Log:The High Price of Dying
First there was the pain of bullets tearing through his flesh, contorting his body in this death dance as he's guided and swayed by the very force of them ripping into him. Then the warmth of blood that begins to ooze out of these fresh wounds, the crimson stains on his sweater growing larger and larger until its completely saturated in his life force. He could even taste it, the blood at his lips, which continue to recite the lyrics to a melody only he could hear in his mind.
For the briefest of moments, he's transported back to the waterfall, feeling the ice cold splash of water against his bared skin. Here, he felt safe and filled with warmth and happiness, something that he's been missing in his life for months prior to the heist and their visit to the lodge. Laine was there. He could feel her softness in his arms, hear her own voice now blending with his, taking on the familiar melody...
"...I'm alive." He murmurs out, his voice hoarse while his eyes remain closed. "So alive..."
At that moment, his eyes abruptly open to stare up at the ceiling, looking panic-stricken. He was alive! Just like the song said. With this shock and surprise, he quickly rises to a seated position, one hand already patting down at his chest, still feeling the ghost of his injuries from this 'dream', but though he could feel the dull pains there, he wasn't coated in blood. In fact, his blood-soaked sweater was gone. Where was he?
Wild eyes stare down at himself once the covers are drawn. No hospital gown, nothing. They then look about the room, filled with suspicion and something more, something akin to longing. This is when he notices a tear streaking down one cheek as his memories return to him. The memories of the Lodge, that is, and his final moments.
Attempting to get onto his feet, he's disoriented enough that he stumbles, hard, into the nightstand, making it rattle. The copy of the Wall Street Journal that was there hits the floor, detaching Joshua Gray's ID card that was clipped there, in the process. Those items don't hold his attention and once more, with a heavy hoist up, he pulls himself to standing with full lean against the nightstand. "Laine?" He calls out, taking his first initial step on shaky legs. Laine was about to be killed, shot in the head by... One of his hands lifts to cover over his mouth, his body leaning over, looking as he if might be sick right then and there. Vivian wanted him dead. The only sound that escapes him now is that of a few choked sobs as this realization fully dawns on him.
The incident was seen. She knows. She thinks that she does, at least, the hope that he'll be one of the ones that does come back is high, memory of him sharing his past times around. Knowing that he, he's been through all this before. She'd been waiting, anyways. Not that she'd ever probably admit to the fact that she made frequent passes outside two particular doors.
But the waiting has paid off, it seems. The pacing. The anticipation of the familiar coming back has her at the door at potentially the best, or the worst, timing. There is a knock at that door, then Bravo presses her face against it where the door and the door frame meets so that when she calls out the voice can be heard. So she hopes, at least.
It's possible that she might have tried before, just because. But it's still quiet, familiar voice heavily weighed down by hope and curiosity, "C? You in there...?"
Having dropped down to his knees, his breathing coming out quick and heavy, he's finding it a struggle to draw in any air at all. He was bent over, his upper body supported and kept off the floor by one trembling arm, his hands gripping at the cold tile beneath. He was confused, he didn't know what happened or where he was. Or if Laine was still alive. What he does remember was trying to get her out of the way. "She didn't deserve to die..." He voices what's on his mind openly now. "Have to find her."
Struggling to rise, he's heading towards the front door just as he catches his reflection in the mirror there. It reminds him that he lacks clothing of any sort. Also, the gunshot wounds were gone... "But how? How long have I been out?" The worry that Laine may be dead and that he was in some kind of hospital comes to mind.
It's also a good thing that the walk-in closet is right next to the mirror. All of this seemed terribly familiar, but it's not as if this closet were unlike the one he had back home -- though, in truth, this was much larger. Vivian had complained about the lack of closet space too. That's the first thought that comes to mind. He doesn't know who these clothes belong to, but he grabs a white buttoned down shirt and a pair of jeans. The pants actually do come on just at the moment he hears someone calling. Did 'C' stand for Christian? The voice was familiar, but that was impossible.
