Log:The Real Madison
The Penitent said her room was soothing, and in a lot of ways it is. Soft colours, lino floor. Painted pictures are on the walls. Peaceful landscapes, all of them. Forests, rivers, rolling hills and skylines. A closet, a vanity, and a simple but comfortable and functional bed. The lights are on, and the woman herself is sitting on the bed, back against the wall. Her legs are curled up to her chest and she's reading same book she had yesterday. A cellphone is on the nighstand, Madison's cellphone with that same sparkly green plastic cellphone case, face down.
One picture has been turned around, only the frame and the backing board visible, and she's just reading quietly.
There is a soft rap at the door, before the Capitalist lets himself in without even asking permission to do so. "I was wondering where you went off to." He says as he walks into further into the room, his gaze wandering and taking in everything he can of this room. The paintings are of interest to him and he moves to admire one a magnificent skyline, stating, "You weren't wrong. This room actually does suit you, though you're missing your divan."
Though he does notice the odd picture turned around, he has other things on his mind that to question it right now. Returning to look upon his sister, he crosses a path to stand beside her bed. "I was worried about you."
She looks up at that knock on the door, already half a breath into the words 'Come in' before he does so anyway. There's that pleasant smile there upon her lips. "I just had to ... think for a bit. You know? And with the sprinklers revealed, well. That was done and I was distracted by the door." Or the image on the door, at any rate. She moves, letting her legs stretch out as she sits up proper against the wall, folding one corner of the page she's on over in the book and then closing it to set it aside.
"Did you find out anything more after the fire? I'm glad that there are sprinklers at least. It's a good thing." She nods once, as though deciding on the spot that it is, indeed, a good thing. "You don't really need to worry about me, I think. It seems that you and ... Maata," with nothing else to call her, that's what she settles on, "Are having a harder time here than I am."
"Thank God." The Capitalist says with a slight exaggeration in his tone as he moves to sit down at the edge of The Penitant's bed. "If that fire had gotten out of hand, then the books (which were still there by the way), in the parlor would have all went up in flame. Along with the entire parlor." Then it's his turn to smile over at his sister, "Not that I don't trust Maata, of course. It looked like she knew what she was doing even if all it got her was wet."
A mildly curious gaze is given the book, looking for the title of it. "No. We found nothing after the sprinklers went on. Nothing about this place anyway." Only then does he turn to her. The tone he'd used so far was a mostly droning one, but with this look of concern of his features, his tone becomes more somber to match it. "A harder time? How can anyone have an easy time in here knowing that there's no way out. Don't you wonder where we are right now? And don't you want to find out?"
The book is called 'Who Moved my Cheese?' and proclaims itself as a guide to help dealing with change. One of those self-help things. Her arms rest on her belly, hands clasping together as she nods slightly. There is a bit of a shudder at the idea of everything going up in flames. "I didn't know her as well as you did." She says simply, shoulders lifting in an easy shrug.
"I don't know. I'm curious, I suppose, about where we are or what is going on. I'm still processing a lot of it. But I don't really have a pressing need for answers. If anything, I'm more interested in who I am, rather than where I am. But there's nothing to ... hold onto in terms of an identity. So I guess I am figuring it out as I go." She pauses, idly chewing at her lip in thought, a gesture that is pure Madison. "It's very strange, really."
The Capitalist doesn't look impressed by this book, thus dismisses it completely. "It's okay, Mads. The fire is out. Then there was a moment where I remembered everything so... hyper clearly. Certain things kept replaying in my mind. Like our conversation with Akala and then what followed. It's like, I could hear those last words he uttered, over and over again."
There is a narrowing of his eyes at the things which she says. Shifting slightly, he draws himself closer where she lays, just so he can reach a hand out to her and place it upon one of hers now. "What do you mean who you are? You know who you are. Madison." Those narrowed eyes soften even his brow begins to furrow hinting less annoyance and more concern. "We were all there together on the island. I... there was a time where I felt like I was simply floating in darkness and I kept seeing your face. And Maata's. And then I woke up here. But, why do you have doubts about who you are?"
