Max is pointing up at a tree. The next, she's falling.
So much dust, she's choking on it, blinded by it. They're is a cavern, but how much of it was there before and how much just got made isn't clear. All she knows is she's still alive.
Hunkered down behind this tree for what Christian had hoped was a safe location for spotting turned out to not be the case. He's ready to dig his heels in, keep himself hidden in place if just to listen further to where the shouting is coming from, even if he already knew the general location of who he'll only assume is Mrs. Dini, he wasn't going to attempt to take the shot. Not yet. Breathing in a few deep, calming breaths, his gaze turns to Laine once more, finding some sort of confidence in her presence alone.
That's why when the area is detonated and erupting with fire all around them, he's taken completely by surprise. He's not even sure he heard the blast go off before he felt it, the very force throwing him who knows how far high or in what direction. It's not something that he's paying attention to right now either, feeling that wind being completely knocked out of him, the heat from the explosion uncomfortable -- or would be. When he lands hard, he's shaken, rattled and completely disoriented. His ears were ringing, his body ached and all he can do is crawl forward with what strength he can muster.
The fall feels like it happens in slow motion. There's confusion at first, as Misty feels the ground shudder, then give way beneath them. Instinctively, hands go out toward Danny -- perhaps in some panicked corner of her mind, she thinks he'll be able to save her. But he's going down, too. Into the black, where there's the jarring impact with the cavern floor, then the choking cloud of dust and the rain of debris.
Mack lets loose another yowl of terror as the earth disappears beneath him, and he crashes through the newly-made hole along with most everybody else. He winds up with limbs tangled with someone else -- not sure who -- and a bonk on the noggin from a thick root he hit on the way down. "Not.." Cough, "My best.. day ever.."
The ground rumbles, heaves, and then starts to disintegrate and collapse under them. "'Rado!" The look of realization and recognition come to Candice's face immediately as the tree she and Colorado are hiding behind starts to press forward leaning down on her. Muddy once-white Reeboks scramble for purchase and find none. It's a moment, only the fraction of one moment that her expression looks up at him afraid, and with tears that might speak apology. There's no time to say anything so she does all she can: push Colorado away from herself as hard as she can and pray to God he clears the tree.
In the end there is fire and dust. In a way it might be true of all things, even good things. She's not found at first from the size of the maple until there's a hand connecting to an arm, and the body of Candice Flick crushed as if by some giant rolling pin. Her blue eyes dull, staring wide in the same expression with the dust muddying up her face where her tears dry.
Danny feels the ground tremble, and he reaches for Misty as her hands go out to him. Then the world turns upside down for him. He's falling, and he almost has hold of Misty's hand before a barrage of rocks and dirt tear him from her. He's hit in the head by a shredded piece of tree root, and it knocks him senseless.
Tommy cries out in surprise as he falls. In the commotion, his nine iron snaps in half. He's still clutching the handle, but it's the other half that gets him. Wedged between two stones, it juts upward and goes right through flesh and sternum right through his heart. He lies facedown, bleeding as dirt clods bounce off of him.
The push takes Colorado completely by surprise, and he flails trying to grab something, trying to grab Candice, trying to anything as he plummets. "CANDI--"
He fully expects to be dead when he hits. Yet, he's not, and he's clambering to his feet yelling for Miss Flick. "Candi! Candi, honey where are you!?"
Then he sees the arm, through the dust and the debris. "No," he moans, and he's the first to her, only to see...there is nothing that can be done. "No, no, Jesus, NO!" Colorado grips her hand and presses his lips to it, tears making clean tracks down his face.
Bastian manages to keep hold of Ethan, and Drake lands hard but alive. Then a tree branch slams down and conks the kid on the head. He's unconscious, but alive.
Finally getting onto his knees, Michael is still trying to gather his bearings as his eyes slowly look at the unrecognizable surroundings. A large part of the group is now gone, disappearing down into the newly made pit. He does finally catch sight of Todd and Christian, calling out in a voice that sounds very distant a dull, his hearing still impaired, "Hey! You guys! You all right?" Then the sense of urgency and worry returns as Michael immediately looks in the direction of where the woman was shouting from.
There's too much smoke and dust to see if the woman is still up there. That means she probably can't see them, either.