With the shirt still in hand, out of curiosity more than anything, he swings open his door only to be surprised by who he sees. It wasn't Laine or Vivian. "R...Roxie."
It wasn't Laine or Vivian. Familiar, sure. It's Roxie, only it isn't Roxie. There is more quiet confidence in the way she stands there at the door, even if she wasn't certain that anyone would be on the other side of the door. There's not any of the awkwardness, or the need to drive home the idea that she's both as good and better then everyone else around her. But the same hair, same face, voice, everything. Although the clothes aren't anything that Roxie would have worn, and they are entirely wrong for the time. Not 1989. The dress is a bright color, a fight against the muted t-shirts and jeans that Roxie ended up always wearing. Just an airy red halter dress, and heels that match.
"C." It could stand for Christian. It might even. But Roxie never called him C, not once. The smile that spreads across her face is filled with warmth and relief, a giddy joy that is at violent odds with the memory clearly haunting him. With the door open she doesn't waste any time moving into his room, throwing herself at him for a hug, "I'm so glad you're back!"
Just seeing Roxie here surfaced a mixture of emotions in the man. For one, it was great to see her. She /looked/ great. But on the other hand, that meant... It's this thought that sinks in heavily now, even as she smiles that sunny smile and captures him in her jump-hug. The pain that he believed he could still feel is what made him think that he was alive, but if Roxie were here... This fear creeps into his eyes now, even, if to be polite, he wraps his arms around her in return and simply pats her on the back.
"Are we dead?" That's his first question, followed by one that he hesitates to ask, but needs to know the answer to, "Have you seen Laine?" He was still riding on the high and memories of this last persona, one Christian Price AKA Joshua Gray. This immediately waking upon his death, something which had become a rarity to the Capitalist, recently, and this urgency to learn more about the ones he loved and cared for is what makes his grasp on Christian's memories all the more prominent in his mind.
"Dead? No." Bravo replies, stepping in closer in the hug, a foot moving to try and catch the door to kick it shut, "We're not dead. We're...." She fails at knowing how to explain where they are. She lacks the proper words for it, despite //it// being her first real memories. "The place between the stories, we're in Between things again." She leans back from him, not enough to break the hug, but enough that she can look him directly in the face, her brows tugging inwards as she processes a few things.
She remembered who she was. Eventually. The idea that he is caught in that trap of still thinking he was Christian wasn't something that she'd prepared for. The assumption that he'd recover faster than her was made, a miscalculation. Blue eyes scan his face, studying it, absorbing the information as her hands move to his face, petting against his cheeks before she shakes her head, "No. She isn't here yet, and she's not....here. Yet. You don't remember...do you? You've been here before. I met you here, before the heist...before the Lodge. Here."
He's still in a sense of shock even if old memories begin to slowly return, aided by the Bravo's mention that he'd been here before and that this was in between stories, lives. Learning that they weren't dead though makes that panic return in full force and here, he tries to disengage from the woman's embrace. "If we're not dead, then we have to find her." He says quickly, attempting to slip one arm into the sleeve of his shirt as he tries to explain, "Vivian found us. Someone tipped her off and she made the trek to the island. She /swam/ across the river, Roxie." There's emphasis in his voice here. "She..." This next part is still something that he's trying to come to terms with and something he was in denial of until the countdown, "She came to kill me. For insurance money. Said that if Laine didn't stab me that she'd shoot her in the head and the last thing I remembered was pushing Laine out of the way. I... don't know if I did it in time. And then I woke up... here." That fact begins to trigger everything the Capitalist knew. In death, you return to this place. It's at this point, that he slips his other arm into the remaining sleeve, though his motions slow as his mind begins to be filled with other thoughts and memories, things that continue to confuse him.
There's not a whole lot of fight when he disengages, but she's not moving far away. What she does do, though, is back up against the door, planting herself between him and the exit. The process, the words, everything is listened to, allowed to be processed through like she just figures he needs to work through some things on his own.
