Log:The Sound and the Fury
They all talked at once, their voices insistent and contradictory and impatient, making of unreality a possibility, then a probability, then an incontrovertible fact, as people will when their desires become words.
― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
It was hard, so hard, sleeping alone. The woman once known as Elaine Gallagher had been in the grip of another nightmare, she thinks. It was hard to tell. They happened so often, it's easy to assume that's the case. Sometimes, she vividly remembered the images, so many awful degrees of truth, twisted moments, and horrible memories. Sometimes, there were only echoes and imprints of terror, equally terrifying to wake to and feel. How many times did she act on the urge to leap from bed and run, the need to flee from blood and screaming, explosions and gunshots, pain and horror? How many times did she end up huddled in a closet or the shower because the bed never really felt safe alone?
How safe could she possibly feel, how whole could she possibly be when the sound and the fury was still inside her?
But Elaine reminds herself, she reminds herself as she has over this past year since the horror of the Lodge, you just keep waking up, even when the nights break you down. When morning comes, you watch the light settle in through the window, you look at what you have left in your hands to hold, and you fit those pieces together again. But there's no window. Her eyes are open now and she's not leaping out of bed to run because there's too much darkness. Her breath holds. Then when she finally moves, the sensor lights rise.
The room is wrong. But the smell is familiar. She still feels like Elaine. But she feels like someone else too. The Caregiver has always felt too much, no matter what life she knows.
Even though she's been here before, the brunette still has Laine in her bones. Even though Eilis is starting to rouse in her mind, in her heart, that's not the other person she feels like, exactly. And the woman's senses are suddenly flaring one very strong feeling over all others: she doesn't feel safe. The sound and the fury inside her starts to shift to something louder, something hot in the blood instead of the chill that comes with being endangered. But she's unable to catch up. She's stuck lying there as time moves or stands still, naked in bed, waiting to boil over with confusion, terror, and rage she can't yet explain, but eventually one necessity wins out-- she needs desperately to feel safe.
The Caregiver moves, throwing back the covers on the bed. She doesn't see it yet, but the silver cross on a leather thong that she woke up wearing the first time, the easier time when everything was whole, when everything was just a dream, it's hung on one of the bedposts. Beside it, on the nightstand, is a business card laid out for Club Deja Vu in Seattle. She doesn't see that either. She goes for the bathroom without stopping to look around or jar her memories back.
The water is ice cold when it falls on her from the shower because she's burning, she's burning right now with so much anger and helplessness and it's all-consuming. She tries to pretend it's the waterfall, she tries to pretend she's with Christian again as she gasps there, leaning wet against the wall. She tries to pretend the cold tile is the wet rock against her back as they fall into each other's bodies and that moment of high flying happiness and freedom. She tries to hum their song for right then but nothing comes out.
No. Something comes out. It's an echoing scream of frustration. And it happens again and again before she falls into tears. Eilis is starting to clash with Elaine inside, they're arguing, one is horrified by the other with all her excuses. The sound and the fury is changing. But she ignores the overflow of her head and heart. She rejects logic. She's overwhelmed by feeling. The Caregiver has no filter in this place.
The woman's arms are someone else's arms. She feels that as she comes to step out of the still running shower, dripping, intent on wrecking. Her hands are a tempest, her legs are momentum, her brain has snapped off, she doesn't care anymore if she's safe, somehow she knows there's no such thing now.
The room is beautiful and gentle and made to soothe. But now it's also a purgatory. And she wrecks it. She starts wrecking it all. Her skin is flushed and she has all the unmarred, stunning radiance of life and everything she is while in that state; she's a piece of sheer fire and life made to face death, dripping wet insanity of the moment be damned. She uses all of her doll parts made to dance through terrible lifetimes to tear everything apart, starting with the mirror at the vanity. Because that's exactly how she feels inside.
The Caregiver wants to cut and burn the puppet strings that are suddenly tangled, winding and choking her. She's nothing but sound and fury.
With his lukewarm reunion with the Penitent still on his mind, the Capitalist doesn't immediately follow the woman when she wanders off to get something to eat upon her waking in this place. If anything, his eyes merely trail behind her, simply observing as she goes off after their group hug. A look is then shared with the Actress, seeing whether she's about to get changed into something dramatic as she was planning on hitting the stage once more.
Whatever it was that the Capitalist was planning on doing, all of that is forgotten once he hears the sudden sound of crashing and glass shattering. It was coming from one of the rooms. And that's when he realize just which room it was. The room right next to his. "That... didn't sound good." This is said to the Bravo, before rather than knocking, he goes for the door, letting himself in. "Laine?" He calls out the first name that comes to mind, even though there is another at the tip of his tongue as well. Then he sees exactly what is going on, a protective arm is lifted, though he hopes that it works as a calming gesture as well, when he tries to approach the young woman, "Laine, you're safe here." He lies. He's not even sure. "You're not alone, we're here now."
