Log:Something Of An Explanation
As fate would have it, the hallway outside of the strange room is empty. Martin looks this way and that at all the closed doors. He gathers the red kimono robe around himself more tightly. It doesn't feel like it's covering enough, even if it does fall well past his calves. It's the thinness of the material that seems indecent. A moment's consideration of fleeing back into the room gives him pause, but he disregards it. There aren't any answers in there, only more questions.
Barefoot and tentative, he makes his way to the parlor, clutching the robe closed at his chest. His hair is long and tangled, fallen into his eyes. He sweeps it back with a hand no longer clenched and ruined. He's nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chair as he makes his way into the strange room. His attention is drawn to the television, and his brow knits. "What on Earth..."
Another set of bare feet pad out of the dining room. He's tall and sturdy with damp red hair that is slicked back and touching his shoulders. His plain white t-shirt and low slung jeans are not as lovely as a kimono but he wears it well. He's carrying a bowl of what looks like chicken nuggets as he enters and pauses to look at his new company. Well, if it ain't Jody DeWitt. But...not. He's walking just fine. He's in far better shape. More jock than the sensitive deputy he was. And he's so pale he's pushing translucent. "Martin?" The ginger says, smiling with perfect teeth. "What door did you come out of?" He says, hurried. "You--you're new. I...names. Don't call me Jody right now. Okay? Chance. I like Chance. Show me the door."
The Addict's eyes widen. He stares at the redhead for a moment as he pads into the room, and past a certai point he backs up when the other steps forward. "You're..." Jody, only not. Martin's eyes are sharp with cutting sobriety. "Why are you Chance? What are you wearing, what's going on? I'm looking for my wife."
The question of the door causes his brow to furrow. He's not seeing the significance, but he gestures for the redhead to follow, and he returns to the door he stepped out of. "I woke up in there," he says. "I don't know whose room it is. There's been some mistake."
"Fleur?" The Confidant says, looking at the door. "Ooooh. You /are/ new. There was a different guy before." When he looks at The Addict again, his eyes are soft and sad. "Fleur probably wasn't real." He pauses a moment, as if looking for the right words. "I'm sorry. I've never met someone...new. I mean, besides the first time. This is our third. I think. Probably. And I spent the second in my room the whole time. It was a mindfuck." He pauses and takes a bite of a chicken nugget. Jody's western drawl is replaced with something that sounds almost like a newscaster in its blandness. "I...fuck. You wanna sit down? You want anything? Food? Drink? There's a thingy in there that'll spit out anything you want. No drugs though. Booze and tobacco are allowed though."
The Addict gives The Confidant such a look. Language! "I beg your pardon," he says. His voice is softer here, though that could be because of being understandably withdrawn. "I think I do need to sit down, now that you mention it." There's a waver in his tone as he asks, "What do you mean not real? Of course she's real. We met in Prosperity. We have a daughter." He doesn't sound so sure of that last part, though.
"Where are we?" Offers of food and drink are pushed aside for now. He's far too worried to eat, and though in Prosperity he could have kept a stiff upper lip til it cracked, here he's shaking, just a little. "What happened to you? Your leg. Look, my hand." He opens and closes his left hand. "It's like it never happened."
The Confidant kindly leads Addict to a nearby sofa and sits him down. He then squats to Addict's level. "You have a lot of questions and I have...not a lot of good answers. I will try my best to explain though." He sits now, folding his long legs and putting his chicken nugget bowl in his lap. This frees up his hands because they move a lot when he speaks. "I'll start from the top. She wasn't real. Neither was Ruby or Irene..." He pauses and sighs. "I hate that part. The ones who don't have rooms. And then...you have fuzzy memories, right? Like...photos or letters. A list, even? I know I had a dead wife but...I'm having trouble recalling her first name. This leads to where we are. The answer is no one knows." He pauses to let that sink in and eat another nugget. "Which leads to the next tidbit--some of us have been here for...some time. No idea how long. No way to mark it. But, uh, we kinda...go to sleep and wake up within...I'll use the word Encounter. You die or it just...stops. And you wind up here. Healthy and fine. So. My leg's fine. And my deafness was cured...and I stopped hearing voices--it's been different each time. But that just seems to be me with the random disabilities or whatever."
Surely, anyone would have heard this speech that this big, broad redhead is giving. He's not quiet, for one and he's pretty energetic. But he is not blase about this subject, his words are kind as he treads lightly on the subject of 'what the hell is going on' Opening doors or treading feet will grab his attention. "One moment...Martin? Do you want to be called Martin? Like I said, I prefer Chance. It was my first name." He stands up and peers down the halls. He knows one face. "Heck! Hey! What door--" and then Bon-Vivant is spotted and Confidant blinks. "Oh. Where did you come from?"
