Log:Waking Up Is Hard To Do

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Waking Up Is Hard To Do
Characters  •   The Avant-Garde  •  The Capitalist  •  The Creepshow  •  The Hunter  •  The Pedagogue  •  The Penitent  •  The Perfectionist  •
Location  •  The Facility
Date  •  2018-07-30
Summary  •  Some of the sacrifice volunteers wake up in the facility, and find others already there, and some things that have changed.

She had seen death, lots of it, and captured it on film. She'd watched people die, witnessed their last words and breaths. For her, she'd seen every angle there was to see, except one.

So Esmerelda Cortez died.

Darkness. She lays there, quiet and unmoving, simply embracing the nothing that surrounds her. The numb, empty feeling of it. Other feelings, or rather sensations, creep in. Soft, cool sheets beneath her. A pillow beneath her head. She's not dead. Not anymore. A frown, and The Creepshow sits up, triggering the lights.

Her room is insanity. The floor is bare concrete splattered with dried blood. The walls are red, ceiling black, and photographs of random violence, gore, and sex hang on the walls - people killing, dying, fucking, and not necessarily in the proper order, if there is such a thing. It's not subtle or obscured, either, it's graphic, vulgar, and she finds it all utterly fascinating. She sits upright in her bed, a gray tanktop and matching boxers her only clothing, and simply takes it all in.


*

It was almost peaceful, to die the way he did. There was warmth, before a slowly encroaching cold that crept over him, and then he grew tired, so very tired. The light in Ethan's eyes was extinguished while doing something he believed in, saving a lost people. The last thing he saw were those skeletons crumbling to dust, and the last thing he knew, for certain, was they they'd ended the curse. It was a good death. A noble death.

And then he wakes up. At first, he thinks he is just dead, and it's dark, and there is nothing. He wonders what an eternity of endless nothing is going to be like as he sits up. Then the lights come on and he is in a room. In a bed. In a pair of pajama bottoms. The bed is old, burnished wood, a four poster that looks like it belongs in an old money mansion somewhere. There are framed maps, old scrolls, and pictographs on the walls. There is also a chalkboard on one wall, with a box of chalk beside it. Like a teacher would have in a classroom. The most notable wall has only one thing on it and that is the familiar first rubbing Ethan took at the temple in the ruins. It is in a frame on the furthest edge of the wall across from the bed, and well lit. The recessed lights seem to indicate there are spaces for more things to be hung beside it.

"What the...?" Ethan murmurs, as he gets out of the bed, and moves to look at the rubbing. "Where am I?" Dead, he was dead. Bled out all over the jungle floor to save people. Right? He moves into the closet and finds an assortment of clothing, a lot of suit jackets, jeans, sweaters, jackets with patches on the elbows. They feel like things he would wear, but still, he doesn't remember them, or this place. He moves on into the bathroom and turns on the water in the sink to splash his face, before looking up in the mirror and letting out a startled, very loud, yell, audible in the hall and beyond.

His face is his face but it isn't his face. It looks about 20 years young. Maybe early to mid 30s instead of mid 50s. Ethan Drake, is that his name? Has far less lines on his skin, no grey I his hair, and his body is missing many of those aches and pains, while suddenly being more lean and athletic.


*

The parlor might not be the most serene of places right now. Even the hallway shows some signs of occupancy. Outside a room that was empty (is it now? Perhaps it has since been filled and what damage was done inside has been 'swept' away) lies a pile of soggy towels. And in the parlor itself? Oh, oh the parlor. The parlor has a huge pile of books scattered upon the floor as if someone went along the bookshelves and just swept row after row and shelf after shelf onto the ground.

In fact, that is precisely what someone did.

Even the dining room is not without its touch. A table is missing a chair and some splinters remain upon the floor. On the table, in the corner, sits a coiled rope of paracord and a long-abandoned cup of coffee.