It takes Bastian a second to get up, and even then, he has to support himself on a shattered section of aspen trunk. He wipes off his face, glances around them to take stock. He checks Max and Ethan. Ethan's not responding but he's breathing and has a pulse. So does Max. He hears and sees Colorado. Shit...Candice. And then Michael, through the ringing in his ears and the bad memories that are crowding from literally every direction.
He can't bring himself to reply with 'we have wounded' or 'we have casualities' or any of what's expected. "Some of us aren't," he says, failing to reassure. He looks around them, trying to assess if they can climb out on anything, or if there's now access to the tunnel Ethan used.
Laine lies vulnerably in foliage unmoving and peaceful, utterly limp with a leaking gash where she took tree trunk to temple at hard impact, unable to rouse to check-in from whatever good distance and angle she was thrown to. There's no more weight on her shoulders. No stress of worrying over everyone else. In fact, it'd be a little darling looking if she wasn't covered with residual from the blast and leaking blood, because heads bleed a lot, even when a wound isn't deadly, once they're in a way to bleed. She's blissfully ignorant to the check in calls starting to echo at distance.
Troy is smart enough, at least, not to start panic yelling, for one, because he's still kind of deaf and dazed himself. But Michael's call out makes him check his bloody leg and singed arm over with refocus, starting to look through the smoke. And for once, he doesn't sound like a dick and he's brief, without expletive. He's scared.
"I lost her, Mike."
Still a bit dazed, Misty groans as the mere act of pushing herself up into a sitting position makes her head swim. Her hands rise to clear as much dust from her eyes as possible, and she coughs up even more, twisting her head to the side to spit muddy saliva onto the cavern floor beside her. She tests her legs, bending each and stretching them back out again, relieved that nothing's broken. She'll be bruised all to hell, scraped up, but not broken. "Fuuuck," she exhales, more to herself than anyone else. "Danny?" she calls out quietly. And, "Max?"
Having no idea where he's headed, that immediate adrenaline rush raplidly depleting as the pain from the blast finally catches up to him in full, Christian stops mid-crawl, letting out a pained cough as his chest ached. He even lays his head down to rest, eyes closed, not that he could see anything anyway. What he's trying to do is gather his thoughts, his bearings and his strength so that he can figure out what the hell to do from here now.
He remembers something about a woman, that much is clear to him. She was shooting at them before all of this... It was slowly coming back to him now. He was in the forest. They were looking for that hidden passageway before Dini's wife began firing off rounds at them, trying to take them out. Then this. It was all coming back into focus.
He hears someone's voice shouting, possibly to him, or in general. It's Michael's, but he doesn't know it. And only then does he finally lift his head from off the ground, slowly trying to draw himself up.
"God dammit Troy, find her!" Michael shouts back at Troy's direction though he quickly looks back in the direction of where that crazy lady was, the smoke and haze obscuring any sight of her for now. The threat is still out there and everyone, in their current stunned state could be easy pickings if she closes on them. So the football player decides to take the initiative instead and in a crouch, begins moving swiftly in the direction of the tree where he last saw the woman.
Hands grab Laine's feet, dragging the unconscious woman away from the carnage. No one sees it happen.
Colorado is the easiest of easy pickings right now, on his knees next to Candice's body. He looks up and around, crying, "Help!" although he knows she can't be helped. He knows. It's only that oldest human instinct to beg for someone to make it right. "Someone please, help her!"
"I'm alive," Max hisses, struggling to her feet amidst choking coughs. She landed on her back, and it's all kinds of pissed off. She looks up and sees there's no way they're getting back up to the surface, where there may be a crazy woman with a sniper rifle waiting anyway.
There's a tunnel not too far away, maybe even the one they were originally looking for. "That way."
"... I fucking lost her, Mike. I fucking lost her." Troy starts to comb with desperation, repeating that, probably not super at a level to be heard the way he's fanning out to start searching, the threat from the trees forgotten. And he looks and looks until he comes into Christian there getting up and catching his breath. And seeing there's no Laine there nearby the man, he leans to help him up. Because two sets of eyes are better than one, "... she deserves better than both of us, you know that, don't you?" He sounds grim. Defeated. Like that's the thing to hang onto to keep her alive. She wasn't made to survive a blast like those men were.