The Capitalist himself is dressed in a buttoned down white business shirt, with a pair of slacks, dress shoes and a well-made up tie.
Something more dramatic. It might have been in the cards, but Bravo didn't ever get time to act on the plan. The noises from one of the rooms ending any kind of plan that might have been. Instead she's left in her rather simple white skirt and shirt, her sandals, dressed down for her. As down as she is here, has been here. Short of the bunny slipper moments.
When Capitalist moves for the door there is a slight frown, and then a sigh as Bravo abandons all the plans for quiet time on a stage somewhere to follow. She could leave, walk away into the sunset as it were, but she trails along through the door anyways. At least a few steps in, a hand reaching behind her to start closing the door, keeping anyone else out and away from what is going on inside. "C? You..." She starts, right there on the tip of her tongue is a question, but she bites it back. Letting him handle it.
The Caregiver doesn't really notice the entry, she hears the voice, and instead of it stalling her with familiarity and soothe, it makes her sling a bottle of perfume against the wall. Because it makes her feel. It makes her feel so much more. She's still rejecting logic, but that doesn't mean that it isn't there, it's exactly why she's raging like this, in truth, because it's coming back to settle in her all at once. There's nothing to do but feel it all at once in this place. Who she is, who she was, it's not her concern right now, but then, she's not entirely sure how to voice or order any of that. And the voices in her head continue to clash as a backdrop for her. Two very different women, so very much the same.
For most, in both lifetimes, in the Facility, it seemed that the woman was gentle, outwardly, all the way to the insides. There was a grace about the way she handled things among others. She was always ready to be there, to pick up their pieces, to be Eilis' sunshine in a thunderstorm, or the pillar of easy balm she was for others as Laine. There were a choice couple of others that knew her tricks, though, the way she fell apart in private to be ready for everyone else. One of those two is now in the room. She hasn't quite yet registered the Bravo as there yet, which may be a good thing.
She's holding a shard of mirror, she's naked, things have been shattered or tossed in short order now that everything she feels is unleashed. And the word safe? Oh no. It's not a good one and the sound that comes out of her is suddenly a bubble of huffing, disbelief and subsequent laughter, "... safe. Because I lived, right? I hope I die next time. I hope..." She looks down at her arm, reacting to the voice moreso than the body delivering it. It's disturbing what she looks like she's considering there, standing wet and wild-eyed by the bed. But in the end, she just stabs the shard down into a pillow and slashes it before stilling. Because finally she's -looked- at the Capitalist. And even though the words are logical, she's not, she's still Laine, he's dead. She's a heavy-breathing deer in headlights instead like a switch flipped, though it's unclear if it's for the better.
The Capitalist looked like a slightly older version of Christian Price, but in all honesty, it's hard to tell. This concern and worry can be seen within his eyes and he watches the broken woman carefully, his eyes focused on that shard of glass for a long, breathless moment. When he moves, his steps are slow, not wanting to raise her anxiety and whatever else is going through her mind, in the case that she lashes out or, from what it looks like, lashes in on herself.
He pauses to look over his shoulder at Bravo, exchanging this look with her, to proceed with caution. Though he's sure that she knows that already. "You lived through all of that hell because you're a survivor. You're strong and... you deserved it." When he says 'you', he could possibly be talking about the Caregiver, but more than likely, he is addressing Laine. He continues forward, unless she makes any sudden moves with that mirror shard in her clutches. "You did good. I'm.. Well, I'm proud of you."
There doesn't seem to be much need to worry about her proceeding any at all. The look exchanged is answered with the very slightest raise of her hands, palms out before she carefully lowers her hands back to her sides. There isn't any quick movements, and for the moment she is biting her tonge, keeping herself quiet.
Pushing the wrong button, and saying the wrong thing, has already happened in a much less chaotic situation. Mistakes were made, and lessons learned. One such lesson is that it is far better to remain quiet and let someone that has been through this more times than her handle things. So Bravo just stays there by that door, ready to move out if things go sideways more than they already are.
Though still and quiet, the brunette continues to clutch at the mirror shard of glass once she's stabbed it to feather the pillow on the bed. It's not real obvious, initially, but blood starts to drip from it because she's cut herself with the sudden pressure as reflex once she's staring at Christian alive alive alive. But... the different is there too. She's trying to block it out, and her features are a war of expression and emotion that works phases through her big expressive eyes that are no longer wild, but conflicted. Breathing quick and shallow with acceleration, her deep pulls of air become nervous, shallow flutters and she has to look away suddenly, down at her hand.