It's not until his motions have slowed down that she tilts her head, watching him, trying to decide just how far along in remembering and sorting thing he's gotten before she speaks up again, "You were not the first person I met here, but you were the first to see my theater. To share it with me, to listen to me. You're not any more Christian than you were the others. Laine is fine, but she's not Laine any more than you were him, or I was Roxie." She takes a breath, then lets it out with a sigh. "You are C, and you want to escape. You want to go back to who you really were, but you don't know. I don't know. I didn't have any memories, not like you have...not like Madison...Nettie? Nettie before this. But I don't remember Vivian....she's not here, she's not real like we are."
Once his shirt is shrugged on, he begins to work at the buttons, starting from the ones at the top, making his way down the line, but just as his motions had slowed when slipping on that final sleeve, his fingers work at a distracted pace at this task. Bravo's words stir up knowledge that he's had before, things that he already knows. Perhaps, he remains in the mindframe of his most recent memories for longer than some, because, he actually enjoyed the life he'd lived in those memories. While the personas themselves may find distaste or outright dislike one another, in some cases, he, himself, the Capitalist, despite the horrors that he's experienced and seen, while living these lifetimes, as brief as they may be, he always liked the person who he was, fully embracing the lifestyle, the persona.
Christian Price was no different. From his clearest of memories of Christian, life was beautiful... if you took away the haunts and death and then Vivian at the end. Oh... Vivian. She was still on the island too, lured there because he... Christian was there. It was still hard to get Price out of his head and it's clear enough on his features, the way his brow creases and the way that he breathes in a shaky breath through his nose as if his entire body were still tense.
But Roxie... no the Actress was right. His memories of this place was returning and who he'd been before. The turmoil between his old blend of memories and that of Price continue to wage war within him. A hand raises to his head, fingers covering over his brow, "It might sound crazy, but I want to go back." This is something he'd said of Cillian's life as well. "I..." he pauses to take in a breath, "I have to make sure that they get off the island." What island? He has two islands in mind now and he'd died on both of them.
"It's not real though." She shakes her head, standing firm on this She's rejected the Roxie persona, the memories, the life she lived there. Even though parts of it had wormed into who she was, and joined up to become who she is, she refuses to claim it. She's not Roxie.
There is a moment, more hesitation in the thought than she might have been inclined to give it the first time around. More awareness that some pushing, some shoves are just not acceptable by normal society. But she takes the leap anyways, moving away from the door towards him, her hands raising up to push against his chest, trying to nudge him back towards his bed, "There is no island, there was no Christian, you're C. But you're not Christian, that life wasn't the real life. We haven't gotten to the real one yet, back to it. You can't do anything any more, not for the rest of their act. They'll come back again. They were here before."
The push and guidance back to his bed is not what makes the man lash out. For a time, he allows it, as he takes in what the woman has to say. But something snaps in his mind, making him lift a hand to grab for the wrist of her nudging hand in order to still her. It happens so quickly. "How do /you/ know that none of it was real? How do you know what's real and what's not?" This wasn't Christian anymore. Penitent might say it was Driscoll, but at the moment, this was the Capitalist.
There's this anger in his eyes as he stares down at Bravo, "I wouldn't discount any of our memories. They could be past lives, they could be lives that they are forced to live, either way they are /our/ lives."
The grab on her wrist brings her to a hard stop, surprise washing across her face, then a strange flicker of pained confusion before it settles on anger. She stares right back at him, eyes narrowing a fraction before she moves in closer, her voice dropping, "If they are past lives why isn't everyone already here when you wake up? Why wasn't anyone here when I first woke up....how are we all living a life together and...and aren't all /here/ at the same time when we wake up. I don't know what they are. I don't care what they are, they...they just aren't. They can't be real."
The hand gripping at her wrist tightens, hearing her counter to his claim. The Capitalist looks on her with irritation, both of their angry gazes staring at one another. Eventually, he releases her, but not in a gentle manner. He basically swings his hand forward, almost as if throwing a ball to the side, before he lets go altogether. "We don't know the rules to this place. Why things happen. But the lives that we've lived, /I'd/ like to think it were real. They mold us into the person who we are, by those experiences alone. They aren't just /nothing/." Moving away from her, heading back to the large walk-in, he takes this moment to refocus on all of his memories. Laine... was... The thought disturbed him somewhat, remembering his little cousin from Prosperity.