Bastian follows where Max indicates, nods. He moves to Colorado. "Let's get her out from under this." He grabs a hefty segment of branch to leverage the debris off Candice so Colorado can pull her out. No question as to whether or not she's alive--they can't leave her body either way, and anyways, Colorado doesn't need to hear that right now.
Danny lies still, half-buried in dirt. He doesn't respond for awhile, though if one watches him long enough, his chest rises and falls. It's Colorado's cries for help that cause him to stir. "Misty," he murmurs, and he sits up, groaning. "Misty?" Then he sees her, and he wraps his arms around her, hugging her tightly. "Thank God you're all right."
It takes him a moment to spy Tommy, lying face down with blood seeping into the earth. "Tommy?" He stares, then he says, "Misty, there's something wrong with Tommy."
Realizing in full now that the woman was still out there, Christian freezes in his movement, just as he feels a pair of hands on him to help him up. Not that he expects the person handling him not to be Mrs. Dini, but the idea of playing dead comes to mind. Especially, if an active gunman was still in the location, so if anything, Troy might feel some resistance in his rendering of aid. No response is given to Mackenzie's comment. He doesn't believe it to be true, himself, but he is not in a place to argue. Instead, the fact that Laine was missing does come to mind and only then does he actually allow the other to get him standing upright. "Yeah?" He says in a foggy daze, his own eyes now looking the area over through narrowed eyes, "She was right..." He's trying to remember, picturing her in his mind when he'd last seen her.
For now Michael ignores Troy, his words aren't helpful, instead focusing on his own search, either for that lady in the tree or possibly Laine if the explosion carried her in his direction. He still stays in his crouched state as he moves, trying to keep his profile smaller in case the woman gets the jump on him.
Colorado pulls Candice's too-still body out from under the debris, cradling her to him. "I got her, boss, I got her. Candi, it's gonna be okay, baby, you hang in there." He hoists her in his arms.
"Anyone that's not moving, pick them up," Bastian says. "We can't leave anyone. Drag them if you have to." He grips Colorado's shoulder a moment, moves to get Ethan. "Get moving," he says, hauling Ethan into a fireman carry. Ugh, Ethan, why aren't you small and light. Or awake. Awake would work. He shouts up to Michael and company, "Stay under cover!"
"I dunno. Maybe you just look like a rich douche and you're exactly it." Troy tells Christian dully without nasty barb, like it's some kind of motivation for the man to finish getting it together and to start looking, though it's not a total peptalk. And it's not even because he's salty at the moment. It's because he thinks she's dead and one of them is going to find her that way. It's all over his bruised up and sooted features.
His hand takes a moment with tight grip under the other man's arm once he's standing to make sure he's steady and ready to move, because it's that team reflex he's working with now, his mind somewhere else. He starts to look around the immediate area again, in case he missed around one of the trees where they were. Then he starts to comb out with search, driven as a dog.
Misty lays her forehead on Danny's shoulder, relief sweeping through her at positive responses from both he and Max. It's short-lived, though, at what he says next. Turning her head, she peers in the direction Danny's looking, and winces as she spots Tommy. She's seen enough death in her lifetime, albeit usually of the animal variety, to recognize it in human form. "Danny," she murmurs, her voice already taking on a soothing tone. "There isn't anything we can do for him. But he'd want you to get out of here, so let's work on that, okay?" She hugs him hard, then starts clambering to her feet. The glint of metal half-buried under dirt catches her eye, and she digs out her Glock, tucking it away for now.
Mack, meanwhile, is having some difficulty getting up off the floor, what with the hole in his leg. Hissing, he grasps at jutting rocks or roots sticking out of the wall, trying to use them to aid in the effort.
As the smoke clears above, there's no sign of the woman in the tree, nor of Laine. It's impossible to say in all the debris, fire and chaos that neither are there at all, but at the very least they aren't readily apparent.
Max does what she can to help Bastian with Ethan, but spots Danny and Tommy and freezes. "Fuck," she mutters. "Fat Frodo." Bastian can handle Ethan. She's moving to help Danny and Misty.
"Sssh," says a woman's voice as an unconscious Laine is dragged away. "You're going to be just fine, Violet. Mommy will take care of you."
