Log:The Pie Table

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The Pie Table
Characters  •   The Caregiver  •  The Loner  •  The Creepshow  •
Location  •  The Facility - Dining Room
Date  •  2019-03-10
Summary  •  Loner and Caregiver find their old sibling bond of childhood sharing and caring unwittingly intact in new circumstances, which leads to a bit of a vent session, fueled in part by the young woman's curiosities. The Creepshow comes to join and her new form spurs more ruminating and questions.

Someone went crazy with the dispenser. That someone is Loner, who sits in front of a table piled with slices of all different types of pie. He's in one of his usual facility outfits of grey pajama pants and a black sweater, looking slightly disheveled as if he just rolled out of bed. There's at least thirty plates spread out along the table, some to one side, some to the other. His system becomes clear as he pulls one slice from on group, takes a bite with his fork, then shoves it off to the other pile. How he's not dead from sugar shock yet is probably a mystery. He pulls another close to him and takes a bite, his nose instantly wrinkling. "Gross." He says to himself and picks up the plate, tossing it aside and into the wall with the crash of breaking ceramic. "Who the fuck makes tomato pie?"


The Caregiver comes through to hit the dispensers for taking some things back to her room, where she's largely been this time around, save for some ventures out here and there. It's probably not good as a sign for how she's taking the smash of two lives together, now, since she'd largely seemed to cling to the familiar and occupied herself in that Eilis way trying to adjust the first dreamlike time. She does a bit of a double take there looking into the dining room with the Loner's commentary, then she sees exactly who's making it and... the extent of pie variety.

Blinking a few times, she brings her Frenchy version of a macchiato and croissant back in and over to the tables to set down. She's wearing a little springtime floral strapless dress with a pair of sandal heels, perfectly done up and curled and accented with cosmetics, but there's something subdued about her in the moment before she decides to warn her former brother, "... I don't know, but fuck them for ruining pie. I'm about to hug you. Make your body ready."

Then she steps in and does. And somehow, even though it feels forever away, it still feels rich and warm and tight and full of affection, just like an Eilis hug should, regardless of who or what she is now with lives in multiple on her.


Despite having the completely wrong accent and looking a handful of years older then Glenn, in fact he looks even older than he did the last time in the facility, he reacts in the usual Glenn way. He tenses up at the hug but doesn't push not-Eilis away. The hug isn't really returned, but it is definitely allowed. After, he pulls another pie close to himself, the pale green of key lime. He takes a bite.. then a second. "Having trouble getting brain number two to settle in?" He asks with the tone that says he knows that problem exactly.

He motions to one seat at the table, surprisingly keeping on eating this particular plate of pie. "Sit, talk, I'm in a listening mood for once."


"Yeah. Eilis and Elaine were... totally different and also so much the same where it mattered. She was a stripper, you know. Laine was. For four years, she had... damages I didn't have before. And she let Troy hit her, among others. That and I killed a woman, wittingly, when she was unconscious by my hands prior, so I just... Eilis is pretty horrified. And Christian... well. You know who that is, now."

The Caregiver seems a little surprised by how easily that just pops right out of her at the Loner, but... then the other part of her isn't surprised because she cares so much in these lifetimes, in this place, even with things different, it's impossible for her not to treat him just like her brother when working on reflex response. And McTavishes were close.

After the hug, she drops into a sit with a quiet sigh, "Pierce won't come out of his room. I can't remember what those babies I had before dying after living through so much terrible... I can't remember their smell. And I'm realizing that living is worse than dying, especially for me when I can make so much love but never have the happily ever after that's supposed to come from it. So. Shit sucks."

Her bared shoulders hitch with resign before she picks up her coffee, despite all those emotions that come with each notated thing flickering helplessly over her face in spells of misery or momentary wounding, conversational tone aside. She also seems to adapt more old drawl, despite the modern vernacular she now has. Like old habit, though, her concern swaps to him instead of dwelling on herself, "How many did that one make your count? And what's the extent of your shit sucking?"