The Addict sits, and he tucks his legs beneath him in a movement far daintier than one might expect from Prosperity's Martin. Chance's chicken nuggets are regarded with suspicion. They don't look like any food he's ever seen before. "I don't know what else I'd be called," he says. "Miss Ruby isn't real? What about Miss Angeline, and my cousin, Isaac? And Arthur? Were any of them real?"
He takes a deep breath, letting it out shakily. The youth isn't doing so well with all of this. "I don't remember my daughter's name," he admits quietly, staring straight ahead at nothing at all. "We named her after someone we used to know. She was just a baby. I swear, yesterday I was holding her and I can barely remember what she looked like."
He's snapped out of his unpleasant thoughts by the sound of others moving about. He tenses, and he cases the place quickly for place to hide or bolt.
Maybe it was the sound of muffled speech somewhere that drew the Bon-Vivant out of his room. He looks as though he might have very recently been sleeping, though of course, if they weren't he can't have been either. He's in silk pyjama pants under a carelessly-tied silk robe; his hair's to about his shoulders and he's got a rather short beard, right now. Also, a puzzled expression.
He brightens perceptibly on seeing other people, though the question aimed at him manages to increase the puzzled look a level or so, as he turns his head to look at his door. "There, I'm pretty sure," he says, and reaches over to open it again and glance briefly inside. "Yeah, there," he says as it closes again, and he starts toward those in the parlor. "Before that I have no idea. I just woke up in there. And now I'm here." A small pause. "So, uh. Where's here? Also, hey."
Heck DeWhatisGoingOn comes out from his room wearing bunny slippers resembling the killer monster beast from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Star Wars pajama pants and an oversized flannel with pearl snaps, the sleeves of which hang past his fingers when his arms are down. Other than that attire, he lookd /goooood/. No more of this weather worn, beaten by life, grizzled hardened Heck DeWitt. This fella is some hot sauce. He is a tall glass of Frank's Hot Sauce, in fact.
Heck awkwardly lifts a hand with hesitance towards the beautiful Addict, "Whoa tiger... this is um..." he motions around with one hand like he can make a good point but then he doesn't and laughs. "I gotta make some coffee...." He nods down towards Chance and blinks slowfly as his lips half frown and he makes a sound that is not yet words. "Jody? Oh, yeah, I um..." He points at the Crusader's door and lets his hand fall. "Yup."
Heck always waves to Scot and blinks, "Have we met? In fact. Do you know me?" He looks around, "In fact. Does anybody know me? Or where the coffe is." He wiggles his toes as he ponders the place and then adds, "Either's fine."
Confidant answers Bon-Vivant first. "Where's here? We don't know. Nice to meet you..." He is craning to see BV's door. "Oh shit. You're number 3. Oh. Ooo. I didn't know you could just...appear while we're...gone." He doesn't quite seem to know how to feel about this so he turns back to Crusader and his door. "Holy...that is a brand new fucking door. At least it is to me. I...kinda remember everyone." This is clearly blowing the redhead's mind. He stammers at Crusader. "Don't call me Jody. Chance, please. Jody was a..." He just shakes his head and points to the dining room. "There are little screens in there. Touchscreens. Poke it until it says coffee will come out. It'll actually be good too." He teases. "Man, Heck. Prosperity kicked the shit outta us, huh? We look like...humans." Beat. "And my leg's fine!" As if one couldn't tell by excited pacing he's been doing. Then, he turns back to Addict. "You'll see. Most you named...are real. Angeline, I recall, for sure. Isaac too. Not sure about Arthur though but I did notice another door I didn't recognize. Seems like things happen while we are gone." He sighs and puts his hands on his hips. "This is my third, by the way. I mean...ask me anything."
"Jody would never use such language," Martin murmurs. He lowers his gaze, curling his hair around a fingertip and giving it an idle tug. It's new, and he's still deciding how he feels about it. The same thing can be said for the robe. On one hand, comfortable. On the other hand, scandalous. He looks to the hallway when Chance mentions a new door, and there is such longing on his face. "It could be either one of them," he says, "or neither."
His gaze wanders over Bon-Vivant without recognition, and therefore a hint of polite supsicion. The man is afforded a nod but no words. Then he looks to the Crusader, and he sits up. "Hector DeWitt," he says, and he smiles, though fleetingly, and ducks his head. "You're looking well," he says. "Chance here is telling me what happened. I'm still not sure I understand."
"So, your leg is fine..." Heck starts out and then touches his throat, realizing he has a different accent. Which makes everything he says next sound like some strange amalgamation of a southern hick accent, a wild west accent, and whatever he has going on. Some modern midwestern or west coast thing. "Are there... some not humans here? If I go to sleep will I die? Did everything we believed in... everything we did... did it matter at all? To anyone? Is..." He looks around for a moment and asks in a hushed voice, "Is Santa Claus real?"