*

Cameron... cameron? Cameron doesn't wake to peace, he wakes with a cry as he practically leaps out of his bed and looks around wildly, eyes alarmed and freaked out. There's lights on, and a door, and... stuff. Nothing registers. He's in full on panic mode, his mind spinning, confused, bursting through the door into the hall beyond, looking around frantically for anything familiar, anything normal, anything... anything but what he sees, what he finds. He's in a pair of shorts and that's all, since that's what's normal for him to sleep in, but the panic does not immediately subside. NOthing is right, nothing is familiar, he's never been here before, he's... Cameron but he's not what is going on? He bursts into the parlor with that frantic look on his face. "Ohmygodthefuckohmygodthefuck." A pile of ransacked shelves with books doesn't calm him down.


*

Furniture! Yes, there's furniture in The Creepshow's room, and she even notices it after tearing her gaze away from all the photos. Wrought iron and velvet, skulls and bones, glass and wax. Elvira would approve. She moves to the closet, filled with everything from goth lolita chic to punk to spinster widow clothes. She leaves them. She turns back to her room proper and finds her camera on her vanity, picking it up right about when Ethan yells and Cameron freaks out. Her attention snaps that way, and she heads out into the hall in her underthings, fidgeting with her camera.


*

Ethan bolts out of the door of his room, still dripping from the water splashed on his face, pale blue eyes wide as saucers. He holds onto the doorframe as he looks around in shock. "Where is this? This can't be heaven right?" He's relatively sure he wouldn't end up there. At least not in the conventional one. Maybe whatever one that tribe believes in. He looks down at the pile of towels. "Pretty sure the big guy wouldn't leave those on the floor either." Yeah, definitely not heaven.


*

Noise? More people? One of the doors in the hallway opens, the room with the image of the weeping woman and the burning village in the distance. The door opens just a sliver, and then a little more as the curious face of The Penitent -- or Madison Wellson -- peers down the hallway. Dressed in a red singlet top and grey sweatpants for the moment, she looks as though she's very recently stepped out of a shower.

She steps out proper, starting as Ethan suddenly appears in a nearby doorway. "Oh, sorry," she says in a pleasant tone. "No, I left those there. Well, some of them probably. We were trying to start a fire." Of course! "How come you are all here?" she peers down the hall towards The Creepshow, head tilting slightly, and then glances beyond where others have fled.


*

The Capitalist is still in bed when some sort of commotion is heard coming from the hallway. He's not exactly asleep nor is he alone. The loud shouting does get him to stir, dragging himself up quickly to stare at the closed doorway to his room. "What... or more like, Who was that?" He murmurs to his partner, just as he leans in close to place a kiss upon her lips, before dragging himself out of bed.

His movements are quick, the excitement out there may lead to more answers. At the very least, it means that something is going on. Reaching for his clothing and quickly getting dressed in his usual business get-up minus the suit jacket this time, he starts towards the door way as he's working on his tie. It takes a while, of course and he even looks at his reflection in the mirror to make sure that everything is neat and orderly before he steps outside. One looks is given back to the woman whom he shares his bed with, waiting on her before they depart to see what is going on.


*

The other occupant of the Capitalist's room (and bed) is a bit more delayed in surfacing, but only because of the minor problem of attire. The Hunter's clothes were soaking wet (thanks to a surprisingly functional fire suppressant system) and still weren't dry. She ends up raiding his closet for a button-down and puts that on along with her underwear. Ahem. "It didn't sound like Greene or Tully," she says, of the two she recalls being on the helicopter with her when she died. Doing up a couple more buttons, she approaches the door and pulls it open.

This particular door has the image of a man counting money on it and serves to reveal first Maata Kahloa, looking... well, disheveled is the right word, yes. Because she also didn't stop to really put herself together. She is running fingers through her hair to smooth it back, but she spots Esme in the hall and another man who... is familiar and yet not. Behind her is the younger Wellson, Conrad. She looks further along to the Penitent, confused.