The key lime has definitely met with Loner's approval. He's plucking off bite-sized bits of pie with his fork almost methodically, eating mechanically even though he's now focusing on the one pie. "Yeah, that happens. Nettie was Cillian's sister the first time I knew them both. Shit like that is just bloody confusing." That Scottish lilt doesn't seem to fade at all, but it's subdued and understandable.

"Julian was number four." He states, holding up a piece of pie on the end of his fork, examining it. "Two survived, two died." The pie disappears into his mouth as he chews thoughtfully, regarding Eilis. "My second life I wasn't even human. Hell, I wasn't even really alive. You try reconciling that when you get back. I had to cut my arm open to make sure my blood was red." He squints. "Though to hear Ethan tell it, we're not physically here anyway. Who knows."


"... you were one of the synths like in the space world? I... have bled myself a couple of times for different reasons, this go 'round, myself. I understand the urge, oddly, where with just Eilis on me, I would have never, but admittedly... I was just waking the first time and drunk as a skunk in the bath the second time." The Caregiver tells the Loner with a tiny knit of her brows with bother at the concept of not being human at all in one of the lifetimes, cup pausing on way to her mouth when he divulges that bit. She resumes drink, then pulls a piece of cherry pie over from the collection instead of eating her French bit of pastry.

After taking a bit and chewing, she eyes him in his seat, then asks a double unrelated pair of questions on top of the first, "... how does not being physically here work, according to Ethan? And were you really a rockstar, once?"

That question on the tail end, despite everything, it makes her mouth twitch up some like she's maybe working not to tease him about it in irritating little sister fashion.


"Aye. Callum-model synth, specialized in forensic analysis and created especially for the Colonial Marshalls." Loner shakes his head. "His memories are so strange compared to all the others. More like.." He furrows his brows as he tries to find the right words. "Detailed recordings. There's no emotions attached to them. He didn't have real emotions. I can feel things now when I think back on them, but it's definitely like watching some strange movie. I don't think I could face going back to the Noc, not now that those holodeck rooms return us to the way we were there." He shudders slightly.

"Ethan thinks we're plugged in. Like the Matrix." Loner purses his lips and shakes his head. "Crap, you weren't around for a time when that movie existed. Basically he thinks our brains are plugged into a giant computer, or so I think he was saying."

He finishes off the key lime pie and sets the plate aside, pulling over a lemon meringue. "Andrew McInverness, front man for Slaying Dragons. He was my first life. And no, it wasn't fun, and it wasn't glamourous. He was a druggy, an alcoholic, and a misanthrope. He hated everyone but one person. It was not a great life, not till near the end."


"... yeah, the eighties helped with technology, but I don't think it quite holds a candle to what comes after then. The trip to space through the door taught me having a modern grasp isn't grasp enough. But it's letting me think differently than the mere concept of this place being heaven, hell, or demons, because that's all the turn of the century allowed for, mentally, when faced with..." Caregiver gestures to the dispensers and place in general while seated there with the Loner, indicatively, because honestly, sometimes it still seems a bit supernatural despite technology advances, the way certain things work.

There's a bit of a nod of understanding, especially on the rock star bit, because she knows what putting on a show of fantasy for others is exactly like, even if Laine's life as Stella came in a different context entirely. Then she puffs a breath over her lips, admitting, "I don't know the Matrix, no, but that concept idea at least still has us as people, somewhere, instead of robots or ghosts or simulations entirely. I might be able to live with that particular concept, the fact that we're alive somewhere, made to live simulation. That someone is pulling strings."

Her brows knit as she chews and she flushes some with a hint of ire, no poker face at all in this place, eyes at flit to the parlor where the radio is, "It's why I was so angry when I woke up. I felt like doll pieces made to dance, I felt strings choking me, I wanted to cut and burn them and scream and tell them I wasn't going to do it anymore. Now sometimes, I wonder if I did something to deserve the way things turn out for me."


"Andrew was also the closest I had to a happy ending, and he only got two weeks after fleeing the island. None of our lives are particularly pleasant." The lemon gets the same treatment as the lime, the Loner seeming perfectly content to work his way through the slice of pie. "You should have seen the first return. Those of us that came from the Island. None of us had been here before, we were all waking up here with our memories a jumble. We must have wrecked this place nine ways from sunday in those first days. Lighting fires, tearing shit apart, destroying shit." He shakes his head. "Killing and injuring each other to see what happens." He sighs. "Most of the rules we pass on come from us finding out what did and didn't work that first time here."