As the haze begins to clear further, Michael's features turn into a deep frown as that woman is gone and any traces of her, as he slowly looks around the devastated surroundings, he does not find any bodies up top either and that includes Laine. Slowly, he backtracks towards where Troy and Christian are, "I couldn't find her, the woman with the gun. Where's Laine, she was next to you two right? Did she get blown into the tunnel?" The college athlete looks towards the newly exploded pit, careful not to get close where he would fall in as well.
Danny goes pale. "Fuck," he whispers. Then he pushes himself to his feet. "We can't let them get him," he says. "We can't let them use him in their stupid ritual. If we can't bring him back, we need to burn him here." He approaches Tommy. "Oh, man." He kneels beside him and turns him over, just in case it's all just a horrible misunderstanding.
It isn't, though. The nine iron juts out of Tommy's chest, and his head lolls. Danny lets go of him and staggers back, his hand clamped over his mouth. The it lowers so he can say, "We have to burn him."
It takes a while for Christian to feel steady on his feet and unlike Troy's odd sense of camaraderie, he's feeling none of that. Instead, once he's able to actually move, with as much pain as it does to do so, he staggers forward, lifting a hand to the side of his head as he can feel the throbbing there. "...fuck." He murmurs. That thought echoes, but is never repeated on hearing that the shooter is still at large. "She was right here." He seethes in quiet, no need to alert the woman with all this shouting. And it's not as if Christian knows exactly where that tree is, the one he'd been hidden behind. That was gone too. Moving slowly through the brush, he has no idea where anything is, as the place was blown straight to hell, though when Michael's eyes look towards the pit, his shoots in that direction as well. The dizziness beginning to fade. "Do you think she's down there?"
"We will," Bastian assures Danny. "Back at the Lodge." He pauses, takes a steadying breath. Wills Ethan to wake up. Nope, still out. "Let's go. We can't get caught in this tunnel by something. Not like this." At least, he can't; half out of his mind and desparately trying to stay focused.
"Danny's right," Max agrees as she approaches. "We either need to fuckin' carry him back, or burn him here. Anyone bring a Molotov?" She frowns, muttering under her breath. "The entire fuckin' island's gonna get a contact high when we do. I think Bilbo Dime-Baggins would like that, though."
Troy lets the others worry about checking the immediacy of the pit. He watches MacGuyver, he's made it known. He can look for like... clues or some shit. Mostly, though, he's started eyeing the trees, as if afraid Laine is up and impaled on a branch, looking for signs of blood dripping to the ground in alternate. Or just some leaving of where she might have blown. That bag she carries. Something. Of course, it's Troy, so mostly he's just bullcharging the area.
Danny sniffles hard, and tears cause his eyes to glitter. He nods to Bastian, then wipes his tears away with an agitated swipe of his arm. His voice is raw with grief as he's compelled to admit to Max, "That was a pretty good one." He approaches Tommy's body again and says, "Can someone help me?" There's no way he'll be able to lift Tommy all by himself.
Hearing Christian's question, Michael looks doubtful as he glances down at the pit where the others are apparently also recovering from the blast, or for them, the drop to the tunnels below. When Troy starts moving, the Oregon Duck's left tackle calls out to his teammate, "Don't wander far Troy, she may still be out there!" Then he looks back towards the pit and shouts down, "Is Laine with you guys? We can't find her up here!"
Having absolutely no idea what is going down there in that pit or who all are dead, Christian catches tidbits of things said, before he creeps forward and crouches down somewhere near the large opening, "Is Laine down there?" It's a near whisper, but Michael asks the same question in a much louder voice. Just crouching hurt! With his vision finally clearing for the better, the pain in his head remains.
"If we're carrying people back, let's get at it," Misty suggests, glancing around. She notices Mack having trouble rising, so she lends a hand before returning to Danny's side. "It'll be okay, corazon," she offers in sympathy, squeezing his shoulder. After a quick scan around at those gathered -- both breathing and otherwise -- she tips her head up toward the hole and calls out, "Don't see her!"
"Not that I can fuckin' see?" Max yells back up. She helps Danny with Tommy's body, runty though she is. Between the two of them they'll get him back.