She sees the blood. She drops the shard. Then her eyes close as she starts to shake with the post-traumatic of reliving the last time she saw him alive, feet rooted, "I... tried to kill her. I... wanted to die too. I didn't bleed out enough. She couldn't hit me right when she spent the rest of the bullets on me." Teeth setting on edge, her eyes raise, but it's Bravo she looks at, and it's unclear if she's really seeing the woman or moreso just using her as a somewhere else focal point before the eyes finally go back to the man she's afraid to look at, or maybe dying to look at, voice small as he gets near, "You were cold. I knew bodies went cold. I timed how long I had to lie with you in the blood, how long I had to pretend while you were still warm. I couldn't let the monsters get you even when I couldn't pretend anymore. I stayed so many hours like that. So tell me... if I'm alive..."
With abject misery, even though she's Laine, she feels Eilis' suffering in living too, in taking care of Pierce's cursed shell until she died after he left her drugged to ensure her own safety, "Tell me what safe means."
Once she starts on about her last moments with Christian, the Capitalist quiets down to listen. He remembers some of this, except for the parts where he was already dead. He recalls lying there bleeding for a brief moment and hearing the sound of gunshots again as he stared up at the ceiling before he was engulfed in darkness. He never got a chance to watch any of that happening on the television, so this is all new to him.
The blood alarms him and his eyes carefully look her over to see where she had cut and how deeply. "Laine..." His eyes turn from her towards where the towels are kept, retrieving a few and dampening one of them. "I wish things ended differently as well. All of that, that was my fault." Perhaps Christian had taken over him for now and he is truly speaking from the heart, "Vivian being there, that was my fault." Crouching down beside her, resting against one knee, he tries to tend to her and clean up some of that blood. "If I have to be honest, I don't know what safe means." Yes, that words come up twice already in one day and it's done no one a lick of good. "Nowhere is safe. But you're out of that mess for now."
There is just the very, very slightest sound from Bravo, enough that she hopes that she can get his attention, and not hers. But then again, she speaks up so it really doesn't matter if the sound is heard by either of them because she speaks up, keeping her voice quiet and level. "I'm going to go get something to drink." Not for her, for Laine. For Caregiver. And she's probably not talking coffee. "Let you get dressed and cleaned up." That is spoken more directly to her, although Bravo's looking at Capitalist, "I'll be back, C." With that she starts to slip back out the door to go fetch what she clearly thinks is required, or just using as an excuse to give people space to clean up.
"I told you once in the shower that I thought I was made for bad things. I think we all are. There's no way to win. Eilis thought she won in the end, you know. But her life... after he... my life in Paris, after all of that, I--" Caregiver can feel her heart slamming in her chest, it may even be tangible the way it beats as Christian, no, the Capitalist drops down with those tending towels for her hand. So near. She sounds like she's about to hyperventilate, but her hand turns out obediently, then she looks across at Roxie. No, the Bravo. She's confused and suddenly defensive, flipping a switch again while standing there so vulnerable and bare. Not because she's naked, not because she's literally bleeding, but because all of her is bleeding from the insides.
"She doesn't even... like me, why..." But then the blonde woman is picking up what she's throwing down before she's even had a second to throw it down, and the brunette's mind jumps again. Because suddenly, she's pleading downward, "I can't keep doing this. I can't. I don't have any walls inside like everyone else. You -know- that." He does. She's told him as the Capitalist, he's seen the way things wounded her as Eilis no matter how she tried to brighten them, he's... accidentally wounded her himself, in a way.
An appreciative look is given to Roxie, knowing that Laine might need the space, but also a good stiff drink might help things. The Capitalist is seeing them all with Christian's eyes now. Roxie. Laine. With the wet towel, he works to clean the wounded hand, dabbing at it with care and flippin the towel order once one section of it is covered in blood.
"Who doesn't like you?" He asks, then realizes who she may be speaking of, "Roxie?" Once the blood is cleared, he half-turns in the direction of the door which the Bravo had slipped out, before drying off and applying pressure down upon the gash. "Are you glad that you've woken up here?" He then asks, a steady gaze on her towel-pressed hand. "That it was all a bad dream that you've awoken from?" His words soften a touch when he goes on, "It gets worse when you've survived and you're living in bliss, only to end up here again."
"No. It's just as scary as the first time before I hid in the dream of seeing everyone again. But I feel like a puppet made to dance. And..." A pause, then overflow, "Oh god, Christian. I lived a year without you in Paris and it was supposed to be ours. And you were already so cold by the time I thought to kiss you goodbye. I cleaned your face instead. I fixed your shirt. I knew you'd... want to be handsome when they found us in the morning. Even in death." Laine, or what used to be her, she's here now, in full force starting to hitch with sobs she's trying to fight because tears are fogging the sudden intense watch on him. Drinking in his movement, his details, his breath even when he speaks. And her skin is starting to unwittingly flush again with him so close and alive because it's been so much longer for her. She's naked. Her breasts are telltale tipping taut. He's kneeling. Those memories, that position, at any other time...