"I don't know if any of us did anything. We have assholes and we have saints, both are here. Maybe they just want a variety of personalities." He looks up at the ceiling, as if he can see through it and to the people running this place. "They'll slip up eventually."


"Yeah. I've heard things. Aside from the fact that it'd probably break my foot, it's why I didn't slam the radio with my heels when I first saw it and realized it was probably playing the soundtrack to our next pains and deaths." There's a set of the brunette's jaw with that tinge of ire already on her intensifying. And that's the thing about caring too much, without the sunshine of Eilis to put a spin on things entirely, it's quiet sheer rage for a beat. She pulls in a sharp breath of air through her nose, then shoves in another bite of pie while focusing, conversation turning her thoughtful.

"And I heard about what Max... Bella. Whatever. What she did this time, recently, and if I had accidentally bled out before reset happened to prevent it when I was in the tub, and... I returned as a black woman with huge tits, I don't think I'd be taking it as a reset I'd -like-. But then, she did ask for something to... change, I guess, the way it was explained. So maybe she got something out of that alone. I'd ask her, but she's prickly in here, even if Max seemed to like me alright. And I heard her floor is blood." The Caregiver doesn't seem too thrilled by the idea of going to visit a bloody room, despite her being pretty matter of fact in that genteel way of hers about certain dismal things. Granted, she was Laine, so it's probably not the actual blood that disturbs her, moreso than the fact that it's there.

Then, curiosity spurred, she wonders of the Loner, "What is your room like? I haven't been to many others. Mine is just... I don't know. Nice. Smells good. Soft. Inviting, but nothing particularly special."


"Eh, break the radio, it'll be back tomorrow morning. Hell, it might pop back the instant no one's in the parlor." Loner squints as he looks in that direction. "Did I mention it's particularly annoying that we can't write anything down. I have a typewriter in my room? Why? Nothing sticks. I can sit there all day typing away on it and the next morning.." He blows a raspberry. "Gone. And why a typewriter?"

He narrows his eyes again then focuses on Eilis. "My room? It's, uh, comfortable. Big couch, reading nook. All grey except for the plants. Just a cozy little space to curl up in. I guess whoever made this place knew I'd hide in there a lot."


"Maybe. I heard Jonah speaking the last time we were here on how his room is... all darkness or something, and that's... well. I was a little worried yours was something like that, suddenly, and the Eilis part of me was suddenly kicking at the idea of it. The need to be sunshine and light it up. Sometimes, I wish I only felt like Eilis, still, because she knew how to paint things in the way that made me able to look forward in a much healthier way. But..."

Caregiver breathes out a sigh after broodily clearing her pie plate, and in that moment, it's the same brood face Glenn had, it's the same brood face their father had, it's the same Eilis had while stuck and dug into an idea she knew others weren't going to like. Echoes, despite the change of motivation for the expression, "I think that part of me is hiding some because the whispers of what she made are gone and Pierce closed her out, despite us falling asleep together in -here- before the new life ripped us apart. It feels a little schizophrenic, though, the way she comes out to yell at the Laine in me when I'm not properly distracted."

Then suddenly, she looks at the Loner with a wistful expression, talking about that sunshine, "I told him, after you died, when he was carrying me back... about a time when I wrote up Pa's ledgers with nonsense as a child and you spilled ink over it all to cover it when he got home so you could take the whoopin' for us playing in his office with his book of figures. And you told me it was 'cause I was everyone's sunshine, just solemn as an old goose, despite being, hell, seven or eight."


"I'm never the cheeriest individual." Loner states with a motion of his fork. "There are.. always the similarities. No matter what time period or job I find myself doing, that's one of the things I always have. I hate having others around but know I need them." He snorts softly and takes the bite of pie off the end of his fork before he flings it.