Troy finally starts to wander back toward Christian and Michael where they're crouched by the pit, just in time to hear the negative answer of confirmation from below. After pausing, he shakes his head, "I don't like... see her nursing bag or anything. I thought maybe it'd be hanging from a tree if..." His jaw twitches.
"God dammit!" Michael curses again when the answer from below is that she wasn't there with the others. He then looks to Troy who finished a quick survey of the area and shakes his head, a hand coming up to rub his temples as he shuts his eyes for the moment. "We gotta find her, she's gotta be in the area somewhere. Maybe the nursing bag and her fell into a bush, probably knocked out so she can't hear or answer us."
Amid all the yelling and the grim discoveries, Colorado carries the body of the lover he knew for too brief a time. "Boss, we gotta get 'em out of here," he says to Bastian, struggling to force his voice to work. "Lead us out."
The responses have been a unanimous 'no' and yet Christian almost calls back for them to 'check again!'. There's frustration in his posture, the way his body is tensed, especially when he slowly brings himself to stand tall. He lingers there a while longer, looking back towards that pit, but as he's forced to take their word for it, he eventually turns away, his eyes on the forest with its broken and charred trees. For whatever reason, before he makes his move out to join the others who share his level, he asks, "Did you.... did you need any help getting out of there?" There's very little that he can do from here, aside reach a hand down for them to take.
"If one of you has a working radio, call back to the Lodge," Bastian calls up to Christian. He negotiates getting his flashlight out--no mean feat with Ethan draped over him--clicks it on. Hopefully he doesn't drop it. (Or Ethan.) "Come on," he says over his shoulder to the others down in the hole, starts forward.
Too bad Laine had the radio, huh.
Troy steels himself for a moment, as if Michael's moment of cursing frustration is going to domino effect him. Turning instead, he starts to stubbornly bulldog around to look some more. But he does take a moment once he's behind a tree trunk to kick the shit out of it and bloody his knuckles in private. It's all he knows how to do when he feels too much. And Laine wouldn't want it to be a person.
"'Less you got a rope, best you can do is call back, and try to find the hatch to meet us," Misty calls up, moving over to provide a shoulder for Mack to lean on and limp along as the group starts toward the tunnel Max pointed out. One hand is kept free, ready to reach for her gun if need be, since it's the only firearm available down here.
Another sigh of frustration comes from Michael as his eyes looks around the area again, "Laine had the radio. We'll figure something out." They have to figure something out, otherwise the only option is to go back to the lodge. Problem is, the college athlete isn't good at formulating plans, he's more of a react to when something happens in front of him. That's why he's the left tackle and is handed the playbook, not the play caller himself. And this fact obviously frustrates him visibly since he has no idea what to do next.
Danny works with Max to get Tommy back. Before they get too far, he does stop to pull the nine iron out of Tommy's chest. His heart isn't pumping blood anymore. It's not even all that messy. The sucking noise when it's pulled out isn't great, though. "Oh, God," Danny says, horrified. But then it's back to carrying out the body. He can't freak out about it now. No time.
"Right. A walkie." Christian murmurs, remembering Laine had one on her. There's this odd laughter than can be heard in his voice when he says this, an absurd thing, but this, everything, was absurd right now in his mind. "We'll do what we can." A pause, his tone turning more grim, "Good luck." There was no rope, no anything for him to toss down into the hole to help with their predicament, so all that he could now was continue searching for Laine or to find that walkie.
Hearing Troy punish the poor tree that had just survived, maybe, the same blast that they all did, Christian has this need for a smoke right about now. He does what he can to ignore the anger, frustration and whatever else Troy might be displaying. "You might want to listen for a radio, in case one of the staff are using it. If it's still intact, we might be able to find Laine that way." Or, at the very least, her medkit. He then lifts an idle hand to his face, wiping away the sweat... and is that blood and grime on his face. Seeing his own blood staining his fingers, all he can do is let out an annoyed, "...son of bitch."
Colorado leaves back to Temporary Room Nexus
Troy turns and starts looking again with obsessive nature, like a bloodhound, now that he's refocused by calculated pressure release of violence. She had bled some while laid out, maybe something fell out of her outer bag pockets, who knows, but Troy isn't super accustomed to nature and his eye for detail is probably shit.