Before he even reaches the closet, his shirt is already neatly tucked into his pants. He seems to be looking for a jacket or something of that sort to wear over the ensemble. Maybe even a tie. The tie it is. He doesn't need to look at himself in the mirror to gauge what he's doing. He's worn so many ties in his lifetimes that it was automatic for him.
"And what are you going to do?" Bravo counters, her arm curling in against her chest, her other hand raising up to rub the wrist as she watches him. The anger causes her color to flood her cheeks, teeth clenching as she swallows it back down. This is new. This anger is Roxie's. And Bravo hates it. The struggle to drag herself back from the edge is visible as she watches him, the effort to get it under control no easy thing.
"C." It's spoken more calmly, more pleadingly as she follows, her hands dropping down to her side. "They aren't nothing, I'm sorry. But there isn't anything that you can do for them back there, and you know there isn't. We can't get out of here yet, if...and...You wanted out of here. Don't you still want to be out of here, back to a life that isn't just some...What are you going to do for them?"
While he didn't need a mirror to see what he was doing, he pauses before the mirror once more, but this time so that he can take in his reflection in full. The bruising, the knicks and scratches that Christian had accumulated during his time at the lodge were all gone. He even lifts a hand, once he's done, to slick back the hair at the top of his head more in a Driscoll style than anything else. He seemed, at the very least, content with what is reflected back at him. The tie looked perfect.
"I know there's nothing that I can do for them now." His own voice comes out stern, some of that irritation still there, but it isn't the anger he displayed just moments ago. "I /know/. I've been here before. On my first waking, I had a need to tell the people back on /that/ island that there Akala had a man there who was under his control. Nothing I could have done then too." This proves to her that he knows who he is even if the emotional conflicts that he's experiencing with Christian's own death and coming to terms of the lie unravelled there, that still stung. But he doesn't expect Bravo to understand, so he speaks nothing more of it.
Finally noticing the items spilled out on the floor before his nightstand, out of sheer curiosity, he makes his approach to crouch down and scoop it all up. There was his image and likeness everywhere in his hands -- the article about the heist, news of the missing bank manager. And then the fake ID. This made everyting feel so much more real.
"I want to get out of here, but right now," he stops for an exhaparated breath, "I need time to think back on what just happened."
Not having an entire laundry list of past lives to draw on certainly makes her own reactions a lot more narrow in focused, more streamlined. "Sure...okay." She agrees, watching him thoughtfully, retreating back a little from the situation mentally. Tugging that earlier joy back and tucking it into the box in her head, along with the anger. So that the only thing she can cling to is a careful neutrality. "I'll be next door, when you're ready to talk. If you're ready."
There is a second, then she turns to start towards the door managing to get about halfway there before she stops. Then she turns around again, her chin lifting upwards slightly before she turns to instead head towards him, "I'll give you time that you need. But I'm still glad you're here, even if you're mad at me now. Waking up and finding out that you and....Madison weren't here was the worst moment of my life. I'm sorry that I made you mad right away, just. Know that."
That bitch shattered his heart into a million pieces, then tried to kill him. No, wait. She succeeded. All of this is still playing out in the Capitalist's mind as he slowly rises, opening the drawer to dump the contents of Christian Price's life to mix with the rest. The ID spills in, landing next to Driscoll's ANVIL business card, but something catches his eyes in the paper and this time it's not his image. It's Vivian's.
He looks like a man who is going through a lot and having a difficult time separating Christian's emotions from his own. Has he ever really been able to do that before? His lifetimes have been emotional ties for him and this was just the latest addition to the mix.
"You should never be glad that anyone shows up here." He says as a word of caution more than anything else. "Who knows if those who don't return are set free. Or, if anything, maybe they are truly dead and don't need to put up with this bullshit anymore." He's not talking about their experiences and stories, he's talking about the Facility.