"It's hard. I loved the same person in two lives, but the lives between I hardly saw him. Then next life I could give my heart to someone else entirely. Even I fall in love." He shakes his head. "Don't hold it against Pierce, he may be struggling with how the him here feels and how his memories feel. I couldn't even feel love in one life." He sets his fork down. "We all cope in our own ways."


"Yeah. It's why I'm not beating down the door and demanding it of him. I just keep refreshing his hot chocolate outside the door. But it's like a knife over and over when I'm alone in that room with the cross hanging on my bed that he wore and gave to me before he left me the first time to sacrifice himself. I didn't have the heart to hold it against him then and I took care of what was left until the end. I don't have the heart to hold it against him now, either, no matter what it feels like for me." The Caregiver tells the Loner with a tiny nod of her head, brows knit as she looks off across the way at a point on the wall, hand lifting to rake back through her hair before she remembers her cooled coffee for a long lifted drink.

"Then I have... the constant burn of want in the other direction too, but he doesn't want me like he did as Christian. I think love is meant to be my gift and my snare or curse. My door symbol pretty much says it. I was worried at first, the vines choking the blooming heart the woman held, that they meant I'd hurt others. But I think it just means I'm made to hurt because of all the blossoming she's making. It's very hard for the things and people I care about... for those things to feel distant, for me."

Wetting her lips, she visibly debates a moment once she's batted off her own distraction of spurred thoughts that just come in constant spill to the Loner. And again, she seems vaguely surprised for a tick after speaking so much, because Eilis and Laine generally hid their laments to deal with the problems others had, but... also, again, unsurprised, maybe because of exactly what she just detailed for him. Her bonds don't die.

"Who did you fall in love with? And did it... carry into this place?"


Loner nods slowly. "It did." Then after a moment. "Connor. He was my.. Andrew's bodyguard on the island. At the lodge he was Marc, and it was the first time we, uh, actually admitted it. But I had feelings for him back in that first life, too. Andrew was just too much of a mess to figure it out." He shakes his head, peering down at the pie on his plate. "But Julian lost the people that mattered most to him. That's my.. curse. I'm supposed to be alone. Either I'll push people away, or I'll lose the ones I care about. Just look at my door sometime."

He pokes his plate with his fork. "It's why here, I'm going to try to act on what I lose each life. Try to at least keep some of those connections alive."


"Yeah. I lost mine in the lives and I lost them in here all over again. It's... I hope I die next time, bubba, I do. I don't think I can... keep losing, and maybe if I die, well. Maybe someone can lose me instead, for a change. Not... because I want them to lose, but just because... I don't want to be the one losing again. Selfish. But I feel far too much. I don't have the walls inside to mitigate the damages." The Caregiver accidentally reverts to a childhood nickname for the Loner from Prosperity with that desperate confessing, and she doesn't even seem to realize she's done it. She drops her lashes with an anguished expression, but something he says sinks in after the fact.

Looking back up with a breath, she suddenly smiles a little at the guy with vague appreciation and subtle pride for some reason, "... it's good you turn it like that, though, when you're in here. I'm stubbornly trying to do that, but I honestly... don't know if it's doing more harm than good." A pause, "If you could pick one of the lives instead of having all of them and only remember that one, would you? I know you'd have to change the variables, but could you give up the others?"


"As fucked up as Andrew was, he was on the brink of turning everything around. He had just had his come to Jesus moment." Loner sticks his finger out and pushes the plate around in front of him, then sticks it right in the meringue to bring it up to his mouth. "And I would give up all the other memories to go back to the plane carrying me home and live out the rest of my days as him."

He lowers his hand, and places it on the albow of his opposite arm, then runs his fingers down the veins along his forearm. "But being here and remembering only one life? No. If I was still here, I'd prefer to remember them all. I'd like to know my true life. There has to be a real me there somewhere."


The Caregiver makes a thoughtful noise in her throat, nodding small as she watches the Loner make his response, her quiet brand of visible intensity turned for attentiveness, respect, and rumination for his answer. "I think a lot. But before I ever think about things, I feel them first, which sometimes is an issue. But sometimes it lets me... step outside the box a little, sensing things with something like a sixth sense? Maybe not that. Maybe it's just a whole lot of intuition where I don't know how to make the thoughts yet."