The Bon-Vivant gives Heck a little up-nod and hand-lift in return, and a grin along with it, though the laugh his question gets might have just a hint too much edge to come off quite as calm as the rest's mostly managing. "I'm not sure I even know me," he says, mostly apologetic and partly lost. The balance shifts more toward lost as the Confidant speaks.
"How am I number three?" he asks, "And... why are new doors amazing? What is..." He trails off, a hand moving up to run briefly through his hair. "Coffee! You said there was coffee. From... screens over there..." He looks toward the dining room, pausing a breath before he starts that way. "Okay, 'scuse me one sec."
Confidant laughs at Addict's comment. "Jody cursed some. Mostly to make points. Henry didn't though. Both of them were professional types. Came from money and education. Chance was poor white trash and talked like it. Which is probably a special accomplishment for a deaf EMT." He nods a little as he recalls. Then as an aside to Heck, "I always start the...Encounters...f--messed up in some sort of way. And I come back here fine." Confidant's accent is utterly bland. Much like his clothes. Hell, he's not even wearing shoes. He is engaging though as he almost happily bounces to one person and then another. Everyone gets his full attention, even if that moment is brief. It's almost like he's in his element. "Anyway, yes, coffee in there, help yourselves to anything but drugs. Except booze and tobacco." He looks at the others. "See, people have theories about this place. I don't have any...really."
"Well, let me get to my first points. We all come back here as humans. You can't die here. You will just wake up in that bed again if you try to die. Someone did so...it's how we know. I don't know about Santa. No keeping time here. Not sure when Christmas is." He shrugs and /finally/ sits back down with his bowl of chicken nuggets. "So, sometimes people appear in Encounters and then don't come back. I don't have the foggiest idea why. I kinda had a girl after the first go and then poof! But her door is there. I'm hoping she comes out. I miss her." He pauses to eat and then says, with chicken still in his mouth. "New doors mean new people. And...well, I think we all have a role to play. I always behave in certain patterns but...I couldn't name what my role is." He points towards his door. The one with the writing. "The symbol means something. People leaning on a guy. I-I...I don't know."
The Addict shakes his head slowly. "It's disconcerting," he says, and his cheeks are tinged pink. He watches Bon-Vivant head toward coffee. "So the people you love can just be torn away from you at any moment," he says. "Like they never existed?" His brow furrows. "It seems needlessly cruel. And we wake here even if we die? Is this the afterlife?" He gives the parlor a lingering look, and he doesn't seem impressed.
"But there's food, and our physical needs are met. There are these Encounters, as you call them, and that's what our time in Prosperity was? I remember losing my father, but I don't actually remember him. Everything from that first day in Prosperity until Arthur and I packing to leave is clear as day." He looks to Chance. "And no one knows to what end?"
One of the Bon-Vivant's (also bare) footsteps hits not quite the right rhythm when Confidant gets to coming back here as humans, and the bits about not being able to die have his expression failing nonchalant harder than before. Notably chalant, really. "Booze," he mutters to himself, latching on to at least one thing there that makes sense, and disappears into the dining area. His voice doesn't do quite the same, though it's not totally clear if it's meant for them or himself. "Okay. If there's no other drugs then I guess I'm probably not just ridiculously high. Unless I'm hallucinating being told there's no drugs, I guess."
Apparently the screens don't prove that difficult to sort out, since he emerges again quite shortly thereafter with a fair-sized mug, cream on the top. "So... I'm the third new person. And the rest of you are old," a small pause, looking the other men over, and a flash of a smile despite himself, "a'ight, let's say /established/ people? Are you new?" That to the Addict, since the guy seems to also be somewhat adrift. "Good look, by the way. I don't even know which question to start with. What's an Encounter, what else would we come here as but humans, can you go over that 'we can't die' part again?" He takes a sip of his drink, which his expression betrays is still a bit too hot. Damn.
Confidant shakes his head sadly. "No, we don't. I personally reject the idea of this as an afterlife, though. I didn't die the first go. It's...shit, it's damn near gone now. I think I just went to bed with my girlfriend and woke up here. But others die. I mean..." He pauses and pulls apart a nugget. "I died and ended up here on the second go. It was sudden I only recall looking at a gun and being on the ground. Boom. And then I was here. I...I miss Llesenia. But...I knew her on the second go. In passing but I don't forget. She worked with my ex-wife then. Who looked exactly like Miss Irene, by the way. That woman follows me around but she doesn't have a door."