This reminder that some people don't return here mixed with his grief over Vivian, or who she truly was, makes him follow the actress towards the door. He just needs to see it for himself, his own mind sidetracking whatever she may have said to him. He's not really one to apologize for his actions, but he does say in passing, though it's hard to say if he really means it, "Don't worry about it. Waking to new memories is one of the hardest things anyone can experience and I was just... lost in my own confusion at the time." If she didn't know where he was headed to at first, it's made clear now that he's seeking out the symbol on the Hunter's door yet again.
"Yeah. I'll remember that." Bravo assures him regarding not being /happy/ that someone is back here. Whatever he says, though, she just leaves it there. Her arms cross over her chest as she follows him when he starts to head down towards Hunter's door again. She doesn't make it the entire way though, instead she moves to lean her shoulder against the wall. The fact that he warns her to never be glad someone shows up here and then /still/ goes to check for the person that never got back catches at her mind, giving it a bit of a tug, then she glances away, looking back down the hallway.
"You're one of my only friends, C. I don't want you mad at me, and I didn't mean to be incautious with what I was saying. I should have taken more time to think about it before I said it, I just let my emotions get away from me." There is a calmness to the words, a return to a little more like she was before Roxie's broken sense of self got shoved into her head. "I'm sorry that you're not free, but I'm happy to be able to see you again. I just wish that the circumstances were better, outside here."
The symbol found on the once familiar door had not changed from the last time he saw it. He never really expected it to revert back to the image of the woman with the bow, crouching in the brush. And yet, he was still disappointed. The damage caused to his psyche by Price's fiancee's actions seemed to have dug deeply into him.
The Capitalist doesn't realize just how much of a hypocrite he was. It's his own selfishness and this need for some sort of validation or was it comfort that he sought out the one person who always made things better. His stability was gone. On his way back down the hall, taking note that the actress still lingered, not that she had to go far as their doors were right next to one another along with-- his eyes flicker to the Caregiver's symbol as if noting any changes on that front. "You don't need to apologize, Rox." At this moment, Roxie is the only name he knew for her and it comes out so naturally. "Unless you'd prefer I call you something else." This is when he finally returns his full attention to her again. "Price's life and his end has not been as pleasant as some of the other memories, so it's still something that I'm coming to grips with."
"Does it get easier?" Bravo wonders, but then she shakes her head, "Don't answer that...." She pushes away from the wall that she was leaning against, moving to try and catch his hand to give it a hand squeeze. "If you want to call me that, you can. I don't care. It's not my name but, it isn't like I have a better one. I'll recognize it. As...." She hesitates a moment, "As me that you're talking to, at the very least."
Then she moves towards her door, stopping in front of it before she turns around, making note of the doors right there. In the immediate area of hers. Doors that she never paid more than passing attention to in the beginning. "Did you know....I woke up with an addiction to cigarettes. I didn't smoke before. But I find myself craving them now."
The Capitalist is about to answer the question posed to him, but as the Bravo decides she'd rather not know, it's clear to him that she already knows the answer to the question. "You'll find people tend to call others by the names they are most familiar with. So there will be some who will call you Roxie. Maybe at some point, you'll end up with a name that you like." He considers something, then follows up with, "Perhaps, it will be your actual name."
His eyes drift down to where she squeezes at his hand, only then remembering that he'd grabbed at her wrists just minutes ago in this newly awoken anger. "I can't say that I have a preference, myself. I'm sure that I'm someone different to many people. Depending on how we've interacted in these scenarios. Events." He can't quite remember what that word the Confidant had used.
This mention of her newly found addiction to tobacco gets a lift of his brow and there's an almost amused, "Join the club." that he murmurs. He does make sure to say, "Actually, don't. Smoking is bad and that's coming from a smoker. Either way, it's... intereting. Some people who smoke in one of these stories, come here as a non-smoker. Others a non-drinker and so forth. Maybe the cigarette thief is rubbing off on you."