Her head shakes a little bit and she clarifies where she's going with that lead up, "It's interesting, the way people have differences in what they feel is or isn't the real 'them' and what makes that. It's why some of us name ourselves other things or prefer one name over another. I personally have no preference, but I don't want a new name at all because I made them and they made me. And nothing is separate, exactly, but sometimes when I'm looking in the mirror..."

There's a bare cut and narrow of her eyes to look at him through mascara darkened lashes, trying to think how to explain, "There's something far away, despite knowing who I am at the core with my senses. Like I can see myself from a different angle. It's hard to explain. Do you... separate overmuch, do you embrace, do you pick and choose? How do you do... the lives and here when it comes to the middle bit?"


The Creepshow comes from the parlor.


"It's like.. writing a book." Loner says after a moment of thought, picking up his fork once more. "They say write about what you know. And all of the different mes, they're all.." He pauses in his description. "They're all different iterations. What I could have been in that circumstance. In a way all they did makes sense to me when I view it alone. I may not agree with the things they did, but I'm not completely them."

"Glenn is what I could have been, but he's not the real me. Does that make any sense?" He folds his hands together in front of his face, casually flicking that fork between his fingers, where he sits between a spread of a few dozen plates of pie across the table in front of him. "They're not pieces of me, they're variations. I don't embrace them, but I understand them."


"It does. And I feel like facets on a gem as them, yes, like the light that goes outward and in. But at the same time, it's all blended together too, despite that sense of feeling... this otherness that's not separate or unfamiliar, but more... every single thing I am between them and here. It's a duality of feeling the same and different all at once and it's strange. And that's probably why I have voices going at each other in my head and heart in a way I can -hear- sometimes, it's so intense. Those conflicts haven't figured out where to fall." The Caregiver assures the Loner with a quick nod of her head, explaining how she feels that, but then feels at other extreme too, briefly working her bottom lip between her teeth with bruising pressure of distraction to keep her facial features from going into a state of fluster or overwhelm from the thickness of it all.

"What do you feel the urge to write on the typewriter? Does it irritate you that it disappears because it's wasted effort instead of maybe a therapy of sorts? Because even if it disappears, maybe you should still write it. Even if they're things that should stick."


A young mixed-race woman strolls in, short and curvy, dressed in an orange sports halter and a baggy pair of white pants. Her hair is tied in a series of six knots that start behind one ear and arc over her head to the other. She moves with a languid grace. She inclines her chin in greeting to Loner, who saw 'New Creepshow' the other day, and offers another to the Carebear, smiling a little.

"There you are," says Creepy. "I was wondering where some of you have been since I tried murdering Oz. Sorry about that, by the way. It's been rough."


"I found the second life to be the hardest to recover from, and not just because of the oddity of mine." Loner finally lowers the fork back to his pie, taking another bite. "The first, you only have one set of memories. The second is where you have two voices screaming in your head for attention. The third.. they all start to drown each other out. It's becomes.. familiar. At least that's how it was for me. Glenn was torture coming back from, but once he sunk back to where the other two were in my mind, I found it easier to ignore all three." He picks up a piece of crust and pops it into his mouth.

"I don't know. I've only messed around on it a little. I feel like it's a clue. None of my lives have been writers. Julian came the closest, he started writing a book about the Lodge, recording what happened. It wasn't finished when I came back here though. So.. I feel like it's the memento of my real life.. even if they just put it there to mess with me." He snorts softly. His eyes drift over as Creepy enters the dining hall, nodding his head.


"It makes sense that it'd be... the troublesome one. Makes me feel a little better to know that from someone else." There's not a lot of color variation as a whole in the Facility, and the Caregiver had heard the story, of the Creepshow turning into a black woman with big tits, more or less, so even though it takes a moment, it eventually sinks in with her who has just walked in.