"And I-- I'm looking at you now and I'm...seeing what isn't anymore. It's like slow motion watching you die all over again, somehow. You really were just a dream. And at the same time not a dream at all. I was always afraid of that. But... in a different way." Her jaw starts to tremble and after closing her eyes and fighting back the sobs, tears start to spill, her good hand with unmarred palm coming into anxious gripping violence of knead at one side of her neck.
She knows she's not Laine and where she is, that much is clear, but the Caregiver is also very much Laine as leftover right now and Eilis is nowhere to be heard or seen. At least, not at this point.
"That's what I meant, I'm still alive." The Capitalist murmurs, though he knows that it's not true. Christian had died. He felt it, he experienced it. But he was here now. Folding a final towel the long way, so that it's a thick strip of cloth, he begins to wrap this around the Caregiver's hand for now. Until, he can get some actual bandages. From his lowered vantage point, he looks up at her, taking in the misery on her features. "I watched the funeral you gave him. I thought it was beautiful." But images from the television, following the lives of those he was closest to, that's what kept the Christian persona around for this long. He then repeats, "I'm here now. And alive." Before slowly rising to full height, his hand still holding onto hers, "I know that it won't make you forget what you'd experienced and I won't say that it wasn't real. That we never lived that. But you try to leave those bad thoughts behind. I'm still here." With his free hand, which is tinged with a bit of her blood, but not at his fingertips, he gently tries to brush away her tears.
There's Eilis. It's Laine too, hanging on Christian's every word, but it's almost painfully sweet, girlish trust for Cillian that comes with the obedient nod, taking his brushing wipe of her tears like silent salvation instead of catch of breath and launch for him. Elaine might have argued, tried to tempt him into truths or lies to test. And when her eyes re-open wetly to look up at the Capitalist, it's the middle piece that's both and neither that looks up at him. It doesn't matter that the words that come after that are still echoes of their life before, "Elaine loved you more than you knew and she was too afraid to tell you. Eilis loved you and told you near every day she had space to say it. I love you. And I don't know what that means now. But I know..."
Finally it's just too much. She has to move, her feet are no longer planted, she steps forward into press against him to put her nose to his chest, hug intimate even without the lift of her arms. She breathes in. She finishes speaking, "I still want you to steal me. I want you to steal me out of here. We need out. I... what comes back with me doesn't die like it does for the others. I feel too much. I care too fucking much. And you..." Another breath, "If anyone can make it happen, it's you."
It's always strange how certain things are difficult to say even if they are some of the most important words that ever uttered. It doesn't take long for the Capitalist to be set into Christian's mindframe again, the program on the television kept reminding him that he was Christian Price even if others try to tell him otherwise. "Price," He starts, though decides this needed to be said, "Those last two weeks were some of the best that he'd ever experienced. He was genuinely happy with you. And even despite the stressful situation of being in hiding, Laine just had a way to remind him that he was alive. That life was worth living. Something which he almost forgot about with his relationship with Vivian." Vivian's face soon comes to mind and his body tenses, but this is right at the time where the Caregiver steps in close and his free hand, the hand not holding onto the towel wrapped around her injury, wraps around her to pull her in close.
Hearing her words and this desire for him to steal her away, the Capitalist has to stop and consider. He's not even sure where to start, but he understands this trauma that she is going through now, so if only to sound reassuring, he quietly says, "I'll try. For you."
Elaine thought a year of sleeping alone through night terrors without anyone to hold her together was hard. It was harder not to melt straight to faint, hearing the Capitalist speak in a way he would be able to feel with the arm wrapping around her. She laid against his chest without a heartbeat, last. Now it's back. Shuddering out a breath instead as she melds to lift arms in cling, her tears start again, in against his shirt, silent and free-flowing, hidden things. It's suddenly harder even still not to wrap an arm up around his neck and draw him down to her the rest of the way after feeling a whole year of living with him dead. It's what Elaine needed while Eilis needed to be told what came next.
But then she grits her teeth. Because the Caregiver has one thing she needs so much more as a whole-- it was all helpless rage and grief and fear before, coming out of her, but now it's centered again as she's held against the known man like a pillar of strength. It's because of who he was, because of who he is, then not only because of those things. It's because of what she feels inside him that there aren't words for, here in this place. And it makes her remember what's inside her too.
It's fight. His final words cinch it and the Capitalist can hear it as she turns her eyes back up, correcting with ingrained solidity that keeps melding her back together beautifully, despite the breaks and cracks, "We'll try. For us. We pull our own goddamn strings."
She has no idea how, of course, she knows he doesn't either. But really, at the end of the day, that's not the point. They've always had an end goal in their terrible lives, but the real struggle seemed to be in the struggle itself. This place is no different. The ruined room and the slam of their conflicted little hearts is proof.