"Is it, though? All of us, you and Maata and Dahlia and Jonas don't seem to be confident that is who we are. The island is clear. I remember it all happening, from that first moment we set foot on it, getting everything set up. Opening night, the worry about all the money we're losing when the comms trailer was sabotaged. The boar hunt. The lost tribe and ... everything that came after. But before that? We all know what happens if we try to look further back. It's not really there." She tilts her head back, her hand twitching slightly under his when it's placed there.
"Let me tell you about Madison. Madison had the lives of everyone there on her shoulders. No matter how many people told her it wasn't her fault, it just made her feel worse. Because she felt it was her fault. People died, and she blamed herself. She blamed herself because she was still more afraid for her own life, and her brother's, than anyone else. She felt responsible, but also too terrifying to do anything. Madison had to drink herself to sleep in the dark while her brother focused on trying to fix things, and she even kept secrets from him."
She inhales a long breath, exhaling it slowly, practiced breathing to calm herself. "When I ... realized the memories were hard to grasp, that Madison's life is hard to really remember, do you know what I felt? Relief. Relief that I am not her. That I am not responsible for so much death and suffering. Or that I don't feel responsible for it, whichever way you want to look at it."
"I'm confident now that I know who I am." The Capitalist says in a firm tone, "And I have little doubt of it anymore. This place, can't you see? It's disorienting, it confuses our minds and I am determined to hold onto my identity because that's all we have left."
Then she tells him all about his sister, the person who she is supposed to be. He listens and recognizes all of these things about his sister, Madison, as they leave the Penitent's lips. When she brings up how Madison drank herself to sleep when he focused on fixing things, he quickly states, "That was my job, Mads. Not yours. This was my festival and while there were different parts of it that we had a hand in, I had this need to ensure that it was kept running. None of that is on you and-- secrets?" His brow arches now, when she says this.
What she speaks of next brings an evident frown to his lips. "You're... you can't run away from your problems, Madison. It's not that simple and I really wish it were. But I need you. You've always been my rock. You've had my back when no one else did." Those dark eyes of him look directly at her, almost pleadingly for her to listen to him. "If you don't believe that you're Madison, my sister, then I don't know what will become of me."
"This place seems to me a chance to forge a new identity. To be something ... different." Oh, if only she knew the truth. The Penitent tilts her head slightly, turning her wrist to grasp his hand proper in a familiar grip.
"You're doing it again. It doesn't matter what anyone said, I still blamed myself. I was responsible for everyone there. Why would I want to go back to feeling like that again?" Her voice quivers, and tears start to form in her eyes, quickly blinked away. Another deep breath. "No. I want to be calm. It can be peaceful here, without distressing thoughts like that." A few more rapid blinks, her other hand reaching up, a single finger wiping at her eye. "I'm not running away from my problems. My point is there don't have to be any problems here, it seems to me." A pause, and she continues. "Madison always felt guilty, when it came to you. I knew why our father never had any faith in you, why you always had to prove yourself three times over to get even a hint of approval from him. We didn't have the same father, Conrad. Mom told me so long ago, and yet even that memory is a vague thing. It always ate away at her ... at me ... to know this secret and see how you were treated. I don't think dad actually knew. Just had a lot of suspicions. But ..." she shakes her head. "I'm sorry."
"So that's why you're reading self-help books?" The Capitalist says gesturing to the book on her bed with an edge of anger in his voice. His free hand lifts to pinch the bridge of his nose as an attempt at calming himself down, but it is Madison's grasp at his hand, the familiarity of her hold that helps to quench his ire. His other hand lowers now.
When told that he was absolving all blame from her again, he simply sighs with a shake of his head, "I know, I know. But if there was a way to help the rest of them? Wouldn't you want to try? I mean, I don't blame you for wanting to better yourself. Who doesn't? But to distance yourself from who you really are? I mean, if you're not Madison then..."