While speaking to the Loner, she does a bit of a double take, then breathes, "... Max? Holy shit, I mean, someone told me, but... holy shit." After batting her lashes a few times seated there in her strapless little spring floral dress, she looks down at her own chest for a beat, then back up to compare. Then she can't help but joke, remembering Max tiny tits out like 'fuck it' after getting pulled from hooks, "Did you get new bras in your closet? I think I'm impressed."


"We had the added fun of being Synthetic our second spin," Creepy agrees with Loner. "I used to feel like the lives I lived were people I'd skinned and worn like a costume. They weren't me. But the more I was 'me' here, the more I hated it and hated her, so I tried just staying in my room after Prosperity. Barely came out at all. That didn't work either. So after Max I tried clinging to her, staying her. That... went horribly wrong, as you saw when I tried killing Oz. So I kinda ran outta options. Couldn't stand me, couldn't be one of them. I wanted off the ride. I got what I wished for, in a way."

She wanders into the dispensary, still in eyesight and easily heard. She continues as she navigates a touch screen. "Whole new wardrobe," she confirms. "Lotsa the same stuff, but different size now. And a TON of haircare stuff I never would have needed in a million years before. It's a fucking trip."


Loner looks over at Creepy. "That is a distinctly unsettling way to describe it, but it makes sense." He turns his head to look in the direction of the parlor with a frown. "But the 1930s.. I just hope we're not in Europe. I don't need to see the start of a World War." He visibly shudders, finishing off that second slice of pie and tossing the plate aside. Actually tossing it up against the wall, where it shatters. He has his little acts of petty rebellion, they make him happy.

"HAving the same face is one of the few comforts I have, I think I would lose my mind if I lost that." He pulls over yet another of his pies, leaning down to sniff it. "Banana? Hmm.." He looks over his shoulder in not-Max's direction. "Talking like an American as Glenn was bad enough."


"Huh." The Caregiver breathes to herself, leaning a bit while seated to follow the newly modeled Creepshow with her eyes, still somewhere between baffled, unnerved, and fascinated all at the same time. It's likely large in part because of how much the other female's mood seems to have re-aligned, at least, with the change that would have put the brunette herself into insanity, the way this go'round is. Across to Loner, she drabs, "Maybe if it's the thirties, we all die from the Dust Lung instead of consumption like Prosperity." It's dry and a bit of a morbid way to make light of the idea that they know at this point what's inevitably coming in some variation. The next life.

Then her brows knit, wondering helplessly, even though they can't possibly know for certain about much of anything in this place, "I tried to bleed myself to where I was before death because I wanted to remember something. But the reset kept me from dying, I think. Which is good, because that would have been an embarrassing drunk oopsie, I think. Especially if--" A pause, "Would I have woken up looking different from doing that, or was it because of your mindset going into it, you think?"


"It's like... when the costume goes on, I'm them, and all the postcard memories of 'before' are my Cliff's notes for playing the part. I've never survived a story, so there's no 'after' for me to have to reconcile." Creepshow finishes putting in her order, then takes it when the hatch opens. Some red liquid over ice and a bag of sweet onion potato chips. Back over to them in the dining room she goes.

"I think it was because I needed it," she answers the other woman. "I've died several times here, and so have others, and that never happened. I was breaking apart. Something had to give. I kept having dreams about someone that cares for me putting me out of my misery, and so I got someone to try it."


Loner pokes a few times at the pie in front of him before finally trying a bite. He just looks confused. "I know banana cream pie is a thing, but it's like pudding in a crust. Why not just eat the pudding?" He wrinkles his brows and shakes his head, pushing it aside to the reject pile and going for the next one. At least this one didn't end up on the floor like the tomato pie.

"I considered going back to Andrew's memories and trying to overdose in the holodeck. See what happens, but, I don't want to give in to his demons." He shakes his head as he pokes the new piece of pie in front of him, this one looking like coconut cream. "That an Connor would kick my ass if he found out I did that."


"Yeah. I can't say I envy never living through any of it, but at the same time, I know what living through is like twice now, neither time was pleasant. Then even if they had been pleasant, it still would have been all torn apart, no doubt, so mm. I was rather furious when I woke up. Now I'm just too overwhelmed with feelings to come out and let it spill all over people that already have their own fuckery and feelings to deal with, more or less." The Caregiver comments after the Creepshow mentions the death theme between her lives, head shaking a little bit before she pulls hair over her shoulder with sweep to play with in fidget. Her features are more thoughtful than distressed, though, and there's a beat where her eyes flit to Loner and his pie complaints with fondness.