Unable to do much else like come up with a plan, Michael also begins the visual search again as he starts coming the area for any clues of where Laine may be. Nothing else is said by this particular football player, brooding in silence now as he works on finding what he can.
The tunnel - much newer and more refined than the ones they've previously explored - continues on from where they started, and there's even a few marks left by Ethan as he fled this place. Soon there's power and lighting, and they can see a room ahead.
Bastian pauses when he sees the lighting and room. Fuck. "Well. I bet we can guess what this is." He puts his flashlight away, negotiates his shotgun into firing position. "Have your gun ready," he says to Misty, voice low.
Colorado stays close behind Bastian, cradling Candice's body to his chest.
Danny keeps on with hauling Tommy's body. He's not sure where they are, so he doesn't know to be alarmed. He just murmurs under his breath things like, "We're going to get you out of here, man. It's ogoing to be okay. We won't let them turn you into anything weird. I'll take care of the van."
As she's one of few not lugging along a body, Misty nods to Bastian, then guides Mack to lean against the wall briefly. "I'll scout ahead," she says quietly. Thus freed of her burden, she draws her gun and advances slowly, careful to avoid kicking any rocks or making any scuffling sounds with her steps. She aims to see if the room is clear, hopefully without being spotted herself if it's not.
Yes, it's that room. There are hooks and plenty of lighting, but no bodies stored here. Dried but recent blood on the ground is probably Ethan's. There's a tunnel at the other side of the room, leading off into darkness.
No warning shout and no gunfire draws Bastian forward, Colorado in his wake. He pauses at the threshold, looking around until his eyes fall on the dark tunnel. "Well. That might be how she got him here." Or, who knows, it might lead them back to Lakeview and the dead fish people. That would be par for the course. Their only other option, though, is to wait for Michael and company to return, maybe with rope.
With no signs of Laine and this fear that the longer they take, the less of a chance for survival the team down in the tunnel had, Michael leads the way back to the lodge, making sure that Troy was in tow. Christian makes no complaints, but he's still a little shell-shocked, himself, following behind the pair in a sort of daze. Laine had to be here somewhere -- dead or alive, so it was difficult to leave. It's not that he didn't understand where Troy was coming from but the more people who they rally to join their cause, the better the chance of finding her and saving the others.
Christian leaves back to Temporary Room Nexus
As they continue down the new hall, Bastian gets an idea of where they are. He's been mapping the caverns out, and he's pretty sure this is the tunnel that branched off, the only one they haven't explored yet.
Danny looks around. "Where the hell are we?" he asks. He wasn't on any of the other missions that brought people into the meathook room. "Are we getting further away from the hotel?" He lugs Tommy along, and he's got his crowbar tucked under one arm, like it'll be an effective weapon that way.
Misty returns to helping Mack limp along, but keeps her gun free and at the ready in her dominant hand. So far, they haven't run into anyone or.. you know, any thing. Doesn't mean they won't. She looks to Bastian following Danny's query, as she's new to this whole subterranean thing, too.
Bastian frowns, looks around at the walls. "I think...this could be the route we didn't get a chance to look at. If it is there'll be an X on the wall when we come to a tunnel fork. The trap door to Dini's would be...not too far from here." Further than he wants to be carrying Ethan, truth be told. He pauses a second to make sure everyone's still with him. Colorado is following on autopilot at this point.
Eventually Bastian's suspicion is confirmed. They come to tunnel that cuts across it, ending this one in a 'T'. There's an 'X' marked on a nearby wall. That's exactly where they are.
"Dini's would get us close to the hotel, right?" Danny says. He's got monofocus now on getting Tommy back. The sooner he's back, the sooner they can build a pyre. "I mean, is that the way we should go?"
"Do we really have much choice?" Misty voices quietly, wincing a bit as Mack leans more heavily on her the further they go. She glances down at the athlete's leg, noting both dried and fresh blood, and helps him forward another couple of steps.
"Yeah," Bastian confirms. "It's a way out. We'll need to go the long way from the cabins, to avoid the shed." He grunts at Misty, admits, "Not really. But fortunately, it'll work." He winces at the thought of dragging Ethan and Tommy up the ladder, nods his head towards the end of the tunnel which should lead to Dini's. "That way."