*

The Perfectionist rolls over in bed, sighing as she wakes from a dream. It's a lovely dream. A dream come full circle. Birth. Life. Death.

Arch. Stretch. Yawn.

Blink.

She sits up abruptly, frowning, pushing back her hair. "What the fuck?" she whispers. Bare feet hit the floor. "What the abnormally actual fuck?"

Her room is white. White and black. No shades of grey. Very clean lines. Scandinavian furnishings. She stares at it. It's soothing, but... What. The actual. FUCK?

Deep breaths. Deeeep breaths. "Okay. Okay. This is... I'm..." Valerity. No. No, that's not right. "I'm..." She bolts over to a mirror. She's still not sure who she sees. "Ruth." She nods. "I'm..." Valor. Verity. "Nae." She looks around, her breath hitching in her chest. "Where's Nae?"


*

Ethan blinks over at the Penitant. "Ms. Wellson, is that you? Where the hell is here? We...we died. We sacrificed ourselves to stop the curse, the skeletons. Six of us, we volunteered to die." He reaches a hand up to rub at his throat, his perfectly intact throat. "We did die. We did. So why are we here? Where is here? Why are you here? Are the others here? There was Ms. Cortez, Valerity, that young man from social media, Cameron-something? Blue Rosen, one of Mr. Valeh's friends... not Navid though." He turns a bit to look at Maata and Conrad emerging and his brow furrows in further confusion. They look mostly the same as he remembers from the island. He, however... "What in the hell is happening? Wait, is this hell?"


*

The Archetype formerly known as Cameron continues with his freak out when he doesn't see anyone, rushing towards the kitchen, calling out, "Chase? Tom? Buffy? What the fuck? Where is everyone? Where are WINDOWS. Screens. WIFI?!" But there! Panels, the food dispensers look modern. He taps at it frantically, and then gives up, just not able to focus on words or sights, turning around in a circle quickly, afraid of anything that might be coming at his back. He keeps rubbing at his neck, too.


*

"Give me distress," says the girl who was Esme, playing photographer as she moves out ahead of no-longer-Cameron to make his flailing into an impromptu photo shoot. "Panic. Yes! Give me your fear, your terror at this fucked up twist! The camera loves you! Give it everything!" She sounds ecstatic, almost orgasmic. There's no flash, though, no click or whir of the film feed. It may not be instantly obvious to all, but the camera is essentially a big paperweight one can look through. She knows, and clearly gives zero fucks.

And then a small crowd starts to gather. And Ethan has questions. She stops her pretendy times and straightens, free hand going to her hip. "None of you ever appreciated art," she sniffs. "Or suffering. Or the art of suffering. Fucking philistines." She storms her way back through the hall, to her room, slamming the door behind her.


*


"Six died? I guess that means ... we might get six more visitors. "I am sort of Ms. Wellson, yes. But mostly not. I died in the explosion at the security trailer." She tilts her head slightly, considering. "It's something I prefer not to think about. I was the first to wake up here. Then others came shortly after. Dahlia Adams and Jonas Silva. Then, uh, Conrad Wellson and ..." she trails off as she gestures to the Capitalist's opening room, where the two she were about to mention are stepping out.

A blink as Esme states her opinion, head inclining as she stares vaguely at the Creepshow's room before shaking her head and turning her attention back to the vaguely familiar Ethan. "We probably shouldn't have left the place such a mess. Sorry." She says again, though there's no real feeling behind the apology, her tone is a vague and distant thing.


*

The Perfectionist puts a hand over her mouth, eyes welling with tears, trying not to hyperventilate. She shakes her head. There are cosmetics, brushes, combs, jewelry on the vanity. She arranges them with trembling hands. "I'm Ruth Hawthorne Toliver." And... "Okay." She nods. "Okay. Valerity. I remember her now. Me. Now."

A bit.

