Log:Sometimes You Just Have to Freak Out
It's been busy in the parlour. Lots of noise, talking, people being confused. So many people trying to figure out what this place is! The Penitent hid away until it quietened some, and now she's here in the parlour, curled up with her legs beneath her on one of the couches. Reading. A cup of hot black tea sits on the coffee table before her. Dressed in a simple dark red singlet top, and grey sweat pants. It's Madison Wellson, but it's not at the same time. Now it's quiet, with most people having gone back to their rooms, or hiding away somewhere. Only two people other than the Penitent are here. The Perfectionist, once Valerity, sprawled out cold on another couch. And Adam Yates, the Fool, having fallen asleep on yet another. She's quiet, and simple reading in comfort.
The parlour now sees a new occupant, Amir (but not) in a black hoodie, jeans, and a pair of scuffed chucks. He moves in short, quiet footsteps and pauses when he sees someone awake in the room. At first, he doesn't say anything, just stares at The Penitent and rocks forward and backward while watching her read. Then, he asks, "Are we dead?" He doesn't remember dying, but it's the first thing that comes out of his mouth, and it doesn't feel like an entirely unreasonable thing to ask.
The Penitent doesn't really notice the presence of another at first. That's some book! It's not until the words are spoken that she shifts and looks up. "You startled me," she says, though doesn't sound especially startled. There's a pleasant smile creasing her lips as she looks him over, head tilting this way and that. "Hello," she begins, then shrugs her shoulders, her smile turning somewhat apologetic. "I ... don't really know. At first we thought all of us were dead, because only the dead were showing up here. But now there's so many and apparently you all got off the island?" A pause. "Maybe we need a brochure or something. How much do you remember? It can take some time."
The Addict teeters for a moment more, not apologizing or immediately commenting on the island. He seems to just be taking things in, an act which reveals itself in minute changes across his face. A twitch at the right side of his mouth. Some tightening along the forehead, briefly. Watering eyes. "Yes," he says eventually, though whether he's referring to getting off the island or needing a brochure or something else is left unclear, because he next steps into the room to peruse the spines of available books. "Sorry," he says, now that his focus is more divided. "I'm trying to not freak out."
"You wouldn't be the first. To freak out that is," she replies, her book closing and being set aside for the moment as she turns about on the couch to watch him. "But it is safe here. More or less. There is comfort, and food and drink. Books, games, company. But it is strange, and there doesn't seem to be a way out ... though many are searching for one." She's trying to be reassuring, judging by her tone. "But everyone has their own little ways of dealing with it. I guess sometimes ... you just have to freak out."
The Addict focuses on the the title of a Dickens novel and takes a deep breath. Turning, he eyes The Penitent with lifted brows and says, "I remember freaking out. On the island." He nods once to confirm that he both understands this need and remembers something. Still, he looks to be in a state of mild shock. Next, he crosses the room to scrutinize the games. "How long have you been here?"
"A lot of us freaked out on the island. It was strange stuff to go through." The Penitent says softly, reaching out for her cup of tea and lifting it for a sip, followed by a proper mouthful. "It's ... hard to say. Time is hard to keep track of here; there's no clocks at all. And the place seems to clean itself up. I seemed to get here first. I ..." she pauses a moment, another mouthful of tea. "I died when the security trailer exploded. I remember the moment, though I don't really remember dying. Just sudden shock, and pain, and then nothing. Then I woke up here. More people started showing up, all claiming that they'd died somehow. Exploding helicopters and ritual sacrifices. But then a lot of people who say they didn't die, and so, well. Our theories of some kind of afterlife got scrapped."
Something, or maybe everything, about what The Penitent tells The Addict hits him in the gut, and he visibly winces in response. One hand reaches out to steady himself against the wall of games as his head rolls forward to hang limp against his chest. "I'm sorry," he says, lifting his other hand to hold an index finger in the air. When he moves next, it's to look for something specific, which he seems to find in the form of a short, smooth garbage can, like the ones you find in hotel rooms. Dropping in front of this, he leans forward to dry heave into receptacle.
That visible response has her sitting up, curious and alarmed as she shakes her head. "Oh, no, I'm sorry," she says, almost automatically. She's on her feet in short order, though she doesn't actually approach, just holding onto that cup of tea. "I ... forget that I've gotten used to this and it's still very new and confusing for you. I uh." A pause and she shrugs helplessly. "Don't know what I can really do to help."
The Addict isn't down there long, but while he is his body heaves and he makes a horrible sound. Nothing comes out, though, since he hasn't eaten anything yet. When he turns around to rest against the nearest wall, one arm up against his mouth, he looks over at The Penitent with apologetic eyes. "I'll be fine," he says, dropping his arm and looking a little paler than before. He glances to the two sleeping in the room, then back to the Penitent. "Can you show me where you got that?" he asks, upnodding to the cup of tea she holds.
"I think you might be, in time. As fine as any of us are," The Penitent says softly, nodding slowly. She cups the cup in her hands, lifting it again before continuing. "Sorry, that's not really helpful either. But yes. I can show you." She turns, gesturing down the way towards the dining hall. "There is a small room off the dining hall that has monitors that dispense food and drink. Anything you can think of -- or at least, anything I can think of. Come," an inviting gesture now as she begins to wander that way, moving quietly on her bare feet.