To BV, Confidant turns. He always faces who he speaks to, meeting their eyes comfortably. Listening even when you'd swear he wasn't. "Encounters are fucking nightmares, I'm sorry Martin but that is the only way to put it." He says this very firmly. "The first was on an island. With skeletons that walked at night and angry tribespeople and a nuke. We suffered heavy losses. I survived but it was luck, man. The second was a space station with killer aliens. This third one, which these two came from, was a Western. With demons. Heck there was my cousin. And I was a petty dickwad named Jody. Nice enough guy but...I'm always a 'nice enough guy'. But, I suppose, anyone can be a dick if they were in constant physical and psychic pain." He addresses Addict and Crusader here. "Jody carried the weight of every death, every injury, every hurt anyone had. He was like a mule for emotional baggage. You know he died alone in Baton Rouge? Blew his brains out before a year had passed. Poor guy." Confidant, much like Jody, wears his feelings on his sleeve. He deflates and pushes his chicken nuggets away.
The Addict snaps his fingers. "We named her after Llesenia." For a moment, he looks so happy to have reclaimed the memory, and then his shoulders sag. It's memory of something that never happened about someone who never existed. The poor thing, he looks so bleak just then, curling in on himself a little as the sense of loss washes over him.
It passes as he shoots Chance a disapproving look. Language! "You weren't a... you weren't petty. "You should have been with us in New Orleans. I would have taken care of you." His features soften, and he tentatively rests a hand on Chance's shoulder. "I adored you."
He looks to Bon-Vivant, and he withdraws his hand, lifting it to tuck a lock of hair behind his ear. "It's what was in the room. I should--" He swallows. "I could do with a lie down. I have a lot to think about. You're telling me I've lost my wife and my lover, or maybe not." He looks to the hallway again. "I'm a little overwhelmed."
"You could have died in your sleep that first time," the Bon-Vivant suggests, coming over to half-sit on the arm of the chair nearest the pair. The description of the Encounters doesn't wholly seem to clear things up, and he winces at Jody's fate; when the Addict seems overcome, and as he speaks to the Confidant, the newest arrival glances away a few moments, more as though trying not to intrude than anything else, and looks the television over, testing the drink again. This time it's okay.
"It was-- nice meeting you," he says to Addict, "Sorry about your," he fails to come up with the right word, "everything. Hope it improves." Another swallow of the drink, toes moving slightly restlessly against the floor, and he looks back to Chance. "So... like plays or something?" Some doubt there.
Confidant smiles. "Thanks, man. Jody was determined to punish himself. I guess he got what he wanted. But, be patient. Hopefully, all these doors will open and we'll...be fine. At least for a while. I just want to see Senni." He blushes and with that complexion, it's almost a bright pink. "Jonah too. I must be bi or something. I had a boyfriend with no door in the second go. He was hot." He sighs and pats Addict's leg. "It's going to take some time. We are in a very, very weird place with no answers. Just...my advice to you." And he looks to Bon-Vivant. "You too. Don't think too hard about it. It sounds like dumb advice but really, don't try to assert logic here. There are rules and consistencies but it's best to let them come. Or you'll think yourself in circles. I'm going to...lay down. I've made myself sad." He gets to his feet and regards BV. "I call them Encounters because we always end up fighting something. Demons, Aliens, Skeletons..." His color drains suddenly. Not that he had a whole lot. "...My best friend. Skeletons got him. Miss him still. I had a sister too." Now, he places a hand on Bon-Vivant's shoulder. "When your Encounter comes, you won't remember here. You will when you return but we'll soon be strangers. Make friends here and hopefully, when you come back, you will be forgiven for the things you did to survive. Later, man." And with that, Confidant mopes away. But he does not close his door behind him.
The Addict strikes swift as a snake, cuffing Confidant upside the shoulder. Fortunately, for all his sudden ire, there's no strength behind the blow. It's more of a swat than a punch. "Don't say thanks. It was just an Encounter to you, but it's the only life I've ever known, and you //mattered// in it." He blinks quickly, his eyes glittering with sudden and unshed tears.
Getting to his feet, he tells Bon-Vivant, "I'm sorry. I'm sure I'll be better company later. It's just a lot to take in. Bon-Vivant gets a fragile smile that fades quickly. "I'm sure I'll see you again. I just need to..." To flee, apparently. He practically bolts back to his room.
The Bon-Vivant doesn't really look any more certain what's going on from the explanation, though it clearly doesn't sound ideal, what with all these lost people and all. Still, he returns the little smile, and glances after the Addict as he flees, then back to Chance. Seems fine with having the hand on his shoulder -- actually, just a bit more relaxed, though it doesn't last long. "Okay," he says, and follows the Confidant with his gaze as the guy heads off as well. "Right, uh..." So many questions still. He lifts his cup a bit in something somewhere between a toast and a wave, "Later. Good meeting you!"
Another swallow of the drink, larger, as he finds himself alone again. He stares at it a few seconds, then gets to his feet. "All right, well," he says to no one, "Let's see what else we can talk those coffee screens into giving out."