"I don't feel like me." Careful not to nudge or budge or scuff anything, she takes off her silk pajamas. Folds them carefully. Places them.. is that a hamper? Maybe it's not. She'll figure it out. It'll do for now. The clothing in the armoire is examined. The shoes. She's equally careful not to bother them until she finds something simple. She shoes are ridiculous, but she kneels to make sure every pair is facing straight and evenly spaced. The same is done for the hangers, a quarter inch between each one.

Finally, finally she feels calm enough to venture out. There's a door. It looks like a good place for an out to be. So she steps into the hall. Follows the voices.


*

"Conrad?" Ethan asks. He remembers him as a student of his, but that no longer feels real. It happened before the island, it's just like...he knows it happened but there is nothing attached to it in his memory. It just was there, like a fact, a fact with no emotion or imagery or sensory information attached to it. "It's me, Professor Drake." Even as he says it, he knows it's untrue. Knowledge of being a college professor has that same not realness to it. Like he was told that's what he did, but he didn't really do it. He wasn't actually there.


*

Once out into the hall, The Capitalist sees a few surprised faces, some unfamiliar to him, but one in particular, he believes he has seen before. "Is that..?" He murmurs mostly to himself when he sees Ethan. It almost looked like his former professor in profile, but the man was far too young. Though whatever Ethan is spewing out is enough to make him realize that yes, he was on the island too. Then there is another voice coming from the parlor and more names are mentioned. In total, he recognizes a few of these individuals listed off and that gives him some form of hope. "Valeh?" He remembers that name as someone they needed to ensure was not sacrificed. Valerity. Rosen is another name that he vaguely knows. And then Buffy... When the strange photographer returns back to the hallway to slam the door, he has no idea who that was! But unfamiliar faces keeps showing up. Then again, it was a huge festival.

It's only then that the man he sort of recgonizes calls his name. "So you /are/ Professor Ethan." It's pretty surreal to see his professor looking so young right now. He then looks to Maata briefly, when he asks, "So the sacrifice went down? Did it work..?" Like they would know. They're dead!


*

The Perfectionist frowns at The Capitalist. "I didn't like you. You didn't try hard enough. Then you did. And I felt sorry for you. Because it was futile." Huh. "But I don't remember you. Sorry."

Enh. It'll come back to her.

In the meantime, she goes to straighten the bookshelves. It's while she's facing the spines she realizes they're not in... any sort of order. Not by title. Or author. Or the Library of Congress Classification System. She'll eventually remember she doesn't know how that works, but it unsettles her, nonetheless.


*

"Not... everyone has found their way here," Maata says after a moment, watching Esme as she storms her way down the hall. The woman is unfamiliar to her, as well. "But others that we don't recognize have." With this, she looks to the room that the Rebel has been hiding within. There's a shrug before she gets a good look at the door that Ethan is standing near. She finally leaves the Capitalist's side and rushes over, uncaring of her, uh, attire in the process. She'll lean around to get a good look inside before letting out a "Shit."

One notable thing is that while the Hunter looks like Maata Kahloa, there is no trace of the woman's islander accent. She sounds American. Midwestern, perhaps. And there's a much more refined, almost coiled spring to her motions. Something almost inherently dangerous to her. "Conrad," she calls, looking over her shoulder to him. "The fire... It's gone."


*

The Avant-Garde is continuing to freak out in the parlor, eyes wild. He sees the Perfectionist, pauses, chest heaving with panting, "Valerity?!" Eyes wild, "Who are you? Why am I here? WHO AM I? WHAT IS THIS?" Frantic and unsure what to do, he moves quickly to the dining room area, grabs a chair, and proceeds to try to put it THROUGH a wall. SMACK. "CHASE. TOM. BUFFY. WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON." He has 10x too much energy to fit into his body, and no internet to destress.