Another deep breath from The Addict, then he's on his feet with but a quick glance to the can next to him. "It's helpful enough," he admits, tugging at the hem of his hoodie, where he seems to notice for the first time a hole large enough to stick a finger through, which he does. Following The Penitent out then, he asks, "Who stocks the thing?" His tone, however, suggests he already knows the answer.
Through the dining hall, she moves softly, more mouthfuls from that mug until it's empty, then she's setting it aside on a table as she passes, absently. The Penitent stops at the little alcove that makes the dispensery, turning about to face the Addict and leaning against the wall just by the entrance, gesturing within to the monitors. "No one. Someone. I don't know. There's not even any way to get the food in as far as we can tell. Maata -- you remember Maata? She's probably not Maata but for now we're still using the same names we remember. Anyway she took one of the things apart, pried it off the wall and dismantled it. She didn't find anything, and the next morning it was all fixed. You can put anything in and a little door just opens with it prepared to perfection."
Within, it's just as she described, several touchscreen monitors and absolutely no apparent way for anything to be delivered.
The Addict follows along, though not too closely, his attention on his suroundings more than on the Penitent. He stares at the walls on either side of him, then glances up to the ceiling before he finds himself in the nearby dining hall. While The Penitent explains things, he's quiet, nodding when Maata's name is mentioned. When she finishes, he turns to the dispensary and steps inside, trying out the touchscreen for himself. He's not in there long, though, and when comes out it's with a cup of steaming coffee, black. "At least we're provided for?" He shrugs and tries out a smile, but decides it doesn't suit him, yet.
She echoes the smile, back, watching him as he becomes familiar with the touchscreens, just waiting patiently. "It's comfortable and pleasant enough. Some people have complained about not feeling great about how their room is furnished, but mine is quite peaceful at least. Though it has a feeling of being my cell." She shoulders shrug and she's pushing away from the wall. "I'm on the theory that this is some kind of prison, but the how and the why is still beyond me. I'm ... more focusing on trying to figure out who I am, really."
"My room is...messy," The Addict says without offering further details. He holds his cup in both hands, then walks over to one of the dining tables and has a seat, thinking. "I don't know. It's a really nice prison if it is one. I get the feeling of being a lab rat." He grimaces, then takes his first tentative sip of coffee. Though it stings his tongue and mouth some, he seems to be waiting for something else that doesn't come, which sets him at ease. "Do you remember much about that? Who you are."
She eases into the seat across from him, hands clasping together on the table as she glances around briefly. "Yes, it is nice. I seem to be the only who feels like I belong here, though." She says thoughtfully, her tone distant. "I never considered an ... experiment of some sort." She is quiet for a few moments, before shaking her head. "No. And yes. I remember everything on the island, at Wyred that I -- that is, that Madison Wellson -- did. I lived those events. Anything before that though is just a story. I don't remember it, but I know it. Someone said it was like ... Madison was a pair of shoes that I wore for a while." A pause, glancing back at him proper. "Conrad is here too, and he seems resolved to keep on being Conrad Wellson. It's awkward because I am certain I'm not really his sister."
The Addict still seems slow to take everything in, but he's looking more comfortable now than before. Maybe it's The Penitent's relative calm, the cup of in his hands, or the more concrete things to try and wrap his head around. After another sip of coffee, he adopts an almost pleading expression as he looks across the table and shrugs. "So, what are we supposed to do now? I can only be awkward around people for so long." Another try at a smile, and even a laugh.
"I don't know what we're supposed to do. Try to keep entertained? There's books and games I guess ..." She sort of trails off, looking momentarily awkward and then glances away, hands just there on the table top as she looks across the way. "I suppose even a real prison has things for the prisoners to do. Work and stuff. I really don't know. It's comfortable and there's people." A glance back, apologetic smile and a shrug of her shoulders. "Maybe now that more people are coming -- Dahlia said it seemed we were basically full up -- someone will come and explain this?" She doesn't sound hopeful on this, but it's a thought.
"Yeah," The Addict says, momentarily injecting his tone with a bit of hope, which dies away as quickly as it comes. "Yeah, maybe." There's another awkward moment after this, when it becomes clear to him that all they can do is sit and wait for something that might never come. Despite the abundance of books and food and games, he has a feeling it's going to be hard to relax. "Well, I think I need to take this coffee back to my room. It's a lot to handle all at once."
"Tomorrow, Dahlia suggested we get a book of names from the shelf and pick new names for ourselves. That would be nice, I think." The Penitent offers another apologetic smile, nodding her head slowly. "I understand. It is a lot to grasp, and unfortunately none of us really have any answers for you. But we can make our own fun, hopefully. And it's far better than ... what we had on the island, anyway. I'll take it, for now."
The Addict thinks this other for a moment, the idea of picking a new name, since it seems like he's not the only one who can't remember one that's comfortable to attach to himself. "Yeah, maybe we can do that." He stands, shifts his weight from foot to foot, and drinks a bit more of the coffee. "Thanks for explaining some of this, I'm glad I ran into someone." Still hesitant as he speaks, he looks to the exit to the hall and says, "See you in a few hours or something? Maybe?"
"I'll be around, or others will." The Penitent says softly, glancing away from the Addict again as she looks around once more. "Or in my room, I suppose. Mine's the one with the crying woman." Whatever that means! "See you." With that, she's on her feet too, to wander back to the couch and resume reading her book.