Then she mentions their father and the treatment he had received from the man throughout his life... even those are mere fragments to him, but as he tried to dig deeper within his memory, many of the negative aspects of his life had come up. He had always wondered why there was all of this resentment towards him. Looking back at those snapshots of his life before the island, that much of Conrad Wellson's life was clear. But he did not expect to hear what is revealed next. They didn't have the same father? "What do you mean? Was mom drunk at the time when she told you?" Obviously, he's in disbelief about this, though... it did all make sense. "If I'm not a Wellson then what am I?" It's strange how this question fits their current situation so perfectly. Everyone was questioning their identity here, but unlike the others, Conrad is now needing to confront the dark secret held from him. One that could destroy his life if his father ever found out.
There's another shrug at the books. The answer seems obvious, and she tilts her head back again, staring up at the ceiling. Another deep breath. "I would help them if I could, of course. I'm not uncaring, but I couldn't find a way out of here. I can't help but feel there's no point in feeling responsible for a life I can't even remember properly. You don't really know what it was like."
Her expression shifts into something sympathetic and worried at Conrad's reaction to the news, the woman still unsure if it's something he really needed to hear, or just something she needed to tell. The memories of Madison Wellson come to the surface and in this moment, she is truly that woman, and Conrad's sister as she leans foward, a hand reaching to his shoulder. She actually gives a laugh, a think that comes out with more tears. "Actually yes. She was drunk!" The laugh turns into something of a sob. "I'm so sorry Conrad. I tried so hard to get him to accept you, to approve, to treat us both the same. It's why I always had your back, little brother, because it doesn't matter to me, and it never did." The words are those distorted things as tears roll freely down her cheeks now. A sniff, and bother of her hands lift up to rub at her face now. "Oh god, I'm sorry."
Any other conversation that they were having gets overshadowed by this one secret. A secret that leaves Conrad stunned, that incredulous look in his eyes. He doesn't want to believe any of it, preferring to be oblivious towards their father's agenda against him. "Maybe, she didn't know what she was talking about. You said it, Maddy. She was drunk." Denial forces you to make all the excuses that you can and this is what he does now. And if she were telling the truth... "Was it with one of dad's business partners?" Not that if it were, that it would make things any better. Now Madison's in tears, but in his own state of shock, there's little that he can do to comfort her.
He does try, however, reaching out to place a hand at the side of her shoulders. "It's... It's fine that you told me. I wish I'd know early." He so didn't... And even in this strange situation that they've found themselves in, where they aren't sure if they are dead or alive; In heaven, hell or limbo, he was not willing to throw what he believed was his life, away. One of his hands reaches into jacket breast pocket for a handkerchief. "Here."
"Maybe, but I doubt it," Madison sobs out. Some woman manage to be kind of pretty when they cry. She's not one of them. She's all red faced and sniffing and rubbing at her face. The hanky is greatfully accepted, and she uses it to clear her eyes, spending a few moments in quiet to focus on breathing and to calm herself, her hands dropping back down. "No. She said it was with Alejandro. I always figured dad didn't know who, or he wouldn't have been allowed to stick around. But I don't think he was certain." Certain enough to make Conrad's life kind of harder than it needed to be, though.
"And when it mattered most, I couldn't save you, apparently. We walked into Akala's trap, and I couldn't get you out. Then we wake up here all of a sudden, with our memories distant and confused, and you can see why I'm not certain that I'm not Madison Wellson. Why I'm happy to not be Madison. Because she ... is not a very fun person to be."
Madison had always watched out for him, he knows that much and while he has a difficult time remembering their lives growing up together, she was always a constant in his life. She gave him stability... and the money which his father refused to give him. So seeing her like this, well, he rarely ever sees her in this bad a shape. Besides being a weeping mess, he reaches over to pull her in close, even though she might mess up his suit. A hand pats her gently on the back. "Look, don't worry about it okay. And... I'm grateful for you to have looked out for me this whole time. Wait what?? Alejandro?" Even Conrad knew who Alejandro was. He still comes around to the house... "I had suspected that something was going on between them, but I was thinking now. More in the present rather than..." Alejandro? The pilates instructor? If it were some President or CEO of a company, that would be understandable, but his mother's pilates instructor??