"I stole a /lot/ of things." Bravo remarks with a shake of her head, amusement spiking at the memory, then she shrugs her shoulders, "I can't help it, though. Whiskey, cigarettes...I'd kill for a few lines right now. But that doesn't seem to be something that I can get here, so I've just been drinking a lot more coffee than I was before."
Which brings up an interesting idea, "I liked coffee the first time, I knew what it was. Roxie liked it, too." She crosses her arms over her chest, rocking her weight back onto her heels. "It's strange, what habits I keep feeling from her. The cigarettes, the coffee....whiskey. I keep itching to try and take the television and the dispensors and stuff apart to see how they work."
"I don't get those kinds of urges much, no matter what lifestyle Wellson or Price had lived." the Capitalist relays. "Then again, one part of me," Driscoll, "wasn't a huge fan of taking in anything that could screw with his thought process and reaction time." There is that, but he makes sure to add, "You'll also find that some things carry over across all or many lifetimes. Coffee being my life force is often a thing. Which is one of the only good things about being in this place. I can live on only coffee if I wanted to."
The other ideas that she has, the most destructive ones, reminds him of things from the past. "Maata destroyed the dispenser once. We never touched the television." He knows that she wants to play around with the tech innards inside of these things, but his mind is on their escape, "I don't know if you'll find something behind it or not. But I won't stop anyone from trying." In fact, his eyes turn to the parlor as he tries to remember those who had died at the lodge, trying to match them to faces, but there were many who he hardly knew there. "I don't hear the 80's music anymore."
"No, the music stopped." Bravo agrees, glancing down the hallway towards the parlor, then back to him, "I'm not sure if there is anything behind them...but maybe something /inside/ will help." She then pauses, teeth catching on her bottom lip for a brief moment, "Then again, maybe not. Maybe nothing at all will be inside them that can help us."
One hand raises, fingers passing against her forehead, then her hand drops again, "I'd like to stop having the urge for some things, but I enjoy others. I miss some things, or..." She pauses, thinking about it. "I want to re-experience some things here, some from before, some new ones. I feel like I want to write over the memories. Make new layers, new urges and new...habits. But I guess that'll happen next time, too. Wake up again with new ones. Urges and memories." She closes her eyes a moment, then opens them again, "The rooms that led anywhere...I still. I remember wanting to mess with them, and I still do."
"I don't know if I've ever gotten any new habits from the various people who I recall being." Capitalist says, looking thoughtful now, even if his attention is still focused down the hall and to the parlor. "But anything is possible. Then again, perhaps, all of the things that I tend to enjoy are also things that the other persona tend to enjoy as well." Something comes up now as he tries to remember things from the past, "It's rather interesting that Sebastian uh... swung that way, hooking up with Bella this time around," He didn't really know Max that well, especially not by name. "When he'd hooked up with Colorado Colton back in Prosperity." He recall seeing Colorado, the bartender, at the Lodge too, come to think of it. "So your preferences, urges, all of that could change from person to person." He's now looking back at Bravo, looking to head back into his room with that WSJ in hand. "Just wait until one of your story lovers becomes your sibling or relative of sorts in another lifetime."
There isn't any attempt made to stop him from heading back into his room, her own attention shifting away, back into her memories as she stares at the wall. Then she shakes her head, "I'm sure that all kinds of things are going to change, and get strange. That just....seems to be the way it goes. There are plenty of things about Roxie that are wildly different than how I feel. She didn't like females...but..." She trails off, leaving it unsaid. He probably remembers from before her encounter with Penitent. Then she starts towards her own door, pausing to point out, "I remember the lake." Then she starts to head into her own room.
Idly scratching at the side of his neck with his free hand, the Capitalist really has to take pause and ponder on this, "In that regard, I can't say I'm any different than everyone else who I remember being." Whatever that means. "I'd almost way that my preference in female types may have changed, but... Laine is just as strong as Maata and Nettie in her own way." He's still trying to not think about the fact that Laine is also Eilis. And she was still out there somewhere.
A faint grin spreads across his lips, his eyes lowered to absently stare at the door knob as he's about to enter his room. "You're not the only one." His response to the lake comment before he slips into his room.