The Perfectionist puts a hand over her mouth, eyes welling with tears, trying not to hyperventilate. She shakes her head. There are cosmetics, brushes, combs, jewelry on the vanity. She arranges them with trembling hands. "I'm Ruth Hawthorne Toliver." And... "Okay." She nods. "Okay. Valerity. I remember her now. Me. Now."

A bit.

"I don't feel like me." Careful not to nudge or budge or scuff anything, she takes off her silk pajamas. Folds them carefully. Places them.. is that a hamper? Maybe it's not. She'll figure it out. It'll do for now. The clothing in the armoire is examined. The shoes. She's equally careful not to bother them until she finds something simple. She shoes are ridiculous, but she kneels to make sure every pair is facing straight and evenly spaced. The same is done for the hangers, a quarter inch between each one.

Finally, finally she feels calm enough to venture out. There's a door. It looks like a good place for an out to be. So she steps into the hall. Follows the voices.


*


"Conrad?" Ethan asks. He remembers him as a student of his, but that no longer feels real. It happened before the island, it's just like...he knows it happened but there is nothing attached to it in his memory. It just was there, like a fact, a fact with no emotion or imagery or sensory information attached to it. "It's me, Professor Drake." Even as he says it, he knows it's untrue. Knowledge of being a college professor has that same not realness to it. Like he was told that's what he did, but he didn't really do it. He wasn't actually there.


*


Once out into the hall, The Capitalist sees a few surprised faces, some unfamiliar to him, but one in particular, he believes he has seen before. "Is that..?" He murmurs mostly to himself when he sees Ethan. It almost looked like his former professor in profile, but the man was far too young. Though whatever Ethan is spewing out is enough to make him realize that yes, he was on the island too. Then there is another voice coming from the parlor and more names are mentioned. In total, he recognizes a few of these individuals listed off and that gives him some form of hope. "Valeh?" He remembers that name as someone they needed to ensure was not sacrificed. Valerity. Rosen is another name that he vaguely knows. And then Buffy... When the strange photographer returns back to the hallway to slam the door, he has no idea who that was! But unfamiliar faces keeps showing up. Then again, it was a huge festival.

It's only then that the man he sort of recgonizes calls his name. "So you /are/ Professor Ethan." It's pretty surreal to see his professor looking so young right now. He then looks to Maata briefly, when he asks, "So the sacrifice went down? Did it work..?" Like they would know. They're dead!


*


The Perfectionist frowns at The Capitalist. "I didn't like you. You didn't try hard enough. Then you did. And I felt sorry for you. Because it was futile." Huh. "But I don't remember you. Sorry."

Enh. It'll come back to her.

In the meantime, she goes to straighten the bookshelves. It's while she's facing the spines she realizes they're not in... any sort of order. Not by title. Or author. Or the Library of Congress Classification System. She'll eventually remember she doesn't know how that works, but it unsettles her, nonetheless.


*


"Not... everyone has found their way here," Maata says after a moment, watching Esme as she storms her way down the hall. The woman is unfamiliar to her, as well. "But others that we don't recognize have." With this, she looks to the room that the Rebel has been hiding within. There's a shrug before she gets a good look at the door that Ethan is standing near. She finally leaves the Capitalist's side and rushes over, uncaring of her, uh, attire in the process. She'll lean around to get a good look inside before letting out a "Shit."

One notable thing is that while the Hunter looks like Maata Kahloa, there is no trace of the woman's islander accent. She sounds American. Midwestern, perhaps. And there's a much more refined, almost coiled spring to her motions. Something almost inherently dangerous to her. "Conrad," she calls, looking over her shoulder to him. "The fire... It's gone."


*

The Avant-Garde is continuing to freak out in the parlor, eyes wild. He sees the Perfectionist, pauses, chest heaving with panting, "Valerity?!" Eyes wild, "Who are you? Why am I here? WHO AM I? WHAT IS THIS?" Frantic and unsure what to do, he moves quickly to the dining room area, grabs a chair, and proceeds to try to put it THROUGH a wall. SMACK. "CHASE. TOM. BUFFY. WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON." He has 10x too much energy to fit into his body, and no internet to destress.'