"Maybe you did..." the brunette makes supposition to the curvy mixed-race woman while looking her over in brief survey of contemplation about a world of things given the hyperfocus of her eyes while momentarily distracted by her own mind. Then after blinking a few times, "We all need different things to feel together and the way you akin your lives to skins, well, I can see where it would almost feel... like something fresh in here where you keep returning to so much of the same."

Then her eyes flit back to Loner, looking a little uneasy about the prospect with those old bonds still on her somewhere, "... probably a warranted asskicking. It's unnerving how much those rooms change people and I'm wary about stepping into somewhere that makes me feel so much like... you know. But doing nothing about much of anything feels cheap too, like I'm missing out on a way to challenge something that needs dealing with. I just don't know what's worth it, yet."


"Well," Creepy points out to Loner, "he'd only get pissed if he knew about it. Go in late, when you think it's close to lights out anyway. You end up back in bed. Next morning, good as new, no one knows but you." ...Is she encouraging him to do it? Quite possibly.

A nod is given to Caregiver. "Stuff inside's changing, too. A new body alone wasn't going to fix anything for me. My door symbol's the same, but my room has changed some, and I can feel things in my head shifting a bit. It's gradual, though. Not sure who I'll end up, but she won't be exactly the same. It's hard to explain. And yeah, I was gonna go train robbing with Nettie, but now... I dunno if I'm ready to be her again. Not so soon after the change."


"Might take a life with the new face to really settle into it." Loner states as he pokes the coconut cream pie with his fork. He tastes the filling and gives a nod. How that's different from the banana one, who knows? "I've died twice, I've lived twice. They both have their shittiness. On one hand it sucks to be pulled in here from a life you were living free from the shit we find ourselves in. On the other hand, remembering dying is hardly a pleasant experience. I'm just glad one of my deaths couldn't feel pain. Really don't need to know how a spike through the eye feels."

"Glenn's death didn't even hurt that much, it just.." He makes a motion like cutting with a pair of scissors. "Julian went through the most physical pain, but he lived." His hand goes unconsciously to his left arm, which was a mass of burns when he left the Lodge.


"Being exploded and shot was physically painful, other things aside, but the other things that hurt me, they hurt me so much worse." Wincing a bit at the spike through the eye piece from Loner, the Caregiver comments and weighs before she shakes her head a little bit, fingers still making sweep and play through her hair as something to do while looking so contemplative. And maybe she's backpedaling just a little bit on what she lamented earlier about remembering all the ways she could have died and almost did.

"I mean. I said I hoped I died next time because I was tired of feeling all the loss and living, but the ways people die sometimes, it... I thought I was going to go down torn apart by a fish person and shot that possibility in the fucking face because no thanks. I was scared enough of the giant beaver stories, a hybrid animal-person-thing from the deep was just about my sanity breaking point. But somehow I stood ground. Probably because someone else sacrificed their own life to keep me breathing.

She looks at the Creepshow, then, her brows knit down because she's got so many deaths under her belt, "Do you prefer to die, you think? Shitty question, but when living or dying is all you know, the other thing naturally seems so much more attractive. But maybe you think otherwise given the sheer scope of death, for you."


There's a thoughtful frown from Creepshow as she considers that. "I don't think I can survive," she says. "It's not what I am. I don't think I'm meant to grow old, to live a long life. So no, it's not that I prefer it, it's just the way it is. Dying sucks, trust me. I die a lot. But there's truth in what you said about the dying not always hurting the worst."


Loner stands up with the plate in hand. "I think I'm going to finish this and curl up with a book. I found the Hobbit in my room and got reading it again. Get some me time before I get tossed into whatever hell this place has in store for us next. Come and let me know if the radio starts a countdown or some shit." He offers a nod to the two women and turns to makes his way back to his room.