This leaves him feeling even more cold than when the secret was first revealed that when she continues on, his mind is still distracted by the news. Then Akala's name is mentioned. "None of us got out of it. Maybe Maata, but.. I wouldn't have let Akala hurt you if I could either, Mads. Which is why I need to get out of here and find him and make him pay for what he did to u--" Then she brings up that she isn't certain of her own identity again and though it pains him to hear this, he knows that his sister has been through a lot in her life, despite being the favorite. "But you can change that. Madison can change, I mean, everyone can change right?"
She's grateful for just that simple touch, her arms around her brother, her face buried into his shoulder and the floodgates are truly let loose. Goodbye, composure. All the terror and anxiety and exhaustion of the days spent on the Gray Island come out. The fears of lost revenue, lost sponserships, the walking dead ancestors of a lost tribe of natives, the callousness of David Akala in light of their sutation, and all the tension that built night after night before reaching that fiery, final conclusion is all let loose. It's quite some time before she's quiet, and some time beyond that before she shifts away again. Once again the hanky dabs at her eyes, and she leans back against the wall once more.
"When I first got here, I was alone for a while. There was no one. It was so quiet. I thought it was somehow my ... punishment. For getting everyone into that mess. And I felt like I deserved it, too. That's who I am. That's who Madison was. Look at that image on my door. And this damn cellphone," she reaches out to sweep it up, "is nothing but a reminder of the guilt she had. So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to change."
Conrad is quiet to allow his sister this time to cry and release all of that pent up anger, frustration and fear. He had other thoughts plaguing his mind as well now. He was always a nobody, not the son of a wealthy, important man. But the son of someone so far beneath his station. This, oddly, is what scares him. And he could refuse to believe it still and perhaps in his head he continues to do so, but for Madison's sake, he won't question it.
Once she withdraws from him, he straightens as well, a hand meticulously smoothing out the front of his jacket, feeling her hot tears on his lapel. The image on her door did make sense now. He could see it with how all of this, everything had stressed her out. He would tell her that none of this could be her fault because Wyred Fest was always his idea. He had thought of it, but he knows that it wouldn't have mattered. "So out of all of us, you... died first. Then Dahlia and the hacker guy. Then..." Maybe he was on that helicopter that Maata had mentioned. When Penitent reaches for her phone, he leans in close to take a look. "That's messed up. Whoever is doing this to us has a sick sense of humor." Sick sense of humor towards her, all he got was Conrad's watch.
The phone is handed over easily. It doesn't work. It's got no signal. It doesn't have any apps. Just a standard smartphone, with only one icon on the main screen. Emails. Within? All of Madison's emails exchanged back and forth with Akala to organise the use of the Gray Island. Negotiations. The sizable 'donation' made to help the process along. Madison really was quite good at that sort of dealing, and the emails of course wouldn't capture the whole of the conversation.
"I just don't have any answers, Conrad. But I'm much happier to be here, where it's warm and comfortable and peaceful, than I have been for all those days on the island. And if you need me to be your sister, to be Madison, for your sake ... I ..." she trails off, shaking her head and pausing before continuing. "Part of me wants to easily slip into that familiarity. And part of me just doesn't want to think like that anymore. I need to figure myself out, for me, before I can figure myself out for you."
Scrolling through the various emails, the Capitalist cna't help but be impressed by his sister's persistence. She got the island that everyone said she couldn't have. But they both know the reason why she was able to do so... There was no need for him to look any further, but rather than hand it back to the Penitent, he mercifully sets it ontop of her nightstand instead.
If Madison didn't drop that bomb on him, Conrad may still be putting up more of a protest right now. Luckily for her, he has his own issue that he has to overcome. If he was confused about his identity when he first woke up in this place, he is less certain now. "I understand." His voice is softer now when he speaks to her. "As you can imagine, I have a few things that I need to come to grips with myself." Before he rises, he reaches out to place his hand onto hers like he did earlier, to give her a reassuring squeeze. Then he moves to stand. Like usual, he straightens his tie and smooths out the front of his suit before he departs. Though he cannot help but linger within eyesight of the mystery painting. It looks ominous the way in which it was hung, but for now, he won't badger her with trivial questions such as that. The Penitent The Capitalist