*

The Perfectionist looks utterly alarmed. "There's a fire?" She blinks. "That could burn things."

AUGH! There's a crazy person shouting at her. He knows one of her names! That's not okay! She doesn't know any of his! She flails! "I -- am -- was -- that's -- you..." Wait. Buffy? "I think... I remember... didn't she want us to draw things on her ass?" She looks around hopefully. That's right, right? She remembered a thing!


*

"I am. I was. I think?" Ethan replies to Conrad, scrubbing both hands through his hair, which no longer has that distinguished greying at the temples, and is thicker, in less of a tight cut. "But I was, I was older, wasn't I? I remember being older, older than this," he gestures at his body, realizes he's in just pajama pants, and coughs. "I should probably put some clothes on, right?" He is the bearer and distributer of knowledge, and he has absolutely NO IDEA where he is, where he came from, who he really is, what he is doing here. This is making the man's head hurt. "And maybe have a lie down." It's got to be a dream right? Is he in a coma? Did someone try to stop the sacrifice and save the bleeding volunteers?


*

"What do you mean, gone?" The Penitent speaks up, idly curious. Even though the question was for Conrad. "The sprinklers put it out. Of course it's gone." She glances down the way towards the parlour, hearing the freak-out in progress going on from The Avant-Garde down the way. She reaches behind her to open her door again, taking a step back. Too noisy! Though she doesn't quite retreat completely just yet.

"Profressor Drake. I remember you." She studies him. "But I don't remember you as well. You seem much younger, yes. Lying down is good. It's very comfortable here, and there is food and definitely nothing coming to kill us all at night or any other time really. It's quite peaceful."


*

When confronted by Valerity in the hallway, Conrad has been in the Facility a while to have gained all of his memory from the island, so he knows full well who the woman is. Despite the situation that they are in, he cannot help but furrow his brow at what he perceives as an insult about him not trying hard enough, but he lets it slide and he doesn't seem too eager to remind her of anything more. He knows it will come to her.

When Maata calls out to him, his pace quickens to take a look at what she's seeing. "If I must be honest, it's a good thing that the fire is out. Or else we would've burned to death in here without a way out." The sound of a chair crashing against the wall nearly startles him, and it sounds like everyone was going crazy all around him. But this is to be expected, "I gotta say, Prof, I don't know where /here/ is. Do you remember hearing an explosion? How many days had passed since then? When the security trailer blew?" Those were the last of his memories on the island. But he does confirm, "Er.. yeah. You don't completely look like yourself. It's a little strange, but you sound like you. For the most part."


*

"No, no," the Hunter reaches out to grab at the Capitalist once he's near enough, to tug him towards Ethan's door. Which is becoming terribly crowded, regardless of the fact that the poor -- confused -- man is only in pajama bottoms. Or that she herself is wearing only panties and one of Conrad's button downs. "It's gone." She steps back a bit once she's done ogling (the room!) herself. "This room was empty earlier, remember!" There's a look over to the Penitent now and a helpless shrug as she hops back another step as her heel squelches -- gross -- into one of the wet towels. "When we left it, it was just the fire and my blanket on the floor. Now it's... it's fully furnished."


*

There are too many people talking at once. The Perfectionist puts her hands over her ears. She remembers she used to like certain sounds. She's not sure what they were.

And there are books on the floor.

There are books on the floor.

How did they get there?! It doesn't matter. She quickly picks them up and places them in piles. She'll need the space to reorder things on the shelves, but they should at least be in piles. Nice, straight piles. No more than six tall. All facing the same direction. "Why are there books on the floor? It's not where they belong." She blows out a long breath. These people and their fired. "Blankets don't belong on the floor, either." GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE.


*
Cameron, Conrad, Esme, Maata, Ethan, Madison, Valerity