"Maybe. It's hard not to feel born to die, even when you live. So in your case... maybe exponentially so. It's hard for me, in the same vein, to not feel like I'm made to hurt. I don't have walls inside. It's a blessing and a curse. I worried the door symbol meant I would hurt others, but now I don't think so. I think I'm made to steal their hurt, no matter how it hurts me. Then again, who knows what's coming."

The Caregiver clicks her tongue once and looks at the Creepshow after smiling a bit after the Loner's departure, "He still lets me hug him, though. Surly goose." A pause, "You don't think we're robots, do you?" It seems to come out of the blue like something that's sticking and bothering her for one reason or another, "I didn't know what they were, really, the first time, now I've had sci-fi movies and I've been to space through the door with others. And I hate that idea most of all, I think. I'd rather be haunts or ghosts, at least that's a human living soul that lives on, tortured as it is."


"I've been a robot," says Creepy with a shrug. "And I think I had a soul, anyway. but no, I don't think we're robots. AI, maybe, but not robots. We're alive, aware, sentient. And you don't hurt others, you help them. There are monsters among us - I'm one of them. But you aren't."


"I... killed an unconscious woman. Eilis isn't okay with how I did it. But she doesn't know about monsters the same way Elaine did. I know it didn't look like it, that was the point of Laine, the claw up-- she came from poverty, her mom always had boyfriends that... were too interested in the daughter and she was a stripper for four years. And she thought men were made to hit when they got mad, that they couldn't help it sometimes, that there was a monster in them somewhere they can't control, all of them."

The Caregiver pulls in a huge breath of air and wets her lips before tilting her head some and conceding, "But Laine keeps yelling back at Eilis when it comes, she keeps insisting she knew what a real monster was, that there was no hurting woman to rehabilitate." Her eyes squint a little at the Creepshow, really looking at the other woman in a way that's pretty Caregiver specific no matter what life is on her, "I liked Max. And I don't really know you in here, but I think I like you too because you have the monster inside you. That's familiar to me, knowing the bad parts of others just as much as the good. But the one that lives inside, the one that's part of you, it's also not all of you like it is with real monsters. Otherwise you wouldn't be fighting it."


"It's the me that lives here," Creepshow says of the monster. "Each story I live through ends with more people I care about, and then I wake up here and hurt them. It had to stop. I tried just being Max, but Max was angry at Oz and Danica for abandoning her, and I almost killed him for it. It wasn't his fault. We don't choose who we are in the stories. They didn't choose to be flighty newlyweds. So it wasn't fair to be angry at them, and the monster used Max's anger to attack. I couldn't be Max. I couldn't be the monster. Now I'm something new."


There's a bare considering tilt of her head as she looks at and listens to the Creepshow, then her gaze shifts to take in the entirety of the new form upon her physically before nodding her small understanding. "It's hard not to get bogged down right now and envy that to a degree, which maybe isn't entirely rational. But if I'm going to hurt like this every time I wake up in here and be alone after losing over and over, I... being something new sounds..."

She looks yearning for a moment, but in that miserable kind of way that's sheer anguish. Her facial features don't really have a sense of expressive control here, so it just floods her before she shifts it some with resigned admission, "But that's not me, I know that. When everything isn't wrong... when I can't love others, I still love myself enough for fighting through and helping others fight through too. It's just me wanting to hide and run as a reflex to all the hurt because it's so goddamn overwhelming. But the anger about being in this position helps."

"Do you... have a life that you preferred over all of them? Assuming... certain horrible factors are taken out of the equation, maybe." She doesn't know much about the other woman's lives, afterall, so she definitely throws in the caveat.


"Max," Creepy answers easily. "Max was who I'd be in a heartbeat if given a choice. That was a part of the problem. I think you're stronger in some ways than I am, but if you ever need someone to help blow off steam, come find me." She gets up, taking her drink and chips with her. "I mean it."


"Thank you. I'm glad you're getting through and finding new ways, even though it... fucking sucks." The Caregiver tells Max, looking at her own coffee cup before rising up to take it in exchange for refresh before going back to her room. And her words come with a small, but utterly genuine smile.